Windows XP has been replaced by a
DRM laden OS which regularly
throws annoying pop-ups at you.
Don't be hypnotized by the pretty graphics -- putting Vista on
your computer is one of the least desirable things you could do this side of
hitting it with a baseball bat. [Georgetown
I am not planning on "upgrading", so I have
trawled the internet for free utilities which optimize and enhance the "out of
date" Windows XP. The software titles below are the result of my quest.
The main points of
the software are:
- Simplicity - if it takes more than 5 minutes to figure out how a program works I generally
- Effectiveness - a program has to do its job well.
- Stability - I don't like seeing a
- Minimal system resources - my PC uses a humble AMD 64 3000+ CPU alongside a
Seagate Momentus 5400 RPM hard drive (I like the quiet). I don't want bloatware
slowing it to a crawl, so minimal program size and CPU usage is
I prefer programs which require which no installation so that my
registry stays bloat free. Programs shown with [NI] require no installation. If
you want to easily install applications that do not provide an internal
installation program then
will do the job for you. It automatically extracts all files from a downloaded
zip file, copies them to the destination folder you select, creates shortcuts in
the start menu and on the desktop, and it adds an uninstall module to allow
automatic removal of the software. To run a non-installed program at startup create a shortcut to the exe file in
C:\Documents and Settings\User\Start Menu\Programs\Startup.
All of the software has been thoroughly tested, but it is recommended that you create a system restore
point before any installations so that your system can be easily rolled back should anything go awry.
note that all of the tools are provided without warranty or support by WRH as a service to the community.
SG TCP Optimizer [596KB] -
An easy way to optimize internet connection registry settings [program
HD [888KB (portable version)] - Allows conventional, high quality & HD
videos to be downloaded from YouTube and saved as FLV, mp4 & avi files.
TurnFlash v2.10 [6KB] [NI] - Allows web page Flash
content to be turned off in IE. Speeds up web page downloads and prevents your PC from being
hijacked by malware.
Kaufman Mail Warrior [924KB] [NI] - An ultra light, fast and
straightforward program for receiving, sending and checking e-mail accounts.
- Straightforward FTP client. [Screenshot]
HFS - HTTP File Server
[1.7MB] [NI] - A simple way to share files with friends, amongst many other things.
Free Download Manager [5.4MB] - A well featured downloading program.
NetMeter [600KB] -
Monitors internet connection speed and keeps a log of bandwidth used.
No Frills Timer [105KB] - Allows you to keep a check on how
long you've been online.
FollowMeIP Lite [152KB] [NI] - A simple tool which displays your external IP address.
|Hard drive tools:|
UltimateDefrag [2.1MB] - An excellent hard drive defragmentation tool. The "auto" option is effective for
novices, and hardcore tweakers can tune drives to the max [program
[NI] - Ultra fast alternative to Windows search [details].
Turn off Windows indexing to free up system resources [details].
DriverMax [2.9MB] - Allows
PC drivers to be easily backed up and
IdleBackup [1MB] - Easy to use data backup software that does its
work when your PC is idle.
PhotoFiltre [1.8MB] [NI] - Easy to use photo retouching software which
includes advanced features [tutorial]
FastStone Image Viewer
[4MB] [NI] - Excellent image browser and editor.
PaintStar [2.4MB] - A suite of painting tools which allow
numerous effects to be applied to images. A useful function of this
program is it allows thumbnails of images selected in explorer to be
displayed in the right-click context menu.
Serif DrawPlus 4 [19MB] - Feature rich vector drawing software [details].
Free registration required.
Diagram Designer [1.3MB] -
Easy to use vector graphics editor for creating flowcharts.
|Hardware monitoring and detection software:|
SpeedFan [1.3MB] - Shows fan
speed(s), voltages, chip and hard drive temperatures. Also monitors the
condition of the hard drive.
MobileMeter [41KB] [NI] - A
system monitoring tool for laptops. Shows the CPU clock speed and temperature, battery charge/discharge rate
and HDD temperature.
Cpu-Z [592KB] [NI] - Detects CPU, memory and motherboard information.
MemTest [13KB] [NI] - RAM integrity tester.
CPU Burn-in [7KB] [NI] - CPU stability tester.
Tiny Editor [17KB] [NI]
- Ultra light (and more functional) alternative to Notepad.
EditPad Lite [3.1MB]
- Feature rich tabbed notepad.
AbiWord [5.8MB] -
MS Word alternative.
Text Tally [1.18MB]
- Automatically counts lines, words, and characters in clipboard text.
WordWeb [7.4MB] - If you are ever stuck for words
this dictionary/thesaurus will prove to be very handy.
Samurize [5.3MB] - Software which allows Windows desktop
to be comprehensively customized without too much fuss [basic guide].
Calendar [628KB] - A customisable calendar which sits neatly on the desktop.
Desktop Info [190KB] - Displays
system information on the desktop.
ClocX [941KB] - A
customisable analogue desktop alarm clock with numerous faces to choose from.
Looks great, and uses negligible resources [brief
iRotate [112KB] -
Rotates the screen display with a click of a mouse.
|7-Zip [840KB] - High performance compression software which works with
numerous compressed file formats (zip, rar etc).
If you are content with using Windows default Compressed (zipped) Folder for
the zipping & unzipping of files then
Win-GZ [49KB] [NI] will come in handy if you ever need to uncompress a
gzip file. Simply
shortcut to program the in the SendTo directory, you will then be able to
use the program from the SendTo context menu.
BAD CD DVD
Reader [2.4MB] - Can help recover data from unreadable CDs and DVDs.
Convert [152KB] [NI] - A versatile
FreeGuide [9MB] - A
handy TV guide.
|DOSBox [1.2MB] - Allows DOS
games to be played on Windows XP.|
- A collection of classic DOS games which are now free downloads.