HOME >> HELPFUL HINTS MENU >> MAIN WEB SERVICES and WINDOWS SOFTWARE PAGE

Windows Shareware


Few of these are big downloads. For many years, I was a modest DUN user. You can try these programs for free. If you like one, you send money afterwards. In most cases, you only send about $25. (I've tried to remember to mention of large downloads or expensive programs.) In virtually every case, the suppliers offer package deals for people needing more than a single user license.

I have no commercial interest in the following. They are things I like using on my own machines.



Please note: The material on this page may be somewhat dated, at 2/18.
Shortkeys: A wonderful "auto-complete"- system utility. It gives you gives you as many auto-complete items as you want, with the abbreviations you want, across all of your applications. For instance, if I type qad, it gets replaced by my full postal address. (I had to play a trick on my system to prevent it from changing the three letters in the previous sentence!) If I type qda, Shortkeys replaces that with the current date and time. I've also set up qed to type out my long and tedious email address ("eddress"!) for me.

When I went online to check the URL in 2004, I got a delightful surprise: A free "ShortKeys Lite" had been added to what they offer. (Still available 2020)... and it looks much like the ShortKeys that gives me everything I want. (It was still there at 5/10, but I managed to overlook it in the description of the shareware Shortkeys. Duh.) (I also discovered that the shareware ShortKeys has a spellchecker, though I must admit I've never used it!) The try-before-you-buy ShortKeys costs $30 for a single user after you have evaluated it. (11/20. Up only $5 since May 2010... and still worth twice that. Use the freeLite version to see if you don't agree with me. It is fully functional, but it "limits" you to "only" to 15 Shortkeys.. Shortkeys of your choice and design (and you can change them, keep your current favorites))

Besides providing auto complete of phrases you want to set up, it can also be told to paste in the current system date and/ or time, in the format of your choice (easily specified), in response to whatever code you want to define to trigger that behavior; I use qda. Software that works the way you want it to! Fantastic. And small. And cheap!!!
ShortKeys

Terrapin FTP: I used lovely Terrapin to send my web pages to the server you fetched them from for many, MANY years. I think the lack of ftps was what sent me looking elsewhere... c. 2017?... and I found Filezilla, which I've used very happily since then. (Terrapin was single user $30 at 9/04, by 5/10 it had become freeware!! Hurrah for us... bad for the people who built a business around supplying a good product. Does Windows now come with a free FTP client by any chance? Sigh.
Terrapin

Textpad: A superb replacement for Notepad.... but it does much more. Spellcheck and syntax highlighting, among other features. I've written more about it in a page dedicated to Textpad. I use it more than I use my wordprocessor. My web pages are written with it. Single user $27 at November 2010.
Textpad

For text editing, also consider JGSoft's EditPad.

I used WinZip... and yes, I registered (paid for) my copy. (It was quite easy to use it indefinitely without paying. Single user $30 at 9/04) Of course, now that simple zips are built into Windows, the people who created WinZip can no longer earn the revenues their work entitled them to. I wonder ofif Microsoft paid them anything?

In happier news...

Although I haven't tried it, I'm told that the free 7-Zip offers more than the part-of-wikndows zip... Of particular interest to me: AES-256 encryption in 7z and ZIP formats. (The 7z format has a self-extracting capability.) Want to send something confidential in an email? Want to store something on your hard drive in a form that the geeky teenager doing repairs in the back room at your local computer shop can't snoop in? Put it in a 7z file. (And share the password with your intended email recipient over the phone.)

The 7-zip site also makes all the right noises about proper integration with the operating system, so it is, they say, easy to use. Hmmm.... if I ever get this done, perhaps today's the day to try it!!

Returning to Winzip... It too now offers encryption. It is now part of Corel.
WinZip

Capture2Text.exe: Fight the good fight! Cap2Txt is a great little free utility to turn text presented in images into Plain Text. (The link will take you to their SourceForge repository.) It is a little quirky... be sure to go into the options and reverse the default high-jacking of many of your ordinary keyboard shortcuts. And to set the default language-to-convert-to. Don't expect it always to give you a highlight while selecting... but it is still a very useful utility... increasingly so, as people "get clever" with their webpages.

Say you want to copy the previous paragraph to your clipboard. With my web-pages, you just select the text, do ctrl-c, and you're done. Not so with many. Enter Cap2Txt. You set it to launch when your computer boots, and it lurks in the background, a "TSR", to use the old fashioned name.

The moment arises when you want something that is on your screen in your clipboard as text, not as an image.

Position your mouse at one corner of the image-of-text that you want to transcribe. Press WindowsKey+Q. Move your mouse to the diagonally opposite corner of the "text" that you want. Do a left-click. Wait. Maybe 5 seconds. Boom! Up pops a little window, with your text in it.

If that's as you want it, you are DONE. That text is already in your clipboard. If you want to, you can tidy bits of Cap2Txt's attempt, click Okay, and now your clipboard holds the text as edited by you.
Terrapin

Stock market tracking: I keep track of the price of stocks and my portfolio via shareware from www.personalstockmonitor.com. The evaluation terms are reasonable. You can also track UK stocks, but I have not found a source of historical quotes for UK stocks... but I haven't looked far.

Single user: $30 for "standard", $50 for "Gold" at 9/04. 3.2Mb download.

I'm not going to get into games here... much... but I will just mention three:

Slay: I've played this since at least 1994, and I'm still not tired of it. The unregistered version is extensively playable, and registering is not expensive.

Forgive me if I gush... but this source is just too fantastic! Marvelous games... I especially like Slay (apart from the hours I've "wasted" on it.) But on top of that, the demos are free, not time limited, AND the site is a delight: You can download just one game, for those of us on DUN, or who like things simple, or you can download a comprehensive archive.

(Slay's setup.exe at 9/04 was only 660kb. $20 to register. Registered version allows playing over a network, and person vs person play on one computer... up to 6 players. The freeware is you vs 5 computer "players". Registered version allows 1 human vs 1-5 computer "players".)

DO NOT be put off by the early stages of a game of Slay, nor by the seemingly "random" behavior of Mother of All Battles. Re- Slay: Would you expect to be a chess fanatic after 15 minutes of giving it a try? Re- MOB: What's happening is NOT random... you just need to master the game to grasp what is happening.

There are five strategy games and three action games, and most of the games are networkable.

There are Pocket PC versions of Slay, Conquest and The General.

There are Handheld PC versions of Slay, Conquest and The General.

Slay is also available in a version for Palm handheld computers.
Sean's site

Colossal Cave: This is actually freeware, but I didn't want to add a "Games" section to my notes on recommended freeware. The Cave is not a big download.

If you go to this Colossal Cave site, and go down to the section starting "This version (often referred to as Adventure 550...", and click on the "a combined DOS/Windows executable" link, you'll download a good, free, version for Windows. I didn't do a deep link because the site has so much fun stuff.... but I hope you won't be a wuss and look at the maps and "Magic Word XYZZY" info! (At least not until you've tried to solve the puzzles for yourself!)

Virtual Sailor / HangSim: I haven't used Sailor extensively, and haven't used HangSim (hang-glider simulation) at all! But I was so impressed by what I have seen of Virtual Sailor that I wanted to bring it to your attention. Virtual Sailor, the pre-registration demo, gives you only a quite short time to sail before you have to restart the program to explore it further... but the registration is only $25. 7 Mb download... but have a look at what is in the package: Visit their web page.

Jigsaw Puzzle Creator/ Player: Have you seen the really gorgeous 3D jigsaws- with- adventure- game from Wrebbit? No? Treat yourself... there must be a copy on eBay. (Try "Notre Dame", or "Wrebbit"). Anyway! Jigsaws Galore doesn't do the adventure game or 3D parts, but the gameplay is as good.

The trial conditions are excellent: As I remember it (2007), you download and install the full product... and then can access it 30 times before it locks up. (And that was about the same still, 2020!) ("Access"= start. If you never shut it or your computer down, you could use it "forever"!) So if you try it a few times, and then forget about it for a while, your free trial period isn't ticking away as the days pass. Play it once a month for over two years!

Lots and lots of options... have pieces rotated, or not... see picture, or not... sort pieces by any of several criteria, or not. Make jigsaws from your own graphics.

2020: I hadn't used for years. I forgot this was here(!), did a fresh search for a Jigsaw creator... and found Jigsaw Creator, Windows 10, still from www.jigsawsgalore.com... AND LESS EXPENSIVE THAN BEFORE! Now just $20!

AND it worked just as brilliantly as before!! (^_^)

At 5/07: Costs $25 to buy. 3.0 meg download. If you make a jigsaw, you can send it to friends to play on their computers... but they won't be able to make new puzzles without also buying the game.


This next particularly dated at 4/20! I now use the free Irfanview for many small jobs, and the free Gimp for the bigger jobs. (I am still no where near hitting limits to what I can do in Gimp.) Actually... I use Irfan for many not-small jobs, too. It does lack layers, soft edged brushes, and DON'T PRESS ESCAPE!... (that will close the window without saving your work!)... but other than that, it takes care of many of my wants. I'm not good at color corrections, and get a better result with Irfanview than I can get with Gimp! (But that's just because I haven't studied Gimp enough.) And Irfan is much, MUCH less resource hungry. Photograph editing: I haven't used it myself, but having mentioned some alternatives, I should mention that Paint Shop Pro is a long-established, well respected shareware program for the job.

The last time I gave them a chance to woo me... a long time ago at 11/20.... entering their site was a frustrating after the delights of the more "amateur" sites typical of most of the products on this page and the related pages. A VP In Charge of Marketing has obviously had a hand in the site for Paint Shop Pro. I couldn't find way to check download size without registering. Finding the price took me a while (At 9/04: $130 for boxed product, $120 if you download, $55 to upgrade if you already own an earlier (than vers. 9) version. At least at 11/20 it doesn't seem that they have yet moved to the wonderful-for-them "subscription" model. (They are in the Corel empire, if that means something to you one way or the other.)

They also offer something called Paint Shop Pro Studio (9/04: $70 as download) which may be a "junior" version of their flagship product, but I found the site unclear on this. Find them with Google if you want to try your luck. I haven't made that a link, because it repeatedly messed up response from the W3C link checker.

Helpfile creation... .hlp and .chm files: (Very dated entry. I haven't created a helpfile since.... 2012? While in general, I lean towards using general tools and open source applications, for many years I have used HelpScribble to create helpfiles for the software I sell. Sometimes you need the right tool for a specific job, and I think creating helpfiles is one of the tasks where buying something is worthwhile. You can either try the free version, which doesn't allow distribution of the resulting helpfiles, or you can just buy the full version ($99 at 11/2010)... which comes with a money-back guarantee. That guarantee has been online since at least 2003, so if they were "being funny" about the money back guarantee, I think the fact would have emerged by now, don't you? (If you want a chuckle, use the WaybackMachine to compare old and recent pictures of the HelpScribble chief programmer!). I've been very happy with HelpScribble, and with a recent (11/2010) response to a support need, and am seriously considering investing in JGSoft's DeployMaster as a result. (Nov 2010: $99, but again with a 3 month money back guarantee, and a way to try before buying, and good online demo videos.)

How to email or write this page's editor, Tom Boyd. Please cite Please cite "wyw/hh/hh6s.htm".


Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional Page has been tested for compliance with INDUSTRY (not MS-only) standards, using the free, publicly accessible validator at validator.w3.org. Mostly passes.

AND passes... Valid CSS!




Click here to return to main page for Helpful Hints.
Click here to go to the site's main index... Helpful Hints is just one corner of the site. You can search the site from the main index.