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ListOfHelpfulWindowsUtilities

Favorite Windows Utilities

This page showcases software that Cavi students find useful.

Add your own utilities. Please try to follow the format of the entries here, so information will stay consistent. A blank entry has been provided at the end of the list for your convenience.

Program Name: 7-Zip

Where To Get It: Cavi Extras directory. or its
Official website:
http://www.7-zip.org/

Is it free: Yes

Version Tested: 9.20

Works With JAWS: Yes

Works With NVDA: Yes

What it Does: Decompresses or compresses most common archive formats. Integrates in to context menu.

Accessibility Comments: Fully accessible.

Additional Notes: Can simultaneously unzip multiple archives, so you can right-click on and extract files from groups of them. Most virtual machines are distributed in 7Z format. Works great for decompressing bookshare. A portable version (for running from flash drive) is also available.

Program Name: WinFF

Where To Get It: Its official site is:

	http://winff.org/html_new/ 

Is it free: Yes

Version Tested: 1.4.2

Works With JAWS: Yes

Works With NVDA: Yes

What it Does: Though promoted as a video converter, WinFF is superb at converting between nearly all unprotected audio formats as well. It's based on the command-line free ffmpeg and provides a Windows front-end which lets you choose options in a dialog box but shows you the command-line parameters that it supplies to the converter.

Accessibility Comments: Fully accessible.

Additional Notes: Not as consistent in its behavior because it's available for other operating systems. Use spacebar to press some buttons and arrows to navigate multi-tabbed dialogs. No online help; users must know something about various audio formats.

Program Name: DirUse

Where To Get It: Microsoft Support Tools. This has been in the package since the Windows NT Resource Kit. Check the general page at:

	http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc758202(v=ws.10) 

or The Windows XP Service Pack 2 support tools at:

	http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=18546

Is it free: Yes with a valid Windows license key

Version Tested: Microsoft calls this version 1, released August 2004, but I know previous version 1s existed.

Works With JAWS: Yes

Works With NVDA: Yes

What it Does: Command-line tool similar to Unix DU. Can report sizes of all directories or a chosen set. Can restrict its output to directories that are over a specified size. The support tools consist of 79 other small command-line utilities which are of varying degrees of usefulness.

Accessibility Comments: Fully accessible.

Additional Notes: Type /h on the command line for a list of parameters (which scrolls. Use Sort to display the output in size order rather than directory order. For example

	diruse /m /s   c:\ | sort > allDirectories.txt

For another example, You can also set a scheduled task to run DirUse for a weekly report of all directories that have grown over six gig.

I tested in Windows 7 and DirUse works there as well. However, Microsoft doesn't document whether all utilities in their support tools work with later Windows versions. Because Diruse doesn't write to files, it's almost certainly safe.

Program Name: EdSharp

Where To Get It:

	http://www.empowermentzone.com/edsetup.exe  

Is it free: Yes

Version Tested: 3.3, February 22, 2012

Works With JAWS: Yes

Works With NVDA: Yes

What it Does: Text editor designed by and for screen reader users. Makes selecting text especially intuitive. Is under active development. Many features, including ability to convert from a wide variety of formats including epub. Huge list of keyboard shortcuts, but all features can also be reached from menus. Gracefully handles word-wrap and line endings from different operating systems.

Accessibility Comments: Fully accessible. Includes special scripts for JAWS to enhance usability even more.

Additional Notes: I love EdSharp. It's hard to go back to having to hold down the shift and use the arrows to select text after working with this editor.

Program Name: TextAloud

Where To Get It: Official site is:

	www.nextup.com 

Is it free: No, but a trial version is.

Version Tested: 3.0.43

Works With JAWS: Yes

Works With NVDA: Yes

What it Does: Reads text out loud using any unprotected SAPI 4 or 5 voice on the system. Can save audio files in many formats of the voice reading at your chosen speed. Can read text, word, html or pdf. Can process a batch of files unattended. Can switch voices during batch processing. Can pause between sentences and paragraphs for more natural sounding speech.

Accessibility Comments: Each version becomes more accessible. It's not perfect, and some features need to be accessed with the Mouse cursor, but it can be particularly handy for people with some vision who want to simply click on parts of a document to have read out loud. The batch processing features and voice selection however are done through familiar multi-tabbed dialog boxes with tree views.

Additional Notes: The program has a screen reader compatibility mode which should be enabled for easier use. I run this program in my job every day and don't find it difficult to access with a screen reader. Additionally, the nextup.com site has the largest available collection of both free and paid SAPI voices on the net. It has samples of every voice they sell and you can download all the free voices to use with the trial version without spending anything.

Support is superb and the company is very responsive to accessibility concerns. However, because the program is so useful to a wide variety of disabled people, they have chosen to retain interface elements that though perhaps not as convenient for vision-impaired users, do help others with different limitations.

Program Name: Belarc Advisor

Where To Get It:

	http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html

Is it free: Yes, for personal, noncommercial use

Version Tested: Unknown

Works With JAWS: Yes

Works With NVDA: Yes

What it Does: Documents details of your system in a local HTML page. Good for diagnostics or just learning about your computer. Recommended in lectures for ITE Module 2.

Accessibility Comments: Fully accessible, because it's just a web page.

Additional Notes: Other diagnostic tools can have even more detail but aren't quite as screen-reader friendly.

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Page last modified on July 30, 2012, at 10:22 PM