capsule review

NirLauncher

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder NirLauncher

    PCWorld Rating

    This multi-function toolkit is sure to please any Windows power-user who can see past the malware false positives.

NirLauncher gathers a cornucopia of small, useful tools and utilities from NirSoft into a simple, portable launcher. The ever-changing lineup of available tools can range from programmer tools to system utilities to password recovery utilities--and those password recovery tools will likely cause your antivirus app to complain.

Password recovery utilities, such as the included NirSoft tools for use with Internet Explorer, Firefox, and wireless networks, can be a boon if you lose your own passwords. But they're also sometimes used by malicious hackers who sneak them onto PCs to steal credentials.

Antivirus apps will therefore typically identify such tools with labels such as "HackerTool," or sometimes even mis-identify them as Trojans. But if you're knowingly downloading the tools yourself, there's no risk. Just be prepared for the alerts, and to potentially circumvent your security app's protection if it automatically quarantines some NirLauncher files. For more info, see the explanation from the NirSoft developer.

You won't need to install NirLauncher; just unzip it into the directory of your choice and double-click the included NirLauncher.exe file. You can run it off a portable USB drive, too. When we reviewed NirLauncher, we found a utility to display the installation keys for Office and Windows, a tool to capture Flash videos while watching them in a browser, and an applet to display all the network resources on a LAN. Others might display connected USB devices, or allow for adjusting the volume of your speakers with your mousewheel.

Dozens of additional utilities are gathered into categories such as Password Recovery Utilities, Disk Utilities, Video/Audio Related Utilities. To launch any given tool, select it and click "Run" in the bottom of the launcher window. And to get more info about a particular app, select it and click "Web Page."

As an added bonus, you can pull the suite of exceptional system tools from Microsoft's SysInternals into NirLauncher using some instructions from NirSoft. But also note that NirLauncher only includes NirSoft utilities that have been updated in the last 1,000 days. Anything older than that is purposely left out.

If you're a power user or sysadmin who likes to dig into the techie details of your Windows system, you'll likely love the many free tools gathered into NirLauncher. Just be prepared for potential false positives from your AV app.

Note: This link takes you to the vendor's site, where you can download the latest version of the software. This software frequently triggers false positives in malware scanners.

--Erik Larkin

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This multi-function toolkit is sure to please any Windows power-user who can see past the malware false positives.

    Pros

    • Plenty of nice tools for systems admins and power users

    Cons

    • May prompt false alerts from many AV apps
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