Utilities and System Tools
Foxit Reader For viewing PDF files, Foxit Reader beats Adobe Reader hands-down. This program requires no installation--just run the executable--and it launches in about 1 second. Plus, it includes some desirable tools that Adobe lacks, such as a "typewriter" that lets you edit any text in the PDF, not just in form fields.
System Information for Windows Run the executable, and in a few seconds this little utility will tell you more than you could imagine about your computer's hardware, operating system, installed programs, and so on. What you do with that information is up to you--the tool doesn't offer diagnoses or advice.
PDF Creator This printer driver lets you create Adobe Acrobat files from any application, just by selecting Print from within that app and choosing PDF Creator as your printer. It offers a multitude of options for controlling the output, including the ability to password-protect PDF files to limit users' ability to print, copy, or modify the documents.
CCleaner Over time, your PC gets gunked up with old browser cache files, cookies, and other bits and pieces. CCleaner finds this digital detritus and zaps it.
Microsoft Tweak UI Control scores of hidden Windows XP settings, from determining what appears on your Start menu to specifying how users log on to your PC.
7-Zip It's just plain rude to send huge, uncompressed files. 7-Zip is a free utility that creates .zip compressed archives.
PuTTY If you need to connect to your Web server for maintenance, an SSH (Secure Shell) connection is safer than old-school Telnet, because the connection--including the part where you type your password--is encrypted. This SSH client will do the trick very neatly.
OmniFormat Want to convert BMPs to JPEGs? GIFs to PDFs? Word docs to TIF image files? As fast as you can copy files into a specified target folder, OmniFormat will turn them into the precise kind of file you want. Note: In order to use OmniFormat, you must install an ad-supported PDF creation utility, PDF995.