Computer Software

Computer programs and sites I've found of use.

I use always, might use, or potentially find worth checking, plus internet software, and security stuff.

Use Always

I can't imagine a Windows PC being of any use to me whatsoever without installing these programs.

J P Software's 4Dos replaces Microsoft's with an insanely great command shell. It enhances virtually every command, and adds many new commands. Move subdirectory trees, colour code directories, execute a command across subdirectories, uses 511 character descriptions of any file, alias complicated commands, an exceedingly enhanced batch language with If THEN ELSE and other loop constructs. If you still use DOS, 4Dos gives it the power you need. US$100 shareware.
Klaus Meinhard has lots of helpful 4Dos BTM files on his web site.
A very fast, versatile MS-DOS find (like grep) utility, with heaps of command line options, search windows, paragraph functions, column, and up to 15 search terms with boolean operators. Best thing I've ever found for searching the contents of files, and for making quick and easy free form data bases. Shareware from Stanley C Peters, PO Box 2028, Fairfield Iowa 52556. I bought my copy for US$27 in November 1995, and I think I've probably used it every day my computer has been on since then. The author found this note in March 2002 and sent me his address.
Opera web browser
A small, fast shareware browser. Fits on a single floppy disk (up until V4). Available for many platforms. Multiple windows, easy to resize text, follows standards, supports CSS, partial WAP support. Not as full featured as the big two, but a whole lot faster and closer to the W3C standards for HTML. I thought that it slowed down on Version 5. Now at V7.
PowerQuest Partition Magic
If you organise multiple Intel PCs, you absolutely have to have this utility. It lets you resize partitions, and set up alternatives to the obsolete MS-Dos FAT disk structure. Comes with a great manual explaining what is wrong with the FAT partitions. Reclaims lots of disk space on any large hard drive using FAT. I can't imagine going back to doing manual resizing of partitions. (If you updated to v3, make sure you have the patch up to v3.02, not 3.01.) Now at V7.
Peter Lerup. PrintFile is a freeware MS Windows utility to bypass Windows and send text or Postscript and EPS files direct to your Postscript printer. File selection dialog, or drag and drop multiple files. N-up printing of multiple pages is supported. Print clipboard. Pretty print text files. Command line options supported, including standard input. 16 bit and 32 bit versions available.
The Semware Editor
Full feature programmer's editor under DOS or Windows console. Small and very fast.
V Communications System Commander
Multiple different boots. Much better than the boot managers in NT and Linux, and indispensable if you want multiple boots for MS-Dos or Win 95. Works every time for me. Latest version knows about the silently infiltrating Microsoft FAT-32 file system that comes on OEM versions of Windows 95 (OEM Service Release 2). Now has a boot time editor. Detects and uses older System Commander settings. V Communications are at 2290 N First St, Suite 101, San Jose CA 95131 (408) 965-4000. They also make Sourcer, really neat disassemblers for software developers.

Would Like to Check Out

Went through several hands after Digital Research disappeared. Appeared briefly as Novel Dos, and now is owned by Caldera as OpenDos. Version 7.x is a fine replacement for MS-DOS in many situations. Multiple copies can run. I go through phases of using it.
As Easy As
Trius started this spreadsheet program in 1986. It supports Lotus 123 .wks and .wk1 and dBase .dbf formats. Several different versions exist, including DOS and Windows. US$69 shareware. I haven't used it for many years (palmtop computers have spreadsheets these days).
Barcodes explained
Good description of barcodes.
Rainer Bahr's free package that allows access and changes to 4Dos description files from the Windows GUI. Sounds of use. In German.
Independent replacement for DOS. Last time I tried it (several years ago) it wasn't sufficiently stable for me, but that was a long while ago.
Free Dos software
Abandoned applications for DOS, a great site. I found ANSI replacement here (has line buffering).
Includes DOS programs. Try also for DOS utilities. Also
I've got several version of grep, and find MaxFind better. This shareware one by Stan Brown seems to be pretty extensive and might well be the best replacement for MaxFind. I find the paragraph finding features of MaxFind lacking in grep.
Bruce Guthrie
Does a bunch of nice MS-DOS utilities, including Bfind (string search with booleans, columns, subdirectory search), HTMStrip (turns web pages to plain text), Convert (dBase to Lotus 123), Fill (space efficiently copies files to floppies), Date (warns of upcoming events). Freeware. Not tested. Site seems to have moved from Geocities.
Hitech C Compiler for MS-DOS
A smaller alternative to GNU GPP. A free compiler. Hitech make lots of cross compilers. The Applix people used the Hitech 68000 version until GNU was ported.
Multiple links between data all over the place. Desktop PIM, which Wordperfect and then Coral has available. Can substitute for a relational database for some purposes.
MicroLogic InfoSelect is a freeform database with outlining. Used to be DOS, but has had a Windows version for ages. New version for Palm in 2000. If they made a Psion version I'd probably use it.
Jrsoftware Inno Setup
Jordan Russell's Inno Setup is an free Windows application installer, and is much smaller than the bloated Install Shield you usually see. Done in Delphi, and the source code is also available. First available 1997.
Kerio Personal Firewall
Infotronics firewall is free for personal use.
Lots of Linux stuff, may have old InfoMagic CDs..
Software that will poll and download Internet material (news, mail etc), package it, and act as a server for redistributing it. Could be used to gather material for reading on a PDA.
Drawing tools from DOS. Can run on an AT, but for speed needs a 486. Opens .pcx, .tif, .bmp and .gif files. Not thoroughly tested.
Ontrack data Advisor
Ontrack have a bunch of tools for testing your hard drive.
3rd party ramdrive, for larger than 32MB, and may also allow assigning of drive letter. May not need to load as a .sys. and search for devlod File is, and contains xmsdsk.exe, emsdsk.exe
Very versatile calculator shareware for DOS or Windows.
Luu Tra. Free newsreader, updated frequently, about 600kb
Zone Alarm
Excellent Windows firewall, version available free, Pro version commercial.

Internet Software

Steve Gibson's Firewall leak detector. Looks for a simple bug in most personal firewalls. Should make sensible people a bit more paranoid (I think personal firewalls are generally a waste of time). Probably at
A universal web filter. Lets you filter how pages download, including rewriting their code on the fly. Great idea, and it is free. Get rid of pop up windows, kill advertising, remove web counters, stop auto refresh, replace background colours, remove layers and style sheets, etc. If web sites weren't full of crap it wouldn't be needed. Formerly at

Internet Software for DOS

Most MS-DOS based Internet software also requires a TCP/IP stack, and most ISPs assume you will be using PPP, which is also a separate package for MS-DOS web browsers (except for Net-tamer). One PPP package is KlosPPP. If using KlosPPP, you need to run a configuration program PPPMenu to create the configuration file, net.cfg, however the Klos instructions may not mention this. You will have to run three programs to connect, and they are LSL.COM, PPP.EXE and IPSTUB.EXE If IPSTUB does not bind with PPP.EXE, run ODIPKT.COM before you run IPSTUB. Then run PPPMenu and select Connect.

Other PPP programs are Ether PPP and DOSPPP.

Created by Michael Polak, this is a graphics browser for DOS. Seemed very pretty, but rather slow and fragile when I last downloaded it. Pain to make work. Includes ftp, telnet, email, gopher and finger.
Based on the old Unix text browser Lynx. Also does Gopher and ftp. Has history, bookmarks and view source.
Goin Postal
112 k shareware emailer for HP200LX (URL unknown).
HP200LX Utilities
DandA Software, WWW/LX Plus web browser, email and newsgroup, TimeTracker, etc. Any DOS PC
Net Tamer
David Colston's Net-Tamer had a fine reputation with HP 200LX palmtop users. Has its own PPP. Handles text well, but not graphics or frames. Has ftp and email. URL unknown.
Pop Mail
Dos email program. Use ftp and collect pop323.exe
PPP dialer with scrips, called by ftp from Works on Sharp PC-3100.
Saturnus Personal Internet Navigator does block graphics, and can only handle some HTML. Defaults to using Klos' PPPDemo and gives errors on PPPShare. Web browser only.

Free isn't always cheap

Running a web site on an advertising sponsored site, such as at Yahoo Geocities, is not free. The site puts up advertisements that may be annoying to the viewers, who may be potential customers if I were selling anything. The owners (not me - I don't track anything) may well start tracking viewers using cookies or other methods, or otherwise invade viewers privacy.

Free software isn't always cheap either. Where do you get support if it goes wrong or causes problems? When someone is kind enough to provide free software, it is often a simple declaration that their own time is too valuable to them to try to support the software. They could charge something for it, but that charge would not cover the support costs. So the software is out there, without support. Your own time is also valuable (you can't buy more time). Think long and well before you decide to use "free" software. That said, there is some great free stuff out there, just as there is great shareware, and great commercial software. There is also total crap in all three areas.

A reasonably major application can take up to a year of 60 hour weeks for a couple of people to write. At commercial programming prices, that means someone would have laid out close to a half million dollars if they had ordered it written. It is hardly unreasonable for the authors to get a bit stroppy if asked to support it for free also.

I hope you have enjoyed