hangout, leave a message
freeware can ease your computer experience
Published on October 1, 2003 By russellmz In Personal Computing
There was a discussion on the Usenet freeware group about "Who Uses ALL FREEWARE?".

Pricelessware List: many freeware programs that have been voted as so valuable and useful that they get called "Pricelessware".

I have chosen a few programs below that I use and think are great and may or may not be listed above. Most of the following programs can be found using (I am too lazy to look up all the links for these programs but a few seconds effort can make life easier for yourself)

In case you don't know, freeware are programs provided with no strings attached. This includes: no spyware, no ads, no popup windows asking you for money, and no timelimits. Usually provided out of the goodness of a programmer's heart or because it is obsolete. This is different from shareware, adware, and spyware which usually includes one of the above listed "features".

And now the list:

Coolkeys: for the "create new folder in explorer by hitting Ctrl-Shift-F instead of right-click > New > Folder" feature. But it does so much more. You can call it up with a Ctrl-Shift-Z and do things like enter "actor Some Dude" and it will open a browser window at with Some Dude's bio. Or enter "T" and it will open my Temp folder. You can assign all sorts of things to do. Very neat.

1 by 1 and Winamp: to play mp3s. 1 by 1 used so that when I double click a new mp3 I don't lose the last saved position in my Winamp main mp3 list.

Fusionsoft Dvd: a French freeware DVD player so that I play DVDs after I left my WinDVD CD at home. Plus it takes screenshots.

Irfanview: to look at graphics files.

Radvideo: used to look at bik videos and convert graphics files.

Startman: for poking around my startup settings.

Antivir Personal: free anti virus. Frequent updates.

Proximitron: a proxy server. Very easy to set up. Basically it edits the HTML on a webpage before you see it. So it can get rid of banner ads on top, stop popup windows, remove background images, remove any music and sounds that webpages force on you. Advanced users can create their own filters: for example on a forum I go to I have three other forums listed on top as links right on the page that I added myself. And you can bypass the program itself if you need something on a page.

Spybot to kill spyware.

Cookiewall to monitor what cookies get on your computer and ban or delete them.

Used to use Killad before I got Avant Browser (Killad can't work on the tabbed browser window). Basically Killad killed popup windows. Many options but only a few kb in size!

Avant Browser: tabbed IE shell browser. I don't actually use the tabs myself but it has plenty of options. It also lets you open up lots of browser windows for those heavy surfers like myself and keeps them organized and easily accessible, unlike IE where I have to constantly Alt-Tab if I want multiple browser windows open. It also has a neat Back button feature: hold down the right mouse button then click the left and you get moved back. Sounds simple but has quite an advantage over manually clicking the Back button. Reverse it to go forward.

Zonealarm firewall. With all those losers with nothing to do but mess with other people's computers you need a firewall. Easy to use. You can categorize and organize programs so it doesn't block the wrong thing. Easy to shut off if it blocks something you need.

Two icon lock programs to restore my desktop icon placement (in case I save instead of restore on one).

Agent Ransack to replace the crappy 2 inch by 4 inch windows file finder that never leaves enough room for directory paths and never remembers I resized it.

Easycleaner to clear unneeded registry keys and look at what occupies most of my harddrive.

Enditall 2 to kill all programs before I shutdown.

Metapad: the total notepad replacement. Sooooo many features but so small and as fast as notepad. I even followed the simple directions to rename it so any use of notepad uses it instead. Gets rid of notepad annoyances: the file size limit, limited search capability, crappy and unadjustable font look, no replace option. Yet it adds so many options: search and replace that includes tabs and breaklines, hyperlink recognition, lists most recent files, has favorites, convert to upper, lower, or title case, and more.

Multirunner so I can run a group of programs at once without having to do my own batch file.

Quick Folders to remember the last x number of folders I accessed. Appears as a small button on the "Open" dialog box. Click it and it lists the last x number folders you used.

rjhExtensions to get a multiple file renamer, save directory list, copy file/dir path to clipboard, and duplicate file options in my right click menu on Windows Explorer.

I am not all freeware but getting there.

on Oct 02, 2003
Thanks for taking the time to write out the run down on all those. Browsing freeware falls in the "when I have time" section of life, and man that seems like a small slice sometimes!
on Oct 02, 2003
FYI windows has a built-in program called msconfig that can manage startup programs, etc. but there's no shortcut so you'll need to make one or just use the run box.

I heartily agree on the nomination of metapad, though. Been using it for 3-4 years and I'd never go back.
on Oct 02, 2003
yeah i have msconfig bookmarked with startman but starman is a little easier to use. no matter how much i resize it, the window for msconfig always defaults back to the dreaded "2 inch by 4 inch window" i complained about with regards to windows file search. plus it doesn't always use the shortcut name. finally, startman displays the shortcut icon image, making it easier to tell what you are disabling.
on Oct 02, 2003
Ah, nice to see that other people are enjoying metapad as much as I do. I've been a fan and a user for at least 4 years. I'm a sysadmin and I always replace notepad with metapad on the machines I'm administering. Surprisingly enough, this is the first time I've heard other people talk about metapad. None of my colleagues and former co-workers have heard of it (and few of them seem to be able to appreciate the difference. Strange). Also, I'm using about 80% of the freeware you're using. We are being blessed by hardworking people out there, so please paypal them some contributions as encouragement. I do! Oh, almost forgot to mention the number one freeware of them all, in my book. Dale Nurden’s taskbar clock enhancement utility. Check it out on
on Dec 11, 2004
I really like rjh extensions, for such a seemingly small app, it has saved me a lot of time at work (and home). Completely free too.