| Maintaining Your Computer | Helpful Tools | Multimedia Tools | Syncing and Backup Programs



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This page contains tools that I find useful for keeping my computer up to date and in the best working condition. Some of the tools provide information about my computers and others let me make changes on the computer. Please share with me others that you find helpful.




Maintaining Your Computer


cccleaner.jpgCC Cleaner

CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. But the best part is that it's fast (normally taking less than a second to run) and contains NO Spyware or Adware!
http://www.ccleaner.com/

Revo Uninstaller

revo-uninstaller.jpgRevo Uninstaller helps you to uninstall software and remove unwanted programs installed on your computer easily! Even if you have problems uninstalling and cannot uninstall them from "Windows Add or Remove Programs" control panel applet.

Revo Uninstaller is a much faster and more powerful alternative to "Windows Add or Remove Programs" applet! It has very powerful features to uninstall and remove programs. With its advanced and fast algorithms, Revo Uninstaller analyzes an application's data before uninstall and scans for remnants after the uninstall of a program. After the program's regular uninstaller runs, you can remove additional unnecessary files, folders and registry keys that are usually left over on your computer.

Revo Uninstaller offers you some simple, easy to use, but effective and powerful methods for uninstalling software like tracing the program during its installation.
To remove a program completely and without leaving a trace you can monitor all system changes made during its installation, and then use that information to uninstall it with one click only – simple and easy!
http://www.revouninstaller.com/revo_uninstaller_free_download.html



Advanced System Care

Advanced SystemCare Free (formerly Advanced WindowsCare Personal) has a one-click approach to help protect, repair, clean, and optimize your PC. With over 50 MILLION downloads since 2006, this fantastic, award-winning, free PC repair software is a "must-have" tool for your computer. 100% safe with no adware, spyware, or viruses; a PC maintenance program that’s incredibly easy to use.

Why waste money on expensive "registry cleaners" to fix your PC when Advanced SystemCare Free will repair, tune, and maintain it for you – for free!
http://www.iobit.com/advancedwindowscareper.html


Eusing Free Registry Cleaner


Eusing Free Registry Cleaner is a free registry repair software that allows you to safely clean and repair registry problems with a few simple mouse clicks. The Windows Registry is a crucial part of your PC's operation system.

MainInterface_little.jpgProblems with the Windows Registry are a common cause of Windows crashes and error messages. Registry problems can occur for many reasons, including references left behind after uninstallation; incorrect removal of software; missing or corrupt hardware drivers; or orphaned start-up programs. This will significantly increase the Registry size and slow down your computer, because Windows will need more time to load, search, and read data from the Registry.

Eusing Free Registry Cleaner will scans your Windows registry for invalid or obsolete information and provide a list of the errors found. After fixing the invalid entries, your system will be more stable and run faster. For maximum safety, Eusing Free Registry Cleaner will make a backup of the repaired entries. You will be able to restore any changes made using the software by choosing Restore registry backup. Eusing Software products are free of spyware and adware.
http://www.eusing.com/free_registry_cleaner/registry_cleaner.htm


Belarc Advisor

The Belarc Advisor builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status, CIS (Center for Internet Security) benchmarks, and displays the results in your Web browser. All of your PC profile information is kept private on your PC and is not sent to any web server. external image spacer.gif
I run this on every computer and then copy the results to a word document and save it. It gives me a profile of that computer. It provides the Windows key and any Dell service tag. I will rerun the program after I have installed new programs or hardware.
http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html


PC Tuneup

This is the first site I go to if I have a computer infected with a virus or spyware and my installed programs will not clean it up. Malware Bytes (linked on the page) has become THE program to use. In addition there are links to several online virus and spyware scanners. You should never have more than one virus scanner installed on your computer (they will conflict with each other) so using an online scanner (ie: it does not need to install itself on your computer) is a good option when battling malware.
http://sites.google.com/site/pctuneuppctuneup/


Fences

"Good fences make good neighbors," Robert Frost famously wrote--and this program shows that they make good desktops, too. Fences does exactly what it says: It fences off parts of your desktop and devotes them to certain things, such as applications, Web links, folders, recent items, files and documents, and more. That way, instead of having to search through your disorganized desktop for an item, you just go to the appropriate fenced area and find it immediately there.

You can customize Fences to create your own categories, and you can place any objects inside the fences you want. You can also control the number of fences and where they're located, as well as customize the fences' transparency, brightness, and colors. And a very nice feature lets you dismiss or restore all of your icons with a double-click on the desktop.

Unlike with 3D desktops, with Fences your PC won't suffer slowdown. Though Fences is not quite as nifty-looking as 3D desktops are, it makes organizing your desktop easy, without any detrimental effect on performance. Given that it's free, it's well worth the download.(Information copied from PC World)
This is a must have for those people like to keep icons on their desktop. The best feature is the double click and poof the icons are gone!

http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,76387-order,4/description.html


WinDirStat

Identify how much disk space you're using with WinDirStat. Based on the Linux application KDirStat, this great piece of freeware offers you an informative visual windirstat.jpgdisplay of your hard-drive usage. It can also analyze your local devices. Depending on the size of your disk, the initial WinDirStat scan may take quite a while, so be prepared to go grab a cup of coffee for 5 to 10 minutes.

When you return, you'll see all of your files (for the drive or directory you decided to scan) displayed in a rainbow of colors. WinDirStat assigns colors to each file type, such as MP3, ZIP, EXE, JPG, and so on. By default, the files that take up the most space are colored blue, the second heftiest are red, and the third largest green. After the first 10 color-labeled file types, the rest appear in gray--but you can change these settings and colors through the Options menu.

Once you've identified where your disk space has gone, you can then more easily decide where you can save space. WinDirStat is loaded with features for managing your files, such as the ability to automatically delete files without even bothering with the Recycle Bin. It's one of those tools that you didn't know you needed until you started using it, but once installed, it's hard to imagine life without it.
http://download.cnet.com/WinDirStat/3000-2248_4-10614593.html




Helpful Tools

Easy Capture

4_easycapture01[2].jpgThis is my screen capture tool of choice. I use this to take snapshots of programs that I use in the teacher tech class. It is simple yet versatile.

It's true: If you take a picture, it will last longer. With EasyCapture, you can take a screenshot in a variety of sizes and formats. This free program's tabbed interface adds a few nice extra features, too.

Taking screenshots with EasyCapture is simple. You click the button or select the menu item for the area type (full screen, region, window, etc.) you want to capture, move the cursor to select the area, and click. Thanks to a tabbed interface, you can take several screenshots in short order and deal with each at your leisure.

The small selection of graphics tools lets you perform simple tasks such as adjusting brightness and contrast; converting to grayscale; flipping or rotating the image; and adding text and simple included graphics such as lines, arrows, and word balloons. You can save your work as BMP, GIF, JPEG, PCX, PNG, and TIFF files.

If you're a graphics professional, you'll probably need to buy a program that can save a wider array of file formats. But if you're just an average Jo/e who wants to nab a screenshot, EasyCapture will probably suffice--and you can't beat the price.
http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,68497-order,1-page,1/description.html


Free and Easy Font Viewer

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"Have you got lots of fonts to choose from? Do you get annoyed every time you pick a font for a fancy birthday card or a web page logo because all the software you have is only capable of showing one font at a time? Help is at hand. Free&Easy Fonts Viewer gives you the opportunity to view all your installed fonts simultaneously.
This tool definitely lives up to its name: it is both free and easy. Free&Easy Fonts Viewer shows you all the installed fonts (that is, those that are in the Fonts folder in your Control Panel) in one window. You can scale the fonts up and down and check out how they look in different font styles (bold, italic, underline, strike through).
Free&Easy Fonts Viewer has its limitations, though: if you have a collection of fonts which are located in a different folder from the system fonts, you won't be able to browse through them using this tool. Another drawback is that you can't see the full range of symbols in a font - only the first nine letters plus numbers 0 to 9 plus a handful of punctuation marks. Download this free tool now and fool around with your fonts."
http://www.styopkin.com/details_free_and_easy_fonts_viewer.html


EUALyzer

I find this tool to be essential when deciding if it is safe to download something from a web site.

Making EULAs Easy Discover if the software you're about to install displays pop-up ads, transmits personally identifiable information, uses unique identifiers to track you, or much much more. EULAlyzer can analyze license agreements in seconds, and provide a detailed listing of potentially interesting words and phrases.
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The Benefits
  • Discover potentially hidden behavior about the software you're going to install
  • Pick up on things you missed when reading license agreements
  • Keep a saved database of the license agreements & documents you view
  • Instant results - super-fast analysis in just a second

And with additional features like the EULA Research Center, which optionally allows users to anonymously submit license agreements they scan to help us to further improve the program, everyone can be a part of the effort to make something that used to be so tedious, so easy.
http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/eulalyzer.html



FoxIt Reader

foxitreader.gifFoxit Reader is a free PDF document viewer, with incredible small size, breezing-fast launch speed and rich feature set. Its core function is compatible with PDF Standard 1.7. This is a great alternative to Adobe Acrobat Reader. The Portable Document Format (PDF) offers a faster, cheaper and simpler method for viewing, manipulating, saving and printing electronic documents. Foxit PDF technologies provide a powerful framework for organizations and corporations to implement PDF solutions to reach their business goals.
http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/reader/reader-interstitial.html


Cute PDF Writer

gadget_018.gifCreate PDF documents on the fly — for Free!
Portable Document Format (PDF) is the de facto standard for the secure and reliable distribution and exchange of electronic documents and forms around the world. CutePDF Writer (formerly CutePDF Printer) is the free version of commercial PDF creation software. CutePDF Writer installs itself as a "printer subsystem". This enables virtually any Windows applications (must be able to print) to create professional quality PDF documents - with just a push of a button!
http://www.cutepdf.com/


Ninite

One of the most time consuming part of setting up a new computer is installing all the software. If you use many of the free programs from the web then ninite is the site for you. There is a large list of free apps that are are listed by category. Just check off the apps you want and create your list. Once the list is downloaded Ninite will automatically install the apps for you. It can't get any easier than that.
http://ninite.com/


Free Aps

Similar to Ninite only more items offered in the list. You can take the recommended items on the list or sign up for your own account and add only those items you find to be helpful.
http://www.freenew.net/


Multimedia Tools


Prism Video Converter

Prism-Video-File-Converter_1.pngPrism is a universal video file converter for Windows. It can convert video files from avi, mpg, vob, wmv, flv, 3gp and more into avi, 3gp, flv, mp4, mpg, asf or wmv files. Converts avi, mpg, vob, asf, wmv, mp4, ogm and all video formats that have a DirectShow based codec to AVI and Windows Media Video formats. Load multiple formats and convert to a single output format. If you can play the video file using 'Windows Media Player', you can convert it using Prism. Supports all of the popular multimedia devices. Preview original files and output results before converting. Add video files directly from DVDs. Set compression/encoder rates of output files. Set resolution and frame rate of output files. Set a specific size of output files. Conversion to AVI and WMV continues to be free after 14 days.
http://download.cnet.com/Prism-Video-Converter/3000-2194_4-10644345.html


YouTube Downloader

youtubedownloader.gifThis tool is useful if you have a YouTube video you want to use in class. It will be on your computer and you will not have to worry about the connection or waiting for it to download before you play it for your class. Videos are great to use in your Power Point presentations to make them more interesting. YouTube videos will have to be converted to .wmv or .MP4 format to play in Windows Movie Maker or Power Point. This program will help with the converting as well as downloading.

YouTube Downloader is software that allows you to download videos from YouTube, Google Video, Yahoo Video, and many others and convert them to other video formats.The program is easy to use, just specify the URL for the video you want to download and click the Ok button!It also allows you to convert downloaded videos for Ipod, Iphone, PSP, Cell Phone, Windows Media, XVid and MP3.You can use YouTube Downloader to download the videos of your choice from home, at the office or in school.

http://youtubedownload.altervista.org/



dvd_flick.pngDVD Flick

I have not used this program but it got a good review from PC World. DVD Flick aims to be a simple but at the same time powerful DVD Authoring tool. It can take a number of video files stored on your computer and turn them into a DVD that will play back on your DVD player, Media Center or Home Cinema Set. You can add additional custom audio tracks, subtitles as well as a menu for easier navigation.
http://www.dvdflick.net/


CD Burner XP

CDBurnerXP is a free application to burn CDs and DVDs, including Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs. It also includes the feature to burn and create ISOs, as well as a multilanguage interface. Everyone, even companies, can use it for free. It does not include adware or similar malicious components.

cdbxp.jpg

Key Features

  • burn all kinds of discs
  • audio-CDs with or without gaps between tracks
  • burn and create ISO files
  • data verification after burning process
  • create bootable discs
  • multi-language interface
  • bin/nrg → ISO converter, simple cover printing and much more!
  • Operating Systems: Windows 2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista/2008/Win7 (x86 / x64)
http://cdburnerxp.se/





Syncing and Backup Programs


Drop Box

I have just started using this synchronization program to store files and folders that I use both at home and at school. I have set up Drop Box on both my home

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and school computer. No matter which computer I am on I simply save the file to "My Dropbox Folder" and it is available on the other computer. The other advantage is that the files are backed up online in case something happens to my computer.

Dropbox is a newcomer still in beta testing that has some welcome features despite its simplicity. Like other synchronizers, it requires that you download and install software; but un­like the others, it has almost no user interface. All it has is a tray icon that you click to see a pop-up window with one command for launching the Web site and another for opening an Explorer window to the Dropbox folder installed in your Documents folder.

The majority of your file syncing and sharing happens through the folder. You drag files and folders there to have Dropbox automatically upload them to the servers (beta testers get 2GB of free storage; in the future only 1GB will be free). You can also share files by transferring them to and from the Dropbox folder. If you upload a file that isn't in the Dropbox folder directly to the Dropbox site, a copy will appear--you guessed it--in your local Dropbox folder.
https://www.dropbox.com/


4 Shared

4shared.jpgThis is a great online backup site. I use it for backing up my pictures because you now get 10 GB of free storage. That will hold a ton of files and large number of pictures and audio files. It is always good to have your pictures backup SEVERAL places. Back up on burned CD, flash drive and online. You don't want to lose those family memories. I am not sure if this is still in effect but when I created my account it stated that you had to visit your account once every 30 days to keep it active.

This free service provides storage and lets you upload an unlimited number of files (though no single file can exceed 25MB in size). All of the folders you place on 4shared.com's servers are permission-based, so you can easily make some folders available to anybody while restricting access to others. You can also password-protect your folders, which adds another layer of security. Visitors access the folders through an e-mail link.
In less than 10 minutes you can create dozens of folders and subfolders, each with specific rights. You can track how many files are downloaded, but unfortunately you can't find out who did the downloading. There ia a FireFox add on that lets you upload multiple files at one time.
http://www.4shared.com/



Xmarks

multi-browser-sync.jpgIf there is one web site program I could not do without it is Xmarks. I have this set up on my 3 computers that I use on a regular basis. Thanks to Xmarks all three have the exact same bookmarks in the same folders and they are always available online if I am at a different computer. The newsest feature, if you choose to install it, it will remember your passwords from computer to computer.

Install Xmarks on each computer you use, and it seamlessly integrates with your web browser and keeps your bookmarks safely backed up and in sync.
Xmarks will sync across browsers too. Today they support Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari (Mac OS). Click on the Xmarks info icon in your location bar to see detailed information about the site you are on, and discover other great sites just like it.
http://www.xmarks.com/