101 Fantastic Freebies
Winner and People's Choice Award: Google Desktop
Google has done more than just conquer the Internet -- with Google Desktop, it has conquered your PC as well. The program brings the same kind of fast, accurate searching to your desktop that Google does to the Web. It searches as you type, and displays the results in your browser. One nice touch: When the program is installed and you search via the Google Web site, the results will also include those from your computer.
Polled PC World readers cite the simple, familiar Google interface as a plus, and also like the program's speed. Says Donnie Proffitt of New Carlisle, Ohio: "It's extremely fast and makes finding photos and music files on my PC easy even on my large, cluttered hard drive."
Copernic Desktop Search
With an interface designed for your PC rather than for the Web, this search tool may be the easiest to use.
Windows Desktop Search
One big benefit of Microsoft's desktop search program is its integration with both Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express e-mail.
Yahoo Desktop Search
Among the better features of this offering: file viewers that let you preview files with all formatting intact.
Backup and File Synchronization
Free backup programs and Web sites tend to give you only the basics, hoping that you'll then pay extra for additional features. That's not the case with Mozy, a full-featured online backup service. You can, for example, back up only the portions of files that have changed, saving considerable backup time and space. You can also browse through 30 days' worth of backups to locate previous versions of files. Techies will appreciate features such as bandwidth throttling for backups, and halting backups if the CPU usage exceeds a certain percentage. You get 2GB for free; beyond that, you'll have to pay.
You want free storage space -- how about 25GB of it? That's what you get from MediaMax. We love the feature that allows you to stream your audio and video to your desktop, skipping hefty downloads from your digital storage locker.
With this service, you receive 5GB of backup for free, as well as a nice, free backup client and a way to share your folders with others.
This great Microsoft freebie permits you to keep folders on different machines automatically synchronized -- so it's perfect for synchronizing folders on a laptop and a desktop.
Everyday Auto Backup
If you're looking for a simple, no-frills download that will back up your data, this is the tool to try.
Use this tool to synchronize files with multiple desktops -- including Apple machines -- over the Internet.