|Program / Web site / Notes
- $$$ - THE operating system upgrade
If you are tired of an unstable operating system like Windows 95 / 98 / ME,
you MUST change to Windows XP.
You WILL be assimilated - BILLG
Startup - FREE - better than msconfig.exe (Windows 95 / 98 / ME)
Exercise TOTAL control over
everything that loads, not just the Startup group. Unlike Microsoft's System
Configuration utility (msconfig.exe), this can specify the order in
which your startup items load.
Control Panel - FREE - msconfig.exe for Windows 2000
reason, Windows NT and 2000 do not include the
Configuration utility (msconfig.exe). This program gives you similar
capabilities to msconfig.exe.
4 - FREE - Time synchronization (Windows 98 - use NISTime
for Windows XP)
If you want
your clock synchronized
under Windows 95 / 98 / ME / 2000,
use this program in your Startup group. It is VERY customizable - too bad
it does not work under XP!
|EzDesk - $15 -
Restore scrambled icons
Prior to Windows 2000 / XP, the desktop icons are often rearranged "automagically",
which is a real annoyance. I have used this program for years to
specify default arrangements of the desktop icons. If you register the
program, it will restore the icons automatically.
|NISTime 32 - FREE -
Time synchronization for Windows XP (use Dimension 4
for Win 98)
time synchronization in XP only runs once a week. If you want your clock synchronized
frequently, use this program in your Startup group.
$30 - Allow multiple monitors with a laptop!
This software allows you to have multiple monitors, even with a laptop.
If you have a desktop PC, you can show two monitors by having two
video cards. If you have a laptop, you can't have two video cards. But you can by using this
The catch is that you need to have a second computer to drive the
second monitor. You also need a network connection between the two
computers. MaxiVista has been written up in PC Magazine and PC World. It is far
cheaper to buy a second 17 inch monitor than to get a 24 inch monitor.
They both give you about 578 square inches of screen real estate.
FREE - Allows you to automate virtually anything
This software allows you to automate virtually anything you do that involves a
series of keystrokes or mouse movements. This includes a complete scripting
language that is quite flexible.
You can have the script pause while waiting for a specific window to appear.
You can create your own windows to allow choices.
I have used this to automate numerous manual tasks. Here are some examples.
Magic - $70 - Manipulate hard
Resize and move hard disk partitions without losing your data. The program is
non-destructive, so it is far better than using FDISK. I
use this program weekly, and I even
gave a presentation on how I use it.
This program has not changed much since Symantec bought the company. If they ever get the
bugs fixed in version 10, I will recommend Acronis Disk Director Suite. Version 9 worked much
more reliably for me.
|Acronis TrueImage - $40 - Make image backups of
hard disk partitions
This creates a
single large file which contains a compressed image of all the files on
several hard disk partitions. For backups, the image files can be sized to
fit on CDs or DVDs, or they can be copied to other hard drives. I use this program
SpinRite 6 - $90 -
Prevent hard drive failure / Recover from hard drive
This program has finally been updated to work with NTFS
disk partitions. It can help recover data from a flaky drive, and also
prevent hard drive failure. I used it years ago, but had to stop once I
moved everything from FAT32 to NTFS. If you're not using NTFS, you should
seriously consider it. NTFS is more reliable, and you rarely have
cross-linked files or lost chains.
Mobile Meter - FREE -
Show CPU speed, CPU temperature, hard disk temperature
Discussion of program here:
Download program here:
This small utility is great for laptop owners. If your fan
runs all the time, this will help you see why. The program is easy to
configure, and I use it all the time.
WinMerge - FREE -
Show differences between text files, or differences in contents of folders
Download program here:
This is a handy utility for comparing the contents of directories with lots
of files. Programmers will use it to visually show the difference between files,
and to merge the contents of different files.
Bulk rename Utility - FREE - Rename groups of files at one time
Download program here:
This software is a must have for anyone who creates MP3 CDs.
It allows you to rename groups of files, and create the new files in a different location.
You can use this program to add sequence numbers in front of the names of your MP3 files.
You need to do this to get the MP3 files to play in track order. If you don't rename them,
they will play in alphabetical order.
|E-mail / Web Browsing
AM-DeadLink - FREE - find broken browser bookmarks
I have used this program for many years to get rid of
outdated browser bookmarks. It has been updated in the latest release to
handle bookmarks for Mozilla and Opera. It can also download FavIcons for
email - FREE - POP3 email client
I just started using this program, and it is very nice. It seems much smarter about
handling HTML email messages (Pegasus sometimes crashed on these).
Definitely worth a look if you're paranoid about viruses that target
|AVG Antivirus - FREE
I just went through a fiasco trying to upgrade Norton AntiVirus. I decided to start using AVG Free instead.
It works fine, and it is updated frequently.
|Pop-up Stopper - FREE - eliminate
browser pop-up windows
This works in the popular browsers Internet Exploder and Netscrape.
Version 2.6 (12/2001) of this program did a good job of eliminating annoying pop-up and pop-under
ads. Then they introduced a paid version, and made the free version less
effective, which stinks.
|Webroot Spy Sweeper - $30
This is the best anti-spyware program I have found. It really does more than the free programs
Ad Aware and SpyBot Search & Destroy.
|FireFox - FREE
This free browser works great. And you don't have to worry about most pop-up windows.
|Google - FREE -
the BEST internet search engine
This produces the best search results, which are truly unbiased. Page
ranking is based on the number of web pages that link to a particular web
site. For quick access to Google from your web browser, install the Google
This is an internet news site that is updated constantly - via computers,
This is a web directory, similar to Yahoo
This site allows you to browse over 5,000 catalogs online (really for DSL
|DSL and Cable
Up, etc. - FREE - check if computer is secure
Test, Shields Up, and Port Probe programs test your internet set up (including
firewall) for security against hackers. Use this after setting up
ZoneAlarm (see below).
|Kerio personal - FREE - Excellent firewall
Software based firewall, protects DSL / Cable modems from intruders
Also allows you to keep "trojan horse" programs from exposing your computer.
Kerio has undergone changes in version, and a
change in ownership:
Unfortunately, the slim / trim / efficient version 2.1.5 of
this software is no longer available. The newer versions suffer from
the same "software bloat" problem that Zone Alarm has.
|Excel utilities - FREE - numerous
extremely useful items
I use Microsoft Office 2000 for about six hours every day. This page has some great add-ins
that you will find useful. For example, FindLinks can show (or
delete) links in Excel workbooks that are difficult to locate by yourself.
|Xenu Link checker - FREE - find
broken links in a web site
I use Microsoft Front Page 2000 for my web site, but it does not detect
some types of broken links. It also reports some links as broken when they
|USA PhotoMaps - FREE - fascinating
If you like maps, you'll be amazed by this program. It allows you to zoom
in on any area of the USA, using satellite imagery. For discussion of
usage, check this out: