These are some of my favorite software tools or helpful sites. Check the descriptions to decide if any might be good for you. All links below will open a new browser window to view the external site.
Must-have, free programs
Great tool to help clean out all the temporary files that clutter your PC. Was able to get back lots of disk space using this free tool. The default settings are okay but it assumes you want to delete browser cookie files. Sometimes these files contain preferences to sites you frequently visit. Uncheck the box if you are not sure about removing cookies. You can also tell CCleaner which cookies to keep using the options settings. CCleaner has a start-up edit tool and quick links to uninstall programs. Uncheck any options to include additional toolbars or programs when installing.
 
The Keep Password Safe tool works well on PCs or USB thumb drives. If you can't remember all your passwords this is a very useful program. I prefer version 1.x but click here to compare both versions. Create a master database of passwords and copy it to the phone as a backup.
 
IOS app: KeePassium combines the security of KeePass with a clean intuitive design. Protect yourself using strong passwords - without remembering or typing them. Very helpful to have copies passwords secure on your mobile device.
 
Most developers have a favorite programming editor. If you are looking for a new editor or a better replacement for Notepad then try Notepad++. The TextFX plugin has the ability to sort text with an option to only output unique records.
 
If you are looking for a faster way to view PDF files then Foxit PDF reader is the tool for you. It loads much quicker than Adobe's bloated product and adds the ability to create PDF files.
 
Started using TechSmith Capture (replacement for Jing) in 2020. The screen capture tool allows you to capture images or little MP4 movies. You can annotate images before saving them to include text or highlights. Create a free account at Screencast.com to upload saved content to share. This is the only screen capture tool I could find that is free to use in a business/commercial environment. It has both Windows and Mac versions. The company offers other robust programs, SnagIt and Camtasia, if you need more features.

Advanced tools
Audacity is an easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. I have used this program over the years to edit music files when converting to digital format. Great tool for recording and editing audio files.
 
File and directory comparison tool. I use this tool every day to compare files before uploading them to sites. Fantastic tool for programmers or web designers. You can download a 30 day trial copy; well worth the $30 price.
 
This simple defragmenting tool is from the same people who made CCleaner. It can help speed up your computer if files get fragmented across the hard drive. Uncheck any options to include additional toolbars or programs when installing.
 
If you need a text editor that can open huge files then try Emeditor. I use Notepad++ daily for text editing but sometimes have to view or update extremely large files. The Emeditor program includes an option to downgrade from the commercial version to a free version after the trial period.
 
The Everything Search Engine uses Windows NTFS information to locate any file name instantly. It does not search in files but if you are looking for a misplaced file it can be extremely helpful.
 
GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a free program for photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc. If you want the power of Photoshop but don't want to pay the big bucks then give this program a try.
 
Startup Managers allow you to control which programs start when Windows loads. You will be amazed to see how many things run when the computer starts. The CCleaner program has an option to disable some startup programs but Starter shows more details.
 
This is the "Swiss Army knife" of utilities with numerous tools rolled into a single program. Originally found this while searching for a tool to convert files between Unix (lf) and Windows (crlf) line endings. Needed something that could run via a batch file, not interactively. Also use the SFK tool to download a file from the web via a batch file. You can get a copy of the program at SourceForge.net.
 
EaseUS Todo Backup saved the day after a hard drive crashed. Had a complete system backup which was about a month old. Tried the default Linux recovery boot disk but it can only see hard drives installed in the computer. If you need to recover from an external hard drive create a Windows 7 boot disk. Right click on WinPE link and save target ISO file. A useful tool if you need to backup/restore your computer.
 
Zoom is a software package that creates a search engine for your website, intranet, CD, or DVD. It provides fast and powerful full-text searching by indexing your website in advance with an user friendly desktop application that allows you to configure and index your site, from the convenience of your Windows computer.

Helpful sites
Interesting tool to check information about your browser. This is useful for web developers.
 
Free online network tools for checking domains and email addresses.
 
Check the security of your home network using the Shields Up tool. Steve Gibson wrote the fantastic SpinRite tool for checking hard drives. I used SpinRite quite frequently when I was a consultant.
 
The Tech Support Alert site has a good list of freeware utilities and helpful articles. Looks like make of the pages have not been updated in a while but still a good site to check for free utilities.
 
SnapFiles is another good site to find freeware or shareware utilities. I used to use this site a lot but don't have much need for new programs these days.
 
Use this link to test your internet connection. They also have an app for mobile phones.
 
If you're trying to help someone track down a web-related issue this page might help.

Specialized needs (worthwhile but not free)
Used the Movie Collector and Music Collector programs to catalog CDs and DVDs.
 
If you ever have to deal with managing the estate of someone who passed away this site is fantastic. It provides guidance on what to do and tools to manage finances. It was well worth the money.
 
If you need to create PDF documents then Foxit provides an inexpensive and fast alternative. I've tried numerous free PDF creation tools but they were often cumbersome to use. I finally decided it was worth paying for an easy, fast tool instead.

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