We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,258 News Articles

50 great, free ways to improve your software

Make your software do more... for free

We rounded up more than 50 of our favourite tools and tips for unlocking extra value from popular browsers, productivity applications and multimedia tools.

Browser boosters, part II

Copy any web video: Various web services let you punch in the URL of a YouTube flick or other web video and receive a copy you can save to your hard drive. But they're often slow and buggy, and you never know if they'll work on less popular video-sharing sites.

Orbit Rich Media Downloader adds a context-sensitive set of new menu items to your right mouse button in your web browser.

Now when you see a vid on Dailymotion or hear a song on MySpace that you like, just click to save it to your PC.

Firefox lets you save protected media by right-clicking to view Page Info's Media tab.


Save protected media files: Some websites cruelly disable the right-click button on images and other media, preventing you from easily downloading them. Orbit Rich Media Downloader is one workaround, but it's overkill if all you want to do is to save an image occasionally.

Good news: Firefox has a quick, built-in way to save protected media files without the hassle - see the picture above. Visit the web page you want, right-click anywhere on the page (not in the image), and select View Page Info. Click the Media tab to see a list of all images on the page; scroll through the list (a preview will appear at the bottom of the window), and click Save As when you find the one you want.

One click to something new: Collected quotes of Albert Einstein? Winners of the "I Look Like My Dog" contest? Pictures of real-life sea monsters? All of these web pages can be yours at the touch of a button if you install StumbleUpon, a plug-in and toolbar available for both Firefox and Internet Explorer.

StumbleUpon, like social news sites such as Digg, takes user submissions to point other users to cool stuff on the web.

Click the thumbs up button if you like what you see, or thumbs down if you don't. Over time, StumbleUpon refines its suggestions for you, making it (eventually) the perfect time-waster, and one that's always at your fingertips.

Easy access to deals and discounts: Smart shoppers perform a quick search for a coupon code before buying anything online, but forgetting to do so is easy. RegisteredCoupons.com's toolbar for Internet Explorer simplifies bargain hunting by putting the information right where you're most likely to see it.

A utilitarian drop-down box lets you select the retail outlet where you're shopping. Click the store in question, and current coupon codes and promotions instantly arrive in their own window.

Relocate the Firefox sidebar: Want to move the sidebar to the right side of your screen? Edit your userChrome.css file or create a new one in your profile/chrome folder. Find it in C:\Documents and Settings\xxxxx\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\yyyyyyyy.default\chrome, where xxxxx is your username, and yyyyyyyy is a random set of eight characters. (If you don't see the Application Data file in your user folder, go to the Tools menu, click Folder Options and then the View tab, and select Show Hidden Files and Folders.) Rename the example file there userChrome.css, and then add the following code to the bottom of the file:

/* Place the sidebar on the right edge of the window */
hbox#browser { direction: rtl; }
hbox#browser > vbox { direction: ltr; }

Keep track of Adsense earnings: If you use Adsense on your website or blog, you can use the Adsense Notifier Firefox plug-in to keep track of your daily earnings within the browser, in real time. Just check the bottom right corner for total ad impressions, CPM, and your total daily earnings as they accrue.

NEXT PAGE: Five essential browser add-ons > >

  1. Make your software do more... for free
  2. Browser boosters, part I
  3. Browser boosters, part II
  4. Five essential browser add-ons
  5. Office optimisers
  6. More office optimisers
  7. Five essential office add-ons
  8. Multimedia muscle builders
  9. More multimedia muscle builders
  10. Five essential multimedia add-ons

For the best free software, visit PC Advisor Downloads

IDG UK Sites

LG G4 Note UK release date and specification rumours: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 killer could be the LG 3......

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 off Retina iMac with new model