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Article title Time posted Postersort descending Comment Link
Best Free CD-DVD Burning Software 6 years 3 months ago sicknero

You don't have this?

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

Best Free Calendar, Reminder and To-Do Program 6 years 9 months ago sicknero

My favourite is FreeAlarmClock - - 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.

Best Free Calendar, Reminder and To-Do Program 6 years 9 months ago sicknero

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

Best Free Calendar, Reminder and To-Do Program 6 years 8 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.

Best Free Calendar, Reminder and To-Do Program 6 years 3 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?

Best Free Screen Session Recorder 6 years 9 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 ( 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 ( which scores 1/53 for the link and 0/50 for the file.

Best Free Screen Session Recorder 6 years 9 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 -

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 - - for decompiling and editing flash content but I've not tried it sorry.

Best Free Trojan Horse Scanning And Removal Software 6 years 4 months 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.

Best Free File Manager 6 years 11 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?

Best Free File Manager 6 years 11 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

Best Free File Manager 6 years 11 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".

Best Free File Manager 6 years 10 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 : )

Best Free File Manager 6 years 10 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 -

(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.

Best Free File Manager 6 years 10 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 (

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 : )

Best Free Desktop Search Utility 5 years 12 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.

Best Free Resource Meter 7 years 7 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.

Best Free Resource Meter 7 years 4 months ago sicknero

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

If you like analog clocks then The Aero Clock ( 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 ( 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.

Best Free Drive Cloning Software 6 years 8 months ago sicknero

New version of Paragon Backup and Recovery Free is out.


Best Free Screen Capture Tool 6 years 12 months ago sicknero

It sounds as if Duck tried to upload your pics to 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?!topic/ducklink/QdKdEiFP35k

If it did upload it will be on 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.

Best Free Screen Capture Tool 6 years 5 months 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.

Best Free Screen Capture Tool 6 years 4 months 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.

Best Free Screen Capture Tool 5 years 5 months 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.

Best Free Duplicate File Remover 6 years 7 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.

Best Free Duplicate File Remover 6 years 7 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 : )

Best Free Firewall Protection 6 years 11 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 -

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.

Best Free Firewall Protection 6 years 10 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.

Best Free Firewall Protection 6 years 7 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 -

Best Free Text Editor 6 years 9 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.

Best Free File Archiver Or Zip Utility 6 years 8 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.

Best Free Registry Editor 6 years 4 months 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.

Best Free Audio-Video Format Conversion Program 7 years 3 weeks 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.

Best Free Electronic Book Reader 6 years 9 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.

Best Free Electronic Book Reader 6 years 9 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.

Best Free Disk Space Analyzer 6 years 10 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!

Best Free File or Disk Catalog Organizer 6 years 4 months ago sicknero

It's a cataloguer.

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.

Best Free File or Disk Catalog Organizer 6 years 4 months 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.

Best Free Multiple Timezone World Clock 7 years 6 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, 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.

Best Free CD-DVD Emulation Software 7 years 3 weeks 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.

Best Free CD-DVD Emulation Software 6 years 7 months ago sicknero

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

Best Free Online Backup 7 years 3 weeks ago sicknero

Thanks for that link, I tried Comodo's on-line storage ages ago and it was excrutiatingly slow. I just had a look at the site a minute ago though and it all looks very different so I'll give it another try.

I'm especially intrigued by the choice of software download ... cCloud looks like the usual HDD folder that syncs with your on-line storage but there's also cDrive which "offers the posibility (sic) to access your cCloud storage directly, with any program, without consuming any local disk space." Interesting.

10Gb isn't bad either for a freebie.

Best Free Online Backup 7 years 3 weeks ago sicknero

@kyengineer, I can't help wondering about your comment that 250 pictures fill 2Gb of drive space.. is this an error?

Best Free Online Backup 7 years 2 weeks ago sicknero

I suspect it's somewhat naive to think that the security agencies of other countries are any less invasive than the NSA...

Best Free Online Backup 6 years 11 months ago sicknero

That's worth knowing, cheers. I've had a Sugarsync account for a couple of years but stopped using it in favour of Dropbox and Googledrive. I'll close the Sugarsync one then , if they're no longer freebies.

Re- Comodo. I did give theirs a spin ... if you install cDrive it creates a virtual drive in My Computer and does indeed sync on-line without using any local hard drive space. Pretty handy to know but not something I think I'll personally find much use for.

Best Free Online Backup 5 years 8 months ago sicknero

This looks pretty good ... standard storage space is 10Gb which can rise to a maximum of 20Gb for free accounts by jumping through the usual hoops (install desktop client, like on FB, recruit other users, etc etc).

I like the site ... for me, general site navigation and media playback are noticeably smoother than they are on Mediafire and DL/UL speeds seem fast.

I wouldn't trust it yet with anything important but for general file sharing etc it certainly looks like a keeper.

Thanks for the post.

Best Free Wallpaper Changer 6 years 10 months ago sicknero

Thanks for the heads up.

I've given it a bit of a try-out this evening and at the moment I do still prefer the old 2.16, it has more options and functions than the new free beta and I've never had any problems running it in W7 x86 or x64 set to XP SP3 compatibility.

Contrary to the above article, there is a portable/non-install version available on the website. I know there's no editor for this section right now but I thought I'd just mention it for anyone reading the page.

Best Free Music Player and Organizer 6 years 3 months ago sicknero

Just giving it a test drive right now, I'm really liking it.

Nice minimal but good-looking GUI with no superfluous frills or features, just a simple portable Qt audio player.

I've only found one issue with it really... on normal priority it uses about 10% CPU on my W7 laptop but doing anything else (e.g. scrolling/loading webpages) causes the playback to skip/drop out briefly. Manually setting the process to high priority has fixed this at the cost of upping CPU usage to 25-30%. RAM usage is about 50MB either way.

A basic EQ would be welcome but it's not a deal breaker.

Nice find Panzer, thanks for sharing. I have quite a collection of minimal audio players but I really like this one at first try.

Jojo, I'm not sure what you mean by transition between screen modes?

Best Free Music Player and Organizer 6 years 3 months ago sicknero

Concerning 1by1, I have to say I use this one a lot and rate it very highly.

Where it scores over other minimal players for me, is that it works like a Windows Explorer window, i.e. an explorer tree view on the left and file view on the right, with no need to load files or playlists. It's essentially a file explorer with audio playback.

As such, it's an excellent player for browsing directories and sub-directories full of audio without having to use any open/load dialogue.

The only other player I know of that operates like this, is Resonic ( which is also excellent, but 1by1 is a bit quicker and lighter on resources (1by1 @ 1-3% CPU, 15MB RAM vs. Resonic @ 20-25% CPU and 25MB RAM). There's not much in it really ... Resonic has a nice waveform display and VU meter while 1by1 has a native Windows GUI with editable colouring plus some basic fx like EQ and compression and optional VU. They both allow basic file operations via the context menu.

File support for 1by1 can be expanded with decoder plug-ins.

There are some great players if you just want to listen to music and have playlists, visualisations and other frills but for browsing large collections of music and samples I think these two beat all of them.

(I forgot there's also Sonic Explorer ( which is pretty good but as far as I know it's been abandoned for some time now and it's hard to find a download location for it.)

Best Free Music Player and Organizer 6 years 3 months ago sicknero

Oh yeah, I'd forgotten it's an alpha sorry (used it for ages with no problems). I don't know what's happening with it at the moment, there were quite a few updates in a fairly short space of time, then a major update to final alpha 0.999 in January but nothing since then.

Perhaps Jojo's not seen my comment yet : ) Too late to edit myself now.

How Windows 64-bit Supports 32-bit Applications 6 years 7 months ago sicknero

Also you could use Virtual Box to run an x86 version of Windows inside your x64 O/S, or you could as Remah says see if it's only the installer itself that is causing the problem. Trying unpacking the installer with 7-zip or Universal Extractor, you might get lucky and find that you can run it without installing it.

In the area of installation monitoring, you might also find this useful -

I've had mixed results with it but it will at the very least show you exactly what files/folders an installer creates and the locations of them, assuming you can find a pc that will let you run the installer.

Another alternative is to search the internet and see if there's another version of your game available; many old games have been re-created for newer O/Ss, there are also emulators like DosBox and some have been recreated to be played on-line in your browser.

How Windows 64-bit Supports 32-bit Applications 6 years 6 months ago sicknero

WOW64 should do its thing automatically without your needing to do anything special yourself but, it doesn't work for all x86 software.

Best Free Music Creation Software 7 years 2 weeks ago sicknero

Nice article and a couple (Hydrogen and Temper) that I didn't know about before which I will have a play with over the weekend. Thank you!

Best Free Music Creation Software 6 years 9 months ago sicknero

Hi ....

Do you mean a way to input MIDI data using your keyboard? If so there might well be an option for that already in LMMS ... I downloaded the prog but haven't got around to trying it out yet.

If LMMS doesn't have this ability built in then my favourite combination for it on my laptop is VMPK (Virtual Midi Piano Keyboard) which lets you play your PC keys like a keyboard and also send MIDI control data (e.g. volume, velocity, filters etc) using your mouse wheel or a rotary knob on the GUI.

To use VMPK with a program like LMMS, you will also need LoopMIDI by Tobias Erichsen to connect VMPK to LMMS - it installs a driver and GUI which lets you create virtual MIDI ports inside your PC so that in this instance you can connect the MIDI Out of VMPK to the MIDI In of LMMS.

It's all pretty simple and user friendly, let us know how you get on : )


LoopMIDI -

Best Free Music Creation Software 6 years 9 months ago sicknero

Thanks Komanderkin,

I've been having a play with LMMS and the piano roll does support PC keyboards so extra software isn't necessary for it.

@MaiaRNBSoul, the piano roll is the window that shows the notes grid and has a piano keyboard down the left side ... with your project open you just select the track you want to work on, click the piano roll icon at the upper left (it has a piano keyboard graphic on it) and then you can use your PC keyboard to play whatever instrument is loaded into the track. The piano roll in LMMS has play/record buttons etc. Hopefully this is what you meant in the first place : )

A productive discussion anyway ... I'd not heard of Freepiano before and really like it!

Best Free Music Creation Software 5 years 8 months ago sicknero

Thanks MC :)

Best Free PC Games 6 years 9 months ago sicknero

Excellent find Panzer!

I was playing the card game "Munchkin" at my daughter's not long ago, it's a very tongue-in-cheek cards version of D+D and loads of fun.

Will definitely check this one out, thanks for posting.

Best Free Internet Safety Check 6 years 9 months ago sicknero

I quite like SafePreview ( as a Firefox add-on for an overview of URLs from a selection of scanners.

It's not been updated since last Summer and elements of it don't work perfectly but for a quick check I find it quite useful.

Best Free Internet Safety Check 6 years 9 months ago sicknero

I use an FF add-on ( to fix the Google redirect issue. As well as bypassing Google search tracking it also makes searches noticeably faster.

I've been trying out Linkextend this evening, it seems quite useful but it's returning "Unknown" for a lot of stuff. The transparent results pop-up is a little difficult to use as well.

Best Free Internet Safety Check 6 years 9 months ago sicknero

SafePreview just returns results from WoT, DrWeb, Trustwave, Google Advisory, and McAfee. Supposedly Norton too but that's never worked for me. The link preview is quite handy sometimes.

For the embedded scripts worry it has to be Noscript, the default-deny policy is a whole new level of security after you've had WoT etc check links for you. Request Policy is also v good if you have the patience to deal with a lot of page elements being blocked.

Best Free Internet Safety Check 6 years 9 months ago sicknero

I didn't think it a waste of time at all trying out LinkExtend. I will in fact keep it for a while and see if it still seems useful after disabling the services that don't appear to work. I guess some of the services have changed urls as they do work with other similar add-ons ... I suppose it's just that LinkExtend hasn't been updated in so long. Aside from this it does seem to have some useful features.

I didn't realise that the Google search add-on I mentioned doesn't prevent tracking, the description on the download page seems to suggest that it does but I'm not knowledgeable enough about the processes involved to judge.

Fair point about Request Policy, it does break a lot of sites initially and it takes some time to get used to it and get a whitelist established.

A Brilliant File Verification tool: A Second Opinion For Your Data’s Integrity 6 years 9 months ago sicknero

Teracopy has a verify option which generates hashes during the copy/move process.

Best Free Media Player 6 years 10 months ago sicknero

For what it's worth I can't seem to duplicate the problem here.

I'm running PotPlayer (portable) 1.5.43511 beta x86 and it works fine whether I open a film with subs (srt) already in the folder or whether I open the film and then open the subs from another location.

Are you using srt or another format?

Best Free Media Player 6 years 6 months ago sicknero

1.6.47450 is available as a single D/L on

Best Free Media Player 6 years 4 months ago sicknero

Thanks for sharing Panzer. I liked the look of this as a lightweight MPlayer front-end. The program itself is quick to start and file-load times and subsequent resource usage are pretty good too.

The audio extractor is a nice touch and something I could see myself using quite a lot if it were better implemented... at the moment it's just a bolt-on tool (you load the video separately rather than extract from the one you're watching and it lacks the ability to select just a section of video from which to rip audio). Winamp DSP is always useful to me but Exm crashes every time I try to point it to a DSP folder.

For me it could do with the option of a more minimal interface (hide-able controls and menus etc) and the integrated social sharing buttons aren't something that appeals to me. Given that it's still pretty new though and still in beta, I'll probably keep an eye out to see how it develops.

Best Free Media Player 6 years 4 months ago sicknero

Hi Panzer, yes I know George has taken on a few pages here.

I'm not sure I'd do a great job of reviewing and free time is an issue here as well but I do like to add comments about my personal experience with the software I try, in case it's useful to anyone.

Best Free Media Player 4 years 10 months ago sicknero

Pot Player can do it too but you have to configure it in Settings.

Speed Up Your Hearing 6 years 6 months ago sicknero

I already knew how to pitch-shift audio but wow, that's a great list of podcast sources. Thanks :-)

Best Free Lightweight Web Browser 7 years 1 day ago sicknero

That's a great story, I'd not heard of that before :-D

I did have a look at the Maxthon awards page (Maxthon having been my secondary browser for about a year now) and I found an award from a site that WoT flags as red. On the other hand when I ran the URL through Virus Total it scored 1/51 with WoT being the only one that flagged it.

I did notice that there's a "Gizmo's Top Picks - Product of the Year" award which no longer seems to exist, it just links to a "OOPs - We can't find that page" notice.

Other awards state the year, although there are a lot I've never heard of.

I'll check them all out more closely sometime and probably raise it on the forum to see if they have anything to say about it.

Best Free Lightweight Web Browser 6 years 8 months ago sicknero

For what it's worth, I've always used the CNet page to get Ice Dragon and so far it's always been a clean file with nothing bundled and no wrapped installer.

The Major Geeks link ( downloads directly from Comodo but as far as I can tell it's exactly the same file.

Best Free Lightweight Web Browser 6 years 6 days ago sicknero

From comments on the Maxthon community forum, Nitro doesn't seem to have impressed people much re; speed and resources compared to standard Maxthon. Also the available alphas/betas are install versions; there is no portable version yet.

Best Free Lightweight Web Browser 6 years 6 days ago sicknero

Approximately related to "lighweight browsing" I would like to recommend checking out "site specific" browsing, which is basically a browser window dedicated to a single website.

For trusted and frequently-visited sites (e.g. gmail, youtube, soundcloud, grooveshark) I find this to be an excellent solution.

As far as I know there are only two programs worth looking at for this, which are SisterB and Bazinga. Mozilla Prism is also still available though as well with a bit of hunting, and it works ok too.

For a more recent/supported approach there is the "Quick Apps" feature built in to Maxthon - this is my own preferred method at the moment. I think Chrome has something similar but it requires Chrome to be already running in the background, while the Maxthon-created browsers are truly independent.

I just noticed that Maxthon itself doesn't get a mention here ... I have noticed that it's a little CPU-heavy at times on my low-end hardware, but nonetheless it it's still an excellent browser for general use. It lacks add-on support and detailed cookie/script management but it is regularly updated and for my money is probably the best no-frills browser available at the moment.

How to Harden Your Browser Against Malware and Privacy Concerns 7 years 5 months ago sicknero

Thanks for the article Chiron, one or two add-ons here which I wasn't aware of before and am trying out now.

So far I like the Startpage search engine, although the Bitdefender Traffic Lights add-on doesn't work with it. Or not for me at least. It's interesting to note the difference in reports between Traffic Lights and WoT, which I presume is down to their working in different ways.

I'm quite curious about this, as Traffic Lights reports "No suspicious elements on this page" which implies some kind of page scan. What's interesting is that it seems to do this very very quickly when compared to, for example, Virus Total or Comodo Web Inspector.

I'd also just add that Google Translator doesn't work on whole pages when a page is https, but the add on that you recommend allows disabling so it's not too much of a pain.

How to Harden Your Browser Against Malware and Privacy Concerns 7 years 5 months ago sicknero

Yes, I must admit I'm toying with removing Traffic Lights too. Since I added it after reading Chiron's piece, it's kicked in maybe twice to warn me about dodgy sites. I think they were helpful warnings but I do notice that TL green lights a lot of sites that WoT gives red or orange lights to.

I have WoT as well which I've used for several years now, but I like the way that Traffic Lights will identify parts of a website rather than just blacklist the whole site. For instance on one occasion it was silent on a site until I followed a download link and it then kicked with a warning.

I also like having it just as an extra layer of security, I don't think you can ever have too many of those.

My issue with it really is that it does seem rather resource intensive. Since I added it I notice that Ice Dragon seems to top out my CPU more often and I've had more frequent "Not responding" moments. However I can't be sure that TL is the culprit until I've disabled it for a few days to test the theory properly.

How to Harden Your Browser Against Malware and Privacy Concerns 7 years 5 months ago sicknero

I've disabled it now on both my PCs but to be honest haven't noticed a massive difference yet.

I did have an interesting experience with it yesterday though... I was looking to see if there's a new version of Site Specific Browser and when I opened the page TL blocked it. No idea why, and when I scanned the page with Virus Total, Bit Defender was the only AV on the list which flagged it as a danger. Confusingly though, when I closed Virus Total and re-opened the SSB site, TL said nothing. Odd.

Thanks for the tip about EMET as well, I checked out some reviews of it and will probably give it a spin.

How to Harden Your Browser Against Malware and Privacy Concerns 7 years 4 months ago sicknero

Hello Chiron,

I'm still in two minds about Traffic Lights ... I left it disabled for a few days and to be honest didn't notice much difference as far as performance is concerned, so I have it running again now. True that Ice Dragon seems to use more CPU and sometimes web pages are a bit slower to load but on balance I think the extra layer is worth it.

A minor annoyance is that when TL locks me from a site, I can't seem to override that even when I click the "I understand the risks..." link. For instance I just read your comment about PrivDog, but when I went to have a look TL blocked the site and I had to disable TL to open it.

Concerning alternatives... I've been using Blue Coat K9 Web Protection for a while now. It differs from others in that it isn't a browser add on but instead installs itself as a system service, and thus works regardless of what browser you're using.

It takes the usual approach of running sites past a blacklist database, but also allows you to choose from a fairly comprehensive selection of keywords which can also be used to block sites, this being mainly aimed at parents who want to have control over what their children see on the internet.
You can also lock/unlock specific URLs, add your own keywords, have K9 block results from search engines, or use K9's own "Safe Search", you can select a "Youtube safety mode" (i.e. no adult content) and even set time restrictions on web access so that the web is completely locked at whatever times you choose. The website also has a site scanner where you can enter a URL for checking.

A start menu entry opens your "Admin page" in your browser... to access this you need to enter a password that you set when installing K9, and you can then change keywords etc, all your preferences and view a very detailed history of web activity sorted by category. The same password also lets you continue to a website when K9 blocks it.

It's a very unobtrusive thing - as far as CPU and RAM are concerned it's barely noticeable and in normal internet use I never see it. I was a little surprised just now when I signed in to my admin page and saw that it claims to have blocked almost 10,000 hits in the categories of Spyware/Malware Sources, Proxy Avoidance, and Suspicious. Going into the detailed report shows me that the Proxy Avoidance hits are from Expat Shield which as far as I can tell is still working fine, so I'm not sure what to make of that.

The only obvious downside is that the free version only licenses you for one computer. Also I'm not sure to what extent the program is still supported, as the forum is closed now and the copyright at the bottom of the admin page says 2009 or 2010 depending on what page you're on. Need to look into that further.

A quick Gizmo's search shows that K9 is mentioned a few times on here, but I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has tried it out and has any thoughts.

How to Harden Your Browser Against Malware and Privacy Concerns 7 years 4 months ago sicknero

Yes fair comment, K9 is quite a powerful tool I guess, and I need to study it more myself to learn exactly how it is behaving in combination with my other security software.

Meanwhile though I have a couple of others that I'd like to mention...

* VTZilla ( is a Firefox add-on from Virus Total and installing this will add three very useful security tools to your browser.

Firstly, when you want to download a file you will find an extra option in the download dialog, so that before actually downloading the file you can select to "Scan With Virus Total". This will open the usual Virus Total page with scan results for the download link in question.

Secondly, any link on any webpage can be right-clicked, with again an added option to "Scan With Virus Total". An invaluable precaution if you have a link that you're uncertain about.

Both of the above work in email as well as in ordinary browsing, allowing you to scan attachments as well as links that people might send to you.

Lastly VTZilla adds a toolbar to Firefox, a very basic one which just has a "Scan Current Site" button, and a search box into which you can enter a website address or a file hash (SHA1, SHA256, or MD5) for the usual VT scan.

Although that last might not be for everyday users, I think VTZilla is still an indispensible security add-on, allowing as it does easy and quick access to VT's well known presentation of scan results from around 40 different sources. Also as well as Firefox, similar functionality is offered for Chrome and IE, though I've not tried those myself.

* Safe Preview ( is another Firefox add-on which I discovered just last week. This nifty little tool shows a pop-up for any link, that shows safety ratings from Google Advisory, McAfee, Norton Safe Web, WOT, Avast, TrustWave and DrWeb, and also allows you to preview a site in a larger pop-up, or to open it in a private browsing window.

Unfortunately you can't add your own ratings sources to it, though you can remove any that you don't want. It seems quite new and has a couple of bugs that need fixing (nothing serious, just a couple of non-working functions), but it seems pretty user friendly and has no impact on performance that I've noticed.

I've been giving Netcraft a test drive today since I read your post. Seems ok ... if it had any resource/performance issues before then they seem to have been sorted.
My only complaint so far is that clicking the options on the toolbar for more info opens that info in the same page that you're viewing, which is somewhat annoying and I can't find any option to change that. Otherwise, it seems pretty good though I'll have to spend some time with it to see how it compares to other blacklist-based security add-ons.

How to Harden Your Browser Against Malware and Privacy Concerns 7 years 4 months ago sicknero

Thanks Chiron... yes I see your point about VT not being real-time protection as such, and perhaps aimed more at users who don't mind spending a little extra time to check out the safety of links and downloads etc. I can appreciate the point about your article though.

Safe Preview... Ice Dragon Portable is my main browser on both my PCs (W7 x86 and x64) and it works fine here so I guess there might be some compatibilty issue with plug ins. I must have been lucky as I run a lot of add-ons (80+ at the last count). It's a shame, as it is essentially like a very much cut down and more graphical version of VT in a way.
Hopefully this will be sorted as the add-on matures if it continues to be supported.


How to Harden Your Browser Against Malware and Privacy Concerns 7 years 4 months ago sicknero

What do you mean by automatically..? How it works here is, I hover my mouse over any link and two small icons appear. One of them when clicked shows the safety results from whatever sources are activated in preferences, while the other when clicked has shortcuts to preview the link.
If this is what you mean by 'manually' then afaik this is exactly how it's supposed to work... it doesn't show automatically on links in the same way that WoT or TL do, but that would be a bit messy I think given that it draws on half a dozen sources.

True the preview part is a little buggy.. :-) This has been commented on by people on the Mozilla page so hopefully will be fixed in an update. In the meantime the preview does work if accessed from the context menu.

In retrospect, I'd agree that its current state would justifiably disclude it from recommendation by you, but I'll also be keeping it installed to see if it progresses at all.

How to Harden Your Browser Against Malware and Privacy Concerns 7 years 4 months ago sicknero

For both of these, you get to settings by opening your extensions page ... click Settings in Chrome's main menu, then click Extensions in the list on the left, then you should see a list of installed extensions and be able to choose Options for the ones you want to edit...

TrafficLight is pretty straightforward, just a list of options with On/Off buttons, while for AdBlock when you've clicked Options you should see a list of what Filters you are subscribed to.
(Another route to Options for TrafficLight is to left click the green button that should have appeared in your toolbar when you installed it, and then use the "settings" shortcut in the box that pops up.)

I just installed AdBlock in Chrome, just to see, and for me it installed EasyList by default and nothing else.

Must admit I'm not really a Chrome fan or regular user of it, but I just loaded it up anyway and that's how to change the settings that you mention.

To be honest I'm not exactly sure why you'd want to disable the Search Result Analyser in TrafficLight ... this is the component that gives you a green light or otherwise next to each search result in Google, and to me is an important part of the software. I don't see why this should raise any privacy concerns that wouldn't be raised by the extension as a whole but I'm not sure, hopefully Chiron can answer this more fully.

How to Harden Your Browser Against Malware and Privacy Concerns 7 years 3 months ago sicknero

A nice find, I've just now installed it for a test drive.

I see that as well as the link scanner it also has flash blocking, ad blocking (including selective blocking for page content), and anti-tracking. Good stuff.

I was wondering though Chiron, what do you think about the pros and cons of running multiple anti-tracking add ons? For instance I already use Ghostery, TrafficLight, and Cookie Controller ... some writers recommend not using more than one anti-tracker so I just wondered what thoughts you might have on the matter.

How to Harden Your Browser Against Malware and Privacy Concerns 7 years 3 months ago sicknero

Sandboxing is only as effective as the person using it. It can't in itself recognise malware or other dangerous code and depends entirely on a person not removing unsafe software from the sandbox.

I'm not having a dig at Sandboxie or any of the other options for sandboxing, indeed I use it a lot myself. I just think that the claim of its being able to prevent any malware infection might be perhaps a little misleading.

How to Harden Your Browser Against Malware and Privacy Concerns 7 years 3 months ago sicknero

I tried Disconnect yesterday in Firefox and IceDragon... I was expecting from the comments to get Collusion installed along with it, or something similar, but in both try-outs the relevant button was inactive in the drop-down menu even after I installed Collusion separately.

(Nodrog - yes I also gave up on Collusion for a while as it never seemed to work, but I tried it again recently and it seems fine now. My only issue is that in IceDragon it has to be disabled and then re-enabled to make the button appear, but then that's the case with a few extensions in IceDragon. I have it running now in FF 22 and 23 Portable, no problems.)

Must admit I didn't much like Disconnect really, but to be fair that could well just be because of the unfamilar interface, which is why I wasn't very keen on DoNotTrackMe either.

At the moment I see no reason not to stick with Ghostery... as far as results go, it seems to me to pick up more trackers than any alternatives that I've tried and also works very well as an ad-blocker. I do think it's the best of it's type as far as effectiveness goes.

The title of the article you posted could I think be a little misleading if people don't go on to read the whole thing, or indeed Ghostery's own info on the subject. They don't collect personal data, which some people might take from the article's title at first glance.

TrafficLight does include anti-tracking, and Cookie Controller controls tracking cookies of course. Collusion now includes an option to view cookie-based tracking separately, so you can indeed see this in action.

Very interesting discussion anyway, thanks for your comments.

How to Use the Keyboard to Move or Resize a Window that is Too Big for the Screen 6 years 3 months ago sicknero

Nice tip, thank you... it never occured to me use the menu shortcuts before.

I normally use AltDrag for this but I'm trying to reduce my autoruns so this will be handy, thanks.

Best Free Video Downloader [Stub] 6 years 10 months ago sicknero

A bit late but perhaps other people are reading this section too -

The free version of VSO is still freeware but only for certain types of streaming; RTMP streams require the licensed version so I'd guess that the inability to fully download some Youtube streams is due to some of the changes that Youtube has made over the last year or so.

I'd imagine that VSO will still work fully for some YT streams as the site seems to be a bit of a mixture.

In VSO's defence, this limitation of the free version is explained clearly on their website and it's not uncommon for vendors to include demos of licensed features in freeware versions.

Freeware Game of the Week (UNBELIEVABLE! Re-Visit the World that started the Half-Life continuum) 7 years 6 months ago sicknero

Wow just found this thread. I love Half-Life, thanks for posting.

How to get a free legal copy of a Windows 7 installation disk 6 years 7 months ago sicknero

Vic's download links appear to be working again.

How to get a free legal copy of a Windows 7 installation disk 6 years 7 months ago sicknero

I'm not familiar with the process as you describe it.

I used FreeDownloadManager to get the ISO ( and ImgBurn to burn it to disk at speed x2.4 (

It appears to work fine, by which I mean that I've tested it as far as seeing that the DVD boots ok as far as the install dialogue but I haven't actually run the complete installation.

How to get a free legal copy of a Windows 7 installation disk 6 years 7 months ago sicknero

For Firefox and FreeDownloadManager, you can run FreeDownloadManager then right click the download link for the ISO and select "Copy Link Location". You can then click the button to start a new download in FDM and paste the link in.

It will be slightly different depending on what browser/manager you use but the process is the same in principle. Also if you use installed rather than portable software it can all be done automatically.

Hope that makes sense ... if you'd like more detailed help it would be better to open a thread in the forum ( as these pages are really for comments only.

Find Information on How To Delete Accounts on Various Sites Quickly and Easily 7 years 9 months ago sicknero

Excellent article, thank you very much. I had no idea that such sites even existed until I read this.

29 Sites With Free Horror, Ghost & Gothic Audiobooks 7 years 5 months ago sicknero

Great collection of links. Thanks for posting, I love horror : )

6 Great Alternatives to iGoogle 7 years 7 months ago sicknero

Great collection Rhiannon, I've been looking around for an iGoogle replacement so thank you for all the suggestions. Protopage and Ig are my favourites I think though I've bookmarked them all for a proper look later.

For something simple and ready-to-go I'd just like to mention the Maxthon homepage which I only discovered fairly recently while casting around for an alternative browser. It isn't very configurable but it's pretty handy as a basic homepage.

Thanks also for the uStart suggestion, although LastPass flags it as an insecure log in.

6 Great Alternatives to iGoogle 7 years 6 months ago sicknero

Hi. If you're a Firefox user then you can have Tasks in the sidebar -

I expect you can do something similar in other browsers but I never tried it.

6 Great Alternatives to iGoogle 7 years 6 months ago sicknero

I'm not sure what you mean about not formatting properly. I don't use Tasks a lot myself but I added an extra list just now and it seems fine, there's a button at the bottom right to switch between lists and they seem to be displaying properly...

I did a couple of screenshots, I can't seem to upload them here but you can see them in dropbox -

Hope you manage to find a satisfactory solution anyway, and apologies Rhiannon for taking your thread a bit off-topic.

6 Great Alternatives to iGoogle 7 years 4 months ago sicknero

I'm finding this too!

I've spent a while playing with igHome, I quite like it... everything on it can be be pretty much added or deleted as you please which is good, and it has a very pleasing absence of in-your-face integration with social media, although it seems that this is there for those who want it.
It has quite a handy Google-style toolbar at the top, a definite plus there being that you can configure the buttons for whatever shortcuts you want by just entering a URL in preferences.

Downsides - the actual appearance, although not at all unpleasant, isn't very customisable - you can change the size of the gadgets in settings (though zooming the page achieves that globally) but the width appears to be something you're stuck with, and you have the same iGoogle style options of background colours or images, along with (as far as I could tell) pretty much all the same gadgets to choose from. Some of which don't work, which is as promised just like iGoogle :-D

On the other hand I've spent about an hour playing around with Protopage this evening, and I have to say I like it a lot more now than I did when I started. Again there's a very satisfying ability to clear all traces of twitter and fb etc from the page.

The appearance and layout is a lot more customisable than igHome ... I especially like that you can give each gadget its own colouring and to some extent resize them as well, for example I can have my google calendar gadget stretched out to cover quite a large area which makes it a lot more readable. This isn't perfect though - for instance the analogue clock which is quite nice can't be resized to look good. The smallest size of the gadget is still twice as big as the clock itself so the end result is a bit messy and unattractive. It seems that 1/3 of page width is the minimum for a gadget though I might have missed a setting somewhere. The collapse/expand button is handy.

Also a definite oversight to my mind is the lack of any option to change fonts, and it would nice to have a choice of rounded corners on the gadgets.

The option for public/private - which apparently you can apply separately to different components - is intriguing though I'm not sure I'd ever find a use for it, and I do like the default notepad gadget which appears to sync online as well. Very handy.

A very nice feature is the mouseover bubble on news stories (would be great to have that on the Google Calendar gadget too) and the inclusion of a mini-player for podcasts is very very nice, although I would like to be able to drag that around the window. The search bar is quite attractive with the ability to add/remove engines including custom ones.

Lastly for now, there seems to be a pretty decent selection of community-developed gadgets which I've not looked properly through yet.

Oops this started off as a quick reply, but it turned into a bit of an essay sorry :-) I'm undecided... igHome is easy on the eye but I'm very drawn to Protopage's configurabilty and podcast player and that apparently syncing notepad. I might just keep both, or maybe neither ... it's ages now since I used iGoogle and I can't say it's left a huge hole in my internet day.

Also to be fair, anything that I found to be absent or not working might well be down to my own oversight or security add ons in my browser.

6 Great Alternatives to iGoogle 7 years 4 months ago sicknero

I was just composing a post in reply to Rosie's but got thoroughly distracted by the details as always :-)

The thing is that just changing your Start Page/Home Page doesn't actually delete your Protopage, it's still out there on the internet which to me is a bit untidy and too much of a loose end ...

However, I had a good look around on my own Protopage and I can find nothing straightforward for deleting the whole page, or for closing the account, which sadly is the case with a lot of things like this.

If it were me I would remove everything from the Protopage first, and then use the "Contact Us" link at top-right to ask that the account be closed and the page deleted. I'd also go into my email account and revoke any access permissions that I'd granted for email widgets or calendar widgets or whatever.

Website Not Available In Your Country? No Problem! 7 years 2 months ago sicknero

If you're a Firefox user you might like to check out the "Mediahint" extension, it works well for me in East Europe for BBC and C4.

Oddly it doesn't fool C4 on Youtube, or the C5 site, but other than that it's very good. It's enabled by default though - I like to keep it disabled unless I'm actually using it.

Alternatively Expat Shield seems to work for all sites but I find it quite buggy and unstable.

40 Maps That Will Help You Understand Our World 7 years 2 months ago sicknero

Fascinating stuff, thanks for posting.

The coffee map (No.28) surprised me a bit, and the Chinese names for countries (No.39) are entertaining. Can't make out what they call Slovenia though, I'll have to look that up.

No.1, Google Street View, is nonsense :-) Our town is well within the marked area and we definitely don't have it.

This Download Manager could be the Next Big thing! 7 years 2 months ago sicknero

FDM also supports resumed downloads.

How to Manage Windows File Associations the Really Easy Way 7 years 1 month ago sicknero

I like that one better myself, it allows icon editing as well.

*Edit; so does this one I just noticed. I'll give it a go then if I can find a non-install version.

Powerful Free Microsoft Security Tool EMET has Been Updated 6 years 12 months ago sicknero

I'm a bit of an MBAM fan so I installed this today to give it a try-out ... there's not much info on the website and the program interface isn't very informative.

It appears to work with Portable Firefox but other than that it's kinda hard to see if it's actually doing anything or not.

Want The Latest Winamp? Get It While You Still Can 7 years 1 day ago sicknero

This is very sad news, WinAmp was my first Windows mediaplayer and I still have a soft spot for it even though I've moved on in terms of my primary player.

I always loved it for the visualisations and the excellent community of coders providing a great variety of skins and plug ins.

I guess this means that the skins and plug ins will also be unavailable. That's a real shame.