Windows software of the day [April 30, 2012]

Today’s Software

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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 30, 2012

HostsMan

Want to block badware and ad sites using Windows’ built-in hosts file but have nowhere to start looking for information? HostsMan makes it as easy as possible to edit your hosts file.

HostsMan lets you edit your hosts file by automatically replacing or merging it with several downloadable hosts files, or even manually line by line. It’s definitely a great tool for anyone who wants to keep their machine safe and badware-free.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v3.2.73

Supported OS: Windows 98SE+

Download size: 1.9MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/42

HostsMan homepage

Easy Power Plan Switcher

Want to switch power plans so you can either have a faster computer or keep your battery alive longer? Try Easy Power Plan Switcher, or EPPS for short. It provides two-click access to most any power plan you have set up.

Easy Power Plan Switcher can support up to 7 power plans, too. If you want additional power plans that dictate certain things about battery levels and other power-related settings, you can create them using Control Panel’s Power settings and then switch to and from them very easily using EPPS.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v1.0.6.323

Supported OS: Windows Vista/7

Download size: 498KB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/42

 EPPS homepage

AutoRunner U/X

Do you remember autorun? It was the promising technology that automatically started videos/audio/applications when you inserted a CD or DVD. Then Microsoft totally annihilated it because it was a security risk. AutoRunner sort of brings it back, only in a more controlled and more secure fashion.

After installation, AutoRunner lets you add either files or folders to automatically start when you insert a drive. It’s that easy, and it’s quite simple too. Keep in mind the program was originally written in German and then translated to English, so some translations are a little off. However, it’s still quite usable and shouldn’t interfere too much in the use of the program.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v1.42

Supported OS: Windows 2000+

Download size: ARX: 496KB | ARU: 495KB

VirusTotal malware scan results: ARX: 0/36 | ARU: 0/40

AutoRunner U/X  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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4 comments

  1. Locutus
    Author/

    @Debra The Brit: @Tony Tillis: To understand a hosts file, you’ll want to know a little bit about how computers look up websites first.

    When you enter a URL into your browser, lots of things happen.
    1) your computer will take the entered domain name…
    2) send it over a special protocol to a DNS server….
    3) and receive a series of numbers (an IP address) back.
    4) using these numbers, it can then connect to the correct server.

    How a hosts file work is by using a custom set of numbers for a domain. For instance, if I wanted to block Google.com, I could enter a line in my hosts file telling my computer that Google.com is, in fact, 127.0.0.1. This IP address is actually always going to be the address of your computer, so if in doubt, it’s a good URL to redirect to.

    After telling my computer Google.com is 127.0.0.1 and trying to load Google in a web browser, it’ll attempt to connect to my machine as Google’s host. Of course, I don’t run a server, so instead nothing will happen and it’ll just time out.

    This time out is what we want to do with viruses and other baddies: instead of connecting to their control servers, they’re just redirected to timeouts.

    It’s quite cool actually!

  2. Debra The Brit

    I would love to use HostMan, have heard alot bout blocking nasties from the Internet by altering or deleting the host file. But just not sure if its all worth it. Anyone else have any ideas on using this and when?