Top 20 Free Web Services, Downloads And Tips For IT Pros

The Best Things In IT Are Free

Need a better way manage attachments, find out if an email recipient has opened an email, or want to keep hackers from cracking into your online banking account?

With these free tools, online services, and tips users can save time and be more productive at work. Better yet, each one of the tools, tips, and downloads listed here are 100 percent free.

Inbox Zero Tool

Online Service: Alto

Many users don't just have hundreds of old emails collecting dust in your inbox, they have thousands. Alto is a clever Web-based inbox management service that connects with either a Gmail, Yahoo, AOL or Apple iCloud email service. It works by giving users a unique view of their inbox so they can take a quick look at what's there and helps them decide what can be deleted. Alto's power is in its ability to scan an inbox and sort messages into categories (called Stacks) that can be deleted with just one click.


Malware Removal

Desktop Download: Malwarebytes

All users of course have up-to-date antivirus running their PCs. But unfortunately Murphy's Law also applies to a computer's security protection. That's where Malwarebytes comes in. The software acts as an added level protection on top of antivirus software that neutralizes malware and other nasty things that get past those programs.


Military-Grade Digital File Shredder

Desktop Download: File Shredder

Need a handy and free desktop file shredder? This File Shredder program will obliterate files, folders, entire drives, including free space on users' hard drives where previously deleted files can be recovered from. File Shredder uses several different file shredding algorithms, allowing users to pick the level of destruction they desire.

Site: FileShredder .org

Check If An Email Was Opened

Service: Did They Read It

Corporate email services allow users to ask for an email receipt upon delivery of an email. But for all other emails DidTheyReadIt is a service that allows users to send email to anyone and receive a notification that they opened it. This is a great tool for managing email sales leads and eliminating the "I didn't see your email" excuse.

The service allows users to send 10 free emails a month, but users will have to fork over $25 for a paid account that allows them to track 500 messages a month for three months.


Free OCR Scanning of PDFs And Images

Download: Free OCR

What's behind receiving an important PDF document with text that can't be cut and pasted or edited? The culprit is often the PDF was created using images and not actual text. Free OCR software will scan images and PDF files, identify text, and turn that text into a document users can edit using a word processor.


Uber Cloud Management Tool

Online Service: Otixo

Free consumer cloud services have popped up all over the Web. For users that have multiple accounts spread across several services, Otixo is a free cloud aggregator that can connect Amazon S3, Box, Dropbox, Picasa, SkyDrive and SugarSync into one uber cloud drive with a one single pane of glass management console. Otixo has a slick interface that allows users to drag and drop files between various cloud providers. The service is free for up to 250 MB of bandwidth usage a month and is $10 for unlimited bandwidth.


Make Downloading PC Essentials A Breeze

Download: Ninite

Ninite eliminates the hassle of having to chase down multiple programs when either updating or setting up a new (32- or 64-bit) Windows or Ubuntu Linux PC. Ninite's website allows users to select from a long list of popular software programs from antivirus, media players, and utilities and then generates a custom installer executable. Next, users just run the installer program and Ninite downloads and installs all the programs.

Site: Ninite

F ind What's Junking Up Your PC

Download: SpaceSniffer

How can a hard drive get so full? For a fast snapshot of what's hogging up so much space, the free SpaceSniffer application scans and identifies what it is. Once it analyzes the system, it generates a report that helps users zap just the junk to free up space on the PC and keep it running smoothly.


Create Email Distribution Groups In Office 365


Emailing the same group of people over and over again by inputting each email separately gets tiresome. In Outlook, users can save time by creating Distribution Groups that can make emailing a group of 20 people as easy as emailing one person. Here is how to set up Distribution Groups in Office 365 Outlook.

Eliminate Mystery Cursor Movements

Download: TouchFreeze

Oh, the scourge of keyboard touchpads that seem too sensitive and send a cursor jumping around the screen. The free touchpad app is a nifty program that senses when users are typing and deactivates the touchpad, eliminating the aggravation of having a jumpy cursor.

Site: TouchFreeze

Crud Removal For Uninstalling Programs

Desktop Dowload: Revo Uninstaller

When users uninstall a software program, oftentimes they aren't uninstalling it and end up leaving behind stray DLLs and registry keys that can cause system slowdowns and conflicts. The Revo Uninstaller utility works by running a program's uninstaller program and goes a step further, removing all the bits of code commonly left behind.

Site: Revo Uninstaller

Give Windows 8 That Windows 7 Look And Feel

Download: Classic Shell

There are several apps for Windows 8.x that allow users to bring back the beloved Start Menu and give their new Window 8 machine that Windows 7 look and feel. But Classic Shell tops the list of IT pros who say the software program offers just the right mix of simplicity and utility sans the adware and spyware that similar Start Menu utilities inject.

Site: ClassicShell

Send Email Attachments Directly To Dropbox

Online Service: Send To Dropbox

Looking for a way to manage all those email attachments? Activating SendToDropbox on Dropbox makes saving attachments as easy as forwarding an email with an attachment to users' own unique email address. DropBox will then automatically organize attachments into logical groups such as JPG, PDF and DOC files.

Site: Send To Dropbox

Backup A Smartphone To Dropbox

Online Service: DropBox SmartPhone Backup

DropBox offers online storage, but why stop there? A third-party Android app called Easy Backup offer a free smartphone utility that allows users to back up and restore SMS, MMS, call logs, calendar, bookmarks and contacts. The app allows users to create the backups and store them on their DropBox account or, if they prefer, on their phone's SD Card.

Site: Dropbox

Super Safe Web Browser For Locking Out Hackers

Download: Sandboxie

Users don't have to be the type to wear tinfoil hats to be biting their nails when conducting online banking. For added protection, users try Sandboxie, a sandboxed Web browser, that provides added protection for people who want peace of mind while banking online. The browser is free, unless users want to support the developer.

Site: Sandboxie

Extra Encryption For Cloud Storage

Online Service: BoxCryptor

Wth so many free cloud storage options, it's hard for users not to be tempted to stash important documents on them for sharing or archiving. BoxCryptor is a service that give users peace of mind that those documents are safe and sound. The services add an extra layer of protection should the documents become vulnerable to attack. The program uses encryption to ensure no prying eyes can get a hold of vital documents.

Site: BoxCryptor

Remote Desktop Access/Sharing

Download: Chrome Remote Desktop

Now that the LogMeIn Free version is gone, many users have been searching for a replacement that lets them remotely access or share their desktop. Topping the list of easy-to-use and free services is the Chrome Remote Desktop browser app. It comes with only one caveat. To use the service it requires a Google account.

To get started, users need to point their Chrome browser to the Google Web Store and search for "Chrome Remote Desktop." After installing the app on both PCs, users are ready to either share their PC with someone else or access their own PC remotely.

Site: Google Web Store

Lockdown Your Laptop And Track It Down If It Gets Stolen

Download: Prey

Laptops are attractive targets for thieves. To make sure users lock down their laptop and boost the odds they will ever see it again, they should check out Prey. The free utility offers an impressive list of security features including Wi-Fi auto connect, GPS and Wi-Fi geolocation, small memory footprint, webcam and screenshot capture, remote data removal, and PC lockdown.

Site: Prey

Documentation Tool For Troubleshooting PC Problems

Tip: Problem Steps Recorder

For users that have ever had a help desk headache that just couldn't be explained or reproduced, Problem Steps Recorder allows them to create an HTML slideshow of step-by-step actions so an IT admin can figure out exactly what the problem is and how to reproduce it.

The Microsoft tool is buried in Windows 7 and Windows 8. To unearth it, users need to go to their Windows Start menu and Windows 8 Start screen and type in "psr." Click the "psr" tool and follow the step-by-step instructions for recording an issue.

Help Friends Google And Get Them Off Your Back

Online Service: Let Me Google That For You

Google an answer for a co-worker and help them for a day. Teach a co-worker to Google for themselves and help them for a lifetime. That spin on the classic Chinese proverb is the impetus behind Let Me Google That For You. The service doesn't just help users Google, it also spits out a tidy URL to share with someone to help them see search results. Users have to try it to truly appreciate it.

Site: Let Me Google That For You