- Application Development
- Digital Logic
- Electronic Circuits
- Game Programming
- Getting Things Done
- Operating System
- Software Study
- Web Development
Computer software tools and games
On this page I share some of my favorite tools and games.
7-Zip is open source software that allows you to compress files in various formats (7z, XZ, BZIP2, GZIP, TAR, ZIP and WIM). Decompressing files from compressed archives is also possible in many more formats (ARJ, CAB, CHM, CPIO, CramFS, DEB, DMG, FAT, HFS, ISO, LZH, LZMA, MBR, MSI, NSIS, NTFS, RAR, RPM, SquashFS, UDF, VHD, WIM, XAR and Z). It's free and also the compression rate is better than with tools like WinZip or PkZip.
With Agent Ransack you can easily search for a certain text inside of a lot of files in a certain directory. I know you can do this also with Windows, but Agent Ransack will search inside every file you specify, while Windows only searches for text in certain files, like e.g. .txt or .doc files. At my job I often do extensive file searches for certain texts and often I use Agent Ransack for this. It's free and fast.
Dexpot is a handy piece of software that allows you to create up to 20 virtual desktops. Once installed, you can easily change your current active desktop. This tool is very convenient when you keep many programs open at the same time. Alteratives to Dexpot are: VirtuaWin, Virtual Dimension and Microsoft's Desktops.
With dupeGuru you can quickly find duplicates of certain files in a certain folder on your harddisk. Deleting the duplicate files is easy with this tool.
Occasionally I use ExamDiff to compare two plain text-files that are almost identical, in order to identify differences between them.
Before using Foxit Reader, I've used Acrobat Reader a lot for reading PDF files. However, as newer versions of Acrobat became larger, it took much longer to start Acrobat Reader. After discovering Foxit Reader, I was really pleased with its startup time. The latest version of Foxit Reader shows an somewhat annoying startup page, however it is easy to disable this in the settings. I also had many occasions when Acrobat Reader was not able to display a certain page in a document, while Foxit Reader was not having this problem at all.
The newest version of Foxit Reader also installs cloud functionality in order to be able to store documents online. I uninstalled this functionality (Control Panel - Programs and Features - Uninstall Foxit Cloud), because I don't use it and also it causes to have a task running on your computer called FCUpdateService.exe which also consumes some memory and CPU-time.
HitmanPro.AlertThe unique technologies in HitmanPro.Alert are designed to stop threats before they emerge and aims to protect your vulnerable software, data and identity against current and future attacks, without requiring prior knowledge of the attack or malicious program.
When you like to play Mahjong on your computer I recommend the following games:
Hong Kong Mahjong (you play against three opponents, like in regular Mahjong).
Kyodai Mahjong (several solitaire Mahjong games)
Malwarebytes is one of my favorite tools in order to quickly detect malware on your computer. It helped me tremendous times. They offer a very useful free edition. Highly recommended!
Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit wraps four layers of security around popular browsers, preventing exploits from compromising vulnerable code.
Macrium Reflect Free
An award winning disk cloning and imaging solution for free. Protect your personal documents, photos, music and e-mails. Upgrade your hard disk or try new operating systems in the safe knowledge that everything is securely saved in an easily recovered backup file. Macrium Reflect supports backup to local, network and USB drives as well as burning to all DVD formats. This version is for non-commercial home use.
Notepad++ is my favorite Windows Notepad replacement. It provides syntax highlighting and you can download a lot of plugins. One of my favorite plugins is the XML Pretty Print plugin, that takes care of restructuring an XML document.
For some tasks like making SQL-scripts I use Notepad2 instead of standard Windows Notepad. It automatically recognises certain keywords, therefore it is a great source editor. Very good alternatives to Notepad2 are UltraEdit or Notepad++.
Null Modem emulator
The Null-modem emulator allows you to create an unlimited number of virtual COM port pairs and use any pair to connect one COM port based application to another. Each COM port pair provides two COM ports. The output to one port is the input from other port and vice versa.
Paint.Net - free image and picture editor
My wife wanted to edit some of the pictures that she made with her camera. I installed the Paint.Net software on her laptop. This software is completely free and has many features. Visit this site to get it. There are free plugins available for Paint.Net, like the Effects-plugin (put this plugin in the Effects folder of Paint.Net) and the Icon/Cursor-plugin (put this plugin in the Filetypes folder of Paint.Net). With the last plugin you're able to save images as .ico or icon files. I've used this recently to create a transparent icon. Creating a transparent icon is really easy in Paint.Net. Just create an image of e.g. 32x32 pixels. Use a certain color that you want to be transparent in this image. Click on the magic-wand tool and set the tolerance bar to 25% (just experiment with this setting). Then click on the color in the image that you've chosen to be the transparent color and then click the delete button on your keyboard. This way the transparency color is removed from the image. Next save your image with filetype .ico and you're done.
Later on I learned it is also possible to create icons with Microsoft Visual Studio, but many people do not have this application.
Ever wondered which program has a particular file or directory open? Now you can find out. Process Explorer shows you information about which handles and DLLs processes have opened or loaded.
Regshot comes in handy when you want to see what entries in your registry change e.g. during installation of a piece of software. Regshot is free.
Sandboxie lets you run programs independent of the rest of your system. That way they can’t infect, access, or otherwise interfere with your Windows installation.
Sophos virus removal tool
Infected with a virus? Unsure whether your existing antivirus software has detected and removed it? Still having problems and unsure where to turn to next? Sophos Virus Removal Tool can help.
SpeccySpeccy is a fast, lightweight, advanced system information tool for your PC. Need to find out what’s inside your computer? Speccy has all the information you need!
Subversion sourcecode version control
When you develop software - especially within a team of software developers - it is essential to have a system that stores all your sourcecode files of your projects and keep track of all changes. With such a system - called sourcecode version control - it's easy to go back to an earlier version of a certain sourcefile. This is very useful in case you or someone else made a mistake or perhaps when you accidentally deleted a certain file.
For my sourcecode control I use Subversion, which is an open-source sourcecode versioning tool. When you just work with just one code-base in a software development team it is easy to use. Just commit and update your work against the Subversion repository and resolve any conflicts. Things get more complicated however when you want to start using branching and merging. I investigated this and as a result I wrote the following Subversion TortoiseSVN tutorial. I learned a lot while investigating branching and merging and I recommend reading and follow my tutorial. Feel free to give this tutorial to your friends. I would like to hear from you what your experience with this tutorial is.
There's another free (distributed) sourcecode control system called Mercurial. I've heard it's very powerful and TortoiseHg that can be used with it seems to be similar like TortoiseSVN of Subversion (which is server based). Maybe I'll investigate on it at a later time.
Kaspersky TDSSKiller from Kaspersky Lab is a free utility that detects and removes rootkits and rootkit-like anomalies.
With Total Uninstall you can remove an installed program completely from your computer. Unlike the normal Add/Remove Programs option of Windows, Total Uninstall is much better at deleting all registry items that were added during installation of a certain program. Total Uninstall is functional for 30 days, after that period you'll have to buy it. Other uninstall tools are: My Uninstaller Pro, Perfect Uninstaller and Revo Uninstaller.
Treesize is very useful for determining which folders on your computer uses most of your computer diskspace. Treesize is free.
UltraEdit is a very good and cheap PHP editor and offers syntax-highlighting and auto-complete. Auto-complete means that UltraEdit can complete your code whenever you want.
With VBinDiff you can easily view binairy differences between two files.
Learning a new language is quick and easy with Virtual Teacher. I use the older version 1.1 which is freeware and I've imported a list I've made in Excel in order to create a vocabulary with more than 6000 words and their translations in English. I saved the list as a comma-separated file (.csv), which can be imported in Virtual Teacher's vocabulary builder.
Virtual Teacher displays one word and its translation for a while on your desktop and you can adjust the time interval and the size of the panel (even full-screen).
Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code provides developers with a new choice of developer tool that combines the simplicity and streamlined experience of a code editor with the best of what developers need for their core code-edit-debug cycle. Visual Studio Code is the first code editor, and first cross-platform development tool - supporting OSX, Linux, and Windows - in the Visual Studio family.
Winrar is used for compressing one or multiple files into a file that is much smaller, so it is easier to send the resulting file. Besides opening and creating rar files, it can also open zip files. It can be customized with separately downloadable themes. It will integrate with your file explorer, so it is easy to archive files by selecting the files first in file explorer, then right click and add the files to a new archive.
WizMouse makes your mouse wheel work on the window under the mouse.
XML Cooktop - useful free tool for XML - XSL - XSLT development
Occasionally I develop XSL-stylesheets for transforming XML documents into some other kind of format, like e.g. HTML. For this I needed a simple tool and I found one called XML Cooktop. I'm pleased with it and I keep using it once in a while.
This is one of my favorite tools I use daily. xplorer2 is much more flexible than Windows' regular explorer. I recommend this tool highly.
On the site of Scott Hanselman is an extensive list with useful tools.
DJ mixer software
Do you want to have your own DJ mixer software? Click on below images to try out these cool software products for free (for Windows) and you'll be mixing your own music in no time. You'll be surprised by the capabilities of these products, like adding cool effects and changing the pitch of your music. Have fun!
Create PDF documents without expensive software
Did you ever want to create PDF documents, but you don't know how or you just don't want to buy software. This is possible and completely free. Just install PDF Creator and once you're done, it has installed a new printer for you called 'PDF Creator'. Whenever you print some document from your favorite editor to this new printer, PDF Creator creates a PDF document for you with the content you wrote.
I have my PDF Creator always configured so that documents printed to PDF Creator are saved automatically (see settings -> auto-save option) and after saving the PDF document it opens the PDF document with the default PDF program.