PCMag just posted this and if you are like me and have a passion for software; especially FREE software, then this is for you!
Your phone is full of apps, but don’t neglect the desktop. These programs can make your life better.
PCMag just posted this and if you are like me and have a passion for software; especially FREE software, then this is for you!
Your phone is full of apps, but don’t neglect the desktop. These programs can make your life better.
I Love Free Software are words I love to hear. Do you know many folks out there do not know there is actually free software available that is comparable (or better) than some of the paid versions?
Today I want to point you to a website called, ilovefreesoftware, that has developed into the best free software site on the internet. The work that the site developers put into this is unbelievable. What started out as simple reviews of individual FREE software packages has evolved into a site where (daily) they will give you 4 or 5 choices of free software options of similar function.
The listing below is just a sample of what I am talking about. I have often told young people who are interested in the field of IT to get out there and learn the in’s and out’s of software, and ilovefreesoftware is a great place to start.
Thank You For Visiting Today
MAKE SURE YOU ALSO VISIT
Believe it or not you will soon be able to get and use Microsoft Office for FREE; but, there is a catch (as if you didn’t know).
Microsoft is planning to make the core viewing and editing features of Office FREE, but the catch is, this will only be available for FREE on devices with screens that are 10.1 inches or smaller. The thinking is that anything above that scale would most likely be used in a professional/office/school environment (thus cost is applied) and anything below that scale is mostly in a non-professional home/on the road environment (thus no cost is applied).
Thank You For Visiting Today
MAKE SURE YOU ALSO VISIT
[FEATURED GEEK SQUEAK] Have It All With A Solid State Hybrid Drive – If you have an older PC and you are looking for a performance boost, that gives you faster speed with capacity, you may want to take a look one of Seagate’s Solid State Hybrid Drives.
The hybrid drives by Seagate set aside approximately 6GB’s of ultra-fast NAND flash (same as used for SSD technology) to store the most frequently used data. What this means is that, as you use the computer, the hybrid drive learns what data you use frequently and stores it on the SSD side of the drive. As this happens over time you will notice that the load times of those frequently used application are greatly reduced. System boot times and system responsiveness are also noticeably improved using the hybrid form factor.
The Seagate® Desktop SSHD is designed to work in any standard desktop system. Unlike other hybrid solutions, there are no special drivers or software to install and configure. It installs and works just like a hard drive – only faster!
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, you name it… I just plain love tech!
[HOW TO] How to Upgrade a Desktop Hard Drive With Solid State Hybrid Drive Technology – The process of upgrading your desktop drive to a Seagate® Desktop SSHD is simpler than you might expect. There are three essential steps involved with the upgrade process… @Seagate
[FREE EBOOKS] 150 FREE Microsoft eBooks – largest collection ever – Given the amount my readers enjoy these posts and these free resources, I am sharing another post this year with over 130 more FREE eBooks, Step-By-Steps, Resource Guides, etc., for your enjoyment… @TCAT Shelbyville – Technical Blog
[GMAIL] 5 Free Gmail Tracking Services To Get Read Receipt for Gmail – Here’s a listing of five free Gmail tracking services. These email tracking services keep tabs on your sent emails (sent via Gmail) and notify you (via different methods) when the recipient(s) open/read those emails… @I Love Free Software
[HOT TECH NEWS] The Popular WinPatrol System Monitoring Software Changes Hands – I couldn’t be happier to introduce you to the founder of Ruiware, LLC and Scotty’s new best friend, Bret Lowry. He’s younger with more energy but still has almost 30 years experience developing software… @Bits From Bill
[WEB BROWSER NEWS] Chrome rockets past Firefox in browser arena – Google’s Chrome continues to shoot past Firefox among the desktop browser crowd, according to the latest stats from Web tracker Net Applications… @c|net
[WINDOWS APP] Pushbullet Windows App Gets Right-Click File Push Capability – You know all about Pushbullet by now – it’s that file/text/notification/everything else pushing app that’s so outrageously useful that you have to wonder why it’s free. Today there’s a treat rolling out to Pushbullet users on Windows in particular, and it makes sending files to your devices mega-easy. Just right-click and send.. @Android Police
[SECURITY] Probably the Best Free Security List in the World – This article contains a comprehensive list of free security-related programs or web applications for Windows XP and later Windows PC-based operating systems. The few non-free programs on this list are included because they are of high merit (in our opinion) and lack a comparable free alternative. This list also includes links to webpages that contain security-related information… @gizmo’s
[FREE SOFTWARE] MagicArchiver – Free Solutions for Archive Processing – A free archive processing utility. It provides a free and complete solution for manipulating archives. It is completely free for commercial and personal use… @MagicArchiver
[CLOUD COMPUTING] Here is the online application for cutting music – It allows you to effortlessly cut out a desired musical fragment from an MP3 file or a file in other formats, in order, for example to set it up as a customized ringtone for your mobile phone… @Online Audio Cutter
[UTILITIES] A software toolbox for your solid state drive hardware – Many of the top manufacturers of solid state drives have a software “toolbox” to go along with the hardware to configure the best performance. Sometimes a manufacturer only provides firmware updates, which are warned to be done at your own risk… @404 Tech Support
[HOW TO] 3 Ways To Directly Boot To Desktop In Windows 8 – Here are 3 ways to boot directly to Windows 8 desktop, when you login to Windows 8 PC… @I Love Free Software
[SECURITY] Microsoft Account protection: Login and security tips – Here are a few things you can do to help protect your Microsoft Account… @The Windows Club
[HOT TECH NEWS] Microsoft Announces Major Changes to Office 365 for Small and Midsized Businesses – In October, Microsoft will replace its Office 365subscriptions for small and midsized businesses with versions that are more affordable, more flexible, and provide more value. Existing customers will be able to take advantage of the new offerings—and the new pricing—starting October 1 or when they upgrade in the months ahead… @Paul Thurrott’s Supersite For Windows
With today’s smartphones, tablets, and digital cameras possessing the ability to capture video, you need some good video editing software, such as Windows Movie Maker. The reason I am mentioning Windows Movie Maker is that it is FREE, is made by Microsoft and has an easy learning curve.
For example, I am not really into video editing, but recently I ran into a situation where I had captured a video, using a digital camera, and I needed a way to crop the video’s start and stop point and compress the size of the video so that I could email it. Always remember, video captures typically can be very large in file size and sending a large video via email most likely will not work. This is where Windows Movie Maker helped me out.
In summary, after transferring my video to my computer, I opened up Windows Movie Maker, started a new project from the file menu, which prompted me to locate and load my video. Once the video was loaded (in a film strip type of fashion), I simply used the controls to play the video and stop it precisely where I wanted the actual starting point of the video to be. You can also drag the vertical line across the strip to really fine tune things. Once I established my starting point, I simply right clicked on the strip and clicked on Set Start Point. You can also do the same to determine your Set End Point. As you perform these tasks, the video is cropped. Once I got this completed, with my goal to get this down to a size I could email it, I simply went back to the file menu and clicked on Save Movie, which then gave me an array of options such as Hi Def Display, Computer, Email, Android Phone, Apple iPhone and more… In my case, I selected the Email option which automatically reduced the video file size and dimensions. The file was saved as an MP4 file by default.
What I described is just a very basic use of Windows Movie Maker. It has so much to it that you can add animations, transitions, photos, background music in actually creating your own personal movie presentations. If you are a YouTube fanatic, Windows Movie Maker may be a big help to you.
Quickly add photos and footage from your PC or camera into Movie Maker. Then fine tune your movie just the way you want it. You can move things around, speed it up or slow it down—it’s up to you.
Enhance your movie with audio and a theme. Movie Maker adds transitions and effects automatically so your movie looks polished and professional.
Once your movie is ready, share it online on Facebook, YouTube or other social networking and video sharing sites. Send a link to your movie in an email to family and friends so they won’t miss it.
Microsoft did not do a very good job promoting the gadget platform that was available in Windows Vista and Windows 7; and, as a result, most people were clueless about it (and did not understand it). Actually, for the everyday home computer user, it was not the easiest platform to navigate.
Typically, if you had the gadget platform activated, you would see a sidebar on the side of the desktop that displayed your gadgets (mini-programs that offered information at a glance and provided easy access to frequently accessed tools). I know that some of the gadgets I played around with (such as clocks, system monitors, picture slide shows, mini rss readers) were actually very good and were often nice in appearance. You could even detach the gadgets from the sidebar and move them around the desktop.
If you upgraded to Windows 8, and you was a Windows gadget user, you are going to find that the gadget platform is gone; HOWEVER, there is a really good third party FREE software option, called Thoosje Windows Sidebar 8, that will bring the gadgets back in Windows 8.
Thoosje windows Sidebar comes with 11 of the most used gadgets like a clock gadget, Calendar gadget, CPU/memory gadget, Search gadgets, Hard Drive gadgets, Media player, quick launch, RSS feed gadget and more. An addtionional free gadget pack is under development now and will be released this year.
Thoosje windows sidebar is completely redeveloped and now the new gadgets system is designed to make it possible to let independent developers create new gadgets for Thoosje Windows sidebar 8. The system is created to make it possible running Gadgets Directly From DLL ( For Developers)
Thoosje Windows Sidebar 8 Features
This week my posts have been focused exclusively on Windows 8; due in part I just installed Windows 8 and I am like a kid in a candy shop.
As I continue to learn more about Windows 8 and customize my computer the more I realized that I needed to create a backup of my system. Yes, I could take the risk and hope all goes well and simply reinstall Windows if all fails, but that (especially in my case) would be a very time consuming process. This is where a good disk imaging program comes into play. In this case, by circumstance, Paragon’s FREE Disk Imaging Software for Windows 8 fell onto my plate.
When you see FREE for disk imaging software, I become skeptical; however, when I see FREE in conjunction with Paragon I know I am getting a good product. What this software does is walk you through the process of creating an exact image of your entire system. Like any imaging program and depending on the file content and disk size of your system, creating an image is not a fast process; BUT, it is definitely worth the wait. Also, you should use an external drive to make the backup to. Paragon will walk you through the entire process of selecting the volume you desire to backup, to rebooting your system to begin the backup, to rebooting your system back into your Windows environment. To restore your system you must create a Paragon boot CD so that when your PC goes belly up you can insert the CD in the CD Drive and boot your computer into Paragon’s powerful Linux/DOS environment. From that environment you simply select the image you backed up to restore your computer back to the same level it was when you created the backup image.
Paragon’s Image Backup for Windows 8 is a disk-imaging tool for Windows 8 and Server 2012. It employs Microsoft VSS and Paragon’s patent-pending technologies for consistent point-in-time copies of the whole disk system or separate volumes. For recovery purposes it includes a powerful Linux/DOS environment. But its power is its support of the innovative ReFS.
When the beta and preview versions of Windows 8 was circulating around out there in the wild, I deliberately avoided downloading and testing it. WHY? I knew Windows 8 was going to be something completely and visually different than what I have been experiencing (since 1995) and I wanted to experience Windows 8 (upon final release) in a similar manner as others at home would be for the first time.
Please factor in that I have extensive knowledge of the Windows OS in general; and, that I have been reading about and following along with the development of Windows 8. So in a sense, I sort of had an idea of what to expect; whereas, the everyday computer user really has no idea of what to expect when change like this occurs. I strongly encourage anyone making the leap from any of the older versions of Windows to Windows 8, to take in all the information that you can to learn more about this new operating system or visit your local tech store to give Windows 8 a try.
On the release date of October 26th, I downloaded and installed Windows 8 on my PC. Upon completion of the install, I have to admit I sat there looking at the screen, in real-time for the very first time, scratching my head and mumbling; Where’s my desktop?; What are these menus flying from the side of the screen for? This looks like a giant smartphone screen, etc… I actually started to think, I just made a huge mistake.
Long story short… After a few days of learning how to navigate around, I am starting to enjoy Windows 8 and the new challenges (and features) it is giving me. I soon learned that I could get to my desktop by clicking on the desktop tile on the start screen. What immediately caught my attention and will definitely be a challenge for the home-based computer user is that there is no start button when you get to the desktop. Personally, I never used it much anyway, but this is really going to throw the majority of people off.
To overcome this problem, I went on the hunt for a start menu. What I found was seven start menu alternatives that you may want to explore to help get you back on track in Windows 8. With one of these alternatives you can feel like you are still in Windows 7, but still have all the luxuries of Windows 8.
Start8 ($4.99) – Return the Start Button to Windows 8. A Windows 7-style Start menu with Windows 8 enhancements.
Pokki (FREE) – Brings back the Start Menu to Windows 8. The Pokki Menu makes accessing and organizing your favorite apps, websites, files and folders more simple and convenient. Search your PC and the web to add your favorite apps and sites, then organize them like you would on a smart phone.
ViStart (FREE) – Functions in Windows 8 just like the original start menu in windows 7 and has some extra features on top of that especially for windows 8. For EXTRA features. Simply right click the windows start button and you will be presented with an “EXTRAS” menu. Here you access to frequently used windows features as well as a few extra ViStart features.
StartMenu8 (BETA FREE) – Offers a perfect solution for users who work with Windows Start Menu all the time and are not accustomed to the new Metro start screen in Windows 8. This smart tool brings back both the start button and Windows Start Menu, and offers the option to skip Metro start page, allowing users who only work on desktop to boot to Windows 8 desktop directly.
Classic Shell (FREE) – A collection of features that were available in older versions of Windows but were later removed. It has a customizable Start menu and Start button for Windows 7 and Windows 8, it adds a toolbar for Windows Explorer and supports a variety of smaller features. Look here for the full list.
Start Menu Х (FREE) – A replacement of the system menu for professionals.
Power8 (BETA FREE) – The start menu replacer for Win8, styled and integrated inside taskbar.
This is just how I felt today… Just plain lazy! Nice wallpaper image of a couple of lions taking it easy.
To Get This Wallpaper – [ CLICK HERE ]
Browse for wallpapers from previous weeks, [CLICK HERE]
Windows 7 Users: If you are using Windows 7, did you know you can create a desktop background slideshow to show off your pictures and wallpaper images? To learn how to use this feature [ CLICK HERE ] .
When you cut and copy text or images on your PC, that data is temporarily stored on the clipboard. Typically each instance when you perform the cut and copy operation, the data that was previously on the clipboard is wiped out. To keep this from occurring you need to get your hands on a clipboard manager where any cut and copy operations that you perform, the data is stored and can be retrieved at a later time. I often use a clipboard manager when working on the blog and other projects.
I have featured clipboard managers on the blog in the past; but, today I want to share a NEW one called Multi Clipboard Recorder. Where this one differs from the others is that it is very easy to use and understand (and is portable). Simply start it up and copy away!
To view what you are storing on the Multi Clipboard Recorder, click the button, as shown in the screenshot. On the left side of the window you can individually select what data items you want to use to paste into whatever it is you are working on. A green check will appear for the item that you select.
To use Multi Clipboard Manager on your flash drive, it appears you have to install it to your PC, then copy the folder over to the flash drive.
I am sure if you are regular visitor to What’s On My PC you will find that my main point of interest is FREE software. I typically review software by downloading, installing and using the software for awhile before I give it a thumbs up. As a result, I end up with quite a collection of software (or referred to as “apps”, in today’s world”) that requires constant monitoring for software updates. I am adamant about maintaining and keeping my software up-to-date to help deter and prevent malware infections.
Today I came across a cloud based service that you may be interested in exploring that is called AllMyApps, that is specifically setup to manage the software (or apps) that you install on all of your computers.
Simply sign up for an account and download the AllMyApps software that you will ultimately use to manage your software (or apps). Now, the really cool part about AllMyApps is the large library of FREE software applications they have available. They have just about every popular (FREE) software app available that I could throw at it. Even if you do not install the software manager, the large resource of software apps on this site is a gold mine.
Once you have installed the software manager component on your computer, you can visit the AllMyApps website (or apps store) to select the software you desire to install. The software manager component of AllMyApps can be used to select, install, launch and uninstall any software they have available.
Now, this get’s better… After you sign up for an account, you can also manage your web apps (or websites) in a dial pad (tiled) type of interface that allows you to move the tiles around, rename them, etc. Look for “My Web Apps” on the site after you setup your account to access your own personalized launching pad to your favorite websites.
I have to admit, I am still exploring AllMyApps, and I have not covered all of the bases, but I am pretty excited about what I am seeing.
Hot Hot Hot — Bookmark This Collection
Every once in awhile, being an explorer (and tester) of FREE software, I will come across something that really gets me excited; especially, if it involves maintaining or optimizing the PC to make it run more efficiently. There are numerous maintenance and optimization suites out there right now, but I never heard of ToolWiz Care.
Folks, after putting this utility suite through its’ paces, I have to say I am very impressed, especially for a utility of this magnitude being only at the version one level of development. The developers of ToolWiz Care have went to great lengths to come up with a package that covers all of the bases — from security utilities to protect your PC (and data) to utilities to maintain (and optimize) your PC. I am trying to find out if ToolWiz Care can be made portable.
Everytime I use this, I find something else. For example, before I list the key features; after you install ToolWiz Care a very attractive (non-obtrusive) toolbar will appear on your screen that gives you the date, time, day, CPU Usage, Memory Usage, upload/download network activity. Double click on the toolbar and you can perform a Google search in the box that appears. This utility even offers eye protection. Now these things is just the candy! Let’s get to the key features of what ToolWiz Care can really do to help protect your PC, maintain your PC, and optimize your PC. Believe me, if you give this whirl, you will find more than what I have listed below.
As with any utility such as this, and not to scare you away, have some knowledge of what you are doing. I can tell you, I ran every utility in ToolWiz Care and did not experience any issues. If anything, it performed as it claimed it would perform. I am very impressed with this.
Keeps your system safe and protect your computer from unwanted changes. NOTE: This puts your PC into a virtual mode. I am now using this to test software. I’ll put the PC into the Time Freeze mode, test the software, come out of Time Freeze and my PC will be back to the original state prior to testing the software.
Protects your eyes with scheduled warning.
Creates a virtual safe which works like a regular drive where you can store files. The files stored in it are encrypted and cannot be accessed without the right password.
Concentrates every system resource for gaming purpose. It temporarily shuts background processes and other unnecessary Windows services & cleans out the RAM.
Helps you create secure passwords that are extremely difficult to crack or guess. Also it can help you to manage your password, account and other private information.
Creates highly secure passwords with upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation symbols.
Allows you to scan all duplicate files in specified path. You can remove some of them and free up your disk space.
Ensures recovery of data permanently deleted from the Recycle Bin or with the help of SHIFT + DELETE key.
Helps you to check your hard disk both in I/O accesss and file system and give you a full report for the checking.
Cleans your hard disk from temporary files like those in the system temporary folder and the Recycle Bin.
Makes the PC system more stable by cleaning out the bad Registry entries.
Helps you to backup or restore your Regidtry with a simple click
Rebuilds PC’s Registry, making the entire system run quicker and smoother.
Protects the user’s privacy by deleting all activity history and surfing traces.
De-fragments the hard drive with it’s smart engine, keep the PC running efficiently and prevent the formation of other fragmented files.
Provides a full report of user’s PC system and allows the user to fix all problems with one simple click.
Provides a easy to read report that shows the start-up time of user’s system. It offers a detailed list of the processes loaded since booting. NOTE: Will also alert you when something new was added to the startup group that you were unaware of.
Allows the user to disable or delay the loading of any startup entries. It also provides the users with suggestions of standard processes.
I recently had the opportunity to play around with the Kindle Fire. It is not an iPad Killer, but it is everything Amazon is saying it is. If you don’t believe me, read the reviews [HERE]. If you are looking for a SOLID tablet computer, that is easy to navigate, that will get you on the internet (on the go), has great screen resolution, and the ability to add apps, then do not hesitate. For the money, you will not go wrong. Great present for Christmas!
CCleaner is the number-one tool for cleaning your Windows PC. It protects your privacy online and makes your computer faster and more secure. Easy to use and a small, fast download.
A Big Geek’s collection of Free Software and websites to help you improve your computer knowledge and experience. Nearly all of the software linked to is Freeware, however, some is Payware. You can save a considerable sum of money by using Free Software rather than buying a retail product. Most of the software that isn’t free has a trial period where you can use the program for free to see if you like it.
VSO Image Resizer was the choice software app on my PC when it came time to (batch) resize and convert photos and images. The only thing I did not like about the FREE version of VSO was the banner that popped up when you used the software. Even though it was a nuisance, VSO Image Resizer was one the best out there. Today I discovered that VSO Image Resizer is now called the Light Image Resizer.
As a result of this transition, I now notice that the banner popup is now non-existent and the ease of access is much improved.
Addendum (5/17/2011) – Developer’s Comment – The startup dialog to remind it is not free will reappear after 3 days, we are doing some experience about user behaviour and we don’t want to bug them at the beginning. in the same time, they can get a free key for the pro version in our facebook page : http://facebook.com/obviousidea
Light Image Resizer is a very well thought out application that is easy to understand with a multitude of functions (see below) to get the end result that you are looking for. It is specifically engineered to manipulate the input and output of image files.
Light Image Resizer – previously called the VSO Image Resizer
Resize Photos, resize pictures and resize images – compress, convert, and create copies of your pictures
A fast batch image resizer
High quality results with ultra fast multi-core, picture resize technology
High quality image resize filters – cubic and lanczos for quality, and linear for speed,
Create and e-mail friendly images or use them for web publishing
Rename, sort or add a watermark to protect your pictures.
Protect all your photos by adding a watermark ( logo or text )
Use the profiles library – ipad, iphone, forum, HQ
New – create custom pdf pages !
Be sure to visit Bookmarks4Techs, the sister site to What’s On My PC for the frequently added site updates, PLUS the compilation of links to over 445 Tech Sites and RSS Feeds to some of the most popular sites on the internet. Site Update #29 features the addition of a new site called GilsMethod, featured FREE software – Portable Start Menu, and featured site – Bits from Bill.
You can visit Bookmarks4Techs [CLICK HERE] to see these and the many of the other site updates. If you do not see your tech site there, let me know!
Be sure to visit Bookmarks4Techs, the sister site to What’s On My PC for the frequently added site updates, PLUS the compilation of links to over 440 Tech Sites. Site Update #28 features the addition of a new site called Red Ferret, featured FREE software – DNS Benchmark, and featured site – Laptop Reviews Central. You can visit Bookmarks4Techs [HERE] to see these and the many of the other site updates.
Be sure to visit Bookmarks4Techs, the sister site to What’s On My PC for the frequently added site updates, PLUS the compilation of links to over 440 Tech Sites. Site Update #27 features the addition of a new site called Wardrive.net, featured FREE software – AppRemover, and featured site – Google Operating System. You can visit Bookmarks4Techs [ HERE ] to see these and the many other site updates.
TechPaul, at Tech-for Everyone, is running a (5)-five license giveaway (contest drawing) for the software package called Sandboxie. The “cool factor” here is that if you win one of the licenses for Sandboxie, it is for lifetime! To enter the contest, simply visit Tech-for Everyone [click here], scroll to the bottom of the page and leave a comment. Your name and email will be required in order for the license to be sent to you, should you win.
What the heck is Sandboxie?
Folks, I would not live without Sandboxie. With Sandboxie installed on your PC you can run applications, like your web browser, in an isolated “protected” space on your PC. For example, occasionally I will run my web browser (e.g. Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer) in Sandboxie. As a result, if I would happen to come in contact with any malware while on the internet, my PC would be protected because I was running my browser within Sandboxie. Basically any application you run in the sandbox, stays in the sandbox. It is a great utility to have in place for testing software.
I had a friend recently who became obsessed with playing an online game on a site that he claimed was messing with his PC. Of course I tried to tell him to move on; however, I knew that would not happen. Instead, I had him run his browser within Sandboxie. Any malicious or suspicious content, from that point on, that was hitting his PC, remained in the Sandbox.
I’m telling you, from a tech and security standpoint, this is great software. When I saw TechPaul’s post on this giveaway, I jumped right on it with the hope I would be lucky enough to get one of those lifetime licenses.
You can enter the contest for the Sandboxie License Giveaway [HERE] .
When I draft an article here at What’s On My PC, I try to reflect on personal “real life” computer experiences to demonstrate what can happen and what you can do to make things right. In many instances, do not give up until you have explored the options. To give an example, I recently experienced an issue with file corruption that gave me that sick in the gut feeling where I started crying out for help!
I currently serve as the Multimedia Director at my Church, which entails graphic editing skills; operating the computer, projection system and sound system (which I am learning); and taking digital photographs of events (which my wife assists). Recently we were tasked with taking photos of a very important 30 year celebration event.
All went well until I transferred the (couple hundred) photos from the camera to the computer. When I transferred the photos, I totally removed them (using the Windows cut/copy operation) from the camera’s media card. Every picture file I removed and transferred appeared corrupted in my graphic viewer. I could pull the picture files up using my graphic viewer; however, the pictures were really messed up and scrambled; and totally unusable. That is when the “sick in the gut” feeling hit.
After a few minutes of thinking I decided to try something by using the FREE file recovery program called Recuva. My only concern at this point was that file recovery software is touted for recovering files that have been “deleted” from a media source; not “cut” from a media source (as in my case).
The first step I performed was to remove the media card from the camera and placed it in my media card reader. I then started Recuva and used the built in wizard that walked me, step-by-step, through the recovery process.
During the process I opted to perform a “deep scan” of the media card (which was 1GB in size). Keep in mind, the deep scan option, is a much longer scanning process; especially if you are dealing with a very large drive (like the hard drive in your PC). Also, I should probably mention that you should always limit read/write activity to the media that you are working with to ensure better results.
I continued to follow the Recuva wizard… Recuva went to work in scanning the media card in an attempt to recover or detect any files. Now, keep in mind, I never “deleted” the pictures files from the media card; I “cut” them from the card and pasted into a folder on my PC. Therefore, I was unsure if this would work or not.
Fingers Crossed! Using the “deep scan” option in Recuva, I was able to recover several hundred picture files; including, what appeared to be the pictures that were taken at the Church event. The deep scan option is an option that is more time consuming; however, in my case I was desperate.
Let the party begin! I moved the recovered files to my PC and found that every single picture that we had taken was now intact with no signs of corruption. The only thing I could figure is that the file corruption I initially experienced, when I “cut” the pictures from the media card and “pasted” them into a folder, the corruption occurred as a result of the transfer process to the PC.
I have tested and tried numerous file recovery products and most are very good; however, the first option that came to mind, in my moment of desperation, was Recuva. I attribute that to the fact that Piriform, the makers of Recuva, CCleaner, Speccy and Defraggler, are commonly known for their great FREE products.
One of the most frustrating moments for any computer user is when your computer has crashed, all else has failed to work, and you forgot to make the restoration CDs (or DVDs) that came with your PC. The restoration CD (or DVD) option is your last ditch solution to fixing your PC when all else has failed. The restoration CDs (or DVDs) typically restore your system back to the day that you purchased it. Some manufacturers’ PCs provide an option to perform (initiate) the restoration process by hitting a key during the computer’s startup that will initiate the restore process by using files stored in a hidden partition on the computer’s hard drive. The restoration process varies from PC manufacturer to manufacturer and if you have a home brewed system, the restoration is typically a reinstall of the operating system using the operating system discs that you purchased. The whole point to this is just that you make sure you have a plan in the event disaster strikes… AND, BELIEVE ME IT WILL !
The problem with the restoration processes provided is that you are in for some work. I’m talking about reinstalling your software, performing your Windows updates, virus/malware software updates, personal customization, bookmarks, emails, etc… Most of the time when you have resorted to a complete restoration or reinstall of the operating system you will lose your valuable data that you may have saved over the months and even years.
One option to avoid all of this, and reduce the workload, is to use disk imaging software and a good external hard drive. Disk Imaging Software is software that you install on your PC and use when your computer is in a healthy state. The disk imaging software is engineered to make a backup (disk image) of an exact representation of your hard drive (or partitions) at the time you perform the imaging process. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your everyday backup software can make an exact copy of your hard drive and partitions. It can’t… The Windows operating system is like a living organism that is constantly evolving and changing when you start it up. Your typical backup software apps are unable to capture those changes. As a matter of fact Windows will not allow you to make a copy of certain critical system files without special software. Your typical backup software is great for backing up your personal files (such as pictures, documents, etc.) and should be used on a daily basis in addition to the imaging software that can be used on a less frequent basis.
As you well know, the What’s On My PC blog specializes in locating FREE software options. In this case of disk imaging software, the FREE app that I use and recommend is the FREE Edition of Macrium Reflect
Using Macrium Reflect™ Free Edition you can create an exact image of partitions on your hard disk for easy hard disk upgrade or complete/partial system recovery
Key factors to using imaging software, such as Macrium Reflect, is that when you perform the backup of your system it is critical that your system is in a healthy state and that you have an external source (with sufficient space) to store the image file. Even though Macrium Reflect offers other backup media options to CD or DVD media, I suggest you use an external drive. Besides, the external drive will serve you in performing your normal daily backups.
Another important factor to using Macrium Reflect is that the first thing you should do is create a Rescue CD. This option is available in the Macrium Reflect software under the “Other Options” menu selection. The rescue CD is used to boot your computer and restore your computer from the image file when disaster occurs.
For FREE imaging software, Macrium Reflect is a great option for home-based users and is comparable in performance and appearance with that of its’ commercial counterparts. Macrium Reflect is also regularly updated to meet the needs of the ever changing Windows operating system.
Features of the FREE Edition of Macrium Reflect:
Absolutely free! No strings! The only free XP, Vista and Windows 7 compatible disk imaging software with BartPEand Linux based recovery options.
There are many different methods and tricks available to add a digital watermark to an image; however, I have never found a software application that is solely dedicated to creating digital watermarks, until now. It is called TSR Watermark Image Software and it is FREE for personal use. Typically you will use the same watermark (e.g. for copyright purposes) for your images. With TSR Watermark you simply select the options provided to setup your own personal watermark. As a matter of fact, I found that it is your best to go through all of the options and test your watermark on a sample image. Once you have it set up, TSR Watermark will remember the settings.
The “cool factor” with TSR Watermark is that you can watermark and resize a whole bunch of images in a batch. The author of TSR Watermark (Anders Pedersen, TSR Soft) even went so far as to provide “step-by-step” instructions on how to perform a watermark operation. You can get a good feel for this application by reading those instructions [ HERE ] .
Add watermarks to images, photos and pictures with the click of a button – many options in one simple user interface – fast and full featured watermarking of photos.
TSR Watermark Image software, is a free program for personal use that can add digital watermarks to all your images, photos and pictures with the transparency you decide. The program can also resize the images before the digital watermark is added.
When creating the watermark, you can use either text or another picture as the source of the watermark. If you want to add the watermark to the background, you can set the logo or the text to be more or less transparent, and define the transparency color on the image or select the first pixel in the upper left corner as transparency color.
Add text watermark that is either normal, embossed, chiseled or watermarked with a border.
Automatically rotate the watermarked picture based on the orientation EXIF tag – this is written to the image by many modern cameras.
Add the text used to watermark the image to the EXIF information in the resulting file.
Keep or drop EXIF information in jpeg files (Camera model/lense model/etc. etc.)
Output the watermarked photo to JPEG, TIFF, PNG, BMP, GIF file format.
Specify the quality of the watermarking output when saving as jpeg images
Angle the text you use for your photo watermarking
Insert background watermark in digital images, pictures, photos
Resize images while watermarking the image/photo
Watermark your photos using either another image, photo or picture
Watermark your photos using your own text in the color and style you want to.
Maintain directory structure in destination directory or combine all batch watermarked images into one directory
Skip or overwrite existing watermarked images/photos in destination directory
Automatically check for new version of the TSR Watermark Image Software
TechPaul, at Tech-for Everyone is currently running a software license giveway (drawing for 10 licenses) for the software package called LAlarm. Typically LAlarm is FREE for personal use; however, a license is required if you desire to use LAlarm for business use (i.e. on an employees laptop).
Laptop theft is common and a constant threat. Thwart thieves with the free (for personal use) program – LAlarm – which emits a loud siren sound when a thief tries to steal your laptop. More importantly (IMHO) it can destroy selected data (and also retrieve it ¹) if the laptop is stolen — which is an important step in protecting your “identity”, and personal information.
Get over there now to Tech-for Everyone for details on how you can be eligible to win one of those licenses.
One of my very favorite apps that has been installed on my PC for years, that continues to get better and better, is Pop Peeper… In my opinion, as a software evaluator and computer geekster, Pop Peeper is the best email notifier out there.
If you do not know how Pop Peeper works, let me try to give a brief explanation. Pop Peeper is an application that patiently sits in your task bar tray waiting for mail to arrive in your email accounts so that it can alert you that you have mail. If you notice, I put an “s” on the word “account”. This application, once configured (which is easy to do), will monitor all of your email accounts and will alert you when you have mail.
The primary use of an email notifier is to let you know when you have new email. Although email clients can generally do the same thing, notifiers are geared more specifically to this purpose. For example, most email notifiers work better than email clients when you have several email accounts. Although some email notifiers will allow you to send email, most do not allow you to save messages to disk for permanent access. POP Peeper is an example of an email notifier.
You can even check (read) the content of the emails through the Pop Peeper interface and manage those emails (e.g. delete, forward, etc…) without ever having to open the email client itself. For example, I currently use Pop Peeper to manage (3)-three of my personal email accounts, my email account for the blog, and my wife’s email account. See below for the account types that are supported by Pop Peeper.
Recently, a new plugin for Pop Peeper was added that is really cool called a “skin notifier”.
This plugin displays a skinnable popup when new email arrives. The popup can either be acknowledged by the user, or automatically slide in and out. You can get the plugin [ here ] ; however, you must install Pop Peeper first, configure Pop Peeper to monitor your mail accounts; then, you can install the “skin notifier”.
Pop Peeper; definitely one of my favorites!
- Easy Setup – accounts are imported from your existing email client(s)
- Supports POP3, IMAP (including GMail, AOL, AIM, Netscape, FastMail, mail.com, etc), SMTP, GMail, Hotmail\MSN\LiveMail, Yahoo, MyWay, Excite, iWon, Lycos.com, RediffMail, Juno, NetZero
- IDLE is supported for IMAP accounts which allows instant notification when new mail arrives in your inbox
- Support for RSS feeds is available with purchase of the Premium Add-on Pack
- Read, delete, print and reply to Email without opening your email client
- Send email directly from POP Peeper
- SSL support for POP3, IMAP and SMTP
- HTML email support
- Password protection
- Address book
- Options to protect you from messages that contain viruses and web bugs
- Send, save and open file attachments
- Run POP Peeper off your portable storage device
- No account limit — notifies you of an unlimited number of accounts
- Many ways to receive new mail notification: skinnable desktop alerts, audio, flashing scroll lock LED and more
- Specify how often all accounts are checked for new mail or set individual intervals for each account
- Extensive help with useful tips and information
Email Notification Options
- Sound notifications: single sound for any new mail, or a customized sound for each account
- Tray icon notification that display the color and number of new messages for each account
- Flashing scroll lock LED
- Windows popup indicating which account(s) received new email
- BalloonTip displays the subject and sender of the last email message received
- Automatically open POP Peeper or launch your email client when new email is received
- Skinnable popup (optional download)
- ScreenSaver (optional download)
- Chime can repeat a sound until acknowledged and\or launch another program when new mail arrives (optional download)
- Snarl notification system plugin (optional download)
- Voice Notification announces the subject and sender of your new messages (premium download)
If you find the need to create flowcharts, diagrams, floor plans, technical drawings, and more; then check out Gliffy.
Sometimes trying to get your point across about a process to others is best done by visually (and literally) connecting the dots. This is where diagramming is very useful and Gliffy can help.
Gliffy is an online web based application (that is Adobe Flash powered) similar to Microsoft Visio. Visio requires installation on your PC; whereas Gliffy is a web-based service that requires no installation and works right out of your web browser.
A web-based service provides software over the Internet. You get the performance and functionality of desktop software without having to install or maintain anything. You can access the latest version of the software every time you launch Gliffy in your web browser.
With Gliffy you can take complex information and effectively organize it to visually represent your thoughts to create flow charts, organization charts, floor plans, business processes, network drawings, wireframes (for websites), etc…
Gliffy is very easy to use and navigate. Simply load Gliffy in your browser, select your diagram type from the library, and begin placing your thoughts on paper by simply dragging-and-dropping the shapes onto the work space provided. Once your diagram is completed you can then print, save or share and collaborate your diagram on the internet.
One point to make is that to effectively use Gliffy, you will need to sign up for an account. For the first 30 days you will be given access to the premium service; and after 30 days if you fail to subscribe to the premium service your account reverts to the basic FREE service. To compare the (2)-two service [ CLICK HERE ] . If you are like me, the basic FREE service will meet the needs of the everyday computer user.
If you like fast; then you will like Sumatra PDF Viewer (or Reader). This viewer blows them all of the water when opening and viewing PDF files. Sumatra is open source (FREE), is simplistic in nature (not a lot of bells & whistles), small in file size (<1.2 MB), does not write to the Windows registry, and is available in a full install version (for on your PC) or as a portable version (for on your flash drive).
If you go the full install (setup) route on your PC, you can make Sumatra your default PDF viewer (or reader), in place of Adobe PDF. I actually uninstalled Foxit PDF Reader on my PC, another great PDF viewer, to give Sumatra the lead duty of opening PDF files on my PC.
Listed are FREE online virus and malware scanners that can be used to compliment the scanner(s) already installed on your PC. Some only scan individual files that you upload to the scanner; while others are full blown scanners that will scan your entire computer. Keep in mind these are not substitutes for the virus or malware scanner on your PC that have the ability to perform real-time detection. My favorite on the list is Trend Micro’s Housecall.
Virustotal is a service that analyzes suspicious files and facilitates the quick detection of viruses, worms, trojans, and all kinds of malware detected by antivirus engines.
Jotti’s malware scan is a free online service that enables you to scan suspicious files with several anti-virus programs.
VirusChief offers a free service for online virus scan suspicious files (which *could* contain a computer virus) using several antivirus online virus scan engines.
Panda ActiveScan is an advanced online scanner based on Collective Intelligence (scanning in the cloud) that detects malware that traditional security solutions cannot detect.
Trend Micro HouseCall™ is an online application that scans, detects and cleans your computer of possible infection by viruses, spyware, or other malware.
|Symantec Security Check tests your computer’s exposure to a wide range of online threats. It’s free and an effective tool that helps determine your Internet security needs.|
The Kaspersky Online Virus Scanner scans your computer for malicious code and offers the same exceptional detection rates as other Kaspersky Lab products.
|ESET Online Scanner is a user friendly, free and powerful tool which you can use to remove malware from any PC utilizing only your web browser without having to install anti-virus software.|
|F-Secure Online Scanner can help get rid of viruses and spyware causing problems on your PC.|
|BitDefender Online Scanner is an on-demand antivirus and antispyware tool that shows how safe your PC is.|
|McAfee FreeScan helps you detect thousands of viruses on your computer. FreeScan searches for viruses, including the latest known “in the wild” viruses, and displays a detailed list of any infected files.|
|If you discover a suspicious file on your machine, or suspect that a program you downloaded from the internet might be malicious you can scan it here.|
|VirSCAN.org is a FREE on-line scan service, which checks uploaded files for malware, using antivirus engines, indicated in the VirSCAN list.|
|The CA Online Threat Scanner scans your computer for viruses and spyware and can detect malware threats from within your web browser.|
Windows Live OneCare safety scanner is a free service designed to help ensure the health of your PC.
Avast! online virus scanner gives the possibility to check your files quickly and free of charge.
123 Free Solitaire 2009 features a winning layout, fast game play, rich sounds, extensive options, and quality help. Each game has more than nine trillion (9,999,999,999,999) possible shuffles to play, so the game remains fresh no matter how many times you play. Under Windows XP, 123 Free Solitaire 2009 is fully skinnable with XP Themes and visual styles. Play 123 Free Solitaire 2009 now and bring the excitement of card solitaire gaming right to your personal computer!
Solitaire Games Included:
Spider solitaire One Suit
Spider solitaire Two SuitsYukon
Blogging is work, that is an exercise of the mind… The bloggers reflected below, and on the “What’s On My PC…” blogroll, consistently pump out article after article with no let up. The information that is provided are excellent resources to those who are interested in learning more about, and keeping up to date with, computers and information technology. Reflected below is this week’s roundup of articles harvested from the “What’s On My PC…” blogroll community. Show your support by visiting these blogs and leaving a comment or two.
My fellow blogger at Piyada’s World has pointed us to yet another screen capture utility called PrintScreen.Me. The unique thing about this utility is that it is a cloud app in that it works in unison with Facebook, Twitter, Picasa, Flickr or PrintScreenMe. You can send your screen captures directly to those sites. I encourage you to [ CLICK HERE ] to get the scoop, at Piyada’s World, on this new internet screen capture utility. PrintScreen.Me is currently in beta.
If you are in the market for a FREE screen capture utility, I encourage you to also read the following:
If you are looking for a straightforward, streamlined, and universal instant messenging client that is compatible with the likes of AIM, ICW, Google Talk, Yahoo, MSN Messenger and others, then give Pidgin a try.
I started to use Pidgin out of the need to instantly communicate with my daughter on Yahoo. Instead of downloading the Yahoo messaging client, I went with Pidgin and have not regretted it since. It does the basics (text chatting) of what I want it to do without having to deal with a proprietary instant messaging client that has a convoluted array of “bells and whistles” that I do not need or want; PLUS, Pidgin’s streamline approach eliminates the need to install multiple chat clients on my PC.
Another selling factor to me about Pidgin is that there is a portable version available; which means I can take it with me on my flash drive. Pidgin is open source software that can be enhanced using a variety of plugins to enhance your chat experience by keeping the spam away, encrypting your conversations, connecting to social networks, etc.
Pidgin is a chat program which lets you log in to accounts on multiple chat networks simultaneously. This means that you can be chatting with friends on MSN, talking to a friend on Google Talk, and sitting in a Yahoo chat room all at the same time.
Pidgin is free and contains no ads. All code is open source and licensed under the GNU General Public License. This means you can get Pidgin’s underlying code and modify it to suit your needs, as long as you publish the changes you make for everyone to benefit from as well.
Supported chat networks:
AIM – Bonjour – Gadu-Gadu – Google Talk –Groupwise – ICQ – IRC – MSN – MySpaceIM – QQ – SILC – SIMPLE – Sametime – XMPP – Yahoo! – Zephyr
Managing various cleaning, repair, protection and optimization utilities on our PCs can be quite a task. Some people fail to perform these tasks at all; or they only perform one task and not the other. To help solve these problems, I recommend a program called Advanced SystemCare Free by IObit.This program is designed in such a way that it serves as a multi-tasking “one click approach” to protecting, repairing, cleaning and optimizing your PC. You may also know this program’s predecessor as being called Advanced WindowsCare. I periodically run this program on my PC to keep it in shape. I always find a noticeable positive difference in the performance after running the program. You can get Advanced SystemCare Free by clicking on any of the links in this article. IObit also provides a Pro “paid” version of Advanced SystemCare that unlocks enhanced features in the free version. You can view testimonials (reviews), from users, at CNet [ click here ].
Enjoy That New PC Feeling Again New!
Powerful Hard Drive Defragmentation New!
Next-generation Registry Clean and Optimization New!
Defends PC Security with Extra Protection Improved!
Quick and Extensive Clean-up for Hard Drives Improved!
Speeds Up PC Performance and Internet Access Improved!
Fixes Multiple System Errors Improved!
Extremely Easy to Use
Safe and Free
Comparison Sheet (click the picture to enlarge)
NOTE: A similar or comparable maintenance utility that is also “FREE” is Glary Utilities. An added bonus with Glary Utilities is the portable version that is available. You can read more about Glary Utilites, here on the blog by [ clicking here ]
Have you ever noticed that when you install a program, another icon will often show up in the system tray?
Many of these programs do this so that the program will automatically update; or is placed there as a means for you to conveniently interact with the program; or is installed to the tray to add functionality to other Windows components. This is all fine and good; but, after awhile an accumulation of these icons could be the sign indicating why your PC is running slower. Just remember, all of these icons are an indication of a running program (in the background) that is competing with other running services and processes that you do not see. Some programs provide a means to disable the startup function; however, some programs do not. End result is slow boot time and slow computer…
Have you ever had an error suddenly appear when you the start the computer and you have no idea what it is or how to get rid of it?
Most of these errors, from my experience, occur as a result of a program not being uninstalled properly; or operating system files are missing or corrupt; or files to an individual startup program are missing or corrupt (e.g. by Malware, disk or file system issues, etc.).
Have you ever experienced malware on your PC?
Many of these malicious programs will install components in the various auto-start areas of the operating system and are not visible.
How do you diagnose these problems?
The first thing a tech will do is find a good utility to basically provide a visual of the startup areas of the operating system. In the past, you were limited to the utility MSCONFIG, which is built into Windows. Today, there are quite a few diagnostic utilities available.
You definitely need to know what you are doing when diagnosing problems such as mentioned, due to the complexity of the Windows structure. With the right diagnostic utility, you become a detective looking for clues… One such utility that I recently came across is called “Runscanner”… It is a standalone utility that can be run from your PC or from a USB flash drive. The thing that makes it standout from some of the other startup diagnostic utility programs is that it has many options built in to upload and identify suspicious files or to connect directly to a list of tech forums to seek assistance or to upload a logfile. It also has a backup feature that will backup any changes made. If you are someone who is learning, there is a “Beginner” and “Expert” mode option in the program.
clipped from www.runscanner.net
RunScanner is a freeware windows system utility which scans your system for all running programs, autostart locations, drivers, services and hijack points.
You can use Runscanner to detect changes and misconfigurations in your system caused by spyware, viruses or human errors.
100+ start/hijack locations
Online malware analysis
Import and export of .run files
Powerful process killer
Save to text log file
Powerful file filtering
Host file editor
History backup / restore
Analysis of file certificates
Beginner, Expert mode
Bit9 FileAdvisor MD5 lookup
CastleCops MD5 lookup
Upload file to VirusTotal
Analyze loaded modules
Runscanner MD5 lookup
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