My Favorite Windows Software

In Top 100 Network Security Tools and Easy Windows Scanner, I described a few Windows tools that every auditor or security analyst should know or know about. In this post, I highlight some of my other favorite Windows tools (both security and general utility software). ALL OF THEM ARE FREE.

12/26/14 Update: These are STILL my favorite programs. The only one I don’t use anymore is CutePDF Writer,  which I replaced with the FREE Sumntra PDF  Foxit Reader (I no longer recommend FOXit). But if you only want a PDF printer, CutePDF is still a great solution.

I also added 2 new tools: PSPad and File Splitter (see my links at the bottom).

CutePDF Writer – Allows you to print documents, websites, and more to PDF files (how can auditors live without it?). Per the website, “FREE for personal, commercial, gov or edu use! No watermarks! No popup Web ads!”

To create a PDF, just click Print, select CutePDF as the printer, name the PDF file to be created, and click OK.

The software requires a PS2PDF converter, which will be automatically downloaded and installed (don’t freak out when you see this, it’s OK).

Eraser – Erase individual files or slack space on a folder or hard drive so that nothing can be recovered. Overwrites data up to 35 times (you chose quick erase*, DOD level erase, or more). Can also schedule erasures of files, folders, slack space, or Recycle Bin.

* Less than 3 overwrite passes is NOT recommended; use at least 7.

If you’re an auditor or security analyst and you’re NOT using a utility like this, you’re probably not being careful enough, especially with those unencrypted thumb drives!

On the other hand, using overwrite software can make the Legal Department antsy, so check first (it never hurts to have a GOOJ card). If Legal objects, just ask, “So what you’re saying is that it’s okay to just “delete” sensitive data like audits, vulnerability scan data, trade secrets, PHI, and the like, even though the files are still present on the disk and can be easily recovered?”

Delicious – Instead of bookmarking websites on each of your computers and having different bookmark lists on each one, Delicious saves all your bookmarks to your account on the Delicious website.

Register for a free account, add some buttons to your browser, and always have all your bookmarks no matter which computer you’re on (even your friend’s computer).

You can also view other people’s bookmarks, which means others can view yours, so 1) don’t register an account using your real name, and 2) when bookmarking websites that you don’t want to be associated with, click the Mark as Private box. [OK, Delicious isn’t really Windows software. I admit it.]

Process Explorer – Think of this as Windows Task Manager on steroids. It provides so much more information. When you’re trying to track a rogue process (malware) that keeps spawning new processes, you need this tool.

Cryptainer – Encrypt individual files or create encrypted vaults (folders) for storing files (100 MB max per vault unless you buy the upgrade). Vaults mount as a shared drive and uses drag and drop. Uses 448-bit encryption.

Also contains a mobile feature for encrypting removable media like thumb drives and CDs/DVDs.

Password Safe – Originally developed by Bruce Schneier, this is an encrypted password keeper. Previous posts about Schneier.

P.S. Well, you probably noticed most of these tools are security related. I just can’t keep it off my mind.

P.P.S What are your favorite tools, software, and websites you can’t live without or that have made your life so much easier? Or if you tried some of these tools, what did you think?

See also PSPad: Great Text File Audit Tool and FREE File-Splitter Program.



Filed under Audit, Free, How to..., Security, Technology

2 responses to “My Favorite Windows Software

  1. I like the site, and the post – but not sure I could reply here, as currently my desktop comprises over 60 applications I consider favourites or ‘essential’!

    If I had to pick some alternatives, to your list, Truecrypt immediately springs to mind and possibly KeePass – though I have recently ditched this in favour of LastPass. (I never store important passwords on anything and use LastPass for everything else!)


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