Noteworthy Shareware turned Freeware in March 2011


Every month I try to find and present a handful of noteworthy software titles that used to be payware but have been released as freeware. This month’s installment is as follows:

HWiNFO, Spider Player, Spicy Guitar, Rising Security Software, A Form Filler, and Kidlogger PRO.

Note (1) that this is not an endorsement nor a review of these programs but merely a list. Unlike other posts on this site, I have not necessarily installed or tested these programs. (2) To check out last month’s installment of shareware turned freeware, go here.

shareware turned freeware mar2011-wt


HWiNFO32 ScreenshotHWiNFO Screenshot

1. HWiNFO: a powerful system information tool that aims to support “the latest components, industry technologies, and standards”. The Windows version of this software (HWiNFO32) was free for some time; however, the developers have now released the DOS version (HWiNFO) as freeware as well.

Spider Player Screenshot2. Spider Player: a very ambitious music player that can play numerous formats, can rip CDs and convert audio formats, can record internet radio, apply and manage DSP effects (including support for WinAmp plugins), and purports to have excellent sound quality.

The program is no longer being supported, and the developer has publishing a serial number for use in registering this program on its website.

The media player field is choc full of excellent, free music players; if you try this one let us know what you think about it in the comments section.

Spicy Guitar Screenshot3. Spicy Guitar: a “physically modeled” acoustic guitar synthesizer for Windows or Mac. It apparently sounds really good and can be mapped to a MIDI controller or device.

See this impressive software in action in the video below:

Rising_Anti-Virus Screenshot

4. The entire line or Rising security software (note: this is a Google translated link): all of these ares now 100% free. The home page is in Chinese but their programs include English language support. They have an English language site here, but as of this writing it has yet to mention that all products have become freeware.

Rising’s Antivirus and other security software seem (at times) to have strong advocates on the internet; however the AV program usually does not show up on tests conducted by independent sources such as AV Comparatives. I have previously shied away from reviewing or endorsing the previous free versions, but would be very interested in a head to head comparison of this program with other security software.

May be of interest: see my article entitled: The best free antivirus: a comparison. A little dated but, I believe, still relevant.

Also, if your first inclination is to say “no thank you I don’t trust Chinese software” then simply move on. No need to share that gem in the comments.

A form filler screenshot5. A Form Filler: software that can automatically fill in forms and password dialogs as they appear on your screen. It runs in the background and can do things such as log you into Outlook or other email programs, but does not seem designed to enter in your passwords in browsers (such as a program like Lastpass for example).

This program can be password protected itself and can encrypt your info and prevent it from being viewed, changed, etc. by others.

KidLogger PRO Screenshot6. KidLogger PRO: software for PC, Mac, and Android designed to monitor user’s usage of computers or devices and upload it to your Kidlogger online account (or to your web mail). KidLogger PRO is now free and open source; the web services, however, include some services and options which are paid. I cannot elaborate more on what is free and what isn’t because I did NOT test this software out myself.

This program is somewhat scary in what it is designed to do (I actually went back and forth on whether I wanted to include it in this post). It can log keypresses, monitor for certain words being typed it then take screenshots and upload them to your online account when these are detected, take screenshots of Skype video chats, record Mic activity to MP3, among other “services”.

Does this software work as advertised? Is it effective? Can it be easily detected and/or disabled? I do not know the answer to any of these questions. If you have more input on this or would like to share your experience please do so in the comments section below.

Do you know of other shareware that’s recently turned freeware? Email me and let me know.