The Download Blog

Featured Freeware: Belarc Advisor

Belarc Advisor is one of those tools for Windows users that you didn't know you were missing until you started using it. It's hard to understate how important this program can be, as it provides a free analysis of your machine's security weak points.

By looking at elements such as whether antivirus software and definitions are up to date, or whether all the security flaws in Windows have been patched, Belarc works quickly to inform you of what you're missing and provide links to how you can fix it. It uses the Center for Internet Security (… Read more

Browsing in class on the Mac with OmniWeb

Back when Mac OS X was still in the beta stages and serious Mac geeks (myself included) couldn't wait to try out apps on the new system, OmniWeb was one of the first third-party browsers out of the gate. Using the power and elegance of Mac OS X, The Omni Group decided to try its hand at making a Web browser that fit right in with the design aesthetic of Apple's new operating system. For awhile, all the Mac editors at Download.com were running the demo-limited version of OmniWeb and couldn't get enough of the clean … Read more

Power Downloader's iconic removal

One of Power Downloader's pet personal computer peeves is the Safely Remove Hardware icon that pops up and nags him anytime he removes a device. External hard drive, thumb drive, a USB-powered fan--there's no escaping that pesky pop-up.

Except, of course, there is a solution. In fact, there are two easy solutions, says Power Downloader: One uses a small program, while the other involves tweaking the QuickLaunch bar's properties.

The tiny and free program called Icon Remover comes with two functions: a button to remove the Safely Remove Hardware icon, and a second button to restore it. … Read more

Make your PC boot faster with Startup Delayer

Tired of waiting an eternity for your computer to boot? Malware could be the culprit, so make sure to run anti-spyware software. But another cause of slow booting is all the software that's trying to run the moment Windows starts. Startup Delayer takes a clever approach to this by letting you delay selected programs.

For example, I need my anti-virus and desktop-search programs to run right away, but Adobe Reader Speed Launcher? iTunesHelper? LightScribe Control Panel? They can wait. Using Startup Delayer, I can configure programs like those to run at, say, 2-minute intervals, starting a full 15 minutes … Read more

Featured Freeware: MozBackup

As great as it is to have tools such as Firefox and Thunderbird, backing user profiles and all their moving parts can be a tedious process. MozBackup is a tiny program that makes saving and restoring all your bookmarks, extensions, and other personal settings a streamlined and stress-free experience. It's dead simple to use because it walks you through both the backup and restore features. So, for example, even if you've backed up everything but you only want to restore your bookmarks, you can do that easily.

The program works with Firefox, Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, and Netscape on Windows … Read more

Killer Download: Top Uninstallers

Every Windows user knows that removing a program is more complicated than just deleting it. During the installation process, several files are dropped into different areas of your system to make a program work. The Windows Add/Remove programs utility was meant to be the tool to use for getting the various parts of programs off your hard drive, but it doesn't always do a great job.

Fortunately, some savvy developers designed uninstall programs to do all the guesswork for you. These applications attempt to gather all the files associated with unwanted programs, so that you can get every … Read more

First Look: Facebook for BlackBerry

You won't be able to turn people into zombies with Facebook for BlackBerry (quick link), but you will be able to perform the essential Facebook maneuvers to keep up with your friends. Since launching in late October 2007, the wildly popular app has topped 1,000,000 downloads. With intuitive actions and a familiar look and feel that mimics the online site, it's easily a must-have BlackBerry app.

Be forewarned that the application doesn't scrimp on profile photos, so data transfers can sometimes limp along. Have patience. Also, since Facebook for BlackBerry's functionality is currently limited … Read more

Stop the Firefox session bloodletting

Here at CNET Download.com central, we love Tab Mix Plus. It's so close to perfect, but the one thing it lacks is a decent method for restoring lost multi-tab sessions. Crashes can often lead to important tabs being irrevocably lost. Lucky for us all there's the Session Manager plug-in, a stand-alone extension that, when used with Tab Mix Plus, bestows the power of resurrecting dead multi-tab sessions to all us hapless tab abusers.

The easiest way to run Session Manager with Tab Mix Plus is to disable TMP's session recovery. It can only save two sessions, … Read more

Spyware Horror Story: Toxic Wine

Submitted by Chris, U.S.A

I was--and still am--running UbuntuStudio 7.10. Now, even though this is Ubuntu, I can run Windows programs with Wine.

My friend's brother was playing on my computer and got into my e-mail. He opened up the Elvis e-mail, which contains a virus. I found out later that the virus got into Wine. Not too much later after the contamination, I started running Microsoft Office, when Ubuntu came up with an error. Firefox randomly crashed. Then Wine started running Notepad instead of the application I wanted.

I used Ubuntu's virus scanner and … Read more

Opera Mini preview for Google Android

While Google's mobile phone platform, Android, and its Open Handset Alliance have been on the brink of significantly changing the mobile landscape since mid-November 2007, little has come out of the young software developer kit with its still-developing community and code.

On Thursday, Opera Labs announced a technical preview release of the Norwegian company's popular Opera Mini mobile browser for the Android platform. Not only are developers encouraged to scoop up the just-released app, Opera is itching for programmers' feedback to help smooth over any rough edges for an upcoming beta release.

Opera's Chris Mills provides a … Read more