26 software downloads you shouldn't miss this week

As we reach the end of June, commercial developers are busy preparing software for a Q3 launch, so we’ll be entering a lean period for key, new releases. This doesn’t mean it was a quiet week; far from it. TechSmith released Camtasia 8.0 for Windows and 2.2 for Mac. This powerful screen-recording tool will enable you to produce professional-level presentations for just about any audience.

If you’re seeking an image editor to complement your screen recording toolkit, look no further than the free GIMPshop 2.8. This is effectively the popular GIMP, wrapped up in a different and user-friendly interface. The various K-Lite Codec Packs are a collection of codecs you can use to play video and audio content on your PC. Although it’s becoming more of a challenge to find videos that won’t play on your PC, there are still plenty encoded using a compression format that was more popular in the early part of the previous decade. Download K-Lite Codec Pack 8.92 Basic, the Standard pack, Full or Mega, which also contains a number of conversion tools.

On the same theme, take a close look at the Freemake Audio Box 0.9.4, which received a small update this week. This powerful search tool will enable you to locate and find free audio across the Internet. Winamp 5.63 was made available, whilst MakeMKV 1.7.4 will take your DVDs and Blu-rays and convert them to a MKV file you can use for streaming to your PC or TV.

One of our favorite hard drive management tools received an update this week. Paragon Backup & Recovery 2012 Free Rev.2 is a surprisingly powerful and comprehensive backup (and recovery) tool. The latest version ships with Windows 8 Release Preview support. Paragon Software also updated the commercial versions of Hard Disk Manager 12 Suite and Hard Disk Manager 12 Professional. Note, both are provided as function-limited demos.

You’d be surprised how many applications require Microsoft’s .NET Framework to operate. Most are seamless as .NET Framework is embedded within the Windows operating system. If the framework fails to work correctly, it’s very difficult to resolve and, as a result, applications may refuse to launch. The Microsoft .NET Framework Repair Tool 1.0 will scan your computer, look for .NET Framework issues and, hopefully, resolve them.

The powerful free virtualization manager, VirtualBox 4.1.18 received a welcome update this week, along with the VirtualBox Extension Pack 4.1.18. A virtualization tool will enable you to host and run another operating system on top of Windows, without the guest operating system affecting your regular installation. Ideal for testing a Linux distro or Windows 8 Release Preview. Another good reason for using a virtualization manager is to test new software in a sandboxed environment (you can quickly revert back to a previous working snapshot) or for developers to test their software in Windows XP running as a guest OS.

The week was surprisingly free of any major web browser releases, which makes a change. Firefox Australis 16.0.1a is a sideline project based on Firefox Nightly, with a (slightly) refined user-interface. Google Chrome 12 Dev received an upgrade and is worth a mention for it’s improved Windows 8 Metro UI support. Retina MacBook Pro users might want to take a look at  Google Canary v22, which is Google’s answer to Mozilla’s Firefox Nightly. The latest Google Canary now ships with basic support for Retina Mac’s.

IObit Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus 2013 takes their popular (yes, it is popular) system optimization tool and combines it with an antivirus engine from established security developers, Bitdefender. On the theme of security, MailWasher Free 2012 received its first major upgrade for a couple of years. Free version is very limited, with the commercial MailWasher Pro 2012 offering more functionality, albeit at a cost. LastPass 2.00 is a major upgrade to the secure password manager. KeyScrambler Personal 2.9.2 will securely scramble everything you type in to your web browser.

Other highlights this week include Geekbench 2.3.3, which Windows, Mac and Linux users can use to benchmark their computers and compare against other users. ImDisk 1.5.7 is a handy free tool that can be used to mount ISO files on your desktop, QuickMove 1.1.8 is a simple file management tool, whilst ExtremeCopy 2.1 Standard attempts to speed up file copying within Windows.

Photo Credit: Rafaël Croonen/Shutterstock

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