Learn More About “TreeSize Free 4.3: usability improvements and PDF exports” | gHacks Tech News

If you are wondering what files is consuming your drive space on your PC, you may want to download and install TreeSize Free.  gHacks has a good review on the newest version (see source link below).

treesize free

TreeSize Free analyzes disk space usage of a structure, e.g. a drive or folder, and displays information about the number of files, total size of files on the storage device, and more, in its interface.

Source: TreeSize Free 4.3: usability improvements and PDF exports – gHacks Tech News

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

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

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

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

A Software Option To “Securely Wipe Your Drives, Save 20 Percent With BitRaser” | by PCMag.com

BitRaser

BitRaser is available in multiple editions that are designed for different use-cases. For typical home and professional users, the BitRaser For File package lets you securely erase an unlimited number of individual files and folders. Step up to the full BitRaser suite, and that will enable you to wipe entire drives securely with a sliding price depending on how many drives you need to wipe – perfect for IT specialists. And if you’re dealing with smartphones, BitRaser for Mobile has you covered on Android and iOS devices.

Source: Securely Wipe Your Drives, Save 20 Percent With BitRaser | PCMag.com

I Love Free Software Featuring a “Free Open Source RSS Reader and Podcast Player Software for Windows”

I encourage you to learn how to use a RSS reader and here is your chance for FREE. With an RSS reader you can pull down news from multiple sources in one place, instead of having to go to each site. Once you start using it, you will wonder why you didn’t know about this before now.

Click on the source link below to learn about Winds, a RSS Reader and a podcast app in one bundle.

winds podcasts

Winds is no doubt is one of the best free software to read and manage your RSS feeds and Podcasts. If you use two different software for reading feeds and listening to podcasts then it’s time to stop doing that. Use Winds and manage all your podcasts and feed URLs like a pro.

Source: Free Open Source RSS Reader and Podcast Player Software for Windows

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

SMPlayer Portable 18.4.0 (media player) Released | PortableApps.com – Portable software for USB, portable and cloud drives

SMPlayer Portable 18.4.0 has been released by PortableApps.com.

SMPlayer Portable is the popular SMPlayer packaged with a PortableApps.com Launcher as a portable app, so you can take your video player with you. It has all the same great features as SMPlayer including remembering the settings of all the files you play, configurable subtitles, audio track switching, etc…

Source: SMPlayer Portable 18.4.0 (media player) Released | PortableApps.com – Portable software for USB, portable and cloud drives

KeePass Password Safe

I highly recommend that you use a password manager to manage and store all of the passwords that you use. Typically, most folks use the same password for many sites and accounts and are careless in maintaining their passwords; often storing them in and around the computer. KeePass will assist you in generating strong passwords and will assist you in securely storing your passwords. Also, check further on their website for ported versions of KeePass to other operating system platforms, such as Android. KeePass is available as a full install or portable app.

KeePass is an open source password manager. Passwords can be stored in highly-encrypted databases, which can be unlocked with one master password or key file.

Source: KeePass Password Safe

Highly Recommend MiniTool Portable Partition Magic For Quick Disk And Partition Management

Highly recommend this software (MiniTool Portable Partition Magic); especially, the portable version to manage disks and partitions on your Windows PC. Typically, this type of software is something that most people do not need on a regular basis; thus, the reason I recommend the portable version. Simply download, unzip and run; when you need it.

As an example, I recently used this software to delete a partition and to extend the system partition to capture the space that was being used to store a Windows factory restore on an older HP laptop (that really no longer needed the restore files) that is now running Windows 10. In the end I gained 10GB of space and the computer runs more efficiently.


Free download portable partition software – MiniTool portable partition magic to manage disks and partitions on Windows PC.

Source: MiniTool Portable Partition Magic Brings Easier Disk/Partition Management

Firework by Startpack — Fastest Access To web Applications

Found Firework by Startpack to be quite interesting in that you can take web applications (like Gmail, News sites, Google Photos, and any site for that matter) and turn them into virtual desktop applications that can be launched very quickly.

Free application for easy access to web services. Combine apps, fasten to the taskbar and easily switch between them.

Source: Firework by Startpack — Fastest access to web applications

Here are 5 Popular Security and Privacy Apps You Should Uninstall and Replace

This will surprise many seasoned computer users… If you are concerned about computer security and your privacy, then you may want to swap out the old and install the new.

You’ve been using these tools for years… but it turns out, they may not be as great as once thought. Perhaps the company isn’t supporting the app anymore. Perhaps better tools have come along.


https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/security-privacy-apps-uninstall/

DSynchronize – Recommended Software To Backup Files On Your Computer

This is the software utility that I use to backup the files on my computer to an external drive. Once you set up the source and destination, you are good to go. Many options available (in plain sight) that makes this a great backup utility in preserving your files. DSynchronize is FREE and requires no installation.

DSynchronize – Periodically synchronize two or more folders locally or remotely.

Source: D-Software by Dimio

A FREE Document Scanning Solution That Is Easy

The document scanning software that is typically found associated with the scanners that you connect to your computer is not very user-friendly (difficult to navigate). WinScan2PDF may be the solution you are looking for where you simply select your scanner (the source), click on “Scan To PDF” and save the file to your computer.

WinScan2PDF is a very small and portable program that allows you to scan documents and save them on your computer as a PDF by using scanner!

Source: SoftwareOk.com – WinScan2PDF

Backup Your Gmail With MailStore Home

Here is a good Windows software option, called MailStore Home, that you can use to download and backup your Gmail. I can also see using this to archive a Gmail account that is getting full.

 

MailStore Home is a free email archiving and email backup software for personal use.

With MailStore Home you can backup all emails in a central archive, even if they are distributed across different computers, programs or mailboxes. You can do this either on your PC or on a USB drive as a “portable” option.

Source: MailStore Home – Free Email Archiving and Backup for Home Users

Destroy Adware (and its’ friends) With AdwCleaner

AdwCleaner is one of those programs that I keep on my computer, that is engineered to target (and remove) adware, spyware, potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), and browser hijackers. If you download this program, you will have to manually run it in order for it to work its’ magic. There is no install involved (simply download and run). I typically download it and run it at least every couple of weeks. I have had great success with this program over the years and highly recommend it to help keep your computer in a healthy state.

Source: Malwarebytes – AdwCleaner

Multi-Launcher And Folder Switcher For Windows

Quick Access Popup may be of interest to you if you are into increasing your productivity and like program launchers or an easier way to toggle between folders. This program, available as a full install or portable app, allows you to customize a popup menu to fit your own specific needs or you can stick with the folders already baked into the program. Below is a screenshot to give you and idea what the program is about and the ways it can be launched.  I especially am in favor of the portable version that I can take with me from PC to PC. You can explore Quick Access Popup more by clicking on the source link below.

SOURCE: Quick Access Popup

 

PingInfoView – Ping to multiple host names/IP addresses

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

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

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

BleachBit Portable 2.0 (disk, cache, history cleaner) Recently Released

Cleaning utilities, such as BleachBit, are great in freeing disk space, removing junk files, erasing your cache, deleting cookies and clearing your internet history. This all goes toward protecting your privacy.

BleachBit wipes clean 90 applications including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, and more. Beyond simply deleting files, BleachBit includes advanced features such as shredding files to prevent recovery, wiping free disk space to hide traces of files deleted by other applications, and vacuuming Firefox to make it faster. Better than free, BleachBit is open source.

It’s packaged in PortableApps.com Format so it can easily integrate with the PortableApps.com Platform. And it’s open source and completely free.

Source: BleachBit Portable 2.0 (disk, cache, history cleaner) Released | PortableApps.com – Portable software for USB, portable and cloud drives

Download Malwarebytes AdwCleaner – MajorGeeks

Malwarebytes AdwCleaner is a “must have” application to help keep on your computer from being infected.  You will need to routinely run this software to help keep your computer in good shape.

Malwarebytes AdwCleaner is a free anti-malware app that deletes adware, PUP’s, toolbars, and browser hijackers. Video tutorial available. It specializes in removing adware, PUP/LPI (Potentially Undesirable Program), toolbars, and hijackers.

Source: Download Malwarebytes AdwCleaner – MajorGeeks

Jan 23, 2018 AnyBurn v4.0 Released

AnyBurn is a FREE CD/DVD/Blu-ray burning and imaging software is very easy to use; especially, for those who never burned CDs or DVDs. It is pretty much self-explanatory, very small in install size and is available as a portable app (for the tech toolbox). There is also an online tutorial to get you started (click here). A new version of AnyBurn was just released…

Screenshot

Main Features:

Burn all CD / DVD / Blu-ray disc image files.

Backup or add files and folders to CD, DVD, or Bluray disc

Burn Audio CD which can be played in regular CD player from mp3, m4a, ape, flac, wma files…

Rip Audio CD to MP3, FLAC, APE, WMA, WAV files.

Copy disc using sector by sector method.

Create image files from hard disk files or CD / DVD / BD discs.

Convert disc image files between various formats.

Create bootable USB drive for Windows 7, 8, 10, or Linux

Support both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows.

SOURCE: AnyBurn

 

TraceRouteOK | FREE GUI Interface For the Trace Route Command

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

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

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

SOURCE: SoftwareOK.com -TraceRouteOK

NirLauncher – Collection of more than 200 portable utilities from NirSoft

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

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

NirLauncher Features

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

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

Computech Windows Tweaker 1.0.0.0

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


SOURCE: Major Geeks – Computech Windows Tweaker 1.0.0.0

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

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

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


SOURCE: Rizonesoft – Complete Internet Repair

Turn Your Windows 10 Updates On and Off With The “Windows 10 Update Switch”

Currently, Windows 10 does not offer up an option to turn Windows Updates “on” and “off”.  This is where the “Windows 10 Update Switch” can help. It is a third party software option that allows you to toggle the Windows 10 Updates “on” and “off”. This software is especially helpful when you are on a limited broadband connection, such as satellite broadband; where you are allotted a certain amount of data per month. The “Windows 10 Update Switch” not only allows you to turn the updates “on or off”; it also allows you to set the computer to a metered connection where the updates are delayed and prevents Windows from gobbling up bandwidth. The metered connection, from a security standpoint, is probably your best bet…

Windows 10 Updates Switch is a FREE utility and is available as a portable app (for your tech toolbox)…


SOURCE: Rizonesoft – Windows 10 Update Switch

Glary Utilities 5 – System Optimization and Maintenance Tool Featuring Over 20 tools to maximize your Computer’s performance

I have featured Glary Utilities on the blog in the past and thought I would do a re-visit to see where the program is at this time. Glary Utilities has been around for a long time and I have installed/uninstalled it many times over the years. Today, after looking at an interface that is new to me, I decided to re-install Glary Utilities and use it as my main system optimization and maintenance tool. One important thing I like about this utility is that you can download it as a portable app and keep it on your flash drive (tech toolbox). There is a FREE version of this software, as well as a professional (paid) version.

The interface of Glary Utilities is super easy to navigate (with one click functionality) with options to perform maintenance options automatically. The program includes over twenty system utilities (such as a Registry Cleaner, Spyware Remover, Startup Manager and Shortcuts Fixer) and features a “Windows Boot Time Monitor” that will tell you how fast your computer starts up. This time is then compared with other Windows users. This is useful in determining if there is something causing your computer to lag at boot up.

Glary Utilities, according to their site, is compatible with all versions of Windows.

CLICK TO ENLARGE SCREENSHOTS


SOURCE: GlarySoft – Glary Utilities 5

Best FREE Android Apps of 2017 AND Best Free Windows Software of 2017

I am sure you have figured out that I love apps and software that run on the Android OS (for smartphones and tablets) and the Windows OS (for desktops and laptops). If you are in the same boat with me, then you will appreciate the following from two very credible sources:

Best free Android apps of 2017: 100 you must download – Here’s our selection of the best you should install right now – each one has been carefully chosen to ensure you’ll have a whole suite of fun, engaging and, useful apps on your phone or tablet… READ MORE

The Best Free Software of 2017 – Software can be expensive if you’re not smart about it. Free programs have been a mainstay of the desktop experience for decades, and the offerings only get more powerful and fascinating each year. As PCs compete with smartphones, it gets even better… READ MORE


SOURCE(S): Drippler AND PCMag

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

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

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

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

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

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


SOURCE: Windows Repair Toolbox

Want to compress a bunch of documents into a single encrypted file for archiving?

If so, take a look at BCArchive… This FREE program is specifically designed to compress a group of files/folders to a single encrypted file that is password protected.  I like the idea that, after installing, you can activate BCArchive from the Explorer file menu, which comes in real handy when you need to protect and archive files on the fly. Always keep in mind that when you password protect the file archive, to remember the password.

BCArchive is compatible with Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8/10 (32-Bit/64-Bit)…

To give you an idea how good this program is, here is a list of the options:

  • Create Compressed and Encrypted Archive File Protected by Password
  • Create Compressed and Encrypted Archive File by Using the Public Key of Another User
  • Add Several Passwords to an Existing Archive File
  • Apply more than one Public Key to an Archive File Enabling a Number of Users to Decrypt the Archive
  • Generate New or Use Existing Secret/Public Key Pairs in PKCS-12/X.509 Format
  • Compress and Encrypt Data to a Self-extracted Executable Program
  • Synchronize, Import, Export Functions
  • Includes BCTextEncoder Utility

SOURCE: Jetico – BCArchive

IrfanView – A Highly Recommended Image Viewer For Your Computer

I do not care much for the image viewer that is packaged with the Windows operating system; therefore, I look for the better options. In this case, the better option is IrfanView. This program, it seems, has been around since of the beginning of time. Actually, I believe it was somewhere around 1996 when Irfanview began making its’ appearance. This program is designed to be simple; yet, can be made to be more complex by using a variety of downloadable plugins. I encourage you to give it a try.

IrfanView is a very fast, small, compact and innovative FREEWARE (for non-commercial use) graphic viewer for Windows 9x, ME, NT, 2000, XP, 2003 , 2008, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10.  Also available as a full install download or portable app.

IrfanView features:

  • 32 and 64 bit version
  • Many supported file formats (click here the list of formats)
  • Multi language support
  • Thumbnail/preview option
  • Paint option – to draw lines, circles, arrows, straighten image etc.
  • Toolbar skins option
  • Slideshow (save slideshow as EXE/SCR or burn it to CD)
  • Show EXIF/IPTC/Comment text in Slideshow/Fullscreen etc.
  • Support for Adobe Photoshop Filters
  • Fast directory view (moving through directory)
  • Batch conversion (with advanced image processing)
  • Multipage TIF editing
  • File search
  • Email option
  • Multimedia player
  • Print option
  • Support for embedded color profiles in JPG/TIF
  • Change color depth
  • Scan (batch scan) support
  • Cut/crop
  • Add overlay text/image (watermark)
  • IPTC editing
  • Effects (Sharpen, Blur, Adobe 8BF, Filter Factory, Filters Unlimited, etc.)
  • Screen Capturing
  • Extract icons from EXE/DLL/ICLs
  • Lossless JPG rotation
  • Shell Extension PlugIn
  • Unicode support
  • Many hotkeys
  • Many command line options
  • Many PlugIns
  • Only one EXE-File, no DLLs, no Shareware messages like “I Agree” or “Evaluation expired”
  • No registry changes without user action/permission!
  • and much much more

SOURCE: IrfanView

A FREE Program That Lets You Draw, Sketch and Paint

Thought I would share a program with you that is developed for the artists out there. It is not an image editor. It is not a vector graphics editor. It is a program that lets you draw, sketch and paint with almost infinite detail.

Features:

  • You can paint with (almost) infinite detail. It feels raster-based but it works with vectors
  • Your work is always saved automatically. There is no need for a save button
  • Milton files are very small
  • Unlimited undo
  • Layers
  • Export to JPEG or PNG at any resolution your machine supports
  • It supports Windows 7 and up. It compiles on Linux and macOS but there is some functionality missing

SOURCE: Milton Paint 

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(an affiliate associate)

FREE Security and Optimization Software That I Use To Protect My Computer(s)

I have been doing computers since the 1980’s. During that timespan of nearly 40 years I have never paid for antivirus software. As a matter of fact, when I purchase a new computer, one of the first things I do is remove the pre-installed security software (such as Norton or McAfee’s). I have found that these security software packages cause more headaches than they are worth; are a resource burden to the computer; require annual subscriptions, and are so embedded into the Windows registry and system that you have to use special uninstallers to remove them. One important point I do want to make is that if you ever decide to remove the current antivirus or antimalware software from your computer, make sure you visit the software developer’s site to determine if they have a special uninstaller you can download to remove the software.  If you don’t do this, you are at risk of leaving remnants behind of the software that can impact the continued operation of the computer and may conflict with any other security software that you install. For your convenience, here is a resource at eset (click here) that will help you with uninstalling security software.

What I have found that is that you can protect yourself with applying common sense and using good free security and optimization software. There are numerous options out there (for FREE), but the list below is the software programs that I use to protect my computers:

CCleaner – the number-one tool for cleaning your PC. It protects your privacy and makes your computer faster and more secure! Make sure you download the FREE version.

BitDefender FREE – featuring virus scanning (and removal), advanced threat detection, anti-phlishing, and anti-fraud. After uninstalling your other antivirus software and you install Bitdefender FREE, you will be asked to set up an account. Once done that task, you are good to go.  You do not have to do anything after that and as a matter of fact, you will forget it is even there.

Malwarebytes FREE – is a next-generation antivirus replacement. The first of its kind for home users, Malwarebytes for Windows employs four independent technology modules—anti-malware, anti-ransomware, anti-exploit, and malicious website protection—to block and remove both known and unknown threats. The FREE version does not auto monitor your computer. What I do is routinely scan my computer using Malwarebytes sort of as a second opinion and to complement BitDefender FREE.  If I were to buy software to protect my PC, then I would buy the Malwarebytes Premium edition.

AdwCleaner – is another product from Malwarebytes that is FREE. AdwCleaner does not monitor your computer in the background. Simply download, run, and scan on a routine basis to search for and remove adware, unwanted toolbars, potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), and browser hijackers.

Avira Safe Shopping – is a FREE browser add-on for Google Chrome that will alert you to sites that are criminal in nature by highlighting infected sites directly in your search results to ensure you know which sites are harmful before you click. Avira Safe Shopping is your browser extension, which ensures your safety and privacy while shopping online, and provides you with better deals from secure websites.

The list above is my personal preference and has served me very well in protecting my computers. Please feel free to comment below and reflect any other security software (for FREE) that you would recommend.


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MiniTool Shadow Maker FREE – Quickly back up system and hard disk drives in case an accident happens…

These days, compared to yesteryear, there is a multitude of good options to perform a Windows Operating System, selected partitions, and even the whole disk backup (often referred to as disk imaging).

One of the newer options that I recently was made aware of is “MiniTool Shadow Maker FREE”. I like the software that MiniTool develops and will be keeping an eye on (and testing) their rendition of this disk shadowing software. The purpose of this software is to provide you with an exact copy of your Windows OS that will allow you to restore your computer once a disaster occurs (and it eventually will). Disasters like a  system crash, hard drive failure, and more.

MiniTool ShadowMaker offers straightforward solutions to deal with all kinds of backup tasks, including system backup and disk backup. These backups contain exactly the same copy of all the data stored on the original disk or partition. Such backups allow you to recover your computer to the normal state when Windows works incorrectly or partition data get lost.

Main Features of MiniTool ShadowMaker

  • System and Disk Backup
  • Schedule and Event Trigger Backup
  • Differential and Incremental Images
  • Bare Metal Recovery and Universal Restore
  • WinPE Bootable media builder and PXE server
  • Password Protection and AES Encryption

SOURCE: MiniTool ShadowMaker Free 1.0

Snipaste – A FREE, Customizable, and Portable Screen Capture Program

I love screen capture programs and I can tell you that Snipaste is a keeper. Simply download either the 32bit or 64bit version, unzip the file, start the application and press F1 to start snipping. You can also press F3 to paste whatever it is you snipped into its’ own floating Windows. Due that this program is a little different than what I was accustomed to when it comes to screen capture utilities, there was a short learning curve involved. Once I conquered that, I was very impressed with Snipaste (especially, its’ on-the-fly editor) and see where it will increase my productivity; especially, when using images in my blog posts.

Due this program was a little different than what I was accustomed to when it comes to screen capture utilities, there was a short learning curve involved. Once I conquered that, I was very impressed with Snipaste (especially, its’ on-the-fly editor) and see where it will increase my productivity; especially, when using images in my blog posts.

Snipaste is an easy screen capture and image edition program, with the ability to detect windows and menus and supporting pixel-level control. Both captured images and various clipboard content can be pasted as a floating window to the desktop. Windows can be moved, organized into groups, saved to file, as well as basic editions like rotation, zoom, translucence etc.

The program can grab colors, supports themes and includes multi-screen support. The default keys (which can be customized) are F1 for Snip and F3 for Paste.


SOURCE: Snipaste

Stellarium – A FREE (Open Source) 3D Planetarium For Your PC

If you are into star gazing, then Stellarium will be right up your alley. The best part is that it is FREE and is Open Source. 

Stellarium is an open source desktop planetarium for Linux/Unix, Windows and MacOSX. It renders the skies in realtime using OpenGL, which means the skies will look exactly like what you see with your eyes, binoculars, or a small telescope. Stellarium is very simple to use, which is one of its biggest advantages: it can easily be used by beginners. The Stellarium project was started by Fabien Chéreau during the summer of 2001 and uses Sourceforge intensively.

To run Stellarium on your PC, you will need to meet the following system requirements:

Minimal Requirements:

Linux/Unix; Windows 7 and above; Mac OS X 10.11.0 and above
3D graphics card which supports OpenGL 3.0 and GLSL 1.3
512 MiB RAM
250 MiB on disk

Recommended Requirements:

Linux/Unix; Windows 7 and above; Mac OS X 10.11.0 and above
3D graphics card which supports OpenGL 3.3 and above
1 GiB RAM or more
1.5 GiB on disk


SOURCE: Stellarium

Sweet Home 3D – A Free Interior Design Application

Sweet Home 3D is an open source application (free of charge for personal and commercial use) that is “aimed at people who want to design their interior quickly, whether they are moving or they just want to redesign their existing home. Numerous visual guides help you draw the plan of your home and layout furniture. You may draw the walls of your rooms upon the image of an existing plan, and then, drag and drop furniture onto the plan from a catalog organized by categories. Each change in the 2D plan is simultaneously updated in the 3D view, to show you a realistic rendering of your layout”.

Sweet Home 3D may be run on Windows, Mac OS X 10.4 to 10.12, Linux and Solaris, and is translated in 25 different languages.


SOURCE: Sweet Home 3D

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

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

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

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

Features:

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

SOURCE: Windows Repair Toolbox 

Use WizTree To Find The Files And Folders Using The Most Space On Your Hard Drive

Is your computer running slower due to low disk space? If so, run the portable version of WizTree to determine where the space hogs are located. Just be careful in what you end up deleting.

I am quite impressed with WizTree in the fact that it includes a visual treemap that allows you to spot large files and large collections of smaller files at a glance.

  • Finds the files and folders using the most space on your hard drive
  • VERY Fast! WizTree reads the master file table (MFT) directly from NTFS formatted hard drives (similar to the way Everything Search Engine works)
  • Visual Treemap allows you to spot large files and large collections of smaller files at a glance
  • Finds the largest files on your hard drive. Every single file on your hard drive can be sorted in order of size.
  • File Name Search – quickly locate files by name or wildcard match
  • Sort the contents of your entire hard drive by folder size and optionally delete files and folders
  • Scan ALL hard drive file system types (NTFS, FAT, FAT32, network, etc) and/or individual folders

SOURCE: Antibody Software – WizTree

FREE Drive Wiping Tool To Erase All Data With No Method Of Recovery

Getting rid of an old computer? Before handing that old computer over to someone else, you may want to consider using “MiniTool Drive Wipe Free” to remove all data from the computer. Deleting your personal files is not enough. There are third party software utilities, readily available on the internet, that will let anyone recover deleted files. By using “MiniTool Drive Wipe Free” to wipe the drive, there is no method of recovery.

Wiping is the process of continuously writing some specific data to a hard disk or partition so as to overwrite original data stored on the disk or partition. Once wiping is completed, original data can not be recovered by any data recovery method.

To effectively carry out this operation I would remove the drive from the old computer and put it in a drive docking station such as the Sabrent USB 3.0 to SATA External Hard Drive Lay-Flat Docking Station. This docking station is inexpensive and will work with 2.5 or 3.5in HDD or SSD drives. Once the drive is in the docking station, connect it to a workable Windows computer and use the “MiniTool Drive Wipe Free” software to “wipe the disk” that is in the external docking station. After performing this operation, you can safely reinstall the hard drive back into the old computer and do with it what you want (i.e. donate it, recycle it, give to a friend, sell, etc…)


SOURCE: MiniTool Drive Wipe Free

TurnedOnTimesView is a simple tool that detects the time ranges that your computer was turned on…

TurnedOnTimesView is another tool from NirSoft that will provide you with the Startup Time, Shutdown Time, Duration, Shutdown Reason, Shutdown Type, Shutdown Process, and Shutdown Code of your computer. TurnedOnTimesView extracts this information from the event log on your computer. This information is useful in troubleshooting computer problems and can also be used to determine when and how long the kids have been on the computer after you have started it up.

This utility, a portable app, works on any version of Windows, starting from Windows 2000 and up to Windows 10 (32-bit and 64-bit systems).


SOURCE: NirSoft – TurnedOnTimesView

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