Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Data Backup

Friday, December 5, 2008

yahoo email in outlook

Access Free Yahoo! Mail with Outlook 2007

To fetch mail from and send mail through a free Yahoo! Mail account in Outlook:

  • Install YPOPs! and make sure it is running.
  • Select Tools | Account Settings... from the menu in Outlook.
  • Go to the E-mail tab.
  • Click New....
  • Make sure Microsoft Exchange, POP3, IMAP, or HTTP is selected.
  • Click Next >.
  • Type your name (what you want to appear in the From: line of messages you send) under Your Name:.
  • Enter your full Yahoo! Mail address (e.g. "") under E-mail Address:.
  • Make sure Manually configure server settings or additional server types is checked.
  • Click Next >.
  • Make sure Internet E-mail is selected.
  • Click Next >.
  • Make sure POP3 is selected under Account Type:.
  • Type "" under both Incoming mail server: and Outgoing mail server (SMTP):.
  • Type your Yahoo! ID under User Name:.
    • The Yahoo! ID is also the first part of your Yahoo! Mail address, i.e. everything before "". If your Yahoo! Mail address is "", the ID is "example".
  • Enter your Yahoo! Mail password under Password:.
  • Click More Settings ....
  • Go to the Outgoing Server tab.
  • Make sure My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication is checked.
    • Leave Use same settings as my incoming mail server selected.
  • Click OK.
  • Now click Next >.
  • Click Finish.

Access Free Yahoo! Mail with Outlook 2003

To retrieve mail from and send mail through a free Yahoo! Mail account in Outlook 2003:

  • Install YPOPs! and make sure it is running.
  • Open Outlook.
  • Select Tools | E-Mail Accounts... from the menu.
  • Make sure Add a new e-mail account is selected.
  • Click Next >.
  • Check POP3.
  • Click Next >.
  • Type your name under Your Name:.
  • Enter your Yahoo! Mail address under E-mail Address:.
  • Type "localhost" under both Incoming mail server (POP3): and Outgoing mail server (SMTP):.
    • If "localhost" later turns out not to work, you can try "" instead.
  • Type your Yahoo! ID under User Name:.
    • The Yahoo! ID is also the first part of your Yahoo! Mail address, i.e. everything before "". If your Yahoo! Mail address is "", the ID is "example".
  • Enter your Yahoo! Mail password under Password:.
  • Click More Settings ....
  • Go to the Outgoing Server tab.
  • Make sure My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication is checked.
    • Leave Use same settings as my incoming mail server selected.
  • Click OK.
  • Now click Next >.
  • Click Finish.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


A 2 Z Technology Services
(301) 754-1920

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Speeding Ticket

An older lady gets pulled over for speeding...

Older Woman: Is there a problem, Officer?

Officer: Ma'am, you were speeding

Older Woman: Oh, I see.

Officer: Can I see your license please?

Older Woman:I'd give it to you but I don't

have one.

Officer: Don't have one?

Older Woman: Lost it, 4 years ago for

drunk driving.

Officer: I see...Can I see your vehicle

registration papers please.

Older Woman: I can't do that.

Officer: Why not?

Older Woman: I stole this car.

Officer: Stole it?

Older Woman: Yes, and I killed and hacked

up the owner.

Officer: You what?

Older Woman: His body parts are in plastic

bags in the trunk if you want to see

The Officer looks at the woman and slowly

backs away to his car and calls for back up.
Within minutes 5 police cars circle the car.
A senior officer slowly approaches the car,
clasping his half drawn gun.

Officer 2: Ma'am, could you step out of your

vehicle please! The woman steps out of her

Older woman: Is there a problem sir?

Officer 2: One of my officers told me that you

have stolen this car and murdered the owner.

Older Woman: Murdered the owner?

Officer 2: Yes, could you please open the trunk

of your car, please.

The woman opens the trunk, revealing nothing

but an empty trunk.

Officer 2: Is this your car, ma'am?

Older Woman: Yes, here are the registration

The officer is quite stunned.

Officer 2: One of my officers claims that you

do not have a driving license.

The woman digs into her handbag and pulls

out a clutch purse and hands it to the officer.

The officer examines the license. He looks

quite puzzled.

Officer 2: Thank you ma'am, one of my officers

told me you didn't have a license, that you stole
this car, and that you murdered and hacked up
the owner.

Older Woman: Bet the liar told you I was

speeding, too!!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Online TV Player

Online TV Player lets you watch 850+ free Internet TV and listen 1500+ free online radio stations on your PC. It allows watcher to watch directly into TV without having to experience the annoyances of a Web site (like slow-loading pages and pop-up ads). No additional equipment required. Online TV Player support both Windows Media and Real Video. You can play most of stream formats in one program. It can set the screen window to any size that you want. It supports full-screen mode too.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

When to Sell

Wallet Feeling A Little Light? Check Out The Expense Tracker

With the economy slipping closer to rock bottom every day now, many of us are going to have to start cutting back on our day-to-day expenditures. Cue Voice2Insight’s The Expense Tracker, an online expense tracking system that makes entering every transaction as easy as calling a phone number and saying a few words.

Most expense trackers require users to input their daily transactions from their computers, which is time consuming and requires an impressive memory (or very organized receipts). Voice2Insight’s system allows users to call a designated number, where they’re prompted by an automated system to state the amount they’ve just spent and what category the transaction would fall under (for example, I might say “Groceries, $50″). And if you forget to leave one of the voice messages, you can manage your account from the computer as you would with a traditional system.

The service costs $15 a month ($10 if you buy six months at a time), which may be too steep for some people. I think The Expense Tracker would probably be better off adopting a model similar to Mint, offering ads for targeted financial products based on spending habits. Then again, paying for the service may make users feel obligated to use it religiously (some people swear by expensive gym memberships for this reason).

Other companies in the expense tracking space include Expensify and ShoeBoxed.

get widgetminimize
The Expense Tracker image
Company: Voice2Insight
The Expense Tracker allows users to updating their online spending reports using an automated dial-in system

Friday, September 19, 2008

HDMI cables

A MUCH cheaper place to buy HDMI and other cables



Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Audio Streaming

Bytes of Life

Bytes of Life
For Every Move, Mood and Bodily Function, There's a Web Site to Help You Keep Track

By Monica Hesse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 9, 2008; C01

When San Francisco couple Brynn Evans and Chris Messina heard of a new Web site called BedPost, they registered an account before the site was even out of beta. BedPost was created to map users' sex lives online -- everything from partner to duration of the encounter to descriptive words, which could later be viewed as a tag cloud.

Relationships and one-night stands alike, condensed to spare, inflexible data in a way that might make the average user uncomfortable. Or simply baffled.

But for Evans, a grad student studying cognitive science, and Messina, a Web entrepreneur, the site was just what they needed.

After all, they already use project-management site Basecamp to chart the nonsexual parts of their relationship.

They use location tracker to study where they've been.

They track their driving habits on, their listening habits on, and their Web-surfing habits, to the minute, on

"Brynn uses a service to track her menstruation," says Messina helpfully. (Two of them, in fact: and Some of these trackings are visible to other people, but mostly the couple monitors the information just for themselves.

Before BedPost, they'd been using an Excel spreadsheet to track each interlude since the beginning of their six-month relationship, though they found the interface limiting. They saw BedPost and thought, "Oh, look, this guy's doing this, too, and he's actually making plots of it. Plotting was cool," says Evans.

Yes, plotting was cool.

The ability to visualize trends over time.

Now they could really start getting somewhere.

Is the careful tracking performed by Messina and Evans just a form of high-tech navel gazing? Or is it the opposite of narcissism -- an insecure belief that people cannot accurately evaluate what's best for them without the aid of a Web site?

Messina and Evans prefer the term "data junkies," spoken with the self-effacing self-awareness that comes from months of meticulous self-study.

Self-trackers like Messina and Evans could spend hours online, charting, analyzing, tracking. Life as a series of pure, distilled data points, up for interpretation.

It's not about tracking what you do, they say. It's about learning who you are.

Keeping Track

Self-disclosure has been redefined online. In Web 2.0, it's led to blogs and Tweets, Facebook and instant messenger, each developed to help users share the inane minutiae of their lives with others.

But another kind of site has evolved -- a type meant not to broadcast your life to others but to chart it for yourself, on password-protected sites accessible only to the user. A life examined to the point that Socrates himself might say, "Guys, that's enough."

Messina and Evans are at the tip of the information iceberg. The Internet brims with sites that track just about every task that you perform on a given day (eating, sleeping, exercising) as well as the things your body does without direction (pumping blood, producing glucose, gaining weight).

Some of the seemingly goofier sites have practical purposes: RescueTime was meant to increase time-management skills among business types, MyMonthlyCycles was developed for women trying to conceive, and Basecamp helps colleagues complete joint projects remotely. But dedicated trackers can repurpose these sites for their own self-study -- or use them as inspiration for their own, more intricate tools.

In San Diego, statistics student David Horn already belongs to BrightKite, and, which tracks his Internet usage. He's also experimented with to map food intake and calorie expenditure. It was satisfying for a while, but now he wants something bigger -- something simultaneously broader and more nitpicky -- to fill in the gaps that individual sites don't currently track.

Horn is working with his engineer girlfriend, Lisa Brewster, to develop an all-encompassing life tracker, under the working title of "I Did Stuff."

"I'd like to track the people I talk to," says Brewster, "and how inspired I am six hours later. And definitely location history -- where I am, what time -- "

"Correlated with weather history," interjects Horn. "And allergy data, pollen and mold in the air."

Plus, "Web sites I read and their effect," says Brewster. "If I spend a long time reading a blog, like TechCrunch, but I don't get noticeable output from it."

These ideas are the types of heady possibilities that will be discussed by the members of a new group in San Francisco called Quantified Self. Members plan to meet monthly to share with one another the tools and sites they've found helpful on their individual paths to self-digitization. Topics include, according to the group invite: behavior monitoring, location tracking, digitizing body info and non-invasive probes.

"Don't you think it's kind of obvious that if you step on a scale, there should be something that sends the information to your computer?" asks Gary Wolf, a contributing editor at Wired magazine and one of Quantified Self's co-founders. "Isn't it ridiculous to think that blood pressure shouldn't be measured at least once a day, if not several times a day?"

Wolf is a tracker whose particular interest is the secret workings of his own body.

You listen to his questions -- posed energetically and frequently interrupted by excited laughter -- and you think No, Gary, no!

Most of us would prefer our scale's number never saw light of day, much less light of database.

At some level, Wolf knows this. He theorizes that the impulse to self-track is one part available technology, one part geeky, data-driven personality. So far, only 10 people have RSVP'd affirmatively to Quantified Self's first meeting, which is scheduled to take place mid-September. "This is," Wolf says, "probably a very small subset of humanity."

There might be a broader audience than Wolf thinks. When Chicago Web designer Heather Rivers first launched menstruation tracker, she hadn't planned for the site to be anything more than a simple reminder application: Pack tampons tomorrow ! e-mailed to each of the site's 4,000 subscribers the day before their periods were expected to start. She designed a clean, minimalist look for User-friendly, she thought. No fuss.

"But I started getting so many e-mails," says Rivers. Things like, "I want to track exactly the minute my period started." Things about weight, and diet, and feelings. People seemed obsessed with tracking how they felt, Rivers says. "I'd get messages saying, 'I really want to be able to post a note saying I feel crappy right now.' "

"I wonder if it's the same people who take a picture of everything they eat and post it online," she muses. She finds the impulse perplexing. But to please her subscribers, she's begun an overhaul of The new version will have bells and whistles and notes and mirrors, all the better to see yourself with.

Don't Dismiss the Data


For what possible reason would otherwise sane people dedicate brainpower and man-hours to charting experiences at which they themselves were already present?

And not meaningful things, either. Not things like, "Proposed to future wife at 7:02 p.m., Aug. 15, 2006," but things like, "Ate three green beans at 7:02 p.m., Aug. 15, 2006." And not just occasionally, but lots of times every single day, gobs and gobs of binary data representing everything from the last time you slept past 10 a.m. to the song you were listening to at noon last Oct. 12.

It's similar to a fashionable new trend called lifeblogging, an art form/obsession wherein bloggers go to extreme means to record infinitesimal events throughout the course of a day. Microsoft engineer Gordon Bell famously (at least in very small circles) wears a SenseCam around his neck, which automatically snaps a photograph every 60 seconds of wherever Bell happens to be and whatever he happens to be doing.

But lifeblogging seems mostly like a byproduct of an always-on society. If you do something but fail to record it online, did it really happen?

Self-tracking, on the other hand, is partly about the recording, but also as much about the analysis that goes on after the recording.

The apparent meaninglessness of data recorded over time is actually what makes it profound.

The problem with diaries and blogs, trackers say, is that people use them to record the events they think are meaningful. What they forget is that meaningful events are often a result of months of insignificance, a cause and effect not readily visible to the human eye but easily detected with the help of a computer program.

"Things that happen over time can lead up to bigger events," says Horn. "They may seem small by themselves, but looking at them as a whole I can see how they lead to a bigger theme or idea."

"I was always a terrible self-journaler," says Messina. "Every once in a while I'd write in a journal, but it was always a major, momentous event. 'Got to college.' 'Broke up with girlfriend.' You lose a lot of the nuance that caused that situation to come about."

Tracking can "zoom out over my entire life," he says. It could, for example, help him better understand the aforementioned breakup. "When you've self-documented the course of an entire relationship, trivia that doesn't seem like much could, over time," help him understand exactly what went wrong, and when.

Maybe, to extrapolate on Messina's idea, your weekly date night had been Friday. And maybe you were always in a tetchy mood on Fridays because you'd just come from chem lab, which you hated. Maybe the whole relationship could have been saved by switching date night to Sunday, after your endorphin-boosting yoga class. Maybe you just didn't realize the pattern, because you weren't tracking it. All the answers could be right there, in your life data.

When talking about tracking, Messina speaks thoughtfully and precisely, choosing words carefully and revising his ideas when his original sentence doesn't seem clear enough.

He met Evans when he participated in a research study she was conducting as part of her course work. She was immediately drawn to the insight he showed into his own behavior.

But insight doesn't necessarily translate to emotional intelligence, and people who graph their lives online don't put much weight in intuition and fuzzy feelings.

"For a certain type of person," says Wolf, the Quantified Self founder, "data is the most important thing you can trust. Certain people think a feeling of inner certainty is misleading."

Wolf says he's one of them; Messina can identify with the sentiment.

"I want to understand the changes that are actually happening [in my life], not just my perceptions of them."

Has it really been a month since you last had sex, or does it just feel like that? Did you really floss five times last week, or was it more like twice? Now that you realize that, are you a little less angry at your dentist for that painful last appointment?

Computers don't lie.

People lie.

This part's actually good science:

"We all have the tendency to see our behaviors in a little bit of a halo," says Jayne Gackenbach, who researches the psychology of the Internet at Grant MacEwan College in Alberta, Canada. It's why dieters underestimate their food intake, why smokers say they go through fewer cigarettes than they do. "If people can get at some objective criteria, it would be wonderfully informative." That's the brilliance, she says, of new technology.

But it's one thing to use a computer as a tool for behavioral therapy, and another to treat a computer as a life-guiding oracle, ego to our id, telling us how we feel and what we need. Or perhaps, treating the computer as a person -- while we become the machines, subject to our tracking Web sites' every direction.

Michelle McGillivray, a mom in Oregon, signed up for when she was trying to conceive her first child. She has a toddler now, but McGillivray still uses the site, relying on how it says she should be feeling (based on her previous data input) to inform her behavior. If one month she was particularly irritable at a certain point in her cycle, she'll make sure to keep to herself at that point during the next month. She'll even wear the clothes she noticed made her feel best the last time around.

Most of the trackers interviewed for this article haven't been tracking long enough, in their opinions, to adequately gauge how it's affecting their behaviors. (Messina has only been on some sites for a few months). But the possibilities are endless.

For example: Analysis of your stress levels, cross-referenced with other things, could tell you not only that you needed a vacation, but also when and where to go, says Messina.

Brewster and Horn see untapped potential for optimizing productivity and life experiences. If you could learn which foods, people, activities, sleep patterns, driving routes and television shows left you the most content, think of how much better your life would be.

Complicated decisions, diluted to data.

It's a happy thought.

Still, a reporter has one niggling question about this improved world, in which there is no wasted time or effort, in which daily activities like reading TechCrunch would be chopped from the schedule if they did not produce enough "noticeable output."

Is a smile a noticeable output? the reporter wants to know. What if productivity decreased in the hours following, but the time spent on the Web site produced 3.2 chuckles and 2.4 interesting pieces of information learned?

Brewster pauses for a few seconds before looking to her boyfriend, Horn, for assistance.

"David," she says finally, "this is a bigger algorithm."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Invented a Dog IQ test - basically if you buy this, your dog is smarter than you.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

drive image

Driveimage XML

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Easy Scheduler
When is Good

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fun Online Radio creates a radio station based on your favorite artists/songs

Similar to

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Free Cell Phone Services

Free Information - GOOG411
Dial 1-800-Goog-411 or 1-800-466-4411 for free information

Cha Cha answer service
Call 1-800-2CHACHA or 1-800-224-2242
Ask any question and the answer will be text messaged to you.

JOTT Reminder Service
First, register at
then (866) JOTT-123 and leave yourself a reminder message

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tech Blog

Free Live Online TV Streams

Most television studios have caught up with the web and made their shows available online, either with their own websites or with an aggregate effort such as Hulu. However most studios are still far away from offering live television online, leaving web users having to revert to an alternative means to source live TV web feeds. TVChannelsFree is a website that has aggregated live streaming video sources for almost 3,000 TV channels, and they can all be viewed with just a web browser.

Channels originate from over 80 different countries - from Eurosports through to local US governement programming. The site couldn’t be easier to use and access, and the performance of the streams is usually excellent. Some of the streams that are available originate from the stations own website, but in most cases the stream is either pirated, has bypassed geo restrictions or has bypassed a pay wall. Most streams are in Windows Media format, but there are others in Flash, Quicktime or SopCast.

In most cases it isn’t clear whos bandwidth you are using, but a quick look under the hood shows that the host servers range from being Akamai and Limelight, to network websites through to private servers. Technically this site, and others like it, are simply linking to the content (via a media embed) but as has been seen before this usually isn’t solid grounds for a defence when the copyright lawyers coming knocking. With the the big US networks imposing geo-restrictions on their web content, and thousands of other TV channels around the world without a web presence, the only choice at the moment for many is sites like TVChannelsFree.

If you are bored of the selection at TVChannelsFree or can’t find a particular channel, take a look at other similar sites such as ChannelChooser, wwwitv and beelinetv. They have a large number of channels in common (and seem to share the same sources) though some have categories of streams that others may not.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Backup Software

Second Copy

Friday, April 25, 2008

iTunes alternatives

Behold, the most popular iTunes alternatives for the week ending April 25.
1. Media Jukebox - Organize, play, convert, encode, rip, and burn digital music.
2. JetAudio Basic - Play audio and video files, convert to other file formats, and burn CDs.
3. Media Monkey - Manage and organize extensive digital music collections.
4. Winamp - Play and organize a variety of audio and video files, as well as rip and burn CDs.
5. Foobar2000 - Listen to music with this free audio player that supports a range of digital formats.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Don't depend on spell check only

Spel Chek
I halve a spelling checker,
It came with my pea see.
It plainly marks four my revue
Mistakes I dew knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait aweigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the era rite
Its rarely ever wrong.

I've scent this massage threw it,
And I'm shore your pleased too no
Its letter prefect in every weigh;
My checker tolled me sew.

91 Utilities to Supercharge Windows

Here is a long post about the top programs to make Windows better -

ARTICLE DATE: 03.07.08
By Eric Griffith

We're going back to the basics: Our 2008 collection of utility software is all about tweaking, manipulating, and totally dominating the looks and functionality of Windows XP and Vista. These 91 tools provide all the help you need to control Windows. All the products work with XP and Vista unless indicated.
Hall of Fame
Some programs make it into our utility extravaganza year after year. These are the top five. Free This graphics viewer (pronounced ear-fan-view) lets you see any image file and most digital videos with just one right click. It's that simple. You can also use this power viewer to convert files to other formats and do some quick editing and annotation.
Norton PartitionMagic $69.95 The gold standard in disk partitioning does it all in XP: moves partitions, combines them, creates them, converts their file systems, and deletes existing partitions. The BootMagic utility is there to help if you use multiple OSs on the partitions.
RoboForm $29.95 Perhaps nothing has filled out as many forms on the Web as RoboForm. Enter your information once and RoboForm fills in all the forms you encounter. It also generates and enters strong passwords on secure sites, so you don't even have to remember them. $39.95 We hope the average person doesn't take as many screen grabs as a computer magazine editor, but for those who do, there's really only one perfect tool. SnagIt can capture any item on screen, from icons on up, and then allows last-minute edits before saving.
Tweak Free Microsoft never officially supported its ultimate UI tweaker for XP, but the utility quickly became indispensable and created the trend of other tools offering multiple UI tweaks under a single interface.
File Organization
File $19.95 Windows can handle some basic file renaming in batches, but not with the power and simplicity of this tool, which changes extensions and can undo renames. Use the preview function to see the new name before giving the okay. Free or $29.95 for Pro Remember Norton Commander and its two-pane view? It seems that xplorer2 does, bringing that dual-pane paradigm back-with tabs-to replace Windows Explorer completely. You can even bookmark folders and later access them remotely via FTP. Free or $19.95 for Pro As the name implies, this utility does one thing and does it well: It locates duplicate files on your computer and kills one, leaving you with just a single file.
PCMag Utility: File Utility $7.97 alone or included in $19.97 annual subscription This two-pack includes MultiRen for strong batch file-renaming in Windows Explorer and FileGrab to create lists of files in a folder that you can then paste into spreadsheets or other documents. Free, XP only Another replacement for Windows Explorer, with organizational tabs. This small program nicely displays the total size of folders, not just files.
Total $34 This dual-pane tool mimics the look of a FTP client (it has FTP built in) while comparing files and folders—including archives. Free Put this utility on a USB key—even a floppy disk if you can find one—and take it with you to control files on any PC.
WindowBlinds $19.95 Putting new skins on Windows completely changes its looks—from the wallpaper to the menus—without changing how it works. WindowBlinds claims to improve performance over XP's and Vista's own UI, enhancing things like transparency of windows and menus. Artists, design your own customized skins. Free Want to stick with Windows Explorer? It's your choice, but you can still enjoy an advanced, tabbed interface. After installing this utility, go to Explorer, right-click the toolbar, and check "QTTabBar," then check the ButtonBar to get extra control over new tabs.
Taskbar Shuffle Free Don't let the Windows taskbar control you. Move the buttons for open applications anywhere you want on the taskbar, or group open documents together. It works with Windows versions all the way back to Windows 95.
Vista Transformation Free Are you jealous of friends who get to compute all day in good-looking Vista while you toil in ancient XP? This pack does all it can to make sure the older OS gets the visual perks of the newer. From the boot screen to the smart icons, even the control panels are Vista-ized. Free Make Windows behave in ways that match your style of working. This background utility minimizes windows to the tray, snaps them together as you drag, and disables specific keys (like the Windows key). It even provides stats on how much you use your keyboard. Free Simple and to the point: Sometimes windows pop up that can't be resized, but you want to resize them anyway. This tiny utility makes sure that all windows you encounter can be elongated as needed.
Cleandesk $12 If you tend to place a lot of items on your desktop, this organizer can help clean up the digital mess. Create rules for how the organizer should treat different kinds of data ("Copy JPEG images to My Pictures," for example) and let it do the heavy lifting.
Compression/Encryption Free Want to encrypt an entire drive, even a thumb drive? TrueCrypt will do it in real time, even as you add files. A wizard assists in creation of a virtual encrypted volume, at the size of the file you want to encrypt or occupying a whole disk partition. Free This open-source compression manager handles RAR and CAB files and promises better compression with ZIP archives than competitors offer. It even supports a new archive format called 7z, which is, as you'd expect, 7-Zip's default format.
SecureZIP for $29.95 This PC Magazine Editors' Choice is all about the ZIP format because it's from the people who created ZIP. It does everything an archive manager should, such as integrating with Outlook to make sending and receiving compressed files a snap.
File Transfer Free, $19.95 for Pro version Copying or moving a file in Windows from one folder to another doesn't have to be sloooow. TeraCopy integrates directly into Windows Explorer and moves files asynchronously to speed things up. It can pause and resume transfers. If something goes wrong, TeraCopy doesn't crash, it keeps trying. Free This no-cost FTP client from Mozilla (it's a sister to Firefox) looks like an old-school Windows FTP tool but works on multiple operating systems and languages. It supports FTP over SSL (FTPS) and SSH (SFTP). Free Don't use a complicated FTP client just to upload the occasional file. RightLoad lets you right-click files and send them to predetermined folders on your FTP site. After files upload, you'll get a list of links showing where to find the files. Great for bloggers who like to upload lots of images.
Āµ Free Whether you're a BitTorrent power user or just do the occasional download, ĀµTorrent is a small and speedy assistant. It takes up only 220K, yet will download multiple, multigigabyte files, showing you the speeds on the fly, the number of download peers per file, and more.
Disk Utilities Free This won't clear the Fraggles out of the rock, but it does defragment a hard disk—or, in a nice twist, individual files. If you're not sure what needs defragging, it'll provide a list of files that need it. The single EXE file can run from a thumb drive. Free How does a full Linux system on a bootable CD-ROM help Windows users? By providing access to all sorts of systems and drives (even network drives) when your computer won't start. It may provide the best (and only) access you can get after a fatal disk catastrophe. Free Not just another Linux system for a bootable CD, the GParted-LiveCD tool is for setting up disk partitions as fast and painlessly as possible. It supports file systems from FAT32 to NTFS and will graphically reorganize the partitions on your drive as you desire.
PCMag Utility: Defrag-A-File $7.97 alone or included in $19.97 annual subscription Defrag a drive or a file. Version 2 is faster than the original utility and has an interface for Windows Explorer, so you can analyze files individually before you make changes. You can also schedule it to defrag a drive while you're away.
Backup $30 Want a simple way to back up or synchronize files across drives? SyncBackSE is pretty traditional. Specify folders and create filters for exceptions, and with a single click (or even without a click, if you preschedule) all files are placed where you want. Versioning keeps multiple copies so you can roll back as needed. $59.95 annual subscription or $149.95 lifetime use Make sure your files are available on every computer you use, at work, home, or anywhere, without having to move a muscle. BeInSync will also allow you remote access to files when you're not at your own computer, and back up your data using Amazon's S3 online storage. Free Use DriverMax to back up your hardware drivers. Then, after a fresh Windows install, DriverMax puts all the drivers back in less than 10 minutes. That's much better than reinstalling each printer, scanner, network adapter, and camera individually.
ShadowProtect Desktop 3.1 See our First Looks review.
PCMag Utility: $7.97 alone or included in $19.97 annual subscription One of the most popular downloads, InstaBack2 handles backup jobs as you specify: in real time on frequently used folders (comparing files so you back up only the latest), or as scheduled for others. Restoration of backed-up files is also a breeze.
System Monitors Free Short for Windows Directory Statistics, this program presents your hard drive's directory in multiple views, some resembling Windows Explorer and others looking like nothing you've ever seen—files represented by colorful 3D boxes, for example. You'll soon know what's taking up space. Free Take a hard look at every file stored on your hard disk with Xinorbis. It provides a pie chart of what you've got, how big files are getting, even which files you access most. You can analyze one folder at a time or analyze a couple to compare their usage. Free By matching this Web-based system scanner with an ever-growing online database of processes running under Windows, Uniblue provides a massive amount of data about what's happening above and below the surface of Windows.
PCMag Utility: DiskAction $7.97 alone or included in $19.97 annual subscription Want to know more about the processes running on your system? Disk-Action knows what files a process is accessing and how much data it's reading and writing. Use it to figure out why the hard drive starts spinning even when you're doing nothing.
PCMag Utility: TaskPower $7.97 alone or included in $19.97 annual subscription Sometimes you need to know if a process poses a threat. This latest version of TaskPower teams with Bit9 to check a regularly updated database for malicious files. TaskPower is smart enough to break processes into applications and tasks running in the background. And of course, it provides the power to kill both as you see fit. Free Whether you consider yourself a beginner or expert with Windows, this utility has you covered. It will scan a PC and generate a report about every program running (with your blessing or not), hardware drivers, and more. Compare it with previous scans to see what's different, or submit the data on select help forums to get expert advice.
System Information for Windows (SIW) Free SIW's tagline of "everything you want to know about your PC" isn't wrong. This tool gathers and displays data on your software, hardware, network, even CPU and RAM usage. You don't even need to install SIW; it will run from a USB key. The data it collects can be used in various reports. It's a boon for IT managers.
Settings Tweakers Free, $34.99 Premium for one year with 8 plug-ins, or $49.99 Ultimate for one year with 15 plug-ins This Vista-only collection of optimizations comes in a free version and two paid-subscription versions that accept plug-ins for even more customization. All will modify items such as your desktop, Start menu, and browsers (including Firefox), and provide virtual desktops. For our full review, see . $19.95 Microsoft's own TweakUI (see "Hall of Fame," below) inspired products like this to change the behavior and performance of Windows Vista. TweakVista accesses features that would otherwise require Registry editing (or worse). It also provides system information so you tweak only what needs tweaking.
XdN Free This tool handles settings for both XP and Vista. XdN's tweaks aren't mind-blowing but are nonetheless useful, and the price is certainly right.
Displays $29.95 or $39.95 for Pro If you've got a second PC with a screen—even a laptop—use it as a second monitor, controlling both computers from a single keyboard and mouse. You can use up to three displays per PC to get true "surround vision." The pro version includes remote control and synchronizes the clipboards on the two computers. Free Virtual desktops give you access to multiple workspace "screens" even if you have only one monitor. VirtuaWin adds up to nine such virtual desktops, accessible through an icon in the system tray. It's modular enough to accept plug-ins (such as an auto-switcher that cycles through desktops until you stop it) that won't interfere with VirtuaWin's core use. $39.95 This utility will increase your productivity as you work with multiple monitors from a single computer. UltraMon offers a smart Windows taskbar that can cross multiple displays, advanced window management (like dragging maximized programs to different displays or short cuts that open programs on predetermined monitors), and individual wallpapers for each screen—up to ten. Free Multiple monitors of different sizes on your computer may not always provide the best visual setup. DisplayFusion assists by placing different wallpapers on each screen, even a contiguous background across displays with different resolutions. It helps control windows, too, dragging them from screen to screen.
Remote Access/Networks
Leaf for Free Leaf Networks wants to make it easy to set up network file shares and streaming, even allowing Xbox game play over a network—or from your own network to a friend's, like a consumer-level VPN. Clients are in the works for Mac and Linux to create easy shares across platforms.
Avvenu Access 'n Free or $9.99/month for 10GB online storage Stroll with Avvenu on a PC to pick files you want to share with others. Then go to a remote system (even a mobile device) and use the browser to access files on the original computer. The premium version even allows local access from a computer other than your own; the files are downloaded from backups on Avvenu's servers.
PCMag Utility: NetShare $7.97 alone or included in $19.97 annual subscription You can connect to—or disconnect from—multiple network shares with a single click using this management tool. Set up multiple profiles, each with its own assigned shares, so you can have, say, one profile for work and another for home. Free This freebie will access the screen of a second PC and allow quick file transfer. The limited remote control/screen sharing comes from integrating the open-source TightVNC ( with CrossLoop's simple interface.
Network Free 7-day trial, or $29.99 for use on three PCs. Get a complete look at your home network using the auto-generated network map in Network Magic. Run the software on multiple computers to get complete coverage, including warnings about which systems need updates and easier access to shared files and printers. $19.95 per month for one PC GoToMyPC is a terrific option if you don't want or need full-time VPN access to a PC (or multiple PCs). Just install the software through the Web site after you set up an account, give the PC a nickname (like "office") and a unique access code. At another computer, go to and log in to get encrypted, remote access.
LogMeIn Free/ Free; Pro version, $12.95 per month per PC These remote access tools are just a couple in a long line of LogMeIn products. Create the account on the Web site, install the software on the target PC, and you can access it from any other PC with a Web browser. The Pro version features drag-and-drop support and remote printing.
NightWatchman Contact company for price This PC power manager handles shutting down not just one computer but all the PCs on a network to save business owners some green (as much as $50 in electricity per PC per year) and limiting the amount of time a PC is open to attack. Shutdowns are scheduled from a central control panel.
WinPatrol Free or $29.95 for Plus version Put Scotty the WinPatrol mascot to work keeping an eye on your system, with warnings about new programs that plan to run at start-up and detection of other system changes, trusted or not. Delay the start of programs to improve boot-up speed in any version. The Plus version provides full access to the knowledge base and does real-time infiltration detection.
PCMag Utility: Startup Cop $7.97 alone or included in $19.97 annual subscription Don't let programs do what they want at boot time. Startup Cop puts the brakes on some items and delays others that may otherwise slow things down. You'll get a notice if a new program wants to run at start, so you can determine if you want it to or not.
Auto Reboot Free Ever walked away from a computer and come back to find it rebooted after doing an auto-update? That's a potential way to lose some data. This utility prevents Windows XP from rebooting without explicit permission.
AMP WinOFF Free Sometimes, you forget to shut down. WinOFF won't. Use it on XP or older systems to power down based on a preset schedule or even after a certain amount of CPU idle time.
Installers/Uninstallers Free InstallPad may be the closest thing Windows has to the innovative package installers used in Linux. If what you want isn't on the default list, you have to do the work of providing URLs for each program you want to install. But after that, it takes over, handling batch installation of your favorite applications.
Revo Free An uninstalled program in Windows is seldom completely gone. Revo aims to remove all traces. It handles the initial uninstall, then scans for the crud left behind. In addition, it can target programs running in the system tray, telling them to stop auto-starting with Windows.
Remove Empty Free Some of the more useless things that build up over the course of time on a Windows computer are directories with nothing inside. This utility provides a color-coded list of all empty folders you can trash. They're not all useless: Don't dump empty temp folders your applications require (this app doesn't know the difference).
Absolute Free Absolute Uninstaller replaces the default Add/Remove Programs control panel in Windows, checks for extra stuff to delete after an uninstall (such as Start menu entries and useless Registry keys), and, best of all, does batch removal of multiple programs at one time. If you like to experiment with multiple new programs, now you can delete them all at once. No more one-at-a-time uninstalls.
My Free This is program uninstallation at its most uncomplicated. My Uninstaller runs from a single EXE file (no install needed), checks your list of programs that can be uninstalled, and gives you a dashboard with which to accomplish it.
Recovery and Shredders Free Got a drive or partition that just won't boot? As long as it's not a catastrophic physical problem, TestDisk may help. Its job is to recover lost partitions, fix partition tables, and recover boot sectors. It even works on Macs. Free (donation preferred) Recovering deleted files is nice, but how about recovery when your application crashes—or when you close it by accident without saving first? With this freeware, you have 60 seconds (by default) to reopen the app (which isn't really closed, only hidden) and the document to make sure you've got everything saved. $30 Seems almost too easy to resurrect files from the dead, doesn't it? Make it harder with this digital shredder. Right-click a file and select "Securely Delete" and the software permanently obliterates the files using a Department of Defense standard. DeleteOnClick is part of a series of OnClick-branded utilities that find, undelete, or encrypt files with one click.
PCMag Utility: $7.97 alone or -included in $19.97 annual subscription If you've deleted a file accidentally, Exhume-It will do more than exhume it. The utility will breathe life back into your file, as long as no data has overwritten it. ExhumeIt analyzes a partition for all deleted files and shows you a list with the condition of the file. Good condition means a good chance of recovery. Free Never get rid of an old computer without making sure the hard drive is wiped clean. That doesn't mean just reformatting it, but actually obliterating all data by overwriting disk sectors multiple times. Open-source Eraser can fit on a floppy disk or a USB key and do the job.
Undelete Free This program tracks deletions as they happen (or scans for recently deleted files when asked) and offers a simple, one-click method to bring them back (preferably on a different disk, so you don't overwrite what you're trying to restore). It works on Windows 98 through Vista, and on formats from Fat12 up to NTFS. Free No install is needed to use Restoration: It can run from a USB key to undelete files you didn't mean to dump. It will scan a drive—including flash memory—for all recoverable files at start-up. Just filter by extension or a search string to find what you want to restore.
Virtual PCS/Layers
VMware Workstation $189 This perennial Editors' Choice runs multiple OSs as virtual machines, even Vista (though it can't duplicate Vista's fancy Aero graphics when running virtually). You can even make a virtual machine mobile, to take with you on a thumb drive, and use it with the free VMware Player.
Parallels Workstation $49.99 A simple virtual machine that supports PC operating systems such as Windows (3.1 on up), Linux/Ubuntu, and even blasts from the past like OS/2.
Virtual Sandbox $49.95 Keep the grains of bad software from your hard drive with Virtual Sandbox. It isolates programs you don't completely trust. Programs run as if they're part of the Windows desktop but without the full access to files and services you'd give to a trusted program.
Microsoft Virtual PC Free Redmond's entry in the virtual machine space is geared specifically toward running older versions of Windows. While it lacks some necessities (like USB device support), you can't argue with the price. And it may be the perfect solution for running a can't-live-without-it legacy program. Free Normally, software installations are written to your hard drive. Using SandBoxie's "transient storage," an application is instead placed in a safe sandbox where the app can read from your hard drive but won't write to it. This keeps your system from potential evils, like viruses.
Google Desktop Free This software does more than just search (see our sidebar on widgets, opposite page). Google Desktop indexes all of your data files—including e-mail and instant messages—so you can find it fast. The interface includes multiple search-box configurations and an advanced search option. You can search and find your own files along with your Web search results. It places the power of the Web's best search engine at a personal level.
Copernic Desktop Search Free Redesigned to give better-looking results (and direct access from a search on the taskbar), Copernic combs through all the files you'd expect, as well as e-mail within Thunderbird and Outlook, and metadata on MP3, MPEG, and JPG files. Indexing happens on the fly in XP or Vista as files change, so there's no need to spell out what files are made searchable.
Browser Boosters
Inline Search for Free There's no doubt that the inline search for text on a Web page in Firefox is superior. You can get IE 5.5 or higher to mimic it using this freebie along with Ctrl-F. The input box appears near the status bar with options to "Highlight all" found text. Free Just about everyone has a Gmail account, but few use all its gigabytes. With GSpace, put that online storage to work for all types of files. Just upload or download via the FTP-like interface integrated with Firefox. $19.95 askSam Systems' online tool organizes Web pages you visit in Internet Explorer and saves them in a permanent archive you can consult at a later date. Free Graft a full-feature FTP client right into Firefox. It supports secure file transfers and can keep directories in sync as you surf. Just drag and drop from local to remote folders, and back again, as you desire.
Personas for Free There's got to be a better way to change the skin on Firefox than installing all those bloated themes, right? Personas is how Mozilla will address that issue going forward: Select a persona for your browser from a menu and get a new look instantly. Free Your BitTorrent downloader can be part and parcel of your browser. Though FireTorrent was originally developed for the Wyzo media browser, it took just a simple port to make it available to the larger Firefox user base.
Widgets: Tiny Utilities Flourish
Call them what you will, widgets or gadgets. These tiny apps, which run via a central software install—a widget engine—are easy to find, install, and use. And every widget engine offers multiple utility widgets to keep track of what your computer is up to. Best of all, they're always free. Despite sometimes offering similar functionality, desktop widgets for the operating system are not the same as Web widgets, which you could load into a Web page like a blog or a customizable home page such as iGoogle. You wouldn't track local disk use with a Web widget, but you could use either kind for reading RSS feeds. function for both desktop and Web, such as displaying RSS feeds.
Windows Apple built widgets into the Mac OS years ago, so Microsoft naturally followed suit with the Vista Sidebar. (Or you could say that Microsoft was first, with Windows 95's Active Desktop.) The Sidebar docks to the side of your screen, where you can run "gadgets" of all sorts, many of which ship with Vista. So far, Microsoft's Sidebar gallery has 1,810 gadgets for download. BEST UTILITY GADGETS: ClipboardManager, Drag&Drop and Print, USS Monitor
Yahoo! Yahoo! uses the now-venerable Konfabulator widget engine. Its mini-widgets reside anywhere you want to put them on the desktop screen—there's no sidebar for docking. The engine has been around a while—it debuted back in 2003—so Yahoo! offers more than 4,400 widgets, though many are out of date. Who needs a Superman Returns countdown widget anymore?BEST UTILITY WIDGETS: Informer, Glow Ball (System Edition), Radar
Google Desktop Google's gadgets are usually meant for use in the Sidebar view of Google Desktop (see Search category), but you can undock them to reside anywhere, just as you can with Yahoo!'s widgets. Like the Microsoft Sidebar, Google Desktop docks to a side of your screen. These gadgets will work on Mac OS and Linux as well Windows. BEST UTILITY GADGETS: Wireless signal meter, gdShredder, DiskViewCopyright (c) 2008Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.