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Article title Time posted Postersort descending Comment Link
Site Suggestions and Feedback 6 years 6 months ago Sickboy009

Hello All... I am a 50 year old full time worker and full time college student. I started college in 2009 with no computer experience and no idea I would need a computer for academic success. Now in my 5th year, I am able to accomplish all the things I need to for school. I have also learned to utilize my computer for many other things to make life easier. I have to let you know, your website has proven the most fair, most comprehensive and most usable I have encountered in these 5 years. I learned more in the first 20 minutes of reading on your site than from all other combined resources accessed during the same 5 years. I visit your site often, especially just before the start of new semesters. I always want to do everything I can to ensure that my computer will function as needed and is safe and secure, when computer reliance is at it's highest for me. Your site has helped me do just that for several semesters now. I recommend a visit to classmates, professors, and everyone I care about. I wish I had the time to do some reviewing for you. As a relatively novice user, I'm sure I could provide some worthwhile feedback, but work and my education must come first. There is very little you could change to improve your site, just keep doing what you're doing already. I love this website! Sincerely, Sickboy009.

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Best Free Digital Image Viewer 6 years 5 months ago sicknero

The main download link on Sourceforge is for v1.7 which as far as I can tell isn't portable. On the main KuView website it's named 1.7pre so I'm guessing it's a pre-release version or some such. If you go here - http://kujawiak.sourceforge.net/index_en.html - you can get v1.6 portable ("Full zip pack" or "Single exe").

I tried to download v1.7 just to see if was one of those "portable installers" if you see what I mean but every attempt triggered an alert from Comodo AV. I sent the file to Virus Total and it scores 7/45 (https://www.virustotal.com/en-gb/file/47fc6341fa873a617d82f3b83768a21256...) although confusingly Comodo is not one of those 7.

I tried 1.6 anyway (which does seem clean), it's ok but I think there are much better image viewers around.

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Best Free Digital Image Viewer 6 years 3 months ago sicknero

Honeyview (updated in January for the first time in years) has been my favourite comic book viewer for ages, I've never given it a proper try as an image viewer but I will now after reading your comments.

I've always been a bit of a diehard FastStone user but I tried WildBit the other day after seeing the comment about language characters. It's very good, definitely a keeper. The portable version does write to \AppData\, for those who take note of such issues.

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Best Free Digital Image Viewer 6 years 1 month ago sicknero

Gazzawazza and Marcdarkin -

"I agree with you that it would be nice to have a pop-up preview just by hovering the mouse over file names in the Explorer. You can find examples of this behavior on many websites, since it's pretty easy to implement it with Javascript. I'm sure some kind of addon for Windows Explorer must exist that may have this capability along with other features, but I don't know about it yet. Not a free one, at least."

QTTabBar does exactly that, also with audio and video files as well as pictures, although full multi-media preview does require a fairly decent codec pack. For just pictures though it will work "straight out of the box".

A possible drawback might be that it's an ambitious program that aims to enhance a great many functions in Windows Explorer (tabbed Explorer windows, toolbar buttons for instance) but it's a very small and light installation and could easily be used just for its picture tooltip previews. Preview size is unlimited as far as I know, I've had tooltips at full screen just to try it and it also has a full screen hotkey for the preview.

A nice aspect of it is that it adds tooltip submenus to Explorer folders and the preview tooltip works in those submenus too, so you could in fact browse and preview a whole picture directory full of sub-directories, without ever opening another folder.

There's an old Gizmo's article about it here - http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/more-about-qttabbar.htm

It's actually on version 514 now which was released just this week and if you look at post number 4 in this thread here - http://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/i-want-freeware-program-t... - I posted some screenies there a while ago of the tooltip previewer.

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Best Free Digital Image Viewer 6 years 1 month ago sicknero

Hi Gary, I'm glad to hear that you like it : )

You're right it isn't initially obvious how to use it but you'll soon get the hang of it.

Hide/show tabs, toolbars etc can be accessed by right-clicking the Explorer toolbar, as can the options/preferences dialog. There are variations of how and when windows are "captured" by QTTB so if people prefer, it can be run with Explorer windows opening normally instead of automatically tabbed.

I've used QTTB for a few years now, I always come back to it as there's really nothing else quite like it that I'm aware of. I know my way around it quite well now so if you need any help with it we can open a thread in the forum.

Thanks.

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Best Free Digital Image Viewer 6 years 1 month ago sicknero

If I can find the time to really check out the program properly (at least on a variety of machines) then yes I'd give some thought to updating the article here. I've actually not used the program in a few months, it was only Gary's post here that prompted me to check Quizo's site where I found that he seems to have been quite busy lately :-)

It has indeed not been a problem-free program but the last few versions have been much improved I think. I've been running it since yesterday here and it appears to be quite solid although the media preview tooltip still seems to be a bit erratic ... a few times I've had to reload the Explorer window to make it work but that might just be me/my system. I've tried a few different codec packs and K-Lite seems to work best so far, also there might be a few more tweaks in Options that could help.

So, yes, it still isn't perfect but I think I'll keep it for a while and see how it goes. Like I say it does add some functions to Explorer which I've really not found anywhere else and so far it seems to be more reliable than not.

I notice that the article you link to covers Paul Accisano's fork of the program. This was developed quite along time ago when it seemed as if Quizo had abandoned the project but he is now actively developing it again and the fork in turn has not been updated in a long time - that one is still 1.5beta and the last word from the dev was in May last year.

I'll keep it here anyway for now and see how I get on with it, certainly for me almost everything in it does work well and I think it does deserve an up-to-date write up.

Cheers Marc.

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Best Free Digital Image Viewer 6 years 3 weeks ago sicknero

Hi, I'm glad to hear you're getting on with it ok.

I must confess I've removed it again myself ... partly because of some of the issues you mention and also because my elderly desktop PC struggles to run it and I like consistency across my different machines. Also I think it prevents external drives being safely removed sometimes ... something in QTTB hooks onto the drive, I've not yet worked out exactly what it is.

I noticed the same issue with the previewer not always "catching" a mouseover ... observing processes shows that dllhost.exe seems to not always be triggered but I don't know enough to know if that helps at all. What I did find is that if you access files via the sub-folders menu (the small blue arrow) then the previewer works 100% reliably, or it does for me at least.

I can't comment on the group/restore tabs functions as it's not something I use but yes, the drag-drop functionality is excellent. Also the filter box is brilliant I think, much better than native Windows Search for my needs.

I don't know if you noticed but on Quizo's Wikidot page there's a help forum. I think the link is "Bug Tracker" or something similar and there's a generic password provided for sign-in.

The dev himself doesn't always respond quickly but it can be a good place to get assistance from other users.

Best of luck with it anyway, I don't doubt for a moment that I'll be trying it again at some point as it really does transform Explorer most usefully.

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Best Free Digital Image Viewer 6 years 3 weeks ago sicknero

It's a 15 year-old homebuild but it still copes well with most tasks, although yes it could indeed do with an upgrade.

QTTB is indeed very light on resources once up and running ... the thing on my desktop is that it adds noticeably to the boot time and, opening a new Explorer window at the beginning of a new session is very slow. Not deal-breakers but I'm undecided whether the pay-off is worthwhile.

The filter box - you need to have the QTTB toolbar buttons enabled and then in the add/remove buttons dialogue there's one for a file/folder filter. I forget what it's called but it's easy enough to find.

Once there you can type any term into it and it will narrow down what files/folders are visible in the open tab. It's quick, depending on what view settings you have, I find it very useful. E.g. in \Windows\System32\, just type "scr" to see nothing but whatever screensavers you have in the folder (plus whatever else matches the term of course). I prefer it greatly to the Windows search box and results.

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Best Free Digital Image Viewer 6 years 1 week ago sicknero

Nomacs seems pretty good, it has no problem with non-English characters in filenames which is a bonus and it seems quite fast and light too.

On the downside, the portable version isn't very. It writes a great many entries to the registry and plug ins only seem to work if they're located in a Nomacs folder in AppData which is a shame. I've been looking to see if there's any way around that but no luck so far.

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Best Free Digital Image Viewer 6 years 1 week ago sicknero

Many thanks for doing that Marc, I was just beginning to compose a message to them when a notification of your post popped up.

I did try manually creating the plugins folder inside the Nomacs directory and also putting the plugins in the root directory but the program wouldn't recognise them there. Good to hear that the devs are on the case, I'll keep an eye out for an update as I do like this program.

Thanks again.

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Best Free Digital Image Viewer 4 years 10 months ago sicknero

I tried it out a while back ... it's very good, but too lacking in features to tempt me away from FSViewer which has been my favourite viewer since I first tried it years ago.

It certainly seems quite small and light, but with any reasonably new hardware I think system resources are not much of an issue in this case.

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Best Free Mega Web Browser 6 years 8 months ago sicknero

Good to see Maxthon included :-)

Can I just point out though that as of v4.2 it uses Blink instead of Webkit which they claim has given it a 30% increase in speed. Dunnon about that but it is pretty quick and solid. It's also had multi-thread downloading since (I think) 4.2 as well.

Still not my primary browser but it has functions that I find quite indespensible having got used to them, mostly the resource sniffer and the Quick Apps function which you can use to create Site Specific Browsers for whatever tabs you like. The pop-out video player is also v good.

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Best Free Mega Web Browser 6 years 5 months ago sicknero

I don't think it'll be having much of an impact... the ads will be shown in the tiles of the New Tab page so anyone who is especially bothered by them can just replace that with one of the many alternatives or even just opt for a blank page instead.

I expect there will be some complaining for a while and then back to business as usual, that's what generally happens when a vendor introduces some less-than-popular change.

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Best Free Mega Web Browser 6 years 2 weeks ago sicknero

Hi Victor, I just wanted to mention that Maxthon have been offering a portable version of their browser for quite a long time now.

v 4.4.1.2000 here - http://forum.maxthon.com/thread-11649-1-1.html

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Best Free RSS Reader-Aggregator 7 years 1 month ago sicknero

I wouldn't call myself an especially intrepid user but this one is still my favourite RSS reader.

My version (1.0.0.386 portable) has no beta tag and the developer last posted in the forum just a month ago so he's still interested I guess, although the version I have is two years old.

Anyway all that being said, out of the available off-line readers/aggregators that I've tried so far, I find this one easily the most stable and least demanding on resources, and the interface/layout is pleasing too.

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Best Free RSS Reader-Aggregator 7 years 1 month ago sicknero

I've been trying gpodder for about a month now, the PAF portable version. I really really like it - the layout, the GUI, the way it accepts video podcasts, the way it handles incomplete downloads.

However I don't know if it's just me but when I run it, it maxes out my CPU for ages, takes forever to load, and often has to be restarted for the downloads to work.

On balance I don't really mind this too much - I've been happy to run it when I'm on my way out or whatever a couple of times a week, so I can just leave it to it, even though I sometimes return to my PC and find that the downloads have "stuck" so I have to try it again later.

To be fair my desktop PC is rather elderly which might be the problem. I'll give gpodder a whirl on my laptop to see if it's any better, but meanwhile I just learnt in this thread that Media Monkey handles podcasts so I'll try that out as a possible alternative.

Which in turn has reminded me that Winamp does too, so I'll add that to my list of possibles.

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Best Free RSS Reader-Aggregator 5 years 8 months ago sicknero

I tried Inoreader this week after persevering with Commafeed for several months.

I much prefer Commafeed's layout and visual appearance but man is it slow ... I've frequently had to wait several minutes and refresh the page a couple of times too before all my feeds are displayed properly.

Inoreader by comparison is extremely fast, it's ready to go in just a few seconds and from just a couple of days with it, it seems like a decent on-line service. My only gripe so far is that it doesn't seem to display images from Darkgate Comic Slurper but I can live with that.

For off-line I've been trying FeedReader and I'm pretty impressed. I was using Gpodder for ages to download podcasts that I want to keep, but again it's painfully slow and hogs my CPU while working. FeedReader does the same job very quickly and is considerate with resources too.

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Best Free RSS Reader-Aggregator 5 years 8 months ago sicknero

I had RSSOwl running happily as a portable prog just by putting Java in it's root folder (instead of installing Java I mean).

I think I might have had to change a couple of paths in some ini or other, but it worked very well.

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Best Free RSS Reader-Aggregator 5 years 8 months ago sicknero

Thanks Anupam : )

I did try Old Reader quite a while back but moved on for some reason that I've forgotten now.

It might have been the subscription limit, as I have a couple of hundred I think at the moment.

Re; Darkgate Comic Slurper, on further investigation this morning it seems that the problem is with the site rather than Inoreader. The links on that site do go down from time to time which I think is the problem now.

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Best Free RSS Reader-Aggregator 5 years 8 months ago sicknero

Hehe yes I do get a bit carried away, so no I don't keep up with all of them. I just tend to browse and read what catches my interest but I might have a clear out at some point.

I'm a bit behind the times hardware-wise, my phone doesn't run any apps at all :)

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Best Free RSS Reader-Aggregator 5 years 8 months ago sicknero

Another minor annoyance in Inoreader is that the "Recommended Sources" feature doesn't seem to know whether or not you're already subsribed to a feed.

Thus it will recommend feeds that you already have and, it will let you subscribe to them too so that you can easily end up with duplicate subscriptions.

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Best Free Antivirus Software 6 years 10 months ago sicknero

Interesting that this announcement follows their recent relatively poor performance in AV tests. They used to be regularly in the top few but seem to have slipped lately, perhaps this is a way to offset this.

I don't use it any more though and can't say the advertising ever bothered me that much anyway.

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Best Free Antivirus Software 6 years 7 months ago sicknero

Thanks for the rec, never heard of that one before.

I've had it running all day on two machines alongside Avast ... it seems very light and well behaved so far, tomorrow I'll see if I can find any reports on how well it performs and what exactly it does do.

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Best Free Antivirus Software 6 years 4 months ago sicknero

The free version of Avast requires that you register with them to use it for more than 30 days.

I'm guessing that you didn't do that?

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Best Free Antivirus Software 6 years 4 months ago sicknero

Isn't v7 in beta still?

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Best Free Antivirus Software 6 years 4 months ago sicknero

Thanks Chiron, I'm running v6 CIS and as you say it isn't reporting any available updates.

I had a look around Comodo and FileHippo etc (the screenshots on FileHippo look like v5?) and the Comodo download appears to be v6 still, so I thought I'd ask here.

Cheers.

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Best Free Antivirus Software 6 years 4 months ago sicknero

I run Comodo CIS on two fairly low-end machines (single-core 2 and 2.3 CPUs) and I've not found this problem myself for several versions now. Running a scan typically fluctuates between 10 and 40% rising sometimes to about 90. Later versions have the option to run scans as a background task as well. I've not found it to be noticeably slow compared to other scanners.

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Best Free Antivirus Software 6 years 3 months ago sicknero

Not many AV scanners do detect OC inside installers.

For instance the FreeFileSync installer, which runs the Open Candy exec OCSetupHlp.dll, is passed by most of the major AV providers. Malwarebytes flags it as a PUP.

https://www.virustotal.com/en-gb/file/cd4ac9204652595b49a2213b9a7e295d9c...

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Best Free Antivirus Software 6 years 3 weeks ago sicknero

I guess you've been a bit unlucky - I've run CIS free for two or three years now with very few problems, although I do always install onto a clean system.

I've not tried GeekBuddy but the Comodo forums can be helpful.

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Best Free Antivirus Software 5 years 11 months ago sicknero

According to Open Candy's own information, the OC component itself installs nothing on your system unless you accept one of the bundled offers. I've checked this for myself and it's true.

What happens is that when you run an installer that includes OC, the installer runs a dll which activates the bundled offers.

If you refuse all the offers then the dll is terminated and deleted after the original installer completes and nothing is left behind. I've also tested this for myself.

However, if you accept any of the offers then OC will install an auto-updater along with whatever offer you accepted.

The OC dll will "phone home" anyway, unless you block it, with the following information;

"A. Operating system version and language, country location and timezone of the computer running the installer, and the language of the developer’s installer
B. That the developer’s installer was initiated, and whether it was completed or canceled
C. Whether any third-party recommendations were made and if so, whether they were accepted or declined
D. If a third-party recommendation was accepted, whether the recommended app’s installer has been downloaded and the installer initiated
E. That the recommended third-party installer was initiated, and whether it was completed or canceled."

Note that the OC dll can be intercepted and blocked anyway, by programs like CIS.

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Best Free Antivirus Software 5 years 11 months ago sicknero

I got the joke and enjoyed the irony too : )

I stand by my comments re; OC in general but fair cop, I hadn't properly looked into the situation with Avast in particular.

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Best Free Antivirus Software 5 years 8 months ago sicknero

I tried 360 for the first time this week, and I'm really liking it.

Unusually for a "suite" I'm actually finding all of the different modules useful as well.

It took me a little while to realise that activating the Avira and Bitdefender modules seems to be a two-step process. I ticked boxes that I thought had activated them and only later found other activation switches in the actual scan dialogue.

It is a little bit buggy I think ... some of the pop-up notices appear a bit erratic as to whether they decide to show themselves or not and it also seems to fall prey to the common W7 issue of disappearing systray icons. Installing it into a clean W7 seems to have helped with that though for now.

Some of it is a little confusing to a first-time user ... for instance I ran the Cleanup module which broke ClassicShell for me, until I realised that it had quarantined the toolbar components of ClassicShell.

All in all I like it a lot though, especially the alternative Windows updater. It seems to run happily with Comodo Firewall too and performance is still good even on my elderly 2Ghz/2Gb desktop machine.

By the way Chiron, your Dennis Technology link goes to the 2013 test results.

Thanks for a great article anyway. I've been using Comodo CIS for a couple of years or so now but I was finding that the AV component was a bit demanding on my low-end hardware, so this week I've tried out most of the alternatives on this page.

Panda I liked quite a lot ... I've used their portable on-demand scanner for a while now so I thought their free AV would probably be pretty good. Which it is, although for me it lacked some configurability and I didn't really like the auto-quarantine behaviour either. I tried 360 just out of interest really but I think I'll stick with it for a while. I seem to recall some concern about their privacy practises a while back but I've not heard that mentioned since.

I noticed this week that none of these AVs seem to flag the Nirsoft suite as malware ... I don't know if this is due to Nirsoft finally getting the message through, or some other factor such as heuristic scanning.

I'll still be using Emsisoft and MBAM as on-demand scanners as these two between them seem to pick up everything.

I see by the by the way that Comodo has received its first update in some time. I really happy to find that the awful process of unblocking blocked executables and adding them to the trusted list has been changed and is much easier now. But again, a bit erratic ... some blocked files can now be trusted via a small screen pop-up, while others still require the tedious process of opening the main program and adding to trusted, etc etc. I noticed also that some execs continue to run even though they get added to the "unknown" list and I have everything set to "block".

I see the settings dialogue has changed too though, so maybe there's something there which might explain that.

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Best Free Antivirus Software 5 years 6 months ago sicknero

Just a quick update ... the issue I mentioned whereby some processes triggered a "do not block again" dialogue while others have to be added to the list manually.

It seeme that this is related to system resources, so that when the machine is working hard the dialogue will take a long long time to appear.

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Best Free Antivirus Software 5 years 6 months ago sicknero

Thanks for the comment. When I tried Panda some time ago I couldn't find any setting to disable auto-quarantine, although I thought I checked all the options.

Possibly I overlooked it or there has been an update but thanks for the info.

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Best Free Program Launcher 6 years 6 months ago sicknero

Keep an eye out for Listary (http://www.listary.com/)

The latest beta now incorprates an application launcher (along the same lines as Launchy) but because Listary scans MFTs and is a search-as-you-type engine, it's very quick about it.

The launcher component in the beta is not excellently implemented yet but I'm expecting good things when it has been refined for the next stable release.

Similarly, another MFT scanning search-as-you-type engine, Everything (http://www.voidtools.com/), now has a dropdown menu to filter results by filetype which makes it a viable option for application launching. E.g. type "iced" ... select "exe" in the filter to launch IceDragon. Or vice versa - leave the filter set to "exe" and just use it as a program finder and launcher. Very usable anyway if you have a large collection of software.

Note that MFT scanners only work on NTFS drives and require UAC permissions.

Lastly Win+R Alias Manager from WinAero (http://winaero.com/comment.php?comment.news.76) is pretty neat although you have to add your own shortcuts.

The advantage with this one is that it uses the search box in Windows Start Menu and the existing Windows capability for exec aliases, so there's no extra autorun. For instance I might set "id" as my alias for IceDragon and then to run it just key WIN+R for the search box then type "id". Very nice program but time consuming to set up if you have a lot of software. I use it just to set aliases for programs that I use very frequently.

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Best Free Program Launcher 6 years 5 months ago sicknero

Indeed, Quick Cliq is just one such free program - there are plenty of decent freeware options for such a function.

Alternatively ClassicShell allows you to organise the native Start Menu however you like as well as restoring the old XP look if you wish.

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Best Free Non-Adobe PDF Reader 6 years 4 months ago sicknero

Foxit installer now runs the OpenCandy executable "OCSetupHlp.dll"

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Best Free Non-Adobe PDF Reader 6 years 3 months ago sicknero

The Foxit Cloud thing can be uninstalled separately, it has its own uninstaller that you can run from, for example, Programs and Features in W7.

Sumatra is my favourite for pretty much any document that it supports. Yes it's a little unattractive but you can edit settings.txt to change some of the colours and for speed of loading it's unbeatable in my experience. It's also very handy for looking at ebooks without needing to import them first into some ebook reader's library which is how most of them (Calibre for instance) work.

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Best Free Non-Adobe PDF Reader 6 years 2 months ago sicknero

Yes, they are valid Windows files. The Open Candy one runs from temp during the install process and then gets deleted.

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Best Free Non-Adobe PDF Reader 6 years 1 month ago sicknero

I just wanted to mention SlimPDF which I discovered yesterday. It's the fastest and lightest reader I've yet seen and has only the most minimal controls and options. Just read/print, nothing else. I was previously using Sumatra as a quick viewer but I've found that it isn't great at printing, while SlimPDF manages perfectly.

I wanted an alternative to the built-in Firefox viewer (I've had frequent problems with that) without having to use a full-featured program as the default viewer, and Slim seems to fit the bill very well.

The download is an installer (no bundling that I could discover) but I just extracted that and ran it portably with no problems.

http://www.investintech.com/resources/freetools/slimpdfreader/

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Best Free Non-Adobe PDF Reader 6 years 1 month ago sicknero

Hi Joe. Actually after some more testing, SlimPDF does have problems ... for instance I have a collection of classic literature scanned to pdf and Slim really struggles to load these and then fails to display them properly. However, the purpose I originally wanted it for (printing large, text-only pdfs from the internet at work) it seems to do very well so I'll probably keep it for that. I did do a proper install to see if that would fix the problems it was having but it makes no difference.

Anyway if you want to try it, yes you can just put it through Universal Extractor which will give you three folders - {app}, {cf32}, embedded, and a file named install_script.iss. I just copied all the files from {app} into another folder on the drive where I keep all my portables. {cf32} contains a file called itech.dll ... no idea what that's for but the prog seems to work fine without it.

As far as I can tell it makes no changes in appdata but it does create a registry key (HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Investintech.com Inc.)which holds recently opened file paths and a subkey for settings, although it's written nothing in that so far.

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Best Free Non-Adobe PDF Reader 6 years 1 month ago sicknero

It's a curious one for sure :-)

Some files I've tried are several hundred pages of image-heavy scanned books and are displayed perfectly, while others it fails completely with. One book for instance, looks as if the ink was wet and someone's smeared it liberally about with a damp cloth.

In PDF XChange - https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/kkushi2ae54e1a1/2014-06-29_00-22-21.png

In SlimPDF - https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/tx7ccngz1lybjzk/2014-06-29_00-23-29.png

Very odd :-) Something to do with different types of pdf file perhaps, I don't know anything about that though.

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Best Free File Copy Utility 6 years 1 month ago sicknero

Thanks for the pointer George : )

I have trouble with TeraCopy on large jobs ... for me it tends to hang my system when left alone to copy files for several hours. I was just DuckDuckGo-ing for an alternative that has a pause option, and your comment here popped up which has made my day. I find FastCopy much more reliable than TeraCopy and the only thing missing for me was a pause function. It hadn't even occured to me try using the speed slider.

Thank you!

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Best Free PDF Writer Software 7 years 2 months ago sicknero

I've been a fan of DoPDF for a long time, it's always been my favourite print-to-pdf program for various reasons ... speed, lightness, no ghostcript, and more recently the addition of a convert-to-pdf dialogue so that I don't even need to open a print dialog for some tasks.

However, today I went to check for an update and was disturbed to find that their download link now goes to a site called Soft112 which has an orange traffic light from WoT. I downloaded and installed anyway and there was nothing extra installed with DoPDF, also the site gets a green light from BitDefender Traffic Lights, so I can only assume that the site itself has a poor WoT rating for some reason.

It's a real shame as a poor WoT rating will put many people off this excellent program, not to mention it getting itself an automatic ban from being recommended on sites like this one.

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Best Free PDF Writer Software 6 years 1 month ago sicknero

Hi Anumpam, I tried DoPdf v8 today as well, and on first install I found the same as you with the Office add-on being installed. On second try though I looked a bit closer and found that the tick-box for that is actually a very pale grey tick on a white background which is extremely difficult to see. Having made sure that was deselected, DoPdf did install without the add-on.

After all that I didn't like it much anyway, it seems extremely slow and resource-intensive so I tried a few others and wasn't much impressed with any of them, they all seem to take forever and most of the ghostscript ones crash at about 99% as well for some reason. I used to use DoPdf and Bullzip quite a lot, I don't remember having such problems before.

The only one I might keep is PdfCreator which seems to work ok and produce good results without topping out my CPU for ages, although this one does use ghostscript too. As far as I could tell there's nothing bundled with the installer (I got v1.7.3 from the website) except for two other programs by the same vendor ... Pdf Architect which is a payware trial version, and Images2Pdf which is freeware. Both of these can be deselected in the "Components" stage of the installation.

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Best Free Startup Manager 7 years 2 months ago sicknero

Great article and helpful as always. I've been using Starter for a couple of years now, it's been an excellent replacement for StartupCPL which I used all the time in XP. One of its useful features is the ability to add a startup item from running processes rather than having to navigate to the relevant directory.

I agree that Autoruns is rather heavy for everyday use but it's still a great app when you need to check out entries that Starter doesn't cover. Also System Explorer has a very useful module for autoruns.

Anyway I just logged in to mention that the Codestuff website sadly appears to be no more so the link on this page no longer works. Starter can still be found on the usual freeware sites but I haven't been able to find the actual developer anywhere which is a shame and the program's built-in updater no longer makes contact. Would love to hear any news of what's happened to Codestuff if anyone knows.

Fwiw I've also found that Startup Delayer now works fine (has been updated I think) in W7 both x86 and x64 if you don't mind playing around with it a little, i.e. it doesn't always find all the autoruns so they need to be added manually. Still a great program and helps to ameliorate W7's annoying habit of not loading all the systray icons properly, especially on aging machines.

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Best Free Data Recovery and File Un-delete Utility 6 years 1 month ago sicknero

I appreciate there's no editor for this thread right now but for anyone reading I just wanted to mention Puran File Recovery (http://www.puransoftware.com/File-Recovery-Download.html) which is part of the Puran Utilities suite but can be downloaded as a separate portable program.

I used it over the weekend to recover almost 2 terabytes of accidentally deleted videos (don't ask...) and I was very impressed.

Firstly, it scanned the 2TB USB drive in about a minute (on standard as opposed to deep scan... deep scan is a lengthy process) and then it presents the results with each file being given a likelihood of how recoverable it is. What immediately made Puran stand out for me was that the scan results can be displayed in Explorer "tree view", i.e. with their original directory structure as opposed to the list of single files that other recovery programs offer. This made it very easy to sort through the results and select what data I wanted to recover.

Recovery speed seemed pretty good - one 25GB folder took about half an hour while the entire 2TB drive took around 28 hours in total. Resource usage on my low-end laptop was excellent I thought - CPU usage fluctuated between 10% and less than 1%, with RAM fairly steady at about 25meg. Good news because it meant my laptop wasn't tied up for the weekend with that one task.

Results also seem very good. Obviously I've not yet watched the entire 2TB of recovered videos, but some fairly extensive random testing indicates that Puran did a good job ... everything I've tried so far plays perfectly.

Lastly, Puran ran for the entire 28+ hours without a glitch or hang.

Granted, this was a fairly ideal scenario (i.e. accidental deletion and drive not used since) and neither have I tried the alternatives for such a large job but I just wanted to mention this program as being well worth a try-out.

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Best Free Data Recovery and File Un-delete Utility 6 years 1 month ago sicknero

Hi Rob,

Yes ... most recovery software as far as I know has the option to recover files to their original directory structure but Puran's option to display the initial scan results in their original stucture is a definite plus and a huge time saver.

Booting from CD ... I don't think many (any?) freeware recovery programs have an option to create a bootable CD or flash drive, with the exception of MiniTool which is somewhat crippled by the data limit.

However, there is a solution which will work for a lot of portable software in general. You need to get Hiren's Boot CD which includes "MiniXP", a stripped down version of Windows XP which will run directly from a CD or USB drive. (HBCD itself has an impressive collection of freeware included - description here; http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd and download links here; http://www.hirensbootcd.org/download/ )

Once you've booted into MiniXP, then you can navigate to wherever your portable software is and (in my experience) quite a lot of it will run with no problems. I've not tried that yet with Puran but I will do later just out of interest.

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Best Free Data Recovery and File Un-delete Utility 6 years 1 month ago sicknero

The portable versions of Puran and Recuva both seem to run fine in MiniXP. Recuva will run as it is while for Puran you need to find gdiplus.dll and riched20.dll on your system drive and copy them into Puran's folder.

I also discovered that Recuva does have a tree view for the scan results which I hadn't noticed before (or had forgotten about). It's in Advanced - Options and Recuva actually seems to detect more files than Puran as well.

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Best Free Download Manager 6 years 1 month ago sicknero

I must agree : )

I stuck with FDM as it's been my favourite for a long time, but it does have problems integrating reliably with portable browsers. A couple of weeks ago I discovered that Eagleget has a portable version to I decided to try it and haven't looked back. Browser integration is excellent - for portable Firefox it's a simple matter of finding the xpi file in Eagleget's directory and dropping it into FF and it even works very well with less mainstream browsers like Maxthon and Avant.

I have to say I've been very impressed with it so far. My only complaint really is the ridiculously huge (to me at least) buttons on the Metro-style GUI ... if there was an option for small buttons (or even better, a choice of basic Win32 GUI) it would be perfect.

I'd also like more user-control over categories but that's not a deal breaker as I don't really use them anyway.

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Best Free Download Manager 6 years 1 month ago sicknero

Thanks for the pointers George, I hadn't really looked very hard as auto-grouping isn't something I really use. It still seems to be impossible to delete the pre-set groups though.

What I've found after a few days with EG is that if I make sure everything in it is set to capture and monitor, then it works excellently and the video button works for most sites very well. It even appears unexpectedly at times, e.g. on occasion it pops up in gmail and when I clicked download just to see what it was spotting, it downloaded a mail as an empty mp3 :-)

What does happen, is that when I start a new session the monitoring options in EG have disabled themselves and have to be reset. This might be an aspect of the portable version I guess.

It's very usable for me anyway, as I don't need anything that permanently monitors my browser. Just something to handle large/numerous downloads which might potentially be interrupted by a browser/system restart.

I did see the beta version but I'm quite happy with 1.1.8.2 at the moment.

FDM is excellent, I agree. It's been my favourite for several years. There's a v5 alpha version by the way, which is available for testing on the FDM forums.

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Best Free File Encryption Utility 6 years 5 months ago sicknero

It's true that freeware folder lockers are on the whole not very secure but you could do a bit better than Easy File Locker.

Wise Folder Hider and Alfa Folder Locker both work even in Safe Mode although they can still be accessed with Linux and probably X-box too though I wouldn't know about that. The problem is as Philip says, that they work by using the Windows O/S therefore are vulnerable to access from non-Windows O/S's.

WFH possibly has an edge because its locked folders are set as "Protected System Directories" and thus remain hidden if Explorer is set to "Show Hidden Files and Folders". Also the folder is renamed to "..." giving you a bit more plausible deniability.

Alfa on the other hand is a bit more transparent I think (i.e. easier to understand what it does) although you do have to hide the folders manually.

None of these are a match for individual encryption though... I guess it's a trade off as locking and hiding a folder with one of these is pretty much instant regardless of how big the folder is, while encrypting a directory can take a long time if there's a lot of stuff in it.

My own favourite for encyption is Androsa File Protector. It's a bit old and unsupported for ages now but it's an excellent tool. It has a selection of encryption levels plus options for secure-deletion of temporary files created during encryption, secure-deletion of source files and scrambling of filenames on encryption. It can also create self-extracting encrypted files which means you don't need the program itself to decrypt the files, just the password.

All three are available as portable versions meaning that you can try them out without needing to install anything.

Wise Folder Hider - http://www.snapfiles.com/get/wisefolderhider.html

Alfa Folder Locker - http://sourceforge.net/projects/alfafolderlock/

Androsa Portable - http://www.softpedia.com/get/PORTABLE-SOFTWARE/Security/Encrypting/Windo...

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Best Free Sticky Notes Utility 6 years 5 months ago sicknero

"FileNotes" by JMSoftware might be useful to you.

It's a bit basic and no-frills and hasn't been updated in years but it works fine in x86 Windows 7.

It doesn't operate on mouse-hover though, instead it adds a context menu item to folders and files that lets you open and edit a note specific to that folder or file.

A drawback is that the note window isn't resizable, so long names can get a bit untidy. Also it won't automatically show you what's in the folder ... you would have to generate such a list yourself to copy-paste into the note, but that's easily done and you can edit the folder note directly too.

A couple of screenies -

http://img812.imageshack.us/img812/5821/wsq2.jpg

http://img855.imageshack.us/img855/9942/qv8w.jpg

and the download page -

http://jmsoftware.webs.com/

Alternatively you could use the native Windows ability to add comments to folders and files.

I can't think of anything else at the moment that would do what you want ... QTTabBar comes to mind (mouse-over pop-out submenus) but that only comes as part of an Explorer shell enhancement which contains a whole load of stuff that might be superfluous to your needs.

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Best Free Folder Synchronization Utility 5 years 8 months ago sicknero

As far as I can tell, the latest FreeFileSync (6.12) has dropped Open Candy and now just offers to install Opera.

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Best Free Folder Synchronization Utility 5 years 8 months ago sicknero

I saw your comment after posting above.

I just ran the installer (portable version) and got no notification (from Comodo CIS) of Open Candy trying to connect to the web.

I also unpacked the installer and found no OC dll inside and lastly checked the installer with MBAM which reported no PUPs. (The Freefilesync installer was always picked up by MBAM previously.)

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Best Free Folder Synchronization Utility 5 years 8 months ago sicknero

Yes :-)

I was only posting to the effect that FreeFileSync seem to have ended their relationship with Open Candy, which makes the review in this article somewhat misleading. Unless OC themselves have changed the way that they operate, which is something I need to look into properly.

Unpacking the FreeFileSync installer exec shows that OCSetupHlp.dll is not included in this release, along with the other indicators that I mentioned, so I'm reasonably confident in saying that OC isn't bundled with this version.

I didn't intend for a moment though to suggest though that FreeFileSync no longer bundles offers with their installer.

I think MC has a very good point ... even if OC has (apparently) been dumped with respect to v6.12 of FreeFileSync, that's no guarantee that it won't be back in v6.13. Or indeed that OC themselves haven't changed the way they work. As MC says, keeping up with such changes would be a time-consuming activity and even impossible if vendors are looking at ways of tricking users who know how to look for, and avoid, bundling such as Open Candy.

Conversely, inaccurately stating that FreeFileSync bundles Open Candy is imv something that might possibly impact negatively on this excellent website. So perhaps a less specific warning to users is a better way forward? A "more general advisory" could warn users against those vendors who practise bundling while avoiding the need to update articles with every release of a software version, except perhaps in the case of important changes.

Curiously though I did run the "normal" (i.e. non-portable) installation just now (CIS sandboxed) and it gave me no offers at all, which has given me pause for thought as to whether the installer has registered my previous selections. I don't think it can have as I "approve" each registry edit on a case-by-case basis, but I'll have to investigate this in more detail later.

Lastly, I'm at a loss as regards previous posters. I've used the SourceForge installer since FFS moved there and have never experienced anything like that described re; the "crapware" that's mentioned, even on a raw and unprotected O/S. I've never found FreeFileSync to install anything that I didn't want, as long as I pay attention during the install process. I do know though that some alternative download sites are somewhat less than transparent, so I wonder if these comments come from people who get the software from other sites.

It's a difficult call ... I mean FreeFileSync is undoubtedly the best in its class imo and I can hardly blame them if they want to make some income from it.

Bundling seems to be a fact of life these days with a lot of freeware, and personally I don't have any problem with it. As long as people stick to well-known and reputable sites and practise "safe computing" - i.e. system back-ups (especially drive imaging - http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-drive-imaging-program.htm) and careful installations etc - then I don't think we really have a lot to worry about for now.

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Best Free Folder Synchronization Utility 5 years 8 months ago sicknero

No idea where you got your version from, but it's done no such thing for me.

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Best Free File-Based Backup Program 6 years 3 months ago sicknero

Paragon Backup and Recovery 2014 Free, features list;

"NEW: Back up changes since the full, or the latest incremental image. It's allowed to maintain several incremental chains based on one full image, provided each chain contains changed data of a particular backup object(s). pVHD based incremental imaging works much faster and rock-stable in comparison with the old PBF."

(http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/features.html)

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Best Free CD-DVD Burning Software 6 years 3 months ago sicknero

It's also quite easy to make a portable version and bypass the installer altogether - http://www.portablefreeware.com/?id=583

Alternatively you can use a ready-made PAF version - http://portableapps.com/node/21615

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Best Free CD-DVD Burning Software 6 years 1 month ago sicknero

Can I just add that it's easy to use ImgBurn (which also has a bundled installer) as a portable program using the method detailed here - http://www.portablefreeware.com/?id=583

This will avoid the installation process entirely and thus any unwanted bundles that might run with the installer.

BurnAware itself has a (old but still helpful) portable development thread over at the Portableapps.com website - http://portableapps.com/node/23318

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Best Free CD-DVD Burning Software 6 years 2 days ago sicknero

I really don't get the problem with ImgBurn, especially why it should prompt such vitriolic feelings. I find it a breeze to use and it's easy to create a non-install version to avoid any bundling, or just download the PAF version.

I'm with you on Media Player though, I've never liked it and would disable it completely if it wasn't needed as the engine for a couple of third-party programs I use. Media Player Classic is excellent though.

I agree about CDBurnerXP too, it is very very good. Ususally my first choice for anything other than simple tasks with disk images. The integrated audio previewer is a nice touch.

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Best Free CD-DVD Burning Software 6 years 2 days ago sicknero

You don't have this?

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10260027/ShareX/2014/08/2014-08-03_1...

(screenshot by the way in case you wondered :-) )

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Best Free Calendar, Reminder and To-Do Program 6 years 5 months ago sicknero

My favourite is FreeAlarmClock - http://freealarmclocksoftware.com/ - nice and simple, very lightweight.

If you're worried about Open Candy etc then you can scroll down the page for the non-installer zip version. That download link scores 1/53 on Virus Total and the fileitself 0/50.

Ignore the "HotAlarmClock" button on the program itself, that's a link to their sponsor's website.

For longer-term and more permanent reminders I use Google Calendar which I can set to e-mail me a reminder of, for example, people's birthdays.

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Best Free Calendar, Reminder and To-Do Program 6 years 5 months ago sicknero

The GUI of Google Calendar can be improved in Firefox with Grease Monkey scripts. I like this one - http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/107309 - which adds hotkeys to show/hide the sidebars and topbars. This makes the layout much more useable and more economic with your screen space.

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Best Free Calendar, Reminder and To-Do Program 6 years 4 months ago sicknero

For simple reminders, FreeAlarmClock has snooze with 1 minute increments from 1 to 10.

If I want to set a later reminder then I just edit the original entry. Easy.

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Best Free Calendar, Reminder and To-Do Program 5 years 11 months ago sicknero

Interesting, I don't use IE myself but I tried it a minute ago just of curiosity and google calendar appears to work perfectly.

Could it be something particular to your own set up?

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Best Free Screen Session Recorder 6 years 5 months ago sicknero

CamStudio is great but they ran into problems some time back due to an ill-advised decision about what software to bundle with their program. Also there is supposedly a rogue version of the program around on the internet which has done their reputation further harm.

You could go to Softpedia (http://www.softpedia.com/get/Multimedia/Video/Video-Recording/Camstudio....) which offers the same version for download ... their link scores 0/53 on VT while the file itself scores 1/47.

Alternatively you could try the PAF portable version (http://portableapps.com/apps/utilities/camstudio_portable) which scores 1/53 for the link and 0/50 for the file.

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Best Free Screen Session Recorder 6 years 5 months ago sicknero

What is it you actually want to do with the swf?

Free Audio Video Pack (used to be "Pazera Suite") will convert .swf to avi or mpg - http://www.pazera-software.com/products/free-audio-video-pack/

The thing is that many swf files are interactive (eg games, educational) and if you convert it to a normal video format you will loose that.

There's a tool here - http://www.free-decompiler.com/flash/ - for decompiling and editing flash content but I've not tried it sorry.

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Best Free Trojan Horse Scanning And Removal Software 6 years 2 weeks ago sicknero

Emsisoft Emergency Kit appears to be fully freeware still, it's one of my main secondary scanners. I'm not sure what the differences are between that and the trial-lapsed anti-malware program.

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Best Free File Manager 6 years 7 months ago sicknero

"FreeCommander XE works on Win8 but you can't add and remove individual buttons on it."

Yes you can, you just right-click the toolbar and then open the dialogue for adding and removing buttons. It works in W7, does it not do that in 8?

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Best Free File Manager 6 years 7 months ago sicknero

That is indeed fantastic : )

I downloaded this a couple of days ago and am really chuffed to see that an annoying bug where FCXE was forgetting some options choices has been fixed now.

So happy about that, as it was really bugging me :-D

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Best Free File Manager 6 years 7 months ago sicknero

"Anyone knows if that feature is still there?"

Also one of my favourite features as well : ) I've looked all over for some way of having this in native Explorer too, but no luck ... it only seems to come with Explorer enhancers like QTTab and Clover.

Anyway, in FcXE it's in Settings - View - File/Folder List, then there's a drop-down selector underneath "By double cick on free space".

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Best Free File Manager 6 years 7 months ago sicknero

I've had this problem a couple of times ... I notice it's generally when several processes are jostling for CPU cycles but it seems to be fixed by refreshing the window or just re-opening it (without needing to restart FC).

By no means a deal breaker anyway, still my favourite : )

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Best Free File Manager 6 years 6 months ago sicknero

You can in fact have the option to disable autoarrange in Windows 7 and 8, if you're happy to run a third-party batch file.

It is from a reputable source and you can read it about it here with download links for W7 and 8 - http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/windows-and-office/quick-tip-disable-th...

(Separate download links for W7 and W8, so be sure to get the right batch file for your O/S)

The batch file is essentially an automated means of editing quite a lot of registry keys to get the desired result (adds an autoarrange on/off item to your context menu etc), so if you know your way around the registry you could easily unpack the batch and see exactly what it does.

It works well in W7 anyway but I can't speak for W8 sorry.

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Best Free File Manager 6 years 6 months ago sicknero

Not at all, I think you're absolutely right to be cautious especially if you're not able to see what the batch file does exactly. I just thought I'd mention that there is a way to do it in native Windows Explorer.

FreeCommander has been my own favourite for a long time, I use it a lot but I don't know if it supports manual sorting such as you describe as it's not a feature I use. I did just try it but couldn't seem to make it work, perhaps someone else here knows how or uses this feature in one of the other alternative file managers.

Failing that, my own way of renaming files in the way that you describe is to use Kim Jensen's Advanced Renamer (http://www.advancedrenamer.com/)

With this you can open a folder/files, view your pics as file list/details/thumbnails etc and move the files to any order you wish before renaming some or all of them.

It also reads EXIF data which you can use in the renaming rules (ditto with MP3 files/Tag Data) and, you can add it to Windows context menu to open selected files or whole folders directly into the program. There's a preview pane too which is handy when browsing files in list/details mode.

As I mentioned I'm on Windows 7 myself but the dev says that the program is W8 compatible. It's actively developed, the latest update was just two days ago.

Sorry for going a bit off-topic everyone : )

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Best Free Desktop Search Utility 5 years 8 months ago sicknero

I just discovered HDDB on the Portable Freeware Collection site.

I really like it, it's lightning fast and doesn't appear to hook into my system at all.

On balance I think I prefer it to Everything.

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Best Free Resource Meter 7 years 3 months ago sicknero

Hi, nice article and a good selection. Most of these I'm familiar with already but a couple of them are new to me so I'll check them out.

I have to say though that I'm surprised not to find System Explorer included here, is this an oversight or is there a reason for it?

If you don't know of it already it's been around for quite a while now and is on v4.02 as of this week, it's completely free and with no ads or nag screens etc and can be installed or fully portable.

Really too many features to list here, but aside from the usual running processes list, performance monitors, system tray graphs etc it has a very comprehensive selection of modules that can be opened just be selecting them as a new tab in the main window - e.g. autoruns, system services, system history, networking, security info, drivers, uninstallers, overall system information, as well as a very useful (and fast) system snapshot module for comparing pre/post registry and directories.

Also any process etc can be right-clicked for a menu which includes file details, end/suspend/restart process, as well as Google, Virus Total, and VirusScan.Jotti. The System Explorer site also maintains a large database of programs against which your own running processes can be compared.

Sorry if I'm sounding like an advert spammer but I'm really a huge fan of this program which I've been using since v2. Occasionally it's buggy but these are soon fixed, for instance v4.01 was for some reason very slow to load (which is how I ended up on this page today) but then I discovered that v4.02 is out which is now running as smoothly as ever.

True it isn't skinnable and it doesn't include all the weather and calendar options etc of Rainmeter et al, but for a system monitor it's on a par with SysInternal's Process Monitor/Explorer in my view. Indeed I prefer it in many ways as I find it generally more user friendly.

http://systemexplorer.net/

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Best Free Resource Meter 7 years 3 weeks ago sicknero

You're in the wrong section really, but...

If you like analog clocks then The Aero Clock (http://www.softwareok.com/?seite=Freeware/TheAeroClock) is very nice. Made by the same guy who does Q-Dir and a lot of other neat stuff too if you look on the website.

If you prefer digital then Free Alarm Clock (http://freealarmclocksoftware.com/) has an option to show a floating digital clock (plus day and date etc).

Both of them have an option to stay on top, resize, move around and so on.

If you like an analogue clock that has a very configurable appearance then google "Through Clock". It's years old now but still works well in W7 and you can find it on Cnet, Softpedia, etc.

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Best Free Drive Cloning Software 6 years 4 months ago sicknero

New version of Paragon Backup and Recovery Free is out.

(http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/)

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Best Free Screen Capture Tool 6 years 8 months ago sicknero

It sounds as if Duck tried to upload your pics to Minus.com but I was just reading a thread which says that the function was removed some time ago and as I understand it that button shouldn't be in the latest version?

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/ducklink/QdKdEiFP35k

If it did upload it will be on Minus.com as an anonymous user and I don't know what you could do about that. Perhaps contact their site admin and see if they can help?

For people who like to share pics online there is an ImageShack desktop uploader which I use in conjunction with FSCapture. Very simple to use, just save the screenie and drag it onto the uploader, job done.

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Best Free Screen Capture Tool 6 years 1 month ago sicknero

I found that the other day while randomly browsing Snapfiles or some such site.

It's absolutely brilliant! Easy to set up, very fast and light, supports more sharing and storage sites than I've ever even heard of and on top of all that, supports basic file upload to Dropbox and Google Drive etc.

For ages I've wanted some way of interacting with Dropbox/Google Drive from my desktop without having to install the whole lot (and the syncing folders) and ShareX does it excellently. It even has options for Send To and Context Menu entries so you don't need to have it running all the time. Great stuff, one of my favourite finds in quite some time.

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Best Free Screen Capture Tool 6 years 3 weeks ago sicknero

That's right, and some also create folders in AppData etc which are deleted on exit. PAF programs aren't necessarily "stealth" portable.

The PortableFreewareCollection website is very good for discussions on exactly how portable a portable program is.

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Best Free Screen Capture Tool 5 years 1 month ago sicknero

FSCapture is indeed excellent, it's been my favourite for years. The last freeware version though is 5.3 and only later (licensed) versions have the functions that you describe.

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Best Free Duplicate File Remover 6 years 3 months ago sicknero

I just gave that a quick test drive on a folder of 5000 pictures - it flagged 6 images which aren't even close to being matches.

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Best Free Duplicate File Remover 6 years 3 months ago sicknero

Oops, yes that was a bit hasty of me sorry.

I see now what happened ... the test folder I ran it on contains quite a few similar images some of which are also dupicated, so when the program finished and presented the list, it looked as if it had flagged the similar images as duplicates.

Cheers : )

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Best Free Firewall Protection 6 years 7 months ago sicknero

Hi, I followed the links in Paxmilitaris's post and found that Windows Firewall Notifier has gone open source and is now being hosted on CodePlex - http://wfn.codeplex.com/

It's not easy to tell though if it's still being developed and updated ... on WoKhan's site the download is v1.8.0 (which links straight to CodePlex)and the date given is 28/4/12. However at the bottom of the old page, v1.7.0 has the same release date while the date on CodePlex for v1.8.0 is 11/11/13.

One to watch perhaps and see if it goes anywhere as an open source project. I'll probably give it a whirl sometime as I'm looking to start using W7 native firewall again.

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Best Free Firewall Protection 6 years 6 months ago sicknero

I gave Private Firewall a test drive the other week, for a few days.

The GUI is ugly as anything but aside from that I liked it quite a lot. I found it quite easy to set up and use, the volume of pop ups is nothing too fazing if you're a long-term Comodo user and I found the whitelisting procedure somewhat quicker and smoother. The program as a whole seemed a lot lighter on resources than CIS.

The reason I went back to CIS was that I couldn't work out how to get PF working with proxies ... when I tried to use a PAC it seemed to confuse PF to the point of a system-hanging volume of log entries and the program I was trying to use not connecting.

Before that I tried TinyWall ... I really really like this one. It's so unobtrusive and simple that it's bordering on charming : )

I like the approach very much - refuse internet access to positively everything unless I say otherwise (it does have an included whitelist of Windows processes). I kept it for a week or so but on the whole I think it still needs some work - for instance whitelisting while it's pretty well implemented (the option to just click on an open window is great), doesn't allow multi-selection so if you whitelist by browsing files/running processes it can be a bit of a pain to do them all individually. For instance whitelisting all the execs that Avast needs to have net access means selecting one, closing the dialog, selecting the next, closing the dialog, etc etc. It can also be a time consuming process of trial and error working out exactly what processes a program does need access for in order to work. The promised ability to recognise child execs as belonging to a parent program didn't work for me either.

Drag and drop functionality would be a good addition, as would resizable dialogues.

Lastly it crashed on me several times while I was trying it out, which while it doesn't leave you "unfirewalled" (as TW is just a front-end GUI and hardener for the native Windows FW) is still not a great selling point.

I'll definitely be keeping my eye on any future development though. Meanwhile, back to CIS : )

Thanks for the write-ups Tim.

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Best Free Firewall Protection 6 years 3 months ago sicknero

Curious, I get no ads at all. I'm running the latest version of CIS.

Have you unticked "Show messages from Comodo message centre" in settings? I think that's the option related to ads and perhaps that got reset when the program updated to 7.

Is it screwing your system over in some other way, or just the ads?

If you've not seen it before, this is Chiron's useful guide to setting up the program - https://www.techsupportalert.com/content/how-install-comodo-firewall.htm

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Best Free Text Editor 6 years 6 months ago sicknero

Akelpad is always my default text reader/editor, I really like it.

It loads extremely quickly, quicker even than Notepad2 and has a fantastic selection of plug-ins and toolbar buttons.

One of the reasons I like it is that it has a print preview option, something that's missing from the other freebie text editors I've looked at.

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Best Free File Archiver Or Zip Utility 6 years 4 months ago sicknero

I've used 7-Zip for years in XP and W7 and never had any unwanted bundling such as you describe.

I can't imagine it would be that different in W8 but I'm not a user so can't be certain. The only issue I've ever had with setting it as the default archive handler is when running it with limited user access.

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Best Free Registry Editor 6 years 2 weeks ago sicknero

I just wanted to mention that Aezay now have a green light from WoT, though I can't actually recall a time when they didn't.

I really like Registry Commander ... the layout is unfamiliar at first (no tree view) and although it has an export function it lacks an option to restore the entire registry. These points aside though it's my favourite of the freebies. The search function I find fast enough (though speed isn't much of an issue for something that I don't use frequently) and the bookmarks are invaluable.

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Best Free Audio-Video Format Conversion Program 6 years 9 months ago sicknero

Sorry but what "unwanted bundled components" come with Pazera? I've used this software for years and wasn't even aware that there's an installer version of it.

It's also had its first update in some time as well, as of a couple of weeks ago.

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Best Free Electronic Book Reader 6 years 5 months ago sicknero

The final version (6.2) is available on various freeware sites, e.g. Softpedia, CNet, etc if you look around.

It's a very nice reader, it was my favourite for a long time. I only stopped using it because of problems making it portable (it requires Java Runtime installed) and because Calibre changed to offer a double-page "proper book" style of layout.

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Best Free Electronic Book Reader 6 years 5 months ago sicknero

I've had some luck with making Java-dependent software portable but I never got around to putting much effort into Mobipocket.

It was the lack of a double-page layout really that put me off Calibre before and it now has that and a whole lot more : ) It really is very good.

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Best Free Disk Space Analyzer 6 years 7 months ago sicknero

My find of the month re space analysis is definitely Wiztree. It works by reading the MFT and thus will give you results in just a few seconds even on large external drives.

The only downside is that because of the way it works it's only for NTFS formatted volumes. It also has only a list view - no pie charts or coloured graphs here - but man, it is really really quick!

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Best Free File or Disk Catalog Organizer 6 years 1 month ago sicknero

It's a cataloguer.

http://tjelinek.com/main.php?section=dd

The installer can be extracted and run portably (although it will auto-create a data folder in My Docs and profile settings in AppData).

The program itself is packed with all sorts of functions, it will catalogue the contents of archives, add thumbnails for pictures in the catalogue etc, all of which is configurable.

It's not been updated since 2010 but it's very good, I've used it for years although I find VVV a bit more straightforward and faster on the whole.

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Best Free File or Disk Catalog Organizer 6 years 1 month ago sicknero

Yes exactly. DEP3 can be slow precisely because it can extract and store so much information about the data that it catalogues.

Personally I don't need all that so I find it easier to use VVV which has far fewer configuration options.

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Best Free Multiple Timezone World Clock 7 years 2 months ago sicknero

Advanced World Clock does look great, I'm a little nervous that the download link on the site actually downloads a downloader but I'll give it a whirl in vbox later anyway, as it looks v good.

I'd like to add a couple too - for a very simple systray tooltip to which you can add your own timezones, go to the MooO software site and find "World Time". For something with more eye-candy and fun to play with, try "World Clock" from flash-clocks.com, there's a portable version on the PAF website.

Of course the W7 clock also lets you add custom timezones as well which is pretty neat.

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Best Free CD-DVD Emulation Software 6 years 9 months ago sicknero

I see that Daemon Tools Lite is still removed?

I've used it for a long time, I think for variety of formats supported it's one of the best and I don't know why posters are accusing it of installing Babylon Toolbar without permission.

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Best Free CD-DVD Emulation Software 6 years 3 months ago sicknero

It isn't really portable though, it requires a driver to be installed.

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