Your Windows PC knows a lot about how it's set up. Computer Profiler forces your PC to share that info with you.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


Stop paying for software:
32 free programs in Karen's Power Tools

Feb. 21, 2010

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2010, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2010, The Post-Standard

   The best way to save money is to stop spending it. That's the idea behind my series on the best free software for Windows and Macs. This week I'm recommending the immensely useful Windows utilities called Karen's Power Tools.
   Karen Kenworthy has been giving programs away for almost a decade. If you've never tried one of her Power Tools, you've got a treat coming.
   Kenworthy was a contributor to Windows Magazine when I started reading her columns. Although both Windows Magazine and its successor, Winmag.com, have retired from the publishing scene, Kenworthy is still writing and still creating useful utilities. You can read more about her and subscribe to her newsletter by going to her Web site, www.karenware.com.
   What originally drew me to Kenworthy's programs wasn't her programming style -- I wasn't savvy enough then to judge it anyway -- but her willingness to expose the way her programs worked. She also had then, and still has now, an abiding interest in making sure her software aways works properly even when Microsoft changes the way Windows itself works. This means she's constantly updating her utilities -- even ones she wrote many years ago.
   She has 32 Windows utilities for download, all of them free. She's even put them all on a CD along with copies of all her newsletters and a couple of bonus programs if you don't like to download stuff like this. The CD costs $29.95.
   I can't list all her Power Tools in one column, so you'll have to log onto her site for her complete list (along with her excellent descriptions of each utility), but I can tell you about my favorites.
   -- Replicator. It's an easy-to-use utility for copying and backing up files.
   -- One-A-Day II. It does something I think is cool, performing your choice of tasks the first time Windows starts on any day.
   -- Directory Printer, which solves the problem of how to get Windows to print the names and other information of all the folders and files in any location on your PC.
   -- Alarm Clock, which, according to Kenworthy, "turns your $2,000 computer into a $20 alarm clock." It's actually a great way to have your PC alert you to any scheduled task.
   -- Computer Profiler. Your Windows PC knows a lot about how it's set up. This utility forces your PC to share that info with you.
   -- Window Watcher, a simple utility I use a lot. It shows all the hidden programs running on your PC.
   -- Show Stopper. If you're tired of clicking "Start" in order to stop your computer -- that's a bone-headed feature for sure -- you'll find Show Stopper ideal. It lets you shut down, power off, reboot, log off, suspend or hibernate by double clicking a desktop shortcut.
   Next week: Free Internet helpers for Windows and Macs.