OK, We own up – We use the free stuff as well! Our little selection of freebies; well – they are all so useful and practical and just help us manage and troubleshoot our clients networks just that little bit easier. Some of the Freeware below have paid versions, which we also use where we need to.

OpenDNS

Do you want faster surfing? Do you want a way to do “SIMPLE” Content Filtering and block sites? Do you want it for free? OK, this one is not enterprise class, but it has its uses and offers value for the smaller size business

Auslogics Disk Defrag and Registry Defrag

So Sorry Microsoft   , but we find this more useful than Windows default defrag utility. The Registry Defrag seems to work well though it is hard to quantify any tangible/actual performance improvement though the program does make some claims after it finishes a registry defrag!

CCleaner

CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. We run this once a week just before the weekly Auslogics Disk Defrag. It’ll keep your system sweet!

Recuva

(from the makers of CCleaner) freeware Windows utility to restore files that have been accidentally deleted from your computer. This includes files emptied from the Recycle bin as well as images and other files that have been deleted by user error from digital camera memory cards or MP3 players. It will even bring back files that have been deleted by bugs, crashes and viruses! There are other “un-delete” utilities out there – we normally run several different utilities to be on the safe side.

Belarc

The Belarc Advisor builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status, CIS (Center for Internet Security) benchmarks, and displays the results in your Web browser. All of your PC profile information is kept private on your PC and is not sent to any web server.

LogMeIn

LogMeIn Free gives you fast, easy remote access to your PC. We use the Free version to support many of our clients who have small user counts. We love this product because it WORKS! and because it enables us to support both Windows and OS X clients by just using a browser. We do use the paid version as well for certain clients with larger user counts.

Teamviewer

OK, we occasionally waiver between Logmein and Teamviewer. “TeamviewerQS” on the client side has the advantage of not requiring an install – it is an executable. Teamviewer connects to a central “switchboard” to provide you with a “partner id”. As the support provider you key in the partner id and a unique password generated by the central switchboard. The connection is then very fast. We use the Free version for ad hoc support. The Free version has support for multiple screens at the client end and will survive subsequent VPN connections in the same session. Clients love it because there is no install process and there is no lock in to a provider. It currently has less nag screens than Logmein and it just WORKS.  

nMap

Nmap (“Network Mapper”) is a free and open source (license) utility for network exploration or security auditing. Many systems and network administrators also find it useful for tasks such as network inventory, managing service upgrade schedules, and monitoring host or service uptime. Nmap uses raw IP packets in novel ways to determine what hosts are available on the network, what services (application name and version) those hosts are offering, what operating systems (and OS versions) they are running, what type of packet filters/firewalls are in use, and dozens of other characteristics. It was designed to rapidly scan large networks, but works fine against single hosts. Nmap runs on all major computer operating systems, and both console and graphical versions are available.

ipScan

Free IP scanner is a very fast IP scanner and port scanner. It is intended for both system administrators and general users to monitor and manage their networks. Powered with multi-thread scan technology, this program can scan hundreds computers per second. It simply pings each IP address to check if it’s alive, then optionally it is resolving its hostname, determines the MAC address, NetBIOS information, scans ports, etc. The information obtained can be exported into a file as plain text file.

PuTTy

The “Swiss Army Knife” for Network Admins. This has got us out of many a jam! PuTTY is a free implementation of Telnet and SSH for Win32 and Unix platforms, along with an xterm terminal emulator. Supports The storing of hosts and preferences for later use. Control over the SSH encryption key and protocol version. Command-line SCP and SFTP clients, called “pscp” and “psftp” respectively. Control over port forwarding with SSH (local, remote or dynamic port forwarding), including built-in handling of X11 forwarding. Emulates most xterm, VT102 control sequences, as well as much of ECMA-48 terminal emulation.IPv6 support. Supports 3DES, AES, Arcfour, Blowfish, DES. Public-key authentication support. Support for local serial port connections.

XOBNI (Inbox backwards)

We love this little MsOutlook Plugin more so back in the Office 2003/2007 era. This is how the “Search/Find” feature in Outlook should work. The initial indexing takes a minute or two, depending of course on how large your Inbox is. After that it finds anything – anything – in a snap of a finger (well almost a snap of a finger!). A bit of a caveat – one of our customers did report that it cruelled his system after a few weeks by going CPU intensive. We have not had that experience and continue to love this little add-on. Why is it free?! This is the search tool that Microsoft should have built for Outlook.

Openfire (IM Server) and Spark (IM Client)

We Install Openfire Server on Windows and Linux Servers and the Spark Client on Windows PCs. We do this to provide an “in-house” Instant Messaging (IM) system for our clients. IM is such a practical way to communicate within an organisation whether it be on a Local Area Network or a Wide Area Network. The key challenge for clients is they want IM but they do not want their employees spending all day on MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger or Skype. So a “Private Label” In-house Solution meets their business needs as they can now control who joins their IM network
Openfire (formerly Wildfire) is a real time collaboration (RTC) server dual-licensed under the Open Source GPL and commercially. It uses the only widely adopted open protocol for instant messaging, XMPP (also called Jabber). Openfire is incredibly easy to setup and administer, but offers rock-solid security and performance.
Spark is an Open Source, cross-platform IM client optimized for businesses and  organizations. It features built-in support for group chat, telephony integration,  and strong security. It also offers a great end-user experience with features like  in-line spell checking, group chat room bookmarks, and tabbed conversations. Combined with the Openfire server, Spark is the easiest and best alternative to using insecure public IM networks.

CutePDF

There are many PDF creators out there. Create professional quality PDF files from almost any printable document. FREE for personal, commercial, Gov or Edu use! No watermarks! No popup Web ads! Now supports 64-bit Windows. We even use the Pro version for editable PDFs.

Syncback

The freeware version is simply excellent. Syncback helps you easily backup and synchronize your files to: the same drive; a different drive or medium (CDRW, CompactFlash, etc); an FTP server; a Network; or a Zip archive. Lots of configurable options. We just love it for its FTP backup capability which we use to backup/restore or synchronise files with a remote server. The Pro and SE versions cost money but in our opinion it would be money well spent if you have more complex backup needs..

Filezilla

Free FTP Solution. Offers both a Server and a Client Version. Easy to set up, Easy to use and a pretty intuitive interface.

Free Commander

We sometimes use this instead of Filezilla. It provides a Windows Explorer alternative, WITH the added bonus that you can configure in remote directories using its built-in FTP. Neat & Sweet.

e-Sword

e-Sword is a fast and effective way to study the Bible. e-Sword is feature rich and user friendly with more capabilities than you would expect in a free software package. The fact that e-Sword is free is just one of the blessings and does not speak of the quality of the software.

uTorrent

There are many torrent clients around. We have intermittently used this one for many years.

PeerBlock

For the paranoid and to stop prying eyes .. we now use PeerBlock. It more or less superceded PeerGuardian 2 and is the premier IP blocker for Windows. PeerBlock lets you control who your computer “talks to” on the Internet. By selecting appropriate lists of “known bad” computers, you can block communication with advertising or spyware oriented servers, computers monitoring your p2p activities, computers which have been “hacked”, even entire countries! They can’t get in to your computer, and your computer won’t try to send them anything! either

Audacity

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to:
•  Record live audio.
•  Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
•  Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files.
•  Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
•  Change the speed or pitch of a recording.

CDeX

We use this make MP3 backups of our Music.

CDex can extract the data directly (digital) from an Audio CD, which is generally called a CD Ripper or a CDDA utility. The resulting audio file can be a plain WAV file (useful for making compilation audio CDs) or the ripped audio data can be compressed using an audio encoder. Many encoders are supported, to name a few:
•  Lame MP3 encoder
•  Internal MP2 encoder
•  APE lossles audio format
•  Ogg Vorbis encoder
•  The Windows MP3 encoder (Fraunhofer MP3 encoder)
•  NTT VQF encoder
•  FAAC encoder
•  Windows WMA8 encoder
In addition, WAV files on the hard drive can be converted to a Compressed Audio File (and visa versa). CDex also supports many audio file tag formats like the ID3V1 and ID3V2 tags, which can be automatically inserted as part of the ripping process

AnyDVD

This is a Windows based driver that works automatically to unprotect encrypted movie DVDs. It works alongside products like CloneDVD to make backups of your DVDs. It is also able to “rip” a file to disk in DVD format or make ISO images.

MagicISO / MagicDisk

This FREE Windows product allows you to mount ISO images as virtual CD/DVD drives. It can also create and edit ISO images. Unlike some other Virtual CD/DVD products, MagicISO does not require a reboot after installation. It works on Windows Server 2008 as well as XP, Vista, Windows 7.

Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware is an anti-malware application that can thoroughly remove even the most advanced malware. It includes a number of features, including a built in protection monitor that blocks malicious processes before they even start.

SuperAntiSpyware

We tend to use Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware when clearing malware off a badly infected PC. We will use AntiVirus software such as AVG, Trend, Symantec to scan an infected PC. Often this is done by attaching the affected disks to another known clean PC by a USB-SATA adaptor. We then run AntiVrisu Software as well as Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware. Combofix is another tool that can be used to cleanse badly affected PCs.

SME Linux

We have been using SME Linux for years to provide File Servers/Gateways Servers/Mail Servers/Web Servers to Small to Medium Size Businesses. Quick to set up. Easy to maintain and bullet proof. Its pedigree is CENTOS/Red Hat. Exceptionally reliable and easy to use, SME Server can be installed and configured in less than 15 minutes – yet it’s powered by a secure and open Linux platform that’s fully upgradeable and customizable. Simply install it on any standard PC and in minutes you’ll have a robust Linux-based server capable of fully replacing those expensive Windows server licenses and providing a full range of services – including e-mail, firewall, file and print-sharing, web hosting, remote access and more. SME Server integrates easily with Windows, Macintosh, and Unix/Linux clients, and within a Windows network environment. It’s as simple to use as a server appliance, but unlike a “sealed-box” appliance the entire system is modular and extensible, so it can be tailored to the needs of individual businesses.

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