With the relatively
short history of computers
, it’s interesting to look back and see just how far we’ve come in a couple of decades. One area that particularly dates computing is software programs — their purposes, power, and looks have evolved greatly over time.
A Brief History of Computers That Changed the World
A Brief History of Computers That Changed the World You can spend years delving into the history of the computer. There are tons of inventions, tons of books about them – and that’s before you start getting into the finger-pointing that inevitably occurs when...
We’ve looked before at
ancient Windows software that we still use today
, like Norton antivirus and
Remember These? 7 Ancient Windows Programs Still Used Today
Remember These? 7 Ancient Windows Programs Still Used Today They say technology advances at an exponential rate. But did you know some programs have been around for multiple decades? Join us for a walk down Nostalgia Lane and discover the oldest surviving Windows programs.
the command prompt
, but not all software has stood the test of time — lots of
15 CMD Commands Every Windows User Should Know
15 CMD Commands Every Windows User Should Know The command prompt is still a powerful Windows tool. Here are the most useful CMD commands every Windows user needs to know.
famous programs no longer exist
. Let’s look at older pieces of software that are still alive but have fallen from glory.
Blast from the Past: 7 Famous Programs & Games that No Longer Exist
Blast from the Past: 7 Famous Programs & Games that No Longer Exist Do you remember the programs you were running in the 1990s? Join me as we take a trip down memory lane and reflect on how far we've come over the past two decades.
1. Napster (1999)
Initially, Napster was released as a peer-to-peer file sharing program, designed to let users share music, illegally for the most part. It marked an important step in
the history of music consumption
— while the iPod and the explosive popularity of having a collection of MP3s on the go was still a few years off, people still wanted to build an MP3 collection on their desktops.
The Evolution of Music Consumption: How We Got Here
The Evolution of Music Consumption: How We Got Here The rise of the iPod, the music-playing mobile phone, and a number of streaming media platforms all point toward a single, simple idea: music is important. But how did we get here?
Napster was only alive as a file sharing program for a couple of years, before it was (understandably) hit by multiple lawsuits and subsequently shut down. What you might not have known is that Napster is still an active service, albeit a completely different (and legal) one.
Napster now leads you to a run-of-the-mill music streaming service, just like Spotify or Apple Music
. Napster features apps for mobile devices as well as desktop, and offers all the standard features for its $10/month premium service, such as offline music. No matter what, it’s got to be better than
Spotify vs. Apple Music vs. Google Play Music: Which Is Best?
Spotify vs. Apple Music vs. Google Play Music: Which Is Best? While there are lots of music streaming services around, there are three major ones that stand out above the others: Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music. But which is best?
SoundCloud Go’s disappointing plan
Is SoundCloud Go Worth It? Everything You Need to Know
Is SoundCloud Go Worth It? Everything You Need to Know SoundCloud Go is a new premium music streaming service designed to compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, but is it worth paying for?
2. ZoneAlarm Firewall (2000)
Windows Firewall is pretty much the only firewall that the average user needs
, but when ZoneAlarm launched, it was pretty popular with users who wanted to lock down exactly what information could come and go on their system. If you used early versions of ZoneAlarm, you know what it was like to see constant pop-ups asking you to police Internet traffic — kind of like
Which Free Firewall For Windows Is Best For You?
Which Free Firewall For Windows Is Best For You? We place emphasis on antivirus and malware removal, but don't ignore firewalls. Let's take a look at the best free Windows firewalls, comparing ease of setup, ease of use, and availability of features.
when User Account Control goes overboard
Stop Annoying UAC Prompts - How To Create A User Account Control Whitelist [Windows]
Stop Annoying UAC Prompts - How To Create A User Account Control Whitelist [Windows] Ever since Vista, we Windows users have been pestered, bugged, annoyed, and tired of the User Account Control (UAC) prompt telling us a program is starting up that we intentionally launched. Sure, it has improved,...
When ZoneAlarm first launched, it wasn’t as common for software to access the Internet constantly, so it made more sense to keep an eye on the goings-on. Nowadays, every app on your PC wants to hit the Internet all the time, so using this type of strict firewall wouldn’t really work well. However, ZoneAlarm is still alive, despite being owned by a different company.
ZoneAlarm’s main page advertises their mobile security apps, but a mobile antivirus isn’t a necessity
. The company also sells premium antivirus and firewall software, but most paid antivirus products really aren’t worth the asking price. The free firewall is only compatible with
Does Your Smartphone Need Security & Antivirus Software?
Does Your Smartphone Need Security & Antivirus Software? Does your Android phone need an antivirus? What about your iPad? Your BlackBerry or Windows Phone? The answer is actually a bit complicated. Let's take a look at your options.
Windows Defender, which isn’t a good enough antivirus
. So, it seems that your system is better off without ZoneAlarm products in 2016.
The 8 Best Security Software for Windows 10 Malware Protection
The 8 Best Security Software for Windows 10 Malware Protection Want to tighten security on your PC? It's a good idea, so take a look at these fantastic antivirus choices for Windows 10.
3. LimeWire / FrostWire (2000)
LimeWire had a similar story to Napster — it was conceived as a
peer-to-peer file-sharing program
, but this one was for more than just music. LimeWire allowed users to share movies and other files, leading to viruses being spread through the system at times. The program was
How P2P (Peer to Peer) File Sharing Works
How P2P (Peer to Peer) File Sharing Works Wondering what peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing is and how it got started? We explain what you should know.
written in Java
, which allowed it to be deployed on multiple operating systems.
The Web Just Became More Secure: Google Drops Support for Java
The Web Just Became More Secure: Google Drops Support for Java When Java was first released in 1995, it was revolutionary. But now, it's safe to say that Java has lost its shine, and Google is about to drop support for it in Chrome.
After predictably running into legal issues, LimeWire was shut down in 2010. However, the program is still alive in a different form today —
FrostWire. A group of developers forked
LimeWire and created this alternative piece of software in 2004 that was initially quite similar to the original, but gained new features and became its own entity over time.
Open Source Software and Forking: The Good, The Great and The Ugly
Open Source Software and Forking: The Good, The Great and The Ugly Sometimes, the end-user benefits greatly from forks. Sometimes, the fork is done under a shroud of anger, hatred and animosity. Let's look at some examples.
can only be used for BitTorrent
, so it doesn’t have all the functionality of LimeWire, but the idea lives on. You could consider this a cousin of LimeWire.
8 Legal Uses for BitTorrent: You'd Be Surprised
8 Legal Uses for BitTorrent: You'd Be Surprised Like HTTP, which your browser uses to communicate with websites, BitTorrent is just a protocol. You could use your browser to download pirated content, just as you could use a BitTorrent client to download pirated...
4. AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) (1997)
At one time, AIM was the coolest messenger in town. Everyone had a screen name, and those classic sounds let us know when someone was online or responding to our message.
AIM was incredibly popular when AOL was
the way to get online, and into the mid-2000s its reign continued. However, like MySpace and other huge platforms of the time
, as the 2000s came to a close, so did the popularity of AIM.
Whatever Happened To…? Following Up On Major Websites From The Dotcom Boom
Whatever Happened To…? Following Up On Major Websites From The Dotcom Boom Many of you remember the Dotcom Boom that happened in the late nineties. All it took to make your stock go up was a ".com" or an "e-" attached to your company's name. Of course,...
AIM is still around today, updated with modern features like group conversations and social media integration. The question is, is anybody that you know still using it? Since they’re probably using one of the many free messaging apps
available cross-platform these days, AIM’s loss of popularity doesn’t hurt too badly.
5 Best Free Messaging Apps for Android
5 Best Free Messaging Apps for Android Need a free way to send messages to friends and family with your phone for free? Check out these apps.
relieve the experience of using this retro messenger
by checking out the game
4 Retro Games That Feel Like Using An Old Computer
4 Retro Games That Feel Like Using An Old Computer You can't really travel back in time, but here's a bunch of games that re-create that ancient Internet feeling quite nicely.
Emily is Away, which recreates the tension of being a high school student who chats with his crush on AIM. VIDEO 5. Winamp (1997)
Winamp, a media player app, was one of the most popular pieces of software in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Its
(shareware in the early days) meant that users could take advantage of it for free, but had to pay to unlock extra features. Winamp solved a problem when MP3s were becoming popular — with so much music hanging out on your PC, it was hard to
Why You'll Never Stop Seeing Ads & IAPs in Mobile Apps
Why You'll Never Stop Seeing Ads & IAPs in Mobile Apps Advertisements and in-app purchases in mobile apps and games can be really annoying. Unfortunately, they won't be going away any time soon. Here's why.
4 Fantastic Tools to Manage Your Massive MP3 Collection
4 Fantastic Tools to Manage Your Massive MP3 Collection Music library management can be an entirely frustrating experience, especially if you have years of unorganized music waiting to be sorted and labeled properly. Poor music library management will come back and bite you later...
When Winamp arrived with plug-ins, cool visual effects, and easy ways to manage your library, everybody loved it. However, it was eventually purchased by AOL, and began to go downhill.
tools like Winamp are still useful
if you have a large collection of MP3s on your desktop, but with
Winamp - A Solid Media Player That Excels in Managing Your Music Collection [Windows]
Winamp - A Solid Media Player That Excels in Managing Your Music Collection [Windows] Winamp is a Methuselah among the third party Windows media players. First released in 1997 and originally developed by Nullsoft, it has become a subsidiary of AOL in the meantime. However, it hasn't lost any...
the rise of Spotify
and other streaming services even putting a dent in iTunes’s music management, young computer users probably have no use for Winamp.
Spotify Your Music Collection: The End Of iTunes
Spotify Your Music Collection: The End Of iTunes Spotify is no longer content to just compete with radio, now they're competing with the idea of even owning music.
The software is still available to download, but the
official Winamp site has a “Coming Soon” message displayed, letting you know that they’re working on improving the program. 6. Ecco Pro (1993)
Unlike most of the other entries on this list, Ecco Pro is still available in its ancient form — it hasn’t evolved as time went on. Released as personal information management software which allowed you to take notes and keep track of appointments, it was discontinued by its developers when
Microsoft Outlook arrived as part of the Office suite
and made Ecco obsolete.
20 Historical Microsoft Office Facts You Forgot Or Never Knew
20 Historical Microsoft Office Facts You Forgot Or Never Knew The Microsoft Office suite turned 25 this year. The world has changed since digital presentations, word processing, and spreadsheets became a thing. Do you remember how it all began?
Strangely, a group of dedicated users have made an effort to keep this dilapidated software around. Titled EccoProX, it looks just like it did in 1997, but works on everything from Windows XP up to Windows 10.
Oddly, you’ll have to pay a $20/year “EccoPro Support Membership” fee to download the software. Unless you’re curious and have extra money,
stick with using Outlook online
for free, as it includes everything you’ll need and doesn’t look like it
Microsoft Outlook Web Vs. Desktop: Which One Is Best for You?
Microsoft Outlook Web Vs. Desktop: Which One Is Best for You? Outlook.com is a powerful online email client that comes free with Office Online. But can Outlook on the web compete with its desktop counterpart? Our Outlook comparison will help you decide for yourself.
belongs on Windows 95
Start Me Up - Windows 95 Turns 20 & Still Rocks
Start Me Up - Windows 95 Turns 20 & Still Rocks 20 years ago the Rolling Stones cranked up "Start Me Up", and Windows 95 was born. We revisit history, discuss why Windows 95 was a big deal, and how it compares to Windows today.
7. RealPlayer (1995)
At one time,
RealPlayer was revolutionary. It let you stream media, such as baseball games, and was really the first of its kind. However, it was less than a joy to use, as it was filled with bugs, constant crashes, and privacy issues. VIDEO
Amazingly, this ancient relic still exists in 2016. My colleague Matt recently covered his
attempt to use RealPlayer on Windows 10
and came to the unsurprising conclusion that it’s a pretty lousy piece of software. It’s filled with the usual
RealPlayer Still Exists, But Does It Still Suck?
RealPlayer Still Exists, But Does It Still Suck? RealPlayer still exists, but the RealPlayer of 1998 couldn’t be more different than the RealPlayer of 2016. It still sucks, but it's worth looking at how things have changed over the years.
junkware during the install
, system-breaking crashes, and a general sluggishness. RealPlayer should have stayed stuck in the past; there are
OpenCandy: The Reason You Should Never Just Click "Next"
OpenCandy: The Reason You Should Never Just Click "Next" Clicking "next" repeatedly is the quickest way of installing apps on Windows - until you find you installed other programs on your computer without realizing it, thanks to OpenCandy. Let's do something about that.
far better media players
5 Alternatives to Windows Media Center for Windows 10
5 Alternatives to Windows Media Center for Windows 10 Windows 10 will offer many new features, but some old favorites will be deprecated. The Windows Media Center will no longer be supported. Here are alternative media center application compatible with Windows 10 to take...
8. Google Toolbar (2000)
Toolbars generally carry a poor connotation —
annoying toolbars that are foisted on you
, like Ask or Conduit, are nothing more than junkware. However, legitimate toolbars, similar to
4 Annoying Browser Toolbars and How to Get Rid of Them
4 Annoying Browser Toolbars and How to Get Rid of Them Browser toolbars just don't seem to go away. Let's look at some common nuisances and detail how to remove them.
Windows software that has been succeeded by new features
, are a great example of functionality that used to require an extra download but is now built into modern tools.
5 Legendary Windows Tools Replaced by New Features
5 Legendary Windows Tools Replaced by New Features Windows includes lots of tools that you use every day, but some have lasted longer than others. Here are parts of Windows that don't exist anymore.
The Google Toolbar is one of these. When it was first released, it was actually useful. After all, in those days, Firefox wasn’t out yet, and browsers didn’t have built-in functionality to search Google or other providers in a dedicated bar. Having the ability to search Google without navigating to its webpage and a built-in auto-fill feature was cool. So, why is the
Google Toolbar still available for download in 2016? VIDEO
If you visit the page using Chrome, Google tells you that everything in the Google Toolbar is already
built into your browser
. But it’s still available to download for Internet Explorer, even though
11 Quick Tricks To Become A Chrome Omnibox Power User
11 Quick Tricks To Become A Chrome Omnibox Power User Do you want to become an Omnibox power user and save plenty of time and keystrokes? All you need are a few good extensions and a little knowledge of how to tweak the search settings....
the latest version (IE 11)
allows you to search Google from a dedicated search bar.
Why You Should Upgrade To Internet Explorer 11 Now
Why You Should Upgrade To Internet Explorer 11 Now Restoring Internet Explorer to a browser that people actually wanted to use was always going to be a hard road, but it's just possible that with Internet Explorer 11 this stage has been reached.
Unlike the Yahoo Toolbar, the Google Toolbar doesn’t seem to survive from
, as you almost never see it bundled with other software. This one is a mystery, and unless you
How To Clean A Hijacked Web Browser
How To Clean A Hijacked Web Browser What's more frustrating than launching Firefox only to see that your homepage has been changed without your authorization? Maybe you've even got a shiny new toolbar. Those things are always useful, right? Wrong.
still have to use IE 6
for some awful reason, there’s really no reason to use the Google Toolbar.
How to Download Internet Explorer 6 (If You Really Need To)
How to Download Internet Explorer 6 (If You Really Need To) There are still some people who use Internet Explorer 6 to this day, and they've got some valid reasons. Here's how you can use it if you need to.
Gone, and Basically Forgotten
It’s amazing how many different pieces of software come and go from the public eye. While most of these tools were popular at one point, they either got sold out to another company, halted development, or just gave way to more modern tools. It’s fun to look back and remember what was. Now, if only those
annoying Windows features nobody needs
could join this list…
Here Are 5 Annoying Windows Features Nobody Needs
Here Are 5 Annoying Windows Features Nobody Needs Windows is great at its core, but some features are over the top. We'd be happy to see them removed. Which Windows features would you like to get rid of?
Interested to take a trip into more forgotten software? Check out
retired Windows features we wish never existed
6 Retired Windows Features We'd Rather Forget
6 Retired Windows Features We'd Rather Forget Windows has gone through a lot of features over the years. Here are a few nobody really misses. Do you remember them?
What other software that used to be popular is still around today? What programs that are common nowadays do you think will be on a list like this in 20 years? Add to the list down in the comments!
Image Credits: girl blows off a dust by Vikulin via Shutterstock
Explore more about: AOL Instant Messenger, Nostalgia, Winamp.