Win XP Recommended Software


What follows is a list of my favorite software excluding Digital Art tools. If you're interested in one of these products, just click on the name of the program and you'll be transported magically to the appropriate web site where you can get more information or purchase the software.


Free Software and Donation-ware Gems

Click on the associated link or banner for more information about any of the products below.

A2 Hijackfree-- A very powerful diagnostic tool. Displays and allows you to control start-up programs. Detects Internet Explorer Add-ons, Windows XP services, open ports on your system, additions to your HOSTS file, and currently running processes. Allows you to delete IE add-ons, start/shut off Windows XP services, view/change your HOSTS file, manipulate your Windows .ini startup files, and shows you what programs are accessing which ports on your system. Highly recommended.

Abilon News Aggregator--A very nice RSS feed reader. Recommended.

Ace FTP 3 Freeware -- A better FTP program than WS_FTP LE. It does everything that WS_FTP LE does but it has other features and it displays longfile names. Has a pay version that adds security and other features.

Ad-Aware--Spyware-Adware detection and removal program. Excellent

Aida32--A system information tool as good as, or better than, SiSoft's Sandra and Fresh Device's Fresh Diagnose

Alcohol 52%new--Similar to Alcohol 120% (see below) but minus the ability to create images. Highly recommended

Arachnophilia--One of the best free HTML non-WYSIWYG editors; you create the HTML and then can view what the result is. Best HTML editor for the money. <g>

Association Manager--An excellent program for seeing and changing file associations

AVG Free Antivirus -- An excellent and free antivirus program. Signatures are updated almost on a daily basis. Very good support. Highly recommended.

Coolmon-- A customizable open source program that can display all sorts of system information in a small window "transparently" on the desktop. I use it to monitor CPU utilization, which program is currently hogging CPU, RAM utilization, pages used, processes running, threads running, disk space available, and IP address, Set up this way, I always know which program is stalling my PC due to its using 100% of the CPU capacity. [Highly recommended]

Copernic Desktop Search--a very good file indexer/searching . . . it chooses periods of inactivity to do its indexing, so it impinges minimally on your work. Very nice.

CSVed--an easy and powerful CSV file editor enabling you to manipulate any CSV file (with the data separated with any separator)

Desktop Architect--An easy-to-use desktop theme manager & creator

Eudora Mail Reader--Still one of the most feature-rich mail readers on the market. (Ad-ware)

Foxit Readernew--An excellent, small-footprint replacement for clunky Adobe Reader. Faster and easier to use. Works in all situations that require Adobe Reader. If you purchase the Pro version, you'll get annotation, .pdf to .txt conversion, and .pdf creation capabilities.

Fresh Diagnose--A wonderful computer diagnostic tools; gives you everything from complete detailed systems information to processes running to benchmarking tests. Highly recommended.

Iconoid--this program allows you to restore your Windows desktop icons to their original positions after some system event (like booting up in safe mode) screws up your desktop layout. In addition, it allows you to make your icon backgrounds transparent, and it allows you to select any color for your icon text. It has some additional features you might fine usefull too. Highly recommended.

In Control (InCtrl5)--A PC Magazine utility that snapshots your system before installing and again after installing new software. It then compares the two snapshots and tells you what's been changed on your system. This software uses no system resources (as opposed to comparable tools in such products as Norton Systemworks). Highly recommended.

IrfanView--The "Swiss-Army Knife of Viewers". With it, you can view sound, video, and picture files . . . as well as do some editing. With it you can snapshot all or a portion of your screen display. Highly recommended.

jvPowerTools 16--A very complete and useful set of system utilities. Has one of the best registry cleaners out there. Highly recommended, but only for you tecchie types--'tis not for the novice.

Leechget -- An excellent download manager. Has all the features of Go!Zilla without the bugs and lack of support. Not only can you split files and search for alternate servers; but Leechget is smart enough to handle most download situations where other download managers have to be shut off to obtain a download.

Microplanet Gravity--An extremely feature-rich newsreader program--more powerful than Agent or most other freeware/ad-ware alternatives that exist. The latest version reads yEnc encoded binaries.

Microsoft AntiSpyware (now known as Windows Defender)--A spyware/adware program that picks up on "nasties" that Adaware and Spybot miss. Highly recommended.

Newzie News Aggregator--A program like Abilon (see above) with more features, uses an explorer type interface

SpyBot Search & Destroy-- Currently, what appears to be one the best software products for detecting and eliminating spyware.

StartStop--a small utility to help manage--at boot up--those pesky programs that always run when you start up your computer.

TheRename -- the most powerful bulk file renaming utility I've discovered on the web. It's not terrifically user-friendly; but once you get used to the interface, it's a tool you'll really appreciate if you do a lot of file maintenance.

T2T--converts delimited files to HTML tables (separators it can handle: ";" "," <TAB> and | ). It also handles CSV files produced by a spreadsheet or database, and it has other text formatting capabilities too. Very handy.

TweakUI--An easy-to-use Windows setup program; permits you to tinker with how Windows will behave.

Versaverter--An extremely powerful units conversion program. You can convert everything from run-of-the-mill time/distance/temperature measurments to more esoteric things like lumber volumes/radiation dosages/digital image resolutions.

VisiTrax Recording Librarian--One of the best free database programs for managing your movie collections; has a built in CD Player; makes playlists and automagically reads the titles of CDs into your database. Has many other features.

Winamp--A very powerful MP3 player with lots of features, including the ability to transfer music to all sorts of MP3 players like the Sansa e200 series. It's comparable to Yahoo Music Jukebox.

WS_FTP LE--An FTP program that's been around for quite a while; one of the easier FTP programs to use.

WinKey--A tool for assigning shortcut key combinations using the flag key on your keyboard. Extremely useful if your a keyboard shortcut user.

Xteq X-Setup--One of the most complete programs for manipulating the features of Windows. Highly recommended.

Yankee Clipper--Super powerful clipboard manager. Holds up to 200 copied items. Has two main modes of operation: it can automatically save copied items as "boilerplates" or can treat all copied items as temporary. Nifty.

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Software That Will Cost But Is Worth It

Click on the associated link or banner for more information about any of the products below.

AI Roboform--password manager and web page fill-in program. Keeps an encrypted database of all your passwords. Senses fields needing information on a web page and "autofills" them with the appropriate information. Has lots of other nifty features. Very powerful. Highly recommended

Alcohol 120% --[As far as CD and DVD burning are concerned, this program is extremely powerful . . . even more so than the Blindwrite Suite (see below).. Coupled with a Plexwriter CD Burner and a Plextor 712A (or similarly capable drives), you can copy almost any CD for archival purposes. In additiion, you can create an image file for any of your computer games, so that you can run them on a virtual drive (provided by Alcohol) instead of pumping CDs or DVDs all the time, risking damage to them. Highly recommended.

Application Mover-- Program that permits you to move your software from one location to another location without having to reinstall the software. Highly recommended.

Blindwrite Suite--For burning backup copies of CDs that other products can't in addition to standard mainline CD burning. Highly recommended.

- Music Collector Movie Collector Book Collector ---If you own a bar code scanner, these are the databases for you. Easily input and keep track of all your books, music CDs, and movie DVDs

Britannica--Best and most comprehensive encyclopedia in existence . . . now on DVD and CD

Check And Get--One of the best "bookmarker" programs out there. Makes it easy to keep track of your favorite websites. Not only can it store site URLs in folders of your choice; but it can also periodically check to see if those sites have been updated or deleted.

Clipmate--The most powerful clipboard "extender" program I've been able to find to date. In effect you know longer have just a single clipboard item; instead you have a clipboard database at your fingertips. . . . and your clipboarded items are retained even after a system reboot.

Copernic Agent Professional--Get your own meta-search engine. Has lots of fancy features including being able to save and update any search you've done. Formerly called Copernic Pro 2001.

CounterSpy--One of the best spyware/adware programs around. It detects more "nasties" than Adaware, Spybot, or Microsoft Antispyware. If you own only one spyware/adware tool, this is the one to buy. Highly recommended.

Directory Opus-- If you can afford to purchase this tool, if you're computer savvy, and if you'd really like the most powerful replacement for Windows Explorer on the market today, this is the program for you. This program is orders of magnitude more powerful and versatile than PowerDesk Pro. Very highly recommended.

EZ CD & DVD Media Creator--A powerful set of programs for burning all sorts of CDs, DVDs and recording from LPs. Has tools for recording and cleaning up the sound on LPs as they're being recorded to CD, burning data or music CDs, as well as file conversions (e.g., .mp3 to .wav). Has additional tools for creating video CDs, DVDs and working with CD-RW and DVD-RW media.

FlexText--A formatting program for printing text files in various ways (e.g., booklets)--useful if your text editor has crude printing capabilities

FolderMatch--A Windows-based near-Dirmatch clone (DOS-jockeys, remember that program?). Enables you to compare and sync files in two directories; you can add new folders on the fly. In addition it can compare two files based on content, CRC, time-date, and so forth, and it can find duplicate files on your hard drive. Much more powerful than WingDir which was previously listed here.

HyperAccess--One of the better communication programs; has many terminal emulations so you can link with mainframe computers via phone. Has versions for Windows (all flavors), DOS, and OS/2.

Isobuster--A very powerful CD/DVD data recovery tool. Highly recommended.

Mailbag Assistant -- The only program of its kind I've been able to find. Can search, organize, analyze and archive copies of your e-mail messages while leaving your original message files intact. Has Boolean search. Can search for approximate and Soundex matches. Can create message subsets, extracting addresses and attachments. Can compile traffic and word statistics. Has a scripting language. Can export HTML formatted messages intact from some e-mail programs. I use this program to port messages to TreePad. Highly recommended.

New Release! NetObjects Fusion 10--Much easier to use than Dreamweaver and almost as powerful . . . at a much more palatable price. Follows more of a drawing program paradigm than an HTML editor one. You lay your site pages out in hierarchical fashion (much like an organization chart) and your individual website pages in WYSIWYG fashion. NetObjects then generates the code for you. Java, DHTML, and other advanced capabilities are included and easy to use. Has built in FTP capability so that you can easily upload your site to your ISP or web site service provider. And subsequent site maintenance with this product is a breeze too. Very Highly Recommended.

Nero Ultra Editionnew--I'm a convert. This program is now--in my estimation--the best software suite for burning CD and DVDs on the market today. It has comparable features to Roxio's EZ CD & DVD Creator; but gets along better with Win XP and is more reliable and easy to use. When it actually comes down to burning CDs--I get fewer coasters in the process. Very highly recojmmended.

Object Desktop-- The ultimate tool for modifying or creating your Windows XP interface. Change the look of Windows XP entirely. Highly recommended if you're into this sort of things.

ObjectDock Plus-- A very powerful "dock" to which you can add all your favorite program shortcuts. Makes it possible to run Windows XP with almost a totally "clean" desktop with one- or two-click access to all your favorite software. Has lots of features. Compared to other programs out there that do similar things, this is one of the best . . . if not the best. Highly recommended

OmniPage Pro--The leader in optical character recognition (OCR) software; claims to be most accurate of all the OCR software alternatives 

PaperPort Deluxe--One of the niftiest "hodge-podge" (you can store almost anything in it) database programs around. It allows you to organize your notes, documents, pictures, drawings, etc., into folders. Thumbnails are created for all items stored in the database so that it's easy to recognize the document you're looking for. Has built-in search capabilities so you won't find it easy to misplace items. It also provides a launchpad for scanning operations; using it, you can scan something into the database and then route it to other software like an OCR program or wordprocessor.

Partition Magic--A must utility to own; it permits you to change Hard Disk partition sizes on the fly. Also includes Bootmagic which permits you to manage dual operating system computer configurations.

Pocomail--As good or better than Eudora Pro. Has myriad features including a full scripting language for adding capabilities to the software. It also has terrific pre-download, incoming, outgoing, and pre-sent filtering capabilities. Easy to configure for one or more users, and has a spelling dictionary for those of you who need one. Well-supported by one of the more respected shareware authors in the business. Highly recommended (this is the one I use).

PowerArchiver--Has a much larger set of compression formats than WinZip

PowerDesk Pro--A file manager that far surpasses Windows Explorer in capability; has built-in compressed file (.zip, etc.) handling capability, FTP, disk synchronization capability, etc.

Notezilla -- The most powerful and flexible of the 3M Post-it clones for windows. . . more features than even 3M's own Post-It software (e.g., you can have sticky notes in your various programs, not just on the Windows Desktop. Highly recommended.

Qwik-Fix Pro--protects Windows desktops and servers against virus and security threats by blocking the vulnerabilities in the operating system which enables them to attack or exploit Windows . . . safeguards PCs before security patches are available for other virus and spyware detection and removal tools. Highly recommended.

Warning: can conflict with other software if the settings are too restrictive (e.g. NetObjects Fusion won't work if "my computer zone" is secured).

Random House Unabridged Dictionary-- As far as I'm concerned this is the best and largest dictionary out there with the exception of the Oxford English Dictionary (which, I understand, it's derived from). For those of you who often find it confusing to interpret the "pronunciation hieroglyphics" used by dictionaries, this dictionary will pronounce the word for you so there's no guesswork. 

Site Aide--Another excellent non-WYSIWYG editors. (Has a free version which is SiteAide 1.1)

SnagIt Absolutely the best snapshot program I've ever found. Click on the link to go to their web site and look at all the features it has. Recommended particularly for educators.

Symantec Visual Page--A very good WYSIWYG HTML editor--you create your site's pages; it creates the HTML for you.

TextPad--One of the most complete text editors on the market. Has a macro capability, a built in spell checker, and various features programmers will find useful.

The Ultimate Troubleshooter (TUT)--This program replaces a lot of diagnostic system utilities by providing all of their features in one package. Has all the features of A2HijackFree above, some of the features of WinTasks Professional (see below), and it also includes detailed information about your hardware (a la Aida 32). What makes this stand head and shoulders over A2HijackFree is the detailed program information that's provided, along with recommendations concerning which programs should/should not be allowed to run on your system and why. Highly recommended

TreePad Biz-- A very good information manager, well supported, and with a lot of promise. This is an outline-style, multiple panel free-form database manager with the ability to store graphics and text. It has template, drag and drop, bulleting, text mark-up, node and within-article sorting, and table-of-contents creation capabilities. You can import HTML, rtf, txt, to and from TreePad. Highly recommended if you have lots of information you want to centralize in one place, or if you're a teacher who needs a combination presentation tool, database, and calendar.

TreePad X Enterprise -- Similar to TreePad Biz but can handle larger databases (12 GB+); and it allows you to open and work with up to 8 databases simultaneously. Has most, but not all, of the fancy text manipulation features of TreePad Biz yet.

UltraEdit -- A text editor with all the features of TextPad . . . and then some. Highly recommended.

WinRAR-- File compression program that handles more compression file formats than WinZip; but isn't quite as easy and flexible to use as WinZIP

Wintasks 5 Professional--displays all processes running and gives you total control over them (e.g., you can set any process's priority to whatever you want) as well as displaying detailed information about those processes. Much more useful than Windows Task Manager. Highly recommended.

WinZip--One of the oldest, most venerable and reliable compression programs--handles ZIP, ARJ, and a few other compression formats. Doesn't have .rar support yet. Very easy for most people to use.

WordPerfect Office--I've been a WordPerfect user since the days before it became the industry standard. I've watched it knocked out by superior Microsoft marketing of Word. As far as I'm concerned, it's still the best.

Yahoo Music Jukebox Plusupdated--This is the old Musicmatch Jukebox program. Still one of the better music file managers and MP3 players out there. You can burn CDs with it too. (Has a free version that's limited in the to the slower CD-burning speeds.)

Zone Alarm Pro--One of the best, if not the best, firewall for home users

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Latest Version! NetObjects Fusion 10 


Copyright 1998 Rich Hamper 

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Last Updated:

Sunday, January 20, 2008