The Download Blog

Featured Freeware: Avast

If you're into freeware antivirus and antimalware apps, chances are you're running either AVG Free, Avira Antivir, or Avast. Avast Home Edition guards your PC and the network with multiple shields that scan executables and files. You can select parameters for scanning, and even choose wildcards to exclude specific file types. You can adjust the sensitivity level for the program's detectors when it comes to scanning downloaded files, instant messages, e-mails, and a host of P2Ps. Its efficient interface opens up window after window to tweak its settings to your liking, for novice to advanced-level protection.

Though … Read more

Yahoo Go 3.0 beta a go for Windows phones

Windows Mobile users now have a green light to try Yahoo Go (video review) on their Windows Mobile phones.

The third version of Yahoo's all-in-one content application for smartphones debuted in January in beta form, and with it came tricks for greater customization. Users can add a variety of widgets to the carousel and quick links to the start page, and otherwise personalize the source of mobile content. The full list of supported Windows Mobile phones can be found here.

First Look: WindowBlinds desktop themes

A few months ago, I shared a great-looking combo of themes that give Windows XP and Firefox a dark, unified look. WindowBlinds is an app that achieves the same end, but brings a large gallery of theme options to you. Dress your desktop up or down with default selections or choose specially-formatted third-party themes that download straight into WindowBlinds. Either way, the sharp visuals and full-featured, easy-to-use configuration manager make this application a recommended choice for anyone interested in pimping out their desktop. Aww, yeah.

Featured Freeware: ManyCam

ManyCam is the freeware tool users who need their Webcam for more than one chat program simultaneously. It creates a "virtual" Webcam that replicates your currently installed camera. It then lets multiple applications access the video stream without conflict.

ManyCam is compatible with Yahoo, MSN, CamFrog, PalTalk, ICQ, Skype, YouTube, and more. Once you've installed it, you need to set ManyCam as the primary input for program that you want to use. It'll automatically start when activate your Webcam through that program. The application includes a bunch of gimmicky features that let you change aspects of … Read more

CNET Top 5: Worst downloads of 2008 (so far)

2008 is nearly halfway over, which means that poor CNET senior content manager Peter Butler has reached deeply into the trash heap to pluck out, shake off, and crown with glory the most useless downloads published this year. He's handed the best of the worst over to CNET Executive Editor Tom Merritt for show and tell. Hey, even truly horrendous software deserves its moment of shame fame.

OpenOffice 3 beta: More compatibility, new features

Sun Microsystems has released the first beta for 3 for Windows and Mac. The new version of OpenOffice, which is a popular open-source competitor to Microsoft Office, looks to offer users improvements on every component from interface to features to behavior.

OpenOffice now natively supports OS X, so Mac users won't have to install the X11 module before running the suite. Full Vista support is also included in the beta, and didn't cause any problems during light testing. Notably, OpenOffice 3 includes filters for the new Microsoft Office document formats such as DOCX and XLSX as … Read more

Featured Freeware: LogMeIn Free

The name might be LogMeIn, but the motto should be SignMeUp.

The fact that it's free to use for multiple remote PCs, with reasonable monthly plans if you need more--five computers for $20 per month or $200 per year--makes this remote-access program instantly appealing. The program differs from its competitors in that the application runs in your Web browser. If you're running Firefox, it asks to install a plug-in, then opens an emulator of the remote PC in a new window.

The control window gives you some standard options such as Ctrl-Alt-Del (which kills the connection) and changing … Read more

Tab your Windows Taskbar

Tabbed browsing is one of those software features that didn't seem like a big deal at its inception, but later went on to become more popular than sliced bread. It's simply must-have functionality for any respectable Web browser. Who among us hasn't had 40 different Web sites open in one browser window...and loved it?

Fans of Mozilla Firefox and Opera might claim that their favorite browser invented tabs. However, according to most accounts, tabbed interfaces have been around since the 1980s and in browsers for at least 10 years. Arguments will persist as to the first … Read more

Spyware Horror Story: Stowaway pirate

Submitted by Peter; Cordoba, Argentina

I'm a writer, currently living in Argentina. My native (and working) language is English. Obviously, word processing software is a vital tool for me. I bought my last computer, a beefed-up HP 2200, in Cordoba, Argentina. Unfortunately, I had to accept the Windows XP Pro OS, in Spanish, that the vendors supplied it with. I specified that MS Office should be included and it was; alas, in Spanish. When I contacted the MS people in Redmond, Wash., about a download in English--there are complicated restrictions about getting CDs through the local customs--I was informed … Read more

Microsoft resumes XP, Vista updates

Microsoft on Tuesday said it is resuming two major Windows updates that had been halted because of a conflict with one of its own software products.

A week ago, Microsoft delayed the release of Windows XP Service Pack 3 because of a problem that could lead to data loss when running the XP update in conjunction with its Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System program. It also halted automatic updates to Windows Vista Service Pack 1 because of a similar issue.

The software maker on Tuesday said it is releasing XP Service Pack 3 for Web downloads, and resuming automatic updates … Read more