Windows software of the day [March 23, 2012]

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 March 23, 2012

7Files alpha

7Files is a Windows Explorer file browsing replacement that focuses not only on having a greater level of functionality but still the ability to please your eyes. On the functionality end of the spectrum, it supports all the usual tasks such as drag and drop and even some more unusual tasks such as a simple file finding function that allows you to show files from a particular time period and file type, as shown at right.

Besides searching by date and type, it can also do search within a folder. Rather than Windows 7’s built-in search, which claims to use an index but still manages to be slow, 7File’s is built into the current view and lets you just type. The results will be a pared down version of the original view rather than a whole new one.

Unfortunately, while 7Files is quite nice and very usable, it can’t be a replacement for Windows Explorer. It actually runs alongside Windows Explorer, as Explorer not only controls folder browsing but critical aspects such as the start menu and taskbar. Even with this, however, 7Files is great, even if only for searching for specific files or folders.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v0.3.0.0 alpha

Supported OS: Windows 7/Vista/XP (requires .NET Framework 3.5)

Download size: 8.9MB

Malware scan: VirusTotal scan results 0/41

7Files homepage


IrfanView is a lightweight image viewer that’s supported even on the old computer you got rid of ten years ago. And not only is it lightweight, it can read almost any image you throw at it: almost 90 formats are supported if I counted correctly.

Besides being the mother of all image viewers, it can also perform some simple edits on some formats. (Only 20.) It can losslessly rotate JPEGs, stitch panoramas, adjust colors, convert to grayscale, and much more. While these are only basic edits, the ability to perform them on a slower, older machine alone is something that could win many over. Need to adjust your parent’s vacation photos? Rather than pull out GIMP, show them how to do it.

IrfanView is a giant program stuffed into a tiny space. Even if I spent a few years with it, I’d probably still be discovering cool new things to do with it!

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v4.3.2

Supported OS: Windows 9x and up

Download size: 1.5MB

Malware scan: VirusTotal scan results 0/43

IrfanView homepage


“Hey, can I get that as a PDF?”

Now what are you supposed to do? Most people don’t have a copy of Adobe Acrobat lying around to create a PDF with. However, with just a minute of your time, you can install a PDF printer like PDFCreator to make a PDF from anything with a Print button. This means your Word documents, web pages, pictures… anything!

Note that on oddly formatted things like web pages, PDFCreator will not create a very good PDF. This is just like printing a web page on a real printer: either something gets squished, something gets cut off, or whatever. However, when “printing” a document as a PDF, it will do a pretty much perfect job.

During installation, be sure to uncheck the toolbar offer.

Price: Free!

Version discovered: v1.3.1

Supported OS: Windows (unknown versions)

Download size: 17.0MB

Malware scan: VirusTotal scan results 1/43

PDFCreator 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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