The Download Blog

Featured Freeware: SyncBack

SyncBack is a straightforward backup utility that makes it a snap to safeguard and synchronize your files. Surprisingly flexible for a free program, SyncBack can save your files anywhere: on external hard drives, in ZIP archives, write them on CDs (using UDF), or transfer them via FTP. Recovering from a drive loss is also cinch, with a convenient restore tool that replicates folder trees along with the files in them.

It lets you define multiple scheduled backup jobs so you can just set 'em and forget 'em, too, allowing users to create specific backup jobs for certain folders or file … Read more

Featured Freeware: Revo Uninstaller

Where the built-in and sluggish Windows Add or Remove Programs option fails, freeware Revo Uninstaller picks up the slack. Revo is robust and fully loaded, making even the most insidious Registry-altering program breathtakingly simple to eradicate.

Four levels of removal balance against your comfort level mucking about in the Registry, but Revo does all the hard work, ferreting out Registry keys and letting you opt out of deleting them. The main view can be adjusted, and the context menu offers up a list of choices, from fundamentals like Uninstall and Remove from list, to Search Google, Show the installation directory, … Read more

Featured Freeware: KeyboardLink

KeyboardLink is a great little tool for turning your standard Windows keyboard into both a program launcher and a program controller. The app is open source and uses a scant 3MB of RAM. Getting started requires configuring the activation keys, called the master keys, in the program's General features tab. People can set one or two master keys, an important feature that prevents you from accidentally launching a program. Basic capabilities, such as running the app when Windows starts, also live in the General tab.

Other tabs allow customization of your media player and major software programs such as … Read more

Power Downloader boosts Vista's Start menu

Power Downloader spends a lot of his time looking at ways to improve Windows Vista. He still doesn't use it for his primary computer, but there are some cases where it's clearly better than Windows XP. One of them, however, is not the Start menu, which barely improves on XP's five-year-old design. That's why he recommends Vista Start Menu for users who want to put a bit more zing into their Vista experience.

Vista Start Menu does away with the translucent aero theme, making it opaque, and builds it out with several levels of features and … Read more

Yahoo gets more social with new Messenger 9 beta

You can't take it with you, at least when it comes to your social graph.

But with a new beta version of Yahoo Messenger 9 software (download it for Windows) released Thursday, users have new options for reconstructing networks of friends and contacts they've built elsewhere.

The new beta of Yahoo Messenger 9 can help user invite contacts on AOL, Google's Gmail and Orkut, Microsoft's Hotmail, MySpace, and other online services to connect through the Yahoo service. Version 9 also includes a special group of all people in your Yahoo address book, helping to connect with … Read more

Cellity hands out e-mail, free SMS, and cheap calls abroad

Cellity Communicator (download) is an e-mail, SMS, and calling client and service for Java cell phones that's better than it looks. That may not sound terribly heartening, but it's no derisive knock. Designing an app that crams phone calls, conference calls, various tiers of texting, and e-mail into a mobile application and still manages to look simple is quite an achievement.

It is arguably overly so. Compared with other mobile communication applications, like EQO and Fring, Cellity Communicator reveals a rather dressed-down interface that requires a few too many clicks to get contacts added and messages started. To … Read more

Fring's iPhone and iPod chat app nets two for the price of one

Good things happen to software publishers that listen to their users.

Fring, an aggressively growing company that builds a chat and cheap calling application for Symbian, iPhone, and Windows Mobile platforms, heeded a swell of feedback from iPod Touch users who had been using the pre-release iPhone version for jailbroken iPhones on the voiceless iPod Touch (review). On Friday, Fring announced a new pre-release version for the iPhone that also fixes a bug found when using the application on the iPod Touch.

Both sides were pleased that the initial experiment had worked, Fring reports, but not quite satisfied with the … Read more

Firefox add-on shows all the files downloaded by the current page

These days you can't be too careful about what you download. A new Firefox add-on from Florian Queze called View Dependencies takes some of the guesswork out of knowing the content of a Web page, and the source of that content.

After you download the free add-on and restart Firefox, you'll see a Dependencies tab when you click Tools > Page Info to view information about the page that's currently open. The tab lists the files on the page, their URL, and their size. (Note that on at least one page I tested the file size was … Read more

Featured Freeware: What's Running

Ever wonder if your PC is keeping secrets from you? Wonder no more. The utility What's Running reveals all your system's active processes, services, drivers, and connections.

It's like Windows Task Manager, except far more informative. The cramped multipane interface is a bit hard to read, but even it has its good points: it lists processes in a parent-child hierarchy, not a bad way to accidentally spot malware. It also lets you choose which columns of information to display, and it makes stopping or prioritizing processes as simple as a mouse click--a right-click, to be precise. It … Read more