Download Quick Access Popup

Create your own personalized menu to launch your programs, Windows apps, documents, websites, etc…  I am a lover of application launchers and can tell you that “Quick Access Popup”, is a good one and that the developer has put heart into this.

This easy-to-use tool will permit you to efficiently access all of your frequently used folders without the need to search for their location within Windows Explorer. It will also allow you to create your personalized menu that contains shortcuts to your favorite folders, documents, applications, URLs and more.

Source: Download Quick Access Popup – MajorGeeks

Developer’s Site:  Quick Access Popup

Add A Watermark Description And Date Stamp To Photos

You can add a watermark description and date stamp to a photo (or batch of photos) using the freeware Windows software application called Photo Date Stamper

Photo Date Stamper Settings

Photo Date Stamper

Photo Date Stamper gives you the choice to embed (and preview) a watermark in either the top left, top right, bottom left or bottom right of the photo. The watermarked text can be various sizes and colors. Once you save the result, the watermarked photo is saved in a folder called “New”…

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Control Your Computer’s Sound Volume and Balance From the System Tray

Many of us depend on controlling the sound volume on our computers by adjusting the knob on the speakers themselves or through a dedicated controller on the keyboard.

Today, I want to share with you a small utility, called SimpleSndVol, that installs an icon in the system tray where you can, with minimal effort, manage the sound volume and balance to your speakers. Simply click on the icon and the following interface pops up with sliders that you can move around to make volume and balance adjustments.

SimpleSndVol

What I especially like about SimpleSndVol, is that you can hover the mouse pointer over the icon and use the mousewheel to raise or lower the volume; plus, by performing a middle click will cause the sound to mute.

If you right mouse click on the SimpleSndVol tray icon, you will presented with a menu where you can open various system sound controller utilities on your computer (such as the volume mixer, sound applet and volume control options), the SimpleSndVol settings, and an IconSet that give you the ability to change the tray icon. My favorite icon is the one labelled “Triangl [Update]”. There are also some optional hotkey functions built-in if you prefer controlling the sound volume through the keyboard.

  SimpleSndVol

All-in-All, SimpleSndVol is one of my favorite sound utilities that is a work in progress that works nicely on Windows XP/7 and 8.

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Quickly Turn Off / On the Internet

Typically, I turn my computer “on” in the morning, which is connected to the internet, and leave it “on” until I go to bed at night. A practice that I have gotten into is that when I am away from the computer I will disconnect (or disable) my internet connection through my network settings.  I primarily do this to prevent my computer from communicating with the internet and to prevent any opportunity for an outside intrusion (such as malware) to occur.

Recently, I came across a nice utility, called InternetOff, that makes turning the internet “on” and “off” very easy, right from the system tray (which is typically located on the right side of the taskbar).

InternetOff

After installing InternetOff, a small icon, representing a globe, will appear in the tray. Simply click on the globe and click on “Turn off the internet”. When you want to turn the internet back “on”, click on the globe icon again, and you will be presented with several options to turn the internet “on”.  You can turn it “on” for 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour; OR, just turn it “on” (permanently).

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Automatically Get the Mouse Cursor Out Of The Way

You probably noticed that the past several days I have not posted much. This is due that I have been using my writing skills on another personal matter that has consumed, not only my time, but what brain cells I have left.

During the course of this personal writing venture, there were quite a few occasions where I had to swat the mouse pointer out of my view so that it would not distract me or change my focus. Afterwards, I started to wonder if there was an utility out there that would move the pointer out of the way for me (automatically)? In other words, I was looking for something that when I started to type, the cursor would move out of view and park itself.

Sure enough, I soon found my answer with Park Cursor Aside

image

Whenever you type on keyboard, the mouse cursor is automatically parked (moved) aside to a defined screen / active window position. This way your view of the input field is not blocked by the mouse cursor.

Right click on tray icon and select Settings, to define the parking position and other values.

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Use Magical Jelly Bean To Recover Your Software Product Keys

I have drafted articles in the past which featured various utilities to use to recover your software product keys. To name a few there was LicenseCrawler, ProduKey (by NirSoft), AND SIW -System Information for Windows.  Today I found another one, called Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder, that you can add to this arsenal.

KeyFinder screenshot

The Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder is a freeware utility that retrieves your Product Key (cd key) used to install windows from your registry (plus over 300 other software products). It also has a community-updated configuration file that retrieves product keys for many other applications. Another feature is the ability to retrieve product keys from unbootable Windows installations.

There is nothing more frustrating than when you go to install software that you paid good money for and cannot find the product key to install that software. As a matter of fact, in the real world of computing, and I have helped many; most people fail to keep the product keys and in many cases cannot even locate the CD’s. It may be years, during the operation of your computer that you may need the CD’s and the product keys; therefore, GENERAL RULE OF THUMB —  Keep those CD’s and Product Keys together in one place so that you will have them available in the event a re-install is required.

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Control the Volume on Your Computer with Your Mouse and Hot Keys

If you are like me, you probably fiddle with the volume control on your computer or speakers on a frequent basis. Some keyboards already have a volume control built in; whereas the standard keyboard does not. On top of that, to regulate the volume you are required to shoot for the small volume control icon in the system tray to bring up the volume controls which can be like shooting for turkeys in a turkey shoot.

To make life easier and to give some pizazz to the volume control function I installed a new utility called Volume2.

Volume2

Volume2 volume control allows the user to control the volume with the mouse and/or through the usage of hot keys. The control is performed by rotating the mouse wheel in different zones of the desktop, such as the task bar, system tray, desktop, window title, the edges of the screen. In my particular case I position my mouse pointer on the Windows taskbar and use the mouse wheel to raise or lower the volume. Where the pizazz is in Volume2 is in the skins. Yes , you can select various skins that will display the volume control as you regulate it. Very nice application with many customization options.

Customization and Setup Options

Customization and Setup Options

Volume Control Skins

image

The hardest thing I found with this application is that the website is in Russian and the download link is difficult to locate.  Since I use Google Chrome I was able to translate the page to English and the direct link for the download (for this version) is [HERE] . I anticipate the author to continue developing this app; therefore, you many have to select a different download link from the main page [HERE] .  Jumping through the hoops for Volume2 is worth it and maybe the developer will see this article and set up a section on the site that can be easily recognizable for direct downloads.

In the end, Volume2 is the nicest volume controller I have come across and highly recommend it.

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Solitaire Brought to Life in 3D

Here is something that you all will like.  It is solitaire in 3D that is available for Windows, Apple Macintosh, iPod, iPhone and iPad.  It is called Klondike Forever…  The Windows version is a portable app where no install is required.  Klondike Forever is by far my most favorite computer version of solitaire.

Klondike Forever

 Features include:
– Game rules settings
– Unlimited undo/redo
– Full screen mode
– Highlight playable cards
– Highlight cards of any rank
– Single or double click auto-move
– Sticky click option
– Auto-play to foundations
– Auto-flip face down cards
– Peek at hidden cards

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Best 119 Free Windows Programs

With computers being mainstreamed in people’s homes for more than 10 years it still amazes me that people do not realize the gold mine that is available in FREE software. To put this in perspective, I have three computers in my home and all three, with the exception of one, have nothing on them but FREE software apps. The one exception is that I have Microsoft Office installed on my main PC, due I need it for my job; otherwise, all the other apps are FREE. To put this further in perspective, any software you see reviewed on my blog, is FREE software.

image

If you are interested in getting a start on using FREE software, Makeuseof.com has compiled a list of the best 119 FREE Windows programs.  They have conveniently categorized the apps to make navigation easy. You can preview those categories below and while you are on their site, check out their other articles. Great site; highly recommended!

Anti-virus Malware removal Firewall Apps Defragmenters
File Recovery Uninstallers Backup Apps System Maintenance
Browsers Email Clients Communication Photos/Images
Audio Tools Video Tools Files/Drives Documents
Productivity Archive Managers CD/DVD Tools Downloads
Others

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FREE Software to Enlarge The Capacity of the Windows Clipboard

The Windows clipboard is that hidden data storage area that is used to temporarily store data that gives you the ability to cut, copy and paste between applications. The Windows clipboard is limited in that it is a one time cut/copy and paste operation that does not allow for or save multiple instances of the same. To resolve this limitation there are third party software solutions that will allow you to store more than one instance of a cut/copy and paste operation.  One such (FREE) application is called PasteCopy.Net . I have featured this app on here before and it is definitely worth a repeat, due that it continues to get better.

PasteCopy.Net is a portable clipboard manager that enhances and (in essence) enlarges the capacity of the Windows Clipboard operations by supporting multiple cut/copy and paste operations. This app will handle multiple cut/copy and paste operations of graphic and/or text and is very useful; especially if you are a blogger or someone that performs a great deal of editing (e.g. html editor, graphic editor, author).  The cool factor about this clipboard manager is that you can arrange the items that you accumulate into categories which makes locating clips a snap.

PasteCopy.NET does not require any installation, and does not leave a trace on the computer; however, the app is dependent on .NET 2.0 or higher (which is a component that is commonly installed on today’s PCs).

Supported Operating Systems: Windows 98/ME/2000 SP3/Server 2003/XP SP2/Vista/Windows 7 – Requirements .NET 2.0 or higher

PasteCopy.Net

Features:

  • Portable freeware tool, only (605KB)
  • Multilingual support
  • Auto- Copy & Paste Windows Clipboard
  • Convert rtf to txt (-automatically)
  • Convert html to rtf or txt (-automatically)
  • (Auto-) resizable/hide preview
  • Mouse-hover/keystroke preview
  • Clipboard-content preview in SystemTray
  • Export and print function

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A Very Fast Disk Space Usage Analyzer

Ever wonder how much free disk space you have left on your computer? I am talking about the free space available on your hard disk to store files (such as photos, music, documents, etc.).

If you are the everyday casual computer user and primarily spend your computer time on the internet, I venture to say you have a ton of free disk space available and most likely will never run out; however, if you are a computer user that saves everything from videos, movies, photos, documents, etc… then you may find that your disk space is shrinking rapidly.  The problem is that most people are totally unaware of the capacity of their hard drives and how that relates to file storage.

A nice application to help you gauge where you are at in terms of disk space and to tell you where your disk space is being consumed is the FREE utility called RidNacs .

image

With RidNacs you can scan and analyze individual drives and folders to get a graphical bar percentage result of where the diskspace hogs are located; even down to the individual files. You can even export and print the results for future comparative analysis.

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Windows Double Explorer for Windows 7

I could never figure out why Microsoft never offered a dual paned or tabbed view interface option in Windows Explorer. Managing your files and folders in those types of interfaces are so much easier to use; especially if you are a power user.

There are numerous third party options available; however, none really mimic the Windows Explorer interface, until Windows Double Explorer came on the scene. Windows Double Explorer is an open source utilitly that is engineered (for Windows 7) to manage two or more Windows Explorer interfaces in one application.

Windows Double Explorer

Windows Double Explorer also features a vertical or horizontal dual pane interface in conjunction with a tabbed interface. Once you have Windows Double Explorer up and running; and configured to your liking, I think you will become hooked.

Windows Double Explorer is currently in the beta stage of development and is engineered to work as a Windows 7 application.  There is no install to this application.  Simply download and run with it.

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#75)

If you are an information technology guru or someone that is learning to become and information technology guru, then Geek Squeaks’ is the place to be. Each week What’s On My PC features (recent) articles from the sites that are members of the What’s On My PC blogroll.

Geek Squeaks'

Bookmarks4Techs
454 Tech Sites

Canadian Tech Blogger
Major Backlash Of Digg v4 Hits Reddit

thePC Security
Encrypt Files Easily
With Password Protection From Right Click Menu

Right On Technology
Hurricane Earl Category 4 Storm,
Track Projected Path – U.S. East Coast

Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
An IT Professional’s Must Have Firefox and Chrome Add-ons

Plato On-Line
How to Behave on Facebook

Faster PC! Clean! Clean!
How to Remove AWM Antivirus

RGdot
Freeware CleanHaven Dusts Off Your Text

Laptop Reviews Central
New 7-inch Android Tablet with Tegra 2 out soon

Paul’s Home Computing Blog
In the News: U.S. military personnel targeted by malware

TuneUp Blog about Windows
Assign Processor Affinity to Improve Performance

Lifehacker
Prldr Shows Full Web Pages from RSS Feeds

Rarst.net
RegFileExport – CLI utility for offline registry access

Tech-for Everyone
Using Vista? Quick Tip

Free PC Security
Malicious Sites August 30

Mister Reiner
Is a computer security job in your future?

Chicago Mac/PC Support
Top 10 Lost Technologies Top 10 Lists TopTenz.net

Malware Removal Instructions
Remove Antivirmars.com (Uninstall Guide)

Online Storage Reviews
Types of Computer storage media

AKSGEEK Live
Microsoft Launches Bing for Mobile Android Apps

Netbook Freeware
Ultra File Search: Best Free Search App For Your Netbook

I Love Free Software
7 Best Free Replacement for Windows Explorer

Techolar
Google voice and video chat now in linux

I Want Ice Water
Flash Magic For Dummies Like Me

404 Tech Support
Google Updates Google Calendar’s Look,
Adds Scheduling Assistant

TTC Shelbyville
Google Realtime Search Can Help Bloggers

My Technology Guide
140+ Useful Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Awesome Wallpapers
Abstract Wallpaper Set 36

Laptop Reviews Central
New 7-inch Android Tablet with Tegra 2 out soon

What’s On My PC
Locating Your Software License Keys

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A FREE Magnifier for Your Computer

If you, or someone you know, is visually impaired; or you are like me, getting weak in the eyes, then give OneLoupe a try.

OneLoupe is a software driven virtual magnifier for your PC that works just like a real magnifying glass. There is no install file to OneLoupe. Simply download and run (less than 40K file size).

Once you have OneLoupe up on the screen, you can use the following commands (in the screenshot) to manipulate how OneLoupe works. For example, when I use OneLoupe, I will use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out, will hit the letter “T” on the keyboard to minimize OneLoupe to the system tray and will use the “left-right-up-down arrow keys” on the keyboard to change the dimensions of OneLoupe.

Screenshot

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A Batch Image Converter that is FREE, FAST and EASY

If you own a digital camera don’t be fooled into thinking that you are at the mercy of the software that oftentimes ships with the camera. There are many other numerous software options available (for FREE) that will make your life much easier. For example, the simple task of resizing and converting a photo should be just that, “a simple task”; not a task where you are sorting through menus to find what you need to accomplish the task.

A FREE, FAST and EASY option, that I recently found for resizing photos, is called Photo Magician.

Photo Magician

Photo Magician is a small and easy to use program that allows you to quickly scale and convert your images. It will enable you to easily process several files at once and create custom conversion profiles. The supported formats include common ones like BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG and TIF but the application can handles some that are more special like RAW images, DDS, PCX, PSD, TARGA, WBMP and WMF.  There is also a drag and drop quick convert mode to make the conversion process even faster and easier.

Using Photo Magician is an easy step-by-step process:

  • Select the input folder (where your images are stored)
  • Select the output folder (where you want the resized images stored)
  • Select a “resizing” profile that you want to use
  • Select any additional options you wish to apply
  • Click on “Process Image”

As stated earlier there are numerous FREE software options out there to make your life with your photos (and digital camera) much easier and Photo Magician is one such example. In my testing of Photo Magician I found it to be one of the fastest image converters I have experienced. Keep an eye on this one; it will surely get even better.

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#73)

If you are someone that has a passion and desire to learn IT (information technology), then it is important that you have good resources to enhance your learning. One resource is Geek Squeaks’…  Geeks Squeaks’ is a weekly “selective and sample” review of articles posted by the site owners associated with the What’s On My PC blogroll.

Geek Squeaks'

Scoroncocolo
What is HTML 5?

Malware Removal Instructions
How to remove Security Suite malware (Uninstall Instructions)

Gadgetsholic
EFO Mini Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard

RGdot
ClipCube: Young And Easy Freeware Clipboard Utility

Awesome Wallpapers
Movies Wallpaper Set 4 (LOTR)

Mister Reiner
A hacker by any other name…

My Technology Guide
AeroTweak: Tweak Windows
By Changing 50 Different System Parameters

Free PC Security
Malicious Sites August 17

AKS-Feel The Change
Login into Multiple Gmail Account at once in same browser

Snakebytez
Record Screen activity and save in an AVI file
with Desktop Activity Recorder

Carol’s Vault
Awesome collection of free WordPress themes

Faster PC! Clean! Clean!
How to Remove EzPrivacy

AskBillFirst
Mozy vs Carbonite – Off-site Backup Thoughts

Tech-for Everyone
Big Brother Big Business

Plato On-Line
Car Hacking Could Kill You

TTC Shelbyville
Powerful Utility Becomes the Nucleus of Your Computer

Rarst.net
Rumble Box – action game with explosive gameplay

Confessions of a Freeware Junkie
Quick Look – Multi-Platform Mobile Chat: PingChat!

Lifehacker
Boomerang Schedules Your Gmail Messages
(and We’ve Got Beta Invites) [Gmail]

404 Tech Support
See What Somebody Printed By Listening

Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
Who’s Using Your Ports? Find Out With These Free Port Analyzers

I Want Ice Water
Silly monday (via Erotixx photoblog)

Techolar
Disable Laptop Touchpad with Touchpad Pal

thePC Security
Free USB Protection Software
with Password and Encryption – EncryptStick

I Love Free Software
DzSoft Paste and Save: Free Clipboard Manager

Netbook Freeware
Everything Search Engine: Best Free Windows
Search Alternative For Your Netbook

Tuneup Blog about Windows
Making PC-based Home Entertainment a Reality

Worthy Tips
Customize Website Look in Chrome with Webpage Decorator

Technogran’s Tittle Tattle
Review. The Doro PhoneEasy 420gsm

Canadian Tech Blogger
Why The Wi-Fi In Schools Debate Is Bogus

Paul’s Home Computing Blog
Windows XP – Are You Secure?

Bookmarks4Techs
Site Update #26

Online Storage Reviews
Selecting a Reliable Offsite Storage Service

Laptop Reviews Central
Asus will release 8-inch Eee Tablet in October

Chicago Mac/PC Support
TV for $12 a year – Flickr – Photo Sharing!

What’s On My PC
FREE Computer Troubleshooting Checklist

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DClock 2 – A Desktop Digital Clock for Your Computer

DClock 2 is a desktop digital clock for your computer that is an ideal time companion. What makes this app unique is that it is a portable app that can be carried with you on your flash drive to be used on any computer that you visit. DClock 2 is currently in the “release candidate” stage of development. If you do not feel comfortable using software that is still being tested, there is the first version of DClock available [here] , however it lacks the features as reflected below. DClock 2 is somewhat customizable in that you can modify the size and colors.  One feature that would be nice is if it could be made transparent; otherwise, a nice little app that serves a good purpose.  Besides, I love software clocks and this is another one to add to my collection.

DClock 2

Features:

Timer
Stopwatch
ToDo List
System Uptime
Hourly Chime
and more!

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      Make Your Own Handwriting Fonts

      This article is a follow-up to the popular article “Creating a personalized font from your own handwriting…” which used the online service called FontCapture .

      Today I came across another site called Pilot Handwriting that also provides an online method to capture your handwriting (either via webcam, scanner or digital camera) to create your own personalized font.

      Pilot Handwriting

      When you get to the site [click here] , which is very attractive, simply click on the arrows and you will be guided through the entire process.

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      Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#65)

      Spend some of your hot summer day, in the cool, reading Geek Squeaks’. If you have an interest in computers and information technology or you just want to learn something NEW, then these sites is where it is at.

      Geek Squeaks'

      Tech-for Everyone
      Software Giveaway Drawing(s) – Oops!Backup

      TuneUp Blog about Windows
      Improve Your PC’s Performance with ReadyBoost

      Lifehacker
      Use GOOG-411 and Skype to Call Any U.S.
      or Canadian Business for Free

      Rarst.net
      FeedDemon and Google Reader – best feed reading ever?

      AskBillFirst
      Windows XP zero-day under attack;
      Use Microsofts “fix-it” workaround

      Free PC Security
      Wondershare Time Freeze – FREE Virtualization

      Mister Reiner
      When it comes to computer security, people are being brainwashed

      Gadgetsholic
      Apple iPhone 4 Start to Preorder

      Canadian Tech Blogger
      200,000,000 Posts… and Counting (via WordPress.com News)

      thePC Security
      Internet Traffic Monitoring Freeware Tool – iTraffic Monitor

      Right On Technology
      New Mac Mini Includes Do It Yourself Memory Upgrades

      Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
      Access Denied in Windows 7? –
      Download Free TOwnership (Take Ownership)

      Confessions of a Freeware Junkie
      Sorry about all the layout changes

      Plato On-Line
      Is There an Internet Conspirancy Scam?

      411-Spyware.com
      How to Remove Windows Registration Checker

      Carol’s Vault
      Microsoft unveils its new Xbox and Kinect cam

      AKS-Feel The Change
      Win A Free Copy of WinX Product Every Week

      RGdot
      ClipboardFusion: Free Alternative Clipboard Manager

      Laptop Reviews Central
      Ben Heckendorn introduces blue PS3 Slim laptop

      Paul’s Home Computing Blog
      In The News – Report: US lacks staff, power to protect networks

      Netbook Freeware
      Soluto: Make Your Windows Netbook Boot Faster

      I Love Free Software
      4 Free Alternatives to Dropbox

      Worthy Tips
      Get Article Ideas using Google

      404 Tech Support
      Google’s Terms of Service = Not Safe For Work?

      TTC Shelbyville
      Publish Your Blog as an ePub

      My Technology Guide
      Windows 2000, Windows XP SP2 Support Ends July 2010

      Awesome Wallpapers
      VladStudio Wallpaper Set 7

      What’s On My PC
      Send Text Message from your Email to a Mobile Phone for FREE

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      NexusFile – An Alternative to Windows Explorer

      Learning file management on your computer, to me, is a “must learn” function. It not only teaches you how to organize and manage your files (and folders); it also teaches you about the Windows hierarchy design and pathing schemes. Learn file management and it all starts making sense.

      If you are into file management you will soon learn that Windows Explorer is not a premier file manager. I sometimes think Microsoft should take some lessons on file management themselves and start thinking more from the user’s level. Windows Explorer is basically a flat file manager that lacks dual pane functionality and ready access to tools needed for file management tasks. Years ago, in the DOS days, a good file manager app was a necessity (from a tech standpoint) in order to accomplish specific tasks.

      Thankfully, software developers have come to the rescue and are actively developing alternatives to using Windows Explorer. For example, I am an avid user of QDir; however, another option that recently crossed my plate, that I am currently toying with, is called NexusFile.

      NexusFile

      The “cool factor” to this file manager is the (default) appearance. The appearance is a black background with colorful text, which to some may be a turn off. As I continued to toy around with NexusFile, the more I enjoyed it. It is fast, provides dual pane functionality, tabbed browsing, is easy to read, has built in FTP, numerous tools (such as split/join files, compare folders, disk cleanup, add comments, change attributes, etc.) and is available as a portable app. The more you use it, the more it grows on you! As a matter of fact it is apps like this, that are a little different, that draws me right in. The only issue I experienced, thus far, was that I was unable to launch the app on a PC where I did not have administrative rights.  If you want to give NexusFile a spin, you can get it [ HERE ] .

      Some Features of NexusFile:

      Basic Functions: Copy/Move To, Copy/Cut/Past, Delete/Shred, Rename, Change Attributes/Time

      Advanced Rename: Rename multiple files at once with many powerful options

      Navigate Folders: Favorite Folders, Working Folders, Tabs, Smart Address Bar

      Dual Panels: Open two folders at once.

      Archives: manages ZIP, ARJ, RAR, ACE archive files

      FTP: basic FTP functions

      File Join/Split: Split large file into many small files or Join small files into a large file. Merge several text files into a file.

      Save File List: Save file/folder list with many formats

      Shortcuts: Most functions has a Keyboard shortcut so you can do everything fast.

      Multi-language: Multi-language supports with language files.

      Skin: you can change the look of a program.

      Disk Cleanup: Empty RecycleBin, Delete temporary files, …

      Compare Folders: compare two folders

      Unicode: Unicode file name supported

      And many other useful functions with easy interface.

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      Monitor the Operating Status of Your PC from the Desktop

      Here is a no frills (no install) status monitor, called Desktop Info, that is useful if you are into monitoring the operating status of your PC (e.g. cpu usage, low disk space, network connectivity, memory usage, etc…). The status of your PC can be displayed on your desktop with little or no memory or cpu usage. For example, below is a screenshot from the desktop of my PC with Desktop Info running. When running, Desktop Info displays real-time information about the operation of your PC on your desktop with a transparent background. This app could be most useful if you are running numerous PCs (or server farm) to visually identify the operating status of your equipment.

      Desktop Info

      Once Desktop Info is running on your PC and displayed on the desktop, you can close it by right mouse clicking anywhere on top of the display info and by selecting quit on the menu. There are numerous options available to modify the output of information displayed by modifying the “ini” file that is in the same directory (or folder) as the application. I encourage you to read the read.me file that is included to learn all that you can do with this little app.

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      A Great PORTABLE Calculator for FREE

      Need a calculator for your flash drive (or computer) that is FREE, looks nice, continues to improve and is powerful?  Then look no further…  My “go to” calculator on my PC (and flash drive) is the free version of ESBCalc.

      Screenshot of ESBCalc

      ESBCalc is a Freeware Scientific Calculator for Windows with Infix Notation, Brackets, Scientific Functions (Trigonometric, Hyperbolic, Logarithmic – including Base 10, Base 2 & Natural – plus more), Memory, Paper Trail, Result History List and more. v5 Includes support for Prefix functions so to evaluate log (10) you can enter log 10 rather than 10 log (which is the default behaviour)

      Also includes customizing of the Colors’ & Fonts used, as well as customizing how the Hints (ToolTips) appear.

      What I like about ESBCalc is that the developers continue to make improvements to this little gem and (as mentioned) there is a downloadable portable app version, as well.  ESBCalc will run on any Windows version from Windows 98 to Windows 7.

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      A Control Pad for your Netbook (or Notebook)

      If you are a netbook or notebook computer owner, you well know that navigating the keyboard and touchpad can be a challenge at times; especially when it comes to launching your applications from the Windows Start Menu.

      One solution that I use on my Netbook to launch my programs is a software application called ControlPad. If you are a follower of the blog you may remember the article “Using your numeric keypad as a launcher…” that introduced ControlPad and its’ features.

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      ControlPad is an app that is primarily designed to use the numeric keypad on your computer to launch applications or execute Windows commands. Of course on a netbook (or notebook PC) using the numeric keypad often results in an act of clumsiness. The solution, however, is built right into ControlPad. You can go into the options settings and enable Laptop Mode where you hit the F12 key prior to launching your preconfigured commands.

      What I have found with ControlPad is that you are not limited to using just numbers.You can use text as well. For example on my netbook to launch Google Chrome, I have ControlPad configured  where I hit “F12”, then type Chrome.

      ControlPad is a very cool application, with sound effects, that is designed for the techies like myself.  The more you fiddle with it, the more you will like it.  A portable version is available, as well.

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      Turn Your Blog Into a PDF Book

      Steve over at TTC Shelbyville has outdone himself on telling us how and where you can “Make Your WordPress Blog Into a Book”.  What Steve is referring to is the web based (online) FREE service called BlogBooker.

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      What is this ?

      BlogBooker produces a high-quality PDF Blog Book from all your blog’s entries and comments. Archives can be generated from any blog running on WordPress, LiveJournal (and derivatives) or Blogger.

      The really cool factor with BlogBooker is that it will literally take every article you ever posted on your blog and compile it into a readable PDF book with a table of contents, chapters and all (all hot linked together).  During my testing and by following the simple instructions from the TTC Shelbyville article [ HERE ] I was able to take nearly 2 years worth of my writing and archive it into my own personal eBook. The compilation process, using an XML file that I easily generated at my WordPress Dashboard, took approximately 5 minutes.  End result was a 1373 page PDF book (29 MB) with every article (and comment) ever posted on What’s On My PC…  If you are a blogger and you use WordPress, LiveJournal or Blogger as your blogging service, then this is a great way to compile and have a searchable record of all your postings.

      I tip my hat to Steve at the TTC Shelbyville Technical Blog for this great find!

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      Recover Picture Files On Your Digital Camera Card

      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!

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      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.

      RecuvaAfter 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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      FREE Portable CD/DVD Burner Application

      If you are an avid follower of software, then you have to know about CDBurnerXP.  This software application is the primary application that I use to burn CDs, ISOs DVDs (including Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs). In my opinion it is as good as Nero with development and improvements being made all of the time.  The “cool factor” about this application is that, not only is there a full install version for on your PC; there is also a portable version that you can install on your flash drive.  So, if you are looking for a “quality” CD burner application to carry with you,  that can be used on Windows 2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista/2008/Win7 (x86 / x64), then CDBurnerXP is the one to get.

      To get the portable version of CDBurnerXP, click [ HERE ] AND after the page loads, click on “more download options” .  You can also download the “full install” version [ HERE ].

      FEATURES
      burn all kinds of discs
      audio-CDs with or without gaps between tracks
      burn and create ISO files
      data verification after burning process
      create bootable discs
      multi-language interface
      bin/nrg → ISO converter, simple cover printing and much more!
      Operating Systems: Windows 2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista/2008/Win7 (x86 / x64)

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      WeatherBar for Windows 7

      So many different ways to track the weather on the internet these days. I came across a simplistic app, called WeatherBar, that integrates with the Windows 7 taskbar to show the weather at a specific location. Just download, unzip to a folder of your choice, and run the WeatherBar executable. Windows 7 and an internet connection is required.

      WeatherBar is an application that lets you use the Windows 7 taskbar to display the weather condiitons in the application icon.  instead of constantly switching to the desktop to take a peek at the pinned gadget, the user can simply take a look at the taskbar, or right-click on the application icon to read the forecast.

      To change the settings in WeatherBar, click on the “gear” (see below) to change the update interval and whether you want the weather displayed in the metric or imperial formats. To set your location, click on the “pencil” (see below) and enter your zip code.

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      You can get WeatherBar [ Here ]

      If you are looking for a full blown weather tracking app, check out WeatherPulse [ Here ] .

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      Another FREE Online Storage Solution

      I am pretty picky when it comes to FREE online file storage.  Currently I am using LiveMesh (5 GB), SkyDrive (25 GB); and, my Gmail account (7GB) with a software client called Backup To Email, to meet my online storage needs. Today I just added another option, called CloudDrive, which is client software for the Adobe Acrobat Online Storage Service (5 GB). With this new addition, I now have a total of 42 GB’s of FREE online space, from well known sources, to play around with.  Not too shabby for FREE.

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      To use CloudDrive, the first thing you need to do is subscribe to an account at the Adobe Acrobat Online Storage Service. After you have your account setup, download and install CloudDrive. Once CloudDrive is installed, the following will occur:

      When you start up CloudDrive, it will ask you to input your registered email and password on Adobe Acrobat Free Online Storage Service to login.

      After that, your mailbox will receive an email from acrobat. You MUST confirm your email by clicking the link in the email.

      Now input your registered email and password in the login form and start to experience CloudDrive!

      login pic

      When the first time you logged in, probably there are already several files in CloudDrive window; All of them are Acrobat’s ads, you can delete them all.

      CloudDrive has an easy to use interface that gives you the ability to upload/download multiple files. You can either drag and drop the files or use the upload/download buttons that are build into CloudDrive.  Of any of the FREE online services I use, the CloudDrive client (with the Adobe Acrobat Online Storage Services) appears to be the fastest (in terms of upload/download speed); however, it did seem a little buggy at times.

      main window

      In the end, CloudDrive is a welcome addition to meeting my online file storage needs and is a keeper. This is another app that I see as serving a good purpose and will improve in time.

      In closing, one point I would like to make about online storage. Any files that I store online, I encrypt the file(s) before I upload them. This provides an added level of protection  An easy to use application to accomplish that task, on-the-fly, is Axcrypt. Use Axcrypt to encrypt the file as an .exe file, before you upload it. This option gives you the ability to download, open and decrypt the file from any location (without the Axcrypt software).

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      Quality Sound Recording Software for FREE!

      Here is a software application, called Free Sound Recorder, that may be very useful in the event you need (for example) to save a cassette tape to a CD or a LP to a CD (or to your computer).

      Free Sound Recorder Screenshot

      Here is how it works: Any sound that you can pass through your sound card, Free Sound Recorder can capture it and convert it (to MP3, WMA or WAV format). In my testing I took a voice recorder (with sound already recorded on it); connected a 3.5 mm  male-to-male cable to the earphone jack on the voice recorder and to the line-in jack on the computer and used Free Sound Recorder to capture the audio. The end result was quite impressive. You may need a different type of cable in the event you are capturing audio from a different type of device (e.g. cassette player, LP player, etc…).

      Free Sound Recorder is a perfect audio recorder to record your own voice, music or any other sound by working directly with your sound card. It supports the record input/source from a microphone, streaming audio from the Internet, external input devices (e.g. CDs, LP, music cassettes, phone line etc.) as well as other applications like Winamp, Media Player, etc. With built-in advanced audio record engine, the recorder produces high quality recordings.

      Main Features of Free Sound Recorder
      Dot Allows you to record audio into MP3, WMA or WAV format directly.
      Dot Allows you to pre-define audio recording qualities to help quickly set and manage recording parameters.
      Dot Built-in advanced audio record engine to produce high quality recording.
      Dot Allows you to preset/preview your audio recording device before starting record.
      Dot Build-in WMA WAV MP3 decoder.

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      A Simple Easy-To-Use Password Vault

      What I have found, as a result of following the software circuit, is that oftentimes software (during its’ lifespan) can end up being over developed and bloated.  As a result, the end user becomes frustrated and drops the software in search for something more understandable and simpler. I have found that to be the case with many of the software applications that serve as password managers.

      S10 Password Vault iconRecently, I was looking for an easy-to-use application to store my usernames and passwords and came across S10 Password Vault. Initially I was skeptical, due I had never heard of this application; however, after a test run I knew I was onto something good.

      S10 Password Vault is FREE for personal use, can be run as a PORTABLE APP or a FULL INSTALL, is small in windows size, is  not cumbersome, will autotype the usernames and passwords for you, and will generate random passwords if need be. The really “cool factor” to this password vault is that it will work with any program (that requires a username and password) and not just web site accounts. Another thing I found, that I was in search for is, I can use it as a bookmark manager and program launcher, as well (even though it is touted as a password vault). This is especially useful on my flash drive. I commend the author, Sten Herlitz, for developing a really nice (easy-to-use) password vault that is feature enriched and developed with the end user in mind.

      Master Password Screen

      Create Master Password

      Folder Hierarchy Example

      Folder/Account Hierarchy

      Account Editor

      Edit Account

      Features of S10 Password Vault:

      Customizable folder/account hierarchy

      Launching of websites and programs

      Autotypes info in websites and programs

      Account matching via window titles

      Custom account information fields

      Drag-and-drop support

      System tray icon showing lock state

      Quick unlock using partial password

      Auto-start when Windows starts

      Print capability and “View All” mode

      Export URLs to browser Favorites

      Compact program (647KB download)

      Highly secure 256-bit AES encryption

      Single file protected by master password

      Optional key file on USB drive

      Strong password generation

      Foils malicious keyboard loggers

      Auto-lock timeout and automatic file backup

      Secure synchronization between PCs

      Secure folder sharing with other users

      A portable version runs on USB drive

      Digitally signed – no spyware/adware

      No browser plugins or toolbars

      Central configuration for businesses

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      New Style Disk Space Analyzer

      Using an analysis tool to determine disk usage on your hard drives, external drives, flash drives, is nothing new; however, I came across a new style disk space analyzer, called Disk Space Fan that just plain looks good.

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      Now, looking good and getting the job done is two different matters, but Disk Space Fan has both areas covered.

      Disk Space Fan is a freeware and it is a nice disk space analysis tool for Windows. It helps you to free up disk space by quickly finding and deleting big, useless files. It displays disk space usage with a nice chart. You can navigate the folders easily with the chart. It is also intergrated with Windows Explorer to open, delete and browse files or folders.

      • Fantastic visualization – Disk visualization, fantastic animation, to manage disk space is not a dull work at all.
      • Finding useless files easily – Folders and files are sorted by their size. You can catch “bad guys” easily.
      • Integrated with Windows Explorer – Browse, open, and delete, all are same as explorer. Get file details quickly.

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      Disk Space Fan is FREE; however, there is a Pro version that gives you the power to track down duplicate files.  Disk Space Fan will run on Windows XP Service Pack 2, or above, Vista, or Windows 7.

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      Forward Those Entertaining Emails to forwardOn

      image TechPaul from Tech-for Everyone was recently so ever apologetic for forwarding a chain email to me; BUT, he had some very interesting pics he wanted me to see that were floating around the internet via the never-ending email circuit. See, he is alot like myself when it comes to forwarding those crazy (but sometimes entertaining) emails; we, usually are the one’s that drop the ball and break the email chain.  We do have our reasons for that and mostly it is our protective geek nature to be security conscious and do all that we can to prevent any chance of malware from being spread and to help reduce clutter in your inbox. I’m sure our proactive actions really do not have much of an impact at all; but, we do try : )

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      As a result of our proactive geek behavior, I recently found a service, called forwardOn where you can forward (and store) those entertaining emails that you cannot live without; so TechPaul at Tech-for Everyone, feel guilty no more.  I will just forward those great emails you send me to forwardOn for all to see.  At forwardOn you can post:

      1. Videos (including links to YouTube videos)
      2. Pictures
      3. Jokes
      4. Audio
      5. Files (Word docs, Powerpoints, and more)

      The “cool factor” to this service is that it works directly from your email.  Once you signup you will be provided with a forwardOn email address where you can forward those emails to your forwardOn account where it will be posted on your own private page where it can be shared with everyone.  For example, below is my public forwardOn page for your viewing pleasure:

      http://www.forwardon.com/Ramblinrick

      forwardOn eliminates accidental viruses, email hoaxes and scams, wasted bandwidth and storage, clogged inboxes, unformatted content, and much more. The only thing I could not nail down with this service is how much space is given for storage…  It also appears the service offers a reward program, where the quantity and quality of your posts generates points that are redeemable for gifts, etc…

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      Download Over 5000 National Geographic Wallpapers with One Click

      You are probably wondering how is that possible.  Well the possibility is real with NatGeo Wallpaper Downloader .

      NatGeo Wallpaper Downloader is a FREE and PORTABLE app that will automatically download (in a batch) images that have been featured in the magazine and on the website of National Geographic.

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      National Geographic, the official journal of the National Geographic Society, has been publishing the journal (or magazine) since 1888. The collection of photographs is phenomenal and are an excellent and safe source for wallpaper backgrounds for your computer.

      In connection to this blog post, you may be also interested in this article, as well:

      FREE Wallpaper and Puzzles at National Geographic

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      Open Multiple Links In A Batch with Firefox

      Wouldn’t it be handy and a real timesaver to open “at the same time” more than one link on a web page?  Well, you can with (2)-two ingredients; Firefox and the Firefox extension called Multi-Links (brought to you by Grizzly Ape)

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      With Multi Links installed (only 23.8 KB) you simply use your mouse to draw a box over the group of links that you desire to open. For example, using the illustration below, by holding down the “right mouse button”, I drew a box around a batch of links I desired to open.  Once I made my selection, I released the hold on the “right mouse button” and each one of those links opened in separate tabs.

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      If you want to open a group of links but not all of them you can use the Ctrl, Shift or Alt key to draw multiple selection boxes around the links you desire. Alternatively, you can select all the links and then deselect links by holding down the Ctrl or Shift key and drawing boxes around the links that you do not want selected.

      This is another great example of a Firefox extension, that takes multi-tasking to another level and can save you a considerable amount of time. I currently use this extension when researching information for posting on the blog. You can get full instructions on How To Use Multi Links [ HERE ] .

      Multi Links is fully customizable and offers many options.

      General Tab Options

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      Actions Tab Options

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      Appearance Tab Options

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      Enhance Your Right Click Menus with Right Click Extender

      When teaching others how to navigate their computers, the one area I find where people neglect is using the “right mouse button” to activate the context sensitive menus.

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      These menus often provide a quick solution (or choice) to an action you are looking for to get the job done; and, these solutions (or choices) vary depending on where you are on the computer.  For example the right click context menu in Windows Explorer differs from the right click context menu on your desktop.  As a challenge to the everyday computer user out there, try right clicking your mouse in different areas of your computer to explore the options that are available.  I guarantee, if you learn to use the “right mouse button” you will discover that the majority of functions you typically search for on the toolbar menus is only a “right mouse click” away and will save you mileage on your mouse.

      To you “right click menu” power users I found a neat little utility called Right Click Extender that extends and enhances the capabilities of the right click context menus.

      According to the author’s site [HERE] , Right Click Extender was primarily designed to work with Windows 7, but should work with Windows Vista as well. While not designed for Windows XP some features will work with XP as well, but if you try it and you don’t find the feature added, this is due to certain features not being available for XP.

      So what is the “cool factors” to Right Click Extender?

      You can easily enhance and activate some really neat (and useful) options to your File or Folder Right-Click Menu, your My Computer and Desktop Right-Click Menu by simply checking the options that are provided in the program (see below).

      For example, you geeksters out there that are into those hidden “God Modes”, this little program will get you to geek heaven quick.

      You can also deactivate the options by unchecking the options.

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      File and Folder Options:
      Option to add or remove Copy To
      Option to add or remove Move To
      Option to add or remove Admin Command Prompt
      Option to add or remove Encrypt/Decrypt
      Option to add or remove File List Create
      Option to add or remove My Computer God Mode
      Option to add or remove Hide File
      Option to add or remove Unhide File
      Option to add or remove Hide Folder
      Option to add or remove Unhide Folder
      Option to add or remove Take Ownership

      Desktop Options:
      Option to add or remove Flip3D
      Option to add or remove Desktop God Mode
      Option to add or remove Control Panel
      Option to add or remove Task Manager
      Option to add or remove Administrative Tools
      Option to add or remove Registry Editor

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      FREE eBook – The Complete Windows 7 Shortcuts

      This FREE Ebook is in the PDF and XPS formats.  It features over 200 keyboard shortcuts that are available in Windows 7 and its’ default programs.  If you are unfamiliar with keyboard shortcuts, please let me briefly explain.  Instead of using the mouse to typically perform a specific function, you press 2 or more (assigned) keys on your keyboard (in combination)  to perform the function.  Believe it or not, keyboard shortcuts can save a lot of time and effort in comparison to the mouse.

      This (very impressive) eBook was professionally crafted, in its’ entirety, by Nitin Agarwal via The Windows Club Forum.  For the everyday computer user and computer tech, this eBook is an excellent “must have” reference guide and learning tool.

      This eBook comprises of more than 200 keyboard shortcuts containing almost all the keyboard shortcuts that are available in Windows 7 and its default programs like Paint, WordPad, MS Office, Calculator, Help, Media Player, Media Center, Windows Journal, Internet Explorer, etc.

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      A Drag and Drop Encryption Program

      There are numerous file (and folder) encryption programs that are available to protect sensitive files on your computer; however, most people do not understand their purpose.  If you are carrying files around on a flash drive that are potentially sensitive in nature, OR maintaining sensitive files on a PC that is accessible by many people, OR storing sensitive files on the internet;  then it is important to protect the content of those files from prying eyes. One way of doing that is through file encryption.  Encryption software is designed to make your files unreadable (or accessible) to other people.  The encryption process usually prompts you to create a key (or password) prior to the software making the file(s) unreadable.  As a result, in order to  make the file readable again (through a process called decryption) you must enter the password that you originally provided.

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      One of my favorite encryption programs, that is FREE, small in file size (< 200 KB), and is portable;  is Drag ‘n Crypt ULTRA.  The “cool factor” to this program is that when you launch the program, a small target (or drop zone) appears on your desktop (see below).

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      To encrypt a file (or folder), you simply drag the file (or folder) to the target (or drop zone) and drop it.  Drag ‘n Crypt Ultra will go to work automatically, prompt you for a password, and then create the encrypted file. As an added level of security, the source file is erased to prevent someone from restoring the file using data recovery software (which is especially easy on a flash drive).

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      To decrypt the file you simply drag the file you originally encrypted to the target (or drop zone), enter your password, and the file will be restored to its’ original condition.

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      If you right mouse click on the target (or drop zone), you also have the following options:

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      My (2)-two favorite options is “create file association” and “Use Context Menu”.  With the “file association” option activated you can open your encrypted files by simply mouse clicking on the file(s) and if you have the “context menu” option activated you can perform your file encryption operations through the Windows Explorer context menu, which is typically activated by a right mouse click on a file (or folder).

      Overall, Drag ‘n Crypt is fast, offers decent protection ( Twofish coding algorithm) and does not require installation (can be carried and used on your flash drive). I especially use this program to protect files on my flash drive and to protect files that I store online.

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      How to Get Rid of the Data on that Old Computer

      Since computers have become mainstream in everybody’s home since 2000, it is not uncommon today for people to have 2 or 3 computers in their homes. Today, computers in the home are looked upon as throwaway appliances. When the life cycle of the computer is finished, the user will either throw the computer in the attic (or closet) to collect cobwebs; discard it in the garbage; or, if still useable, will hand it down (or sell it) to someone else.

      During the ownership of our computers we are constantly reminded of the security and privacy threats; and will go to great extremes to protect the data on our PC’s from prying eyes. What we forget is that this type of proactive attitude should not stop when the life cycle of the computer has been completed. From my experience I have seen a very high percentage of people discard a PC with their data still intact on the hard drive. Even if the computer is no longer functioning, the data is still there!  Even if you are being proactive and formatted the hard drive, the data is still there!

      What type of data am I referring to?  Well, the list is long, but here are some examples of what you may be giving away when you are finished with that PC:

      • Passwords and access to online accounts (like your bank, credit card, social sites, web mail, etc.)
      • Email Accounts, Email Addresses and Personal Emails
      • Personal (and sometimes) sensitive photographs
      • Personal Documents (such as tax forms, letters, finances, documents from work, etc.)
      • Software Licenses (that you purchased and own)
      • Music or Movie Collection (that you legally own)

      In today’s world, data theft is commonplace and software to extract (already deleted data) is available freely on the internet. I cannot emphasize this enough; when you are finished with that PC you must continue to be proactive and find ways to make sure the PC is clean before transferring it elsewhere. Here are several options that you can choose from:

      • Have the hard drive removed and the data professionally eradicated (destroyed), professionally degaussed (demagnetized) or professionally shredded (like shrapnel).  All of these options are at cost; however, you will (or should) be provided with certification that your data is now non-existent.
      • Remove the hard drive and destroy the hard drive yourself.  Drill holes in it, use it for target practice, flatten it with a sledge hammer, etc…  There is no certification with this process and yes there is the possibility that James Bond 007 could extract data from the drive (but this is highly unlikely, unless you are a person of interest).
      • Use data eradication software.  This option is a good option for the home based user; AND, the good news is that there are several FREE software products (see below) that are available.

      Hard Drive Eraser

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      Hard Drive Eraser is free Windows application that permanently erase the data on whole volumes (hard drives). It does so by filling the magnetic surface multiple time with a useless binary data. It is a known fact that it is impossible to permanently destroy data just by formatting hard drive.

      PC Disk Eraser

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      PCDiskEraser enables you to easily, quickly and permanently erase all data that is personal, confidential and critical on your hard drive – and has the capability to erase to both U.S. Department of Defense 5220.22 and German Military Government standards.

      Active@ Kill Disk

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      Active@ KillDisk – Hard Drive Eraser is powerful and compact software that allows you to destroy all data on hard and floppy drives completely, excluding any possibility of future recovery of deleted files and folders. It’s a hard drive and partition eraser utility.

      Eraser

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      Eraser is an advanced security tool for Windows which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns.

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      Change Your DNS Easily with DNS Jumper

      If you are a regular reader of the blog you may have read the following articles about DNS (Domain Name System) and how changing your default DNS settings on your PC to a service such as OpenDNS or Google’s Public DNS can result in a faster (and safer) internet experience. For example I use the DNS settings that is provided by OpenDNS on all of my computers.

      OpenDNS home OpenDNS … Something to try…

      Google’s Public DNS Resolution Service

      The DNS protocol is an important part of the web’s infrastructure, serving as the Internet’s phone book: every time you visit a website, your computer performs a DNS lookup. Complex pages often require multiple DNS lookups before they start loading, so your computer may be performing hundreds of lookups a day. – Google Public DNS

      When I composed those articles I wondered how many people actually followed up and changed their DNS settings, for fear they would mess up their computers?

      Today I ran across a small software utility called DNS Jumper that you simply download, run, and mouse click a button to select which DNS service you would like to use. This little utility does all the work for you. If you desire to return to your default DNS settings, you simply mouse click on DNS Default and your settings revert to the original settings. This utility is portable and makes for a nice addition to the tech toolbox.

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      Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#45)

      If you are a person who has a passion (and obsession) for information technology and computers; then, you need to follow Geek Squeaks’.

      Geek Squeaks’ is a weekly roundup of articles that have been produced by the bloggers (and site owners) who are associated with the What’s On My PC blogroll community. I endorse each one of these sites and encourage you to visit and bookmark them!

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      AKS-Feel The Change
      Remove Start Button-Start Killer

      411-Spyware.com
      How to Remove PCsSecure

      Teck~Line
      ShowMeWhatsWrong.com
      Is a Awesome Screen Recording Tool
      To Help Your Non Tech Savvy Friends

      Plato On-Line
      Would Jesus be Blogging Today?

      Geeked Up
      Using Magnets to Organize Your USB Cables

      Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
      Delete Stubborn Security Applications With Free AppRemover

      thePC Security
      Most Commonly Used Password List – Avoid It

      Crazy World of G
      Traitor

      Lifehacker
      DIY Monitor Shelf Stashes Peripherals Behind Your Monitor

      Rarst.net
      Kingston SSDNow V+ SNV225-S2 solid state disk

      Tech-for Everyone
      Johnny Depp car crash death video leads to malware

      Free PC Security
      Avast 5 Plus Installation Guide

      Snakebytez
      Android Operating System : Run Android on Your PC

      Carputers News and Computers Tips
      Another way to get SoftMaker Office 2008 free!

      TTC Shelbyville
      Speed up Taskbar Thumbnails in Windows 7

      I Love Free Software
      5 Best Free Screen Capture Software

      Worthy Tips
      Placefy – Let You Learn New Places Through Online Game

      Mrintech
      Backup your Online Accounts using Backupify!

      Canadian Tech Blogger
      Chrome Reaches Version 4 Stable

      Internet Security Blog
      Setting / Change Default Programs in Windows Computer – DPE

      Technogran’s Tittle Tattle
      The Ribbon Interface, love it or hate it?

      TuneUp Blog
      How To: Change the Logon Screen in Windows 7

      Big Geek Daddy
      Free Software

      What’s On My
      PC Klondike Forever…

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      A Challenging but GREAT Program Launcher

      I have mentioned it before; I love program launchers over using the Windows Start Menu. The Start Menu, over a period of time, can end up becoming a convoluted mess that is counterproductive; especially if you do not know how to organize the menu items. This is where program launchers can help. Not only are many of them customizable and attractive, but they literally can save you mouse clicks when launching your favorite applications.  I have tested and tried them all; except one.

      That one exception being, 8startimage

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      8start has been around for over 5 years, which in itself is a testimony of survival; however, every time when I crossed paths with 8start I found it to be quite challenging to configure and would let it go. Once again, 8start has crossed my path and this time I really decided to learn this software application and give it my all; and, boy I am glad I did.  Yes, it is somewhat a different type of program launcher when it comes to building your menus; however, once you get it, you will be quite impressed.  For me, I went from not having the patience to learn 8start, to becoming obsessed with it.

      From – Andy Goh; the creator of 8start: 8start Launcher is a free portable application launcher, I created 8start Launcher because I believe there should be a convenient way to access application than using windows start menu, quick launch and desktop. Windows desktop look messy if too many shortcuts in the desktop, windows start menu become hard to access if too many applications installed in the computer, windows quick launch not suitable to handle too many shortcuts.

      I do not want to even begin to explain “how to” use and configure 8Start, but if you are truly interested, the basics are outlined for you [here] .

      A “cool factor” to 8Start is that it is skinnable.  In other words you can change the outward appearance by using many of the skins that is available on the web site [ Link ] . For example, I went with the Fabio Longo iPhone look.  Other “cool factors” to 8Start are the built in Tree Notes Feature and the Countdown timer.

      Once I learned how to use 8start to create my categories, groups, application links, menu buttons and change the skin I ended up with what I think is a very modernistic  program launcher (see below).  My 8start launcher has the iPhone look complete with (8)-eight categories.  I configured 8start to magically appear when I click my middle mouse button.

      My Finished Menu
      using 8start and the
      Fabio Longo iPhone skin.

      image

      Overall, my battle to try 8start is over.  This program launcher rocks!  I just hope the developer  continues with this project and continues to improve 8start.

      Launcher Features

      Organize shortcuts into groups and categories

      Accessed by system tray, hotkey and middle mouse

      Create and manange buttons fast and easy. Shortcuts, url favorites, files, folder, and application link can be defined easily

      Launch applications and files fast and intuitive

      Keeps the desktop clean, no more shortcuts block the view of your wallpaper

      Portable with relative path defined supported, can be run in flash drive or install in harddisk.

      Show program name / description when mouse over the icon

      Quick access to the drive content by click the drive letter

      Changable skin with transpancy png format supported, 30+ beautiful skins available for download

      Able to use picture files .jpg, .png, .ico, .bmp, .gif as button icon

      Individual customizable button style. Link to the application, favorite documents, music files, folders…. intuitively by apply the most suitable style

      Auto download website favicon to local for url type button. Url icon still available if the internet cached have been deleted.

      Launcher auto shrink to fit number of icons

      Whole new concept of launching your applications and files

      Countdown Features

      Stay in taskbar, always visible while you working on your computer

      Bounce/running text in taskbar show what you countdown now

      Countdown till specific time or countdown for specific duration

      Show countdown days / hours / minutes / seconds in different color, auto best fit to 1 or 2 icons

      Fast setting and start the countdown (right click on 8start systray icon)

      Option to launch a file/application when countdown reaches zero

      Option to pop up a shaking window when countdown reaches zero

      Tree Notes Features

      Opacity of notes is adjustable on the fly, ease for you to read through the content behind the note while editing the note.

      Unlimited of Tree and Notes can be defined

      Each Tree has its own Path for storing notes, notes can be saved in File Server, Flash Drive, Portable Device… Combination of notes storage path is possible.

      Each Tree have its’ own note color , ease for you to differential type of notes, e.g. Notes in Server, Notes for research Linux….

      Notes can be shared if store in File Server, or by network sharing in normal worktation

      Portable with relative path defined supported, you can store and access your notes in your flash drive

      200+ beautiful icons included, you can add in your prefer icons in icons library. .ico and .png format is supported.

      Notes information show last edited time and user

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      Pop Peeper – Best Email Notifier Out There

      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.

      image

      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”.

      image

      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!

      Description
      POP Peeper is an email notifier that runs in your Windows task bar and alerts you when you have new email on your POP3, IMAP (with IDLE support), Hotmail\MSN\LiveMail, Yahoo, GMail, MyWay, Excite, iWon, Lycos.com, RediffMail, Juno and NetZero accounts. IMAP supports allows you to access AOL, AIM, Netscape and other services. Send mail directly from POP Peeper and use the address book to email your frequently used contacts. POP Peeper allows you to view messages using HTML or you can choose to safely view all messages in rich or plain text. Several options are available that will decrease or eliminate the risks of reading your email (viruses, javascript, webbugs, etc). POP Peeper can be run from a portable device and can be password protected. Many notification options are availble to indicate when new mail has arrived, such as sound alerts (configurable for each account), flashing scroll lock, skinnable popup notifier, customized screensaver and more.

      Primary Features

      • 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)

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      Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#44)

      Welcome to the 44th round of Geek Squeaks’.  If you have a passion for information technology and computers, then you are at the right place.  Geek Squeaks’ is a weekly roundup of links to articles produced by bloggers (and site owners) associated with the What’s On My PC blogroll community.  I encourage you to pay a special visit to each of these sites to support their incredible work…

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      Tech-for Everyone
      What is Mobsync?

      thePC Security
      HDD Password Removal –
      Crack, Clear, Unlock, Reset a Locked Hard Disk

      Lifehacker
      Seems Like Everyone’s Getting Faster Internet but the U.S.

      Rarst.net
      Colorjive.com – online image editor to paint walls

      AskBillFirst
      Microsoft urges Windows XP users to ditch old Flash version

      Free PC Security
      Malicious Sites January 19

      Snakebytez
      Create a System Restore Point in 1-click with Quick Restore Maker

      TTC Shelbyville
      Online Network Tools

      I Love Free Software
      RegKey Backup – Free Software to Registry Backup

      Worthy Tips
      Download ‘Your Guide to Windows 7′ EBook

      Mrintech
      Help Haiti People: Donate Online or via Text

      Canadian Tech Blogger
      Firefox 3.6 RC2 Out

      AKS-Feel The Change
      What’s My Computer Doing?

      Carol’s Vault
      PDF Password Remover – remove your PDF’s restrictions

      411-Spyware.com
      How to Remove Win Security 360

      Plato On-Line
      World Netizen’s Day

      Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
      Safe, Secure Browsing, with Free WOT Browser Add-on

      Big Geek Daddy
      How to Control Startup Programs

      Computer Maintenance
      How To Set Windows Automatic Update

      Technogran’s Tittle Tattle
      Windows Live Mail Wave4, it’s all looking good!

      TuneUp Blog
      Get More Privacy! How to Remove Personal Information from Files

      Internet Security Blog
      Auto Lock Computer Screen With USB – Free Download

      Geeked Up
      6 Important Steps on How to Maximize Firefox Screen Space

      Technize
      Find Your Files Faster with Windows 7

      Whats On My PC
      The Ultimate Clock for your Windows Desktop

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      Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#43)

      A week has past and Geek Squeaks’ are here at last…  Be sure to check out these articles posted by bloggers (everyday people like you and me) who are members of the What’s On My PC blogroll community. Geek Squeaks’ are recent articles (posted within the past 7 days).  There is no order (or method to my madness) in the selection process of articles; all are randomly selected AND all are squeaks from a very elite group of geeks.

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      TTC Shelbyville – Technical Blog
      Make a Shortcut on the Send To Menu

      The Abbey Rose
      Unmask Parasites accelerator for Internet Explorer 8

      I Love Free Software
      Comodo Time Machine Better than Windows Restore Point

      Technize
      Collection of Themes for Windows 7

      Computer Maintenance
      Computer Repair Tools

      Technogran’s Tittle Tattle
      What is Windows Live?

      TuneUp Blog
      How To: Control Annoying Messages in Windows 7

      Mrintech
      Shorten/Change your Facebook Page/Profile URL

      Canadian Tech Blogger
      Microsoft Stops Selling Office

      thePC Security
      Free File Search Software For Text String Search

      Lifehacker
      WebMii Shows You How the Web Sees You

      Rarst.net
      How to integrate Google search into WordPress site

      Tech-for Everyone
      What The Inside Looks Like

      AskBillFirst
      Acer Recalls Notebook Computers Due to Burn Hazard

      The PC Security
      Malicious Sites January 13

      AKS-Feel The Change
      Speccy-Portable System Information Tool

      Carol’s Vault
      Free Screen To Video Freeware – screen capture tool

      411-Spyware.com
      How to Remove SysDefenders

      Plato On-Line
      Software Patents and Intellectual Piracy

      Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
      Comodo System Cleaner –
      The Free “Swiss Army Knife” of System Cleaners

      Scoroncocolo
      Dropbox Is a File Storage, Syncing and Collaboration Tool

      Big Geek Daddy
      Free Disk Defrag

      Internet Security Blog
      Password Protect USB Data With Portable Free Encryption Tool

      Worthy Tips
      Download Official Gmail Tips E-Book

      What’s On My PC
      When Windows 7 Will Not Boot

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      System Explorer – A FREE Task Manager

      image System Explorer is FREE task manager program that provides detailed information about the operating status of your PC and is an excellent tool to include in your tech toolbox (portable version available).

      Task Manager programs, such as System Explorer, are applications that typically provide detailed information about the stability of your computer (such as performance and running applications, processes and CPU usage, commit charge and memory information, network activity and statistics, logged-in users, and system services). Typically we get to the Windows Task Manager by hitting the “CTRL+ALT+DEL” hotkey combo.  Most users typically go to the Task Manager in Windows to halt programs that are not playing well.

      System Explorer is like the Windows Task Manager, but is a whole lot more…  Things that you can do with System Explorer are:

    • Task Management
    • Startups Management
    • System Performance Monitoring
    • Internet Explorer Addons Management
    • Services Management
    • Start applications faster with System Explorer Launcher
    • Force start idle system tasks to cleanup and speedup system
    • Optimise physical memory usage
    • Reveal malware or viruses in your system
    • Network Connections Monitoring
    • Processes Management
    • Search faster with System Explorer Launcher
    • Make System Report
    • Check File Security
    • Screenshot

      Features:

      Detailed informations about Tasks, Processes, Modules, Startups, IE Addons, Uninstallers, Windows, Services, Drivers, Connections and Opened Files.

      Easy check of suspicious files via VirusTotal or Jotti service.

      Easy search details about file/process via online databases.

      Launcher (“New Task…” dialog) with integrated AutoSearch and AutoCompletion.

      Action History for monitoring processes activities.

      Performance graphs for monitoring usage of system resources in time.

      System Snapshots for easy finding of system changes.

      System Report builds rich text report containing major informations about your System.

      Multilanguage and Plugins Support.

      Version 2.0 brings brand new user interface and Windows 7 support.

      **NEW** Security feature with online File Reviews.

      Requirements:

      OS: Windows XP,Windows Vista or Windows 7

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      Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#42)

      It is unbelievable, especially the older we get, just how fast a week seemingly passes by; but, one thing I look forward to each week is Geek Squeaks’.

      Geek Squeaks’ is a compilation of articles, created within the past 7 days, by the members (bloggers) associated with the What’s On My PC blogroll (at the right side of the blog). If computers and information technology is in your blood, then these sites (or blogs) are the ones to follow.

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      Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
      FreeFixer – A Free, Powerful Anti-Malware Tool

      Plato On-Line
      Facebook vs. Suicide Machine

      411-Spyware.com
      How to Remove Antivirus PC 2009

      AKS-Feel The Change
      Merge two or more PDF files

      thePC Security
      Freeware PC Security Software Download – Rising PC Doctor

      Crazy World of G
      You Have Wave

      Lifehacker
      Memorize Makes Virtual Flashcards and More [Flashcards]

      Rarst.net
      SuggestRSS.com – finds sites like those in your feeds

      Sugarloaf Tech
      Remote wipe your BlackBerry without BES

      Tech-for Everyone
      How To Make Word Open A Normal Blank Page*

      AskBillFirst
      Those Green Doublelined Words on a Web Page

      Free PC Security
      Online Armor Free Firewall V4

      TuneUp Blog
      Survey: Replace Rather Than Clean Up a PC?

      Computer Maintenance
      Data Backup

      Canadian Tech Blogger
      IE Usage Down, Chrome Surpasses Safari

      Mrintech
      Free ASCII Art Designer Software for your PC!

      Worthy Tips
      Idea To Convert Your Photo To Hand Draw Sketch On Your Desktop

      Technize
      3 Ways To Test Your LCD Monitor For Defective Pixels

      I Love Free Software
      WeBuzz.IM – Use Gtalk, Yahoo, ICQ, AIM from Browser

      TTC Shelbyville
      Repair Internet Explorer

      Carputers News and Computer Tips
      Learn how to research online…

      Snakebytez
      Easily and Safely Optimize Vista
      by Disabling Unnecessary Windows Vista Services

      Freeware Pharmacy
      MCE Buddy

      What’s On My PC
      FREE Online Virus and Malware Scanners

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      cnet’s Rundown of the Best New Windows Software of 2009

      A good source for reviews, of FREE Software, is cnet. Reflected below is a clip from cnet – The Download Blog that I encourage you to visit.  The article gives you a good run down of some of the new (popular) software that was developed in 2009.

      1clipsm“What’s On My PC…” Web  Clip!

      December 31, 2009 12:00 AM PST

      Best new Windows software of 2009

      by Seth Rosenblatt

      This past year was not the best for new software developments. There were no surprising game-changers like Google Chrome in 2008, and no watershed moments. However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t some cool releases. I suspect that much of the best software of 2009 winds up becoming the foundation for innovations in 2010.

      [ Source: cnet – The Download Blog ]

      thedownloadblog

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