Better visualize your projects and ideas

PersonalBrain is a full-featured mind-mapping program, designed to create a "digital home for your mind" that can help you visually organize almost any sort of process or project as a dynamic, interconnected system of Thoughts (called a Brain). PersonalBrain gives you a fairly intuitive interface for collecting, organizing, viewing, and navigating ideas, tasks, Web sites, related documents, and more.

Whether you're building a complex Web site or conducting academic research, this app can help you build searchable networks of information with tools for taking notes, creating shortcuts (pins), zooming out to get a higher-level view of your … Read more

Tools and techniques for printing folder contents

There aren't many of us left who remember using PCs before Windows arrived. While I don't pine for the good old days of DOS, I was comfortable operating those old machines from the command line.

Back then, I frequently had to print a list of the files in a folder. Doing so was as easy as copying the list to a text file that I opened in my text editor and printed from there. This trick still works via the command prompt built into Windows.

Instructions for using commands to print the contents of a folder--including various command … Read more

Disk cataloging tool

WinCatalog Light is a free disk cataloging tool that scans and catalogs your system's disks or files. You can use the listings it creates to quickly find specific files in your disk collection without having to insert a bunch of removable disks and search them one by one. It also extracts file descriptions and automatically fetches MP3 song names online. It can scan any storage device that Windows can access.

WinCatalog Light's interface is a slightly smaller version of the familiar Windows app style: File menu, icon-based toolbar, left-hand navigation panel, and main window. With a pretty good … Read more

Find that file easily

EasyFind is a useful freeware search tool that can be a substitute for--or, more likely, supplement to--Spotlight in the Mac OS.

Spotlight has made great strides in recent years, but its lack of speed and specificity can still leave some users frustrated--especially older Mac users who miss pre-Spotlight standalone search apps like Sherlock. EasyFind is a more blunt search tool, and unlike Spotlight, it doesn't index your hard drive. That means it searches your entire hard drive (or whatever location you specify) from scratch every time you enter a query, and it lets you set quite a few parameters … Read more

Rename it all

Hulubulu's Advanced Renamer is a free batch file renaming tool that offers advanced features like thumbnails, image previews, batch undos, support for hi-fi audio codecs like FLAC and AAC, and multiple renaming methods, including the ability to customize and update the tool with new or different method lists.

Advanced Renamer's up-to-date interface features tabs, resizable panels, and an easily customized, spreadsheetlike main list view displaying selected files and actions. This program offers choices within choices, with plenty of default options yet many customizable features, too. Selecting the Thumbnails button toggles the display into thumbnail mode, which we feel … Read more

Font name changer

Free Font Renamer is freeware that renames font files, just like the name says, only automatically. Why would you want or need to do that? Because what it does is rename the font file with the full name of the font, so instead of MLON_I.TTF, you get Milion Italic.ttf. The name tells you which font it is right off the bat. If you've ever tried to find a certain font file outside of the system's font properties and controls, you will appreciate immediately how this tool can help. It's optimized for Vista and Windows XP; … Read more

Carbon copies

Syncing folders can be a very useful activity, whether you're backing up important documents or keeping what's on a portable device, like a USB drive, synced up with what's on your computer. Carbon Folder is a simple utility that makes regularly syncing folders a piece of cake.

The program's interface is plain and extremely easy to navigate, as the whole thing is really just a wizard that walks you through the syncing process. Users choose the two folders they want to sync and then select whether they want to sync in both directions, or just from … Read more

How-To: Migrating to a new user account in OS X

Sometimes when troubleshooting problems with a user account, the easiest solution is to create a new account and migrate your data over to it, instead of finding the roots of the problem (of which there might be many) and fixing them. The problem with migrating to a new account is OS X by default is set up to prevent access to documents in other accounts, so when you go to your previous home folder, you are blocked from viewing the files.

Additionally, while you can change the permissions for files and copy them to your new account, there may be … Read more

Exclusive: Stuffit 2011 for Mac

These days, most file compression activities are baked into your operating system, but there are still plenty of reasons to get a specialized compression utility. With StuffIt 2011 for Mac--exclusive to CNET Downloads today--you can create customized "Destinations" that let you drag and drop files or folders for automated compression and sending. Want to compress to ZIP format and upload via FTP, for example? With a quick setup, you can create your custom destination beforehand with your preferred compression algorithm, and you'll never have to worry about flipping through menus for this destination again. To top … Read more

Simple but functional

Frequent use of your PC often results in duplicate and misplaced files. Thankfully, there are programs out there that offer a side-by-side view so you can manage the contents of your folders. Compare Folders (Java) is just such a program, and even goes a step further by generating checksum files for unavailable files.

Compare Folders (Java)'s user interface is pretty plain, but it serves the purpose of the program. A drop-down menu at the top of the window gives you the options to compare folders, create a checksum, find duplicates, and update a checksum file. Another drop-down menu lets … Read more