Freeware Shorts: JC&MB Quicknote

JC&MB Quicknote (Version: 5.5 as of this post) is a little program with a not so modern interface that is nevertheless a useful notes organizer or scrapbook. It offers a few additional tools and an efficient launch method that make it a bit more usable.


When installed Quicknote remains always close at hand by placing a narrow gray strip on top of the screen. Just hover the mouse over that strip and Quicknote animates into view. The location of the strip can be changed and also a hotkey can be added for keyboard users (see image).

By default it offers four note areas where a drawing tool is available as well. The extra features available via either the program toolbar or menu are a calculator, unit convertor, reminder with alarm, program launcher, screen distance calculator and also a ‘send text through a network’. The latter is probably best explained by watching one of the tutorial videos available on the author’s site at

The program is still in development as witnessed by activity in its bug tracker page. It should run on all Windows versions.

Ultra File Search: Free And Lightweight

Ultra File Search does what it’s name suggests, it can search for files and for text inside files too. It can do that not only for files residing on local drives but for files on other drives such as on a DVD or on an USB key.

Ultra File Search supports masks for filtering the search into a number of specified criteria. These criteria include not only the more common date and size masks but also less common attributes such as read only, compressed, encrypted, temporary and others including searching system or hidden files.

The ‘Containing Text’ tab can search any words, all words, as phrase and other criteria such as restricting the search to a matching case. Here it is also possible to bypass media, image, system and hidden files so as to not waste time searching for text inside them. It should be noted that Ultra File Search does support searching inside EXE and DLL file formats.

One additional and potentially time saving feature is the ‘Append Results’ one. Checking this option makes it possible to keep any displayed search results visible when additional and subsequent results are performed. Therefore various search results can be combined into one results window.

If needed parent or containing folders can be opened from within the program. Results can also be exported into various (plain, tabbed, csv, HTML and XML) text formats. Ultra File Search is available in a portable edition that can be run from flash or USB drives. Ultra File Search is freeware and runs on Windows NT 4.0 and newer versions.

PowerPro Is The Ultimate Freeware

I have been using PowerPro for years. It is the grandfather of all launchers, utilities and lots more. There is so much that can be done with it. To list all its features would take pages and additionally its scripting capabilities make it almost limitless. It does have a learning curve and since it has existed for years it perhaps does not rank as the most intuitive. Over the years it has slowly evolved however and offers so much.

Just to name a few, very few, of what it can do

  • Watch the clipboard
  • Watch recent documents and more importantly recent apps used
  • All kinds of Windows operations like shutdown and minimize
  • Virtual desktops
  • Scheduler
  • Creating bar and menus

For anybody who is not familiar with PowerPro, it really is the most complete freeware. Be sure to follow the links on the program’s site to the Yahoo! groups listed.

Monitor Off Utility: Freeware That Conserves Energy

Monitor Off Utility is described by its author as

…is a free program that allows you to take control of your monitors built-in energy saving features

Even though all computers and operating systems come with power management features that allow a user to turn off a hard disk or put a computer into standby or hibernate mode it is often more beneficial, sometimes even more reliable, to turn off a monitor via a dedicated third party tool. Monitor Off achieves this energy and money saving task in a light weight and freeware download.

Monitor Off Utility Freeware

This small download, available both as an installer and a stand alone zip file, Monitor Off offers a user configurable method of turning off a monitor or if desired to activate a screensaver. Many combination of keys, like Ctrl+Alt+L, can be configured and a delay in seconds chosen to put any monitor into stand by mode. It is also possible to lock the work station – when in the stand by mode – to protect the computer from prying eyes while one is away.

Monitor Off makes the ever critical issue of power and energy savings just one bit easier and it is therefore worth having the program start with Windows and to have it remain in the system tray. It also supports several command line options that are documented in its Help menu. It requires the .NET Framework 2.0 or later and as of this post works on Windows 98, 2000, ME, XP and Vista.

Startup Discoverer: Freeware Tool Displays Startup Information


Startup Discoverer is a simple, portable and no-install tool that displays any program that automatically loads when a Windows computer starts. It categorizes startup entries into one of 19 groups. These 19 groups, such as User Startup, BHO (Browser helper Object) Runs and Winlogon, display either in blue text, meaning the group has programs or applications associated with it, or in black, meaning the group is empty. It is possible to save any or all of the groups’ lists to a text file or to print them.
More features, such as editing or deleting startup items would be welcome but a utility like Startup Discoverer does a good job providing important troubleshooting and useful information at a quick glance.

XP Syspad Centralizes System Tools

XP Syspad from the very useful site is described by its author as

Windows system monitoring utility that allows easy access to Windows system information and Windows system utilities

XP Syspad

Startup of XP Syspad is on the slower side, especially at first launch as it seems to be collecting relevant info including the running processes list that it present in its main window. Continuous run of the program is not at all memory intensive and it uses well under 10MB of memory. The main attraction of XP Syspad is that it presents over 250 utilities and functions in one central place. Some of the features worth mentioning is easy two click access to such things as the Windows’ HOSTS file, navigating to the Disk Partition Manager, getting an expanded list of recent items opened under My Menus—>Recent, recovering Window’s and Office product keys, finding out the Windows’ installation date and even a dynamic small calender under the ? menu.
Some functions did not work or not as intended on the tested system (Windows XP Pro SP3), for example System—>List Installed
XP Syspad
Drivers and the rather awkward (see image) Network—>Download Internet File. In the former case nothing happened and the latter case’s homepage was the default download and action was taken even when the operation was cancelled.
Also of note is the list of programs installed (Programs—>List Installed Programs) because the list presented included things like Norton that have long been uninstalled.  XP Syspad must be reading the list or components from the registry, where programs such as Norton are notorious for leaving orphan entries, because certainly such entries do not exist in the Add/Remove Programs section of the system’s control panel.

Of most use to not so expert computer users but notwithstanding a few oddities XP Syspad an useful utility overall. Requires Windows 2000 or XP.