Sunday, June 10, 2007

Top 10 open source Windows apps

1. Mozilla Firefox (Web browser)
Crikey, another Firefox plug! Yeah, we love the 'fox, and we'll keep talking about it until EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU USES IT. It really just doesn't get any better when it comes to a cross-platform, open source web browser.

2. Mozilla Thunderbird (Email client)
Firefox's much less celebrated little brother is one helluva email client. We especially like its customizable message filters, built-in adaptive Junk mail filter and ability to install useful add-ons (like Firefox).

3. Open Office (Office suite)
Used to be that anyone who wanted to open a Word document had to drop a few Benjamins on Microsoft Office or risk pirating it. No more - Open Office is a free alternative to M$ Office for students, freelancers and poor people just wanting to save their spreadsheet as an .xls.

4. Gaim (Instant messenger)
Chat on any service you'd like - AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN, Jabber, ICQ - with this multi-platform, tabbed IM client.

5. ClamWin (Antivirus)
Norton bugging you again to break out the credit card and subscribe? Uninstall! ClamWin is free anti-virus software with automatic updates and scheduled scans, no credit card required.

6. VLC Media Player (Audio/video player)
Got a video or audio file Windows Media Player or Quicktime can't play? Betcha VLC can.

7. KeePass (Password manager)
Another app you really don't hear a lot about, but for anyone with more than 6 different passwords, KeePass is indispensable. Check out my previous feature, Securely track your passwords for more on using KeePass.

8. Cygwin (Unix command line emulator)
That DOS command line just doesn't cut it. Wanna turn into a CLI ninja on your PC? You need Cygwin.

9. Eraser (Data deletion utility)
Before you donate, sell or trash your hard drive, you want to make sure there are no traces of your naughty private data on it. Eraser uses the same algorithm the government uses to wipe your hard drive clean.

10. TrueCrypt (File encryption utility)
You've got a folder full of files you don't want anyone to access but you. Lock it (or an entire thumb drive) up with the free TrueCrypt software. Check out the previously-posted Encrypt your data article for more on using TrueCrypt.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Windows XP Hidden Applications

To run any of these apps go to Start > Run and type the executable name, for example: charmap

Windows XP Hidden Applications:

1. Character Map = charmap.exe (very useful for finding unusual characters)

2. Disk Cleanup = cleanmgr.exe

3. Clipboard Viewer = clipbrd.exe (views contents of Windows clipboard)

4. Dr Watson = drwtsn32.exe (Troubleshooting tool)

5. DirectX diagnosis = dxdiag.exe (Diagnose & test DirectX, video & sound cards)

6. Private character editor = eudcedit.exe (allows creation or modification of characters)

7. IExpress Wizard = iexpress.exe (Create self-extracting / self-installing package)

8. Mcft Synchronization Manager = mobsync.exe (appears to allow synchronization of files on the network for when working offline. Apparently undocumented).

9. Windows Media Player 5.1 = mplay32.exe (Retro version of Media Player, very basic).

10. ODBC Data Source Administrator = odbcad32.exe (something to do with databases)

11. Object Packager = packager.exe (to do with packaging objects for insertion in files, appears to have comprehensive help files).

12. System Monitor = perfmon.exe (very useful, highly configurable tool, tells you everything you ever wanted to know about any aspect of PC performance, for uber-geeks only )

13. Program Manager = progman.exe (Legacy Windows 3.x desktop shell).

14. Remote Access phone book = rasphone.exe (documentation is virtually non-existant).

15. Registry Editor = regedt32.exe [also regedit.exe] (for hacking the Windows Registry).

16. Network shared folder wizard = shrpubw.exe (creates shared folders on network).

17. File siganture verification tool = sigverif.exe

18. Volume Contro = sndvol32.exe (I've included this for those people that lose it from the System Notification area).

19. System Configuration Editor = sysedit.exe (modify System.ini & Win.ini just like in Win98! ).

20. Syskey = syskey.exe (Secures XP Account database - use with care, it's virtually undocumented but it appears to encrypt all passwords, I'm not sure of the full implications).

21. Mcft Telnet Client = telnet.exe

22. Driver Verifier Manager = verifier.exe (seems to be a utility for monitoring the actions of drivers, might be useful for people having driver problems. Undocumented).

23. Windows for Workgroups Chat = winchat.exe (appears to be an old NT utility to allow chat sessions over a LAN, help files available).

24. System configuration = msconfig.exe (can use to control starup programs)

25. gpedit.msc used to manage group policies, and permissions

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Windows Evolution

You can see how Windows changed from 1.0 to Vista.

Windows 1.0

Windows Evolution

Windows 2.0

Windows Evolution
Windows Evolution

Windows 3.0

Windows Evolution

Windows Evolution

Windows NT 3.1

Windows Evolution

Windows 95

Windows Evolution

Windows 98

Windows Evolution
Windows Evolution

Windows ME

Windows Evolution

Windows XP

Windows Evolution
Windows Evolution

Windows Vista

Windows Evolution
Windows Evolution
Windows Evolution
Windows Evolution