Posts Tagged 'free file'

Where Can I Safely Download Free Software? FreeFile Review

FFR-WP-logoFWsites2014Downloading free software gets riskier everyday. Some sites intentional try to confuse people into downloading garbage by way of ads with large “Download” buttons. However, if you are careful, you can download the free programs that you want. This review is a comparison of the four best freeware download sites for Windows software, that I regularly visit. All four are quite similar, with only minor differences. Generally, these sites all have clean navigation (a minimum of ads with ‘Download’ buttons), are updated daily, offer a large catalog of software with reviews, ratings, and screenshots, and most importantly – a direct link to program that you want. Below are quick reviews of my four favorite sites.

SnapFiles is the best site for the occasional downloader. With very few ads and a clean lay-out, it is hard to go astray. Very good search function.

MajorGeeks has a clean, simple homepage, with the bulk of the page for the most recent software. The download pages for individual programs have ads with big green ‘Download Now’ buttons – so be careful. This site’s outstanding feature is mirror sites for downloads; frequently there are several sources for downloads. Use the links under “Download Locations”.

FileHorse, like MajorGeeks, junks up its download pages with ads. Use the green ‘Download Now’ button on the right side, labelled “(xx.xx MB) Safe & Secure”. Outstanding feature is old versions of most programs are available on the program’s download page.

Download Crew has the busiest, most ad-filled site. The download buttons are located directly under the program name on the download page. Best search function of the four sites.

– – – – The Bottom Line – – – –

All four of these sites offer only direct links to downloads, feature many new programs every day, and are relatively easy to navigate, so all of them are excellent. SnapFiles is the winner, by a nose.

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com

 

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FreeFile Review – PC Image Editor

PC Image Editor is a simple image editor available for Windows only. This type of program is designed to perform a few simple adjustments quickly. What separates this editor from dozens of other free graphic editors is its interface, which is modeled after Adobe Lightroom, with the most-used tools arranged in tabs on the right side.

The standard color adjustments (Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, etc.) are on the Adjustments tab along with buttons for Auto Levels, Auto Contrast and Invert. All of these adjustments work as expected, except for the Colorize controls, which will add color to an image, but will not remove it. The Filters tab contains 10 filters which work well enough; I would like there to be more. There is really little reason for the last two tabs. The Effects tab contains the normal transform controls and two controls that are better suited for the Filters tab. The Resize tab is self-explanatory.

Positives include opening and saving in most common image formats, the tools work well, and the program is easy to use. I liked the small preview that pops up whenever a tool was used.

Negatives include too few filters and effects. The program’s lack of any selection tools or text tools is understandable, but the lack of a crop tool is a major shortcoming.

– – – – The Bottom Line – – – –

I was prepared to recommend PC Image Editor until I realized that it lacks a crop tool. Adding more filters and effects and, most importantly, a crop tool, will make this program a winner. Until that happens, I feel the program is too limited for most people. If you want to give it a try – PC Image Editor can be downloaded HERE.

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com

FreeFile Review – Document.Editor

Document.Editor is a word processing program. It is an open source project which gives a very good first impression, but with closer inspection, it becomes clear that this project is far from complete. It is for Windows only.

Installation is rather unusual; an .application file is downloaded and when clicked it downloads the program and installs it (I would prefer a simple .exe). Installation is otherwise quick and painless. The program’s interface is an exceptionally well done version of Microsoft’s ribbon interface. Here’s a screenshot. It has Spell Check, Text-to-Speech, and Definitions (Bing look up). Tabs allow opening multiple documents. Unfortunately, the positive impression ended there.

The list of negatives is long. The program can open and save only the most basic formats (.txt .rtf .xdoc). Page layout functions are non existent and printing is very basic. Those two shortcomings make Document.Editor unusable for most users. The program is not stable – it crashed after about 30 minutes of inactivity and it does not remember its window size and location after being minimized to the task bar. The Translation button seems to be non functioning. Most of the links in the program are dead (WTF?). User options are limited.

– – – – The Bottom Line – – – –

I cannot recommend Document.Editor – it is simply too incomplete at this time. I hope this project continues to improve, as I see potential in it. For a better free word processor, see my review of AbiWord.
Document.Editor can be downloaded HERE.

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com

FreeFile Review – PixBuilder Studio

I just recently became aware of PixBuilder Studio. This free image editor is similar to Paint.Net, which I reviewed earlier this year – both are quite capable, but with a few differences.

Installation offers the options of a full install or a portable install (very nice). I chose the portable install on Windows 7 and had no issues. PixBuilder Studio is for Windows only. The user interface is very clean and modern and it can be customized to one’s tastes.

Most of PixBuilder Studio’s image adjustments (brightness, contrast, color controls, etc.) are found under the Colors menu on the toolbar. All of these controls perform quite well as do the limited drawing tools. I was surprised to find a Healing Brush Tool, but I found its performance subpar. The Clone Stamp Tool performs much better. Text is edited in a seperate window – my preference is for inline editing – however, in this case, the text editing is well done. My favorite feature is the Zoom Panel. It offers the easiest way to zoom in and out of the workspace that I have seen. This feature should be included in all image editors. Another surprise is the icon editor that is built into the program. Finally, the program performs quickly and reliably.

The only big negative that I found was the few filters and effects included with PixBuilder Studio. It is possible to install Photoshop filters, but few users will go through the involved process to enable them. Hopefully, this will be resolved in a future version.

– – The Bottom Line – –

I was pleasantly surprised by this well done piece of software. Anyone needing a basic photo editor will be very satisfied with PixBuilder Studio. The icon editing functions really make PixBuilder Studio stand out from the crowd. Try it for yourself.

Download PixBuilder Studio HERE

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com


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