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NirLauncher is a library that comes packed with over 100 portable freeware utilities for Windows. It is the perfect toolbox to carry around on your USB stick for emergencies, for example if you need to recover lost passwords or monitor your network. The tools are pre-sorted into 12 different categories and you are free to add additional software packages if you like.
Although NirLauncher is designed for portable use on your USB flash drive, you can of course install it on your local hard drive for everyday use. The applications have been developed by NirSoft and are also available individually through the NirSoft homepage.
What’s In It For Me?
The tool contains over 100 portable freeware utilities. If you are not familiar with utilities from NirSoft, you may not recognize these tools. However, not only are the apps sorted into categories by function in NirLauncher, you can also view a short description that explains what the respective tool does.
It’s impossible to list and cover all the utilities in the scope of this article, but you can view all of them in the Utilities List. Below is a short list of utilities I found interesting or useful:
Password Recovery Utilities
WirelessKeyView: Recovers lost wireless network keys (WEP/WPA) stored in your computer.
PasswordFox: View passwords stored in Firefox web browser.
Asterisk Logger: Reveals passwords stored behind the asterisks (‘***’) boxes.
Network Monitoring Tools
SniffPass: Capture the passwords that pass through your network adapter.
NetResView: Displays the list of all network resources on your LAN.
Web Browser Tools
MozillaCookiesView: Alternative to standard ‘Cookie Manager’ provided by Netscape and Mozilla.
FirefoxDownloadsView: Displays the list of downloaded files in Firefox.
Video/Audio Related Utilities
Volumouse: Adjust the volume of your speaker with the wheel of your mouse.
Internet Related Utilities
SiteShorter: Save a screenshot of any webpage into a file.
DownTester: Test your Internet download speed.
BluetoothCL: Show Bluetooth devices list.
OpenWithView: Disable / enable items in the ‘Open With’ dialog-box of Windows.
Clipboardic: Small and simple clipboard manager.
DriverLetterView: View and change drive letter assignments.
WhatIsHang: Get information about Windows software that hangs.
ProduKey: Displays the CD-Keys of MS-Office/Windows installed on your computer.
DriverView: Displays the list of all device drivers currently loaded on your system.
SkypeLogView: View log files created by Skype.
IconsExtract: Extract icons and cursors from executable files.
How Does It work?
Download the NirLauncher ZIP file and unpack it to your flash drive or local hard drive. The ZIP file is only 9.4 MB large and unpacks to a folder of 14.1 MB. Considering that it contains over 100 utilities this size is impressively small.
Note that your anti-virus program may detect and report some of the applications while you are installing NirLauncher. In my case AntiVir wanted to move iepv.exe, dialupass.exe, chromepass.exe, and some other tools to quarantine. Checking the detection code, however, didn’t yield results, meaning this specific app was not reported to be a virus, but it was detected based on malware-typical behavior. The false positive detection is a known issue and NirSoft openly discusses it in the following post on the NirBlog: Antivirus companies cause a big headache to small developers.
Once unpacked, you can run the NirLauncher.exe and browse the tools by categories. To launch a utility, highlight it (click it once) and click on > Run in the bottom left of NirLauncher.
Several tools require Administrator privileges to function. In this case you can either right-click the utility and select > Run As Administrator from the menu or click > Advanced Run.
Advanced Run gives you more options, for example to run the utility in full-screen mode or run with custom environment variables.
Many utilities are available in a 64-bit version. If you’re running NirLauncher on a 64-bit Windows, the respective utility version will load automatically when selected to run.
You can also launch apps from the NirSoft folder within the package folder. Simply double-click the respective .exe file. You will note that for every .exe file there also is a .chm file. This is a help file, but even though there appears to be one for every utility, I didn’t find a single one where it worked, neither launching through NirLauncher, nor through the folder.
Can I Customize NirLauncher?
Yes you can! As mentioned above you can access all applications individually through the NirSoft folder. If you want to remove a utility, simply delete it from this folder. Likewise you can add portable tools.
However, you need to (remove or) make an entry in the respective group, so that the tool is (no longer) accessible via NirLauncher. Edits need to be made to the nirsoft.nlp file, which is also located within the NirSoft folder. This is a regular text file that you can open with Notepad. Simply remove or add the required information, save the file, restart NirLauncher and see whether your changes were successful.
Additional utility packages can be found on the NirSoft Download page, for example the sysinternals2.nlp, which adds the SysInternals Suite to NirLauncher.
Taken together this is a super handy tool with many useful utilities that takes up astonishingly little space and should thus fit on any portable drive. In addition, you can customize it to contain only your favorite portable apps, which may make it even more compact and useful.
What utilities do you find are missing from this extensive collection and which ones are your favorites?
Image credits: -dal-