Not having played with LimeWire, a popular peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing app, since it went spyware crazy a couple of versions ago, our hands-on experience with the latest version came as something of a surprise. Not only did the program prove completely spyware-free in our scans, there's only one tiny, inconspicuous advertising link down at the bottom of the page to distract you while you're working. We were totally psyched until we found out that searches were limited to about 200 hits, including duplicates, which means far fewer unique files. Still, since it doesn't scatter junkware all over your PC like some P2P clients, LimeWire is a great way to see if P2P is for you. The excellent online help, supereasy interface, and flawless operation during our testing make the $18.88 upgrade for the unfettered Pro version seem quite reasonable.
Installing LimeWire Basic is easy, though it requires clicking through a number of dialogs and warnings about P2P usage. But everything's in plain sight, and the only thing that's loaded is the program and the cross-platform Java runtime environment that's built into the installation routine.gave LimeWire Basic a clean bill of health, though our uninstall left about 15MB of JAR files (Java ARchive files) in the C:ProgramsLimeWire directory. Perhaps this is to help speed upgrades, and the files are easy to find and delete manually, but we'd like a totally clean uninstall, please. The uninstall also leaves the Java runtime environment on your machine.
After the blinding advertising blitz, courtesy of the free version of Kazaa 3, LimeWire's relative lack of ads brought us a sense of peace. Not only that, we found LimeWire's interface exceptionally attractive, well thought out, and easy to use. Little usability embellishments, such as automatic removal of cancelled downloads (this is a tedious, unintuitive two-step procedure in other P2P clients) and direct connection to known IP addresses for exchanging files with friends, made us feel that the designers actually use the program.