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Free Tools for Windows I use and recommend

I am always on the lookout for tools to make life easier & indeed to make computer chores faster. Over the years I've found several utilities that I now couldn't manage without.

Here's a list of the FREE programs I find most useful:

BULK RENAME UTILITY:

Bulk Rename Utility is a free file renaming software for Windows. Bulk Rename Utility allows you to easily rename files and entire folders based upon extremely flexible criteria. I find this most useful for renaming large batches of photo or images.

Some of the features provided by Bulk Rename Utility include: 

  • Rename files, folders or both
  • Remove, add or change text in the file names
  • Perform text substitution
  • Change the case of file names
  • Remove characters or words
  • Remove digits or symbols
  • Append or prepend text to file names
  • Append dates in many formats
  • Append the parent folder's name
  • Auto-number files with flexible rules
  • Automatically preview the new names
  • Sort the file details by any column
  • Group configurations into "favorites"
  • "Bulk Rename Here" Windows Explorer extension
  • Directory recursion - process sub-directories too!
  • Regular Expressions support
  • Rename files from an input text-file list
  • Create an "Undo" batch file
  • Log activity to a log file
  • Change file and folder date/timestamps (created, modified, accessed)
  • Change file/folder attributes (hidden, read-only, archived)
  • All settings retained between sessions
  • Available as 32-bit or 64-bit versions
  • Rename photos using EXIF metadata (i.e. "Date Picture Taken", "Resolution" and other information embedded in all JPG photo files)
  • Rename MP3 files using ID3 tags (a.k.a. MP3 ID3 tag renaming).
  • Bulk Rename Utility is totally free!

You can download Bulk Rename Utility free here:

http://www.bulkrenameutility.co.uk/Download.php

 

FASTSTONE IMAGE VIEWER:

I find this utility very helpful to me when managing large image collections, and also doing basic image editing without the need to open the images in Photoshop - it also allows you to batch process or batch rename large numbers of photos or images.

FastStone Image Viewer is a fast, stable, user-friendly image browser, converter and editor. It has a nice array of features that include image viewing, management, comparison, red-eye removal, emailing, resizing, cropping, retouching and color adjustments. Its innovative but intuitive full-screen mode provides quick access to EXIF information, thumbnail browser and major functionalities via hidden toolbars that pop up when your mouse touches the four edges of the screen. Other features include a high quality magnifier and a musical slideshow with 150+ transitional effects, as well as lossless JPEG transitions, drop shadow effects, image annotation, scanner support, histogram and much more. It supports all major graphic formats (BMP, JPEG, JPEG 2000, animated GIF, PNG, PCX, PSD, EPS, TIFF, WMF, ICO and TGA) and popular digital camera RAW formats (CRW, CR2, NEF, PEF, RAF, MRW, ORF, SRF, ARW, SR2, RW2 and DNG).

You can download FastStone Image Viewer free here: http://www.faststone.org/FSViewerDetail.htm

 

DROPBOX:

I find Dropbox a huge boon to my work - I can share folders with clients, they drop the images they wish me to add to their website/s into their Dropbox folder - I get a copy immediately - saves the client having to email the images to me one or two at a time, a real timesaver for both them and I.

Another boon is, I can drop stuff I want to use on my other computers, or on my iPhone or iPad, into my DropBox folder on my PC - and the files are instantly available on all my other machines.

Although the free "Basic" account is limited to 2Gb compared to the paid options - by referring your friends to Dropbox you gain extra space in your account - my account is only the "DropBox Basic" but my referrals to clients have earned me an extra 4.88Gb space so far giving me a total of 6.88Gb to play with. (you can also earn more space by "liking" DropBox on Facebook, or "following" Dropbox on Twitter).

You can sign up to DropBox free here: https://db.tt/QsLCe4tn

Personally I could not manage without it.

 

KEEPASS PASSWORD SAFE:

Dealing with many clients and many websites I have over 600 logins and passwords I need to keep track of. Obviously I don't want to keep them written down, so how do I keep them all safe?

The answer is by using the amazing Keepass Password Safe!

What is KeePass?

Today you need to remember many passwords. You need a password for the Windows network logon, your e-mail account, your website's FTP password, online passwords (like website member account), etc. etc. etc. The list is endless. Also, you should use different passwords for each account. Because if you use only one password everywhere and someone gets this password you have a problem... A serious problem. The thief would have access to your e-mail account, website, bank account etc. Unimaginable.

KeePass is a free open source password manager, which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way. You can put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key file. So you only have to remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known (AES and Twofish). For more information, see the features page.

Keepass is available as a Desktop program for installation on your computer - or as a portable version for installation on a USB stick so you can keep your passwords with you when travelling, yet still keep them secure.

You can download Keepass free here: http://keepass.info/download.html

(Choose either the "Professional Edition" or the "Portable Edition" depending on your needs - both are free)

 

F.LUX:

As I often work late at night due to clients in different timezones I find FLUX makes life at my 3-monitor system far more relaxing...

What is F.LUX?

Ever notice how people texting at night have that eerie blue glow?
Ever wake up ready to write down the Next Great Idea, and get blinded by your computer screen?

During the day, computer screens look good—they're designed to look like the sun. But, at 9PM, 10PM, or 3AM, you probably shouldn't be looking at the sun.

f.lux fixes this: it makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

It's even possible that you're staying up too late because of your computer. You could use f.lux because it makes you sleep better, or you could just use it just because it makes your computer look better.

F.Lux is free for Windows.
(also available for Mac, Linux , and iPhone/iPad)

F.lux makes your computer screen look like the room you're in, all the time. When the sun sets, it makes your computer look like your indoor lights. In the morning, it makes things look like sunlight again.

Tell f.lux what kind of lighting you have, and where you live. Then forget about it. f.lux will do the rest, automatically.

You can download F.Lux free here: https://justgetflux.com/

 

All the above are just a few of the free utilities I use to make life using my computer easier, faster and more enjoyable - I hope they do the same for you - and the beauty is: they are all FREE!

More tips soon.

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