Gizmo's Freeware is a non-commercial community website staffed entirely by volunteers.
The primary function is to help you select the best freeware product for your particular needs.
The best freeware programs are as good as or better than their commercial counterparts but finding the most appropriate program can be challenging.
Sure, there are dozens of freeware download sites on the web, but few of these actually help you select the best program for your needs.
That's what we do here. No downloads, just honest advice and useful guidance.
It's honest because this is a community-based site staffed by volunteers and we have no commercial affiliations.
In August 2010, PC Magazine included Gizmo's Freeware in its "100 Top Websites of 2010."
Gizmo's Freeware: Top selections
The best freeware finds from Gizmo's Freeware (www.techsupportalert.com
Posted on: 26 May 2017, 3:41 am
Every time you visit a web site, your web browser sends lots of information to that site. The decision on what to do with that data, if anything, is down to the remote site. Some sites store it for marketing and analytics purposes. Other use it for technical reasons, such as to adjust the display to the capabilities of your computer or the size of the screen.
The information that your browser sends is comprehensive. It always includes your IP address, from which the name of your internet service provider can be discerned. It also includes certain technical details about your computer and browser, as well as your location. As you can see from the screen shot included here, it even contains details of which fonts you have installed.
The harvesting of large amounts of such data is not going to go away any time soon. Indeed, Twitter now collects details about the apps installed on your smartphone and lets advertisers use the information to target their messages towards people who use a certain application.
If you want to find out what data your web browser is broadcasting to every site you visit, try going to Tenta in your favourite browser. This site simply retrieves all the data and then displays it for you to see.
The site in question is, of course, promoting a new browser which claims to block such information from being sent. It even claims to include a free built-in VPN. I'm still evaluating their claims so I'm not yet ready to say whether or not you should try their browser. But the page which reveals your data is both safe and enlightening. Read More
Posted on: 25 May 2017, 6:41 am
I'm quite meticulous about taking regular backups. I have an external hard disk which I regularly connect to my PC, copy all the files which have changed since last time, then disconnect the drive.
I don't use a dedicated backup utility to do this. Being rather old-school, I use a batch file and the built-in ROBOCOPY command. It copes just fine with my 250 GB of files, and the regular backup takes just a couple of minutes. Copying everything, rather than just the changed files, takes an entire day so I don't do that very often.
Recently, however, I noticed a problem with my backup procedure. Certain files were always being backed up, because they were always being regarded by ROBOCOPY as having changed since last time. Even through they hadn't. Most of them were photos and videos, including from my wedding 8 years ago. There's no way that these should have been changing.
Like all backup utilities, Robocopy works by comparing the date and time on each version of the file. If the source is newer than the destination, it needs copying. So I clearly needed to examine the troublesome files. Which is when I discovered that they were dated 19th January 2038. No wonder Windows regarded them as being newer than the ones created in 2009!
Clearly these video files were copied from a camera or memory card that didn't handle dates properly. So I needed to adjust the dates on the files in order to speed up my backup process. Which is where a very handy program called Bulk File Changer came in. It's from Nir Sofer on his excellent Nirsoft site and is a tiny download of less than 0.1 MB. It's portable too, runs on Windows 7 to 10, and is malware-free according to VirusTotal. The site is also rated as reputable by Web of Trust.
Bulk File Changer lets you change the attributes on one or more files with ease. It also lets you change any or all of the dates that a file was created, modified, or last accessed. Once I'd done this to my future-dated files, my backups continued working perfectly. Read More
Posted on: 23 May 2017, 2:57 am
Make your next design project more visually appealing with these free design resources. This is a nicely curated list of tools you can use on design projects like web sites, publications or products. While the list is geared towards web site creation the tools are still useful - the stock photo list, icons and color resources can be widely used. The tools fall into four categorie: stock photos, font tools, icons, and color palettes.
The one thing I found frustrating about the list is that the links to all the tools go a listing on Product Hunt, thus you have to click to get to the item on Product Hunt and from there click on the link to go to the site. I like Product Hunt but I don't want to do that much clicking and waiting for pages to load. I figured you might not either so here are direct links to all the tools listed in the article. :) Read More
Posted on: 22 May 2017, 3:57 am
Our old friends at Digiarty are running another special deal on WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe, their full-featured Windows program which allows you to download, rip, resize and edit videos in dozens of different formats. It's great for copying videos to your phone, tablet or laptop in order to watch on the move.
The program costs $49.99 but you have until May 28th to download it for free. You then need to install it by May 31st. Once you've done this, it's yours to use forever.
If you've never taken advantage of this giveaway before, now is your chance. And if you have used the software before, this new offer will get you the latest version (released 3 months ago).
The installer is 51 MB and is malware-free according to VirusTotal. The site is also rated as reputable by Web of Trust. Read More
Posted on: 21 May 2017, 4:08 am
There are many cases where recording phone calls on a mobile are helpful. Some people give you instructions over a phone call and you might find it too slow to jot them down on a piece of paper, or you work in a business or service industry and need to review the conversations over the phone with your clients.
Many smartphones do not come with call recording enabled due to certain regional legislative restrictions. If you need call recording, there are plenty of choice apps in the Google Play Store and this popular app Automatic Call Recorder is one of the most downloaded call recorders on Android.
You can easily use this free app to automatically record all incoming and outgoing calls, save calls that you need to keep on your mobile and sync them to cloud services including Dropbox and Google Drive.
Recording calls may be prohibited in certain districts or countries so be aware of such restrictions when using this type of app.
According to Wikipedia, “telephone recording laws in most U.S. states require only one party to be aware of the recording, while other states require both parties to be aware”. In case of the former only, you’re fine to use this app legally without any need to inform the other party(s). Read More
Posted on: 20 May 2017, 3:56 am
VSDC Video Editor is a very capable Windows program for editing videos and adding effects.
A basic version of the program is available for free. There's also a Pro version, with support for loads more features and codecs, which costs $19.99 per year. However, I've just managed to obtain a special offer exclusively for Gizmo's readers (that's you!).
First, head to this special web page and download the Pro version. It's a 36 MB file and is malware-free according to VirusTotal. It's also a reputable site according to Web of Trust.
Now here's the good bit. Once you've installed the program, go to the VideoSoftDev website and enter your name and email address. You'll receive a licence key by return. Then just click on the Activate link within the program and enter the licence key.
This offer is worth $19.99 and gets you a year's free usage of the Pro version of VSDC Video Editor. But hurry, because the offer expires in 3 days. So you'll need to request your free licence key by Monday. Read More
Posted on: 19 May 2017, 3:30 am
With so much publicity surrounding last week's major ransomware outbreak, which spread to more than 150 countries, here's a timely reminder of something that you can do to check whether your details have been stolen by hackers.
When hackers steal your account details from a third-party system, they call it Pwning. It's pronounced Poning, and is hacker-speak for owning someone's details. No, I have no idea why either. But it does explain the reasoning behind an excellent online resource called Have I Been Pwned. It's basically a searchable database of stolen email addresses that have been acquired by hackers and then posted on the internet.
The database currently comprises 3.7 billion entries, from almost 50,000 different hacks. To use it, just go to the site and type in your email address. The site will tell you if your details have been leaked. If they have, you'll need to change your passwords.
You can also subscribe to the service if you want, which will then automatically alert you if your details subsequently appear in the database.
Posted on: 18 May 2017, 3:02 am
This weeks wallpaper is an image of the Vatna Glacier in Iceland. Frozen water in its myriad forms shows up in this photo - cool blue ice, layered mounds with striations, a frozen river of blue ice, and snow covered mountains against a blue and pink sky make this a memorable background. Icons are visible on this background but don't pop like they would on a dark background. Read More
Posted on: 17 May 2017, 4:35 am
You're probably aware that there's a massive ransomware epidemic spreading right now. It's already affected companies and computers in more than 150 countries, and causing untold misery for hundreds of thousands of people whose computers have been rendered unusable.
If you're running Windows 10 and you have enabled automatic updates, then you have nothing to worry about. The same goes for Windows 7 and 8.1.
However, if you use Windows XP, Vista or 8.0, you are at serious risk. Microsoft has released a patch which will protect you from this particular issue and you should install it as soon as you can. Here's how: Read More
Posted on: 16 May 2017, 4:09 am
One of my favourite free utilities for Windows received an update a couple of months ago. This is a really useful tool, so I thought I would share the details with you.
The other day my PC started behaving strangely. Whenever Windows starts up, it was giving me an error message about being unable to load a particular feature. The feature was clearly related to a printer driver which I'd recently uninstalled. So I quickly deduced that one part of the printer was still trying to load itself at boot time, and failing.
Windows makes it hard to track down programs that load when the operating system starts up. The details are spread across multiple parts of the registry, as well as various folders and directories. And that's why I like a tool called Autoruns. It collects all the information from the various locations and gives you a list of every file and feature that gets loaded on startup. You can then delete the one that is causing the problem.
Autoruns is a download of less than 2 MB, which contains versions for 32- and 64-bit Windows in both graphical and command-line incarnations. They're portable, and rated reputable by Web of Trust. They're also malware-free according to VirusTotal. Read More
Posted on: 15 May 2017, 2:15 am
In our list of Best Free Android Apps, we've selected more than 200 apps grouped in various categories, with a brief description of each program. To save you time working out exactly which apps you need most, we've previously picked from the long list nine "must-have" free apps based on the old version 2.2 Froyo of Android system.
With the release of versions 4.x, including ICS, Jelly Bean and KitKat, the Android system has since been improved with fresh functionality and more useful features added by default. Based on these new versions, we've removed some previously selected apps and replaced them with new choices. If you have these versions of the Android system running in your new phone or tablet, these nine apps are a must to install.
All such lists are to some extent subjective, so if you think we have missed out on a great product you feel should be included then post a comment below. Remember we are only interested in free apps that you feel should be installed on every Android device. Read More
Posted on: 14 May 2017, 4:00 am
I've written about a couple of free systems recently which allow you to create business diagrams, charts, flowcharts and so on. Can you tell that I needed to create just such a thing and so have been researching the subject in depth?
Anyway, here's another one called draw.io that's really good, free, and has lots of features. Create your masterpiece right in your browser, then save it to your PC or to your OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox account directly. Read More
Posted on: 13 May 2017, 2:30 am
There are loads of sites on the internet which stream top-rated movies and TV shows for free. Trouble is, it can be hard to know which sites are the best and which offer the most content.
That's where a rather neat system called Reelgood comes in. It collects all those free streams into a single place, from which you can browse and watch.
However, almost all of the content seems to be restricted to viewers in the USA. So if you're not in the US, or you don't have a way of making your PC appear as though it is, you're probably out of luck on this one. Read More
Posted on: 12 May 2017, 5:40 am
The Guggenheim in New York is one of the most famous art museums in the world. As part of their education remit they've been digitising some of the best art books available, and there are now literally hundreds in the collection.
If you're interested in art, or the history of art, the collection is a brilliant way to read or browse an enormous (and very expensive!) collection from the comfort of your PC or tablet. Read More
Posted on: 11 May 2017, 4:14 am
Finds of the Week is a list of web sites I've come across that are fun, interesting, or useful, or all three. I hope you enjoy them. -Rhiannon
- Creating Strong Passwords
- Why and how to calibrate a monitor in Windows
- Web Sudoku
- Microsoft Edge has a PDF bug
Posted on: 10 May 2017, 12:37 am
It's not uncommon for security researchers and hackers to discover new ways of being able to attack computers that are connected to the internet (ie, yours and mine). Normally the attack takes the form of an infected file or email that hackers need to trick their victim into opening.
A new vulnerability discovered a couple of days ago, however, raises the bar. If someone sends you the infected file, you don't need to open it. You don't even need to know it's there. Because the weakness is in Windows Defender, the antivirus software that comes free with Windows. And as soon as Windows Defender scans the file (which it does quietly in the background, all the time), your computer is now compromised.
The fix is easy. Right-click on the Windows Defender shield icon in your status bar and open the program. Click on the Settings button towards the top right hand corner of the Defender screen, and scroll down to where the version information is shown. If your engine version is less than 13704, go back to the main Defender screen and click on Update Definitions. This will also update your engine.
If you use Windows Defender as your antivirus and security software, it's highly recommended that you do this as soon as you can. Read More
Posted on: 9 May 2017, 4:30 am
There are plenty of programs available, free and paid-for, which claim to be the ultimate program uninstaller for Windows. They reckon they can remove every last trace of a program, and do it better than the built-in Windows uninstaller can.
In truth, there's rarely any need to use a specialist uninstaller. Windows is quite capable of removing almost any program. For the handful of stubborn offenders which still leave files lying around after removal, there are dedicated tools for that particular application.
But while the built-in Windows uninstaller is quite good at removing programs, it rarely tells you enough information about the program you're trying to remove. Where in the registry does it keep its settings information, for example? This is useful to know if you want to keep track of the data it holds, or if you want to make quite sure that no confidential information remains.
And that's where a new program from the always-excellent Nir Sofer comes in. It's called Uninstall View and, as with everything from Mr Sofer, it's free. It's a tiny download of less than 0.2 MB, and is malware-free according to VirusTotal. Nirsoft's site is also rated as reputable by Web of Trust.
It's portable, and needs no installation. So download it, put it on your desktop, and try it next time you want to uninstall something. You'll still end up at the standard Windows uninstaller, but your journey towards it will be much more informative. Read More
Posted on: 8 May 2017, 4:29 am
Edabit is a really neat web-based environment to help you practice your programming skills.
Once you've signed up (which is free) and chosen your preferred programming language, you can then choose from a large number of exercises. These generally take the form of "write a function which....". You write your code directly into a box on the screen, and test as you go. When you choose to test your code, the system runs your function against a set of predefined tests, and tells you which ones you passed and which you failed.
So for example, you might be asked to code a function which returns the value "odd" or "even", depending on whether the value passed to the function is, er, odd or even. You could cheat by simply returning "odd" every time, but you'd only pass around half the tests. Code it properly, and you pass them all. Which gains you points and moves you up the community leaderboard.
Posted on: 6 May 2017, 2:15 am
The trouble with having an always-on internet connection is that every application on your computer insists on using it, all the time. You'd be amazed just how often Windows, and all of your installed programs, connect to the internet and just how much data they end up using.
Keeping track of all that usage is difficult, but for many years I've been impressed with a program that helps to make it easy. It's called Glasswire, and it lets you see what your computer is using the internet for. It's a firewall, a threat monitor, a network monitor, and a privacy tool. It'll alert you to unexpected activity on your PC, such as someone trying to enable your webcam or change a key file. And it looks really neat too.
The basic version of Glasswire is free, and you can download it from https://www.glasswire.com as a 30 MB file. It's flagged as reputable by Web of Trust, and as malware-free by VirusTotal.
Now here's the good bit!
In addition to the free version of Glasswire, there's also a paid-for version. The Pro edition costs $99 and offers a load more features. So I decided to contact Glasswire and ask if they'd give me 15 free licence codes to hand out to lucky readers of Gizmo's, and they kindly agreed.
So here's the deal
Download Glasswire and see if you like it. If you do, drop me an email to email@example.com by May 10th. After that date I'll pick 15 people at random, and send you a licence code worth $99. Just fire up Glasswire, choose the Activate option from the menu, type in the code, and the enhanced version is yours forever.
This is not a general offer, and you won't find it on any other website. So if you want a free Glasswire licence, just drop me an email and keep your fingers crossed. Read More
Posted on: 5 May 2017, 2:15 am
Finds of the Week is a list of web sites I've come across lately that are interesting, fun, or useful (or all three). I hope you enjoy them. -Rhiannon
- 7+ Great Games You Can Run from a USB Stick
- How to Wipe and Restore Tablets and Phones for Travel
- Windows 10 tip: Startup and shutdown secrets
- 7+ Great Games You Can Run from a USB Stick
Posted on: 4 May 2017, 3:33 am
Creately is a web-based system that lets you design all sorts of graphics. Think of it as a desktop publishing program, with lots of ready-to-use templates, that runs directly in your browser so there's nothing to install. You can then save your finished work as an image or PDF file, to use wherever you like.
A basic account, with a limited set of templates, is free. Try it; it's great fun. Read More
Posted on: 3 May 2017, 3:00 am
A couple of years ago, Stanford University in the US launched a short course that teaches the fundamentals of computer programming. Being from Stanford, you'd expect it to be top-quality. And it is.
Posted on: 2 May 2017, 3:57 am
This weeks wallpaper is a stunning sunset photo captured from Cannon Beach, Oregon, USA. Luminous sunset colors highlight large offshore rocks behind a line of waves, while the foreground gleams with what looks like a receding (or incoming) tide. Icons show up very well with this colorful but subdued background. Read More
Posted on: 1 May 2017, 4:52 am
Back in 2013 when Google Reader was about to close its door and disappoint its users, our editor Rhiannon suggested 6 Free Google Reader Alternatives. Among them, you might have been using one or any other choice that suits your need now.
Along the way, things change and there are other great contenders coming up to give you more choices. One of them is Inoreader, which has been developed by Innologica Ltd since after they learned about Google Reader shutting down.
If you've not tried Inoreader, give it a second glance as its interface and features have evolved over the years to become one of the strong players. It is a clean, simple and yet powerful content reader designed to cater for news feeds and any web articles that you like to save for reading, minus unnecessary frills and hassles.
Inoreader is accessible online with a web browser. It has a Firefox addon or a Chrome extension known as Inoreader Companion that helps you preview, subscribe to feeds or save a webpage to Inoreader easily. If you’re coming from other feed readers, the Inoreader web version has a function to import your subscriptions from an OPML file.
In addition to the web version, Inoreader gives you a free and excellent mobile app running across multiple platforms including Android, iOS and Windows Mobile. Read More
Posted on: 30 April 2017, 3:50 am
I've been working recently on a complex flowchart for my business. I've mostly been using a large whiteboard in my office, as I find that this is a good way to think about processes and develop ideas. But all those scribbles and additions have caused my masterpiece to look incredibly untidy, not to mention impossible to understand or to enhance. So it's time to move to some PC-based package in order to be able to more easily edit and improve the diagram.
In the past I've used Gliffy for online diagramming and mindmaps. You'll find it at www.gliffy.com and it's very good. It's fully browser-based, and a starter account is free. When I used to look after a complex collection of 13 servers in a previous job, I used Gliffy to create and maintain the diagram which documented the configuration, specification and purpose of each one. It was revised literally hundreds of times over the years, and Gliffy never let me down. But I feel like a change now, so I've been looking at alternatives.
I'm going to give Lucid Chart a try. Like Gliffy, it's browser-based and makes it easy to create diagrams and flowcharts. Unlike Microsoft Visio, it's not a hugely complex product that I need to install on my PC. And a basic account, for diagrams that comprise fewer than 60 objects, it's free to use.
So far, I'm impressed. See what you think, next time you need to organise your processes or your mind. Read More
Author: Social Learning Network
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