The Download Blog

Expand your desktop by 360 degrees

In general, I'm not much of a fan of desktop-enhancement software. I like programs such as TweakUI that let me change the aspects of Windows that are extremely annoying to me, but I generally ignore desktop components such as wallpaper, themes, sounds, and all that jazz.

Despite my reservations about "needless" desktop enhancements, however, a new public beta for the software 360desktop intrigued me with its promises of "unlimited desktop space" and the ability to save any part of the Web directly to my desktop. After creating a System Restore point in case my Windows … Read more

Featured Freeware: ThunderBrowse

ThunderBrowse remains one of the best plug-ins for Mozilla Thunderbird. It's a favorite of mine, but if you haven't tried it recently there are some excellent new features worth noting.

If you've never used it before, ThunderBrowse lets you open Web links in Thunderbird's preview pane. It's that simple, which is why it's such an useful tool to have. From social networking friend invites to quickly scanning that hometown article sent by Your Dear Ma, ThunderBrowse cuts out huge chunks of time from your work flow by speedily opening HTML pages in its own … Read more

Password helper PassPack goes offline (in a good way)

PassPack is a password-saving service I first checked out back in January of last year. This past week it released a really cool and smart password-saving tool that exists separately from your browser and lets you manage your passwords while offline. It also syncs up with PassPack's cloud storage to let you access your shared passwords, then sync them to multiple, authorized computers.

The application's claim to fame is that you can access your passwords while offline and without the use of your browser. If you don't feel like installing a new, standalone app, you can get … Read more

Featured Freeware: Winamp

Good, then bad, and now good again, Winamp has had a bit of a roller coaster life. The last few updates, starting about version 5.3, took some long-needed steps to improve the old-school media player, with support for AAC encoding, CD burning, and a robust file-management system. The latest, 5.51, ups the ante with strong support for portable devices, including iPods, the capability to sync non-DRMed files to your PC from your device, an optional new interface layout, and a built-in browser for media discovery.

Clicking on an artist's name will get you related headlines and Web … Read more

Featured Freeware: TaskSwitchXP Pro

This simple utility enhances Windows' ALT-Tab functionality by displaying screenshots of open windows along with their icons. TaskSwitchXP Pro's familiar Windows XP-style interface is accessible from the system tray or by using the conventional ALT-Tab hot key. The icons are arranged in a vertical list on the right, while a snapshot of the selected window appears on the left.

TaskSwitchXP Pro is extremely handy, especially with multiple instances of a particular application. The graphic display makes it much easier to choose the right window. You'll find an assortment of settings for customizing the program's appearance, choosing and … Read more

Power Downloader accelerates OpenOffice

As you might imagine, Power Downloader is a big fan of open-source software, and of OpenOffice in particular. The free productivity suite gives users all the tools of Microsoft Office for free, with only minor features lacking support. Notably, OOo, as it's affectionately known, supports the OpenDocument movement's attempt to standardize file formats.

However, Power D knows that OpenOffice can be a slothful bear of a program. Running the Quickstarter can make firing up the app you need faster, but for busy software superheroes like Power D, that means having it load on start-up, which extends his computer'… Read more

Download Help Center

The following tips will help you overcome common download problems, find the files you want, and install them with confidence.

Is your download blocked? Alternate download sites Saving your download Corrupted and incomplete downloads Download managers, accelerators, and download speed Malware and viruses How to uninstall programs Pricing and costs Technical assistance Is your download blocked?

As a security precaution, some browsers disable automatic downloads. In most of these cases, a "security bar" may appear at the top of the browser window informing you a download has been blocked. To continue the download, click the security bar and … Read more

Featured Freeware: Evernote

Functional, useful, and always on, the note-taking application Evernote goes beyond mere cool program architecture and is also interesting. It's a true three-platform play: it works very well, and somewhat differently, on desktop computers, mobile phones, and over the Web. You can download it for Windows, Mac, and your mobile phone.

One of the cooler features is that when Evernote runs on your camera phone, it will automatically upload your snapshots to the Evernote server, creating a useful archive of them. The killer feature is that it also does OCR on your images so you can find them later … Read more

Featured Freeware: Xobni

Xobni integrates into your Outlook installation and shows you more about your e-mails than Outlook ever could. For each person who sends you e-mail, it shows you who else they communicate with a lot--their de facto social networks--and it finds their phone number from inside their e-mails. It also shows you all conversation threads you've participated in with the person, and all the attachments they've sent you. You can drill into message threads, and it has an admittedly redundant but snappy e-mail search engine built-in.

Unlike many Outlook add-ons, Xobni seems to add its functionality without dragging down … Read more

Find the right word with WordWeb

Are you ever at a loss for words? Whether you're writing an essay, a letter, a business proposal, or even a novel, there are inevitably times when the right word is just out of your mind's reach. In the old days, you might pick up a dictionary or thesaurus to find a specific word, but now most people know that resources on the Internet are only a couple of clicks away. There's one program I like to use, however, that's even easier than opening your Web browser.

WordWeb is a free program that lets you highlight … Read more