General Win9x/2000/32 Software

I am forever looking for good freeware and shareware software for my server. Often I will find some excellent programs, but they are often commercial programs, with time bombs, or limited features until you pay for them. These generally wont make my freeware page, but if they are still good I might still mention them here instead.

How ratings work.
When putting software on this page, i  use the following criteria to rate it:
1 Ease of use
2 Runs in Windows 95
3 Easy to use
4 Is just plain Awesome

As long as a product matches at least two of these criteria it gets put below.

Ok on to the files! Below I have listed my favorite apps utils, servers etc., and rated them. 

I am a pretty hard when i rate; here is a rough guide:
50% or above. An OK App. (C-)
55% or above. Not bad at all. (C)
60% or above. Pretty Good. (C+)
65% or above. Worth a look at (B-) Worth Paying for.
70% or above. Great Effort. (B)
75% or above. Well worth buying. (B+)
80% or above. Truly something very special. (A-) Worth an Award.
85% or above. Pure Brilliance. (A)
90% or above. Inspires Awe. (A+)
95% or above. Godlike in its greatness. (A++) Worth a Prize.
At a glance color code chart.
Client Application
 S Server Daemon Application
 G Game
 M Misc Admin Utility

The software.
File/link Code Description Restriction/price Requirements My Rating
3am Laboratories Pty Ltd

Makers Homepage

 S A web based remote administration & control tool, FTP server, and port mapper.

RemoteAnywhere offers several secure features for remotely managing & controlling a computer with little more than a web browser with Java and SSL - or a remote console, which can be accessed using telnet or SSH. SSL is optional, but strongly
recommended for the simple fact it is more secure than plain text http.

The web interface is its main selling point, from here you have control of almost every aspect of the computer (registry, users, access control, files etc.)
it can do everything short of walking up to the computer and pulling out the plug. 
Who knows, it may even do that one day too! As it is, it can do the next best thing, you can even shut the computer down!

It can also be used to remotely take control of the computer, much like PC anywhere only without the need for a client, and works like you are actually sitting at the computer.

Amazingly, it can also internally generate its own SSL certificates and SSH keys.. 
Avoiding the need to spend additional money for extra security. Very convenient. 

If your after a remote admin util, with good features and support at a good price, forget PC Anywhere - buy RemoteAnywhere instead!

30 Day time bomb.

One installation per registration
unlimited client connections / $99 US from Binary Research International Inc.

Win9x / NT / 2k / ME / XP 92% 
(Decent price to feature ratio)
I tried a much earlier beta version of this once, it wasn't bad, but I never really gave it a serious look. However - CONSIDERABLE improvements have been made since then. Most noteworthy being the remote control option. This makes it a direct competitor to PC Anywhere, but with more features, better support, and costs around $80 less!

I used the remote control option more than other features; if they sold a product that did that alone, it would probably still sell well. (especially considering their generous volume licensing)

However, the other features are not to be overlooked - they are all very useful, and give 
more features and security than the built in remote console on many windows installs. 

Testing on windows 2000 and windows 98 machines, I found it worked almost flawlessly
in both cases, and wasn't too resource hungry.

It had some minor irritations -
Remote control generates Java errors under Netscape 4.75.
Proxies can cause a number of odd quirks, most serious being you cannot always generate 
a certificate.

Neither of these are a problem; if you access the machine directly, using internet explorer. (which would be the most common deployment anyway)


Tiny Software
WinRoute Pro

Makers Homepage

This is a complete firewall, gateway, DNS forwarder, caching proxy, NAT, DHCP server, email manager / server and port mapper solution. It does all of these tasks with a fairly simple user interface, while maintaining an acceptable degree of security. 

I did notice however in all the versions i tested, that the built in port mapper does not seem to work as it should; at least in windows 95 - and nowhere does the (fairly good) documentation explain why. 
At a guess I would say that the port mapper adds a remote nat table mapping, as opposed to normal port binding like other port mappers - which may be why i could never get it to work, as I needed a machine out side of my LAN to test it.

Shareware -
1 month time bomb

Retail, 5 user to unlimited user licenses available / 
from $149 (5 user) to $1019 (unlimited)(US Dollars)

Win9x / NT / 2000 91% (Well made- but way over priced)
This is a great program, but it costs a small fortune, there is a "Lite" version available as well, but from my testing it is awful to use, and has a number of small but gaping security holes in it which the makers are aware of; but from my email queries unwilling to fix. I would recommend getting their personal firewall as well if you intend to buy this, as it offers a slightly improved firewall model. 

This product gets updated every few months, so I recommend downloading the version off their website instead of the version I have here.

Paul Smith Computer Services
vDHCP (v0.6)
Makers Homepage
This is a DHCP server for users running any sort of windows server on a network. It is VERY easy to setup, very reliable (it has never crashed on my server) and fairly reasonably priced if you have a medium sized LAN. Shareware -
30 day time bomb

Retail -
Unlimited Address's, 
Installation on one server per license / £20 (UK), $30 (US)

Win9x / NT / 2000 90% (Worth getting)
A very nice program, I use it instead of the DHCP server built into my NAT software. Australian buyers may want to look at the Australian distributors list, as the exchange rate is a killer. Only prob I ever found was sometimes win95 machines would get confused when renewing leases at startup, but they usually leased it fine after login. 
Aryeh Eiderman 
Netstrap Ltd

Makers Homepage

This is a windows based Domain Name Server. It works great on either a LAN for assigning subnet hostnames, or if you need a full DNS for your webserver.
It can act as both a DNS proxy, or as a fully functional DNS. It is also simple to setup once you are familiar with the way a DNS works. 
Click here for more information.
Shareware -
28 day time bomb

Retail -
Unlimited hostnames, One installation per registration. / 
Price is still being decided.

Win9x / NT / 2000 90% (Very Useful)
Very compact and efficient program, I have disabled my NAT's dns forwarding functions in favor of using this instead. This program is always getting improved, so the download link on the left may be an out of date version.

As always, check on the makers page if unsure.

Helmsman Research
Net Diagram (13-5-2002)

Makers Homepage

This program elegantly combines some features previously only in separate utilities like AnalogX Netstat Live, AnalogX Packetmon, NetMonitor, and Tiny Personal Firewall's connection status window. 

This program monitors network activity to your computer.  It displays incoming + outgoing bandwidth as well as who is using it. Bandwidth totals are displayed in a simple bar graph window. It also monitors shared files and folders, and tells you who is accessing them.

Perfect for people using file sharing tools, or  windows networking.

It also installs a Packet Capture driver called Pcap which it uses to get network information.

This program is deceptively simple looking.
When you run it, you see a small window with "upload" and "download".  Left is peak speed, above that a Users and Files counter. Top right, the most recent connection IP is shown. A graph also shows how much bandwidth is currently in use. A right click is options, containing colors, "always on top" and transparency. Clicking the users or files counter brings up additional information windows. One shows all recently connected IPs (with separate upload and download speed indicators), the other all the open shared files and folders. (and who opened them) - Handy. 

Note: Download latest version from maker.

Shareware - 
30 day time bomb 

Retail - 
One installation per registration. /   $24.90 (US)

Win9x / NT / 2k / ME / XP 87% (Handy)
Overall a pretty good, screen efficient program.
Simple looking, the most interesting features are just a few mouse clicks away.
"Always on top" works especially well (unlike some programs where you loose half your desktop) when combined with transparency. You can be monitoring your network activity, and still see any other programs  your using. - Very Cool.

I did notice a few minor issues however. It seems best suited for something like windows 2000, as in windows 95 for example, the Always on top, transparency and sharing monitor features don't work.

I also found I had to manually hit "refresh" to get up to date "open shared files" info. Potentially a problem when you want to know who is on your server in real time.

There where also some purely cosmetic things:
The Active connection window:
Clicking column headings doesn't sort, and idle IPs remain in the window. This made watching all active connections difficult. 

The graph:
I would have liked the option for a line graph, and the graph seemed sensitive to network spikes, often making the scale too difficult to read.

Also, No "about" window. When you pay money its nice to see who you paid, and your name so you feel good about your purchase.

Sierra Studios
Half-Life Blue Shift

Makers Homepage

G The latest in Sierra's quake II based engine games. This is a recent addition to the halflife franchise of games.

In this game we once again take the role of another character from the original game, this time playing "Barney Calhoun" a security guard character often encountered in the other two half life games. 

Also included is the Opposing Force Addon (where you play the role of one of the soldiers invading black mesa) and an optional graphics upgrade.

I can only wonder what the next half life game will be.. from the scientists or business suit guys perspective perhaps? Or maybe the aliens?

(Note: if you download the opposing force demo from sierras website, then copy the Op Force data dir from this retail install, it may be possible to play the game without a half life install, as the stand alone engine from the original release of opposing force was used in the demo, i haven't tested this however, so it would probably be very unstable, and offer no multiplayer)

Retail -
One Client Installation only / 
Price: around $49.95(AU) in most large chain stores.
Win9x / 32
Runs from CD
(for blue shift)
Halflife installed 
(for Op Force)

Wont run in normal NT 3.* or 4.* 
(needs directx 6 or better)

70% (Handy on a bored weekend)
Although there are many interesting boasts about the graphics and network gaming capabilities of this game on the sierra website.. It was odd that the game itself didn't have any obvious multiplayer options at all.. the network files for accessing WON are installed, but there is no way to use them!

Interestingly most of the graphics used on its promo page were from Opposing force, which although included on the blue shift CD, you can't play unless you have a separate installation of halflife, which is even stranger as blue shift includes a full game engine when you install it.

The game itself is nice, but a little short, I found it much too easy to complete. With the medium difficulty setting i had beaten the game in a little over 7 hours. Opposing force (included) actually seems longer, and has much more improvements than blue shift.

Without Opposing force included, this game would have reviewed at a pitiful 50% 

Webmaster Inc
Conference Room
(v1.2/1.3 Win)
Makers Homepage
S IRC and Webchat server
It contains EVERY thing you need to start an IRC server, or network all in the one package.
Note: This download is an old version. I suggest getting the latest from the makers page.
Shareware - 10 User limit, and 
30 day time bomb

Retail -
Between 1000 and 10000 connections / between $495 
and $4295 (US) depending which version.

Win98 / NT / 2000 / Linux / Solarus / *bsd 55% (nice but expensive)
This is a well designed IRC server, it has every feature you could ever want. Unfortunately, it also costs a small fortune, which is hard to justify for a generally non-profit service.

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