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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    WOODY'S WINDOWS

    Indispensable utilities for every PC user

    By Woody Leonhard

    No doubt you're the designated techie for your family and friends, so when they have a question or problem with their PC, you're the first call.By installing the right utilities on their PCs, you can reduce your tech time and have more social time.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/06/03/06 (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by revia; 2011-01-19 at 18:26.

  2. #2
    2 Star Lounger
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    I like the free PDF-XChange Viewer. Light and fast but has plenty of features and ability to customize.

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    What's a good program for organizing pictures? DOwnloading pics from my canon camera, I get a folder for each day of pictures. I would like to be able to search for pictures - to be able to search pictures that have my son in them and were taken in Walt DIsney world, for example.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Renna View Post
    What's a good program for organizing pictures? DOwnloading pics from my canon camera, I get a folder for each day of pictures. I would like to be able to search for pictures - to be able to search pictures that have my son in them and were taken in Walt DIsney world, for example.
    Hi Mike and welcome to the Lounge!

    Try the free download Windows Essentials Live Photo Gallery. It might be what you are looking for.
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  5. #5
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Adding to the essential utilities:

    CCleaner for general cleanup tasks. One-button operation which anyone can use.

    Set up for a user who is not technically inclined, or let a more sophisticated user set up for him/herself, a good image backup utility. Macrium Reflect is free and pretty good. I use the non-free Acronis True Image Home. For less-technical users, set the program to do automatic scheduled image backups. Use an external hard drive for this.

    Picassa is a great picture organizer, and Irfanview can convert among various picture formats. Irfanview can even create customized folder or shortcut icons from photos or graphics.

    Video LAN's VLC Player is a good iTunes and QuickTime alternative if you don't need the iTunes Store.

    I agree with using Foxit Reader in place of Adobe Reader. And Firefox in place of Internet Explorer. Firefox works even better when AdBlock Plus is added. Also consider Google Chrome instead of the other browsers.

    I recommend OpenOffice.org in place of Microsoft Office. As long as you have at least one Office type of program, you're good to go.

    I recommend for any new PC, the free PC Decrapifier to get rid of unneeded OEM software. And along the same lines, RevoUninstaller, or for 64-bit Windows, GlarySoft's Absolute Uninstaller.

    I like Paint.NET for photo editing.

    For e-mail, I use the Eudora skin of the Thunderbird Client. It works with POP-3 or IMAP. And it has actual folders, which makes g-Mail downloads easier to organize.

    I also urge all PC users to use Secunia PSI and also have Belarc Adviser ready on any computer. Update plug-ins like Flash and Java Runtimes and remove old versions when Secunia advises to do so. Belarc Adviser is useful in the event that something seems not to be working and it does not appear to be virus or software related.

    Those are the essentials I would add to the list.

    I am not going to cover security software, as individual needs will vary.
    -- Bob Primak --

  6. #6
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    Great freebies, Woody!

    Here are my additions:

    1) WizMouse (no sniggering, please) makes the window active when your cursor is in it, without having to click in the window. It's amazing how useful this is, especially if you work all day with a dual monitor setup. In about two minutes you'll never want to be without it. Free, but contributions accepted.

    http://antibody-software.com/web/sof...der-the-mouse/

    2) Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor) is an amazingly good photo stitching program, much superior to the software included with my last three Canon Powershot models. I can't believe Microsoft has made this available for free. It uses a more robust version of the stitching code that comes with Microsoft Essentials Live Photo Gallery, which is also quite useful and free.

    http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/...roups/ivm/ice/

    3) Okay, so it isn't free after a 30-day trial period, but for clipping images, and more (like recording video for teaching purposes), I love CaptureWiz Pro. At $39.95 it might seem steep, but volume discounts are available, and this little guy is dead flat indispensible to our small office (a real estate appraisal company). Great companion for Google Earth, Yahoo Maps or Bing Maps.

    http://www.pixelmetrics.com/

    4) Hey Woody, how could you forget Belarc Advisor? It's still the best utility for showing a detailed profile of installed software and hardware on a system.

    http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html

  7. #7
    New Lounger
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    SumatraPDF is an excellent Acrobat Reader replacement.

  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    Great article. Thanks Woody.

    If you install programs and then want to uninstall them completely REVO Uninstaller is a killer app. They have a free and paid version but I've been using the free version for a year or two and love it.It will go through and clean your registry of the program for you too. You can get it here:
    http://www.revouninstaller.com/revo_..._download.html

  9. #9
    New Lounger
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    Just downloaded and installed Foxit. Did not ask me to place eBay links on my computer and did not put any there. Maybe Aunt Myrtle is a shopaholic and they gleaned that from her history. I used to use Foxit a while ago, but tried pdf Xviewer. It does have a lot of options, but it's confusing and not as light as Foxit. I like Foxit's simplicity.

    Leo

  10. #10
    Star Lounger cybercrone's Avatar
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    I had heard good things about Media Monkey, but when I tried it, there were all sorts of problems around its handling of album art.

    As I recall, it pasted the same graphic for every album and wouldn't change.

    Have they fixed this, do you know?
    ~grannym

    "She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined.
    She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot."

    --Mark Twain

  11. #11
    5 Star Lounger
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    Here are a couple of free ones that I like ....

    Convert for Windows
    Convert is a free and easy to use unit conversion program that will convert the most popular units of distance, temperature, volume, time, speed, mass, power, density, pressure, energy and many others, including the ability to create custom conversions!
    http://joshmadison.com/software/convert-for-windows/


    Sysinternals Suite
    By Mark Russinovich
    Updated: May 21, 2010
    Introduction
    The Sysinternals Troubleshooting Utilities have been rolled up into a single Suite of tools. This file contains the individual troubleshooting tools and help files.
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/s.../bb842062.aspx
    On the right side of the page, take a look at Top Ten Downloads which are included in the Suite.


    PortableApps.com Suite and PortableApps.com Platform
    your computer, without the computer™

    PortableApps.com Suite™ is a complete collection of portable apps including a web browser, email client, office suite, calendar/scheduler, instant messaging client, antivirus, audio player, sudoku game, password manager, PDF reader, minesweeper clone, backup utility and integrated menu, all preconfigured to work portably. Just drop it on your portable device and you're ready to go.
    http://portableapps.com/suite

  12. #12
    New Lounger
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    The free version of logmein at logmein.com has worked really well for me. Sometimes it's easier to simply log in and fix the problem than to explain what to do or travel.

  13. #13
    New Lounger
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    I've found that Google Earth really slows down an older computer (as auntie is likely to have), and as a computer service tech I've removed it from computers whose owners had absolutely no idea what the icon was for. So please, make sure that your relative knows what the program is and that he/she wants it in the first place.

    Otherwise, great article. I love hearing about the best free apps to keep everything running smoothly.

  14. #14
    2 Star Lounger
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    So how do I tell Foxit to open pdf files in Outlook?

  15. #15
    New Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Renna View Post
    What's a good program for organizing pictures? DOwnloading pics from my canon camera, I get a folder for each day of pictures. I would like to be able to search for pictures - to be able to search pictures that have my son in them and were taken in Walt DIsney world, for example.
    I'll recommend Picasa. Amazingly powerful, yet FREE. That's double amazing.

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