Windows software of the day [May 7, 2012]

Today’s Software

  • WinCDEmu: mount ISO images of DVDs, CDs, blu-ray discs, or HD DVDs with ease
  • FSL Launcher: organize and launch programs from a small launching pane
  • SubDiv: organize messy folders like My Downloads.

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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 May 7, 2012

WinCDEmu

Ripping disc images is one great way to back up your DVDs. Case in point, I used to have a copy of Avatar on DVD that I made a digital backup of. Now I have no idea where it is, but still have AVATAR.ISO sitting faithfully on my hard drive if the mood to play it again strikes.

However, you’ll soon come across an issue with ISOs: they’re not a movie format. They’re literally a copy of the ones and zeros on a CD or DVD. This means traditional media players can’t play them unless you mount them.

WinCDEmu is just the tool for this job, however: it’ll mount your disc images of many types, be they DVDs, CDs, blu-ray discs, or even (yes) HD DVD discs. It’s tiny, too: the download size is only 812KB, and while it’s hard to measure its installed size, it’s safe to say that’s tiny too. It also has only two screens: the one you see in the screenshot, and the similar settings screen. It’s super simple to use and one I’m quite happy to have stumbled upon.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v3.6

Supported OS: Windows XP+

Download size: 812KB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/41

Portable version available? No

WinCDEmu homepage

FSL Launcher

If you’ve got a lot of programs to deal with, your start menu can become quite cluttered. If this happens, you may want to consider a program launcher that sits either on your desktop or in your system tray. FSL Launcher fits that bill well, and due to its skinning engine can be made to fit just about any visual style.

To cut down on clutter, you can use FSL Launcher to group your programs into tabs. By default, you’ll have an Applications tab, an Internet tab, a Games tab, and a Utilities tab. However, these can be customized/added to/deleted easily.

FSL Launcher is a nice applications launcher that could definitely help some cut down on clutter. I personally don’t really use an application launcher at all however as I mainly only use Chrome, Spotify, and GIMP; those that find themselves using a multitude of applications would probably find FSL Launcher much more appealing.

Price: Free with “supporters” version

Version discovered: v1.1.4.4

Supported OS: Windows XP+, perhaps lower

Download size: 3.1MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/41

Portable version available? No

FSL Launcher homepage

SubDiv

Want to clean up a folder but don’t feel like cleaning it up manually? If you want to quickly sort everything by date, SubDiv is perfect: open it and click Sort, and the next time you’re in the folder you’ll notice that everything is arranged nicely by date.

Before, my Downloads folder was full of random software I’d downloaded for Windows software of the day. Now, it’s all nicely organized by date: if I want to see what I wrote about one day, all I need to do is open the corresponding folder and I’m good.

SubDiv is a nice way to relieve some disorganizational pain, and it’s freely available as both an Autohotkey script or as an executable.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v1.2

Supported OS: Windows All

Download size: 476KB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 2/43

Portable version available? Yes

SubDiv homepage | Download page

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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16 comments

  1. RobCr

    @jayesstee:
    I have been using it for years, so my memory is ‘suss’.
    I think I do recall mention of Panes, which I of course ignored, as I am Category 2

    I am guessing that there will be a few settings(tweaks) required to get the default FreeCommander back to the way god intended.
    They should have a single setting called ‘I HATE PANES’
    Same way Office should have a setting called ‘I hate Ribbons’

  2. jayesstee

    @RobCr:
    Yep Cat. ’3a’ definitely! Dates back to the days when I used ‘XTree’ – that WAS a file manager!
    BTW: FreeCommander works just as well in single pane mode.
    Also: My comment on XYPlorerFree (#7 above) is not relevant because I have just realized that I actually use XYPlorer Pro which I was lucky enough to get from GOTD in Feb this year.
    However if FreeCommander is a reasonable match for XYPlorer Pro, then it follows that it should match up well to XYPlorerFree.
    Does XYPlorerFree not have dual pane option? XYPlorer Pro does.

  3. RobCr

    jayesstee and Mr Dave,
    I reckon your recommendations are influenced by your liking for PANES ?
    I reckon if you were not PANE fans, you would admit that XYPlorer is the better ?

    Regarding PANES, there are three groups of people in the world -
    1) Those that do not know what PANES are
    2) Those that hate PANES (or have no use for them)
    3) Those that love PANES

    Those in group 1, do yourself a favor, and remain oblivious of them.
    Those in group 2, good on you. (Tabs rule)
    Those in group 3, fall into two sub groups -
    3a) There are people that have to do intensive tasks, between a couple of folders, and having the two folders open (visible) at the same time is an advantage to them.
    3b) People back in the bad old days BEFORE TABS WERE INVENTED, probably felt that a PANE’d File Manager was better than Windows Explorer.

    Those in sub group ’3a’ probably will like FreeCommander and Xplorer2-lite.
    Those in sub group ’3b’ should try XYPlorerFree, and never look back.

    Rob
    PS I managed to get FreeCommander working as Portable. Got an error using the top EXE, but I was able to run the one a couple of sub folders dowm.
    It opens up in a split view that possibly is Panes ?
    Is there an easy way to get it looking like XYPlorer’s default view (Tree on the left, and Tabs on the right), the way god intended ?

  4. Mr.Dave

    I know this should be about one of the 3 programs of the day (FSL Launcher DOES look quite nice, gotta try it out!), but since much of the discussion is about file managers I need to recommend my favorite: Xplorer2-lite (see zabkat-dot-com). There’s an advanced version for pay if you need the added features but I’m quite happy with the free “lite” version. I’m really hard to please on file managers and this is the one I settled on after trying over 30 different programs (XYplorer was near the top of my list). Xplorer2-lite does tabs quite well, and can also have two panes open with folder & file lists, plus a directory tree on the left that both panes share. It has bookmarks for your favorite folders, file filters, quick access to system folders, allows drag-n-drop and the full right-click context menu. It’s quick and handles thousands of files in a folder without choking. And no, I’m not related to the author or any employees. Give it a try in your quest for the one that best fits the way you work.

  5. RobCr

    @jayesstee:
    I don’t have Inpaint, so it is a bit hard for me to work out how he is doing that.
    I have subscribed to the Topic, so hopefully I can do the next one, and perhaps work out what he is doing.

    As a general thought, many programs, are happy to have a wee peek in their own folder, to see if the required DLL’s etc are there. If they are, they may be happy to run without having been installed.
    And the Settings.ini file was the old way of storing keys and other settings.
    He might have had to tweak the EXE, to get it to look there (instead of the Registry)

  6. jayesstee

    @Rob (Down Under):
    I too much, much prefer portable. I’ve tried ‘Cameyo’ and others make apps. portable, but I’m not impressed with the results.
    However, there is a dotTechie going by the identity of ’3K3′ who has offered ‘launchers’ + instructions to make some giveaway apps. into portable ones. The one I tried is brilliant!
    If you mosey over to: http://dottech.org/forums/programming-skillz/inpaint-portable/#p16439
    you will see that he kind of offers to do others (comment #3), AND, Ashraf has asked him if he could perhaps do weekly offering (comment #5).
    Can you get your list out and help make it happen for all us dotTechhies?

  7. jayesstee

    @Rob (Down Under): .

    “If you were going to Mars, and could only take one of those three, which would you take ?”
    I haven’t scheduled a Mars trip yet, but I do have both FreeCommander XE and XYPlorer on my machine.

    “Will either of the freecommander downloads do that ?”
    The first liked site defines ‘U3′ and portable (not the same!) It then gives you the opportunity to download: FreeCommanderPortable_2009.02b.paf.exe
    The clue is in the name.
    The second linked site says:-
    “FreeCommander XE ZIP (download) does not include an installation-procedure but consists only of a ZIP-archive which contains all required FreeCommander XE files. The ZIP-archive can be extracted into a directory of your choice and FreeCommander XE can be started from this directory. However there will be no FreeCommander symbols created in the start menu and on the desktop.”
    Meets my understanding of ‘portable’.

    I have no preference, it’s all a matter of choice. However according to ‘Process Lasso’ and Windows ‘Task Manager’, XYPlorer uses much less memory, but neither uses much.

  8. Rob (Down Under)

    @jayesstee:
    If you were going to Mars, and could only take one of those three, which would you take ?

    I strongly doubt that any other Tabbed File Manager would be better than XYPlorer.
    But I keep telling people that if a program is Portable, what have they got to lose, by trying it.
    So ‘I will put my money where my mouth is’, and test it.
    There appears to be only two downloads, for freecommander.
    I have no desire to be installing a ‘No Install’ program, like I suspect PortableApps requires.
    And I have doubts about the other download.
    I just wish to place my portable apps, into a folder in my main (C) hard drive.
    No Install of any nature.
    I just wish to unzip it, and run it.
    Will either of the freecommander downloads do that ?

  9. Rob (Down Under)

    @Rob (Down Under):
    Here is a web page reviewing XYPlorerFree -
    http://www.portablefreeware.com/?id=579
    Most of the review, consists of the comments by satisfied users.
    Regarding Win 7, the ReadMe files says it runs in Vista. That probably means that Win 7 is OK
    Perhaps when I previously tried it in Win 7, I did not take my own ‘old woman’ advice (see below).

    So just now, I fired up my Win 7 PC
    I created two folders -
    C:PGMS_NoInstallXY_FREE
    C:PGMS_NoInstallXY_FREE_2
    I used the download link from my earlier post.
    I extracted the zip into both folders
    I renamed the EXE in the 2nd folder to XYplorerFree_2.exe
    Possibly not necessary, but I say why not.
    I fired up the first one, and created and locked the Downloads folder (as described above)
    I opened up a couple of other Tabs.
    Tried the drag move trick (described above), and XYP worked perfectly.
    I closed that instance, and fired up the _2 folder.
    Did the same, and it too worked perfectly.
    I had opened different folders in the _2 instance.
    So whenever I open one of them, it is remembering it’s own previously opened folders.
    Thus this means you could have multiple instances (folders), each with it’s own unique set of Tabs.
    You could reserve one folder for work related folders/files
    Another one for Media, etc, etc.
    And I love to keep Tabs open, to remind me of things.
    Imagine the luxury of having multiple different sets of open Tabs.

    I am ‘a bit of an old woman’ (cautious) so I would always close one instance before opening another, just in case two running instances could get confused.
    There are so many benefits to using this program, you all owe yourself a favor, to try it out.
    With ‘no install’, what do you have to lose ?

  10. Rob (Down Under)

    @Locutus:
    XYPlorerFree works great on XP.
    It might be slightly quirky on Win 7
    The good news is it is PORTABLE, so no harm trying it in Win 7
    http://www.xyplorer.com/download/xyplorer_full_lfv.zip
    I have downloaded it again, and tested it.
    It is the correct version
    When you first run it, the Search panel is showing. Just press F12 to hide or show that panel.
    The Search is so good, that I have turned off Windows’ indexing, and never use Windows Search. (XYPlorer’s search, does NOT create indexes.)
    I can give more hints later, if anyone is interested.

  11. Locutus
    Author/

    @Rob (Down Under): Actually I am transitioning to D:\Downloads as soon as I can wipe my old Windows install that got too crusted with various Softwares of the Day. However, I like the tabbed file browser comment – I’d love to find a free one too though :P

  12. Rob (Down Under)

    Regarding Locutus comments on SubDiv
    I detest the Documents and Settings folder.
    It is like a ‘rabbit warren’ dug by a rabid wombat.
    Create your own Downloads folder in the C directory
    C:Downloads
    Tell all your programs to save things there.
    Get a Tabbed File manager.
    Once you have used a decent Tabbed File Manager you will avoid Windows Explorer like the plague.
    Set the left Tab on C:Downloads and set its sort, by Date
    Lock that Tab, so that Tab never navigates away from C:Downloads
    You can then confidently browse the web, etc, saving files.
    Then later when you have time you can browse the left Tab, and move the files to their final destinations.
    I use XYPlorerFree
    (I have tried about 10 other free File managers, but XYPlorer is the best Tabbed File Manager)
    I also save web pages (.MHT) and my PicPick captures to C:Downloads
    Say I came back later, to move some files, and say there were three related files. Because the folder is locked by date, all those files are next to each other.
    If I need to browse to another destination folder, if I do that in the locked Tab, it opens up that target in the adjoining new Tab (I don’t have to create that Tab, it happens automatically).
    I then highlight the three files, and drag them to the adjoining Tab.
    You can just drag to the Tab name at the top, and let go.
    If you let go quickly it moves the files, and you stay in the left Tab.
    If you let go slowly, the focus moves the the target tab, and you can let go.