Killer Tech Tips

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8 Little Known, Insanely Useful Software For College

with 61 comments

If you’re in college, check out these eight lesser known, but still indispensable software applications for your computer. We bet these will be as useful as Dropbox and Evernote!

Photo by Samantha Decker. Licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

1. Connectify

Connectify lets you share your laptop’s internet connection with others nearby. Connectify can create a Wifi hotspot out of any Windows 7 computer in a matter of seconds.


The app shows up in the system tray once you install it. You give the hotspot a name, a password and other computers in your dorm can quickly join the hotspot and use your connection.

2. Panda USB Vaccine

Panda USB Vaccine completely disables autorun on your computer. The next time a friend of yours plugs in a USB pen drive, you can be sure that malicious programs won’t run from there.


In addition to disabling autorun, the tool can also create a dummy autorun.inf file on removable drives, thereby “vaccinating” them from getting infected. Indispensable if you’re still on Windows Vista and if you frequently exchange or lend pen drives.

3. WordWeb

WordWeb is free and does one thing really, really well. Select a word from any Windows application, press a hotkey and voila – WordWeb pops up with the definition instantly.


WordWeb works when you’re offline and it could obviously help you improve your vocabulary. You can also quickly access Wikipedia to know more on a topic when you’re connected.

4. Pen Drive Reminder

If you frequently come back to your dorm room just to take back that pen drive you missed, Pen Drive Reminder is a must-have. Pen Drive Reminder alerts you on screen if you forget to remove your pen drive when you shut down or log off from your computer.


There’s also a countdown timer that pops open a notification after the counter reaches zero seconds.

5. WunderList

Wunderlist is free and ubiquitous – it works in Windows, Mac, iPhone and is coming soon to Android. Unlike RTM, you don’t need a pro account to use it on your phone. It’s FREE for all devices.

Using Wunderlist, you can create tasks and notes. Wunderlist syncs them to the web so that they’re always available. You can even share a todo list with your friends – very useful if you’re collaborating on something. Try it and you’ll not switch!

6. Tor Bundle

Tor is a set of tools can help you browse anonymously. This is very useful especially in college when you don’t want the administrators to track what you’re up to.

The Tor Browser Bundle is a standalone set of programs that has a preconfigured portable Firefox browser that you can use to surf the internet without restrictions. It’s your best bet to browse blocked sites online.

7. Anki

Anki can help you remember anything – words, equations, pictures, faces and a lot more. The best part – this flashcard tool is also available as an iPhone and a web app so you can review your cards anywhere. If there’s one simple, all in one app for flashcards, this is it and you should use it.

8. MS Office 2010 Math Addin

If you extensively use Microsoft Office Word/OneNote and if you’re into math in college, this is for you. This addin puts a Mathematics tab in the Office Ribbon.

From that tab, you can quickly add equations, graphs and a lot more into your notes and documents. It doesn’t work for very complex equations, though but it does come in handy once in a while.

Are you a college student and are there any unpopular, but uniquely useful apps that you know of? Please tell us in the comments section!

Written by Killer Tech Tips

March 7th, 2011 at 12:00 am

Posted in software tools

Tagged with

  • Gouthaman Karunakaran

    Interesting list. I’ve already used Connectify and it’s awesome, but of late I am in love with the tethering on my Desire. Lets me get a Wi-Fi hot-spot wherever I am. :)

  • Shankar Ganesh

    @Gouthaman: I like that feature too. But Desire gets heated up like hell when I use it :(

  • Nick

    Hey nice blog :)

    Have you seen

  • Blake

    My advise: don’t use windows. The first one comes in Ubuntu and Mac OS, but the most important thing is that you don’t have to watch for viruses.
    Regarding 10, if you’re in college and you’re into math what you really need to learn is LaTeX. Start with LyX if you want (which is simpler) but eventually you will need it.

    I’m going to try Anki, it looks awesome.

  • Nigel Soederhuysen

    Yeah I guess if you still have problems with getting viruses on your computer you shouldn’t be using windows. I suppose not downloading shady torrents, not visiting sketchy websites and not opening e-mail attachments from people you don’t even know is just too much to ask for some people. If your best reason for using OSX rather than Windows7 is the good old virus argument, than you haven’t been using OSX to it’s full potential.

  • Coreo

    Hey, guess what I did last night?

    Rebuilt my friends mac because he got a rather severe virus.

    Damn I love your OSX….

  • Bill Vincent

    The only people who get what you call “viruses” (You mean ‘malware’, all modern OS’s are pretty much immune to actual virii) on their Windows machines are people who probably shouldn’t be using computers at all (IMHO). These people would very likely manage to infect a MacOS or *nix box machine just as easily. It’s not the OS, folks, it’s the user base. Windows has 90%+ of the users on this planet, so the probability that many of them are idiots who can’t/won’t follow directions is far higher than the much smaller groups, and there are just FAR more of them. But Bob bless them, they keep me in business fixing their eff-ups.

  • MarcusKlaasDeVries

    Yea, doing mathematics in word really isn’t an option for college work in my opinion. It just isn’t anywhere as powerful as LaTex.. And indeed.. Windows is a bad choice for college. It costs money and does not offer you anything that Linux doesn’t offer you for free.

  • Zdenko

    Exactomundo dude!

  • stymie

    It sure, an OS that works properly.

  • Abhishek Biswal

    It’s awesome. I liked Wunderlist!

  • Thomas

    My advise: don’t use a Mac. It is limited to what apple says you can use and super expensive. Also where is freemind? Possibly the best, most useful application for those students who have to write complex, complicated research papers.

  • Shankar Ganesh

    Freemind is a good suggestion @0b1a67745062b5abc9618b7d6d8b86b0:disqus . I’ll add it when I have the time.

  • Shankar Ganesh

    @TheUrbnGeek:disqus I agree. Wunderlist is certainly good, there isn’t a better todo list app for Windows right now.

  • Abhishek Biswal

    @shankarganesh:disqus Hey dude! I know it’s one of the best looking app. Have you tried GeeTeeDee?

  • Shankar Ganesh

    You’re awesome. Thanks for the tool, @TheUrbnGeek:disqus Certainly looks beautiful but doesn’t sync. That’s a downside :(

  • jordan

    dude, why would you have to rebuild a computer just because it got a virus. i think you’re seriously confused.

  • Ben

     Best thing I ever did to save money at college was ditch Windows.

  • Terry Elliott

    Wow, what did you really add to the conversation except to suggest we ban those who are trying to learn?  Troll much? 

  • Zachary

    My advice, don’t take someone’s advice who cant spell advice.

  • Mayur

    Have heard about first 3 software’s out of which ‘Word Web’ is one of my most favorite. This post is really useful for college students.

  • Eric West

    If you have Windows, continue using it. The folks suggesting a change are windows-agnostic and are more interested in getting people NOT TO use Windows for some Linux revolution, than to solve any problem you are having. The fact is, you’ll need to learn a different OS that has different commands, different interface and questionable support of devices and programs. The second you switch, you’ll hear crickets when you ask why your device or program is not supported. Linux has had almost 20 years to come up with a clean, well defined operating system that will sweep Windows. So far, nothing. So for the people saying all your problems are resolved by switching to Ubuntu, you are not helpful. You are not skilled enough to address the issue without using these threads as a Ubuntu recruitment campaign, so why answer at all? 

  • fareed@Thewebprograms

    Excellent collections of software

  • NursesLabs

    I like the connectify tool and the Panda security USB vaccine. Very useful! Great list!

  • Notbuttfrustrated

    Honestly almost all of you are totally butthurt. Each OS has advantages and disadvantages.  They’re all good for college, stop complaining and stating your ass pained opinion, which no one cares about anyways.

  • Marty

    hahahahahahaha  wow your clueless  hahahahahah

    show me where Microgarbage is clean and well defined..    (registry-what) 

    haha  you should do stand up !  really.!!!  cause as far as IT..?

  • User

    I don’t think you could say this any better. Obviously Marty is a little immature. I almost want to save your comment for future use againt linux shills.

  • fajas colombianas

    Thanks for the panda usb vaccine, this would be very useful

  • Drug Addiction Rehab

     These look very small and limited in scope. I Wouldn’t bother.

  • Jake

    Pretty sure which OS is best depends on what you’re using your computer for. For me, I’m going into engineering, so OSX won’t cut it – the software I need and programming platforms just aren’t the same or aren’t even available for a Mac. Linux is nice or even necessary for some things, such as some of my programming classes, but I need Windows for some software and compatibility for some other classes too. Since Linux is free, a dual boot with Windows 7 and Fedora works out great. I doubt very many other people need this, though.

    I would look through what types of software you’ll be using (and if it’s available for OSX/Linux) and how many people use Windows where you’re going. If Windows is popular, it will be easiest to deal with compatibility and most supported by professors and your school’s IT department. If all you’re using is internet, typing papers, and ppt presentations, you definitely don’t NEED Windows, though. When other things come up, lab computers can always save you. You have to decide if it’s worth it. A lot of colleges will have a Windows key students can get for free, too, as mine did, so try looking into that. 
    If you don’t need Windows and you’re willing to take the time to learn a new OS, Linux is great, and Ubuntu is pretty easy to learn, or perhaps Fedora if you want something even better (IMHO) with a little more effort to learn. By the time you learn that, you can probably figure out what other distros you like better for yourself, but those are probably the two with the most online support for first time Linux users. If you don’t need Windows for anything, this can save you some money, especially if you know enough to build your own desktop (or find help with it).If money isn’t an issue and you want something to work well out of the box and don’t need Windows, a Mac may even be a good choice, especially if you’re going to be doing a lot of stuff like video editing or graphic design. Supposedly you can run most Windows programs on there somehow now too. I would imagine you will have to watch even more carefully for viruses on a Mac in years to come, though, as Apple has slowly been claiming a larger percent of the market. It really does not seem worth the extra money for the same hardware plus a glowing apple to me, but it has its uses for some people.

  • yamalajatt

    thanks for all the above applications. i especially liked maths addon for ms-word.

  • Arlo Barnes

    FreeMind, or the related but different-feeling CMap.

  • John

    Jake,  I am a senior Engineering student with a double major in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.  And my MacBook Pro is the envy of the department.  OSX WILL cut it if you are an engineer or a programmer.  AutoDesk has Mac versions of just about every software item they offer. And as a student you can get them all for free.  Coding platforms like Eclipse all have Mac versions and of course don’t forget Xcode.  Most other major engineering software like Maple and MATLAB have native OSX versions.  And for everything else there is Wine, VMWare Fusion and Parallels Desktop.  PD even allows you to run a virtual machine off of a physical boot disk.  So you can partition your computer’s drive to allow for dual booting and run your second partition as a virtual disk though PD.

    But you are right… no computer system is immune from viruses.  The more popular Apple computers become the more viruses people will develop for them.  Antivirus only protects a computer so far.  The true defense against viruses is to be intelligent.  Don’t click that link in your email from the person you don’t know… and be careful of every single file you download.  As for the price difference… there is one but its not as large as it seems.  Apple doesn’t make low end computer.  If you compare a Mac to a Dell, Acer, or whatever you choose and match the hardware spec for spec you’ll see that the Mac’s aren’t much more expensive and there are a few situations where the competition is more expensive than the Mac.  Give up the difference as the cost for a sexy looking computer that makes everyone envoys of.

  • Sandite5

    Ignorant troll is ignorant.

  • Mark

    tinySpell. Real spelling check in almost any Windows program. Gives you more choices than Word. 

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  • no name here

    Love to see people suggesting various *nix versions. However, for most casual computer users, without a live in computer geek to help, they may be a little much. Like it or not we are force fed windoze and to a lesser extent apple so that’s what gets learned. However, it’s often overlooked that much of the software designed for *nix is cross platform and works on windoze computers as well. OpenOffice is a perfect example. You can pay several hundred dollars for office, or download open office for free.

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  • Ajs2311

    Kubuntu is so much better 

  • 7LeagueBoots

    7Zip & Bullzip PDF Printer,

  • Guest

    keyboard commands and hot keys and other functions on all 3 OS’s “major win, mac, and Lenny all have about the same keyboard commands just  a different nomenclature and the short cuts are all but the same too. so it is fallacy to say it is someone who is just pushing Lenny. I use windows, and had a mac, and i have even used Linux for some time and each has both pros and cons do don’t dismiss advice or suggestions because of bias.

  • Guest

    Word web has a virus and this person who is writing this article is supposed to be on our side ? I think not.
     more precicely a Trojan -Krazy 2244 now this is supposed to help me how more bloat ware, malware or just viruses.  A brothel seems to be cleaner.

    Killer Tech tips is right. The more I use stumble upon the more I find it is easier to just use my own research for new free programs and you can too. come to FB and look my group up howdoidothis01 and see. I am not peddling anything, I won’t ask even for your email, and my help comes with helpful tips suggestions and insights without strings. so please join me.

  • Guest

     Use what you got but why spend money on Mac or Windows programs when there are a lot of alternatives for almost every piece of software “sold” on the market for free or at least open source. or even a basic trial. YOU never find that with windows or Mac. you pay and that makes me think Eric might get a commish on promoting Windows. I am neither for or against windows or Mac but I will say Educate yourselves and Don’t wine about spending more money or the open source that doesn’t have every feature in windows software either. OPEN source is free so take your wine and go to Mac and see how much they charge for their software. or the retail from windows before you bag and rag on Linux.

  • Guest7

    i dont know why, but you just seem (are?) stupider when you use two spaces between your words…

  • Naresh Rana

    hahaha veru nice1!

  • mika7367

    I use both Windows Ultimate 64bit and Linux KDE/Ubuntu/Gnome3, I find Linux much more intuitive and no problems with hardware support at all. I still like windows and if you cant learn a new OS what the hell are you doing at uni in the first place???

  • mika7367

    Thats Win 7 Ultimate.

  • Be a Mentor

    These are some really great tips!

  • Bakeca Incontri Milano

    I also recommend not using Windows. Ubuntu is my first choice for both studying and personal stuff.

  • Advait Panchal

    Connectify well that’s totally needed if your college doesn’t provide Wifi and goes with ethernet instead

  • Bob McBobson

    I don’t know about other colleges, but at mine, there are strict rules against sharing the school’s internet connection with a router or something like Connectify.

  • John Smith

    Linux and Mac’s don’t get viruses? You’re really dumb.

  • OhPlease

    These ‘killer tech tips’ are crap. Author should stop posting these garbage, stop pretending to know anything about tech, and do something more useful.

  • Dio

    because it’s a fucking Mac. they have proprietary shit in them and the warranty doesn’t cover anything, so you pretty much need a new one if something goes down. Which is why they encourage you to get a whole new one before it inevitably does anyway.

  • MiloC

    A few of them may be useful to certain people, but I agree they’re hardly in the “killer” category.

  • Kaushalam

    Absolutely killer apps for windows users. Such
    utility apps are mostly useful when people use desktop more times. Being a part
    of Kaushalam, its pleasure for us that we find many the ideas for our custom software and application development services that what kind of apps the people
    are exactly looking for and more.


    Pretty handy softwares.

  • Aquila1769

    Thanks. Great post

  • Night Fury

    these are the great tips, really appricated .. here if you need any help with coursework

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