No-frills downloads: User faves

We asked for your software picks for Windows, Mac, and mobile that perform a single task simply and well. Hold the frills. Check out five more apps that tell it like it is.

True to form, Launchy opens with a quick hot key combo. (Credit: CNET Networks)

Last week I shouted out seven CNET staff favorites for small, straightforward software for Windows, Mac, and mobile that perform a single task simply and well. Here are five more fresh picks, suggested by you.

Of course, we had to pass some entries by. CCleaner, for example, is fine software, but it's also feature-rich, with additional tools like an uninstaller, cookies remover, and advanced settings. Hardly the one-trick pony we want to celebrate in this collection. Luckily, this next batch makes up for the loss. On with the show!

Like Quicksilver for Mac, Launchy is a quick app-launcher that comes to your aid--no more unnecessary clicks on the Windows "Start" button for you. Open Launchy with a simple hot key combo (Alt + space bar is the default). Type the first few letters, and little Launchy suggests the app you could be looking for. Idle for a few seconds and a drop-down list of alternative suggestions shows its face.

Ah, Minoan names arrive at your fingertips in seconds with faithful NameMage. (Credit: CNET Networks)

Need to find 10 monikers in Wookiee in a hurry? Who doesn't?! Taking up only 8KB of disk space and offering two main program options, one to run the program and one to exit, NameMage delivers a simple, brutally effective download that lives up to its lone promise of offering names in 25 "languages" ranging from Celtic to Orc. The "copy" option helps transfer complex names like Centacatechutecuhtil (Mesoamerican) to your Web site or game log-in without dropping letters.

This isn't the exact program our dear user suggested, but it could be better. The highly rated freebie offers just enough user options to let you pick a "shredding" algorithm and decide whether you want a receipt when the decimation is through, but the customization choices pretty much stop there. If you're unconcerned about retrieving files once they've been slashed, that's no bad thing.

Free Ram Optimizer XP
Slider bars are sensible ways to set how much RAM you want freed. Now why can\'t the program window sensibly disappear when you click off screen? (Credit: CNET Networks)

Free Ram Optimizer XP
In terms of pure ease of use, Free RAM Optimizer XP edges out the equally free, equally lean RAMBooster simply because you don't need the help file to make sense of the settings. The essential controls are listed in the main window, in the form of three tabs you slide to reach the desired value. There's one blank field, one check box, and a single drop-down menu. A few more Start Up options live on the second tab, and the third contains a link to the product Web site. Now if only the window weren't always displayed on top and you could abort your mission midoptimization, Free RAM Optimizer XP would easily have the competition beat.

Yet another utility (why do all the good small apps fall into this category?), 7-Zip is a freeware archiving app with an extremely simple layout and intuitive use. Although it's not as feature-lean as some programs in the two-part collection, it made this list because of its unequivocal usability and the ease with which users can open a wide variety of zipped file formats without requiring settings changes or any additional hullabaloo. In the archiving world, hassle-free goes a long way.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.