Windows XP Professional
How-To Videos (Microsoft Corp.)
Public access. Designed for Windows Media Player. These video clips (usually a few minutes) are arranged under the topics: Home and Small Office Networking; Communicate; Enjoy Music; Work With Photos; Work With Videos; Get Help and Support; and Go Mobile. These clips include how-to information along with a general promotion of
different Windows XP features, clients, and options.
Windows XP Tips (Microsoft Corp.)
Public access. A list of tips includes many "simple changes" that can customize your desktop and operating system to create a more effective working environment.
Free E-mail Newsletters--Computerworld (Computerworld, Inc., Framingham,
MA; International Data Group, Inc.)
Ad-supported, registration required (e-mail address and Postal Code). Over 25 e-mail newsletters are available--from enterprise topics to issues that are relevant for SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) managers and entrepreneurs with
Web-based business projects. Relevant newsletter options are available for student and professional counselors who need current information related to security, networking, Web development, and other topics.
Newsletters-InfoWorld (InfoWorld Media Group, San Francisco, CA)
No cost, ad-supported. Select from weekly opinion pieces by InfoWorld
and contributing editors and over 30 information technology (IT)
topics. Enterprise professionals, individuals, small businesses, and
professional counselors involved with small network management or
Web-based projects can identify relevant newsletters.
Windows Secrets Newsletter
(Brian Livingston et al.)
Register by providing an e-mail address to receive a twice-monthly
noncommercial or commercial version of the Windows Secrets Newsletter.
Use WinFind, a Windows tips search engine, to identify information
included within the Windows Secrets Newsletter and over a dozen other
organizations and databases.
Lockergnome, LLC (Chris
Pirillo, Des Moines, IA)
No cost. Ad-supported subscriptions are accepted for daily and weekly
Technology E-mail Newsletters (e.g., Windows Daily, Tech Specialists,
Digital Media, Penguin Shell, Apple Core, Webmaster Weekly, Bits and
Bytes, and Exclusive Focus).
Windows IT Library
(Network Windows & .NET Magazine; Penton Media, Inc., Loveland, CO)
An alphabetical list of links to directories that include information related to the use and management of Windows operating systems, clients, utilities, and servers. (Book and other research options are noted within some
WUGNET [Windows Users Group Network] Computing Tips by Topic
(WUGNET Publications, Inc.)
Public access. Review tips related to operating systems (pre-XP),
Office applications (e.g., Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.), and
hardware. Registrants can receive ad-supported electronic
newsletters--refer to: Free
TechTutorials--Free Computer Reference (7 Seconds Resources, Inc.)
Ad-supported. The directories within this site include many tutorials, white papers, tips and tricks,
FAQs, how-tos and other technical information related to applications, operating systems, networking,
Archive NetCafé (Stewart Cheifet Productions, San Mateo, CA, and
KTEH Public Television, San Jose, CA)
Public Access (a current version of RealPlayer is needed to view
streamed files). The directory, Browse Net Café Episodes, links
visitors to the list of episodes that have been broadcasted from 1997
to the present. NetCafé programs include a range of topics related to
Internet and Web use patterns, and options. Streaming over the Internet
can be achieved through either a broadband or narrowband connection.
(Each episode includes written notes that explain the various segments
within each broadcasted program.) For additional information related to
downloading options, review information associated with the bookmark, Downloading
and Playing Movies, which is within the directory, Frequently Asked
Any Password (Roman Lab Software)
No cost for individual and nonprofit use--registration required for licensing options; Windows 9x, Me, NT, 2000, and XP
encrypts password files with IDEA/MD5 algorithms
store and arrange passwords, user identification, links, and notes
A hierarchical, Windows Explorer, or "tree" format
option to generate passwords--set characters and length
search for records
option for multiple users (with separate records)
Password Agent Lite [freeware version is at the bottom of the page] (Moon Software
OÜ, Paide, Estonia)
No cost--limited to 25 entries or files--commercial option unlimited files; Windows 9x, Me, NT, 2000 and XP
AES/Rijndael (256-bit key) encryption
a Windows Explorer type interface
customize by organizing groups and subgroups
fields include user identification, password, and a text box for notes
password generator option
Key Folder (Mag2 Software, Magnus
Björk, Sundbyberg, Sweden)
No cost for personal use (no nags or ads)--commercial options for businesses; Windows 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, and Server 2003; Internet Explorer 5.01 and later
uses Blowfish and MD5 hash algorithms
store Web site and e-mail accounts, software license information, etc.
associate multiple Web sites or e-mail addresses with one record
create customized folders to organized your records
use the clipboard to copy and paste usernames and passwords to protected Web
includes password generator, password expiration notation, and drag and drop support
No cost; Windows 9x, Me, NT, 2000, and XP
organized as a database system
fields for: account, login or identification; password, link, and notes
uses Blowfish encryption algorithm--peer reviewed to maximize security
copy and paste passwords to related Web sites
XP/2000 Add-in: Office Sounds (Microsoft Download Center)
Windows 98, NT, Me, and 2000
Would you like to have different sounds associated with toolbars,
dialog boxes, zoom, and sending e-mail? This no cost add-in works with
the 2000 and 2002 versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook--it
can be uninstalled if your expectations are not met.
Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP
No cost add-ins. Microsoft's "unofficial" list of utilities that complement Windows XP includes the familiar Tweak UI
utility (used for earlier versions)--approximately 10 additional utilities
(e.g., CD Slide Show Generator, Power Calculator, HTML Slide Show Wizard, Webcam
Timershot, etc.) are available for download and installation. Note:
Tweak UI requires Windows XP Service Pack 1 (or a more recent update).
Tweak UI 1.33
Windows 9x, NT, Me, and 2000
No cost add-in. Tweak UI is a set of unsupported tools that were created by the Microsoft Windows Shell Development Team for "power users;" however, intermediate users can apply most of these tools to better manage their Windows operating system. After installation, Tweak UI can be found by going to: Start>Settings>, and Control Panel.
Tweakomatic (Microsoft Corp.)
Windows 2000, XP and Server 2003; Internet Explorer 6.0 and Microsoft Word
A no cost utility for advanced users and network administrators. A newly published (November 2003) utility, which includes options to configure Windows and Internet Explorer within both installed computers and PCs on a network.
Use Adobe Reader to view and print Portable Document Format (.pdf or
PDF) files. Adobe Reader is available for all commonly used desktop and server operating systems, and some PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants).
Adobe PDF Online,
a Web-hosted document conversion service has a trial service, which
allows registrants to create up to five documents without cost.
Restoration 2.5.14 [at] Download.com (CNET.com/Brian Kato,
Windows 98 through Vista
Freeware. Restoration is simple, austere utility, which restores
deleted from your PC via the Recycle Bin or through a keyboard
shortcut. This small program has an option to run it from a floppy
disk. (Due to the complexities associated with writing to the hard
drive, some recovered files may be corrupted.)
Belarc Advisor--Free Personal PC Audit (Belarc, Maynard, MA)
Windows 9x, Me, NT4, 2000, XP, and Server 2003; Internet Explorer 3.x
or later, Netscape 3.x or later, Opera or Mozilla
No cost. Download and install this utility, which identifies operating system characteristics, applications and utilities (including license numbers), and the hardware connected to your computer. No computer-related information is uploaded to a server.
Alternatives that approximate, but do not match Belarc Advisor data
include: 1) the computer information section of a Help and Support
add-in by an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer); or 2) using the
System Information Utility within Windows
(Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools>System Information Utility)
to identify computer characteristics and connected peripherals.
Windows Support Center (James A.
Public access, donations accepted. This site is a welcome alternative to the multiple and ever-changing support directories that are maintained by
Microsoft--it includes resources for troubleshooting (e.g., explaining error messages, FAQ, Forums,
etc.) and optimizing modern versions of Windows.
Microsoft Product Support Services include
options (e.g., top issues, downloads, instructions, related sites, newsgroups, and contact support information) for both applications and operating systems. Refer to the main directory for applications, and the following links for operating systems:
Annoyances.org (Creative Element)
Public access. A collection of problems and solutions identified by users of Windows operating systems (9x, Me, 2000, and XP). Use the directories and navigation system, or find problems and solutions through
a search system.
Bud's Windows Troubleshooter (Bud Allen)
Windows 9x, NT, Me, 2000, and XP
Use the directory for each operating system or a search system to identify troubleshooting tips and solutions. Access is provided to Bud's Troubleshooter's Forum, and a no cost newsletter (i.e.,
WhatsNews) is available.
Google Toolbar (including a Pop-up Blocker)
Freeware--Windows 9x, Me, NT, 2000, and XP; Microsoft Internet Explorer
version 5.5 or later
A new install of the Google Toolbar includes its Pop-up Blocker. This blocker of pop-up ads is "intelligent" because it distinguishes between ads that do not require viewer action and additional information windows that require a viewer's action. Google's Pop-up Blocker also includes a feature, which allows a user to "teach" it to restrict its blocking of either ads or information windows on specific sites.
Note. Users that have a Toolbar without the Pop-up Blocker should review Google's FAQ
which answers the question: How can I learn when a new version is available? Review
About the Google Pop-up Blocker before an installation or activation.
Caution. If you select the PageRank feature within the Google Toolbar, your Web site visits will be tracked and reported to Google's servers--refer to:
Pop-Up Stopper--Free Version (Panicware, Inc., Seattle, WA)
Freeware--Windows 9x, Me, NT, 2000 and XP; Internet Explorer 5.x or
later; Netscape 4.x and later
Freeware--commercial options are available. This utility blocks pop-up
and pop-under ads, and free upgrades are available to users.
Freeware--Windows 9x, Me, NT, and 2000
Pow is a Windows utility, which blocks pop-up ads. It can be configured
by a user to add (or remove) its blocking activity for specific Web
Manage and Share Digital Photos and Graphics
PhotoShow Express (Ahead Software AG, Karlsbad, Germany;
Windows 98se, Me, 2000, and XP; Flash-supported Web browser; [latest]
Macromedia Flash Player
e-mail address is requested (but not required). The Express version is
an introduction to the commercial version, Nero PhotoShow Elite--refer
Product Comparison file for additional information.
formats: .jpg, .tif and .bmp
editing--color adjustment (including red eye removal), and additional
filters and tools
management--locate photos on your computer; organize and create slide shows with or without audio; and post to server or e-mail photos
creations--use online commercial options or PC applications to create
calendars, mug, and other items
Organizer (Picasa, Inc., Pasadena, CA; Google Inc., Mountain View,
Windows 98, Me, 2000, and XP; Internet Explorer 6.x recommended; and
Microsoft DirectX 7.0 or later
only. Picasa is an organizer and [minor] editing utility for digital
photos and graphics.
formats: .jpg, .tif, .gif, .bmp, .psd, .avi, .mpg, .asf, and .wmv
albums transferred from a digital camera or a CD
search your photo collection
photos within the thumbnail view
red-eye, enhance, or crop
and create slideshows
by using the complementary peer-to-peer client, Hello--see
Hello (Picasa, Inc., Pasadena,
CA; Google Inc., Mountain View, CA)
Direct Internet connection required--not
functional if proxy servers are used (e.g., the quasi-private
networks, AOL and MSN)
No cost. As a 128-bit AES encrypted peer-to-peer (or PC-to-PC)
computer client, Hello supports photo file sharing and one-to-one
instant messaging. Peer-to-peer clients that triangulated through
third-party servers maintain different records and controls;
therefore, a file related to the
protection and use of
user information, and the
Support and Hello FAQ
file should be reviewed prior to downloading Hello.
Internet Connection Speed
Speedtest.net (Ookla, LLC,
Requirements: 1) Web browser plug-in--Flash 7, preferably Flash 8;
Public access. An evaluation of your broadband Internet connection
is completed using geographically dispersed servers. Download and
upload speeds are analyzed and presented in kilobits-per-second
(kb/s). Use the My Results to view a history of your broadband speed
tests. The My Summary tab includes a comparison of your broadband
speeds with regional, national, and global broadband providers.
Speed Test (Domain Registrant, WUGNET Publications, Inc., Media,
Public access--uses a Java plug-in. An online assessment of your download and upload bandwidth.
(dslreports.com/Silver Matrix, LLC, New York, NY)
Public access. Flash 8 and
Java-based Internet speed tests are available. A
worldwide speed test sites is available.
Analyzer (SpeedGuide.net; Speed Guide, Inc.)
Notice: This evaluation is
broadband speed test--a click on the above link provides the following
(Maximum Transmission Unit, range, 68-1500)--the greatest amount of
data that can be transferred in one physical frame on the network.
Larger MTUs transfer data packet faster, and smaller MTUs can result
in packet fragmentation;
2. MSS (Maximum Segment Size, usually 40 less that the MTU)--the
largest segment of TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) data that a
Winsock (Windows Socket) is prepared to receive;
3. TTL (Time To Live)--the maximum amount of time (in seconds or the
number of router hops) an IP packet can live. The TTL value is noted
as the lower of either time in seconds or the number of routers an IP
(Internet Protocol) packet will pass through before being discarded;
4. bandwidth and timestamps notes are listed.
Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) and FTP
File Transfer Protocol (SourceForge.net; OSTG, Inc., Fremont, CA)
Windows 9x, Me, NT, 2000, XP, and 2003
No cost--GNU General Public License. FileZilla includes and Windows
Explorer type interface, an option to resume failed file uploads or
downloads is included, and it allows users to navigate through
firewalls and proxy servers. FileZilla is a useful computer utility for
Web site managers who do not use editors with an automated publishing
File Transfer Protocol (University of Michigan)
Mac OS 10.1 and later
No cost--OpenBSD group license. Fugu has an easy-to-use graphical user
interface, which includes drag-and-drop features. It provides users
with security through encryption for file transfer session.
WS_FTP Home--Winsock File Transfer Protocol-Home (Ipswitch, Inc.,
Windows 98se, NT, Me, 2000, and XP
Trialware--use up to 30 days without purchasing a license. WS_FTP is designed around a
Windows XP type graphical user interface, and it includes newer
features (e.g., thumbnail view, browser URL integration, dial-up
manager, automatically resume, etc.) related ease-of-use and increased
security (i.e., 128-bit encryption). A WS_FTP Professional version is
4.x (Fetch Softworks, LLC, Etna, NH)
Mac OS 7, 8, 9 and X
No cost for users within educational or charitable
organizations--trialware (up to 15 days) for home or business users
without purchasing a license. With a graphical user interface that is
familiar to Macintosh owners, Fetch provides an array of options, such
as: drag-and-drop, download resume, synchronization, large file
transfer, compatibility with multiple server types, and much more. The
present version (4.0.3, December 2004) does not support SFTP (Secure
File Transfer Protocol). Fetch is available in English, French,
Spanish, and Italian.