PCMag’s 173 Best Free Software of 2009

PCMag just came out with their list of 173 Best Free Software of 2009.  I use a number of these.  Even if you don’t find any use for the software on this list, this reference list can be quite handy when you’re in a pinch for something quick and free.

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MSDOS Comands

Once in a blue moon, the ability to control windows from the command line simplifies the (not so user-friendly) GUI/visual maze  that is the Windows OS.  For instance, if I wish to reset to network settings (e.g. switching back from VPN to my ISP), I can type:

netsh winsock reset catalog 

This command will rebuild network settings from scratch: by resetting the socket which manages the TCP/IP.   This can be used to handle network problems (browser problem, IP address related problems, etc …).    Here’s a command by command explanation (taken from burrowowl)

  • netsh: this is a Windows utility that allows one to display or change network settings locally or remotely. The first part of this command simply tells Windows which utility you wish to use; the rest of the command consists of arguments to this utility.
  • winsock: this argument to the “netsh” utility specifies the context for the command. We want to affect the winsock implementation of the Windows system we’re running the command on, as we suspect that something spooky has been corrupted there. Another context that could have been specified here instead would be “ip.”
  • reset: this argument is an instruction within the previously-specifies context and subcontext means what it says, to reset to default. An example of another instruction that could have been specified here would be “show.”
  • catalog: this is an argument to the “reset” instruction telling the netsh utility what we would like to reset, specifically the winsock catalog. The winsock catalog can be thought of as a list of software that has been inserted into your TCP/IP. By resetting this listing, you are reasserting which background widgets should be handling your networking tasks.

Since a simple, single command such as the one above can be helpful, I decided to look for some of the most commonly used MSDOS commands, for future reference.

MSDOS Commands (Taken from RDWeb)

MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) is a command line user interface, and although not commonly used today, it was the main operating system for the PC-compatible platform in the 1980s. After its launch in 1981 several versions of MSDOS were released up until Microsoft stopped developing it in 2000.

The following table displays the most common MSDOS commands. Although fairly comprehensive, the list is non-exhaustive and some of these commands are now defunct and/or may not work with your particular DOS version or Windows Command Line.

DOS Commands | Descriptions

Command Description
ANSI.SYS Reassigns keys, alters display graphics, and cursor movement
APPEND DOS looks at other directories when file editing/running commands
ARP Displays, removes, adds arp info from network devices
ASSIGN Assigns a drive letter to an alternate drive
ASSOC Views file associations
AT Schedules a time to execute programs or commands
ATMADM Lists addresses and connections seen by Windows ATM call manager
ATTRIB Displays/changes file attributes
BATCH Recovery console command that executes commands in a file
BOOTCFG Recovery console command that allows view/modify/rebuild boot.ini  
BREAK Enables/disables CTRL+C
CACLS Views, modifies file ACL’s
CALL Calls a batch file from another batch file
CD Changes directories
CHCP Supplements International keyboard/character set info
CHDIR Changes directories
CHKDSK Checks HDD running FAT for errors
CHKNTFS Checks HDD running NTFS for errors
CHOICE Specifies listing of multiple options within batch file
CLS Clears screen
CMD Opens command interpreter
COLOR Changes foreground/background colour of the MSDOS window
COMMAND Opens command interpreter
COMP Compares files
COMPACT Compresses/uncompresses files
CONTROL Opens Control Panel icons from MSDOS prompt
CONVERT Converts FAT to NTFS
COPY Copies files to another location
CTTY Changes computer’s input/output devices
DATE Views or changes system date
DEBUG Debug utility creates assembly programs/modifies hardware settings
DEFRAG Rearranges HDD to help with loading programs
DEL Deletes files
DELETE Recovery console command that deletes a file
DELTREE Deletes files and/or directories
DIR Lists directory contents
DISABLE Recovery console command to disable system services/drivers
DISKCOMP Compare disks
DISKCOPY Copies contents of one disk to another
DOSKEY Views and executes commands that have previously run
DOSSHELL Graphical user interface to assist MSDOS users
DRIVPARM Enables overwrite of original device drivers
ECHO Displays messages and enables/disables echo
EDIT Views/edits files
EDLIN Views/edits files
EMM386 Loads extended Memory Manager
ENABLE Recovery console command to enable/disable service, driver
ENDLOCAL Stops localization of environment changes enabled by SETLOCAL
ERASE Erases files
EXIT Exits from command interpreter
EXPAND Expands Windows files to original format
EXTRACT Extracts files from Windows cabinets
FASTHELP Displays MSDOS commands lists and info about them
FC Compares files
FDISK Utility to create partitions on HDD
FIND Searches for text within a file
FINDSTR Searches for text string within a file
FIXBOOT Writes a new boot sector
FIXMBR Writes new boot record to disk drive
FOR Boolean used in batch files
FORMAT Command to erase/prepare disk drive
FTP Command to connect/operate on FTP server
FTYPE Displays/modifies file types used in file ext associations
GOTO Moves a batch file to a specific label/location
GRAFTABL Shows ext characters in graphics mode
HELP Displays a listing of commands and explanation
IF Allows batch files to perform conditional processing
IFSHLP.SYS 32 bit file manager
IPCONFIG Network command to view network adapter settings/assigned values
KEYB Changes keyboard layout
LABEL Changes disk drive label
LH Loads device driver into high memory
LISTSVC Recovery console command that displays services/drivers
LOADFIX Loads program above first 64k
LOADHIGH Loads device driver into high memory
LOCK Locks HDD
LOGON Recovery console command to list installations/enable admin login
MAP Displays device name of drive
MD Command to create new directory
MEM Displays system memory
MKDIR Command to create new directory
MODE Modifies port/display settings
MORE Displays one page at a time
MOVE Moves files from one directory to another
MSAV Early Microsoft Virus scanner
MSD Diagnostics utility
MSCDEX Utility used to load and provide access to CDROM
NBTSTAT Displays protocol statistics/current TCP/IP connections using NBT
NET Updates, views, fixes network/network settings
NETSH Configures dynamic/static network info from DOS
NETSTAT Displays TCP/IP network protocol statistics/info
NLSFUNC Loads country specific info
NSLOOKUP Looks up IP address of a domain/host on a network
PATH Views/modifies computer’s path location
PATHPING Views/locates locations of network latency
PAUSE Batch file command to stop the processing of a command
PCPARK Parks HDD heads to enable safe shutdown – used on early versions
PING Test/send info to another computer, network or network device
POPD Changes to directory/network path stored by PUSHD command
POWER Conserves power with computer portables
PRINT Prints data to printer port
PROMPT Views/changes MSDOS prompt
PUSHD Stores directory/network path in memory for future reference
QBASIC Opens QBasic
RD Removes empty directory
REN Renames file/directory
RENAME Renames file/directory
RMDIR Removes empty directory
ROUTE Views and configures Windows network route tables
RUNAS Enables user to remote execute a program on another computer
SCANDISK Runs scandisk utility
SCANREG Scans registry/recover registry from errors
SET Changes one variable/string to another
SETLOCAL Enables local environments to be altered without global affect
SETVER Changes msdos version to trick older dos programs
SHARE Installs support for file sharing/locking capabilities
SHIFT Changes position of replaceable parameters in batch program
SHUTDOWN Shutsdown computer from the DOS prompt
SMARTDRV Creates disk cache in conventional memory/extended memory
SORT Sorts input and displays output to screen
START Starts separate window in Windows from MSDOS prompt
SUBST Substitutes a folder on computer for another drive letter
SWITCHES Removes/adds functions from MSDOS
SYS Transfers system files to drive
TELNET Telnet to another computer/device from prompt
TIME Views/modifies system time
TITLE Changes title of MSDOS window
TRACERT Visually view network packets route across a network
TREE Views visual tree of HDD
TYPE Displays contents of a file
UNDELETE Undeletes deleted file
UNFORMAT Unformats HDD
UNLOCK Unlocks HDD
VER Displays version info
VERIFY Enables/disables feature to see if files have been correctly written
VOL Displays volume info about designated drive
XCOPY Copies files, directories, and/or drives from one location to another

Online Speedtest Sites

I recently switched from cable to DSL internet (3 Mbps) and wanted to see if I should upgrade to the 6 Mbps plan, so here are some online sites for speed test or bandwidth test:

ATT Yahoo DSL Setup with Qwest DSL Modem

ATT Yahoo DSL Setup with Qwest 2Wire Gateway (taken from TechTip )

Just successfully set up ATT Internet with Qwest 2Wire Gateway Modem!

  1. Connect DSL modem to phone jack, computer, check for DSL light.
  2. Log into modem if necessary (192.168.0.1 or http://homeportal/).
  3. Use the following temporary username and password to get a connection: 
    username: “sbcyahooreg@sbcglobal.net”
    password: “sbcyahooreg”
  4. Get own login, go to https://sbcreg.sbcglobal.net/ or support.sbcglobal.net/register and go through the signup process.
  5. Register and get a permanent login name and password.
  6. Check speed with speed test or use other speed test sites.