Software Reviews by ianmacm

The reviews and opinions below are posted by SnapFiles visitors. They do not necessarily reflect our opinion, and they are solely based upon the experience of individual users.

VeraCrypt VeraCrypt

Good clone of truecrypt, but very, very slow 2 stars
VeraCrypt is intended to be an up to date replacement for TrueCrypt, which was discontinued in 2014. The interface of VeraCrypt is basically a clone of TrueCrypt, but it is not compatible with files that have been encrypted for it. The main issue is the time taken to load encrypted volumes or devices. 30-90 seconds is quite normal and older processors may take double that time. VeraCrypt says that this is necessary for improved security, but after a while I became tired of being able to boil an egg before the volumes and devices loaded. Similar on-the-fly encryption programs can mount the encrypted files much more quickly, and I think that the trade-off for improved security is being spoiled by the egg timer wait for them to load with VeraCrypt. Unless you are trying to keep a top level expert from accessing your files, it may be better to stick to a program that loads the encrypted files in a more reasonable length of time. Price: Free
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8GadgetPack 8GadgetPack

Works with windows 10 as well 5 stars
This will bring back the gadgets to Windows 8 and Windows 10. Recently I have been testing it in Windows 10 and it works fine. Gadgets were originally introduced for Windows Vista, and Microsoft has prevented some of them from working, saying that they are a security risk. Fortunately 8GadgetPack comes with a wide range of built-in gadgets which should be enough to satisfy most users. Definitely recommended for people who like gadgets, and it is free. Price: Free
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Secryptor Secryptor

Works ok 3 stars
No problems here, does what it says. The only issue is compatibility, as the encrypted .skt files produced by the program are compatible only with Secryptor, which means that they can be opened only by users of this particular program. There are more widely available encryption formats, such as 7zip files with a password. Other than that, the program is recommended. Price: Free
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KORO File Shredder KORO File Shredder

Ok but lacking in features 2 stars
KORO File Shredder works OK, but somewhat bizarrely offers 1, 7 and 35 pass wipes but misses out 3 pass (DOD Short). The program also lacks drag and drop or a right click "Send to" option. Overall, not fully recommended as there are better free file wipers elsewhere. Price: Free
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BitKiller BitKiller

Ok but rather basic 3 stars
BitKiller works fine and is suitable for carrying around on a pen drive. The features are basic, and it is not possible to preset the desired shredding algorithm, as it starts every time with one pass random, but others are available. Also, although a progress bar appears while shredding files, it does not appear to work or give a numerical indication of the time or percentage remaining, which would be useful for larger files. Price: Free
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PeerBlock PeerBlock

Very useful addition to firewall software 5 stars
PeerBlock is not a substitute for firewall software, but is an excellent add-on for it. While the program is running, it provides an ongoing list of the traffic and IP addresses that it has blocked, and the reason why it was blocked. This is interesting in itself, and shows that there is a lot of junk traffic floating around on the Internet at any given time. PeerBlock uses lists of banned IP addresses maintained at, and in September 2013, the system there was changed so that free users can update the lists only once in seven days, and anything more than that requires a paid subscription. This means that PeerBlock is now a semi-free program, but for most users updating the lists once every seven days should be enough. PeerBlock is recommended, and is a must have for any program which uses P2P connections. Price: Free
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MiTeC Network Meter MiTeC Network Meter

Very useful freeware 5 stars
MiTeC Network Meter is light on system resources and can be run from a pen drive. One possible addition would be the ability to vary the downloadupload units displayed. The default is set at KBs and cannot be changed, some more options would be useful. Price: Free
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World Clock World Clock

Excellent freeware 5 stars
This has excellent graphics and a good range of features. Educational and fun to use. Price: Free
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Comodo Internet Security Comodo Internet Security

Works ok, but is a resource hog 3 stars
Like many modern security suites, Comodo Internet Security attempts to do a lot of things at the same time, and as a result it produces a noticeable slowing down in the performance of the PC. This means that it is hard to recommend for older and slower PCs, or for applications where maximum performance is required. Comodo Internet Security has a gaming mode which is supposed to reduce this problem, but I did not notice a great difference while using it. The program is easy to set up and the default settings should be enough for most users. Recommended, but only for computers connected to the Internet that require a high degree of protection. Price: Free
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SuperSimple Video Converter SuperSimple Video Converter

Excellent freeware 5 stars
SuperSimple Video Converter has an excellent range of conversion options and is easy to use. A bonus is that it does not offer to install any toolbars or additional software, which is often a worry with free video conversion software. Price: Free
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SilverSHielD (Free) SilverSHielD (Free)

Excellent freeware 5 stars
SilverSHielD works well, although it can be a bit daunting to set up for the first time. It offers only SSHSFTP, and does not have FTP on Port 21. SilverSHielD runs as a service each time Windows starts. The three concurrent connections in the free version should be enough for home users. Price: Free
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Hardwipe Hardwipe

Works well, drag and drop would be useful 4 stars
No real problems here, but files for deletion have to be selected manually. A drag and drop or send to option would be useful. Price: Free
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CDBurnerXP CDBurnerXP

Some coasters burned 2 stars
It is hard to complain about the price or the feature set, but I found that CDBurnerXP was unreliable on large files, such as DVDs with a file size greater than 1GB. After burning coasters when attempting to do this, I eventually gave up. CDBurnerXP requires the .NET framework to be installed. Price: Free
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Avira Free Antivirus Avira Free Antivirus

Good free antivirus 4 stars
This is my first review of Avira AntiVir Personal since 2010, and it has changed considerably since then. The main strength of Avira AntiVir Personal is that it is light on system resources and unlikely to slow down the computer. It has some nag screens for the paid version, but the interface has improved since 2010. The program is still somewhat prone to producing false positives, flagging innocent processes as a threat. Avira has never become as well known as some of its rivals, but it is worth considering when a simple and lightweight antivirus program is required. Price: Free
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Ghostery for Firefox Ghostery for Firefox

Useful, but some compatibility issues 3 stars
Ghostery is useful, but some web pages may not work correctly when it is enabled. It is possible to pause Ghostery if this happens, or to select which individual trackers to allow. Price: Free
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Fox Magic Audio Recorder Fox Magic Audio Recorder

Lack of level indicator is a major drawback 2 stars
Without any indicator for the audio level, there is no choice but to use trial and error and hope for the best during recordings. This is a major and arguably fatal flaw in Fox Magic Audio Recorder. The program cannot edit files once recorded, and it lacks a good overall feature set. Price: Free
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ScreenBlur ScreenBlur

Good range of features 4 stars
It is possible to set a password protected screensaver on Windows, but ScreenBlur has a much wider range of options including hotkeys. The program is no-install, so it can be run from a pen drive. One word of warning though, don't lose the password used to lock the screen, or you may have difficulty getting back into the computer. Price: Free
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Puran File Recovery Puran File Recovery

Works well 4 stars
The program was easy to use and recovered files from a flash memory device and hard drive without any problems. After the scan, it is possible to search the results or filter them into categories including Pictures, Music and Videos. The performance is good for a free file recovery program and it is recommended. Price: Free
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DNS Angel DNS Angel

Works well, some caution needed 4 stars
DNS Angel is much easier for beginners than changing the DNS settings manually in Network Connections on the Control Panel. The choice of several DNS providers is useful. Some caution is needed because any reasonably capable person could override the DNS settings. In practice, good security would be achieved only if the person using the filtered DNS service did not have an administrator account or was limited to a guest account on the computer. Price: Free
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SafeIP SafeIP

Works ok, sluggish connection speeds 2 stars
SafeIP works OK, but some of the IP locations were very slow to the point of being unusable with large web pages. This is a review of the free version, and the paid version offers improved speeds and more features. Price: Free
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Free File Camouflage Free File Camouflage

Works ok 3 stars
No problems here. There is a ten second nag screen asking for a donation or registration each time the program starts up. Price: Free
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KuaiZip KuaiZip

Zipx lacking, or is it? 2 stars
The program does not offer support for Zipx, but the proprietary .kz format looks very similar. Also, the program produces a firewall warning, as it asks to allow incoming connections, which I disallowed because it is unnecessary for a compression program. KuaiZip needs to explain why incoming connections are necessary. Editor: The program checks for new version updates, this can be disabled from Settings. Price: Free
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GIF Optimizer GIF Optimizer

May not always produce large size reductions 4 stars
Since GIFs are often already optimized, it may not always be possible to use this program to make further large reductions in the size of the file. If the GIF is already optimized, the reduction may be only a few percent. Most files that I tried did not reduce by more than 10-20 percent. Nevertheless, this is a well made program. Price: Free
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SoftPerfect WiFi Guard SoftPerfect WiFi Guard

Ok, but times would be useful 3 stars
This works OK, but it does not give the times at which the devices were found. Also, it could give the operating system (XP, Vista, 7 etc) of the network device, as some programs do. Not quite as good as it could be for this purpose. Price: Free Trial ($19.00)
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SFTP Net Drive SFTP Net Drive

Works very well, thumbnails are useful 5 stars
This program is similar to the "Map network drive" feature in Windows. It is easier to use than an FTP client, and has the advantage of producing thumbnails for images on the drive. The 30 second default timeout on the connection is rather too short and can be adjusted. I used SFTP Net Drive with SilverSHielD and achieved excellent results. This is highly recommended as an improvement on traditional FTP servers, which are not very secure. Price: Free
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Shadow Copy Shadow Copy

Unusual program 4 stars
This is an unusual program, because it is not usually necessary to copy locked Windows files while they are in use. Shadow Copy will do this without any problems. For backup and cloning an entire drive, there are more suitable freeware tools, but Shadow Copy will copy any individual file or folder that is on a hard drive. Price: Free
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Start8 Start8

An answer to a serious problem 5 stars
This program is an answer to the prayers of many Windows users. For some unfathomable reason, Microsoft has decided to exclude the start button from Windows 8. This program will put it back in a way that is indistinguishable from Windows 7. It can also skip the ugly and childlike Metro UI and boot straight to the traditional desktop. A pity it isn't free, but 4.99 is reasonable to have these features restored. Price: Free Trial ($4.99)
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Kaspersky Rescue Disk Kaspersky Rescue Disk

Works ok, but slow 3 stars
After burning the ISO to a CD, I booted from the disc. The performance was slow, and scanning the whole hard drive would have taken a very long time. The option to scan only the boot sector and startup programs is much faster. This download is recommended if a computer will not boot, but if it can boot it would be better to use Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool, which is a similar standalone program that runs within Windows. Price: Free
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Recuva Recuva

Excellent for a piece of freeware 5 stars
This is another example of a program which raises the question "Why pay when there are good freeware alternatives available?" The "deep scan" feature on this program is as good as many of the programs for which you will have to pay to recover files. It also seems to be faster than some of the ones that I have tried out. The performance on memory cards and pen drives was excellent, recovering numerous files just as long as they had not been overwritten. Hopefully there will never be a need to use this program because of accidentally deleted files, but it does also show the need to use erasing rather than deleting to ensure that files are unrecoverable. Price: Free
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Panda Free Antivirus Panda Free Antivirus

Useful for older and slower computers 3 stars
Panda Cloud Antivirus is definitely light on system resources, and is not a bloated resource hog like some of the big name antivirus programs. This makes it suitable for older and slower computers where speed is an issue. On the minus side, it is rather basic in the free version, and it is hard to tell how effective it is compared to a traditional antivirus program. The use of cloud technology means that the computer needs to be online for best results, so it is less than ideal for situations where the computer is offline. Overall, an interesting idea. Price: Free
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GoPing GoPing

Useful program 4 stars
Pinging is a good way to test the basic stability of an Internet connection, and GoPing does a good job. It has a graphic user interface, and can store a list of addresses to ping. Unlike the Windows ping (which is command line only), GoPing can ping a website continuously until asked to stop. Windows allows only four pings at a time. Pinging a site constantly is considered rude, so this feature should be used sparingly. GoPing is no-install, so can be run from a pen drive. Price: Free
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Animosaix Animosaix

Nice program, shame about the installer 4 stars
I really liked the mosaic images produced by this program. However, it has the now common flaw of asking to install other software at the same time, so care is needed during install. One feature that would be welcome is the ability to convert individual images into mosaics on demand, rather than relying on the wallpaper or screensaver feature. Price: Free
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Free OCR to Word Free OCR to Word

Very good for a free program 4 stars
Having recently had a trial of a well known paid OCR program, I was interested to see how Free OCR to Word performed. The answer is generally very well, and the program is easy to use. The only downside was that it had difficulty with some documents and produced gobbledegook text. This is a common problem with OCR, and no program has solved it entirely. Price: Free
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.NET Version Detector .NET Version Detector

Works ok 4 stars
Simple and no install, the green letters mean that the version of the framework is installed, red and it is not. It's a pity that not all .NET programs work with all versions of the framework, but that's the way it is. Price: Free
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InterChat InterChat

Works ok, but a bit old fashioned 2 stars
InterChat works OK and is light on system resources, but was last updated in November 2003 and is now showing its age. It is confined to text messages, and has no video chat support unlike modern LAN chat freeware. The file sending feature is slow, and has a tendency to crash with large files. In order to work correctly, all of the computers running the software will need to be part of the same workgroup and have file and printer sharing enabled. This is something that should be made clearer during installation. Overall, worth a look but somewhat outdated. Price: Free
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Works ok, pen drives may need reformatting 4 stars
This program works OK, although there is an important fact missing from the documentation. Some ISO images may boot only from FAT, not FAT32. Also, I found from trial and error that not all ISOs work with all USB devices. Most modern computers support booting from USB, but it may be necessary to adjust the BIOS if it is not enabled. Price: Free
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Windows 8 Release Preview Windows 8 Release Preview

Microsoft gets it wrong, badly 1 stars
If ever I have a Windows 8 computer, the first thing that will happen is a trip to the registry to disable the Metro UI interface. Amazingly, Microsoft will not allow you to do this, even though it is unnecessary on a desktop or laptop computer. Simple tasks like shutting off the computer are ridiculously difficult in Metro, did nobody notice this during development? Worse still, the Metro UI is little more than an Apple-style advertisement for a range of Microsoft products and services. Metro UI is a triumph of style over substance, and is likely to lead to the same complaints that dogged the launch of Vista. Price: Free
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bmpPacker bmpPacker

Interesting but slightly weird software 3 stars
Works Ok, no problems. What bmpPacker does not do is to hide a file inside a picture (steganography), so the resulting BMP files are simply noise. Not quite clear who would use this program regularly, as options such as encrypted ZIP files are more common. Price: Free
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Privatefirewall Privatefirewall

Very good free firewall 4 stars
Privatefirewall gets the balance about right, as it is not too fussy, difficult to understand or set up for first timers. It is also light on system resources and generally unobtrusive. Recommended as a good starting point for someone who wants a free firewall. Price: Free
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Toolwiz BSafe Toolwiz BSafe

Easy to use, but lacks features 3 stars
The good points are that it is completely free and does not limit the size of the encrypted containers. It is also easier to set up and use for first timers than some other programs. However, it does lack features, and cannot encrypt whole drives. Recommended for users looking for an encrypted drive without needing a lot of technical knowledge. Price: Free
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ContaCam ContaCam

Amazing freeware 5 stars
It rare to be able to say without hype that a piece of freeware is the best of its kind, but ContaCam deserves this accolade. Having tried several webcam capture programs that were mediocre, this was a surprise. ContaCam is by far the best webcam capture program that I have used, and it deserves to be more widely known. The range of features is extraordinary, and the video quality of the captures is also excellent. If you have a webcam, you must give ContaCam a try. Price: Free
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WebCamImageSave WebCamImageSave

Works ok 3 stars
No real issues here, does what it says it will do. The only slight issue is that the default JPEG saving quality of 75 is too low and leads to blurred images with artifacts. Increasing the saving quality to 90 will increase the file size, but leads to better results. Price: Free
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Technitium MAC Address Changer Technitium MAC Address Changer

Unusual program 4 stars
Most people do not give any thought to how their MAC address appears, but it could be used for spoofing and hacking under certain circumstances. This program is likely to be of use to people who use public networks, where it would make tracking and spoofing more difficult. One minor point is that the program has an animated tray icon that is not really necessary. Price: Free
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Very good freeware 4 stars
For a while, I had been looking for a program that would generate QR codes offline, without the need to visit a website. This little program, which is no install, fits the bill admirably. Now I am looking for a similarly compact Windows program that will read QR codes. Price: Free
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Tixati Tixati

Works ok, ugly default interface 3 stars
No real problems here, but the default interface called "dark background" is like an accident in a paint shop. In particular, the blue on black of the progress bar is hard to read. The color scheme can be changed in the settings, and this is one of the first things that I did after installing the program. Price: Free
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Nice freeware, shame about the adware 4 stars
I am a long time fan of SUPER, and it is good to see that it now includes support for converting videos to WebM. However, the recent versions have acquired a lot of annoying adware during the installation process. These boxes have to be carefully unchecked to prevent unwanted programs from getting on to the computer. Unfortunately, this seems to be a trend for free programs nowadays. Price: Free
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MemTest MemTest

Runs within Windows 3 stars
This is an executable file that runs within Windows, so it can check only the RAM that is free at the time. This is clearly less than ideal, and there are bootable versions that will test all of the memory outside the Windows environment. This program is useful, but a full RAM test requires a bootable medium. Price: Free
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ALShow ALShow

Does not play flac files 3 stars
I was surprised to find that the program does not play FLAC audio files by default. This should be included. Otherwise the program is OK. Price: Free
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TweakNow SecureDelete TweakNow SecureDelete

Lacks right click integration 2 stars
Erasing programs should offer right click Explorer integration, this one does not. The interface is also somewhat disappointing. The default erase method offered is Gutmann (35 passes) which is not necessary and would take way too long for large files. DOD 3 pass is enough for most home users, this is offered and should be set as the default wiping method. Price: Free
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GetWindowText GetWindowText

Possibly unique program 4 stars
There are many screen capture tools, but this may be the only one that can capture the text from Windows menus. It is useful for capturing the text of error messages, which cannot be done with the normal CTRL+C. Portable, no installation required. Price: Free
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