informa
/
3 min read
article

Langa Letter: 10 Great, Free Tools

Fred Langa evaluates 10 valuable, commercial-quality software tools that are available just for the asking. It's not the same old freeware.
Eudora and its mailbox files are extremely portable: You can simply lift the Eudora folder and drop it onto another PC, and pick up from where you left off, making Eudora great for people who mail from more than one machine or more than one location. The mailbox files also are very easy to manipulate--they're actually just giant text files. For example, I've written a series of scripts and small programs that parse some Eudora mailboxes to extract specific information I'm looking for. Because the mailbox files are plain text, it's a snap. (I'd hate to try to parse a .dbx file ...)

Also, very much unlike Outlook Express and Outlook, when you delete something from Eudora and then empty its own trash can, the stuff is truly gone: There are no ghost entries lurking in the mailbox files that can be scanned and discovered later. Thus, Eudora is better at protecting your privacy.

I've never found any E-mail client with better automation tools for filtering, sorting, and auto-replying to mail. The more mail you have to deal with, the more you'll like Eudora.

CleanUp/CleanAll
OK, groan if you wish, but I use these files literally every day, and not just because they're my own product. Available for free from http://www.langa.com/cleanup_bat.htm , CleanUp/CleanAll is actually a series of six free batch files that can scrub your hard drive clean of many junk files, freeing up (typically) anywhere from tens to thousands of megabytes of otherwise-wasted disk space. You can pick any or all of the files; all versions of Windows are supported.

Many users report better results from these free cleanup files than from $40 commercial clean-up software. But the catch is that you have to use the detailed instructions provided with the batch files to ensure that they'll work properly on your specific setup. But if you take the time to read the instructions and adjust the files, you'll end up with a custom tool that can clean as deep or shallow as you wish, removing whatever you want to get rid of--temp files, cookies, history files, whatever.

I use the XP version of the cleanup tool several times a day, and again as part of an automated maintenance routine that runs on my PC every night. It helps to reduce clutter; keeps my daily backups smaller; and makes for more efficient defragmentation.

Your turn! As promised earlier, here's where you come in. Please tell us what your favorite free tools are; why you like them; and where to get them. With our pooled knowledge, we should soon have an awesome list of great, proven, known-good freeware tools--and we'll all probably learn of great new software we otherwise wouldn't have known about. Join in!

Editor's Choice
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Richard Pallardy, Freelance Writer
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Carlo Massimo, Contributing Writer
Salvatore Salamone, Managing Editor, Network Computing