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  1. #1
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    The ultimate Windows Secrets utilities list




    BEST SOFTWARE

    The ultimate Windows Secrets utilities list




    By Tracey Capen

    Windows is a comprehensive operating system replete with tools for diagnosing, repairing, and configuring a PC system. But Windows users have also relied on innovative third-party utilities to help Windows run and work even better. Here's a list of the current utilities — some from Microsoft, but most from other software vendors that have been recommended in Windows Secrets articles.

    The full text of this column is posted at http://windowssecrets.com/best-softw...tilities-list/ (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 Kathleen Atkins; 2012-10-03 at 16:24.

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    I'd like to mention one excellent file manager I've used for many years: Total Commander (http://www.ghisler.com).

    It was originally a Windows follow-up of the old DOS Norton Commander with the 2-panel layout. Originally it was called Windows Commander, but Microsoft insisted that it changed its name.

    It is a shareware program. There is a nag screen at the start (you have to press '1', '2' or '3') but no other limitations. If you pay the relatively cheep price, you'll get updates and support free - at least he has not charged for updates since I bought my copy in 2005.

    It is a very well-tested, regularly updated, feature-rich program (please see the home page mentioned above for features, esp. have a look at "New: Image gallery of Total Commander with the most important functions" near the bottom).

    I know there are good free alternatives, but my experience says this is definitely one of the best, if not the best. For me, a must-have.
    Last edited by toktok; 2012-10-04 at 06:31.

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Seems to me like they omitted an entire category namely Imaging & Backup.
    I'll put my vote in here for Macrium Reflect Free! There is also a paid Pro Version that I plan to check out.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    PowerShell & VBA Rule!

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    The article also didn't include any security programs which protect your computer. Not even Microsoft Security Essentials.
    Clearly, this list is only a starting point, not a final or definitive list. We all have our favorites, and I think it's unfair to single out just a few utilities as being better than the others.
    But as a starting point, this is a pretty good list overall.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Hi
    I would have thought MagicISO should be there somewhere !! It's a brilliant product as it allows you create ISOs and their own specialist form which is smaller (UIF), and then you can create a series of virtual CD/DVD players that you can then load any ISO or UIF into and then the contents is available just as if there was an additional physical drive with a DVD in it.
    Another program I use all the time is "Xplorer2" ! It's a replacement for the very inadequate Windows Explorer. The features are vast and even after using it for at least 5 years, I probably only use 50% of its capabilities ! It does cost a small amount but it's worth every penny/cent/...
    Tom
    Last edited by astrolabe; 2012-10-05 at 15:06. Reason: After thought

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astrolabe View Post
    Hi
    I would have thought MagicISO should be there somewhere !! It's a brilliant product as it allows you create ISOs and their own specialist form which is smaller (UIF), and then you can create a series of virtual CD/DVD players that you can then load any ISO or UIF into and then the contents is available just as if there was an additional physical drive with a DVD in it.
    Another program I use all the time is "Xplorer2" ! It's a replacement for the very inadequate Windows Explorer. The features are vast and even after using it for at least 5 years, I probably only use 50% of its capabilities ! It does cost a small amount but it's worth every penny/cent/...
    Tom
    MagicDisc is free, but does not support the ISO format. MagicISO costs $29.00 and does support the ISO format. I thought the list was about free utilities.

    As stated in your post, Xplorer2 is not free in any of its forms.

    Again, isn't this List was meant to include only free products?
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2012-10-06 at 04:35.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    3 Star Lounger midnight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    I'll put my vote in here for Macrium Reflect Free! There is also a paid Pro Version that I plan to check out.
    I waited until Bits du Jour had the paid version for dirt cheap, because I wanted one program that did a good image backup plus the data files.

    I have had it about 4 months now and really like it.

    BJ

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    Smile God Bless You

    For 4 months I have been receiving a Blue Screen every morning when I boot-up my computer. I then restart and go into safe mode then I am able to restart successfully, but I have not been able to discover what causes the blue screen. Finally when reading the ultimate Windows Secrets Utilities I discovered "BlueScreenView" which was recommended by a reader and it saved my day. Using it I discovered I had a corrupted graphics driver which I was then able to replace by updating. Once again Windows Secrets came to the rescue..... thank you.

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justgordon View Post
    For 4 months I have been receiving a Blue Screen every morning when I boot-up my computer. I then restart and go into safe mode then I am able to restart successfully, but I have not been able to discover what causes the blue screen. Finally when reading the ultimate Windows Secrets Utilities I discovered "BlueScreenView" which was recommended by a reader and it saved my day. Using it I discovered I had a corrupted graphics driver which I was then able to replace by updating. Once again Windows Secrets came to the rescue..... thank you.
    I agree. Nir Sofer's utilities (and Sysinternals from Microsoft) can be very useful when facing Windows issues which other utilities have failed to diagnose.

    Be aware that Nir Sofer's utilities include some password recovery tools which are flagged as malicious by many AV/AS programs. These are false positives, provided you determine that the Nir Sofer Utilities are indeed the one and only source of the alerts.

    Graphics Drivers seem to need a lot of updating in some systems. I have to keep checking in my Toshiba Satellite laptop with dual-mode graphics (Intel core-i5) NVidia/Intel graphics. This configuration is no longer supported by NVidia, which makes keeping the laptop's graphics up to date even more challenging. This is the one case where I use DriverMax's Driver Updates feature. So far, no bad graphics driver updates from them for this laptop.

    It seems I have to check for this driver update about as often as I check for Microsoft Updates. And that's way too frequently for a graphics driver.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Another free utility I use many times a day is the Everything search engine from www.voidtools.com. Incredibly fast and thorough filename searches. Doesn't search file contents, but if you can remember a few letters or digits from the filename, Everything will hunt it down in microseconds even on a BIG storage system. Pin it to your Taskbar to keep it handy.

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