You really can get something for nothing, well almost nothing… Freeware and shareware is without doubt one of the most valuable resources available to PC users with tens of thousands of programs and utilities, many absolutely free or available for a fraction of the cost of commercial software. Following on from last week’s introduction to freeware and shareware we present the Boot Camp Top Ten, a collection of essential programs that can make your PC quicker, more efficient and enjoyable to use. I

We have tried these programs and they all worked on our PCs but please note that you use them entirely at your own risk; we can accept no responsibility if something goes wrong, nor can we provide any support or information other than what you see here. If you like what you find, and intend to go on using any of them please remember to register or pay the licence fee. By the way, if you have a favourite shareware or freeware program please let us know.


ACDsee Classic, 30-day trial shareware, 1.48Mb, Windows 95/98/NT (Mac version also available),

ACDsee is a powerful image file viewer, it can display almost 30 different file types including the contents of your Internet cache (C:/Windows/Temporary Internet Files), and you’ll be amazed what’s lurking in there... It’s very well presented, easy to use with familiar Windows directory tree conventions, there’s a thumbnail viewer and some useful tools, including a file format converter.


AVG AntiVirus, freeware, 4.84Mb, Windows 95/98,

One of our regular readers brought AVG AntiVirus to our attention -- thanks to Vivian Dunn -- and we have to say it’s one of the best virus scanner programs we’ve seen recently. Not only is it free, so too are the regular updates that are needed to keep your PC safe and free of destructive nasties and irritating hoaxes.


iTweakU Limited Edition, shareware, 952kB, Windows 95/95,

iTweakU lets you change over 150 Windows settings, governing how it looks and works, without you having to set foot near the Registry. It’s a worthy rival to our old friend Tweak UI and even though this version has some functions disabled (full functionality when you pay the licence fee), it is an extremely powerful tool.


LogTime 6.0, freeware, 428kB, Windows 95/98,

Using the Internet has become a lot cheaper but for a lot of people, especially those sharing a phone, it’s important to keep track of the time users spend on-line. LogTime is a simple phone line monitor that automatically keeps track of call times and duration, you can also program it to display the cost of each call, and keep a running total.


Performance, 30-day trial shareware, 1.04Mb, Windows 95/98,

Have you ever wondered what’s going on behind the scenes when you are using your PC? Performance shows you, listing all running applications and the amount of resources they are using, identifying the programs that are slowing down your PC and it includes a set of ‘meters’ revealing what the CPU is up to.


POP 2.1, freeware, 320kB, Windows 95/98,

While away a few idle minutes pitting your wits against your computer or an on-line opponent with this compelling and deceptively simple little game. The object is to spell the word POP, by clicking Ps into a grid, it sounds easy but…


Poster-Printery, 30-day trial shareware, 430kB, Windows 95/98,

Organising an event? Create your own giant posters using any standard PC printer. Poster-Printery automatically divides a colour or black and white image across as many sheets of A4 paper as you require, all you have to do is join them together.


Pretty Good Privacy International, freeware, 8.1Mb, Windows 95/98,

PGP is still one of the best and most powerful encryption programs. It can be used to send sensitive or private information over the Internet, or prevent others from reading files stored on your PC. It’s virtually uncrackable, in fact it’s so secure that the US Government once classified it as a ‘munition’ and tried to prevent its distribution.


WinAmp 2.64, freeware, 2.1Mb, Windows 95/98,

The Internet is awash with music, and controversy. If you want to find out what all the fuss surrounding MP3 is all about you’ll need a ‘player’ and WinAmp is generally reckoned to be one of the best. Download and play MP3 files, create your own play lists, you can even customise its appearance with a set of interchangeable ‘skins’.


X-Files/Area 51 Desktop Theme, shareware, 1.9Mb, Windows 95/98,

Customise your PC desktop with this collection of wallpaper, icons and sound files. If you’re not an X-Files fan there’s plenty of other desktop themes at, including the Vicar of Dibley, The Good Life and The Prisoner plus dozens of other TV and movie-related decorations.

Next week – Paranoia!




Central Processor Unit – the main microprocessor chip in your PC


Encryption or scrambling renders files unreadable by any conventional means without the correct decryption software and a unique 'key' code, which is needed to unlock the data.


A data compression system implemented by the Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG) that allows sound files to be reduced in size, with only a relatively modest impact on quality, so they can be more easily transported around the Internet

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Boot Camp Index















Top Tips Index

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Internet & Email

Microsoft Word

Folders & Files

Desktop Mouse & Keyboard

Crash Bang Wallop!

Privacy & Security

Imaging Scanning & Printing

Power, Safety & Comfort

Tools & Utilities

Sound Advice

Display & screen

Fun & Games

Windows 95/98/SE/ME






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