Addictive Tips Roundup of the “6 Best Computer Remote Control Tools and Software for 2019”

Years gone by, when I was an IT Manager I often used remote access software to assist users on the network. Some of the names mentioned in this roundup, I am familiar with; others, are new to me…

The reasons why anyone would need computer remote control are almost as diverse as there are users. Some telecommuting users need to access their work computer from home. Others do the opposite and want to access their home computer from work. Or perhaps your organization’s IT department needs the ability to remotely control its user’s computers to fix problems. No matter what the reason, controlling remote computers is a key component of many organizations.

Source: 6 Best Computer Remote Control Tools and Software for 2019

PingInfoView – Ping to multiple host names/IP addresses

One way to test the reachability of a host on the internet is to “ping” the IP address of the host or the hostname (i.e. http://www.google.com). When you perform a ping, it measures the round-trip time for the message to be echoed back to your computer.

A nice little utility, with a GUI, is PingInfoView by NirSoft. PingInfoView is a small utility that allows you to easily ping multiple host names and IP addresses, and watch the result in one table. It automatically pings to all hosts every number of seconds that you specify, and displays the number of successful and failed pings, as well as the average ping time. You can also save the ping result into text/html/xml file, or copy it to the clipboard.

Source: PingInfoView – Ping to multiple host names/IP addresses

TraceRouteOK | FREE GUI Interface For the Trace Route Command

This blog post is for the people out there that carry a tech toolbox. If you are one of those people, then I am sure you are familiar with the Windows trace route command (tracert). The traceroute command is a computer network diagnostic tool for displaying the route (path) and measuring transit delays of packets across an Internet Protocol (IP) network.

To further enhance the use of this command I came across a FREE utility called TraceRouteOK that provides an easy to use GUI. To make TraceRouteOK portable, you will need to create in the TraceRouteOK working directory a file named TraceRouteOK.ini … Notepad can be used to create this file.

Features:
– Very small program
– Variable host name query time
– Selectable timeout for pings
– Very fast data route query
– Portable
– Multilingual

SOURCE: SoftwareOK.com -TraceRouteOK

NirLauncher – Collection of more than 200 portable utilities from NirSoft

NirLauncher is a collection of more than 200 portable utilities from NirSoft. If you are into working on and troubleshooting computers, this will be right down your alley.

Click on the screenshot to get a full-size view. See features below.

NirLauncher Features

  • NirLauncher can be used from USB flash drive without need of any installation.
  • NirLauncher and all the utilities in the package are completely freeware, without any Spyware/Adware/Malware. This package doesn’t contain any 3-party software, toolbars, Web browser plugins, or other unwanted surprises. It will not install any software on your system and it will not change your Web browser homepage or other settings on your system.
  • NirLauncher package includes variety of tools that you may need for your daily computer use, including utilities to recover lost passwords, to monitor your network, to view and extract cookies, cache, and other information stored by your Web browser, to search files in your system, and more…
  • For every utility in the package, you can easily run it, view the help file, or jump to the Web page of the utility.
  • When using it from USB flash drive, the configuration of every utility is saved into .cfg file on the flash drive.
  • On x64 systems, NirLauncher automatically run the x64 version of the utility, when there is a separated x64 version.
  • NirLauncher also allows to add more software packages in additional to the main NirSoft package.
  • NirLauncher allows you generate plugin files for BartPE (Launcher -> Generate BartPE Plugin Files), so you can easily use the utilities of NirSoft from a bootable live windows CD.

Source: NirLauncher – Collection of more than 200 portable utilities from NirSoft

Computech Windows Tweaker 1.0.0.0

If you are a computer tech, this utility (called Computech Windows Tweaker) may be of interest to you. Based on what I am seeing at the Major Geeks software download site, Computech Windows Tweaker is described as a “niche utility for anyone looking to hide or show drives, disable the Firewall, USB storage, UAC, Remote RPC, Security Center, Offline Files, and Action Center temporarily. It might also be able to re-enable these, especially after a virus or malware infection”. It appears (based on the version number) it is a relatively new app; which means, this will only get better as the development progresses. Also, I downloaded and found that this is a portable app.


SOURCE: Major Geeks – Computech Windows Tweaker 1.0.0.0

If you are experiencing network or internet connectivity issues, try this program…

Here is a portable program for the tech toolbox (or can be installed), called “Complete Internet Repair” that may be able to help you if you are experiencing any of the problems reflected below that is related to network and/or internet connectivity issues:

  • Internet or network problem after removing adware, spyware, virus, worm, Trojan horse, etc.
  • Loss network connection after installing/uninstalling VPN, firewall or other networking programs.
  • Unable to access any website or can only access some websites.
  • Pop-up error window with network related problem description.
  • No network connectivity due to registry errors.
  • DNS lookup problem.
  • Fail to renew the network adapter’s IP address or other DHCP errors.
  • Network connectivity issue with limited or no connections message.
  • Windows update does not work.
  • You are having problems connecting to secured websites (ex. Banking).
  • Internet Explorer stopped working or crashes all the time.
  • Sticky proxy server settings.
  • A few other internet errors, but we will not discuss all here.


SOURCE: Rizonesoft – Complete Internet Repair

Windows Repair Toolbox (freeware) – Helps you repair a Windows system, by making the process faster, easier and uniform…

When you diagnose or repair a computer problem there are specific software tools that are readily available to help resolve those specific issues. Most techs will carry with them software tools on a stick (flash drive) to test, diagnose, fix, resolve malware issues, recover data, etc… You have to be knowledgeable of what software tools to download and where to download them from. This can be a problem when you are not familiar with these tools.

A solution that has really helped me is the Windows Repair Toolbox. The Windows Repair Toolbox is free software that has been set up to help you gather up (download) the software that you need and then serves as a dashboard to launch the software. For example, I am not in the business anymore of helping people with their PC’s at home; however, when Mom called with a malware infection, I used the Windows Repair Toolbox to download the software that I needed in order to resolve the problem.  I cannot say enough about how valuable this software is. As a matter of fact, I keep a copy of this software on each of my computers to perform regular maintenance…

The tools are categorized by their function, and the program will automatically download the correct version for the Windows edition in which you’re working. When you finish, simply uninstall the tool, and all downloaded software is also removed. Or you can choose the portable version of Windows Repair Toolbox, and just run it from a pen drive.

– Ability to select several tools to run successively in unattended mode, in order to perform malware removal, system cleaning and repair, and disk defragmentation. A email letting you know that the automatic repair is complete, and containing the logs, can be sent to you.

– Displays relevant information about the computer to be repaired: CPU temperature, name and % time; amount of RAM installed on the system and % of use; Disk model, capacity, rotation, SATA version, basic health check; amount of free space left in the system partition; Windows edition and install date; System boot time; and more.


SOURCE: Windows Repair Toolbox

Are you stuck trying to install the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update?

Yesterday (October 17th) was the rollout date for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Instead of waiting for the update to rollout to my computer, I ended up forcing the install by using the Update Assistant on my laptop to test out the installation experience. In a nutshell, the installation stalled on me on two occasions and spit out an error code (for which I was unable to see what the error code was). In other words, I was stuck.  I ended up going to Google to research further and found this article, “Windows 10 Fall Creators Update common installation problems and fixes” at WindowsCentral.com that helped me punch through the install process. After running the Windows disk cleaning utility (right click start > run > type in: clnmgr > click on “OK”) to delete the temporary install files, I was then successful in completing the installation. In the end, the installation process (which was mostly unattended from my end) took hours.  I then moved to my 2nd computer (desktop) and decided to let the install run during the night. This morning when I checked the desktop, the install process had also failed. I will be working on this computer to narrow down the cause.

From my experience, with these major Windows 10 OS updates, expect problems…


SOURCE: WindowsCentral.com – Windows 10 Fall Creators Update common installation problems and fixes

 

Using A Smartphone To Check If An Infrared Remote Control Is Working

I just had this happen to me. Purchased a new TV (that is in my RV) and the remote control was not working. I didn’t have batteries readily available to swap out. The remote control was an infrared remote control and with an infrared remote control, you can not see the light through the infrared blaster lens with the naked eye (when the power button is pushed).

The main technology used in home remote controls is infrared (IR) light. The signal between a remote control handset and the device it controls consists of pulses of infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye, but can be seen through a digital camera, video camera or a phone camera.  [source: Wikipedia]

I remembered a trick I read where you can take your smartphone camera, turn it to the rear-facing “selfie” view, point the remote to the “selfie” screen (about arms length away) and push a button on the remote (like the “power” button) and you should see a light flicker (on the smartphone screen). I did this and did not see any light flicker, confirming there was an issue with the remote. When I got home, where I had batteries, I tried the same trick with the smartphone; and, guess what I could see the light shine and flicker in my smartphone’s camera “selfie” screen (confirming the remote was now operational). I further confirmed the operation of the remote with the TV when I returned to my RV.

So, if you ever need to troubleshoot your infrared remote control, give this trick a try.  It does work…

 

Windows Repair Toolbox – Best FREE Portable Software To Help Diagnose And Solve Windows Computer Problems

There are many good (FREE) software utilities out there to help fix specific problems with your Windows computer; however, you need to know where to find them.

The Windows Repair Toolbox solves that problem by giving you a dashboard menu of choices to perform malware removal, system cleaning and repair, and disk defragmentation. These tools can be run successively in an unattended mode; and, when done, will send you an email (with log results) to let you know that the automatic repair is complete. You can even add your own software utilities to the Windows Repair Toolbox; however, from what I see that is included, they are some of the best out there.

I do have to advise you, that when you use tools to diagnose Windows problems, you are doing so at your own risk; however, when your back is against the wall and you have run out of solutions, Windows Repair Toolbox may be that shot in the dark you were looking for. Windows Repair Toolbox is available as a portable app, which makes it nice for those who run around helping others with their computer problems.

Features:

  • Download and run “on-the-fly” the best free portable software when it comes to diagnose and solve several kinds of Windows problems. The tools are categorized by their function, and the program will automatically download the correct version for the Windows edition in which you’re working. When you finish, simply uninstall the tool, and all downloaded software is also removed. Or you can choose the portable version of Windows Repair Toolbox, and just run it from a pen drive.
  • Ability to select several tools to run successively in unattended mode, in order to perform malware removal, system cleaning and repair, and disk defragmentation. A email letting you know that the automatic repair is complete, and containing the logs, can be sent to you.
  • Displays relevant information about the computer to be repaired: CPU temperature, name and % time; amount of RAM installed on the system and % of use; Disk model, capacity, rotation, SATA version, basic health check; amount of free space left in the system partition; Windows edition and install date; System boot time; boot environment.
  • Allows you to add your own favorite tools to the program;
  • Allows you change the program icon and title bar text;
  • Allows you to perform quality assurance tests after the repair is complete;
  • Allows you to save notes about the repair process;
  • Provides 1-click access to some useful Windows tools;

SOURCE: Windows Repair Toolbox 

Recent Windows Update Causing HP Computer Black Screen At Login (here’s a fix)

I had this happen on my Daughter’s NEW Hewlett Packard Notebook PC… If you have a HP computer, you may experience this issue. In our case we ended up doing a full reset of the computer… Below you will find a link for instructions to keep the “black screen” from occurring and preventing you from taking alternative action (such as a full reset). In our case, we learned of the fix after the fact. and my Daughter needed her notebook PC to be functional for her classes ASAP (therefore, we performed the full reset). After learning of the fix, I had her perform the steps necessary, as outlined in the source link below, to prevent the issue from occurring again. Reportedly this issue stems from a recent Windows update…

Windows 10 update causes HP login lag, here’s the fix


SOURCE: MSPOWERUSER.COM

 

SysGauge – A FREE System And Performance Monitoring Utility

SysGauge, a system and performance monitoring utility, available as a portable app, is a nice utility that you may want to consider for the tech toolbox. Appears to support all versions of Windows, XP to Present… Windows Server versions also supported.

One notable feature of SysGauge that I was impressed with is the system analysis feature. Just press the ‘Analyze’ button located on the main toolbar and SysGauge will perform a quick system status analysis of your PC that will check the CPU usage, memory usage, the operating system status, the disk space usage for all disks and produce the results in a nice dialog summary.

In summary:

SysGauge is a system and performance monitoring utility allowing one to monitor the CPU usage, memory usage, network transfer rate, operating system performance, the status and resource usage of running processes, file system performance, USB performance, disk space usage, disk read activity, disk write activity, disk read transfer rate, disk write transfer rate, disk read IOPS and disk write IOPS for individual logical disks or all physical disks installed in the computer.


SOURCE: SysGauge System Monitor

Kaspersky System Checker – A Portable Free Tool To Scan Your PC For A Range Of Problems

If you are experiencing issues with your PC, Kapersky System Checker may help you resolve the issue.  It is not designed to fix anything; but, is designed to give you a lead on what the problem could be… I look at this as another tool in the tech toolbox that may help you troubleshoot a range of problems such as:  malware, missing updates, poorly configured Windows or application settings, a shortage of hard drive space, and more.  Simply download and run. No install is necessary.


SOURCE: DownloadCrew – Kapersky System Checker 1.2.0.290

Geek Squeak #17-017: Here is a program for Microsoft Windows devices that displays the resource use of the computer on the Windows taskbar….

Just found a pretty neat Windows resource meter, called XMeters, over at ghacks.net. What makes this resource meter so different is that the hardware readings are displayed on the Windows taskbar, which keeps it in sight at all times and is not out of view when opening programs.

Image result for xmeters

XMeters is a handy system monitor for the Windows taskbar that provides you with important real-time hardware readings. It offers customization options to a degree, but could use a couple more (opening another program instead of Task Manager for instance, or colors to distinguish heavy resource use better)….

SOURCE: ghacks.net


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An Option To Fix Google Assistant On Your Android Phone

Google Assistant is Google’s new artificial intelligence personal assistant that allows you to ask Google questions (or give commands) and engage in a two-way conversation with Google. I have been playing around with it and it is very cool. I especially like that I can do hand’s free texting using Google Assistant when driving or I can ask Google about my day or any question for that matter. To determine if it is on your phone, simply hold down the “Home” button on your phone and you should be greeted with the “Hi, How can I help?”. In my case, I was waiting patiently for the Google Assistant to download to my Android phone and when it finally did, I ran into an unusual problem. I decided to do a blog post on this describing the problem I ran into and how the problem was resolved.

Google Assistant

The problem I ran into (in short summary) is that after I had determined Google Assistant was on my phone, by checking the version numbers of the Google App, it simply was not working correctly. When I held down the home button nothing would happen. If I tapped the home button it took me to the old Google Now screen.  At the Google Now Screen when I went into the settings, I noticed that it was the settings for Google Assistant (and not for Google Now). At first I thought that my phone being a mid-ranged phone wouldn’t support all of the Google Assistant settings; therefore, I only was entitled to maybe a lite version of Google Assistance.

Finally, after suspecting there was a software (or app) conflict and after searching the internet for a solution (with no luck), I found the Google Search and Assistant Help ForumForum’s are great for troubleshooting problems. After searching and browsing the forum I was unable to find a solution that matched the problem I was experiencing; therefore, I had to join the forum and describe the problem with hope that someone may be able to help. Part of the problem, when describing an issue, is finding the right words. When it comes to computers, electronics, smartphones, etc…; they all have a language of their own.

In this instance, I described the problem as follows:

Why is it when I launch Google Assistant it appears to launch Google Now?

When I launch Google Assistant via the home button it appears to launch Google Now.  I am not seeing the Google Assistant launch screen “how can I help”…  I also noticed that some of the Google Assistant features work and some do not.  For example, if I say “OK Google” , “read me the news” (from my customized list), it takes me to Google Play and plays a song from “the news”...

Within 24 hours a “Community Specialist” in the forum (named Lucas) came back at me with some things to try:

Lucas – Community Specialist said:

Hi Ramblinrick,

Welcome to the Google Search and Assistant Help Forum!

Just to confirm, is your Google app updated to the latest version? To check, visit Play Store and go to the Google App page. If you see update button, try updating the app that may help resolve this issue.

If that doesn’t help, try to reset the app and then try to update again. To reset go to device Settings > Apps / Application manager > Google > Storage > Clear Cache and tap on Manage Space > Clear Data. This step will reset the app to factory condition and all the personalization and preferences will be reset to original.

Please let me know how that works.

Best,

Lucas

The solution:

I followed the instructions and found that by doing a reset of the app was the solution (Settings > Apps / Application manager > Google > Storage > Clear Cache and tap on Manage Space > Clear Data).  Google Assistant is now performing flawlessly and we are now having conversations with each other on a daily basis. A big thanks to Lucas, whoever and wherever you are, for your assistance.

World Route by Softperfect

NICE FIND by TCAT Shelbyville – Technical Blog… With the World Route tool you can easily find out what gateways your data goes through and how fast it travels. You will receive comprehensive route details, with each city and country conveniently marked on the map. Simply enter any IP-address or website and see the path network packets take to that destination. AVAILABLE as a full install or as a portable app…

TCAT Shelbyville - Technical Blog

Here’s a visual aid to tracert currently free at Softperfect.  You can use this to see where internet delays are happening with a website.  This tool comes in portable and with an installer.

https://www.softperfect.com/products/worldroute/

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(Almost) Everything You Need To Repair Windows Problems In One Small Handy Tool

I am really impressed with this portable tech toolbox called Windows Repair Toolbox (see source link below); and, can see it as a real asset to anyone who assists others that are experiencing computer problems.

The developer has created a dashboard of sorts that will assist you with downloading the necessary tools to fix or troubleshoot a PC. Most of the downloaded tools will land in a downloads folder that is a subfolder of the Windows Repair Toolbox folder (which keeps everything together in one place). There are some downloads that are full downloads (for example, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware).  Another nice feature is that you can add your own custom tools.

(Almost) everything you need to repair Windows problems in one small handy tool.

Source: Windows Repair Toolbox – (Almost) everything you need to repair Windows problems in one small handy tool.

Odd Solution To The Internet Not Working

Assisted two neighbors today that (during the past several days) lost their internet connectivity. One box was hard wired and the other was wireless. Both situations, which I eventually resolved, has me wondering what broke the connection. I am thinking a Windows update, but not even sure on that. I ruled out malware in both cases; but who knows, may have been something in the wild. It may be a coincidence, but both computers experienced the same exact issue. One box was Windows 8 and the other Windows 10. After checking the modems, routers and cabling; determined the issue was occurring at the computer level. Reboots often will resolve problems (such as power management issues); however, in these two cases, the magic of a reboot did not work to resolve the problem. It was after running the ping commands and the ipconfig commands from the Admin Command Prompt that I determined the issue (in both cases) was at the network adapter level. In both instances the properties of the network adapters (in the device manager) displayed that the adapters were working properly. I was also thinking possible Winsock issues where the TCP/IP needed reset. Anyhow, while I was in the network card adapter properties, I clicked on the “driver’s tab” and clicked on “update driver” knowing it would be impossible to update the driver from the internet (due to no internet connection). The driver update failed, but guess what, the internet connection in both cases immediately came back to life.

question marks - Proof That Blog 

I am not an everyday tech, as I once was years ago, and I am puzzled over this. If you have any insight to this, please leave a comment that may be helpful to myself and especially to others.  Thank you…

Fix Printer Problems – Windows 10 Anniversary Edition

I had installed the Anniversary Edition of Windows 10 when it was released and it appeared the upgrade occurred without a hitch, until today I went to use my printer (Brother DW-2270). The anniversary edition was showing two instances of my printer in the “Devices and Printers” in the control panel; however, it was showing that there was no driver installed. As a result the printer was a dead duck and was being recognized by the computer… At this point I attempted to remove (and uninstall) both instances of my printer from the “Devices and Printers” and the “Device Manager”.  One instance of the printer uninstalled; however, the second instance would not, no matter what I attempted. I am sure some type of registry tweak would have done it, but I was not in the mood to go looking for that sort of fix. I then visited the Brother’s website, downloaded the driver and attempted to make Windows use the driver. Again, no luck. I finally went back to the Brother website, found an uninstall tool for their drivers and then downloaded their full install software package for printers. I ran the uninstall tool and it indicated “success” and then I installed the printer software as if I were installing the printer for the first time. This time, it worked.

I decided to post this here on the blog, due I know of other instances where folks have experienced similar printer issues after installing the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition. The only help I could find on the Microsoft site for this problem was HERE, which tells me this may be a global problem.

Fix Printer Problems

I Use CCleaner, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, And Bitdefender Antivirus Free To Keep My PC Safe (and Clean)

… and, MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF (#2016-014)

I have been involved with computers for nearly 30 years. I have never installed any “paid” antivirus software products and have solely relied on common sense and the FREE products that are available (and suitable for computers in the home). I have never had a virus on any of my home based computers. As you noticed, I mentioned “common sense” as one of the factors, which may be easier said than done. I do believe that you have to develop that sixth sense (or gut feeling) in knowing when you are entering potentially dangerous territory. On the software side I currently use three products to help keep my computers (at home) safe and clean.

CCleaner – Without a doubt, CCleaner is the number one optimization tool that not only cleans your computer, but also aids in keeping your computer safe. There is a FREE version and a paid version. I have always gotten along just fine with the free version.

Laptop showing the CCleaner interface - 1 billion downloads

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware – Detects and removes malware on an infected computer with industry-leading anti-malware, anti-spyware, and anti-rootkit tech. Scans for the newest and most dangerous threats. Safely removes malware. One thing to point out at the start is that the FREE version of Malwarebytes is only a scanning utility and does not provide real-time protection. You can get the real-time protection by purchasing the commercial version of their software. Don’t let this deter you from downloading the FREE version. I use the FREE version and make a habit to manually download the updates and perform routine scans of my computer. If I was going to purchase protection for my computer, I would definitely go with the “paid” version of this software (so that it runs continuously in the background, stopping infections before they happen. Scans automatically and halts attempted attacks).

Malwarebytyes Anti-Malware

Bitdefender Antivirus FREE Edition – What I like about Bitdefender is that it is “smart and silent”. Once you install the FREE version, you will have to register with an email address; then, after that you will not even know it is on your computer. Bitdefender has a great reputation and has been well reviewed. As a reminder, when installing antivirus software; always remove (uninstall) any other antivirus software you have installed on your computer.

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MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF

A NEW Tool For The Tech Toolbox – Saw this on betaNews, “Investigate your PC’s RAM use with ATM“… This tool, called ATM performs an in-depth, low-level look at your PC’s system memory use. If you are a troubleshooter, ATM may be right up your alley. Being an old dumb PC Tech, this one was definitely above my level of comprehension (which isn’t much these days)…

ATM

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Easily Control Automatic and Unwanted Windows 7 & 8.1 Upgrading to Windows 10 – Here is a “How To”  @ Tech-for Everyone on using a utility called Never 10 that will disable the Windows 10 Upgrade (wiith just one click). Many folks are sticking to or reverting back to earlier versions of Windows due to the privacy concerns in Windows 10.

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Windows 10 Secret Apps View Basket

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HP Desktop Core 2 Duo 3.00GHZ 4GB 1TB DVD Windows 7 PRO 64 Bit , WIFI ,19″ LCD

HP Desktop Core 2 Duo 3.00GHZ 4GB 1TB DVD Windows 7 PRO 64 Bit , WIFI ,19" LCD

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Geek Squeaks (#2016-02) FEATURING — Great Reference Book On Upgrading And Repairing PCs — and MORE GREAT STUFF

Great Reference Book On Upgrading And Repairing PCs – If you are contemplating a career as an IT Professional or you are an IT Professional, you may want to consider purchasing the 22nd Edition of Scott Mueller’s Upgrading and Repairing PCs. Get “practical answers about PC processors, mother-boards, buses, BIOSes, memory, SSD and HDD storage, video, audio, networks, Internet connectivity, power, and much more. You’ll find the industry’s best coverage of diagnostics, testing, and repair—plus cutting-edge discussions of improving PC performance via overclocking and other techniques.”.  Also, be sure to check out Scott Mueller’s online Upgrading and Repairing Forum.

Upgrading and Repairing PCs

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Boot Failure Troubleshooting Flowchart – Since I started out today’s post with a book on upgrading and repairing PCs, I thought I would throw in this Boot Failure Troubleshooting Flowchart that you may find of interest. There is also a book on this as well — CLICK HERE .

 Boot Failure Troubleshooting Flowchart

Boot Failure Flowchart

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Use Disk Space Organizing Software To Keep Your Computer Clutter Free – Using disk space organizing software can help you keep your computer from turning into a junkyard by visually showing you what files and folders (and where) are consuming hard drive space.  To help me in this situation I use the portable app called GetFolderSize. There is also a full install version if you are not into the portable apps. GetFolderSize works as a disk analyzer that lets you see a folder tree where you can easily locate files and folders that you have “lost” and cannot even search for because you have forgotten what you named them! I have added GetFolderSize to the Downloads Page, listed under the portable apps swarm.

GetFolderSize

GetFolderSize

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Fast Free File Shredder – Another portable app that landed in my lap is OW Shredder. This portable app is an advanced security tool which allows you to completely erase secret data with all drive traces from your hard drives by overwriting it. Individual files, free disk space and entire volumes can by erased. I have also added this portable app to the Downloads Page

OW Shredder

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Turn An Android Device Into A Home Video Monitoring System – If you have a tablet or an old Android phone lying around, you can put it to good use and turn it into a video surveillance camera by using the Android app called AtHomeCamera. This app is worth a try before you go out an buy and expensive setup. All platforms are supported, including Windows PC、Mac、iPhone、iPad、iPod, Android phone, Android tablet and Smart TV. Used together with AtHome Video Streamer, you are able to keep an eye on your home when you are outside, and receive alerts right away in case of any incident!

AtHomeCamera

 AtHome Camera - Home Security- screenshot

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HWiNFO Upgraded To V5.0 (FREE System Info Tool)

HWiNFO, in a nutshell, is a FREE System Info Tool (or system profiler) that will tell you just about everything you would ever want to know about your computer’s configuration. Little to no footprint (if installed) and is available as a portable app. Once the information about your computer is retrieved by HwiNFO you can export (or save) the information in various report formats (such as Text, HTML, or XML). A good tool for the tech toolbox…

HWiNFO

Features

  • comprehensive hardware information of your computer
  • system health monitoring (Thermal, Voltage, Fan, Power)
  • table, Logfile, Graph, Tray, Gadget, LG LCD reporting
  • text, CSV, XML, HTML, MHTML report formats
  • frequent updates
  • available as SDK (custom client)
  • 3rd party add-ons (Rainmeter plug-in, Samurize plug-in, Sidebar Gadget to display any sensor value, LCDHost plug-in, Mini WebServer, RivaTuner/MSI Afterburner/EVGA Precision On-Screen Display, HWiNFOMonitor Sidebar Gadget including graphs, bars, etc.)

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A 5 Stars Windows Repair Utility

First statement I need to make here is that the Tweaking.com – Windows Repair utility, featured in this article, is for those who are computer techs and the geeks in the family. Second statement I need to make is that I cannot say enough about how good this utility is.

Tweaking.com - Windows Repair

Tweaking.com – Windows Repair has helped me personally make repairs to computers where the Windows operating system has become corrupted; whether it be from end user error, a malware infection or Windows just stopped playing nice. It has served me (just recently) in repairing a Windows Update issue (where Windows stopped playing nice), a Windows Service issue (caused by a Windows Update) and in repairing a winsock/dns issue that surfaced after removal of a malware infection from a PC. I always have an updated (portable) version of this utility available.

Word of advice – Follow the steps as exactly outlined with this utility and as always use the internet to research any clues you are seeing that may be the cause of the issue. This will ensure that you can pinpoint what option to select when attempting a repair. If not sure, run the utility in its’ entirety, but be patient as it goes to work.

Tweaking.com – Windows Repair is an all-in-one repair tool to help fix a large majority of known Windows problems including:

 Unhide Non System Files
 Repair problems with .lnk (Shortcuts)
 File Association
 WMI
 Windows Firewall
 Internet Explorer
 Windows Installer (MSI)
 Hosts File
 Policies Set By Infections
 Icons
 Winsock & DNS Cache
 Proxy Settings
 Windows Updates
 CD/DVD Missing/Not Working
 Reset Registry and File Permissions
 Register System Files
 Remove Temp Files
 and more… 

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Three Must Have Diagnostic Tools by Windows Sysinternals

Windows Sysinternals is host to numerous advanced system utilities and technical information that is available (for FREE) to help you manage, troubleshoot and diagnose your Windows systems and applications. There are three of their utilities that I consider as “must have” utilities; and, the beauty of these three is that you can run them live from Sysinternals.

BgInfo – Displays relevant information about a Windows computer on the desktop’s background, such as the computer name, IP address, service pack version, and more. You can edit any field as well as the font and background colors, and can place it in your startup folder so that it runs every boot, or even configure it to display as the background for the logon screen. By default when you first run BgInfo it will display more than what is actually being shown in the screenshot and is very useful in getting good baseline visual information about any Windows based computer you may be troubleshooting.

BGinfo

Autoruns – Shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and when you start various built-in Windows applications like Internet Explorer, Explorer and media players. These programs and drivers include ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys. Autoruns reports Explorer shell extensions, toolbars, browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications, auto-start services, and much more. Autoruns goes way beyond other autostart utilities.

Autoruns

Process Explorer – Shows you information about which handles and DLLs processes have opened or loaded AND isuseful for tracking down DLL-version problems or handle leaks, and provide insight into the way Windows and applications work.

 Process Explorer

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A Swiss Army Knife Of Powerful Network Tools

As a blogger there are those times when you run into what I call “writer’s block” and everything shuts down. Today, I did come across, what appears to be a pretty nice suite of network tools called Essential NetTools that will hopefully get me back on track. This set of tools is primarily geared toward the network administrator.

Essential NetTools

Essential NetTools is a set of network scanning, security, and administrator tools useful in diagnosing networks and monitoring your computer’s network connections. It’s a Swiss Army knife for everyone interested in a powerful network tool kit for everyday use.

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Use CompTIA Troubleshooting Theory To Troubleshoot Computer Problems

What is the CompTIA Troubleshooting Theory? The theory consists of six systematic steps that you follow to effectively identify a computer problem. It is important that you stick to the steps in the order as listed.

By following these steps you eliminate jumping around and wasting hours on a problem. You may find that once you have exhausted all avenues, to the best of your abilities (and knowledge), that it is time to take the problem to another person (or higher technical level) for possible resolution.

It is best practices to always maintain a document trail of your findings so that in the future you are better prepared to effectively deal with future problems.

The six CompTIA Troubleshooting (Theory) Steps are:

  1. Identify the problem – Question the user and identify user changes to computer and perform backups before making changes.
  2. Establish a theory of probable cause – Question the obvious.
  3. Test the theory to determine cause – Once the theory is confirmed, determine the next steps to resolve problem. If the theory is not confirmed, establish a new theory or escalate.
  4. Act – Establish a plan of action to resolve the problem and implement the solution.
  5. Test and prevent – Verify full system functionality and, if applicable, implement preventative measures.
  6. Report – Document findings, actions, and outcomes.

Here is a nice video on the Explanation of Troubleshooting Theory:

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A GUI Front End To Microsoft’s Check Disk Program

Running chkdsk from the Windows Command-line creates and displays a status report for the disk and (with the proper switch parameters) can list and correct the errors that is found on the disk.

To make this an easy process and a nice addition to the tech toolbox,  go to Chris’ Realm and download Chkdsk-GUI. The GUI passes the settings selected within the GUI and then launches the command line disk checker in the normal way, using the correct switches.

chkdsk-GUI

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I Just Changed The Way I Receive Windows Updates AND Here Is Why…

I cannot stress enough, from a computer security standpoint, the importance of the Windows Updates. Microsoft goes to great lengths to keep our PC’s safe; HOWEVER, this past week I had an experience on a brand new PC that I had customized to my liking where I believe a Windows Update caused me a lot of grief. I experienced similar symptoms, as reported at 404 Tech Support, where they made determination that a specific update on machines with the Avast Anti-Virus installed caused the following symptoms to occur:

  • Restarting or shutting down would never complete
  • Uninstalling a program would hang
  • Certain startup programs would never launch
  • Opening computer properties (Right-click on This PC, select Properties) would never open

In my case, I experienced the exact same symptoms; HOWEVER, was not the same cause(s). I did not (initially) install the update as indicated in the 404 Tech Support article and do not have Avast installed. My problem started out when I booted my Windows 81. box and was greeted with a message indicating that Windows was installing new features and telling me to wait. Of course I am scratching my head going, “What new features???  I didn’t install or ask for any new features”. Needless to say, the computer hung on that screen (and message) and did not move forward. I ended up booting into the Windows reset, refresh and restore options. I attempted a restore and that did not work properly, as well. I performed a reboot again, and the PC did start to the desktop; however, that is when I experienced the symptoms as reflected above. After a second start of the computer, the computer started to run properly (for whatever reason). I immediately ran a scan for malware and checked all areas (startup, processes, services, etc…) to make sure I was not hit with something.

The only thing that I could come up with was when I went to do the Windows restore, the restore point was showing that Windows updates KB2920189 and KB3011780 had been installed. Update KB3011780 was showing in the Windows Updates history that it had been cancelled at one point, but also showed on the same date it did install successfully. It is my thinking that this update may have caused the issues I was experiencing.

After getting things back in order and the computer running properly. I manually downloaded the update as reflected in the article 404 Tech Support had problems with (which showed as an optional update on my PC) and the update installed with no issue on my PC. Note: By the way, that optional update (KB8000850) is a large core Windows update.

Needless to say, after reading the article at 404 Tech Support and my own experience with a potential Windows Update that went wild, I now have my computer configured to “Check for updates but let me choose whether to download or install them…”.

Windows Update Configuration

I do not recommend this setting, but from a troubleshooting standpoint, I am going this route for now. There have been too many Windows 8 (8.1) updates that have caused problems and this will put me in control to monitor the updates more closely and to educate myself more about Windows Updates.

If anyone else experienced a Windows Update issue, please feel free to share your experience and comment below…

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A Troubleshooting Tool To Delete Potentially Unwanted Software (such as adware, spyware, trojans, viruses and worms)

Recently during a software install I found myself in a hurry and noticed about halfway through the install I was authorizing third party installs (of other software) that was piggy backing the software that I really wanted to install. Needless to say I do not like the idea of software developers doing this; especially when the third party software is very questionable in nature. I know the developers work very hard and need a source of income, but they are affecting their reputation when the third party software installs are sketchy in nature. So, please; when installing any software make sure you read the initial install instructions and if there is a selection to customize the install, make sure you do that so that you can see specifically what is being installed. Anyhow, I have been testing Windows software for many years and found myself, due to being in a rush, becoming the victim. I knew immediately that I pulled the trigger on something that I did not want…

FreeFixerTo remedy my issue, where a third party start page modifier (browser hijacker) was installed, I performed research on the name of the poison I was seeing and then I ran a utility called FreeFixer to analyze and help me fix the problem.

FreeFixer

FreeFixer scans a large number of locations where unwanted software has a known record of appearing or leaving traces. The scan locations include the programs that run on your computer, the programs that starts when you reboot your computer, your browser’s plug-ins, your home page setting, etc.

Now, the catcher to FreeFixer is that following the scan that it performs (which is very extensive and impressive) it does not know what is unwanted, so it presents the scan results and it is up to you to determine what needs removed and/or set back to their default settings. The good here, following a scan by FreeFixer is that you can get more info on a suspicious file by click on the “more info” selection; AND, if you delete a selection the file selection is quarantined where you can restore from in the event you mess up.

In cases where FreeFixer is unable to delete files in normal Windows mode they are registered for delayed removal with FreeFixer’s Native Deleter, which removes the files upon the next reboot. The actual delete operation is done before the logon screen appear. The majority of malware can be deleted at this point.

In the end, I am finding that you need to have a good understanding of the Windows architecture in order to use this powerful utility. FreeFixer is definitely a tech toolbox keeper. There is a 32bit and 64bit version of FreeFixer available as a full install or portable app.

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Android Version of CPU-Z (popular system information tool)

I am sure many of the techie types out there have heard of CPU-Z, a system information tool that gathers information on the main devices and components of your computer (such as CPU, Motherboard, Memory, etc…). These types of tools are not only useful for identifying components, but are useful as troubleshooting tools as well.

Today, I noticed on Google Play (the Android Store) that there is an Android version of CPU-Z that is just as good as the PC version in identifying cpu, clock speeds, sensors, battery levels, screen resolution, and much more (for your smartphone or tablet)…

CPU-Z

Android version of the popular CPU identification tool for PC/Windows., CPU-Z is a free application that reports information about your device.

– SoC (System On Chip) name, architecture, clock speed for each core ;

– System information : device brand & model, screen resolution, RAM, storage.;

– Battery information : level, status, temperature ;

– Sensors.

Requirements :

– Android 2.2 and above (version 1.03 and +)

Create Your Own Bootable Tech Toolbox With AOMEI PE Builder

I am going to start off this blog post with this statement, “If you are someone who is often called upon to troubleshoot a Windows Based PC, then AOMEI PE Builder FREE is the first step in creating your very own bootable tech toolbox.”.

AOMEI PE Builder FREE will walk you through the process of creating a bootable (and customizable) disk, based on the WindowsPE environment, that will allow you to perform system maintenance, troubleshooting and fast recovery tasks when the computer is corrupted (i.e. by malware) or cannot be used.

 AOMEI PE Builder

What is WindowsPE? Windows Preinstallation Environment (also known as Windows PE and WinPE) is a lightweight version of Windows used for the deployment of PCs, workstations, and servers, or troubleshooting an operating system while it is offline – Wikipedia

AOMEI PE Builder FREE in a nutshell:

  • FREE Must Have Software for computer techs and home based users
  • Creates recovery media on a CD/DVD disc, USB Flash Drive, or ISO Image File (If you are planning to use this on multiple PCs, it is recommended that you use a 32 bit system to create the recovery disk and add-on tools. This way the tool will work on 32 bit systems and 64 bit systems.)
  • Works only on the Windows 8/7 and Server 2008 R2/2012 platforms
  • No Need to Install AIK/WAIK (Typically when creating WindowsPE media, AIK or WAIK need to be installed. Not required with AOMEI PE Builder)
  • Comes integrated with Windows system recovery & repair and Windows Disk Management
  • Comes integrated with AOMEI’s Disk Partition Assistant and AOMEI’s Backup, Imaging and Restoration Software (called AOMEI Backupper Standard) – which I featured HERE on the blog and currently use as my “go to” backup and imaging software
  • Comes integrated with various (commonly known) tech tools and maintenance utilities, such as:

7-Zip
Everything
IrfanView
Notepad++
SumatraPDF
Q-Dir
Recuva
PENetwork
Filezilla
QTWeb
OSFMount
BOOTICE
NTPWEdit

  • Can easily add other portable tools to WindowsPE (I do not know of any other WindowsPE builders out there that offers the ability to selectively add “your own” portable troubleshooting tools during the build process)

In closing: I can remember the days where we could make a DOS boot disk to get a system up and running for troubleshooting and repair purposes. With the complexities of today’s computers and operating systems it is not that simple anymore; however, AOMEI’s PE Builder gives you an EASY option to create a Windows 7/8 boot disk that will definitely help you navigate around those complexities and help get your computer (or someone elses) up and running.

To show my endorsement of AOMEI: As I mentioned earlier, I currently use AOMEI Backupper Standard and have been very pleased with the software. I just recently, without no problem, used this backup software (and imaging software) to image a drive in a computer so that I could seamlessly move the contents of the drive to a new solid state drive that I installed.  I also use it to perform daily backups of my personal files to external drives.

A Geek Squeak – The Windows Club Releases FixWin V2 For Windows 8

The Windows Club (one of my favorite sites) recently released FixWin V2, a very popular Windows fixit utility, for when your back is against the wall. Please make sure you read the “How To Use FixWin V2”; which, in summary instructs you to run the system file checker (sfc), create a restore point; the, run each potential fix one at a time.

FixWin 2 for Windows 8 is a portable tool that offers to repair and fix over 50 common Windows annoyances, issues & problems. They have been  categorized under 6 tabs, viz : File Explorer, Internet & Connectivity, Modern UI, System Tools, Troubleshooters and Additional Fixes. The best part of using the tools, is that it provides direct links to bring up the built-in 16 Windows Troubleshooters. No need to open your control panel and search from them! Simply open the Troubleshooters tab of FixWin and open any one of the troubleshooters. It’s so simple… READ MORE @ The Windows Club

FixWin V2

FREE Software To Quickly Retrieve The Serial Presence Detect (SPD) From Your RAM Modules

I recently came across PassMark RAMMon (FREE for personal use) to help me positively identify the RAM Modules in a PC and thought I would pass this onto my readers.

Passmark RAMMon

PassMark RAMMon generates an extensive snapshot of the manufacturer, the clockspeed and other data of their DDR2, DDR3, XMP and EPP memory devices and even some older memory types. It uses SysInfo DLL SDK to gather the SPD attributes from RAM devices. 

What is SPD?

Serial Presence Detect (SPD) is the standard set forth by JEDEC for a host system to retrieve attributes of memory modules. The SPD standard is intended for use on any memory module, independent of memory technology or module form factor.

RAMMon displays the values stored on RAM module such as the memory capacity, the manufactuer, serial number, model part number, the CAS latencies supported and the module voltage.

Also, depending on your RAM type, other specific SPD data can be retreived as well. Such as the module thickness, module width, maximum operating temperature and more.

A Complete Collection Of Over 300 Tech Related Programs

At the top of my blog you will see a tab labelled “GEGeek”, which will redirect you from my blog to the GEGeek web site. It is not typical to see bloggers have a redirect link, from their blog, that takes them off the blog or away from the site. In my case, and if you know me, I am atypical…

The point being here is that I strongly encourage you take advantage of using the GEGeek tab and visit the GEGeek site; especially, if you are an information technology professional. GEGeek is the most awesome tech site out there where everything (and, I mean everything) you could possibly need to learn about computer information technology, to acquire tools for troubleshooting, etc.. can be found neatly wrapped up in one place. I feel greatly honored and appreciative that the site developer, at GEGeek, has given me the OK to have this direct link on my blog.

To further make a point of how unbelievable this site is, the site developer has compiled the GEGeek Tech Toolkit. I know there are numerous tech toolkits out there; but, where this one shines is that it contains over 300 tech related programs (over 600MB Compressed – Expands to 2.8 gig)… Included in the GEGeek Tech Toolkit is a program that will keep the essential tools in the kit, up-to-date. How awesome it that?

GEGeek Tech Toolkit

I know myself, with my passion for computers and information technology, I have spent hours upon hours testing out utilities and programs that could be useful as my tools of the trade (so to speak). When I first discovered GEGeek and the GEGeek Tech Toolkit, I knew within minutes of hitting the site that I had discovered a goldmine.

Please take a moment, especially if you have the same passion as I do, and visit GEGeek. Within a minute of visiting, you will be going WOW and adding the site to your bookmarks; plus, don’t forget the GEGeek Toolkit (which, by the way is FREE).

Geek Squeak – I Really Liked 404 Tech Support’s Post on “If everyone were taught troubleshooting…”

I really enjoyed reading the article by Jason Hamilton, at 404 Tech Support, on “If everyone were taught troubleshooting…”.  I think the reason it hit home with me is a recent computer issue I ran into, that literally took me a great while to solve, where numerous causes could have resulted in the effect. It was through the process of deduction, of each of the potential causes, that eventually led me to the obvious that literally was right before my eyes. I can also relate to the article from my past experience as an IT Manager and being in the hot seat.

404 Tech Support by Jason Hamilton
and his example of “cause and effect

If everyone were taught troubleshooting...

Sometimes the job in IT support can feel like you’re the only one that understands the simple concept of cause-and-effect. Sometimes the logical jumps can be made with the information provided by the client. Other times it requires discovering more information through observation or research while in more complicated cases it requires making a logic jump of 2-3 steps like a challenging Sudoku puzzle or thinking ahead in a game of ChessREAD MORE @ 404 Tech Support

Continue reading “Geek Squeak – I Really Liked 404 Tech Support’s Post on “If everyone were taught troubleshooting…””

A FREE Online Website Status Monitoring Service

Several days ago I went to go to a popular site and could not get the page to load. I later found out that there was an outage.

Following that experience, I started thinking it would be nice that a person could go to a centralized location to determine what sites are working and what sites are not. This is when CurrentlyDown dropped into my lap.

CurrentlyDown

CurrentlyDown lets you check the current status of a website and explore its outage history. It can be very helpful when you want to find out whether a website is down for everyone or just for you. In addition you can see availability history for any date, see when a website was down and how long. CurrentlyDown also posts screenshots and the cause(s) of an outage whenever possible.

 

How to Disable Specific Windows Updates So That They Will Not Be Installed

You probably are asking, “Why would I want to block a Windows Update?”.

I had numerous Windows Updates hit my PC yesterday and one of the updates would not install.  As a result, the computer ended up into a tailspin where every time I booted, the update appeared to be installing; then, it would fail; and, then uninstall itself.  After identifying what update it was, I needed a way to disable the update from installing, until a fix could be found.

What I found is that in Windows 7 and Windows 8 you can disable updates from installing by hiding them. Keep in mind, it is important to capture all updates; however, as in my case, there are those occasions where an update will break the machine.

To disable or hide the update I did some research and found that the web site Windows SevenForums has a very nice tutorial description (with graphics) on How to Hide or Restore Hidden Windows Updates in Windows 7 and Windows 8.

image

By following their tutorial, I was able to easily hide the update that was causing me the issue. Once I find a fix, I will unhide the update so that it can properly install. Thank you Windows SevenForum

How To Type the “Degree” Symbol From The Keyboard

[FEATURED GEEK SQUEAK] How To Type the “Degree” Symbol From The Keyboard – I always like sharing personal experiences here on the blog to show that I don’t pull these things out of thin air. Recently I was generating a report where I was typing out weather conditions (such as outside temperature). As I continued doing this I would always type out the word “degree” for the temperature (i.e. 90 degrees). It was at that point I started wondering if there is a way to generate the degree symbol from the keyboard?

If you look at your keyboard you will not visually find the symbol or character reference for the “degree symbol.  What you have to do is use what is called “ALT CODES”…

If you hold down the Alt key and on the numeric keypad on the right of the keyboard, type 0176, or Alt+ 248, then when you release the Alt Key, a ° should be there.

If you are interested in learning some more ALT CODES, click on the ALT CODES REFERENCE SHEET below.

image

[ COMMENTS ARE WELCOME – CLICK HERE ]

Learn a byte at a time, at What’s On My PC, with Geek Squeaks’ — featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, how to, Android, Windows, you name it… Be sure to check out MORE GEEK SQUEAKS BELOW!

MORE GEEK SQUEAKS

[PRODUCTIVITY SOFTWARE] Envelope Printer – While I could have used MS Office Word and other 3rd party programs to print out envelopes, I wanted something that was far easier to use and that required a heck of a lot less mouse clicks to get the job done. The program remembers your settings, so once all ready to go you can open the program, open the address book, choose the address hit use this address and the click print. 4 mouse clicks and you are done… @Tweaking.com

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[CLOUD STORAGE] How to tie your cloud storage services together – How can you tie your cloud storage services together?   It’s actually easy if you use MultCloud.   MultCloud ties together all of the most popular cloud storage services so you can upload files to multiple sites through a single sign-on… @TTC Shelbyville – Technical Blog

image


[COMPRESSION SOFTWARE] ZipGenius handles more than 20 types of compression formats – It allows you to browse CD/DVD-ROM ISO image files as if they were common archives. It is the best companion for your daily tasks and you can even use it through command line module in batch operations… @ZipGenius

image


[PORTABLE APP] A simple and free start menu application that can be installed on USB sticks or local PCs – Portable Start Menu organizes your programs in a simple menu system and launches them via a tray icon. If you close Portable Start Menu on an USB-Stick, running applications can be closed automatically, too… @Portable Start Menu

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[COMPUTER HARDWARE] Cable Matters USB 3.0 to SATA Hard Drive Docking Station – swappable access to 2.5″ and 3.5″ SATA HDD/SSD, without having to mount the hard drive, or installing it in an enclosure. It provides a simple, fast, and cost effective solution for data recovery, drive imaging, and testing centers, or any environment that requires fast access to uninstalled/archived drives.. @Amazon

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[HOW TO – TROUBLESHOOT] When your computer won’t turn on – A lot of problems can keep a computer from booting Windows (or any other operating system). Fortunately, you can get a pretty good idea by noting how and when the PC fails. If you press the power button and nothing happens, you’ve got a very different problem than if the PC starts but Windows never loads. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities… @PCWorld

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[TECH NEWS] How the Internet of Things knows where gunfire happens – SST’s ShotSpotter pinpoints outdoor, urban gunshots for law enforcement agencies. Now it’s moving indoors with a service for schools… @c|net

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GEEK SQUEAKS – Featuring A Windows 8.1 Update Install Marathon On A HP Computer (following a hard drive failure).

[FEATURED GEEK SQUEAK] A Windows 8.1 Update Install Marathon On An HP Computer (following a hard drive failure) – This squeak is from a personal experience that I will keep short; therefore, a chopped up description.

Windows 8.1 Update

Have you ever ran a marathon and you thought there was no end? To me the experience below was unbelievable and was like running a marathon.

My Father’s All-In-One HP computer, running Windows 8.1, still under warranty, had a hard drive failure. Called HP, patched to India, on the phone for an over an hour to run the diagnostics and listen to them trying to scare me into buying the extended warranty. Hard drive failure confirmed, patched to another person in India who kept telling me how wonderful I was. Hard drive shipped (within 3 days), and installed (in less than 15 minutes); then, the real fun began.

The drive shipped with HP’s Windows 8 recovery software.  My objective was to get the machine up and running, then upgrade to Windows 8.1…

Long story short, started at 6 pm and finished after 1 am.  Over 7 hours to run the recovery, download all of the Windows updates, and download/install Windows 8.1.  The time involved did not include the other tweaking required to get my Father’s PC back to the point he originally was at (i.e. printer install, third party software installs, cosmetic changes, etc…).

I am definitely, at my next visit, going to image the disk…  Has anyone else experienced this?

 [ COMMENTS ARE WELCOME – CLICK HERE ]


MORE GEEK SQUEAKS

[MICROSOFT OFFICE] Microsoft Launches Cheaper Office 365 Personal – First unveiled last month, Office 365 Personal lets you run Microsoft’s cloud-based document creation and editing suite on one PC or Mac and one tablet for $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year. Office 365 Personal is available online, at Microsoft stores, and through online and retail partners… @PCMag

[REMOTE PC ANDROID APP] Chrome Remote Desktop – Securely access your computers from your Android device. On each of your computers, set up remote access using the Chrome Remote Desktop app from Chrome Web Store. On your Android device, open the app and tap on any of your online computers to connect… @Google Play

[COMPUTER ACCESSORIES] Vantec CB-ISATAU2 SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter Supports 2.5-Inch, 3.5-Inch, 5.25-Inch Hard Disk Drives – The SATA/IDE-USB Adapter gives you the flexibility of connecting almost any type of drive to your computer via USB.  SATA, 3.5-inch IDE, 5.25-inch IDE, and 2.5-inch IDE drives are all supported and can be easily hot-swapped to your system.

[ CLICK HERE ] 

Vantec CB-ISATAU2 SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter

The included external power adapter will allow you to power your drives outside your system giving you the ability to quickly add or swap between drives without opening your case.  The SATA/IDE-USB adapter incorporates 3 interfaces to one USB adapters… @Amazon

[COMPUTER BACKUP SOFTWARE] FREE Backup Software Protects System & Data of Your PC – Back up your most important files and folders on a regular basis. Create a system image to keep Windows and applications safe. Back up entire hard disk or specified partitions, or just cloning them. Save time and effort with automatic, incremental, and differential backups… @AOMEI

[WEB APP] Zenpen – A minimalist writing zone by Tim Holman, to get you into that zone, where you can focus on the writing – with none of the distractions… @ZenPen

[HOW TO] Windows 8.1 Update tip: Clean up that disk space nowNow that you’ve had about a week to play around with the update—which brings the taskbar to the modern UI, among other welcome additions—the next few days present a good time to clear up extra space on your hard drive by getting rid of some Windows Update files.How much space you’ll recover depends on whether you’ve ever run the Disk Clean-up utility, and the number of different Windows versions you’ve ever run on your PC… @PCWorld


Learn a byte at a time with Geek Squeaks’ — featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it… I just plain love tech!

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Today’s Geek Squeaks – December 13, 2013

MONITOR THE STATUS OF YOUR FAVORITE WEB SERVICES, with “down right now”, to let you know when there is service trouble…  Thanks to GEGeek for this submission…

CLEAN MASTER (CLEANER) FREE – MOST DOWNLOADED ANDROID CLEANER and Ram Booster recently udpated with a new user interface (that looks awesome). This is a great utility to help keep your Android phone or tablet running in tip top shape…

TODAY’S RANDOM TECH SITE PICK is a site that gives you hope; Computer Hope that is…

A WEAK-PASSWORD PREVENTION SYSTEM that will try to guess each character of your password before you type it.

WATCH, PAUSE, AND RECORD TV ON YOUR PC, in a window or full screen.

[ COMMENTS ARE WELCOME – CLICK HERE ]


down right now

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You know the feeling: you’re happily using one of your favorite web sites when, all of a sudden, you’re interrupted by an error message. It can be frustrating. Is there a bug in the web site, or is your Internet provider acting up again? Where can you turn to find out if others are having the same problem?… CHECK IT OUT HERE


Clean Master (Cleaner) – FREE

(Android)

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Memory Boost/Task Killer – Boosting apps and games speed is much easier with Clean Master.

Clean – Delete those junk files (cache and residual) that take up valuable storage space.

Clear
– Protect your privacy by deleting personal information like your search and browser history

App Management
– Move apps to an SD card, remove pre-installed apps and backup .apk files

GET IT HERE


Today’s Random Tech Site Pick (with sample article)

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(as listed @ Bookmarks4Tech.com)

Replace Windows Explorer with Multi Commander – Microsoft Windows Explorer is great for general file management tasks. However, there are several more complicated tasks that Windows Explorer is unable to handle. This is where Multi Commander can come in handy… READ MORE


Use this Site to Help You Create Stronger Online Passwords

@ Gizmo’s

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Want a way to help you create passwords that are harder to crack? The web has many sites that claim to test how strong your passwords are. Many of these simply look at the length, which can be misleading. Others try to do better by looking at the variety of character types used. However, many of the tricks used by hackers are not tested by these sites. Now Microsoft Research has come up with a new site that is more sophisticated and may help you to create better passwords… LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS SITE (AND TEST YOUR PASSWORDS)


Hauppauge 1196 WinTV-HVR-1250 PCI-E x1 TV Tuner

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The WinTV-HVR-1250 lets you watch ATSC digital TV as well as QAM digital TV and analog cable TV directly on your computer. ATSC digital TV, which typically requires an antenna for reception, is the over-the-air HDTV standard for North America. ATSC broadcasts range in resolution from standard definition up to the high definition 1080i format… CHECK IT OUT HERE


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Today’s Geek Squeaks – November 14, 2013

SNAPY the resizeable, movable & adjustable Android camera app that’s always there…

FASTSTONE IMAGE VIEWER WAS RECENTLY UPDATED to include a “design and print” feature that gives you the ability to print multiple images with text and effects on one page…

SOME ELEMENTARY STEPS you should always take to troubleshoot and resolve PC problems…

AN ULTRABOOK THAT THINKS IT IS A TABLET or is it a tablet that thinks it is an ultrabook???

Geek Squeaks’ features a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it;  from my favorite tech web sites… I just plain love tech!

[ COMMENTS ARE WELCOME – CLICK HERE ]


Snapy Is A Floating, Resizable Android Camera App
With A Built-In Editor

@ Addictive Tips

One of my everyday reads is Addictive Tips… Recently they posted a really cool Android App called Snapy that changes the way you use the camera on your smartphone and tablet.

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When was the last time you used a Camera app on your smartphone or tablet and you said ‘wow’? Because today just might happen to be that day after you use Snapy, The Floating Camera on Android. Unlike any traditional camera app, Snapy is designed to let you take photos no matter where you are or what app you’re using… READ MORE


FastStone Image Viewer Update

The only image viewer that I have on my PC and carry on my flash drives (as a portable app) is FastStone Image Viewer. This application does more than just view images. It is a fast, stable, user-friendly image browser, converter and editor. Once you learn how to use FastStone image viewer you will become a user forever…

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Most recently FastStone Image Viewer was updated to include the following:

Added “Design and Print” (press Alt+P), which allows you to print multiple images with text and effects on one page

Improved “Adjust Curves“. Now you can click and drag in image to adjust the curves directly. Endpoints of the curves are adjustable

Added “Print Size” option to the Resize tab of the batch convert tool

Added support of video files to the batch rename tool

Added “Auto-Resize” option to the image-scanning tool

Added “Show in Google Maps” and “Show in Google Earth” buttons to the “Image Properties” window. These buttons will be visible if the image has GPS information

Many other small improvements and bug fixes

GET IT HERE


Five Really Simple Tricks and Tips
that Solve a Lot of PC Problems

@ gizmo’s

Another daily read of mine is gizmo’s freeware. Today they posted an article that I can truly relate to that you should first try when you are experiencing PC problems. You do not need to be tech savvy to use these tips. I don’t know how many times, myself, I have told people experiencing PC problems to check the cables, reboot, turn the device on/off, etc…  All elementary steps, but necessary steps!

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After you work with PCs for a while, you learn some really simple tricks that solve many of the problems that plague PC users. These tricks are not in any instruction book but they work in a surprising number of situations. Here are five that I have used over and over… READ MORE


Acer Aspire P3-171-6820 11.6-Inch Convertible 2-in-1 Touchscreen Ultrabook

A fully functioning 11.6″ Windows 8 Ultrabook that transforms into a sleek and stylish tablet… Now how cool is that!

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Key Features

  • 11.6″ HD 1366 x 768 resolution, Acer CineCrystal™ LED-backlit TFT LCD with integrated 10-Point multi-touch screen, supporting finger touch and image auto rotation
  • Windows 8
  • 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i5-3339Y Processor 1.5GHzwith Turbo Boost Technology up to 2.0GHz
  • 4GB of DDR3 On-Board System Memory
  • Intel® HD Graphics 4000with 128MB of dedicated system memory
  • 120GB Solid State Drive
  • Optimized Dolby® Home Theater® v4 audio enhancement
  • Two Built-in Stereo Speakers
  • Integrated Digital Microphone
  • Acer Invilink™ Nplify™ 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi Certified™
  • Bluetooth® 4.0 + HS
  • 1- USB 3.0 Port
  • 1 – Micro-HDMI™ out with HDCP support
  • 5MP Rear-facing HD camera
  • Front-Facing HD Camera
  • Sensors:Gyroscope, E-Compass, Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor
  • 4-Cell Li-Ion Battery
  • INCLUDES Protective Case with Bluetooth Keyboard

CHECK IT OUT HERE


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Today’s Geek Squeaks – September 30, 2013

A summary of Today’s Geek Squeaks:

Squeak #1 – (How To Restore, Refresh or Reset Your Windows 8 PC) – Get “how to” instructions, straight from the horses mouth, to restore, refresh or reset Windows 8. Hopefully, this never becomes an option, but there are those rare occasion where knowing how to do this may be your best option (SEE BELOW);

Squeak #2 – (Why fixing computers for FREE is not a good idea?) – TechRepublic posted an article citing ten reasons you should not fix computers for free. What timing? I have been working my way out of assisting people for FREE with their computers. The reasons that they reflect are right on. Trust me, I know (SEE BELOW);

Squeak #3 – (Remember The Old Windows Media Player): Check out Media Player Classic Home Cinema. It looks identical to the old Windows Media Player from years gone by; however, this replica supports all common video, audio and image file formats available as well as video playback (SEE BELOW); AND,

Squeak #4 – (Dual Monitor Stand): If you have a multi-monitor setup, you should consider looking for a stand to mount those monitors. There are numerous configurations to choose from. Featured today is the most economical stand I could find for a dual monitor setup (SEE BELOW)…

[ CLICK HERE TO LEAVE A COMMENT ]

Geek Squeaks’, featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it;  from my favorite tech web sites… I just plain love tech!

See An Endless Stream Of Geek Squeaks’ [ HERE ]


How to restore, refresh, or reset your PC

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Applies to Windows 8 and Windows RT – If you’re having problems with your PC, you can try to restore, refresh, or reset it. Restoring your PC is a way to undo recent system changes you’ve made. Refreshing your PC reinstalls Windows and keeps your personal files, settings, and the apps that came with your PC and apps that you installed from Windows Store. Resetting your PC reinstalls Windows but deletes your files, settings, and apps—except for the apps that came with your PC… SEE HOW HERE


Ten reasons not to fix computers for free

@ TechRepublic

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Don’t get the wrong idea. There are some people that I truly don’t mind helping. I would never refuse to help my wife with a computer problem, nor would I cut off my mother. Unfortunately though, the majority of those that I have helped have abused the situation. As such, this article is a list of ten reasons why I don’t recommend fixing PCs for free… READ MORE


Media Player Classic Home Cinema

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Media Player Classic Home Cinema is a lightweight, open source media player that supports all common video, audio and image file formats available as well as video playback… GET IT HERE


Dual Freestanding Monitor Stand

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Support 2 screens in a horizontal position. The two arms are easily adjustable. Arms will swing into a comfortable position. Pole Height is 19.5″ Weight capacity: 13lbs Each. Up To 24″ wide-screen monitors Meets VESA 75*75 or 100*100mm. With a weighted metal base… CHECK IT OUT HERE


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Windows Repair (All In One) – A GREAT Utility For The Tech Toolbox

imageWhen it comes to computers we can find ourselves getting into all sorts of situations where it is very difficult to assess and fix the problem.  For example, a couple of friends of mine recently ran into a situation where the windows updates service was broken on a computer they were working on and they had to resort to researching the matter on the internet in order to get a fix. The fix in this situation was not a fix that everyday computer user would want to attempt, due to edits to the registry being required.

I applaud my friends for finding the fix and making the fix work. As a result of this specific situation I started to explore around for an easier solution; and, just by chance happened across a utility called Windows Repair (All In One) , that not only will fix the Windows Update service, but a whole host of Windows OS based problems.

Windows Repair (All In One)

What I want you to keep in mind with this utility is that this utility is geared toward someone that has knowledge of the Windows operating system; however, if your back is against the wall and you know you are in deep doo doo, then what the heck, give the Windows Repair (All In One) a try.

Tweaking.com – Windows Repair can do the following:

Reset Registry Permissions
Reset File Permissions
Register System Files
Repair WMI
Repair Windows Firewall
Repair Internet Explorer
Repair MDAC & MS Jet
Repair Hosts File
Remove Policies Set By Infections
Repair Icons
Repair Winsock & DNS Cache
Remove Temp Files
Repair Proxy Settings
Unhide Non System Files
Repair Windows Updates
Repair CD/DVD Missing/Not Working
and more…

GEEK BONUS AREA

Visit Bookmarks4Techs.com

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Official Mac OSX Leopard Wallpapers

Phone for Google Voice & Gtalk (Android) –
Make Free Calls Over Wi-Fi

Reblog: Best Free Online Applications and Services

Affordable, Shared, Wireless HP LaserJet Printing
In The Home or Office

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An Easy-To-Use Program To Fix, Speed Up, Maintain And Protect Your PC

One of the biggest complaints I often hear from people who use a computer at home is that over time their computer gets slower and slower. This often occurs as result of installing numerous software programs and failing to perform routine system maintenance.

When I hear this complaint, I will often help them clean up their PC and then refer them to Glary Utilities which features a 1-Click Maintenance feature that will help keep their PC clean, help protect their privacy, and even acts as a layer of protection from spyware and adware.

Glary Utilities

Glary Utilities provides an always-on, automated, all-in-one PC care service just by one click, including quick and thorough scan for issues like invalid registry keys, dangling shortcuts, unnecessary startup items, junk of temporary files, Internet history and spyware. Then a second click on “Repair Problems” and you can speed up system performance a great deal. One-click Maintenance makes it easy to optimize system immediately and doesn’t bother you with multiple steps.

Glary Utilities does not stop there. Glary Utilities features numerous other maintenance tools, referred to as modules, where you can individually select tasks that you desire to perform.

Glary Utilities

Clean Up & Repair Module – Disk Cleaner, Registry Cleaner,
Shortcuts Fixer,  and Uninstall Manager.

Optimize & Improve Module – Startup Manager, Memory Optimizer,
Context Menu Manager, and Registry Defrag.

Privacy & Security Module – Tracks Eraser, File Shredder, File Undelete, and File Encrypter – Decrypter.

Files & Folders Module – Disk Analysis, Duplicate Files Finder, Empty Folders Finder,  and File Splitter – Joiner.

System Tools Module – Process Manager, Internet Explorer Assistant,
System Information, and Windows Standard Tools..

If you are concerned that a change is made to your PC and you wish you could revert the change, it is possible with Glary Utilites through its’ built-in restore Center.

Glary Utilities

So, instead of putting out big bucks for some the PC maintenance utilities out there, you may want to consider the FREE version of Glary Utilities.  It is very easy to understand, is low on system resources, is also available as a portable app and will run on Windows 8, 7, 2000, XP, Vista. (32/64bit version).

GEEK BONUS AREA

Remove the “Ads not by this site” Browser Hijacker

Microsoft Offers Windows 8 Pro Upgrade To Students
For $70

Invoice App for Free on Chrome Web Store: InvoiceFox

SB Raspberry Pi Case (Clear)

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Bookmarks4Techs – Over 500 Listed Tech Sites

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Links To All Articles Ever Posted At What’s On My PC

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A PC Tech’s Quick Reference Web Site

Just when I think I have found most of the golden nuggets on the internet, I come across another. While performing an update to the Bookmarks4Techs listing, a visitor to the site contacted me and suggested that I add the tech site GEGeek – PC Tech Quick Reference to the listing.

GEGeek

What I expected to find was a tech blog, but what I came across is a Geek’s paradise for anyone who is into computers; and especially,  computer repair & troubleshooting. While you are there, pay special attention to the GEGeek Tech Toolkit.  This toolkit should be called a Tech Tool Shop…  It is a 1.0 gig download and contains everything, as a tech, you would ever need.

An excerpt about the author of GEGeek:

This site is the culmination of years of CAREFULLY selecting a handful of links to assist me on my current job, personal consulting work and of course my own PCs. Not every site has all useful links ⁄ articles, but there were always one or two gems to be found on every site I visited. Keeping them readily available and manageable became quite a chore, so i created this site just to help me organize them and provide a quick reference . The “How To” is assumed knowledge, I just provide the quick reference.

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GEEK BONUS AREA

Listing of All Articles Ever Posted at What’s On My PC

Studies Proved Laptop Radiation and Other Forms of Low Level Radiation Pose Risk to Users

Beware Of Professional Website Designers

Microsoft Security Essentials Review

FEATURED TECH PRODUCT

Bose® SoundLink® Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II

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Quickly Find the Space Hogs On Your Computer With WizTree

I have featured other programs here at What’s On My PC that will scan your drive(s) and identify which files and folders are using the most disk space. They all are good, but the scanning process often can take some time to complete. Also, I have found that one of the most difficult concepts to grasp, when it comes to managing space on a computer (or tablet, or smartphone), is understanding how the disk space is gauged in terms of kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes, petabytes, etc…

Recently I came across another disk space analyzer, called WizTree, that I found to be very impressive and fast.

WizTree

Where WizTree excels is in its’ scanning speed; and, what makes it so fast is that WizTree does not scan the physical drive, but scans the hard drive’s Master File Table (MFT) directly from the disk.

Please Note:  When using programs such as this to identify the space hogs on your computer (or device) make sure you do not delete a spacehog (file or folder) that is needed for the operation of the computer (or other programs).  Typically, I use programs, such as WizTree, to determine what personal files I have saved (such as documents, pictures, movies, etc…) are consuming the most space. Programs such as this are also great for troubleshooting problems, as well.

The MFT is a special hidden file used by the NTFS file system to keep track of all files and folders on a hard drive. Scanning for files this way completely bypasses the operating system (Windows) and provides a huge performance boost.

Features:

  • Finds the files and folders using the most space on your hard drive
  • Work VERY Fast! We think it’s the fastest application of this type in the world!
  • Finds the top 1000 largest files on your hard drive
  • Sort the contents of your entire hard drive by folder size and optionally delete files and folders

WizTree, is a portable app that works on 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 with drives that are formatted in the NTFS format (which most modern drives are formatted).

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GEEK BONUS AREA

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 10, 2012

SB 112

Today’s FREE Android App of the Day

Which are the Greatest iPad Accessories to choose?

Bookmarks4Techs

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