Top 5 Free Windows Apps I Can't Do Without

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

USB Guardian - it does one simple thing really well. It stops self-executing files on USB drives you connect to your computer. Most viruses and trojans bypass anti-virus programs by being faster. Auto.inf and .exe files launch faster than your anti-virus can say 'Gotcha!'. USB Guardian stops any executables, giving your anti-virus precious millisecconds to react and can. It's not fool-proof, but together with fast proactive anti-virus software it's a potent line of defense. Download USB Guardian from:

7-Zip - not all zippers are created equal. This free and open source tool gives me 2 extra features that other zip software will ask me to pay for -- self-extracting zipped volumes and password protection. You will have to zip using the 7-Zip format, but if you create a self-extracting folder it turns into an .exe file instead of the default .7z. That means recipients don't have to have 7-Zip installed in their computer. I've already shared large photo packages with family using public services like Sendspace without fear for privacy because I can set a difficult password on it too. If you do it the same way, just remember to get them a password in a safe way like through SMS. Start using it today by downloading the latest version from:

ImgBurn - free and one of the most reliable burning software I have used, this one has all the features that  I need. I use it mostly to burn images files to disc, create data backups, the reverse. I mean create images of discs and copying data discs, that is. It doesn't suffer from the bloat of some other burning software and it's lightweight. It comes with a few extras that I need, like verify mode and reading information off blank discs. That's useful when your scouting for reliable media -- yes, Taiyo Yuden DVD-R's are still the best! Try out ImgBurn and let me know how it goes for you. Get it here:

TeraCopy - Need to speed up your file copying from drive to drive? This is the app for you! So named because it was created to maximize copying speeds for large files, TeraCopy just maxes out whatever available speed there is on your drives. It has made copying large folders a breeze for me. Very useful indeed for that Terabyte of data you've been itching to move from a friend's PC to your portable drive [Seagate FreeAgent, anyone?] ;-) So hurry up and download it already, it's free for home use:

VLC (VideoLAN Client) - originally intended for streaming media to other computers in the same network, VLC is just as capable as a media player. I like to call it 'codec-agnostic'. Well, not really. But it will play practically anything you throw at it. Mostly because it already includes most codecs in it's plumbing. No more codec hell. Don't let the traffic cone throw you off. This is one very capable media player. Certainly the best media player that I've used in the past 10 years. Go download it now at:


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