The three best freeware programs you've never heard of
It's an app, app, app, app world these days, but let's not forget that most of us still use PCs. And PCs need software.
I've rounded up three programs I think every Windows user should have. They'll help you organize your desktop, boost your productivity, and even simplify using Windows itself. Best of all, they're all free. Check 'em out, then leave a comment below telling me which freeware programs you find most indispensable.
Tired of icons cluttering up your desktop? Sure, you can organize your shortcuts, programs, folders, and the like by dragging and dropping, but eventually some Windows glitch or screen resolution-changing app will undo all your hard work.
That's why I'm wild about Stardock Fences
, a free utility that's so clever, so simple, and so useful, you'll wonder why Microsoft didn't build it into Windows.
The program divides your icons into organized groups, each of which is represented by a translucent window. You can assign a name to each group, arrange groups to your liking, change a group's size (just like resizing any window), and so on.
Do you frequently type the exact same text? You know, mailing addresses, e-mail signatures, blocks of text related to your business, and so on. All that typing can amount to a serious waste of time.
For example, let's say you frequently end your e-mails with, "Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you." With PhraseExpress, you could type "tft" (or whatever abbreviation you want), and the program would automatically insert the full text in its place.
PhraseExpress works in any application. To create a new phrase, you just copy any selected text to the clipboard, then click the PhraseExpress icon in the System Tray. You can then create an AutoText tag like the above example or assign a hotkey.
Oh, Microsoft. After all these years, my mouse wheel still doesn't work the way it should. I can't just point my cursor at a window and start scrolling with the wheel.
Instead, a Windows window must have "focus" (meaning I've clicked somewhere inside it to make it the selected window) for the mouse wheel to function. That's insane!
Fortunately, there's WizMouse
, which enables the scroll wheel to work in whatever window is under your cursor, plain and simple. It's free, it works, and it makes the Windows world a lot more pleasant.