Best Way Find Good Utilities Programs and Software Online Fast
Regular readers know that I am a professional writer. One of the things that I write on constantly for several different clients is computers and technology. Writing about technology means writing about the Internet, websites, and programs. Writing articles about computer technology that are not boring means writing about new and useful programs, whether online services, or locally installed utilities.
In addition to writing about new utilities, I also am constantly looking for new computer tools that will make me more efficient, more productive, and therefore, more successful, all while earning more money. That, my friends, is a tall order.
The key to finding new software is to keep up on technology by reading several of the numerous resources and websites out there that publish Internet news, computer tips, and review new software programs. This works great for finding new things to write about. However, it isn’t so great for finding a specific new utility or program to do something right now. You either have to remember what was already written about and go looking for it, or you have to wait for someone to hit your particular need on the head.
Like Inigo Mantoya, I hate waiting.
Search for Free Computer Programs and Utilities Effectively
Unfortunately, searching for new software isn’t as easy as just typing what you are looking for into Google. For starters, if you are looking for something that is new to you, or that you are not all that familiar with, you might be searching for all the wrong keywords. This happened to me last year when I wanted a utility to make may Windows XP computer boot up in a certain order so that I didn’t get error messages about there being no network connection from programs that booted up before the wireless network was ready.
I searched in vain for boot order utilities and various other keywords. The problem was that there are plenty of good, well-known utilities, that REMOVE programs from your startup. I didn’t want to remove these programs, I wanted them to start at boot-time, I just wanted them to do so in an order that made sense.
Finally, a colleague pointed me to a program called Startup Delayer. Then, the light bulb came on. There are plenty of utilities out there that affect how your programs boot by delaying, or otherwise stalling certain ones. This has the effect of altering the boot-up order, but they don’t describe their features as “Change Windows XP boot order.”
Once I had the right keywords, I was set. As it turns out, you can substantially speed up Windows boot time by using a startup delayer. Just like if you double-clicked a dozen program icons at the same time, Windows would try and run them all at once making every program take longer to start up, when Windows boots, it tries running all those programs at the same time. By delaying the programs that don’t affect your routine or the user interface (like those that run in the background) just a few seconds, your computer comes online and is functional faster. You just don’t notice the other processes are still starting up in the background because you can already start typing, or whatever.
The other, more annoying, problem is that there are too many websites out there that do nothing but catalog EVERY program that comes along. That isn’t very helpful when you don’t want to try out 10 utilities, you just want to pick and choose from the best.
Even trying to search for reviews or descriptions is useless because tons of websites don’t do anything other than copy and paste in the software description right from the developer’s webpage. That is hardly objective. There are plenty of other lazy, sneaky, tricky, or downright unethical websites clogging up search results for computer software as well.
So, how to find useful new software fast and easy?
Use the site operator for your searches.
The site operator works by typing site: into your search query followed by the domain name of the website you want to search. This limits your search to only a single domain. Find a handful of trustworthy sites that feature the kind of software you like and you can use those to find your new utility. Then, click near the top left of the results screen where it says More Options. Click on Past Year. That will help limit your searches to the current crop of software and utilities and make sure that rave reviews you are reading are about the current version AND that they are comparing to the most recent versions of competing utilities.
There are plenty of good sites out there. Currently, I use (in no particular order): makeuseof.com, lifehacker.com, and downloadsquad.com. If I would rather browse, I head over to filehippo.com.
Today I need a new replacement clipboard utility. The one I have isn’t very easy to use and hogs a lot of memory, so it is never running when I need it. I want one that keeps more than one entry on the clipboard, though I don’t need it to keep 100, and it I want it to run in a very small amount of memory. Preferably, I want one that doesn’t require the super resource hogging .NET.
So, I’m off to search: clipboard utility site:makeuseof.com then clipboard enhanced site:downloadsquad.com, and so on.
Wish me luck.