Most people want to get the most from their laptops, but many do not know how. More importantly, most people don't know how to do it for free! Yes, there are free downloads out there that can help you with everything from battery life to Wi-Fi. They'll definitely make your life a lot easier! Let's take a look a some of them:
Battery Managers - It seems as though every laptop owner has a gripe about their battery, whether you don't think your battery has enough power or you lose power too quickly, the following downloads will help you keep track of battery life and maybe even get more power out of your charge.
- BattCursor - This program shows your remaining battery life on your mouse cursor so you don't have to to continued checking how much is left, over and over again. You have your cursor's color and transparency change based on the power level. It also offers lots of little extras including tips on how to improve battery life.
- BatteryBar - If you don't like the idea of your cursor or pointer displaying battery info, this alternative hows up on your taskbar. It shows exactly how much power you've already used and how much you have left. You can decide if you want it to show your battery life in percentage or minutes and when you hover the mouse over the bar, it'll show you even more info, including capacity, discharge rate, battery wear, and how much total capacity your battery has per charge.
Wirless-Networking Utilities - Most laptop users connect wirelessly. Here are a couple of downloads that can help you find a wireless connection and keep you safe when connected.
- Hotspot Shield - Anytime you connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot, whether you're in a restaurant or an airport, you put yourself at risk for hackers. Criminals can find your data packets, invade your computer, and steal your log in information for a number of websites. This programs keeps you safe by encrypting your connection so no one else can read your information. It's easy to install but it will change your homepage and add toolbars to your computer if you're not careful.
- WeFi - This program not only helps you find Wi-Fi hotspots to connect to, it also helps you find people to connect to, as well. Upon installation, the program lists nearby hotspots along with their information (signal strength, encryption info, etc.). To connect, all you have to do is click it. It also allows you to connect to people who are connected to the hotspots near you and get in touch with them via the program. It can also help aid in secure browsing.
USB Flash Drives - You may rely on USB flash drives to make your information portable but do you ever worry that your files aren't compromised or lost if your computer goes nuts? These programs can do just that...and then some.
- PortableApps - If your software leaves you with very little hard-disks space, this program will provide you with smaller alternatives. It comes with antivirus utility, a small version of Firefox, OpenOffice (an alternative to Microsoft Office), and other programs that can clear up some of your space. It takes 150 MB once it's installed (or you can opt for the 355 MB full-featured version) and it can be installed on any laptop or netbook, not matter how much space you have available.
- TrueCrypt - USB drives are great for traveling but what happens if you lose them? All of your sensitive personal files could end up in the wrong hands. This program keeps your files safe from prying eyes by allowing you to encrypt the files and folders and hide them so no one but you knows that they're there.
- USBDriveFresher - With each use, your USB drive becomes more and more cluttered and even when you delete certain files, you can end up with leftovers you don't need. This program is simple but it cleans the mess for you and sweets up unnecessary files that are plaguing your computer.
Synchronization - If you're constantly interchanging files between your desktop and laptop, it's easy to make mistakes. Pulling up old versions or overwriting new ones can be a problem. These programs help you avoid those mistakes.
- SugarSync Free - This program not only synchronizes but also serves as a backup program. It's easy to use and offers 2GB of free backup space. It uses very little RAM and a few system resources and can work with your PC or your Mac. Install the software, indicate what folders you'd like to synchronize and it works in the background, backing up your files at the same time. It offers lots of other options such as sharing files and folders with other people and also keeps older files online in case you need them. It only works with two computers, though you can pay a fee to have it work with more.
- Windows Live Sync - If you don't want to pay the fee to synchronize more than two computers, this program is for you. Sync folders on as many computers as you like, but this one doesn't inlude the free backup. It's easy and straightforward, and you can manage it all from a website. It also works with Macs and PCs.
- Xmarks - This program synchronizes your favorites and bookmarked sites between your desktop and laptop and on multiple PCs. It even works between browsers and multiple operating systems.