For owners of PCs running Windows, NirSoft (nirsoft.net) has a large collection of useful freeware utilities. Programs are downloaded in ZIP files, so you must have a program to open them. Here are just three of the utilities we tried. All worked right from their folders and did not need installation.

1 IE PassView v1.31 recovers lost passwords from any version of Internet Explorer. It displays the Web address for the password, password type (AutoComplete, Password-Protected Web Site or FTP), user name and password. It also allows you to delete passwords you no longer use.

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2 SearchMyFiles v2.40 is a welcome alternative to Windows "search for files and folders" utility. It can search for files by wild card, by last modified/created/last accessed time, by file attributes, by file content and by file size. After searching, you can save the list or copy it to the clipboard.

3 LastActivityView v1.03 collects information from the PC's system and displays a log of actions made by the user and events that occurred on the computer, including the running of .exe files, software installations, system shutdowns and starts, application or system crashes.