File Library

Often Recommended On The Cauldron

There are a number of freeware (and occasional shareware) programs that are often recommended on our message board when people are looking for ways to block pop-up ads, find and remove spyware, and generally improve their computing experience.We have collected these programs here and provided short descriptions and a link to the program's web site. While a few of these programs have Linux or Mac versions, most of these programs are for Windows XP, Vista, or Seven. (Assume Windows only if it is not mentioned.)

The decision to actually download and use one of these programs is yours. While most of these programs have been used successfully by at least one Cauldron member, that does not mean they will work on your computer! None of these programs are stored on The Cauldron's web site, so be doubly sure to check them for viruses with a good virus scanner with up to date virus signature files before you use them.

(Adware/Spyware Remover -- Freeware)
Some "free" programs and web sites place tracking codes and ad software on your computer. AdAware scans your memory, registry, hard, removable and optical drives for known data-mining, aggressive advertising, and tracking components. It then lists the results and offers to remove or quarantine the components. SpyBot Search & Destory (see below) generally finds more spyware, biut Ad-Aware catches some SpyBot does not. Be sure to read the documentation before having Ad-Aware remove any files.
(Clipboard Extender -- Freeware)
Have you even wished the Windows clipboard could hold more than one item at a time? ArsClip allows this. It monitors the clipboard and keeps track of the entries. Press a configurable hotkey and select an item (or items) from a popup menu to quickly paste into another application. If you do a lot of cut and paste, you will soon fall in love with this program.
EMS Free Surfer mk II

(Popup Ad Blocker -- Freeware)
EMS Free Surfer mk II is a freeware popup stopper for Internet Explorer. Free Surfer does not in any way interfere with opening new windows. No white lists, block lists or anything else to configure; just start it and surf in peace. Optionally, it can also disable those annoying GIF and Flash animations so often used in ads in web pages.
(Spelling Checker for Internet Explorer 5+ -- Freeware)
ieSpell is a free Internet Explorer browser extension that spell checks text input boxes on a webpage (using a dictionary on your computer, not on another web site so it is very fast). The program installs as a new button in the IE toolbar (as well as a new menu item under "Tools") - after filling in a form, just hit the ieSpell button and it pops up a dialog, similar to the MS Word spell check. It's great for checking messages you write on our message board.
Magic Mail Monitor
(Pop3 Mail Account Monitor -- Freeware)
Magic Mail Monitor (MMM) is a POP3 mail monitor with multiple accounts support. It sits silently in your system tray, and notifies you about new messages in one of your mailboxes. Then you can preview messages and delete unwanted mail in order to avoid spam and viruses.
(Kitchen Sink Utility for Power Users -- Freeware)
PowerPro gives you a compact and powerful launch bar, menu, and tray icon facility. But this is just the start. With a little experimenting with its configuration, you'll find that you can use PowerPro to change the way you work with your Windows system. The source of its power is the way PowerPro integrates three capabilities: Running commands (tool bars, tray icons, hot keys, mouse actions, menus, timer, scheduler, etc.), Controlling other program's windows (close, minimize, maximize, roll-up to caption, tray minimize, position, etc.), Providing utility functions (send keystrokes to programs, run commands when windows first open, virtual desktops, clipboard extender, keyboard macros, shutdown, show all folder files in a menu, sounds, wallpaper, screensaver activation and randomization, etc.). This is a very complex, but very powerful tool for Windows power users.
SpyBot Search & Destory
(Adware/Spyware Remover -- Freeware)
Like Ad-Adware, SpyBot Search & Destory is an adware and spyware detection and removal tool. It also removes PC and Internet usage tracks, including browser history, temporary pages, cookies (with option to keep selected) and more. The program offers an attractive outlook-style interface and produces a detailed and easy to understand report before it deletes any files and allows you to deselect any item that you do not want to be processed. This is a more complex tool than Ad-Aware, but it seems to catch a lot of stuff that Ad-Aware misses. Be sure to read the documentation before having SpyBot remove any files.

Latest from Software Gadgets

The Software Gadgets Blog lists interesting and useful Windows software and online services -- mainly freeware or open source. A few items from this blog appear in the Cauldron and Candle newsletter each month. Here are the latest programs and onlive services listed in the Software Gadgets Blog.