Gizmo's Freeware is a non-commercial community website staffed entirely by volunteers.
The primary function is to help you select the best freeware product for your particular needs.
The best freeware programs are as good as or better than their commercial counterparts but finding the most appropriate program can be challenging.
Sure, there are dozens of freeware download sites on the web, but few of these actually help you select the best program for your needs.
That's what we do here. No downloads, just honest advice and useful guidance.
It's honest because this is a community-based site staffed by volunteers and we have no commercial affiliations.
In August 2010, PC Magazine included Gizmo's Freeware in its "100 Top Websites of 2010."
Gizmo's Freeware: Top selections
The best freeware finds from Gizmo's Freeware (www.techsupportalert.com
Posted on: 23 November 2017, 5:17 am
I'm always interested in file conversion services, and I've often written on these pages about how to convert between Word, PDF, Excel and so on.
But here's something a little different, and very clever. It's fun too.
If you have an MP3 file of someone talking, perhaps as the result of an interview you recorded, check out the Bear File Converer website and upload the file there. Within a minute or so, you'll be able to download your recording as a text file, ready to edit as you wish.
There are various paid-for services that offer a similar feature, and which can cope with longer recordings. But this one is free and is really rather neat. So grab your microphone or phone, fire up the voice recorder, then send the file to Bear File Converter to turn it into text. Read More
Posted on: 22 November 2017, 2:07 am
If you're interested in IT security then you might have heard of Kali. It's a Linux distribution that comes pre-installed with hundreds of free security-related programs. Everything from scanning your network to cracking wifi passwords.
The trouble with Kali is that it isn't particularly user-friendly and, frankly, it actually doesn't look very pretty at all. You can add themes and skins if you want, but it can be tricky.
Parrot is another Linux distro that's designed for security people. It also has hundreds of free programs built in, as well as a full Libre Office suite so you can do normal work as well as experiment with the security of your network. And like Kali, you can install it in a virtual machine using something like VirtualBox or VMware Player, so you don't have to wipe your main computer.
The Parrot download is around 3.5 GB. if you want to try it. You can even burn the downloaded file to a CD or DVD and then boot it in Live mode. Read More
Posted on: 21 November 2017, 2:58 am
One of the best-known IP addresses on the internet is 18.104.22.168. It’s a DNS server run by Google.
DNS, or the Domain Name System, is the technology that allows you to type www.techsupportalert.com into your web browser instead of having to type the IP address of the server (22.214.171.124 in this case). DNS translates between things that people can understand, and things that web servers can understand.
You need a DNS service in order to browse the internet by name instead of number. Normally, the service is provided by your ISP. Your computer is probably configured to “obtain DNS settings automatically”, which means it will use the DNS server provided by your ISP.
For a while now, Google has offered a DNS server that you can use instead of your ISP’s one. It’s generally very fast and reliable (unlike some ISPs’ ones!). Its IP address is 126.96.36.199 and you use it by configuring your computer or router to do so.
A new DNS service called Quad 9 launched recently. As you might expect from the name, its IP address is 188.8.131.52. It’s run by a variety of respected IT and internet organisations including IBM. As well as converting names to numbers, it also helps to prevent you from inadvertently accessing web sites that might contain malware. It does this by simply not providing a conversion for suspicious sites. So your PC won’t be able to access them by name.
If you want to use Quad 9, you’ll need to change the network adaptor configuration on your PC in order to explicitly use 184.108.40.206 instead of whatever DNS server your ISP is providing. Here's how you do it:
Posted on: 20 November 2017, 2:25 am
Finds of the Week is a list of websites I've come across lately that are interesting, fun, or useful (or all three). I hope you enjoy them. -Rhiannon
- Repair Windows 10 Installation Without Losing Apps & Data
- Top 10 Free Image Hosting Services You Should Try for Hosting Your Photos
- How to delete downloaded Windows Update files
- 21 Most Visited Free Fonts Site
Posted on: 19 November 2017, 3:09 am
A while back we invited our users to test the speed of their computers using a free performance monitoring utility and report their results.
But PC's have got faster since then so we are again inviting you to test your current equipment and compare its speed to the PCs of other Gizmo's Freeware users.
So guys and gals, check out how your computer rates in the speed race. Read More
Posted on: 17 November 2017, 3:20 am
This weeks wallpaper shows a lone tree silhouetted against a starry night sky with low hills in the background. A pool of water sits below the tree, reflecting the tree and sky.. A nimbus of white surrounds the tree, fading into the dark blue sky above. This is a nice, quiet background for all your devices. Icons contrast nicely with this wallpaper. Read More
Posted on: 16 November 2017, 1:42 am
A few years ago, a program called Balsamiq Mockup caused a bit of a stir when it was launched. It was the first of a new breed of programs which were aimed at programmers and web site designers, to help them plan the layouts of screens. It's now a well-used commercial product.
The other day I heard about something called Fast Mockup. Like Balsamiq, it lets you design computer program and web site screens in order to work on the best user interface for whatever you're developing. It's a fun tool to use, and its library of shapes and other elements also means that you can use it for flowcharts as well as screen designs.
Fast Mockup is free, and the download is only 2 MB or so. It runs just fine on Windows 10. It's also malware-free according to Virus Total, and the site is rated as reputable by Web of Trust. Read More
Posted on: 15 November 2017, 12:46 am
Phrase Express is a Windows automation program that lets you assign words or phrases to a macro which you can then insert into any document or web site by selecting from a menu or pressing a hotkey.
The program is commercial, but there's also a freeware version for non-commercial home use. The download file is around 17 MB and is malware-free according to VirusTotal.
One useful feature of the program is that it maintains a cache of your clipboard entries and adds them to a special menu in order that you can retype any of them again with a single keypress. So if you copy some text to your clipboard and then copy something else instead, both entries will be preserved on the Clipboard Cache menu.
Phrase Express works in Windows 7, 8 and 10. I tested it in Windows 10 and found no issues at all.
Note that the download is the full commercial version. It will automatically downgrade itself to the freeware edition after the trial period is over, unless you pay for a licence code. Read More
Posted on: 14 November 2017, 12:40 am
I'm a fan of Essential PIM. If you've ever used Microsoft Outlook (notes, tasks, calendar and email) then think of Essential PIM as being what Outlook should have been. It's really powerful, easy to use, and makes it really easy to find your information. And unlike Outlook, Essential PIM includes a password manager and dozens of other things too.
The full program is commercial and costs around $40. But there's also a completely free version which gives you basic versions of notes, tasks, email, passwords, contacts and calendar. It's a great way to keep all your notes and information in one handy place (ie a single database file which you can easily back up for safety).
Last week, Essential PIM was updated to version 7.6 so if you're using an older version you should update. If you haven't yet tried the program, give it a go. I use it every day and I'm very impressed. Read More
Posted on: 13 November 2017, 3:37 am
It's easy to overlook mistakes especially when you're reading or editing your own writing, and it certainly helps a lot if you can get a second pair of eyes to proofread your work.
This second pair of eyes can be any grammar checkers and one of the noteworthy is Grammarly. It is built by linguists and language lovers and works as a platform for enhancing writing in the English language.
The platform not only scans your text for spelling errors, but also grammatical mistakes, subject-verb agreements, punctuation corrections, modifier placements, vocabulary enhancements and more.
For a quick try, I paste this sentence “Its clear that a zebra can’t change it’s strips.” into Grammarly. It then highlights three possible mistakes in the sentence and identifies a correctly spelled word used in the wrong context.
Grammarly is available as a native app for Windows and Mac OS, an extension to Microsoft Office and all major browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari. It also serves as a keyboard app on Android and iOS for the same purpose. Read More
Posted on: 10 November 2017, 4:30 am
The ringtone that ships with Apple's new iPhone X is a nice variation of the marimba ringtone used in previous iPhones. If you'd like to get it on your Android phone or an older iPhone, here's how.
There are two steps involved in the process, downloading the ringtone and transferring it to your Android or iPhone. Lifehacker has uploaded the ringtone in M4R format so you can easily download it.
Grab the file here: Reflection.m4r (download will start automatically)
If you're using an Android phone, download the file to your phone or Windows computer. If you download the file to a Windows machine, use a USB cable or other method to transfer the file to the Ringtones folder on your phone. Android should offer to convert the file so it can be played on your phone - let it convert the file to use it. After that it will show up in your Ringtone folder with all the other ringtones on your device.
If you're on an older iPhone, you'll need to use iTunes to use the ringtone. Full directions for getting the ringtone iPhones using a Mac or Windows computer are in this Lifehacker article.
Either way it's a short process and you'll have a new ringtone to add to your collection. Read More
Posted on: 9 November 2017, 5:25 am
I've been tidying up my hard disk recently, as space was getting a little short. I have an SSD drive rather than traditional "spinning rust", and I was down to around 80 GB free. I could of course just buy another drive, or a bigger one, to gain more space. But that would mean re-thinking my backup regime too, in order to ensure that I'd have enough capacity elsewhere to back up all the new stuff.
So it was time for the annual housekeeping session, looking for things I haven't used in ages and which are safe to delete. Installation zip files for printer drivers that are out of date, for example. Or programs that I never use any more, and which can be uninstalled.
If you're short of disk space, there might be other reasons, apart from unused programs and long-forgotten files. Windows often keeps copies of the updates it downloads. And some software packages which have an auto-update feature do the same, as do certain antivirus products. So it can sometimes be difficult to work out where all your disk space has gone.
That's why I like a program called WizTree, which is free (donations accepted but not compulsory). It's a small download of around 3 MB and is portable too. It shows you all the folders on your computer, arranged in size order. You can then drill down into each subfolder in order to see what's taking up the space.
And then you can make a sensible decision about whether you can free up that space. You'll probably want to turn off the weird "tree map" when you start the program (that's those coloured blocks at the bottom of the display). Press F9 to do that. Then start exploring the innermost reaches of your PC to look for things you can delete.
WizTree's site is reputable according to Web of Trust, and the installer is malware-free according to VirusTotal. Read More
Posted on: 8 November 2017, 1:31 am
I sometimes include details in this column of special offers run by Digiarty software, the makers of programs for backing up DVD movies and making them playable on portable devices. The offer normally comprises a free giveaway of their product, which is valid forever but which doesn't include any updates.
Because these offers are always popular with readers of Gizmo's, I thought I'd approach the company to see if they'd give me some full licence codes for a prize draw, which include lifetime updates. And they said yes.
So, I now have 5 licence codes for WinX DVD Copy Pro. A full lifetime licence, with updates, normally costs $67.95 although there's currently a halloween offer running which means you could get it for $47.95. But if you enter my prize draw you could win one for nothing. And this is a complete lifetime licence, rather than the ones we sometimes offer that don't include updates. You won't find it listed on their web site either, as it's just for Gizmo's readers.
If you want one of the licence codes, drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your favourite movie. I'll draw the winners in a week's time, and send you your licence code.
Note that I'll need to send details of the 5 winners' email addresses to Digiarty for their records, but all other emails to me will be deleted after the draw and won't be sent anywhere else.
To find out more about the product, see https://www.winxdvd.com/dvd-copy-pro/ from where you can also download a free trial. The file is 17 MB and is malware-free according to VirusTotal. Read More
Posted on: 6 November 2017, 1:53 am
Finds of the Week is a list of websites I've come across lately that are interesting, fun, or useful (or all three). I hope you enjoy them. -Rhiannon
- 7 Awesome Google Chrome Tricks to Boost Your Productivity
- How To Block Bitcoin Mining In Your Browser
- 5 Ways To Install Windows 10
- 12 Free Browser Match-3 Games to Enjoy on Your Next Break
Posted on: 3 November 2017, 4:55 am
Converting text to an image file on your PC is easy. Every photo editing program lets you add text to an image, in the font, size and colour of your choice.
But what about trying to do it the other way round? What if you have some text, which is in the form of a scanned image file, and you want that text in an editable form?
Text in an image is no longer text. It's just a collection of pixels that could just as easily be an elephant as a paragraph of prose. So in order to turn a scanned page back into text, we need to use something called OCR or Optical Character Recognition.
If you need to OCR an image and you don't have any suitable software at hand, check out OnLineOCR which is a free online service. Upload your image file (maximum size 15 MB), and it'll convert it for you. You can then download the text and edit it with whatever program you like.
There's even a free email service (details are on the site), so you can email the image file to the site and they'll email you the text right back. Read More
Posted on: 2 November 2017, 4:34 am
Until now, Google has allowed anyone to change the country domain in its search results. If you wanted to search for something in another country, you could easily the change the country domain to search Google in any country. If you wanted to look something up in the United Kingdom, you'd change the domain to google.co.uk. If you were searching for something in Japan, you would just type in google.co.jp.
Changing country domains is useful if you are traveling or you live or work abroad or if you're looking for something in another country, such as a map, news, or product.
Google will start returning search results based on your automatically detected location. This could cause some issues if you use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) that routes traffic through various countries or for mobile devices if you travel or own a phone from another country. The new changes apply across the mobile web, the Google app for iOS, and desktop Search and Maps.
Luckily, you can still manually change to a country domain using the Settings on the Google Search page. Here's how: Read More
Posted on: 1 November 2017, 1:57 am
I'm a Windows user. I've used it since the very beginning, when version 1.0 was released. I was working at Epson at the time, at their R&D centre outside London, where we were developing a competing product called Taxi. As you have probably worked out by now, Taxi didn't fare quite as well as Windows.
I sometimes use Linux nowadays. Normally for servers, where a GUI isn't required. I've tried to use it as a desktop environment before, too, but I simply didn't feel comfortable with it. I could never find a distribution where the colours were similar to Windows, or the buttons for closing a window were on the correct side, and so on.
I recently discovered a Linux distribution called Q4OS. It's based on a mainstream (and well supported) version called Debian. Most importantly, this very old Windows user feels quite at home. It's very easy to install on a virtual machine or an old PC, and you get a complete desktop environment, browser and office suite from the start. And of course, being Linux, everything is free.
If you feel like a change, or you have an old PC for which you're still seeking a purpose, check out Q4OS. The download is around 600 MB although it will also install another 600 MB or so if you choose the full browser and office suite experience. Read More
Posted on: 31 October 2017, 4:49 am
Do you use Microsoft Office 2016 at home or at work? If so, here are some great reference cards to keep by your desk, to help you with all of the most common functions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Outlook.
The cards are in the form of a 4 MB PDF file to download and print. They'll be OK on A4/Letter paper, but even better if you have access to a larger format printer such as A3. Or you can read them on screen, of course.
To get the PDF file, head to the website. The file is virus-free according to VirusTotal, and the site is reputable according to Web of Trust.
As is common with "free" offers you will have to give your email address and other details but hey, that's what disposable email addresses are for. Read More
Posted on: 29 October 2017, 1:07 am
When you think "project management", you probably think of a few hundred engineers building a bridge, or a large financial company preparing to move its offices across the world.
But in reality, projects can be much smaller and yet still need managing. Maybe you have 6 people coming round for dinner next week. Or perhaps you are arranging a family holiday, or a planning meeting at work.
Whatever the scale of the project, it's good to have somewhere to keep notes of what needs to be done, what's been done, and what still needs doing. And for a system that's really simple to use, you'll find it hard to beat Meistertask.
Meistertask projects consist of columns. You can choose how many columns, and you can title them as you wish. For example, if you're planning an event you'll probably start with a list of things that need doing. As you start each thing, slide its entry in to the "in progress" column and add notes about who's doing it. When the thing is done, slide it into the "done" column.
If you're in sales and you use something called a sales funnel, the system also works well as one of those.
Meistertask is web-based so there's nothing to download or install. And a basic account, which is perfectly adequate for most users, is free. Plus it offers unlimited tasks/projects, and you can also invite unlimited people to collaborate. Read More
Posted on: 9 October 2017, 2:35 am
If you like creating and maintaining a library of free e-books, then here's a great way to add some to your collection. They're all from Microsoft, so the content is trustworthy and safe, although bear in mind that you're unlikely to find any books about Google or Apple in the collection! But if you're a Microsoft developer, or you use Microsoft Office, then there are dozens of interesting titles. All of which are available in PDF format and a couple of others too (mobi and epub).
I counted 360 different book titles here, so you could read one a day for an entire year (you deserve a break at Christmas!) Read More
Author: Social Learning Network
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