Software Reviews by LowStrung

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.

Pictor Pictor

Not exactly portable 2 stars
Pictor is simple, fast and easy to use. It also includes some clever features. Now for the complaints: 1) Editing is very basic, so tools like Levels and Curves, etc. are missing. 2) As this site's editor stated, Undo is quite limited. I couldn't undo a cropping operation, for example, so it's a good thing I hadn't saved and replaced the original file while testing the program. 3) Pictor adds its own file type keys to the registry under HKCR as soon as you start it for the first time, for example: pictor.jpg, pictor.bmp, etc. These are also added to the OpenWithProgids subkeys. While this doesn't automatically change the original file associations, it's quite annoying to discover those keys after removing the program from the computer. I had to search and destroy quite a few of them. This is not consistent with the portability of an application. If you have only basic photo editing requirements, you might find Pictor sufficient, but I can't recommend the program for serious editing work. Price: Free
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PhotoDemon PhotoDemon

Photodemon is improving 4 stars
Regarding the previous two reviews, PhotoDemon has acquired some brushes since 2015. I'm hoping to eventually see cloning and healing brushes, too; the author has told me that he intends to add them, but that his time is limited. I'm sure a lot of other features have already been added since 2015, but I can't make a comparison, because I just started using PhotoDemon this year. At any rate, it is packed with editing features, some of them quite advanced. I particularly like the recent files list, which shows thumbnails of each recently loaded file, and includes the ability to clear the list. The image adjustment dialogs are superb, and so is the metadata editor. To rate this program against PhotoShop wouldn't be a fair comparison, but since PhotoDemon is free, I like to think of it as a poor man's PhotoShop. As for the lack of documentation, yes, trial and error is still necessary, but hovering over a button brings up a clearly-written infotip explaining its usage, so that should help a bit. At any rate, I'm gradually learning how to use PhotoDemon, and find that it's well worth the effort. Price: Free
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DoggyFtp DoggyFtp

A doggy that's dogged by a serious flaw 2 stars
What would otherwise be a fairly useful application, DoggyFTP is rendered almost unusable on my Windows 7 netbook, because its window is too wide to fit the screen. It cannot be dragged at the edges to shrink it back a bit, either; I can only minimize or restore it. Around 25 percent of the window extends beyond the screen's right margin, despite the fact that I have a wide-screen display (1024x600). This leaves only one way to use DoggyFTP: Constantly moving the window left and right to view the two panes during a file transfer. Price: Free
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TheSage TheSage

New version somewhat disappointing 3 stars
I've been using TheSage for a few years. It's an excellent reference work, but I do not like the new user interface. The program takes a lot longer to start up than previous versions, probably because it now uses the .NET framework. I've usually found .NET apps slow to start up, but with TheSage that's very pronounced. The program has become bloated; not surprising, because aside from the extra drive space taken up by the latest version of .NET, which I had to install to use TheSage, the program files themselves take up twice as much space as those of the old version. Also, the new tree-style side panel menu at the left uses up a lot of horizontal screen real estate, squeezing the definitions into a small pane at the right. Aside from the awkward interface, the rest of the app is still good. The tab-based interface in version 6.2 was better, however, and .NET was not required, so I have reverted to that version. Price: Free
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Vivaldi Vivaldi

Unacceptable 1 stars
Vivaldi, while touting unique features, is the worst browser I've ever tried. Starting it up on my fast Windows 7 laptop took much longer than even the latest bloated Firefox. Same with the menus, especially the settings dialog: They seemed to take forever to pop up. I found customizability quite limited, compared with even very old versions of FF. There were no fine adjustments of the user interface, which looked pretty crude, no matter which of the presets I chose. Also, every time I tried to open a new blank tab it presented me with the speed dials, a feature for which I have no use whatsoever. All I wanted was a blank tab, or perhaps a new tab with my home page. There was no obvious way to shut off JavaScript for certain sites, and I couldn't find anything like FF's familiar "about:config" for advanced settings. The trash can icon at the top of the screen, which I assume was for clearing the browsing history, was very little help, because there were no details as to which items in the browsing history would be cleared; the cache? The history? Cookies? Delete what? You'll have noticed that this review is written in the past tense, because I uninstalled Vivaldi and won't be using it again. Price: Free
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JPEGview JPEGview

Jpegview proves that smaller is often better 5 stars
I've used this excellent image viewer for several years now, and it has improved with each new version. Its capabilities make its small size hard to believe. It includes many basic editing features which are often enough for the average user, but if you follow the instructions that appear as comments right in the configuration file (JPEGView.ini), you can assign keyboard shortcuts to open image files in the external editor of your choice. Once you save your changes there, JPEGView automatically reloads the image to reflect the changes. Another nice touch is that this program supports animated GIFs; you can view the animations right in JPEGView. It will also open Windows icon (.ico) files. I don't know what else I can say, except that I really appreciate JPEGView's portability. Price: Free
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Firefox Browser Firefox Browser

Still a great browser 5 stars
User customizations, which have always made Firefox so flexible, are still possible. Also, I'm seeing great performance as far as speed is concerned, and stability as well. The memory leaks I found in an earlier version haven't shown up in 43.0.4. So far I haven't encountered any difficulties in handling the sites I visit regularly. Some of the UI changes are a bit disconcerting. The first thing I noticed was that the buttons on the bookmarks toolbar were displayed at the very bottom of the toolbar, which had a very large top margin, but I eventually fixed that by editing userChrome.css, which has always helped me tweak the UI in the past. Some extensions may cause Firefox to start up a bit more slowly, particularly Adblock Plus. At any rate, although I previously felt satisfied with my very old version of Firefox and was refusing to upgrade it, I'm glad I eventually gave in and installed 43.0.4! Price: Free
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Secret Notes Secret Notes

Good, but could stand some improvements 3 stars
A nice application that does what it's supposed to do and is very easy to use, but for the sake of readability it would be a lot better if the font size and font face could also be selected. I find bold, italic and font color much less important. The background color is yellow, typical of sticky notes, which is acceptable, but I'd like to see an option to change that, as well. As admin points out, there is no export function. There is no way of shutting off the encryption either, so if you need a decrypted version of a note, you'll have to copy and paste its text into a text editor. Price: Free
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FastStone Image Viewer FastStone Image Viewer

Glad I tried this viewer! 5 stars
It took me a long time to finally try Faststone Image Viewer, but now I like everything about it. With its many useful features, it's more than just a viewer. The program is very easy to use, too, and the overall appearance is pleasing to the eye. Waiting for the thumbnail database to be built takes a little patience, but once that's done, all the thumbnails come up instantly as one jumps from folder to folder. FSViewer is now my default image viewer, but there's still one thing I'd like to see improved: There needs to be some way to set a preference for the UI font sizes. The main menu fonts are OK, but those in the dialogs are tiny and hard to read on the 10-inch screen of my Windows 7 netbook without squinting. Nevertheless, since this is unlikely to affect users with larger screens, it hasn't prevented me from giving Faststone Image Viewer a well-deserved 5-star rating. Price: Free
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DocPad DocPad

Good editor, but depends on your needs 4 stars
DocPad includes many useful editing functions not found in Notepad, plus some handy tools: A better character map than the one included in Windows, a calendar that stays on top of the editor window, a color picker for working with HTML files, and a calculator that stays on top, as well. The toolbar is customizable, and so is the interface. If you don't like the skins, you can pick one and edit the colors and sizes of all the app's elements to suit your taste. The default skin seems to work best for that. The result can be a very nice-looking GUI. A few drawbacks: 1) Although you can choose a font face for documents, the sizes are designated as small, large, huge, etc. with no way to select exact point sizes. 2) It's not possible to display or search for invisible characters, such as tab characters or carriage returns, or to insert or delete them via the find and replace dialog. Not everyone needs these capabilities for general text editing, however. 3) Multiple files are opened in separate instances of the program, as tabs are not supported, whereas most of today's text editors have tabbed interfaces. 4) DocPad keeps its installer and uninstaller in the app's installation folder, taking up roughly 18 extra MB on the disk. Delete them and you won't be able to uninstall the program through the control panel; you'll get an error message. You can remove all of DocPad's files manually, but the app will still show up in the control panel. Price: Free
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STDU Viewer STDU Viewer

Changed my mind about this app 3 stars
My previous review gave STDU Viewer a high rating, but unfortunately after discovering a lot of instability and PDF rendering flaws I've had to change my mind. If you want the app for PDFs, there are much better options out there that are faster and less bloated than Adobe's reader, as well as smaller in size and free. By instability I'm referring to frequent crashes on my Windows 7 system, not only in the browser feature and the loading of some PDF documents, but also when trying to open the Paragraphs and Fonts section of the options dialog for text documents. As for STDU Viewer's PDF rendering, I've seen much better quality in Sumatra PDF. In particular, I find STDU's display of music scores inaccurate and slow by comparison. Price: Free
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Sumatra PDF Sumatra PDF

My favorite pdf viewer 5 stars
The simplicity and speed of Sumatra PDF has already been acknowledged here; I like that too, but I just want to point out a few other things: 1) This must be the cleanest looking PDF reader around. The latest version has added tab support, but the tab bar is superimposed on the titlebar, which frees up some vertical space. The conventional menu bar has been replaced by a button at the top left corner which brings up a cascading main menu. 2) As the SnapFiles editor mentioned, the app also supports the CHM format, which is used for help files. Opening a help file in Sumatra makes it much easier to read, because you can zoom it to a comfortable reading size. Also, the indexes in most of those help files will show up in the left-hand sidebar as bookmarks once you enable them. 3) I've tried several other PDF readers. All of them surpass the bloated reader from Adobe. STDU Viewer, which I've reviewed here as well, is good, but I've just discovered that its rendering of PDFs is inferior to that of Sumatra, especially in music scores. Curved lines appear jagged in STDU but are much smoother in Sumatra. In addition, STDU sometimes misaligns notes on the staff, which makes the score hard to read. Price: Free
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1by1 1by1

A little gem of a program! 5 stars
1by1 shows me my music collection exactly the way I want to see it. Over the years I've named every audio file on my computer according to its content, so I can do without those bloated music library organizers as well as the display of IDE3 tags. The app also displays the length of each file in a folder, as well as the total length of a whole folder full of audio files. Music listening just doesn't get any better than that. If I get tired of looking at all those file names, 1by1 can also be switched into mini mode, thus hiding the file list and taking up very little room on the screen. In case no one else has noticed or mentioned this, the program also plays streaming audio from the web via M3U files once BASS.dll has been added to 1by1's application folder. For those of you who don't like the visual aspects of the program, just explore the various settings and the detailed manual shipped with the program. You'll soon learn how to customize the color scheme -- it's very easy. Price: Free
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BowPad BowPad

A powerful editor, but too developer-oriented 2 stars
I agree with Harlan that BowPad's ribbon interface is clunky, but ribbons are clunky in other programs, too. Something I find especially irritating in BowPad is the pop-up infotip you get when hovering over any numbers in the text. The infotip displays the hex, binary and decimal values of the number. A programmer might appreciate that, but I'm not a programmer, and it always gets in my way when trying to read text in non-technical documents, e-books, for example. Why on earth would I want to see the hexadecimal value of a date? You can't shut that feature off, either, nor can you disable the syntax highlighting of HTML files. I prefer AkelPad, where the extra features are plugins that can be disabled or removed altogether if they're not needed. Price: Free
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Bandizip Bandizip

Best archiver I've used 4 stars
I abandoned 7-Zip a long time ago in favor of Bandizip, which is fast and reliable, more user-friendly than 7-Zip, and can handle a wide range of archive formats. There is also a portable version, which is what I'm currently using (Bandizip 5.05). The image previewer found in the installed version is not available in the portable version, but you can still open archived images by association, either via the enter key or by double-clicking them. One thing I'd like to see that is standard in Windows Explorer compressed folders is the ability to copy and paste files to and from an archive. That option is neither on the context menu nor accessible with Ctrl C Ctrl V. You can, however, drag and drop files to and from the Bandizip window. Price: Free
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Clover Clover

Just what I needed! 5 stars
I had been looking for a way to improve Windows Explorer for a long time, and Clover fits the bill perfectly. It uses one of the simplest approaches to management of multiple drives and folders in a single window. It looks very nice on my Windows 7 netbook, and is completely compliant with the OS. In fact it changes nothing in Windows Explorer itself except for the addition of tabs and bookmarks, and an improvement in Explorer's appearance. There is something missing, although not a deal-breaker: According to the license document shipped with Clover, the update feature can be disabled in the settings screen, but I've found no such option there, and if you happen to be offline when looking at the About dialog, you'll see an error message that the download site can't be found. Otherwise, Clover is an excellent choice for making life simpler. Its green clover leaf logo should have four leaves instead of three, because it's a lucky find! Price: Free
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