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User Reviews by ianmacm

The reviews and opinions below are posted by SnapFiles visitors. They do not necessarily reflect our opinion, and they are solely based upon the experience of individual users.

Secryptor Secryptor

Works ok 3 stars
No problems here, does what it says. The only issue is compatibility, as the encrypted .skt files produced by the program are compatible only with Secryptor, which means that they can be opened only by users of this particular program. There are more widely available encryption formats, such as 7zip files with a password. Other than that, the program is recommended.
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KORO File Shredder KORO File Shredder

Ok but lacking in features 2 stars
KORO File Shredder works OK, but somewhat bizarrely offers 1, 7 and 35 pass wipes but misses out 3 pass (DOD Short). The program also lacks drag and drop or a right click "Send to" option. Overall, not fully recommended as there are better free file wipers elsewhere.
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BitKiller BitKiller

Ok but rather basic 3 stars
BitKiller works fine and is suitable for carrying around on a pen drive. The features are basic, and it is not possible to preset the desired shredding algorithm, as it starts every time with one pass random, but others are available. Also, although a progress bar appears while shredding files, it does not appear to work or give a numerical indication of the time or percentage remaining, which would be useful for larger files.
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PeerBlock PeerBlock

Very useful addition to firewall software 5 stars
PeerBlock is not a substitute for firewall software, but is an excellent add-on for it. While the program is running, it provides an ongoing list of the traffic and IP addresses that it has blocked, and the reason why it was blocked. This is interesting in itself, and shows that there is a lot of junk traffic floating around on the Internet at any given time. PeerBlock uses lists of banned IP addresses maintained at IBlockList.com, and in September 2013, the system there was changed so that free users can update the lists only once in seven days, and anything more than that requires a paid subscription. This means that PeerBlock is now a semi-free program, but for most users updating the lists once every seven days should be enough. PeerBlock is recommended, and is a must have for any program which uses P2P connections.
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MiTeC Network Meter MiTeC Network Meter

Very useful freeware 5 stars
MiTeC Network Meter is light on system resources and can be run from a pen drive. One possible addition would be the ability to vary the downloadupload units displayed. The default is set at KBs and cannot be changed, some more options would be useful.
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World Clock World Clock

Excellent freeware 5 stars
This has excellent graphics and a good range of features. Educational and fun to use.
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Comodo Internet Security Comodo Internet Security

Works ok, but is a resource hog 3 stars
Like many modern security suites, Comodo Internet Security attempts to do a lot of things at the same time, and as a result it produces a noticeable slowing down in the performance of the PC. This means that it is hard to recommend for older and slower PCs, or for applications where maximum performance is required. Comodo Internet Security has a gaming mode which is supposed to reduce this problem, but I did not notice a great difference while using it. The program is easy to set up and the default settings should be enough for most users. Recommended, but only for computers connected to the Internet that require a high degree of protection.
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SuperSimple Video Converter SuperSimple Video Converter

Excellent freeware 5 stars
SuperSimple Video Converter has an excellent range of conversion options and is easy to use. A bonus is that it does not offer to install any toolbars or additional software, which is often a worry with free video conversion software.
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SilverSHielD (Free) SilverSHielD (Free)

Excellent freeware 5 stars
SilverSHielD works well, although it can be a bit daunting to set up for the first time. It offers only SSHSFTP, and does not have FTP on Port 21. SilverSHielD runs as a service each time Windows starts. The three concurrent connections in the free version should be enough for home users.
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Hardwipe Hardwipe

Works well, drag and drop would be useful 4 stars
No real problems here, but files for deletion have to be selected manually. A drag and drop or send to option would be useful.
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CDBurnerXP CDBurnerXP

Some coasters burned 2 stars
It is hard to complain about the price or the feature set, but I found that CDBurnerXP was unreliable on large files, such as DVDs with a file size greater than 1GB. After burning coasters when attempting to do this, I eventually gave up. CDBurnerXP requires the .NET framework to be installed.
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Avira AntiVir Personal Avira AntiVir Personal

Good free antivirus 4 stars
This is my first review of Avira AntiVir Personal since 2010, and it has changed considerably since then. The main strength of Avira AntiVir Personal is that it is light on system resources and unlikely to slow down the computer. It has some nag screens for the paid version, but the interface has improved since 2010. The program is still somewhat prone to producing false positives, flagging innocent processes as a threat. Avira has never become as well known as some of its rivals, but it is worth considering when a simple and lightweight antivirus program is required.
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Ghostery for Firefox Ghostery for Firefox

Useful, but some compatibility issues 3 stars
Ghostery is useful, but some web pages may not work correctly when it is enabled. It is possible to pause Ghostery if this happens, or to select which individual trackers to allow.
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Fox Magic Audio Recorder Fox Magic Audio Recorder

Lack of level indicator is a major drawback 2 stars
Without any indicator for the audio level, there is no choice but to use trial and error and hope for the best during recordings. This is a major and arguably fatal flaw in Fox Magic Audio Recorder. The program cannot edit files once recorded, and it lacks a good overall feature set.
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ScreenBlur ScreenBlur

Good range of features 4 stars
It is possible to set a password protected screensaver on Windows, but ScreenBlur has a much wider range of options including hotkeys. The program is no-install, so it can be run from a pen drive. One word of warning though, don't lose the password used to lock the screen, or you may have difficulty getting back into the computer.
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Puran File Recovery Puran File Recovery

Works well 4 stars
The program was easy to use and recovered files from a flash memory device and hard drive without any problems. After the scan, it is possible to search the results or filter them into categories including Pictures, Music and Videos. The performance is good for a free file recovery program and it is recommended.
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DNS Angel DNS Angel

Works well, some caution needed 4 stars
DNS Angel is much easier for beginners than changing the DNS settings manually in Network Connections on the Control Panel. The choice of several DNS providers is useful. Some caution is needed because any reasonably capable person could override the DNS settings. In practice, good security would be achieved only if the person using the filtered DNS service did not have an administrator account or was limited to a guest account on the computer.
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SafeIP SafeIP

Works ok, sluggish connection speeds 2 stars
SafeIP works OK, but some of the IP locations were very slow to the point of being unusable with large web pages. This is a review of the free version, and the paid version offers improved speeds and more features.
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Free File Camouflage Free File Camouflage

Works ok 3 stars
No problems here. There is a ten second nag screen asking for a donation or registration each time the program starts up.
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KuaiZip KuaiZip

Zipx lacking, or is it? 2 stars
The program does not offer support for Zipx, but the proprietary .kz format looks very similar. Also, the program produces a firewall warning, as it asks to allow incoming connections, which I disallowed because it is unnecessary for a compression program. KuaiZip needs to explain why incoming connections are necessary. Editor: The program checks for new version updates, this can be disabled from Settings.
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GIF Optimizer GIF Optimizer

May not always produce large size reductions 4 stars
Since GIFs are often already optimized, it may not always be possible to use this program to make further large reductions in the size of the file. If the GIF is already optimized, the reduction may be only a few percent. Most files that I tried did not reduce by more than 10-20 percent. Nevertheless, this is a well made program.
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SoftPerfect WiFi Guard SoftPerfect WiFi Guard

Ok, but times would be useful 3 stars
This works OK, but it does not give the times at which the devices were found. Also, it could give the operating system (XP, Vista, 7 etc) of the network device, as some programs do. Not quite as good as it could be for this purpose.
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SFTP Net Drive SFTP Net Drive

Works very well, thumbnails are useful 5 stars
This program is similar to the "Map network drive" feature in Windows. It is easier to use than an FTP client, and has the advantage of producing thumbnails for images on the drive. The 30 second default timeout on the connection is rather too short and can be adjusted. I used SFTP Net Drive with SilverSHielD and achieved excellent results. This is highly recommended as an improvement on traditional FTP servers, which are not very secure.
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Shadow Copy Shadow Copy

Unusual program 4 stars
This is an unusual program, because it is not usually necessary to copy locked Windows files while they are in use. Shadow Copy will do this without any problems. For backup and cloning an entire drive, there are more suitable freeware tools, but Shadow Copy will copy any individual file or folder that is on a hard drive.
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8GadgetPack 8GadgetPack

Good news for gadget fans 5 stars
The beta versions of Windows 8 supported gadgets, but the feature was removed in the final release version. Bad news for gadget fans, but this program will put them back again. This is a free program, no problems here, it does the trick as stated.
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Start8 Start8

An answer to a serious problem 5 stars
This program is an answer to the prayers of many Windows users. For some unfathomable reason, Microsoft has decided to exclude the start button from Windows 8. This program will put it back in a way that is indistinguishable from Windows 7. It can also skip the ugly and childlike Metro UI and boot straight to the traditional desktop. A pity it isn't free, but 4.99 is reasonable to have these features restored.
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Kaspersky Rescue Disk Kaspersky Rescue Disk

Works ok, but slow 3 stars
After burning the ISO to a CD, I booted from the disc. The performance was slow, and scanning the whole hard drive would have taken a very long time. The option to scan only the boot sector and startup programs is much faster. This download is recommended if a computer will not boot, but if it can boot it would be better to use Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool, which is a similar standalone program that runs within Windows.
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Recuva Recuva

Excellent for a piece of freeware 5 stars
This is another example of a program which raises the question "Why pay when there are good freeware alternatives available?" The "deep scan" feature on this program is as good as many of the programs for which you will have to pay to recover files. It also seems to be faster than some of the ones that I have tried out. The performance on memory cards and pen drives was excellent, recovering numerous files just as long as they had not been overwritten. Hopefully there will never be a need to use this program because of accidentally deleted files, but it does also show the need to use erasing rather than deleting to ensure that files are unrecoverable.
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Panda Free Antivirus Panda Free Antivirus

Useful for older and slower computers 3 stars
Panda Cloud Antivirus is definitely light on system resources, and is not a bloated resource hog like some of the big name antivirus programs. This makes it suitable for older and slower computers where speed is an issue. On the minus side, it is rather basic in the free version, and it is hard to tell how effective it is compared to a traditional antivirus program. The use of cloud technology means that the computer needs to be online for best results, so it is less than ideal for situations where the computer is offline. Overall, an interesting idea.
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GoPing GoPing

Useful program 4 stars
Pinging is a good way to test the basic stability of an Internet connection, and GoPing does a good job. It has a graphic user interface, and can store a list of addresses to ping. Unlike the Windows ping (which is command line only), GoPing can ping a website continuously until asked to stop. Windows allows only four pings at a time. Pinging a site constantly is considered rude, so this feature should be used sparingly. GoPing is no-install, so can be run from a pen drive.
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Animosaix Animosaix

Nice program, shame about the installer 4 stars
I really liked the mosaic images produced by this program. However, it has the now common flaw of asking to install other software at the same time, so care is needed during install. One feature that would be welcome is the ability to convert individual images into mosaics on demand, rather than relying on the wallpaper or screensaver feature.
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Free OCR to Word Free OCR to Word

Very good for a free program 4 stars
Having recently had a trial of a well known paid OCR program, I was interested to see how Free OCR to Word performed. The answer is generally very well, and the program is easy to use. The only downside was that it had difficulty with some documents and produced gobbledegook text. This is a common problem with OCR, and no program has solved it entirely.
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.NET Version Detector .NET Version Detector

Works ok 4 stars
Simple and no install, the green letters mean that the version of the framework is installed, red and it is not. It's a pity that not all .NET programs work with all versions of the framework, but that's the way it is.
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InterChat InterChat

Works ok, but a bit old fashioned 2 stars
InterChat works OK and is light on system resources, but was last updated in November 2003 and is now showing its age. It is confined to text messages, and has no video chat support unlike modern LAN chat freeware. The file sending feature is slow, and has a tendency to crash with large files. In order to work correctly, all of the computers running the software will need to be part of the same workgroup and have file and printer sharing enabled. This is something that should be made clearer during installation. Overall, worth a look but somewhat outdated.
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YUMI YUMI

Works ok, pen drives may need reformatting 4 stars
This program works OK, although there is an important fact missing from the documentation. Some ISO images may boot only from FAT, not FAT32. Also, I found from trial and error that not all ISOs work with all USB devices. Most modern computers support booting from USB, but it may be necessary to adjust the BIOS if it is not enabled.
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Windows 8 Release Preview Windows 8 Release Preview

Microsoft gets it wrong, badly 1 stars
If ever I have a Windows 8 computer, the first thing that will happen is a trip to the registry to disable the Metro UI interface. Amazingly, Microsoft will not allow you to do this, even though it is unnecessary on a desktop or laptop computer. Simple tasks like shutting off the computer are ridiculously difficult in Metro, did nobody notice this during development? Worse still, the Metro UI is little more than an Apple-style advertisement for a range of Microsoft products and services. Metro UI is a triumph of style over substance, and is likely to lead to the same complaints that dogged the launch of Vista.
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bmpPacker bmpPacker

Interesting but slightly weird software 3 stars
Works Ok, no problems. What bmpPacker does not do is to hide a file inside a picture (steganography), so the resulting BMP files are simply noise. Not quite clear who would use this program regularly, as options such as encrypted ZIP files are more common.
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Privatefirewall Privatefirewall

Very good free firewall 4 stars
Privatefirewall gets the balance about right, as it is not too fussy, difficult to understand or set up for first timers. It is also light on system resources and generally unobtrusive. Recommended as a good starting point for someone who wants a free firewall.
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Toolwiz BSafe Toolwiz BSafe

Easy to use, but lacks features 3 stars
The good points are that it is completely free and does not limit the size of the encrypted containers. It is also easier to set up and use for first timers than some other programs. However, it does lack features, and cannot encrypt whole drives. Recommended for users looking for an encrypted drive without needing a lot of technical knowledge.
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ContaCam ContaCam

Amazing freeware 5 stars
It rare to be able to say without hype that a piece of freeware is the best of its kind, but ContaCam deserves this accolade. Having tried several webcam capture programs that were mediocre, this was a surprise. ContaCam is by far the best webcam capture program that I have used, and it deserves to be more widely known. The range of features is extraordinary, and the video quality of the captures is also excellent. If you have a webcam, you must give ContaCam a try.
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WebCamImageSave WebCamImageSave

Works ok 3 stars
No real issues here, does what it says it will do. The only slight issue is that the default JPEG saving quality of 75 is too low and leads to blurred images with artifacts. Increasing the saving quality to 90 will increase the file size, but leads to better results.
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Technitium MAC Address Changer Technitium MAC Address Changer

Unusual program 4 stars
Most people do not give any thought to how their MAC address appears, but it could be used for spoofing and hacking under certain circumstances. This program is likely to be of use to people who use public networks, where it would make tracking and spoofing more difficult. One minor point is that the program has an animated tray icon that is not really necessary.
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QRGen QRGen

Very good freeware 4 stars
For a while, I had been looking for a program that would generate QR codes offline, without the need to visit a website. This little program, which is no install, fits the bill admirably. Now I am looking for a similarly compact Windows program that will read QR codes.
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Tixati Tixati

Works ok, ugly default interface 3 stars
No real problems here, but the default interface called "dark background" is like an accident in a paint shop. In particular, the blue on black of the progress bar is hard to read. The color scheme can be changed in the settings, and this is one of the first things that I did after installing the program.
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SUPER SUPER

Nice freeware, shame about the adware 4 stars
I am a long time fan of SUPER, and it is good to see that it now includes support for converting videos to WebM. However, the recent versions have acquired a lot of annoying adware during the installation process. These boxes have to be carefully unchecked to prevent unwanted programs from getting on to the computer. Unfortunately, this seems to be a trend for free programs nowadays.
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MemTest MemTest

Runs within Windows 3 stars
This is an executable file that runs within Windows, so it can check only the RAM that is free at the time. This is clearly less than ideal, and there are bootable versions that will test all of the memory outside the Windows environment. This program is useful, but a full RAM test requires a bootable medium.
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ALShow ALShow

Does not play flac files 3 stars
I was surprised to find that the program does not play FLAC audio files by default. This should be included. Otherwise the program is OK.
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TweakNow SecureDelete TweakNow SecureDelete

Lacks right click integration 2 stars
Erasing programs should offer right click Explorer integration, this one does not. The interface is also somewhat disappointing. The default erase method offered is Gutmann (35 passes) which is not necessary and would take way too long for large files. DOD 3 pass is enough for most home users, this is offered and should be set as the default wiping method.
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GetWindowText GetWindowText

Possibly unique program 4 stars
There are many screen capture tools, but this may be the only one that can capture the text from Windows menus. It is useful for capturing the text of error messages, which cannot be done with the normal CTRL+C. Portable, no installation required.
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4t Tray Minimizer Free 4t Tray Minimizer Free

Useful add-on 5 stars
4t Tray Minimizer Free offers four features not native to Windows Explorer: minimize any window to tray, roll up window, always on top (pin window) and make window transparent. There is a paid version, but the free version works fine and should be enough for most users. One of life's great mysteries is why Microsoft has never added support for these functions within Windows, but with 4t Tray Minimizer Free it is possible to do these things in XP, Vista and 7.
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Combined Community Codec Pack (CCCP) Combined Community Codec Pack (CCCP)

Useful tool for a range of formats 4 stars
Combined Community Codec Pack fills in most of the gaps left by Windows Media Player, and it has left out some of the more obscure formats. Supported formats include DivX, Xvid, H.264, FLV and Theora video, and AAC, Vorbis and FLAC audio. This should play most common audio and video files. Although QuickTime (.MOV) is not listed as one of the handled file extensions, I was able to achieve playback with the pack installed.
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Microsoft Security Essentials Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft gets it right 5 stars
This is a well thought out piece of software. It is easy to use, light on system resources and is not prone to false positives. Many of the big name antivirus programs have become bloated, and slow down the computer by trying to do too much in a real time shield. Microsoft Security Essentials sticks to the basics, and is enough for most users.
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Secure Eraser Secure Eraser

No need for nag screens 2 stars
The program works OK, but this is an area with no shortage of good freeware programs. Nagging the user to buy the paid version each time an operation takes place is counterproductive, as a lite version should not be a piece of adware. Documentation is currently only in German.
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LocK-A-FoLdeR LocK-A-FoLdeR

Hiding is not a strong security measure 2 stars
This program works OK, but if "show hidden folders" is selected in Windows Explorer, the folders will be visible, although they cannot be accessed. Also, the folders have to be unlocked and locked again manually each time they are used, which would soon become a nuisance. There are other methods (encrypted ZIP file, mountable encrypted drive etc) which are easier to use and offer more features. Sooner or later an opponent will find a hidden file, so strong encryption is more important than concealment.
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Network Activity Indicator Network Activity Indicator

The lights are on again 5 stars
Microsoft decided to omit this feature in Windows 7, because it believed that some people find animated tray icons distracting. This may be true, but omitting the feature to monitor network traffic in the tray altogether was a mistake. Now the feature can be restored with this small (146 kb) program, which is no-install. Definitely recommended.
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Clipboard History Clipboard History

The best one out there 5 stars
There are quite a few freeware clipboard history managers, but this is the best one that I have tried. It is easy to use and has a wide range of features including stickies which is useful. It is also XP/Vista7 compatible, which is important nowadays. One other important point to bear in mind is that clipboard history managers should be used with caution for sensitive or confidential data.
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Folderico Folderico

Good freeware, but a couple of issues 3 stars
This works OK, but it does not seem to be possible to add your own custom icons. Also, the customized folders are non-distributable, so if they are copied to an external hard drive etc the custom icon will be lost. These points should be addressed for subsequent release versions.
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XnView Shell Extension XnView Shell Extension

Good features, EXIF would be handy 4 stars
XnView Shell Extension has a good feature set, but I was a bit disappointed that it could not read the EXIF information (time, date, exposure) on digital photos. This would be useful.
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Kryptelite Kryptelite

Works ok, features limited 2 stars
No real problems here, but other freeware encryption tools operating from right click have more features than Kryptelite, which cannot create self-extracting archives and uses DES instead of the more modern AES.
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AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition

Now one to avoid... 2 stars
AVG has taken a step backwards with the 2011 edition. It is bloatware and takes up far too much of the system resources. Past editions have worked well on my older computer, but the 2011 edition is slowing it down like swimming through a vat of treacle. This program cannot be recommended for older computers, or if there are worries about reducing the performance. AVG should consider offering a "lite" mode which keeps the real time resources required to a minimum.
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ImgBurn ImgBurn

Also burns Bluray discs 5 stars
The product description does not mention that the current version will also handle the burning of Bluray discs. My new Bluray burner came with some bloated and unimpressive burning software, so it was a treat to use ImgBurn which is both fast and reliable. The only real minus with ImgBurn is that it is not intuitive for beginners, but other than that it is highly recommended. It has one of the most accurate burning engines around, making it unlikely that you will burn coasters. This is important, as BDR discs are not cheap.
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ShareWatcher ShareWatcher

Good program 3 stars
The first thing to say about ShareWatcher is that it requires .NET Framework 4.0 to be installed in order to work. Installing this will take a fair while if you do not have it already. The pop up windows in the taskbar notify when there is activity, and there is also a log. Worth a look.
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DnsSpeeder DnsSpeeder

Works ok, privacy needs watching 3 stars
DNS caching is not a new idea, but DnsSpeeder scores over other programs because it is easy to use and is no-install. As an example, visiting amazon.com will store the IP address 207.171.166.252 on the local hard drive, so that it does not have to be looked up every time the site is visited. The downside is privacy, because DnsSpeeder will store a list of names of the websites visited, which would not be cleared by the normal browser cleanup. DNS lookups typically take around 200ms (1/5 second), so the time saved by DNS caching is not great unless the server is responding very slowly. DnsSpeeder is worth a look, but beware, it is tracking your browsing habits very thoroughly.
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Pivot Stickfigure Animator Pivot Stickfigure Animator

Strange world we live in... 4 stars
Who would have guessed that out of all the freeware available on Snapfiles, this would turn out to be the top download? It is unchanged since July 2004 and allows the user to make animated stick figures. Great fun for anyone who wants to play at being the next Walt Disney.
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CollageIt CollageIt

Excellent freeware 5 stars
This is an unusual program, unlike anything I have come across before. It has a range of options for the layout of the images, and can also have background images for the collage. This is a freeware version of a paid program, but it should be more than enough to keep most people happy. Give this a try, it is fun to use.
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Rohos Mini Drive Rohos Mini Drive

Does what it says on the tin, but... 2 stars
Rohos Mini Drive does what it says on the tin, but seems to be acting as a demo for the paid version. There are free programs that will create mountable encrypted drives with no size limit and a better range of features.
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FeedRoller FeedRoller

Nice, but rather large and intrusive 3 stars
Easy to use, good range of features. However, it does tend to hog the top of the screen. Some more discreet display options might be welcome. (Editor: You can change font sizes and display options and thereby reduce the size of the ticker significantly and/or blend it into your desktop.)
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WinTinker Password Generator WinTinker Password Generator

Unusual idea 3 stars
There are plenty of freeware password generators, but this one uses the technique of misspelling words with symbols and numbers. For example hello123 becomes h3ll012e. The program can also generate traditional random passwords. Small download and no install, can be run from a pen drive.
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ShellMenuNew ShellMenuNew

Works ok 3 stars
Another useful tool from Nir Sofer. A very small download and requires no installation.
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Puran Defrag Puran Defrag

Liked this 4 stars
A good range of features to play with here, and more versatile than the default Windows defrag tool. Don't expect huge improvements in performance after using a defrag tool, because this is hype. Puran Defrag Free Edition is definitely worth a look.
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YouTube HD Transfer YouTube HD Transfer

Works fine 4 stars
No problems here, does what it says on the tin. Easy to use, and a standalone program so it is not linked to a specific browser. Works only with YouTube videos (not Metacafe etc) but apart from that it is fine.
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Quick Restore Maker Quick Restore Maker

Cannot name the restore points 2 stars
Works OK, but does not have an option to name the restore points generated. This is important if you want to find a particular one at a future date. All of the restore points are called "QuickRestoreMaker Generated", which is too basic. Could use some further development.
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Vuze Vuze

Good for video downloads 4 stars
The revamping from Azureus to Vuze has mainly been to give easy access to online videos through BitTorrent. Although other torrent files can be downloaded, the purists might still prefer uTorrent in this area. Vuze scores though, because it is easy to use and non-geeky.
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FreeFileSync FreeFileSync

Excellent alternative to Windows briefcase 5 stars
Let's face it, the Windows Briefcase is rubbish and has not changed for years. This is a full featured alternative with a range of options. It is also no install, so it can be run from a USB pen drive. Definitely worth a look.
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Supercopier Supercopier

Ok, but a bit complicated 3 stars
There are some features here that are not found in Windows move/copy, such as the ability to pause the operation. However, the Windows version of move/copy is enough for most users.
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EncodeHD EncodeHD

Definitely worth a look 5 stars
After trying several free video conversion tools that either did not work well or were stuffed full of dubious adware features, this program came as a surprise. It works fine, is easy to use, and does not try to sell you other products. It is also no install, so can be run from a pen drive.
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ColorConsole ColorConsole

Nice idea 3 stars
Not everyone uses the command line on a Windows computer regularly, but for those who do, this is a useful program. The different color options are worth a look, and the program is small and no-install, so can be run from a pen drive.
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Respect Soft Vista Clock Respect Soft Vista Clock

More skins please 2 stars
Works OK. However, the default skin is not very good, and a choice would be better. Also worth considering would be making the program no-install, so it could be run from a USB pen drive.
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ThreatFire ThreatFire

A bit too excitable 2 stars
The program tended to flag innocent processes as potential threats. While this was well meaning, it became annoying after a while, so I uninstalled it.
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RightThumb RightThumb

Works fine 3 stars
No problems here, and a good range of features. However, the program might have a wider range of use as a general image resizer, with preset options such as 640x480 pixels etc.
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Auslogics Registry Cleaner Auslogics Registry Cleaner

Worth a look 4 stars
Registry cleaning software has a poor reputation, as it often makes promises about huge increases in performance that it cannot deliver. Auslogics Registry Cleaner does not fall into this trap, and promised me less than a 1% increase in speed after the cleanup. The changes can be undone easily, which is important if any problems occur. Good value for freeware.
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BatteryBar BatteryBar

Better than windows 4 stars
This gives a much more detailed readout on the state of the battery than the default Windows display. Worth a look.
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Freeraser Freeraser

No problems here 3 stars
The main attraction of Freeraser is that it is no install and can be carried around on a pen drive. One feature that I missed was a progress bar showing how long was left, which would be useful for longer files. Other than that, a useful program to have.
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Vector Clocks Vector Clocks

Fun, but a bit limited 3 stars
There are plenty of freeware desktop clocks and this one has no serious problems. It could benefit from a wider range of features and interchangeable faces, but is useful as a clock. Incidentally, the controls are accessed by hovering around the edge of the clock. No installation required, so can run from a USB memory stick.
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The software developer responded to this review on Feb 15, 2009: More features to come. We are going to add personalization (custom image/photo on back, color settings and Alarm functionality).

Web Resizer Web Resizer

Works ok, needs practice for best results 2 stars
The program works OK, but the interface could be more intuitive. A wizard-based mode might be useful here. Some understanding of the principles involved is necessary to obtain the best results.
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Microsoft SyncToy Microsoft SyncToy

Simple and effective 5 stars
It's a pity that XP and Vista do not come with SyncToy built in, since it is far better than Microsoft's bland Briefcase utility. SyncToy is easy to configure and use, and I have never had any problems with it. Definitely recommended.
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Stellarium Stellarium

Superb - try it now 5 stars
Regardless of whether you are a serious hobby astronomer or just want some educational fun, this program is a must have. The basics are easy to master, although some features are for the more experienced user. There are night sky programs that cost a lot of money, but Stellarium is free and can give any of them strong competition.
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DivX for Windows DivX for Windows

Very good software 4 stars
Generally it is hard to fault DivX as a format, and its software is very well put together. The main concern is how widespread the use of DivX has become compared to some other formats. DivX has been working on a H.264 version (Project Mayo) but it has yet to be launched. Until then, DivX will be a successful MPEG4 format, but not necessarily the most popular.
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EncryptOnClick EncryptOnClick

Works ok, but delete needs caution 2 stars
EncryptOnClick does what it says on the tin, but is unusual and risky since it deletes files automatically after encrypting them. This means that if any crashes etc occur during the encryption process, the file could be gone forever. It is better to leave the file intact and to delete or shred it manually after encryption. Apart from that, the program is good freeware.
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BullZip PDF Printer BullZip PDF Printer

This one is the best! 5 stars
Forget "free" PDF printers that add watermarked advertisements to each page. BullZip does not do this, and has a wide range of features. Definitely the best freeware PDF printer.
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Comodo Backup Comodo Backup

Good features, but lacks a preview mode 4 stars
This program is like a deluxe version of the Windows Briefcase, only with far more features. There are plenty of configuration options, but one feature that I would have liked to see is a preview mode showing files that will be copied, deleted or overwritten when the backup is run. While not strictly necessary, it is useful and can prevent mistakes being made. Other than that, a useful piece of software.
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DocPad DocPad

Fine for lovers of colorful screens 2 stars
The most striking feature of DocPad is its range of different colored interfaces. Surprisingly though (unless I missed it) it is not possible to change the font used for the text, only its size. There are some extra features including a built-in calculator, but another feature lacking here is the ability to open different tabs and switch between them.
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Google Chrome Google Chrome

Easy to use but lacks features 3 stars
After all the hype, how does Google Chrome measure up? It is easy to use and loads pages quickly. In many ways it looks and feels like Internet Explorer 7, but is leaner on resources than its Microsoft counterpart. People who are used to the wide range of features and add-ons that are available for Firefox and Opera are likely to be disappointed, but the current version of Chrome is a beta and things may change. Google has kept it simple for the time being, and some people may like this approach.
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WirelessKeyView WirelessKeyView

Works ok 3 stars
Like some of Nir Sofer`s previous software, this tool relies on the fact that passwords are stored in the Windows registry and can be retrieved by people with the required know-how. This tool can be used only by a person with access to the computer, so it is not a hack tool. However, some caution is needed with this type of program.
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Desk Drive Desk Drive

Unusual idea 2 stars
This worked OK for USB flash drives, but did not automatically detect the DVD-ROM drive. Not everyone may need this feature, but it is worth a look.
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Cropper Cropper

Also works with vista 4 stars
Works ok with Vista, which is not noted on the download page. Very good range of features, but does not offer automatic viewing of the captured shots, as some capture tools do.
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PalCrypt PalCrypt

Works ok, other programs have more features 2 stars
Like some other file encryption tools, this piece of freeware operates using the right click feature in Windows Explorer. It is easy to use, but a) cannot encrypt entire folders, only individual files, and b) cannot create self-extracting encrypted files. Other freeware encryption tools can do this, so look around.
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CCCalc CCCalc

Nice graphics, but.... 2 stars
CCalc tries to do something unusual by portraying the calculations as they would appear on a sheet of paper. To be honest, a standard calculator screen is easier to use and I did not enjoy using the program.
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Vista I.E CacheImage View Plus Vista I.E CacheImage View Plus

Works ok, not perfect for checking on history 2 stars
This program works, but it does not provide a surefire way of checking on how the browser has been used (eg by children while unattended). The cached files exist to speed up page loading times, and do not represent the entire browsing history. The browser's History section is a better guide to how it has been used, and Vista IE CacheImage View Plus cannot read this.
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EaseUS Deleted File Recovery EaseUS Deleted File Recovery

Did not work well for me 2 stars
The interface is ok, but the recovered files were in poor condition and did not open properly. The program claims to recover deleted files only, and not to be a full data recovery tool. There are other freeware file recovery tools on Snapfiles which are worth a look, as EASUS Deleted File Recovery is a bit of a disappointment.
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SpeedConnect Connection Tester SpeedConnect Connection Tester

Nice graphical interface 4 stars
The program is set by default to download a 22MB file from Microsoft, although you can choose other file locations. The purists will point out that what the program actually does is to test your connection speed to a particular server at a particular time of day. In practice, there is no such thing as a fixed internet connection speed, since a range of factors is involved in the speed obtained. SpeedConnect has a nice graphical interface and is a fun piece of freeware to try.
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Icon Remover Icon Remover

Is this necessary? 2 stars
This program is a puzzle, because it seems to be unnecessary. By right clicking on the Windows taskbar at the bottom of the screen, it is possible to edit the properties of the tray notification area. This includes the ability to hide the "safely remove hardware" icon. Icon Remover can do this and works ok, but Windows can also do this.
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Free Download Manager Free Download Manager

Top quality freeware 5 stars
When Microsoft launched Internet Explorer 7, it had a golden opportunity to give it a download manager similar to the ones in Firefox and Opera. Instead, it stuck with a very basic version little different from the one in IE6. Help is at hand with Free Download Manager, which has a range of features as wide as any user could want, including BitTorrent support. It may take a little while to get used to all the features, but it is worth the trouble. Also worth mentioning is the program's ability to be exported to a flash memory device and run as a no-install version. Definitely the best freeware download manager available.
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TrueCrypt TrueCrypt

Great features, help files could be clearer 4 stars
The main advantages of TrueCrypt are a) it is completely freeware, and b) it allows the creation of encrypted volumes of unlimited size, whereas most freeware versions are limited in order to get you to pay for the registered version. The overall style of TrueCrypt tends to assume that you are reasonably fluent with computers, and the online help files may daunt some beginners. One small point is that although the encrypted volumes showed up in "Computer", they did not show up in the "Send To" menu.
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RealWorld Cursor Editor RealWorld Cursor Editor

Excellent - try it! 5 stars
This was my first go with cursor editing software, although I had tried icon editing software. RealWorld Cursor Editor is very similar in use, and allows anything that you can draw to be used as a cursor. If you find this too daunting, or are just too lazy (like me), check out the wide range of free ready made cursor sets that can be downloaded at RealWorld's website.
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Webmaster Password Generator Webmaster Password Generator

Very good freeware 4 stars
Does what it says on the tin, no problems.
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Defraggler Defraggler

Works ok, average interface 2 stars
This works OK, and seems to be a bit faster than the standard Windows defrag utility. However, the graphic interface is not particularly special and it would help to be able to see the colour coding system on screen at all times, rather than having to call it up separately. The defrag option is greyed out when the program is launched, although it is available from the menu in the top left hand corner. All in all, passable but not outstanding software.
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WinBubbles WinBubbles

Excellent freeware 5 stars
Definitely worth a look and a pity that it seems to be little known. There are features here that you have to pay for in many tweaking programs.
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Auslogics Disk Defrag Auslogics Disk Defrag

Excellent program 5 stars
No complaints here, good interface and easy to use. Although it is possible to run defragmentation while doing other things, it is best to leave the computer unattended for a few hours in case it disturbs the system processes. A recommended program.
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Unit Converter Expert Unit Converter Expert

Excellent piece of freeware. 5 stars
No problems here. There is a long menu of conversion options (perhaps a bit too long for the casual user), but it would be surprising if you did not find what you want here.
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TOKIWA DataRecovery TOKIWA DataRecovery

Works, but interface needs some improvement. 2 stars
This works OK, but should give some indication of the condition of a file, otherwise you could spend a lot of time recovering files that are not usable. It would also help to have a filter that searches for specific types of file extension (eg JPEG). It is hard to complain about a piece of freeware, but this is somewhat underpowered.
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SCREEN2EXE SCREEN2EXE

Very good, but other outputs would help. 4 stars
This works ok, and is a surprisingly small download (416KB). It is easy to use, but the standalone .exe format is rather limiting. It would be better to have .avi or Flash output if possible. Another point to note is that most e-mail providers nowadays ban the sending and receiving of .exe files, so the file would need to be zipped before sending it. Anyone receiving a zipped .exe file in their e-mail inbox might be too suspicious to open it, so other formats for the videos would be useful.
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The software developer responded to this review on May 09, 2007: Why Not AVI? If you are looking for a free screen recorder which supports AVI, SCREEN2EXE is not your choice. But if you are looking for a free screen recorder which can compress screen video more, SCREEN2EXE is the only choice of you. An AVI file need right codec to play, to achieve compatibility, most AVI outputting screen recorders must use codec which system installed in default. But, those system codec are designed for general videos not for screens. When use it to compress screen video, the output file is very huge! For example, a 1024 by 768, 1 minutes screen video could cost over 10M bytes. Compare to that SSCV2, used in SCREEN2EXE, output only 0.1M-2M bytes.The same thing happens to SWF and other general formats. So, in sum, you can only choose one between small file, EXE format and big file, AVI format.

Internet Video Converter Internet Video Converter

Excellent program, and free. 5 stars
There is a serious lack of freeware programs for converting video files between different formats, and this is easily the best one that I have tried. It worked well and was simple to use, although some of the functions require knowledge about the formats involved. The picture and sound quality was good, and it is hard to find anything to complain about when the program is free.
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NetResView NetResView

Ok, but did not show ftp locations. 3 stars
This program is not a direct replacement for the My Network Places feature on Windows computers, as it does not show the FTP locations that are available. It does show any local printers and workgroups, together with the MAC addresses if requested. Perhaps a future version could show the FTP loactions as well. This program is no install, so can be carried on a USB stick.
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EXIF ShellExtension EXIF ShellExtension

Very easy to use. 3 stars
Hovering over a JPEG photo will show the EXIF details for the focus and exposure settings of the image. This is easy to use since it requires no extra program to be run before viewing the EXIF data. Recommended for its simplicity.
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Wavosaur Wavosaur

Some good features, but more work needed. 2 stars
It would not be difficult to create a sound recorder more sophisticated than the one that ships with Windows computers, and Wavosaur has some useful features. However, it could use some additional features, otherwise it will lose out to a program like the freeware Audacity which is more powerful.
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WinSock XP Fix WinSock XP Fix

Did not work for me. 2 stars
The plus side is that Winsock XP Fix did not cause any problems itself, but it did not solve the network connection problem that I was experiencing. It is best to set up a System Restore point before running this program.
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NetGraph NetGraph

Nice piece of freeware. 5 stars
Very easy to use and lots of configuration options. Definitely recommended.
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MjM Photo Recovery MjM Photo Recovery

It works! 5 stars
The program recovered 62 MB worth of JPEG photos from my 512 MB SD card, including ones from several months ago that I had almost forgotten about. All of the most recent photos were recovered, but like all photo recovery software, the program will not work miracles and is best used as quickly as possible if photos have been deleted from the card accidentally. This is the best piece of photo recovery freeware that I have seen, so give this a go before trying a paid version. The only slight disadvantage is that it recovers only JPEG photos (not videos etc) but for ordinary use this is quite sufficient.
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Desktop Christmas Trees Desktop Christmas Trees

Great fun. 5 stars
Simple, fun piece of freeware. For a similar idea that can be used after Christmas, try the freeware Lava Lamp I-mate that puts a lava lamp on your desktop.
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Systemometer Systemometer

Interesting program. 3 stars
For the technically minded, the way in which Systemometer presents the information about the computer's performance is known as a vectorscope. This is unusual, as is the feature which allows you to use the information as a screensaver. Although there are quite a few freeware system monitors, this one is worth a look.
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IE PassView IE PassView

Works ok. 3 stars
This works ok and will show the login names and passwords that are (supposedly) stored secretly in Internet Explorer. As with all password recovery programs there is some potential for misuse, but wise computer users will realise that anything that is password protected on a personal computer needs to be taken with a pinch of salt anyway.
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Instant Eyedropper Instant Eyedropper

A bit disappointing. 2 stars
There are plenty of freeware colour pickers but this is not at the top of the list of ones that can be recommended. When it is in RGB mode the numbers are cut off on the right hand side of the screen and cannot be read correctly. There is also no YMCK option. Some improvements needed here.
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MiTeC Mail Viewer MiTeC Mail Viewer

Very useful freeware. 5 stars
This is a very useful piece of freeware because there are plenty of .dbx file readers which are paid versions only. It is not clear how well this program will work with corrupt or damaged .dbx files but apart from that the program is highly recommended. Also, the program is no install so it can be run from removable media.
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FlyakiteOSX FlyakiteOSX

Nice look, worries about uninstalling. 3 stars
It is a bit weird at first to see Apple Mac icons on a Windows computer, but the program worked first time without any problems. My real concern is uninstalling the program, and the best way to do this would be with a System Restore (which is what I did). A full manual uninstall could be tricky, so be careful.
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Note-It Note-It

Ok for freeware. 2 stars
Nothing much wrong here but there is a wide range of freeware sticky notes programs and you may want to look around before choosing one as your main program.
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AxCrypt AxCrypt

Very easy to use, but.. 4 stars
Of all the free encryption utilities, this one is by far the easiest to use. However, anyone with access to the computer can encrypt files without your consent so AxCrypt lacks the added security of systems that use a virtual drive system for encryption such as Cryptainer LE. The filenames remain unchanged when the file is encrypted, although they can be changed separately. The context menu system used by AxCrypt is very simple to use, but lacks the versatility and security of some other programs.
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Desktop Graffitist Desktop Graffitist

Good original idea. 3 stars
Works OK. Good clean fun and should be entertaining for at least five minutes.
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Gmail Drive Gmail Drive

Excellent piece of software. 5 stars
This is very easy to use and gives up to 2GB of online storage space, which is the size of the Gmail inbox. Bear in mind, though, that the maximum file size that can be sent and received via Gmail is 10MB and that you will have to download the file each time that you want to use it. Apart from that, this is an excellent piece of freeware which is well worth a look.
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SiteUp SiteUp

Very easy to use and configure. 5 stars
This program works well and will soon tell you if your own site (or any other site) is down. Unfortunately this is not the same as getting it back online again as this is usually beyond the control of the user.
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Visual Task Tips Visual Task Tips

Not very useful. 1 stars
This is a rather odd program. The popup windows showing the contents of open folders work OK, but the popups are far too small to be of practical use. More work is needed here.
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RSS Builder RSS Builder

Excellent freeware. 5 stars
All you have to do is to type in the www addresses of your pages and the feed is created automatically. The program requires version 2.0 of the .NET framework and if this is not installed it will have to be installed separately.
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MyConnection PC Lite MyConnection PC Lite

Nice visuals but a bit superfluous. 3 stars
This is easy to use and displays the results in a clear way. However, it does require the installing of a program when there is no shortage of online speed checkers which can be used on any computer without installing software. A quick note is that the software does not put a shortcut on the desktop so you will have to root around in Program Files to find it. It also takes a fair while to load, so be patient. You may get a firewall warning that Java (TM) Virtual Platform is trying to contact the Internet, and this is necessary for the test to take place. All in all, a useful program but maybe not for everyone.
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Avant Browser Avant Browser

Best all round browser and rss reader 5 stars
This is undoubtedly the best combined browser/rss reader available, and has far more options for customising the interface than any other browser. One advantage of Avant is that since it uses the internal architecture of Internet Explorer it does not suffer from the page compatibility problems that occasionally trip up Firefox and Opera. Avant's ability to open rss feeds automatically with a single click is something that rivals (including the new IE7 beta) should copy.
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JPEG 2000 Compressor JPEG 2000 Compressor

Excellent program. 5 stars
This works well and definitely shows that JPEG 2000 gives better results than the original JPEG system. Unfortunately most image viewers will not open JPEG 2000 files although the freeware Irfanview will.
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System Spec System Spec

Very useful. 5 stars
This is by far the most detailed program of its type available and remarkably it is a piece of freeware. Some of the information given is for advanced users only but everyone should store the basic system information in a safe place as this would be invaluable if the computer was lost or stolen.
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BootSafe BootSafe

Ok but maybe a bit superfluous. 2 stars
Rebooting a computer in safe mode is a task for the more advanced computer user, and it is not too difficult to press f8 during the restart process. This works OK but it would be used rarely.
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The software developer responded to this review on Jan 07, 2006: This utility is not aimed at advanced users - it is targeted towards novice users. We find many of our users do not know how to boot into Safe Mode, or are unable to time the F8 key press to get the menu to come up. Many spyware/malware applications can only be removed in Safe Mode, so many users are required to boot into Safe Mode these days.

CalendarPainter CalendarPainter

Excellent program. 5 stars
This is an excellent program, and is more versatile than the calendar creator in a piece of non-freeware image editing software that I won't name here. This program is ideal for home or small business users who want to make their own calendars.
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Acoo Browser Acoo Browser

Tabbed browsing, but... 2 stars
There are several Internet Explorer freeware clones available and their standard feature is that they offer tabbed browsing. In terms of its features Acoo is only fair and other freeware clones ... offer more features for the power user.
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Magnifier Magnifier

Excellent program. 5 stars
There is no shortage of freeware programs for magnifying the screen, but this has to be rated as one of the best. Although programs like this are aimed mainly at people with limited vision, they are also fun for average computer users as they can be used to show icons etc under high magnification Definitely recommended.
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Amara Flash Slide Show Creator Amara Flash Slide Show Creator

Versatile and easy to use. 4 stars
This is a program that I purchased in order to create animated slideshows for my website, and it does the job very well. No specialist knowledge of Flash or animation is required, and the slideshows look very smooth and professional. One or two places in the interface could be a bit more clearly explained, but the program is suitable even for beginners.
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Browster Browster

Can be a bit distracting. 2 stars
This is an interesting program that does what it says on the tin but it can be distracting and slow down browsing sessions when the results pop up. The trend towards tabbed browsing in Avant, Firefox etc means that the feature that Browster offers is largely useful in Internet Explorer which allows only one page to be viewed at a time.
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FileZilla FileZilla

Some sounds, maybe? 5 stars
To get straight to the point: this is the best freeware FTP client available and there is little point in paying for an FTP program without trying this one first. The old but popular WS-FTP-LE (no longer available) had sound alerts for "transfer completed" etc but FileZilla has no sounds. This is something that could be considered for future versions.
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BitMeter 2 BitMeter 2

Useful visual information. 3 stars
This is a nice program which gives a useful visual indication of upload and download speeds and has plenty of configuration options. The only niggle is that it insists on adding itself to the starting line-up of programs repeatedly.
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QJot QJot

Some useful features. 3 stars
There is a bewildering range of freeware Wordpad replacements and QJot has no serious faults. Its biggest strength is that it will open and save Microsoft Word documents which many Wordpad replacements will not. In terms of the range of word processing features that it offers, QJot is not as strong as Atlantis Nova which is also freeware.
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CursorUS CursorUS

Useful add-on for trackball users. 4 stars
Although presumably designed for a mouse, this works very well with a trackball. It also makes it almost impossible to lose the cursor.
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PlacesBar Tweaker PlacesBar Tweaker

Very useful indeed. 5 stars
This is one of the best tweaks as it can save a great deal of time when the "Save As" box is displayed.
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