Monthly Archives: March 2010

Download Free S10 Password Vault – Secure your Usernames, Passwords

Popular guest writer Rick Robinette, has done it again! Rick, who has a knack for finding great free applications, introduces us to his latest find, S10 Password Vault. A password vault that will work with any program (that requires a username and password), and not just web site accounts.

S10  Password Vault iconWhat 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.

Recently, 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, since 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

System requirements: Windows all (32 and 64 bit).

Download at: Developer’s site

Note: A portable version is also available.

This is a guest post by Rick Robinette, who brings a background as a security/police officer professional, and as an information technology specialist to the Blogging world.

Why not pay a visit to Rick’s site at What’s On My PC. Like me, you’re sure to become a frequent visitor.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, flash drive, Freeware, Internet Safety Tools, Portable Applications, Software, USB, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 31, 2010

The Best Free Software of 2010 – We’ve rounded up 196 (yes, you read that right) of the best free apps from around the Web in the categories of security, e-mail, office, search, maps, and more. If you’re paying for software, you don’t need to be. Here are nearly 200 reasons why.

The Complete Guide to Saving Your Windows System with a Thumb Drive – When Windows goes wrong, it can go really wrong. Worse: Often it’s extremely difficult to save your system from Windows itself. Here’s how to use a simple USB drive to free space, remove viruses, rescue passwords, and more from crunked Windows setups.

Lifehacker: How I’d Hack Your Weak Passwords – Internet standards expert, CEO of web company iFusion Labs, and blogger John Pozadzides knows a thing or two about password security—and he knows exactly how he’d hack the weak passwords you use all over the internet.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Microsoft extends 90-day free Windows 7 enterprise trial until end of 2010 – In September last year, Microsoft launched a “while supplies last” free 90-day trial of Windows 7 that was targeted specifically at enterprise customers. On March 30, the company extended that free 90-day enterprise promotion through the end of 2010.

Microsoft: Emergency IE patch due today – The out-of-band update comes exactly 21 days after Microsoft said it was aware of targeted attacks against Windows users running its flagship browser.

Smart meters have security holes that could allow hackers access to grid – Smart meters used to deliver electricity more efficiently have flaws that could let hackers tamper with the power grid, according to a new report.

Cloud-based Mobile Apps Gain Popularity – Analysts predict a bright future for mobile cloud computing, finding that the number of enterprise customers using cloud-based mobile apps will mushroom.

Software Discovery is Broken – SEO, fake reviews, and deceit have made it nearly impossible to find the software you’re looking for.

Is there hope for antivirus programs? – Antivirus software is getting a bad rap right now. Justified or not, we need to step back and figure out how to fix it.

Off Topic:

Diagnose Your Personal Finance Health with Eight Questions – Diagnose Your Personal Finance Health with Eight QuestionsThe New York Times’ Financial Tuneup series has shaped up into a great resource for those looking for a place to get started with improving their personal finance situation. A post on self-diagnosing your financial health, in particular, asks some important questions.

Making a mistake does not make you an idiot – Everyone makes mistakes. But it seems that everyone is also obsessed with making sure no one knows about them. Maybe it’s time to take responsibility and earn respect.

Internet vs. US Constitution – Will the Justices be able to adapt, given the US Constitution is 223 years old with a ‘few’ amendments? Will government need to establish new amendments to modernize how laws are created and established in an Internet world?

Longing for longevity? Keep on smiling – If spring, baseball season and single-digit days until the iPad launch aren’t enough to generate a grin, maybe this news will make you smile.

Today’s Quote:

“For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of the-not-worth-knowing.”

-    H. L. Mencken

Today’s Free Downloads:

Infected PC? AVG Rescue CD to the Rescue! – AVG Rescue CD can remove viruses, spyware, and other malware from infected PCs. It’s a free, effective, and potentially life-saving tool

Astroburn Audio – Astroburn Audio is a simple, good-looking, and effective CD audio burning app. It’s very easy to use and supports a fair number of audio formats. It’s also efficient, with all options accessible from the main screen.

MCE Live TV Buffer Manager – I’m a big fan of using Windows Media Center as my DVR for watching and recording TV. But I do have one gripe: Very often I’ll pause a show, only to return a while later to discover it has “unpaused.” Why? Because Windows Media Center’s default “pause buffer”–the amount of hard drive space reserved for live-TV storage–is just 30 minutes. If you’ve got drive space to spare, you can increase the size of this buffer.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Dave Brooks – You’re the Best!

All writers look for recognition that they have contributed to the greater good, in one way, or another. I’ve always gotten that special feeling, in knowing that many of the top security software developers, subscribe to Tech Thoughts.

But today, that special feeling was really enhanced, when I became aware that Microsoft’s TechNet Security Blog has linked back to guest writer Dave Brooks’ recent article, here on Tech Thoughts, “Think You’re Immune from Online Fraud? Maybe Not!”

Dave is the finest professional computer Technician that I know, and it delights me that his writing skills, and his story telling abilities, have been recognized in this way.

So, just a short note to tell you Dave – you’re the best!

10 Comments

Filed under Guest Writers, Internet Security Alerts, Microsoft, Personal Perspective

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 30, 2010

Tech Secrets: 21 Things ‘They’ Don t Want You to Know – Eavesdropping Webcams, spying ISPs, toxic PCs, and more. Here are 21 dangers that the industry is hiding from you–and what you can do about them.

Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP – PowerToys add fun and functionality to the Windows experience. What are they? PowerToys are additional programs that developers work on after a product has been released. PowerToys are for Windows XP only and will not work with Windows Vista.

Apple Mega Patch Covers 88 Mac OS X Vulnerabilities – Apple today released one of its biggest Mac OS X security updates in recent memory, covering a whopping 88 documented vulnerabilities. The Mac OS X v10.6.3 update, which is considered “critical,” covers flaws that could lead to remote code execution, information disclosure and denial-of-service attacks.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Video: Give XCopy a graphical interface with this free download – Many Windows power users were more than a little annoyed when Xcopy was deprecated in Windows Vista in favor of RoboCopy–especially those with lots of scripts that made use of Xcopy. Bill Detwiler shows you how to download, install, and use TechRepublic’s free graphical interface for Windows XCopy.

Microsoft to release emergency out-of-band IE patch – Are you still using Internet Explorer 6 or Internet Explorer 7? If so, listen up. Microsoft is about to release an emergency patch to protect users against a zero day vulnerability that is being actively exploited by hackers.

FarmVille virus hoax warning – Fans of Facebook game FarmVille are being warned not to send a virus warning to fellow players as it is a hoax.

What to Do When You Lose Your Tech Gear – When your cell phone, laptop, or other gear goes missing, these essential tips will improve your odds of recovering it – or ensure that the lost item won’t come back to haunt you.

Big Issue site back online after attack – The website of The Big Issue is back online after cybercriminals hijacked the site to operate a phishing scam.

Off Topic:

Best Buy Charging Consumers To ‘Sync’ 3D Glasses – Best Buy’s service to “sync” your 3D glasses to your 3D HDTV sounds fishy, according to a recent report.

Facebook’s privacy changes: When will it go too far (and will you even notice)? – Much of what you need to know about Facebook’s proposed privacy changes boils down to timing: Friday, 3:04 p.m. PDT. Why is the timing important? That’s when you typically roll out news you don’t want folks to pay a lot of attention to.

Why a poor user interface can make users happy – Can a poor user interface actually be a selling point for a product? For financial information services company Bloomberg, it can.

Urban affordability may be an optical illusion – Little houses little cars, and living intown are all elements in an affordable lifestyle. But how many people really want to live that way?

Today’s Quote:

“Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is the landmark of an authoritarian regime”.

-     Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart

Today’s Free Downloads:

FreePrintable.net: Easter Printables – There are literally hundreds of Easter-themed printables to choose from at the FreePrintable.net sites, for people who celebrate the holiday for religious reasons as well as those who enjoy the bunnies, chicks, and egg hunts. (Or both!)

Win7codecs – When dealing with codecs, more does not equal better. Having the least amount on your system is the best configuration. This is exactly what these packages will do for you. You will no longer be restricted to using a specific player. Windows Media Player and Media Center will be able to play all your files.

x64 Components 2.5.1 – The latest release contains a 64bit settings application which enables the user to choose a different splitters ‘on the fly’ for specific filetypes. The application will also allow you to choose from 10 different speaker configurations from ‘same as input’ and all the way up to full 7.1 channel output.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Download MWSnap – Free, Powerful Screen Capture Utility

Print Screen Tired of using the clunky Windows Alt-Printscreen command for capturing screen shots, but you don’t want to pay up to $40 to get more control over this function? Do you need more options and functionally when snapping screen shots?

Well the good news is, you don’t have to pay a penny to download and install a great little application that will allow you to do more than just capture screen shots, and that will give you the options and functionally you need.

MWSnap is a highly rated small, yet powerful, Windows program, for snapping (capturing) images from selected parts of the screen. I’ve been using this application for years, and I find it invaluable in day to day usage. I use it daily to create high-quality screen captures for presentations, documents and most particularly screen captures for my Blogs.

mwsnap new 2

The user interface is very simple, and easy to follow. I must admit though, that I rarely see the interface since I generally use the “hot key” function.

mwsnap newf

Fast facts:

Image editing – basic image editing options

5 snapping modes.

Support for BMP, JPG, TIFF, PNG and GIF formats, with selected color depth and quality settings.

System-wide hotkeys.

Clipboard copy/paste.

Printing.

Auto-saving, auto-printing.

Auto-start with Windows.

Minimizing to system tray.

An auto-extending list of fixed sizes, perfect for snapping images for icons and glyphs.

A zoom tool for magnifying selected parts of the screen.

A ruler tool for measuring screen objects lengths.

A color picker showing screen colors with separated RGB parts.

Fast picture viewer.

Adding frames and mouse pointer images.

Multilevel configurable undo and redo.

MWSnap does not require installation, and does not need any special drivers or system files.

Special thanks to Okie for suggesting this article.

System Requirements: any 32-bit Windows OS. I run this app on both Win 7, and XP Pro systems.

Download at: Download.com

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8 Comments

Filed under downloads, Free Photo Applications, Freeware, Image Editors, Screen Capture Utilities, Software, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 29, 2010

Five Best Online File Sharing Services – Five Best Online File Sharing ServicesWhen you want to share a file with a friend but don’t want to hassle with email attachment limits or running a home server, very little beats a fast online file sharing service. Here’s a look at five of your best options.

How-To: Long Live Your Laptop Battery! – Keep your laptop battery working for years (and for hours between charges).

10 new technologies that will revolutionise your life – 10 new technologies that will revolutionise your life The tech advances set to make a real difference.

A Fantastic FREE 3D Online Chess Game – If you are an avid chess player, then you will appreciate SparkChess (FlashChess III). The “cool factor” here is, you do not need to install any software to play this 3D online chess game. SparkChess (FlashChess III) is a cloud application, meaning, the game can be played straight from your web browser.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Facebook Sharing Data has Nothing to do with Ads – Tucked into Facebook’s new proposed privacy policy released yesterday was a paragraph saying the social network will automatically share your data with special “pre-approved” partners when you visit their sites.

The 10 Best Graphics Cards In The World Today – For much of the last 10 years, the graphics card market has been a bit of a dull place to be. Similarly to how Intel has been completely dominating the CPU market, Nvidia has led the way with GPUs. However, the last couple of years have been a lot more interesting.

Why 3D TV is just a pointless gimmick – 3D is just another gimmick, right down there with Smell-O-Vision, electric shocks coming through the seat, vibrating cinema chairs and, of course, the last 17 times that the industry has tried to make 3D into the Next Big Thing. And we still don’t need it.

Off Topic:

The Story behind the Nigerian Phishing Scam – The scam, commonly known as “advance fee fraud,” has evolved with technological development to include phishing scams — which use fake sites — and keyloggers at cybercafés that steal e-mail login information and send distress calls to contacts.

Policing thought in America: Why can’t we discuss the events of 9/11? – The brain trust that calls itself The Huffington Post has disgraced itself and shown the progressive left is a cowardly fraud by removing a column guest written by Jesse Ventura about 9/11. (submitted by Dar)

10 Signs You’re a Social Media Addict – Are you getting obsessed with tweets, uploads, and writing on your wall? See our checklist to be sure.

An incredible Ferrari 250 GTO – A classic! (submitted by Dar)

Today’s Quote:

“What’s the point of havin’ a rapier wit if I can’t use it to stab people?”

-     Jeph Jacques

Today’s Free Downloads:

Luxand Blink! – Luxand Blink! is a free product from Luxand, a maker of facial recognition and image editing software. What Blink! does is allow a PC equipped with a webcam to scan your face during the login process. If it matches a previously saved template, it will allow you to login by facial recognition instead of password.

FlashGot – Downloading FLV files has never been easier, thanks to FlashGot, an unobtrusive Firefox add-on. Even without a user guide, this simple program will have the least experienced user downloading files in an instant.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Download Free LiberKey – Installs 180+ Portable Applications

image In the past few days we have talked about a couple of applications which will allow you to selectively install a compilation of freeware applications – Ninite, and ZeuAPP. There are slight difference between these two applications, but the overall objective of each application is the same; to save the user time.

It never rains but it pours, right? In some cases that can be a good thing – like now. Regular reader David W. has pointed out another great application that has also been designed to save the user time.

LiberKey is a compilation of freeware, and open source, portable applications, which is offered in three flavors that can be installed on, and run from, a USB drive.

Available applications cover a huge area of interest including Audio, Video, Graphics, Internet, Games, Security, Education, System, and more.

Checkout the developer’s site to view a listing of included applications.

LiberKey Basic 4.8: 12 Applications, Installed size: 120.02 MB

LiberKey Standard 4.8: 90 Applications, Installed size: 442.27 MB

LiberKey Ultimate 4.8: 168 Applications, Installed size: 586.97 MB

As an bonus, more applications can be added at a later date using LiberKey’s catalogue. Additionally, you have an option of building your own LiberKey platform. Neat idea!

At a glance:

Free.

Ready to use.

Portable applications.

Automatic online updates.

You can synchronize the display of the online catalog with your LiberKey.

This can help you to locate applications that could interest you.

I choose the Ultimate edition adding (168 applications), which took approximately 40 minutes to install to my USB drive. Lots of time – but lots of applications!

LiberKey 3

Following the installation, I reviewed the application’s “Stat” screen to ensure I had a seamless install. It turns out the total number of applications installed numbered 184, and not 168, as advertised. The developer needs to update the relevant documentation to reflect this variance.

LiberKey 4

The portable application launcher is user friendly, and no learning curve is involved, as the following screen capture indicates.

LiberKey 5

A cool feature that caught my attention was, the application launcher icon sitting in my taskbar. A small, but important, feature.

I already had a ton of portable applications on the USB drive I installed LiberKey to; but free and easy have always appealed to me. Perhaps to you as well.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Win 7

Download at: LiberKey.com

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Filed under downloads, Freeware, Portable Applications, Productivity Software, Software, USB, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 28, 2010

10 things you should know about moving from Windows XP to Windows 7 – Jumping from Windows XP to Windows 7 will require some specialized knowledge. Here are some pointers for those taking that route.

How to share ridiculously large files (the video) – My CNET colleague Tom Merritt has taken it upon himself to present some of the highlights from that how-to guide in video form, so you can absorb its knowledge through moving images instead.

Share and sync – We show you free apps for moving, backing up, and synchronizing files and folders securely with little muss and fuss.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

8 Layers of Security Every Computer Should Have – Every time you connect to the Internet, you are putting your computer — and the information stored there — at risk. The best way to set up computer security is through layering. Even if one area of protection is only 75 percent effective, the increasing layers will close all the holes. Those layers should include the following:

Rogue Toolbars Serve Up Facebook Phishing Pages (SUNBELT) – Toolbars that offer special features can deliver a nasty sting, researchers say.

Big Content: stopping P2P should be “main focus” of IP czar – The new “IP czar” in the White House has just gotten an earful on how to do her job from big rights holders. It includes a single-minded focus on “online copyright theft” and an embrace of filtering, deep packet inspection, throttling, and site blocking.

Who REALLY owns the Most Popular Websites Online? – The world’s biggest sites are owned by some major corporations/companies. This article reveals some surprising findings.

Idiot users still intentionally opening, clicking on spam – There’s a certain group of Internet users who are still opening spam, and nearly half of them are doing it intentionally. They’re responding to it, clicking links, and even forwarding it around, too. Is it any wonder IT admins think that we are our own worst enemies?

Latest Commodore 64 incarnation hopes what’s old is new again – The Commodore name is so beloved that it’s continually being resurrected, including an attempt to make it the moniker for a line of gaming desktops.

Video: Create and configure Windows 7 HomeGroup – Bill Detwiler provides a brief tutorial on setting up a Windows 7 homegroup and using it to share files.

Microsoft Explores Microblogging App for Enterprise – Microsoft is exploring the idea of microblogging within an enterprise context, with its Office Labs group testing an application now called OfficeTalk. Like Twitter, OfficeTalk allows users to follow and read messages from other users, post their own messages, and create a profile.

Off Topic:

Lifehacker: Top 10 Tips and Tricks for Making Your Stuff Last LongerTop 10 Tips and Tricks for Making Your Stuff Last LongerWe live in a disposable world, but just because things weren’t made to last doesn’t mean you can’t make them. These 10 tips and tricks will help you squeeze more life from your batteries, appliances, flowers, razor blades, and more.

All the aircraft carriers of the world…[Pic] – This graphic illustrates America’s aircraft carriers, and those of the rest of the world. Each icon is an accurate depiction of the flight deck of the ship as seen from above, all to a common scale.

Can’t take care of your elderly relatives? Buy a bot – A research project in Europe is bringing together a multidisciplinary team to create a robot, wearable smart sensor system, and alarm-and-reporting system in the hopes that together they’ll enable more elderly people to live independently for longer.

You know you’ve got issues if your skivvies start texting – SIMsystem, hailed as the world’s first electronic underpants, are being rolled out across Australia’s largest state–New South Wales–following what have been deemed successful trials.

Today’s Quote:

“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”

-     George Orwell, “Animal Farm”

Today’s Free Downloads:

iVisit 4.0 beta 18 – With help from apps like iVisit, face-to-face video messaging and conferencing is poised to become a part of daily life. It’s a free unified communications solution that combines a host of tools–all via peer-to-peer network technology.

WinHtmlDump: HTML Web page viewer (without using a Web browser)WinHtmlDump is a useful tool to view the HTML code for a dubious site. It displays the html code of a Web page, whereas it is blocked by a Web browser (e.g. secure sites (https) with Internet Explorer).

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2 Comments

Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Download ZeuAPP – A One Shot, 82 Freeware Applications Installer

image

The chances that a computer user will have to rebuild a system at some point is fairly high. There are multiple reasons why this might be necessary – an unrecoverable malware infection; system file corruption; system upgrade; and more.

Earlier this month, I wrote about a system rebuild on one of my personal machines following the expiry of Windows 7 RC. A long boring reinstall of all the free applications I’m use to running on that machine, was made easier, and less time consuming, by running a very neat software solution, Ninite.

Ninite, allowed me to install selected applications, from a generous listing of freeware applications, in one single pass.

ZeuAPP is a relatively similar type of application installation tool (for the purists out there, yes, there are differences), which can make it much easier to download a host of freeware applications.

Following the installation of this portable application, you will be presented with the following screen from which you can choose a wide range of applications running from Archivers, through Graphic applications, to Utilities, and more.

ZeuApp 2

ZeuApp 3

As the graphics illustrates, you have a choice of visiting the selected application’s Web Site or, downloading the application straightaway.

Following your successful download, the application’s installer package is automatically launched, given you a “no fuss”, “no muss”, installation.

ZeuApp 4

Applications included:

Archivers: 7-Zip, Peazip, TUGzip, IZarc, Universal Extractor.

Audio: Audacity, JetAudio, musikCube, Aimp

Video: Miro, VLC media player, Mplayer, GOM, Winamp

Chat-IM: Skype ,Windows Live Messenger, Google Talk, Pidgin, ICQ, aMSN, Miranda IM, Yahoo! Messenger 10

Internet: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, Maxthon, Avant Browser, Flock, Thunderbird3,

Download Manager: FlashGet download manager, YeahReader, RSSOwl, WinSCP, FileZilla

CD Burners: CDBurnerXP, ImgBurn

P2P-File Sharing: uTorrent, Gnucleus, Cabos, Vuze, BitComet, eMule, DC ++, Frostwire

Games: YoFrankie!, Cube 2, SuperTuxKart, Freeciv,  World of Padman

Graphic: Blender, Gimp, Paint.NET, IrfanView, PhotoFiltre, Picasa, XnView, Easy Thumbnails

Office: KomoZer, Freemind, Notepad++, Xe macs, OpenOffice, AbiWord, Adobe Reader, Bluefish

Security: ClamWin, Nmap, Eraser, TruCrypt, Wireshark, Avast! Home Edition, AVG Free, BitDefender Free Edition, Ad-Aware

Utility: CCleaner, FreeComander, ReNamer, Chaos MD5, Rainlendar, Launchy

System requirements: Windows

Download at: ZeuSoft

For that inevitable day, when you have to do a system rebuild, having this application installed on your USB drive will make the job much easier.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Freeware, Open Source, Software, USB, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP