Saturday, December 01, 2007

Three Unexpected Freeware Finds this Week

Time to switch gears for a moment.

Here are three really unexpected freeware finds I stumbled across this week.

Be amazed!

ASAP Utilities for Excel - Be an Excel Ninja, the Easy Way!

ASAP Utilities Add-in - (freeware for personal use) - I don't consider myself an expert Excel user. Advanced, yes, but not expert. Sure I do some neat things with Excel and know how to look up formulas on line and in my reference books. I don't do VBA stuff (much) but I usually can get the job done pretty painlessly.

Unfortunately there are a LOT of what seem to be simple things you should be able to do in Excel but just can't, by design.

ASAP Utilities puts almost a bazillion things you always wanted to do and have in Excel right at your fingertips

What can it do? The better question is "what can't it do?" Work with multiple sheets at once, filter or select cells even by font type,color, or style. Mass-protect all worksheets at once. Do tricky formatting of cells and rows with aplomb. Explore the full list of items (ASAP List of Tools) or download the excellent PDF guide.

For a recent review, check out this post from CyberNet News that led me to this product: ASAP Utilities for Excel

Stop now, go get and install it. Then come back and finish reading this post.

If you work in Excel, you need this tool.

It really is that good!

SwissKnife - Drive Partitioning and Formatting Made Easy

Sure, I just got done bragging about how wonderful the XP/Vista CLI interface tool known as DiskPart is for quickly making partitions and doing follow-up formatting chores: Command-Line-Voodoo: from fdisk-to-diskpart

SwissKnife - (freeware) - Windows drive formatting utility from CompuApps. Allows you to flexibly prep hard-drives in a great and simple GUI interface. Create, delete and format partitions on your hard disk drives. According to the product page, it has been tested on drives up to 400GB, and should in theory, support hard disks of up to 2048GB.

FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS partitioning is possible. Drive interface support includes IDE and SCSI and External interfaces such as Hi-Speed USB, Parallel port, PCMCIA, USB On-The-Go, Firewire®, SATA interfaces etc. Creates Fixed and Removable Disk Format types.

Key Features:

Formats faster than the OS (click on chart for details)

Allows change of cluster size during Full format or Quick Format

Divides a single hard drive into one or more partitions

Supports Hi-Speed USB, PCMCIA, SATA, SCSI, USB 1.1, and FireWire® external drives

Supports Fixed and Removable disk formats

Supports FAT, FAT32 & NTFS systems

Allows creation of a single partition of up to 2048GB of FAT32 or NTFS file systems.

Full format or Quick Format of existing partitions

Selective partitions can be modified for optimum flexibility

Supports XP (all versions), Windows 2000, Windows NT, ME, Win 9x

This installation version has a "safety-lock" that prevents the program from running on the active system partition. So you shouldn't be able to accidentally format your system partition.

Bonus version!

What is double-cool is that they also have BartPE plugin version for download as well. This version does not have the "safety-lock" so you can use it to do a GUI-based re-partition/format of a system using a boot-disk.

Microsoft Network Monitor v3.1

I love playing around with network tools and utilities. Check out this Grand Stream Dreams post of freeware utilities to see how wild I am about them: Free Network Utility Nuggets.

I was reading ComputerZen guru Scott Hanselman's exploration on why his file-transfer speeds in is custom-built home network were seemingly a "bit" slower then expected: Wiring the house for a Home Network - Part 5 - Gigabit Throughput and Vista. Scott has been detailing the design and implementation of a prime home-network build in his new home. Simply great reading.

Anyway, I was gleeful when I saw a screenshot from a network utility tool I hadn't seen before: Download details: Microsoft Network Monitor 3.1 (freeware).

I started drooling.

From the description page:


Network Monitor 3.1 is a protocol analyzer. It allows you to capture network traffic, view and analyze it. Version 3.1 is an update and replaces Network Monitor 3.0. Network Monitor 3.x is a complete overhaul of the previous Network Monitor 2.x version.

System Requirements

  • Supported Operating Systems: Windows Server 2003; Windows Server 2003 x64 editions; Windows Vista; Windows XP; Windows XP 64-bit

It is suggested that you have a CPU of 1GHz or greater, 1G or greater of Memory and 25 Megs of available Hard Disk space, plus room for capture files. Supports Vista 64 bit as well as 32 bit.

Not sure how it compares to my usual "beefy" tool of Wireshark, but it is always nice to have alternatives. And while the tiny and portable network capture tools I've noted in my Network Utility post are great for quick and easy captures when you have an idea what you are looking for, these bigger tools can really help when you have a lot of network traffic data to sort through.

Hope you find something here to download and enjoy!

More awesome goodness coming up tomorrow; family Christmas tree decorating schedule permitting.....


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