Windows software of the day [April 20, 2012]

Today’s Software

  • Classic Shell: get that Classic Start menu and Explorer back in Windows 7 and Vista
  • Notepad2: a nice lightweight Notepad replacement
  • GetSetter: manage your photos’ EXIF data

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About Windows Software of the Day

Windows has hundreds of thousands of programs. Because of this great volume and lack of a central store, software discovery (aka finding new and useful programs) is extremely difficult. With our Windows Software of the Day initiative, dotTech aims to change that. Everyday we post three programs, allowing our readers to discover new software, daily. Enjoy! [Subscribe to our Windows section to never miss an article: RSS Feed | E-mail]

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Software for April 20, 2012

Classic Shell

Many people hated when Microsoft got rid of the classic start menu in Windows 7. If you were one of those people, you’re going to love Classic Shell. Not only does it restore the classic start menu, it also adds Windows XP buttons and functionality to Windows Explorer.

Classic Shell also includes lots of themes, so it can fit right in to a Classic theme or even your slick, modern Aero theme. It’s a nice little piece of software for anyone who wants their classic start menu and Windows Explorer back.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v3.5.0

Supported OS: Windows Vista/7/8

Download size: 8.14MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/42

Classic Shell homepage

Notepad2

Like Windows’ built-in Notepad but find it a little lacking in features? Notepad2 is like Windows’ built-in Notepad, but it’s a lot more powerful and has many more features. For instance, it supports line numbers, <a>HTML tags</a>, etc.

It also supports syntax highlighting for lots of programming languages, auto-indentation, and lots more stuff. However, it stays true to its main goal of being fast and efficient and is quick to load and use.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v4.2.25

Supported OS: Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista/7

Download size: 292-371KB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 32-bit: portable 0/41 | installer 0/43; 64-bit: portable 0/35 | installer 0/43

Notepad2 homepage

Thanks JohnnyG!

GeoSetter

Have lots of pictures with geotags? Lucky. You’d probably like to see these images neatly laid out on a map, but not much software lets you do that. GeoSetter, however, does. Just select your photos and you’ll see them appear on the map on the right.

It also doesn’t matter what format your photos are in. GeoSetter supports all the standard file formats as well as some more specialty formats like RAW data from Nikon, Canon, Leica, Panasonic, Fujifilm, etc.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v2.1.5

Supported OS: Windows XP/Vista/7

Download size: 19-20MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: Portable 0/42 | Installer 0/43

GeoSetter homepage

dotTechies: We have tested all the software listed above. However, Windows Software of the Day articles are not intended as “reviews” but rather as “heads-up” to help you discover new programs. Always use your best judgement when downloading programs, such as trying trial/free versions before purchasing shareware programs, if applicable.

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18 comments

  1. Dan

    No worries, Rob..no offence taken, trust me. :- )

    I just wanted to be as clear as possible with my reply, as reading over my original post, I saw it could be taken out of contect..and that is nobodys fault but my own for not being clear enough in the first place.

    For the record, I always can everything I download..it’s just not worth the resulting bother not to, if you know what I mean. I used to open everything in Sandboxie ( http://www.sandboxie.com/ ) before, but for some reason, it seemed to slow my old laptop down. Still, I found it the best way to keep everything off my system.

    Thanks again, Rob, for your reply to my post..and my apologies once again, if I came across as being on the defensive..I sincerely didn’t mean my reply to read like that. Perhaps I should stop posting online altogether..now there’s a thought! ;- )

    Dan

  2. Rob (Down Under)

    @Dan:
    I was not meaning anything by my question.
    I just came to realize, that if you are detecting potential threats (on many programs), then it is way past time, for me to get my act together.

    Thanks for the info,
    Rob

  3. Dan

    @ Rob

    I have both Outpost SS Pro and aVast installed, along with SuperAntiVirus Pro and JottiQ..which are “run-on-demand” and not active all the time on my system. As well as these, I also use Spybot S&D and Malwarebites..and HiJackThis if ever needs dictate.

    I have to be clear on this and point out I’m not sure if it is the program Mary mentioned above or one of the others I came across online that was infected. I do know for a fact that is was called “Free Sound Recorder”, as were at least two others I viewed.

    Graphically, they were all basically the same program to look at, with only a few buttons arranged differently or extra..but the over-all UI appeared the same in design and graphics with each of them..and each were being offered by a different website/company.

    All of this just made me wonder just who wrote what in the first place..and this didn’t really instil any confidence in me to use any of them..hence my giving the a miss. Please don’t think I am out to bash anyone or any product here..I’m not..I just don’t feel the need to install anything on my system that I think I have good reason to believe may not be all it is supposed to be.

    Maybe it’s a sign of the times that we, as internet surfers and pc users, are becoming more and more paranoid about what we install on our systems..or maybe it’s just me..I don’t really know which. I do know that not being so careful in the past has cost me in both time and money, due to my system being infected and that’s a road I don’t want to go down again if I can help it.

    In short, I’m not trying to scare anyone or anything like that..just simply recounting my own experiences in trying to find a program of this type. My apologies if my post above has given any other impression..that wasn’t my intention.

    Regarding the other programs..two other offerings mentioned can be found at the following..

    http://www.sound-recorder.biz/freesoundrecorder.html

    http://www.audio-tool.net/products/audiorecorderforfree.html

    Again, I point out the use of the same UI and if this is not the same company using different sites and names, then how do we know which is the original of these programs..and why are the others just copying somebody else’s program and passing it off as their own?

    If they are not, then there should be some mention on the original site about others licenced to sell their product or something like that, so we all know just what is what and who is who..how else can we trust what we are downloading and running on our systems? All of this is not helped when you run into one of these downloads which is apparently infected.

    Hope you understand where I am coming from on this.

    Dan

  4. Rob (Down Under)

    @Janet:
    All (3) of your posts just got through.
    When I fire up my Win 7, I will get back to you.

    Regarding your post’al delays (and someone else recently), I wonder whether ‘Big Brother’ is intervening ?
    Remember when the posting of an URL would cause a (sometimes long) delay, awaiting moderation.
    That problem appears to have been removed.
    I wonder whether Ashraf or Locutus, could advise if there are any other criteria left, that marks a post for moderation ? (Shirley that would be info that we all would appreciate knowing ?)
    Your long post was not too long (I can see a longer one above), and did not contain URL’s, so it probably was not marked for moderation.
    Not too long ago, I noticed a ‘moderating’ message, and discovered that for some reason I had not been auto logged in. When I logged in, it then submitted the post.

  5. Dan

    Thanks, Mary for passing this on, but I’m sorry to say this is one of those that shows up as carrying a trojan dropper or virus when sanned..I can’t remember which off the top of my head. I didn’t even install it due to this, plus the fact there are a number of programs out that look exactly the same, but seem to be offered by different so-called companies. I mean the only difference seems to be the program name..the interface and UI graphics are exactly the same..which implies only one of them is the real deal and which one that is I haven’t got a clue..hence my reluctance to install the thing.

    I think I will give this one a miss, but that;s all the same for taking the time to let me know about it..much appreciated.

  6. Mary

    @ Dan: There is a small, easy to use program you may be interested in: Free Sound Recorder. You can find it here:

    http://www.freesoundrecorder.net/

    It can either record from your mic or from something playing on the PC. I use it all the time. It lets you name your files whatever you want, and you choose where to save them too. It is worth checking out the site.

    You’ll need to be sure that you check and be sure you do not install any unwanted “extra’s” that CNET adds to the download, if there is any. I can’t remember since I’ve had it for a long while, on both my XP and Win7 PC’s. You can also download right from the site (instead of CNET): http://www.freesoundrecorder.net/feature-list.htm
    In my opinion, it’s the best one I have used.

    @ Locutus: Thanks for the info on Notepad2! I have been writing a book, and using Notepad. Whenever I think of a comment for my book, I make a post in notepad, then save it to a folder with my book title name. This allows me to move those “notes” around in the order I want them in. However, I was looking for something that had those little extras that Notepad2 has, in order to highlight, or differentiate my text in a manner that reminds me that a certain portion may need editing later. When my hands are too cramped to type, I record an audio of my notes using FreeSoundRecorder, which I put those files into that folder as well, for typing later on.

    Quick question: On the Notepad2 site, there is a download for (x64) and (x86). I’m not sure which one is for me though. I have Win7 / 64, but in my programs I have one labeled Program Files (x86). I don’t really know what the difference between Programs Files, and Program Files (x86) is, so not sure which I should download.

    Now if I could just find a program I can add a picture attached with the notes the pic relates to! :)
    All this, with easy drag and drop to organize my chapters! :D

    Thanks again Locutus!

  7. Janet

    Hmmmm. I posted a very long post to Rob, and when it did not get posted, I posted a very short version. It also didn’t get posted. When I tried re-posting the short version, I got a page saying I already posted the same post. So I figured it would eventually appear. Now (a few hours later), I see neither post appears. So I will try posting the short version again…..

    @Rob (Down Under):

    I just wrote you an equally long post but it disappeared when I submitted it…:-(….Took me too long to write to do it again…:-(….So I’ll just ask:

    How does Win Expl block your exploring?

    What does your Start setup allow for that you can’t do with the Win7 Start menu? I ask because after ages of playing around, I found I could get it to do everything….!

  8. Mags

    @Janet: I have to agree with Janet on this point.

    I’m also a classic menu fan and also used it on XP and Vista and was disappointed that I couldn’t use it on Win 7. I used Win 7 Start menu until I found Classic Shell and installed it, and to my surprise I found that I preferred the Win 7 Start menu. There are so many more features in it that I make use of on a daily basis.

  9. Janet

    @Rob (Down Under):

    I just wrote you an equally long post post but it disappeared when I submitted it…:-(….Took me too long to write to do it again…:-(….So I’ll just ask:

    How does Win Expl block your exploring?

    What does your Start setup allow for that you can’t do with the Win7 Start menu? I ask because after ages of playing around, I found I could get it to do everything….!

  10. Janet

    @Rob (Down Under):

    Yes, I wish we could post pics…..:-)…….

    You wrote:

    “I don’t like Win 7,………. it blocking you at every turn (EG Windows Explorer which does not let you explore).” and

    “In Win 7 the configuring of your categories can be a real PIA (Windows Explorer blocks your attempts)”

    Could you elaborate?

    I remain unhappy with Win7 because it has taken me SOOOO much time to get my system set up the way I wanted it (ie, basically like XP….). But I have been able to do it:

    I got rid of all the libraries and Win7 Search.
    I have “Everything” (VoidTools) in my system tray for searching.
    I have a very organized system of rational folders and subfolders on E:DATA.
    I have Listary in my system tray with my main drives and favorite folders.
    I have daily-used progs on my Task/Launch Bar; single l-click opens and single r-click gives recent files/folders opened with the prog (you can set how many).
    Left Start panel has about 25 progs I use often but not daily. So I can open them with one click only.
    Under ALL PROGRAMS on the Start menu I have ALL my programs arranged in folders (about 25), each of which has 5-10 subfolders. All the folders and subfolders expand on hovering.

    Thus,
    Oft-used programs require only a hover on Start and a click on the prog, while
    ALL my programs can be accessed by hovering on Start>Programs>General Topic folder>Subfolder> Individual Programs. That is, ALL can be reached by by hovering only and then ONE click. I like this because I can easily see all the programs I have for a particular task. For instance, all my cleaners are under COMPUTER MAINTENANCE>CLEANERS, so I can choose which one I want. This way I am reminded of programs I forget I have..:-)…..

    On the r-hand Start panel, CONTROL PANEL expands fully on hovering.

    What functions do you have on your setup which you cannot do on the Win7 Start menu?Perhaps they can be done after all…:-)…..

  11. Rob (Down Under)

    Regarding Notepad replacements, I believe one should get one with tabs.
    Shirley no one would go back to a browser that does not have Tabs ?
    Practically every program can benefit from Tabs
    The free Notepad replacement that I use is Editpad Lite

    Regarding Win 7 Start menu.
    I don’t like Win 7, with it’s emphasis on flashy, and the discarding of previous conventions, and it blocking you at every turn (EG Windows Explorer which does not let you explore).
    I only use Win 7 to test programs.
    If I had to rely on Win 7’s Start Menu, I would have shot my monitor before now.
    I dug around furiously to get a solution, and came up with one with same name as Locutus’s, but it is a different program.
    There are a couple of DIFFERENT programs out there with similar names.
    ‘Mine’ is free, and PORTABLE
    The author’s web site has now gone, as he was not charging enough (FREE).
    Here is a Softonic link (if you speak the language) –
    Classic Windows Start Menu 4.06 Beta (32 bits)
    http://classic-windows-start-menu.softonic.com/
    If anyone is nervous, they can email me, to get my copy.
    robhp AT iprimus DOT com DOT au
    It is capable of flashy graphics, but I have configured it to be classic ‘Classic’ (no graphics)
    The other thing you should do (but you don’t have to), is create high level categories like ‘Editors’ ‘Web’ ‘DVD’ ‘Misc’ etc. (SEE THE PPS as these changes are done to Win 7, not to cwsm.exe)
    You can have those in the hard left column.
    In Win 7 the configuring of your categories can be a real PIA (Windows Explorer blocks your attempts), but I can post instructions if anyone needs them.
    As I mentioned it is portable (No install required).
    I have a shortcut to it on my desktop.
    When it runs, it replaces the Start Button (not really, it just hovers it’s own button on top of it, so you are clicking it instead). One of it’s options is to revert back to the Win 7 Start Menu. (That will be handy for people who do not create categories, and are thus forced to use Win 7’s ‘Lucky Dip’ Search box.)
    I actually prefer cwsm.exe to my XP Classic Menu, because it allows you to choose the Font for the Menu items, and the Size of the Font. (Wish we could post pictures)

    Rob
    PS whilst searching for a current link to cwsm.exe, I came across another program, that looks similar, and is portable – Start 4 Seven 1.0
    I have not tried it yet. One difference that I noticed, is it launches from it’s own green Start Button, which you might position near the bottom left of your desktop.
    Some of you may prefer that, whilst weaning yourself of the ‘Lucky Dip’ Search box.
    Perhaps one of you might like to try it (remember ‘No Install’) –
    http://leelusoft.blogspot.com.au/2011/10/start-4-seven-10.html
    – – – Here is some of his description – – –
    Imagine a small executable (369kb only), portable (no installation, can be executed from a USB stick), without any system modification, no tweaks, no changes to the existing Windows 7 start menu, and completely free to use.
    All you get is what you wanted…, the old good green classic start button with the classic start menu, you can pin the button into one of 5 different desktop positions (right click on the button), now left click the button and here we go with your classic start menu.
    Start 4 Seven is a portable application without any installation and without any system modifications or tweaking.

    PPS All that configuring of Categories that I mentioned above, are not settings in cwsm.exe
    You are doing those changes to Win 7
    Thus they will appear in Win 7’s horrible Start Menu.
    And if you try the other program, you do not have to re-configure. It will also display the categories that you had previously set up.
    I will download Start 4 Seven 1.0, and try both (since they will have no impact on each other).

  12. Dan

    Thanks, Locutus, for these..I really appreciate these daily finds, as I’m sure we all do.

    One thing I would like..a request of sorts..is something that will let me record anything that is currently playing on my PC. I dabble in ambient music and am looking for a free sound recorder for XP, aside from the ususal like Audacity..something pretty basic that just saved the audio you play to disk.

    I have looked all over the net and it seem nearly everything out there is comes loaded with trojan droppers or some kind of crap/mal – malware. If you either know of or come across in your travels something that isn’t, please let us know about it.

    Thanks once again

    Dan

  13. Janet

    I installed Classic shell shortly after upgrading to Win7. But over time, I discovered you can do everything with the Windows 7 Start if you really learn it. You can put what you want in any of the Start menu panes, and–most important–you CAN expand all entires and sub entries by hovering (view as menu).