Ten Things to Help Writers with Tech Problems
Freeware caution: always scan free downloads of anything for bugs and other threats before dumping the programs into your hard drive.
Applejack 1.5 is a "user friendly troubleshooting assistant for Mac OS X. With AppleJack you can troubleshoot a computer even if you can't load the GUI, or don't have a startup CD handy. AppleJack runs in Single User Mode and is menu-based for ease of use" (OS: Mac OS X 10.2 or higher)
Damaged DOCX2TXT will "extract the text even from damaged or corrupted Word 2007 docx files where Word 2007 itself fails to salvage text. It can also be simply used as a viewer of the text in a docx file without having Word 2007" (OS: Win 2000/XP/2003/Vista)
Glary Utilities is "the #1 free, powerful and all-in-one utility in the world market! It offers numerous powerful and easy-to-use system tools and utilities to fix, speed up, maintain and protect your PC." Features: "Optimize, clean and boost the speed of your Windows; protect your privacy and security; block spyware, trojans, adware, etc.; fix certain application errors; simple, fast and User friendly interface." For personal/private use only (OS: Win 2000/XP/Vista)
Marie Stroughter's article, Getting Rid of Dust Bunnies Hiding in Your Computer
For everyone who drinks while they type, How to Clean a Spill on the Keyboard.
Undelete allows you to "undelete files that you have accidentally deleted from your drives" (OS: Win 2000/XP/Vista/7/9x/ME/NT4)
Also from Roadkil.net, Unstoppable Copier "recovers files from disks with physical damage. Allows you to copy files from disks with problems such as bad sectors, scratches or that just give errors when reading data. The program will attempt to recover every readable piece of a file and put the pieces together. Using this method most types of files can be made useable even if some parts were not recoverable in the end" (OS: Win 9x/ME/NT/2K/XP/2K3)
WhoCrashed is "a comprehensible crash dump analysis tool. Whenever a computer running Windows suddenly reboots without displaying any notice or blue screen of death, the first thing that is often thought about is a hardware failure. In reality, most crashes are caused by malfunctioning device drivers and kernel modules. In case of a kernel error, most computers running Windows do not show a blue screen unless they are configured to do so. Instead these systems suddenly reboot without any notice. WhoCrashed allows you to find out which drivers have been responsbile for crashing your computer (in most cases) without requiring any debugging skills. The home edition of WhoCrashed does local crash dump analysis and is licensed for use at home only" (OS: Win 2000/XP/2003/Vista)
Microsoft has an official Windows Vista Solution Center, but I prefer checking sites like geekgirls.com that talk to me like I'm a person, not another computer.
If you're tired of all the menus and buttons and distractions built into Word 2007, Lifehacker recommends WriteSpace, an add-on utility that makes all that stuff go away with just the touch of a button to create a less cluttered writing environment (OS: Windows or OS that can run Word 2007)
Also: for those of you interested in creating a virtual, navigable 3D panarama of your 2D photos and pics, check out Photosynth.