There are fewer delights in life greater than the fabled "holiday break" that comes this time each year. For those fortunate enough to have some time off from their places of business, it's a treat to be able to come home to a roaring fire, a loud desktop machine, and a week-or-so's worth of frantic Web browsing and video game playing. This is also the perfect time of year to run some tweaking on your computer, and invariably the perfect time of year for Murphy's Law to curse you with an unresponsive desktop or faltering operating system. But fear not! Santa Maximum PC is ready with a bag full of freeware applications for you to tinker (or save your computer) with.
What it does: The holiday season is the perfect time to wipe your hard drive and start anew--or any hard drive, for that matter. Nuke your valuable data back to a clean, fresh, unrecoverable sea of blank with Copywipe. The program runs straight out of Windows and delivers a variety of options for blasting the bits on your drive into an unreadable format. In fact, most of the options exceed government standards for hard drive destruction. Once you've destroyed the contents of your drive beyond recognition, wrap it up and give it away as a present!
What it does: The answer's Windows. But as to why your operating system just flickered into a blue screen of unhappiness, well, that's where WhoCrashed comes into play. The application analyzes exactly why your computer crashed and lists out the details of the oopsie in great detail. That way, you'll be able to discern--and perhaps even fix--a malfunctioning driver or a host of other issues that could be plaguing your PC. If not, at least you'll have a better idea of what's going on, more so than if you defaulted to using Windows' clunky crash reporting tool.
What it does: In a word, madness. This free software allows you to connect multiple keyboards and mice to your PC. Each keyboard can type as freely as if you only had one, and each mouse gets its own cursor for operation. This software is the perfect application for any of those "many people, one computer" games, like bowling, or Scorched Earth, etc. Although we venture that you could be one crazy RTS player with this program running on your PC -- fire it up and let us know if it works!
What it does: Get a whole host of new retail applications for the holidays? Unsure about whether you really want them on your system or not? Fire up Sandboxie, a virtual environment that lets you run anything you want without it actually affecting your PC. Don't let anything past the sandbox until you've determined that it's something you actually want milling about your operating system.
What it does: Didn't get that Mac you wanted for the holiday? Fear not. Fire up DExposE2, and you can have the seamless functionality of the Mac's Expose feature right on your Windows machine. If you're unfamiliar with the feature, here's what it does. With the touch of a button, all of your open windows are arranged into squares onto your display. But here's the catch--with Expose, they're live windows. See what's going on in each window before you select which one you want to flip to. That, or you could just be greedy and watch all of your open windows at once. We're not going to lie, that's a little weird.