The Software Page

this page will tell you what the goodies are, from 20+ years of looking for the right software. if I didn't mention a program, there's a reason why... these are better! all are freeware except as noted.

AUDIO


WinAmp

Winamp is the best music player. tried many others over many years, none sound as good or have all the functionality. they don't "officially" make WA anymore but there always have been (and still are) tons of skins and plugins available. you can download any version you want from

oldversion.com/windows/winamp/

there are like 100 versions to choose from. WA 2.x was basic and lightweight; WA 3.x was an attempt at modernization but had too many problems; WA 5.x resolved those issues and has all the features you could want. but actually became bloated, stuffed with adware, and run by AOL. they skipped WA 4.x because "nobody wanted to see a WinAmp 4skin". ha ha. the two best versions to get are 2.95 and 5.581.

for skins you can go to allwinampskins.com

see the appendix at the end of this page for usage tips and how to make WinAmp portable.


FlicFlac - sector-seven.net/software/flicflac

converts between wav, mp3, flac, ogg, ape, and is portable.

Pazera Free M4A to MP3 converter- pazera-software.com

converts M4A to MP3 and is portable.

CDEx - cdex.mu

rip CD's or re-encode files with your choice of codecs and recording parameters.

VIDEO


DVDStyler - dvdstyler.org/en/

create DVD's from video files. has its flaws but is the best free DVD authoring software.

VLC - videolan.org/vlc

plays any and all video and audio files. (although it's sort of clumsy as an mp3 player) if you haven't heard of VLC you must have been living under a rock. it's what you use to play movies. available in installed and portable versions.

Handbrake - handbrake.fr

convert video between different formats and sizes, add/remove audio tracks and subtitles, some basic editing.

DVDShrink - dvdshrink.org

rip DVD's to .iso or a folder, shrink to smaller size, some DVD mastering functions.

GRAPHICS


PhotoFiltre - photofiltre.com

MS Paint sucks. Win7 Paint is still lame. Adobe PhotoShop is too bloated and Corel's Paint Shop Pro was nice until it became a 600 Mb nightmare. PhotoFiltre is free, 3.7 Mb, runs from its own folder (portable), and does 90% of what PhotoShop and Paint Shop Pro do. I have used it for a few years and have never needed anything more.

version 6.53 is the base model. version 7.21 is 8.4 Mb and has layers. I don't use layers so I prefer 6.53. both of those are free and you can get a paid version with more features if you want. you will want to download the Fisheye Correction and Histogram plugins.

Pixie Color Snooper - nattyware.com/pixie.php

use this to sample colors you see on a webpage, a picture, an icon, you name it. gives values in RGB, CMYK, HTML, hex, and HSV.

ExifStripper - evilmaster.net

strips EXIF data from image files. makes them smaller and you don't want your GPS data attached to your pictures floatinng around the internet, do you? single file.

HOME OFFICE


NoteTab Lite - notetab.com

a replacement for Notepad, it has tabbed windows and gobs of features. Notepad chokes on large files, NoteTab does not. the Lite version does everything you need.

see the appendix at the end of this page for how to make NoteTab portable.


convert.exe - joshmadison.com/convert-for-windows

convert any units. (length, speed, weight, etc) you can program custom conversions too. small 548 kb standalone file. very handy.

Excalibur - www.softpedia.com/get/Science-CAD/Excalibur.shtml

this is a RPN calculator. that is, Reverse Polish Notation. if you thought Polish notation might be wierd, this is done backwards to make it even more incomprehensible. very popular.

Spread32 - byedesign.co.uk

small, stand-alone analogue of MS Excel 95/97. somewhat limited but when you consider that it's one 1.38 Mb file doing all that, it's phenomenal. there are no other tiny spreadsheet programs that even come close. a must-have for your quick calculations toolbox. reads/writes XLS, CSV, tab-delimited, and Pocket Excel .PXL formats. yes it makes charts and graphs.

SumatraPDF - majorgeeks.com/files/sumatra_pdf.html

reads PDF, XPS, ebook, ePub, MOBI, DjVu, TIFF, TGA, CBZ, etc. and still better than the dedicated ebook readers such as Ice Cream. say goodbye to bloated Adobe Acrobat and use this sleek, 6 Mb standalone file instead.

EssentialPIM - essentialpim.com

a Personal Information Manager that handles contacts, email, calendar, notes, to-do list, and passwords. those are modules so you can use (or not use) whichever you want. uses a database file that may be accessed from its local folder on your computer, or logged into from wherever on your local network, or on the internet. the db file may be swapped for another one, you can use several different ones with the same EPIM installation, you can have a whole array of different db files to use! whatever you need to do.

small program, portable in a folder, better than KomaMail, Kaufmann Mail Warrior, and Sylpheed. (others aren't worth mentioning!) I prefer this lightweight, portable, flexible program over MS Outlook or Thunderbird and all their bloat. not free but there is a freeware version available.

Sylpheed - sylpheed.sraoss.jp/en/

more basic e-mail program, much like Kaufmann Mail Warrior without all the hiccups. small footprint, portable, adequate contacts manager. drawbacks are that it stores your usernames and passwords in a plaintext file, and export/import is clumsy.

EmailChecker - kgpsoftware.com

periodically checks your email for you in the background. handles up to 100 accounts. you can preview and delete emails before they are downloaded. I like it better than PopMan.

FIREWALLS


TinyWall - tinywall.pados.hu

for Windows 7 and above. free. very simple. it's a front end interface for Window's built-in firewall, making it much easier to work with. seems to be the trend nowadays.

Windows Firewall Control - BiniSoft.org

another front end interface for Window's built-in firewall (Win7 and above). simple interface with meticulous back-end, so you can "just use it" or dig into the firewall rules as deep as you want. author says it's free, but, ahem, you need to donate to unlock certain features.

Jetico Personal Firewall - jetico.com/products/personal-privacy/personal-firewall

the most wonky firewall in existence. if you like fiddling with your firewall, you'll love this one. (I don't and I hate it) relatively small size, not very polished interface, and it catches EVERYTHING. used by the White House and Department of Defense, among others.

PrivateFirewall - privacyware.com

the best free firewall... as long as you have Windows 7 32-bit or XP. does not work on 64-bit. otherwise it does it all.

however for basic computer users it might trip them up, when they block a program's access to the internet, and it no longer works right, and they don't know why. for even advanced users you have to mess with it a lot because of all the interactions, and yes, programs stop working and you have to figure out what to uncheck. it can be a pain in the ass at times but that's what you get with a full-featured firewall! if that's too much you should try something simple such as Ashampoo Firewall or TinyWall.

Ashampoo Firewall - ashampoo.com/en/usd/

for Windows XP. free. very simple. let it run and forget about it. gives you much peace of mind compared to other firewalls that block everything. however, Ashampoo quit making it. it is available for download some places on the internet, version 1.20, ashampoo_firewall_sm.exe is 10 Mb and good luck finding it. and then you have to make an account with ashampoo.com to get a key.

BROWSERS


Google Chrome - google.com/chrome/browser

A lot of people are skeptical of Google Chrome because of the "looking over your shoulder"- phoning home, sending your browsing habits to Google, and so on. but somebody pointed out that it is updated quite often and therefore the most secure.

Chromuim - chromium.org

Chromium is not Chrome. it is where Google gets their Chrome browser. Chromium doesn't phone home. does not have all the features of Chrome.

Vivaldi - vivaldi.com

minimalistic yet full-featured. modern. based on Chromium and the Blink engine.

Brave - brave.com

minimalistic and modern, in the same genre as Vivaldi, but instead of a focus on power users, the concern is about privacy. so it blocks all advertising... and shows its own ads! based on Chromium and the Blink engine.

BROWSERS: Not Chrome


Pale Moon - palemoon.org

looks vaguely like Chromium, but is based on Firefox and the Goanna engine (a spin-off of Firefox's Gecko engine). functions a little more smoothly than the rest. available as an installed program, portable, or for Android.

K-Meleon - kmeleon.sourceforge.net

this broswer focuses on ad blocking. buttons right in front allow you to enable/disable flash, java, scripts and cookies. it is an actual Windows program, like Inernet Explorer, instead of an XML-based front end like Chromium. so it looks more like Internet Explorer. uses the Mozilla Gecko engine.

BROWSERS: Toolkit Size


Crazy Browser - majorgeeks.com/files/details/crazy_browser.html

looks like MS Internet Explorer, but no frills and super lightweight. portable in a folder.

QT Web Browser - qtweb.net

slim and fast, layout like Crazy Browser, but compiled on the QT framework (built in). 1 single file of 7 Mb.

FastestWebBrowser - fastestwebbrowser.com

the absolute smallest web browser possible. no frills. 1 single file of 817 kb.

HOST FILE MANAGER


Acrylic - sourceforge.net/projects/acrylic/

this one is going to take some explaining.

normally, when your browser wants to go to a website, it has to take the URL you entered (such as "google.com") and figure out what IP address that is. it does that behind the scenes with a DNS lookup: it contacts a DNS server which gives it the information.

however, your computer also has a local file that it checks first. (c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts) usually that file doesn't have any entries.

one trick people do with the hosts file, is insert entries that tell your web browser that some unsavory website's IP is 0.0.0.0 so it goes nowhere and doesn't get loaded. that can eliminate a lot of advertising from your web pages, making them load faster and not use up all your data that you pay for, like watching 5 megabyte video ads on the side while you're trying to read the latest news on Paris Hilton.

but the hosts file is really meant for 100 entries or so. when it gets large Windows chokes on it. so we have Acrylic, which performs that function and can handle 1000's of entries easily.

you install Acrylic and it runs as a service in the background, intercepting your browser's DNS requests and using its own hosts file. you can use any hosts file for that. several people offer hosts files, each with what they think are a good list of entries. I get mine from

winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm

if you wish you can insert your own entries to block google ads, microsoft, etc.

DOWNLOAD MANAGERS


Star Downloader - stardownloader.com

my favorite download manager that's old and clunky but comfortable to use. installs, not portable. multi-threaded and does FTP downloads.

Free Download Manager - freedownloadmanager.org

does everything. comes in Full or Lite versions, I think there's a portable version too. has a plugin for BitTorrent downloading.

EagleGet - eagleget.com

simple download manager. looks cool. try something different.

WackGet - portableapps.com/apps/internet/wackget-portable/

the simplest and easiest download manager. portable.

BITTORRENT CLIENTS


uTorrent - utorrent.com

the best versions to use are 1.8.5 or 2.2.1. later versions hog bandwidth (aren't as efficient), are bloatware, and have ads.

see the appendix at the end of this page for how to make uTorrent portable.


Transmission - transmissionbt.com

really, I like Transmission better than uTorrent. lightweight and doesn't have ads. looks more modern. the only bad thing about it is that it lacks a speed chart and detailed file info like uTorrent has. aside from Transmission, uTorrent or FreeDownloadManager, forget all the other BitTorrent clients.

DEALING WITH FILES ON YOUR COMPUTER


FastCopy - ipmsg.org/tools/fastcopy.html.en

Windows isn't always the fastest at copying files, and it doesn't verify. there are other utilities for that but FastCopy is the fastest, lightest, most simple and most functional. made by some Japanese dude. just be careful because it's not idiot-proof. you can overwrite or erase your data. it is installed but that's just a formality. it can be run as a single-file portable.

Cubic Explorer - softpedia.com/get/File-managers/CubicExplorer.shtml

nice tabbed alternative to Windows Explorer. portable, in a directory.

Q-Dir - softwareok.com

multi-pane alternative to Windows Explorer. portable, single file.

Agent Ransack - mythicsoft.com/agentransack/

find that file on your computer. search by name, date, contents, size, etc

Hash Tools - binaryfortress.com/hashtools/

calculate the CRC32, MD5, SHA1, SHA256, SHA384, or SHA512 checksum of a file. (in order of least to most accurate) note, SHA1 takes just as long to calculate as the inferior CRC32 and MD5 checksums so that should be preferred. the others take longer, but I don't think there is any real diference in results.

DirDiff - softpedia.com/get/System/File-Management/DirDiff.shtml

you have two folders but aren't sure which files are different in them. use this! also compares the contents of two files to show exactly what the difference is.

portable iDisk - memecode.com/idisk.php

shows what's hogging up space on your hard drive.

WinDirStat - windirstat.sourceforge.net

shows what's hogging up space on your hard drive... with a big chart with squares on it. easily pick out the biggest square(s) to see what takes the most space.

WinRAR 5 - rarlab.com

file compression program like WinZip or 7Zip. except WinRAR 5 is better. it's all that and a bag of fries. (not free though)

- better compression
- more robust compression algorithm prevents data loss
- numerous compression parameters, file sizes, recovery options, etc
- unlimited recovery volume size
- better encryption
- max dictionary size of 1 Gb
- filesize limited to, oh, 8 exabytes (8,589,934,591 gigabytes)
- compression profiles
- backup/restore settings

see the end of this page for notes and parameters.

HARD DRIVE UTILITIES


WipeDisk - portablefreeware.com/?id=1356

nice little standalone program. does not work with SSD drives.

Tiny Shredder - safesofthome.com/software.htm

securely erases files and folders.

HDShredder - miray.de/download/hdshredder.html

securely wipes hard drives and partitions, can be run from its single file or it makes a bootable CD. freeware version limits the wiping method.

Remo Drive Wipe - remosoftware.com/remo-drive-wipe/

similar to HDShredder, wipes hard drives and logical drives (C:\, D:\, E:\, etc) with 0's, random numbers, or DOD 5220.22.M; can upgrade to Navy, NATO, and German standards; give them even more money and you can do DOD 5200.28.M, Gutmann, and DOD/Gutmann hybrid. nice interface. installs but you can make portable by copying the installation folder somewhere else then uninstall.

Active@KillDisk - killdisk.com/downloadfree.htm

the paid version does everything. the freeware version is limited to wiping with 0's. other than that, the only real advantage this has over the other programs, is that it can wipe multiple drives at once. not really worth messing with unless you need that.

HDTune - hdtune.com

benchmark hard drive performance, check S.M.A.R.T. status, scan for errors, get drive info.

SDFormatter - sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/

tool that specializes in SD cards. their website explains why you really need such a tool instead of normal formatting.

Defraggler - ccleaner.com/defraggler/

not that it's a spectacular program, but hits all the buttons and is most poplar. defrag your hard drive and get S.M.A.R.T. status.

MiniTool Partition Wizard - partitionwizard.com

best hard drive partition software. freeware version has a few features disabled.

TinyHexer - softpedia.com/get/Others/Miscellaneous/tiny-hexer.shtml

tiny single-file viewer so you can look at all the 0's and 1's on your hard drive or files. very handy when you need it.

Xpress Recovery 2

gigabyte.com/webpage/21/Xpress-Recovery2.html

drivers.softpedia.com/get/Other-DRIVERS-TOOLS/Others/GIGABYTE-Xpress-Recovery2-101070817.shtml

Gigabyte (motherboards) has a program that creates a backup image of your computer so you can restore it later. small size, easy to work with. it makes a bootable CD. requirements: some empty unformatted space on the end of your hard drive, and 32-bit Windows XP. (won't work with Win7) as far as I can tell it works with any motherboard. doesn't have to be Gigabyte.

USB UTILITIES


USBDeview - nirsoft.net/utils/usb_devices_view.html

view all information about USB drives that are connected, or have been connected in the last 90 days. has a speed testing feature and you can upload results to their website where it is all compared.

chkflsh.exe - mikelab.kiev.ua/index_en.php?page=PROGRAMS/chkflsh_en

check for bad sectors on your USB. (see if it's worn out)

CD/DVD BURNING


CD Burner XP - cdburnerxp.se/en/home/

does 99% of what any of those expensive bloated programs do. except it's freeware, small, and portable in a folder. (works on XP/7/8/10) can't do without it! yes it can make bootable CD's.

Burn To The Brim - bttb.sourceforge.net

you have tons of stuff to backup to CD. this tells you what to put on each CD making them all close as possible to 100% capacity, no wasted space!

WINDOWS EXTRAS


John's Background Switcher - johnsad.ventures/software/backgroundswitcher/

periodically changes your desktop wallpaper to different pictures. you specify what folders, how often, how to fit them on the screen, etc. does everything and handles multiple monitors.

BootSkin - stardock.com/products/bootskin/

change Window's bootup screen. comes with a selection of screens or you can make your own. only works on XP/Vista.

how to make your own bootup screen:

1. select a picture to use. must be 800x600

2. save as

3. make a progress bar

4. specify the location of the progress bar on the screen

5. put it in a folder

etc


BricoPack - vista-inspirat-bricopack.en.uptodown.com/windows/

a theme pack for Windows XP SP2/SP3. looks very nice, inspired by Vista, which of course looks like Win7.

ETC


FTP Wanderer - pablosoftwaresolutions.com/html/ftp_wanderer_3_0.html

full-featured yet micro-sized FTP client. 470 kb single file.

Quick and Easy FTP Server Lite - pablosoftwaresolutions.com/html/quick__n_easy_ftp_server_lite.html

micro-sized FTP server! easiest way to transfer files between computers on your home network or across the internet between friends. create anonymous and user accounts, specific permissions, user log, etc. 355 kb and portable in a folder. advanced paid version available.

ClamWin - clamwin.com

virus scanner. it only runs when you launch the program. other antivirus programs run in the background and bog down your computer.

Networx - softperfect.com/products/networx/

monitor your data usage. may be installed on several computers on a network to log the total usage.

CCleaner - ccleaner.com

clean out Windows registry, uninstall unwanted programs, and wipe the free space on your hard drive. VERY useful program.

Ant Renamer - antp.be/software/renamer/

rename lots of files at once. you can do anything with the filenames.

TagScanner - xdlab.ru/en/

manage all the tags of your MP3's.

FREEWARE SOURCES


Dudes

steelbytes.com (Louis Solomon, Melbourne, Australia)

nirsoft (Nir Sofer)

roadkil.net (Australia)

evilmaster.net (Samuel Johansson)

Pablo Software

softwareok.com (Nenad Hrg, Germany)

Wim's Programs (Wim Heirman)

xiles.net (Junghoon Noh, South Korea)

Small Websites

AnalogX

AmOK

XnSoft

Small-Medium Websites

Gaijin Software

Josh Cell

Medium Websites

Stardock

NCH Software

Jetico Software

Miray Software

Runtime Software

O&O Software

MiniTool

Skwire Empire

Large

Major Geeks

Portable Freeware

oldversion.com

alternativeto.net

TIPS AND TRICKS


allow XP to read UDF

Windows XP does not read UDF 2.50 and 2.60 file system on CD/DVD's. but those are the most up-to-date file systems to burn your CD/DVD with. you can install drivers for it. thdudf.inf and thdudf.sys from Toshiba.

Can't Find That File On The Internet?

use FTP search. the two best ones are filewatcher.com and filesearching.com, they search thousands of FTP servers where people stash billions of files. someone might have a copy. that has enabled me to dig up many obsolete and obscure programs that would have been impossible to find.


Configure Windows Services

there are a few dozen services running in the background. some run automatically, some run manaully, some are disabled. which ones should be set to what? Black Viper can tell you! he has been on the 'net with a list of the services since Win98 days. Black Viper


Block IP Addresses With Windows IP Security

1. click 'Start' > 'Run' >type 'MMC' press ok.

2. in the window that comes up, click > 'File' > 'Add/Remove Snap in'

3. left window pane, Seclect 'IP Security Policy Managment' > 'ADD' > 'Local Computer' > 'finish' > 'ok'

You should now be back to the console.

4. In the left frame right click 'IP security policies on local computer' > 'Create IP security policy'

5. Click Next and then name your policy 'Block IP' and type a description.

6. Click 'Next' then leave 'activate' checked if you are using XP and earlier; unchecked if you are using Vista and later. then click 'Next'

7. leave the 'edit properties checked and click 'Finish'

You should now have the properties window open.

8. Click 'ADD' then click 'Next' to continue.

9. Leave 'This rule does not specify a tunnel' selected and click 'next'

10. Leave 'all network connections' selected and click 'next'

11. You should now be on the IP filter list. You need to create a new filter, so dont select any of the default ones. Click 'ADD'

12. Type a Name for your list, call it 'IP block list' Type a description in, can be same as name. Click 'ADD' then click 'Next' to continue.

13. In the description box type a description. As its the first IP you are blocking call it 'IP1' or 'IP Range 1' Leave checked the 'Mirrored. Match packets with the exact opposite source and destination addresses' Click 'Next'

14. The 'Source address' should be left as 'Any IP address' click 'Next'

15. You can now select 'A Specific IP address' or 'A Specific Subnet' for the Destination address. Type in the IP address you want to block and if blocking a subnet type in the subnet block. Click 'next'

16. Leave the protocol type as 'Any' and click 'Next' and then 'Finish'

You have now blocked your first IP or IP range.

17. click 'File' > 'Save As...' and save the console as IPsecBlock.msc you can back it up, use it on another computer, etc.

18. in the right window pane, there is the list of security policies. under 'Policy Assigned' some say Yes or No. this is where you can enable or disable that policy.

19. click 'File' > 'Exit'

whenever you want to add/remove IP's or enable/disable the policy, find the IPsecBlock.msc that you had created and run it.

once you have setup a bunch of IP's, you can export the settings, so next time you can simply import them and not have to go through all this.

1. open the IPsecBlock.msc (or whatever the name)

2. left pane. under Console Root it should say IP Security Policies On Local Computer.

3. right click that, not "Export List", but All Tasks, Export Policies.

(will save as *.ipsec, not a .txt file)

4. same for Import Policies.

easy!

APPENDIX


WinAmp

WinAmp 2 uses .wsz skins, WinAmp 5 can use those and the more modern .wal format.

the most useful plugins are:

1. gen_yar.dll which allows you to copy whatever is on your playlist to a folder. right-click on titlebar (where you normally get options, playback, visualization, skins, etc...) and now "copy playlist files" is added to the menu.

2. linein180.exe which patches line-in signal to be played in WA. play your guitar, MP3 player, etc. on your computer speakers with WA's equalization and whatever plugin sound effects you have.

3. enhancer.exe which is a substitute for the equalizer. a few people think it sounds better and swear by it.
by the way, WA5's built-in equalizer has gain issues. sounds overdriven, like too much gain. you get clipping. volume boosts/cuts itself and sounds all wobbly. drives you nuts. go to Options>Preferences>Playback and you have these tabs:

Playback
Equalizer (with EQ Type, Frequency Bands)
Replay Gain

1. on the Playback tab, uncheck all boxes

2. on the Equalizer tab, uncheck "Use Limiter"

3. on the Replay gain tab, uncheck "Use Replay Gain"

don't have these checkboxes? then you have the wrong version! should have got 5.5.81 like I told you, dummy!


you can make WA portable by doing this:

1a. install winamp to get the options/preferences you want.

1b. or do this with existing, rode-hard-put-away-wet installation. you will get only the options that have been installed.

2. go to the installation directory. (normally /program files/winamp)

3. delete paths.ini

4. run winamp, it will be like the first time. now it puts all its databases and .ini files in its own folder.

5. do something about winamp.ini:

a. run winamp and configure everything

b. or you may get away with using the old winamp.ini from C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Winamp\ (there were 4 winamp.ini's, that one is the one to copy if you are going to)

6. in winamp.ini change value of no_registry=0 to 1

(NeedReg, a few lines down, refers to registration)

7. COPY to some other folder.

8. uninstall winamp, to get all the entries out of the registry. you might want to run a reg cleaner as well.

9. the other folder is now your portable winamp folder. you may rename it, copy to a different folder on a different drive, it doesn't matter. (except for file associations)

WinAmp 2.95 doesn't write to winamp.ini every time you run the program. WA 5.81 does, however, so there may be problems (or irritation) if run from a CD.

NoteTab

you can make NoteTab portable by doing this:

1. install NoteTab

2. copy the /Program Files/Notetab/ (or whatever) folder to somewhere else.

3. in that folder, create a file NoteTab.ini

4. run NoteTab.exe in that folder. it will write to the .ini file and create some new folders so it runs all out of that folder.

5. uninstall NoteTab.exe from windows. leave the copied folder, that is now your portable NoteTab.

6. if you want to run it off a USB drive that changes drive letter all the time, run "NoteTab.exe /usb" and it will look for its configuration files on "the USB drive", and do that every time now. unless you change your mind and use "NoteTab.exe /usb=false".

uTorrent

you don't need the DHT network or uTP protocol enabled, they just use more overhead. disable them to make uTorrent go faster and not hog bandwidth.

how to make uTorrent portable:

1. install uTorrent in the /Program Files/ directory as usual. configure the location of your download folders.

2. copy the uTorrent.exe file to some other folder.

3. run uTorrent.exe from that folder. it will copy existing settings files and resource folders to there, wherever they come from.

4. uninstall uTorrent from your computer.

5. the folder you made is now your portable uTorrent folder. it may be moved to a different location, on a different drive, renamed, etc it does not matter. uTorrent will write to the settings file and adjust for its new location.

6. however, the download folders MUST remain where you had set them. if you forgot where that location should be, run uTorrent and hopefully the .torrent will be listed, right click and "show containing folder". that is where it should be. so put it there and now it works.

7. you can zip all the folders and put them on some other computer (or your new computer) as long as the download folders have the same path as the first computer. or store them on a backup CD then restore them later, etc.

8. you may replace the .exe with a different version, although it may choke a little bit at first it will get itself running. .dat's, .ini's, etc are compatible for the most part. downloads in progress work across different versions

WinRAR

here are my usage notes on WinRAR 5:

1. trying to compress already compressed files is a waste of time. specifically, backed-up hard drive image files, only got a few percentage points compression and it took hours. just "store" to get the data protection of WinRAR.

1a. what doesn't compress?

- mp3, wma, shn
- jpg, png, gif
- exe (most, if not all)
- exe installers (often compressed setup materials)

1b. what does compress?

- txt (fast, 4MB with 28/100 compression)
- wav (fastest, 1MB with 24/100 compression)
- bmp (fast, 1MB with 40/100 compression)

note, though, that any attempt at compression (useless) of any of the above, or apparently any file whatsoever, does not result in degradation. checked with SHA1 hash. all restored perfectly.

2. when just using "store", there is no reason to use a large dictionary size (it's not being compressed) and small dictionary sizes are faster. therefore select the smallest dictionary size. (it might automatically use 128k anyways irregardless of what you set it to)

3. large files and SFX: 32-bit windows cannot run .exe larger than 4 GB. if the resultant filesize is larger than 4 GB, it cannot be done. during compression, when the output gets that big, you get an error and WinRAR must break operation.

3. RAR5 has much better recovery robustness, and significantly better encryption.

4. recovery record: RAR5 manual recommends 3-10%.

5. recovery volumes: for multi-volume sets, the number of recovery volumes you create is the number of .rar volumes you can recover.

5. recovery and filesize: RAR4 recovery record is limited to 256 MB irregardless of the recovery % that was set, but RAR5 is unlimited. (it can be as large as the file itself, i.e. a 100% recovery record actually works.) this is a major consideration for large files because the normal 2-10% is easily overshot and useless to RAR4. for example, 5% on a 10 GB file is 512 MB, which RAR4 can't handle. that is common with large image files.

6. the RAR5 manual says for a given dictionary size x, it takes 6x as much memory to compress and a little more than x to decompress.

practical dictionary size limitations for "available" memory:
(available, dictionary size)
3.5 GB, 597 MB
3.0 GB, 512 MB
2.5 GB, 427 MB
2.0 GB, 340 MB
1.5 GB, 256 MB
1.0 GB, 170 MB
0.5 GB, 85 MB

on this computer, the max value in the drop-down box is 256 MB which should be no problem to compress on this computer and decompress on any computer.

(tried 256 MB, got halfway through and popped a "not enough memory" error.)

note that .zip format is limited to a measly 32k.

7. max dictionary sizes, for compression, allowed by program:

RAR5, 64-bit: 1 GB
RAR5, 32-bit, Win7 and above: 256 MB
RAR5, 32-bit, XP: 128 MB
RAR4, any: 4 MB (4096 k)

8. either 32-bit or 64-bit can decompress all dictionary sizes up to 1 GB as long as the computer has more than 1 GB available memory.

9. larger dictionary size may get better compression, but is slower. didn't say anything about whether it is better or worse for recovery.

filesize: 7,500,282,286 bytes (7.5 GB)

rar5, best, 10%

256 MB, ~65 min (A) 32MB, ~45 min (B) 8 MB, ~30 min (C) 1 MB, ~27 min (D)

rar, best, 10% 4096 Kb, ~31 min (E)

filesize: 18,087,041,077 bytes (18 GB) rar5, store, 10%, 1 MB, ~4 min

10. when you have a large file to compress, the drive may thrash because it is writing to the same drive while reading. solution: have the file created on a different drive. SSD drives may not have this problem at all.

11. be careful when specifying custom volume sizes.

k- kilobytes K- 1000 bytes

m- megabytes M- 1,000,000 bytes

g- gigabytes G- 1,000,000,000 bytes

however, "KB" "MB" and "GB" always mean kilobytes, megabytes and gigabytes regardless of character case.

12. there is practically no upper limit to filesize. (up to 8,589,934,591 GB)

13. how do you create another profile? you have to be creating an archive, click Profiles... then "save current settings to a new profile".

14. special compression routines for .txt, pictures, etc. have been deprecated in RAR5. author says something about performance of modern computers renders it unnecessary. or whatever.

does not seem to compress .jpg files. tried "best" and 256MB on 63 pics totalling 225 MB, got 100% archive (no compression) that says 8 MB dictionary. ?? tried again with "normal" and 32MB, same exact results. (at the same speed too) tried "store"/1MB, same results but says 128 kb dictionary.

also used SHA1 hash to see if compression resulted in degradation. no change.

whatever. ignore .jpg's, they don't compress and aren't harmed by compression.

DETERMINING BEST COMPRESION SCHEME

1. try normal, 32MB to see if it compresses at all

2. keep normal, start at lowest MB to determine where it stops making a difference

(you can pretty much ignore 2 and 8. 1,4,16,32,64,128,256)

3. usually MB corresponds to Method (normal, fastest, etc)

1/2 - Fastest 8 - Fast 32 - Normal 64/128 - Good 256 - Best

sample data from .bmp: (forgot original filesize)

normal,1- 9,666 kb normal,2- 9,655 normal,4- 9,655 normal,32- 9,655 normal,128- 9,655

best,32- 9,603 best,64- 9,603

fast,1- 9,819 fast,32- 9,808

fastest,1- 11,547 fastest,4- 11,547 fastest,32- 11,547