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  • The return of our occasional Ultimate Utilities list

    Posted on Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody blog The return of our occasional Ultimate Utilities list

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      • #1986002 Reply
        Tracey Capen
        AskWoody MVP

        ULTIMATE UTILITIES LIST By T B Capen Back in my Windows Secrets days, I updated and published the WS Ultimate Utilities List about twice a year. Reade
        [See the full post at: The return of our occasional Ultimate Utilities list]

        11 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1986564 Reply
        DennyB
        AskWoody Plus

        Tracy —

        I like your list, but one notable omission is a file management app.  Windows Explorer has improved over the years, but it still is cumbersome for comparing directories, searching, finding duplicates, backing up a few files or directories, viewing files, and other aspects of keeping a computer organized.  My favorite for the last few years has been GPSoftware’s Directory Opus (https://www.gpsoft.com.au/).  It is a more-capable drop-in replacement for Explorer and no more difficult to get started, but it can be a massively powerful program that also allows customization and scripting.  It’s not cheap at $89 (Australian dollars; currently a bit over $61 US) with some price breaks for multiple copies, but after anti-virus it’s the first program I install on a new computer.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #1986605 Reply
          Michael Austin
          AskWoody Plus

          DennyB the Opus 12 file manager looks very handy thanks.

          Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is happening.

        • #2007728 Reply
          kewlputergeek
          AskWoody Plus

          Thanks, Tracey!

          Definitely agree about adding Directory Opus — it’s phenomenal, and usually enhanced on a weekly basis.

          Despite the fact that it is no longer maintained, I find Thornsoft’s ClipMate to be an indispensable Windows clipboard utility.  It’s still better than everything else out there for power users.

          I’d also add Hamrick’s VueScan — the best scanning utility in existence.  Also usually enhanced on a weekly basis.

          And, finally: I switched to KC Softwares’ SUMo utility for a comprehensive scan of my PC to check for outdated software.  It’s much more comprehensive than the now-defunct Secunia PSI util I used to use.  They offer another util that does drivers, too.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1986601 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        Nice list, thanks 🙂 and I already use a couple of them including TreeSize and EaseUS. One I started using last year which I like is Winaero Tweaker. No, I think they aren’t running a meth lab 😉

        Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is happening.

      • #1986630 Reply
        richw42
        AskWoody Plus

        I find everything search to be very useful. You can search for files that you know the name of (or even just part of the name) as fast as you can type the search string.

        https://www.voidtools.com/

        And I use the vim editor extensively, but of course that’s a more personal requirement.

        https://www.vim.org/

      • #1986638 Reply
        Michael Austin
        AskWoody Plus

        Hey, another program on which I’ve come to depend is Thomas Wetzel’s BackupOutlook. Since you mentioned Office 365. I still glady run an old edition of Office which stores my data on my own drives in the tried-and-true local data scenarios. I’ve run BackupOutlook on Windows 7, 8 and 10 and it has saved my biscuits from 5-alarm fire grief at least twice.

        Finance, social and tech founder. My new, planet-wide talk show, Casual Saints, is happening.

      • #1987267 Reply
        tf231909
        AskWoody Plus

        Since CCleaner has fallen out of favor, to a degree, can you recommend any well-behaved and junkware-free “system cleaners” and/or “performance enhancers”?  Thx!

        • #1987664 Reply
          Microfix
          AskWoody MVP

          Been using Bleachbit portable since the Avast aquisition of Piriform on Win8.1. No complaints here, does exactly what I need to purge with no background connections only the winapp2 download to update (in edit/ preferences) and unlock further options. I usually switch this back off after updating and manually check once a month or so.

          Win8.1 Pro x64 + Linux Hybrids x86/x64 + Win7 Pro x86/64 O/L
          2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #1994135 Reply
          WSfrokeefe
          AskWoody Lounger

          PrivaZer has many recommendations from pundits. I use it, but it is very aggressive (i.e. thorough). Free & paid versions. https://privazer.com

          If there are users here, I would like to read about your experience with PrivaZer.

          • #1994246 Reply
            Paul T
            AskWoody MVP

            This is your first post (welcome) and you have recommended commercial software, so we’d like to know if you are affiliated with them in any way? We don’t mind if you are, just let us know so we can judge better.

            cheers, Paul

      • #1987411 Reply
        SkipH
        AskWoody Plus

        20 pages of older versions of CCleaner. Pick one, any one that’s “old” (before it went to heck). I’m still using Version 5.40 on Windows 10 1809, works just fine and takes about 5 seconds to do a “Cleaner” scan on an SSD.

        Link to FileHippo web pages:

        20 pages of CCleaner previous versions

        4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1987465 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        20 pages of older versions of CCleaner. Pick one, any one that’s “old” (before it went to heck). I’m still using Version 5.40 on Windows 10 1809, works just fine and takes about 5 seconds to do a “Cleaner” scan on an SSD.

        Link to FileHippo web pages:

        20 pages of CCleaner previous versions

        You better replace CCleaner with portable ccPortable : https://portableapps.com/apps/utilities/ccportable

        …On September 23, we identified suspicious behavior on our network and instigated an immediate, extensive investigation. This included collaborating with the Czech intelligence agency, Security Information Service (BIS), and an external forensics team to provide additional tooling to assist our efforts and verify the evidence that we were collecting…

        Even though we believed that CCleaner was the likely target of a supply chain attack, as was the case in a 2017 CCleaner breach, we cast a wider net in our remediation actions.

        On September 25, we halted upcoming CCleaner releases and began checking prior CCleaner releases and verified that no malicious alterations had been made. As two further preventative measures, we first re-signed a clean update of the product, pushed it out to users via an automatic update on October 15, and second, we revoked the previous certificate. Having taken all these precautions, we are confident to say that our CCleaner users are protected and unaffected…

        https://blog.avast.com/ccleaner-fights-off-cyberespionage-attempt-abiss

        • This reply was modified 11 months ago by Alex5723.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1987479 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        portable ccPortable

        portable ccPortable.

        https://www.askwoody.com/askwoody-newsletter-alerts/microsoft-finally-got-onedrive-right/#best-utilities-0

        • This reply was modified 11 months ago by Alex5723.
        • This reply was modified 11 months ago by Alex5723.
      • #1991220 Reply
        RVAUser
        AskWoody Plus

        GREAT article – thanks for the list.  A couple things:

        • Why ACDSee Photo (paid) over IrfanView (free)?
        • Why DuckDuckGo over StartPage?
        • Under General Utilities you list TeamViewer as trial/paid; it’s actually free for personal use.

        Thanks again –

        Moderator note: Removed HTML

      • #1994244 Reply
        berniec
        AskWoody Plus

        I have my personal list of utilities, all non-MS, that i had used and tuned on my decade of using win7. When I went to win10 I was worried about all the differences but it proved to be a non-problem — all of my favorite programs had shiny up to date win10 versions and so after about a week of downloading and installing I was a happy-win10-camper. My program suite [in no particular order]

        Macrium Reflect
        notepad++
        VLC video player
        foobar2000 audio player
        irfanview image viewer
        Firefox
        Foxit PDF reader
        passwordsafe
        notezilla [sticky notes]
        Pegasus
        primo PDF [shows up as a “printer” option so you can print *anything* to PDF]
        winscp
        bitvise ssh

        /Bernie\

        • #1994248 Reply
          berniec
          AskWoody Plus

          Just to clarify — my “favorite programs” are a mix of freeware and commercial software. I have no connect with any windows software company. I just drifted to commercial software when I didn’t find a freeware version that I liked as well. I look at that kind of thing as a [very] long term investment. I can’t remember what Macrium Reflect cost, but I got it so long ago it just doesn’t matter [to me] any more. None of it is very expensive in the scheme of things. Probably the most expensive program I use [not on my list above] is Quicken.

          As I review my list, I think that Macrium and Notezilla are the only commercial programs I listed. [although I do use other commercial programs [e.g.,Quicken]] but I’m a long retired software engineer and have no connections, business or otherwise, to any software vendors [paid or freeware].. I’m now just an “ordinary user” :o)

      • #1994257 Reply
        mn–
        AskWoody Lounger

        Why ACDSee Photo (paid) over IrfanView (free)?
        Under General Utilities you list TeamViewer as trial/paid; it’s actually free for personal use.

        … Heh. “Personal use” is just fine until you hit one of the problems with it. Can’t let the kids borrow the computer for their summer job related things or whatever.

        IrfanView was one of these too last time I checked… plenty of these “small” utilities where you really have to keep digging to find the license terms. Some of those are written so as to include non-profit organizations in the category that need a paid license.

        Like the part where I belong to a very extended family that organized as a nonprofit a few decades ago…

        • #1994265 Reply
          access-mdb
          AskWoody MVP

          Just looked at the T&Cs and it would seem that they’ve changed them.

          IrfanView is free for educational use (schools, universities, museums and libraries) and for use in charity or humanitarian organisations. On this page.

          I’m assuming that ‘charities’ and ‘nonprofits’ are equivalent terms.

          • #1994371 Reply
            mn–
            AskWoody Lounger

            Not in the local law over here, there’s precedent… yeah, not sure if that was the one where I did all the digging anyway.

      • #1996507 Reply
        BByg3223
        AskWoody Plus

        Great list. For screen capture you mention SnagIt, a great paid tool. However if free is necessary, take a look at Greenshot. It’s almost as good.

      • #1996529 Reply
        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        Everything, the penultimate Windows file search utility.  So good that several Linux search tools bill themselves as aspiring to be the Linux version of Everything.  So far, it doesn’t seem that any have reached that level.

        Sysinternals’ RamMap and Process Explorer, both now Microsoft products.  RamMap allows seeing what’s really going on with the memory on the PC, and to see if you really need more memory.  Process Explorer is a supercharged version of Task Manager, so to speak, and goes well beyond what Task Manager can do.

        I also like 7+ Taskbar Tweaker and Old New Explorer, though I am not sure if they really qualify as utilities.  The former gives you a lot more options to customize the taskbar, and it does work with Windows 8.1 and 10 (that’s the plus bit of the name!).  The latter allows you to get rid of the Files stored on this computer in the initial File Explorer display, and to replace the ribbon with the classic menu bar.

        Speedfan, for monitoring all kinds of temperatures on the PC, and optionally controlling the fans according to those inputs with a huge amount of customization possible.  I’d thought it was discontinued, but I just visited the site and it doesn’t mention that it is.

        MSI Afterburner for any nVidia system.  You can overclock the card with Afterburner, which is its main purpose, but it also comes with a companion utility with a huge amount of monitoring capability, including the ability to overlay all kinds of data on the D3D display, so you can monitor voltages, temps, fan speeds, CPU speeds, frame rates, graphic card utilization, etc., in realtime while gaming.  Great for troubleshooting frame rate issues, overheating, or crashing.

         

         

        Group "L" (Fedora 32 Linux w/ KDE Plasma).

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2188645 Reply
        WSjahntee
        AskWoody Plus

        I’m curious why KeePass (keepass.info) was not included in the password managers list.

        My impression is that it is well known and respected. I find it easy to use.

        NB-Thank you for this list! I really appreciate it and the work it takes to sort out the high-quality options!

        • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by WSjahntee.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2188681 Reply
        berniec
        AskWoody Plus

        I keep asking the same question about PasswordSafe.  I don’t know why it is never listed among password managers, since, IMO, it is a very good one

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