Gizmos Freeware Reviews  

Go Back   Gizmo's Freeware Forum > Debating Chamber > Portable Apps

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 15. May 2009, 08:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 23
Default Little Luxuries (please share yours)

<<< Admins --- I'm new here, and unsure of forum protocol --- If this post is inappropriate, please delete it. Thx >>>

These are some of the little tools that make computing more comfortable or convenient for me. (not ALL of my collection, just my favorites)
All of these are small-footprint and work portably, but some do make a few registry entries. I run them from my usb drive.
The file sizes noted are for the files required to run the app, doesn't include help files, un-needed language files, and such.
RAM numbers are listed for XP32, followed by Vista64, they are very rough approximations, I got them fromTask Manager after giving the app normal usage.

38 kb
Standy, hibernate, log off, reboot, shutdown, open & close cd/dvd / removable drives, turn off monitor(s), blank the screen, activate screensaver (also includes its own configurable "graviton" screensaver), play wave files (max approx 45 sec and needs full path included), and more.
Friendly help file takes the fear factor out of using a command-line tool.

30 kb
Nircmd can do most of the above, and more besides. IT folks like NirCmd for doing remote/network stuff and registry editing. This tool has some powerful commands that can do serious damage to your machine, so use it with care!
Chiefly, I use NirCmd to execute applications (sometimes with optional additional parameters), to save screenshots to files, and for instant changes to screen resolution --- useful if you have bad eyes, and an evil program hard-coded with 6-point fonts.

Both of these are command-line tools.
Create shortcut to the exe and add the command to the "target" line, change icon for easy recognition.
Or, use Start, Run... command or Launchy or SlickRun or similar.
Or, run commands by batch files, which can get as complex as you like.

I also made some One-Click-Wonders --- batch files that combine multiple commands (from these tools and/or Windows commands).
To get fancy, I used Free Bat To Exe Converter to compile those bat files into some anti-virus throw up false positives because of tools used in these batch compilers, such as UPX Ultimate Packer for eXecutables.)
On my pc, I threw all these into a folder, and created a toolbar for the folder with right-click on taskbar, dragged that to the desktop.
On my usb drive, for use on other computers, I use Qsel, a nice little application launcher, to hold all my shortcut links(exe's, files, urls, email addresses) and run them from there. ( 85 kb plus several tiny configuration files and 75 kb of home-made icons; 2.4 ~ 2.8 mb RAM >>> compare to Pstart 770 kb 5~12 mb RAM)

140 kb; RAM 1.2 mb ; 800 kb
My helper when I need more screen real estate.
Roll up windows to the caption bar; shrink window to floating icon ( takes it off taskbar!); toggle "on top", provides 4 virtual desktops, adjust monitor gamma, transparency, and a few more features I don't use very much.
Uses configurable hotkey and/or mouse-click combinations
(sadly, development seems to have stopped --- open source, anybody want to pick up the spear?)

32bit 192 kb; RAM 3.3 mb
64bit 215 kb; RAM 1.6 mb
My favorite feature is using mouse wheel to scroll whatever window is under the mouse, even inactive windows. Very handy if you are editing or searching in multiple windows.
Also saves mouse-selected screenshots to file, roll up windows, lock windows, dock windows, assign apps to minimize to systray, set transparency, hibernate, and more. (a few functions overlap DM2.)
Some configurations must be manually edited in its INI file. Under active development.

Task Mover
600 kb; RAM 3 mb, 850 kb
Another commandline tool with only a few simple settings.
Drag & drop taskbar buttons AND systray icons to rearrange them more conveniently. I use it for any situation when I want to quickly choose taskbar buttons "by feel" instead of having to hunt for them; and send seldom-used systray icons to the far left of my very long queue, out of the way.
(Taskbar Shuffle now 64-bit compatible, but 2.6 mb size and 2 mb RAM usage. Taskix doesn't do systray.)

432 kb; RAM 3.6 mb, 850 kb
While pressing left ALT key, move window by left-button drag from anywhere inside the window, Resize window by right-button drag from anywhere inside the window. Release mouse button before releasing Alt key to prevent stickiness.
If you have trouble snagging window borders for resizing, this is so helpful.

(the 2003 FREE version. It works in Vista but not with Aero)
18 kb RAM 3.3 mb, 1.1 mb
Writes settings to registry HKCU.
For portable use, I used Universal Extractor to extract files from installer, and copied just the exe file to a folder, then deleted the leftovers. (Or, install, copy exe, then uninstall.)
Puts time & date on active window caption bar so I can dismiss systray clock and gain another inch of precious taskbar space. And it's just kind of kewl....

575 kb; RAM 6.2 mb, 4 mb
Create custom "send to" shortcuts on right-click context menus without registry clutter.
I send files to folders or applications on my hard drive or portable drive.

CAFE portable
240 kb; RAM 2.2 mb, 2.3 mb
Create file associations to applications installed on your portable drive, which stay in place even when drive letter changes. Or, for that matter, associate to apps on your hard drive. Without cluttering up your registry.
RAM usage jumps very high while doing configurations, but clicking "Refresh CAFE" drops it back down.

The Font Thing
325 kb ( UPX'd from 925 kb); RAM = 7.5 mb, 5.5 mb
Writes its settings to registry HKCU.
Development stopped in 1999, but works fine in XP. Works in Vista64 set to Win2000 compatability.
View, organize, create "collections" of fonts.
Loads uninstalled single fonts or groups into memory so you can use them with running applications. Once they are loaded, the app can be closed, the fonts stay until reboot.
I haven't found any other freeware organizer that does this; once I have my groups configured, much easier than selecting and loading uninstalled fonts manually. (I have a large collection, and why waste the RAM to have all those fonts installed and loaded all the time?)

55 kb (UPX'd from 100 kb); RAM 4 mb , 2.5 mb
(compare NotePad 166 kb RAM 3.7 mb, 2 mb
Writes its settings to registry HKCU.
Tabbed rich-text editor. Supports live urls and links to files on local disk, which is more than WordPad can do, but doesn't support OLE, so no pasted images. You can even create custom colors for text and highlights ---right-click on an empty palette box calls the color mixer.
I've set this up to replace Notepad, and consider it a luxury because A: tabs allow mulitlple docs in one instance; B: I can add basic formatting to a plain text file and save as rich text, without having to fire up my word processor.

308 kb; RAM 2.5 mb , 2.2 mb
Comfortable little calculator works in a text-entry window -- all your data and text notes stay available as you work, and remain until you erase it --- even after closing. I prefer the older smaller version 1.2.

1by1 MP3 player
74 kb; RAM usage <minimized to tray> XP32 = 2.7 mb, Vista64 = 6 mb
(I must find something better optimized for 64-bit!)
I added 200 kb of winamp plugins to add support for wav, ac3, wma, midi, and CD playing.
It is designed to simply play through a folder's contents, but does support playlists, and has a shuffle mode. It even has audio enhancement and equalizer (for 16-bit output only), but these need some twiddling in Vista.
I set it to play a folder with hours of tracks, and have muzak all day long.

So... For a total of 3.5 mb of files, using 30 ~ 40 mb of RAM , my computing environment is much more comfortable and enjoyable.
To put it all in perspective, running my old 2-mb game of Bejeweled uses 20 ~ 32 mb RAM on XP, 36 ~ 41 mb on Vista.

How about you? What are some of the "luxury" apps you can't bear to be without?
grannyGrump is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15. May 2009, 08:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
Senior Member
peter's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Denmark
Posts: 478

We welcome your post, although in general we prefer reviews to be placed on the Main Site.
You could use this slot:
You might consider applying to become an Editor (contact Elizabeth). Among other things, you'll then find it much easier to use the text editor to write Articles.
lets the music play the band ...
peter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15. May 2009, 08:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 23

Gosh, I wasn't thinking that this post was anything as high-falutin' as a Review.

---- being a Reviewer is a pretty heavy responsibility, I'll have to think about that one....

grannyGrump is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15. May 2009, 11:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
Been Here Since the Begin
kendall.a's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Colorado, USA
Posts: 2,346

Gosh, I wasn't thinking that this post was anything as high-falutin' as a Review.
Actually, it is multiple reviews in one post. I will also echo the previous sentiments and suggest you consider becoming an editor. Thank you.
Been here since the beginning.
kendall.a is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16. May 2009, 01:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
Maestro di Search
Jojo Yee's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 7,957

Hi grannyGrump, you've a nice thread here, so much better if you can list it in an article under the User Contributed Lists as suggested by Peter. In that way, you can edit, add, or update the list from time to time. In actual fact, I consider that your 'first draft' here is good and interesting.

The title can be Best Free Little Luxuries, Best Free Little Gems, or anything better, or consult Chris for better search engine optimization.

Besides Free Bat To Exe Converter, there's free Vbs to Exe, a tiny 15 kb which does the work. There could other similar or better.
Jojo Yee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16. May 2009, 07:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
Site Manager
MidnightCowboy's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: South American Banana Republic, third bunch from the left
Posts: 15,392

Originally Posted by grannyGrump View Post
being a Reviewer is a pretty heavy responsibility
Listen pal - if they let me do one then anybody's suitable!

Seriously, and I mean this, this is one of the most interesting posts I've read here. Even MC's tiny mind can see the benefits in some of this stuff and come Monday I'll be hunting them down - but it's not all freeware is it, or maybe I've picked up on a wrong link?

Many thanks - please keep writing!
Buy a Hoover and prove technology sucks.

Last edited by Midnightcowboy; 16. May 2009 at 07:40 PM.
MidnightCowboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17. May 2009, 07:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
Senior Member
elizabeth's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: little village in Cambridgeshire
Posts: 102

You can always email me grannyGrump, once you've thought about it, and I will explain how it works, it's not frightening or scary (some of the Eds and mods are but that's something else)

I look forward to hearing from you tomorrow ( )

or sooner
Out beyond fields of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field, I will meet you there.
elizabeth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18. May 2009, 06:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 23

Well, golly-gee, shucks, hecky-darn, I'm flattered at the compliments, guys.
Glad you enjoyed the post.

@Midnightcowboy, yes, they were all freeware. Was there any specific one that you found to be payware? Other than maybeTitleBarClock --- I didn't stop to think that one might take some hunting to find the old simple free version (it's been bloated up to a multi-megabyte payware these days). I'll take a peek at some of the sites that carry old versions, like Blue Chilis and others.

@Jojoyee, thanks for the link, gonna try that one real soon.
I'm always on the lookout for smaller and simpler.

@Elizabeth, I sent you an email. Still nervous, but I sent it.

Thank you ALL for responding!
grannyGrump is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18. May 2009, 10:23 AM   #9 (permalink)
Maestro di Search
Jojo Yee's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 7,957

Originally Posted by grannyGrump View Post
thanks for the link, gonna try that one real soon.
I'm always on the lookout for smaller and simpler.
I used Vbs to exe to convert CSV2TSV.vbs (3 KB) to CSV2TSV.exe (size increases to 183 KB depending on the icon) and the converted exe file runs smoothly.

CSV2TSV.exe is portable. I wonder if it can be uploaded to TSA. It can be considered freeware contributed by editors, or even a 'donate ware' to TSA if it needs a donation campaign. Just a wild thought
Jojo Yee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02. Jun 2009, 10:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Qld, Australia
Posts: 129

Originally Posted by grannyGrump View Post
How about you? What are some of the "luxury" apps you can't bear to be without?
I'm new here and reading and reading and reading. I came across this post and can't resist jumping in with one little jewel I was directed to a year or so ago at the alt.comp.freeware newsgroup. It's called simply Find and seems to me to be way quicker and easier to use than windows search. Unfortunately it is a very hard programme to search for on the net so if anyone else can find it other than in this link I'll give you please share because I'd really like to know more about where it came from. The search terms I tried failed to locate it.

Download is 81kb, extracted it is 196kb
The features are much the same as windows search.
I don't know what else to write here as I know if I were reading this post I would hesitate to download something with so little description and a link to a list of files at a site I've never seen before. All I can say is it really is worth a try.
miskairal is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 06:06 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.