Category Archives: Computer Tools

A Reader Wants To Know – What’s On My PC?

With due apologies to my good friend Rick Robinette – whose blog is aptly called – What’s On My PC.

imageI get a wide variety of questions here, from the very simple to the complex – all of which are equally as interesting. The following question was recently posed by a reader.

“Could you give your readers a list of the programs you run on your computer. I often wondered what the computer experts really use on their personal computers, so we newbies can make better decisions on which to keep or which to delete.”

Seems as if that’s an easy question to answer – just take a screen shot of my Desktop (as the reader suggested) and send it on. But, the question is deeper than that – a little more complex I think.

You’ll note, in the following screen capture, that many of the applications I run on my personal machine, are “old.” For example – WinPatrol, was the second application I installed on my first Internet connected machine (after the free version of ZoneAlarm Firewall). I continue to rely on WinPatrol today, as much as I ever have. CCleaner, Glary Utilities, ImgBurn, are other applications that fit into the “old” category.

Sure, in the interim, a ton of freeware applications have been released that duplicate and perhaps, in some cases, even exceed the capabilities of the applications I have come to depend on. But, I’m not into the “latest and greatest” – which, often enough -  are frequently lacking in the “greatest” department.

No, I’ll stick with the applications I’ve come to know that perform as advertised; that do the job I need done, with as little fuss as possible. Remember of course, that it is the latest edition of these “old” applications which run on this system.

The following screen shot illustrates the applications currently installed on my home system. Those that are annotated with an arrow icon, have been reviewed here previously.

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A selected few previously reviewed applications.

Zemana Antilogger – I’ve long considered Zemana AntiLogger a must have security application for my Internet connected machines. In fact, I would never connect my web cam without first ensuring that Zemana AntiLogger was up and running. To drive home that point (and others), I’ve reviewed this application several times.

AVG – I’ve been running with AVG AntiVirus Free 2013 on a primary home system (a Windows 8 machine), since September 5, of last year. The verdict? I’m impressed – very impressed.

CCleaner – What can you say about CCleaner (the granddaddy of all system cleaners – it’s been around since 2004), that hasn’t already been said of this freeware system optimization, privacy, and cleaning tool.

EULAlyzer – This free application quickly scans a EULA, and points out words, statements, and phrases, that you need to consider carefully. Results are rated by “Interest Level” and organized by category, so it’s easy to zero-in on the issue that concern you the most.

Glary Utilities – Glary Utilities Free, is a reasonably complete set of system tools with which even a relative newcomer to the computing game can tweak, repair, optimize and improve system performance. Since discovering Glary Utilities years ago, it has remained my go-to application for system maintenance and cleanup.

History Viewer – Here’s a little freeware application – History Viewer – which doesn’t approach the robustness of  SForensics Beta – but nevertheless, will let you take a peek at various Window’s histories.

ImgBurn – I’ll jump ahead here – directly to my conclusion. ImgBurn is a superior CD/DVD burning application. No hesitation – this application ROCKS.

IrfanView – IrfanView which is one of my favorite photo applications (not just mine; there have been over 34 Million downloads), is not just an image viewer, but an image browser, converter, and an editor as well. Best of all, you’ll find the interface intuitive and very easy to use. If you’re curious, this application is named after its developer Irfan Skiljan.

MakeMKV – MakeMKV is the best one-click free solution to convert owned video that I’ve found, to date. This is a very impressive application – straightforward, and easy to run -  even for a relatively new computer user.

MalWareBytes – I run Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware every day, as a secondary malware scanner, since I have absolutely no faith that a single security application offers adequate protection. The free version of this speed demon (it’s faster at scanning than any anti-malware program I’ve tested in the last 2 years), is used by millions of people worldwide to protect their computers.

MozBackup – In addition to backing up a Firefox profile, MozBackup will create profile backups for the following applications – Mozilla Thunderbird, Sunbird, Flock, SeaMonkey, Mozilla Suite, Spicebird, Songbird and Netscape.

MWSnap – MWSnap is a highly rated small, yet powerful, Windows program for snapping (capturing) images from selected parts of the screen. I use it daily to create high-quality screen captures for presentations, documents, and most particularly – application screen captures for my Blog.

NirSoft Wireless Network Watcher – This free utility scans your wireless network and displays the list of all computers and devices that are currently connected to your network.

There are additional applications, including specialty applications, which I run occasionally from either a USB flash drive, or a CD/DVD – but, these applications are generally outside the scope of an average user’s needs.

For example – an application which you will not see here is CurrPorts – a portable application which allows a user to view a list of ports that are currently in use, and the application that is using it.

16 Comments

Filed under Computer Tools, Point of View

SecurityXploded – A Site Designed For The Geek In You

imageSo much to see – so much to do – and, not enough time. Sort of a synopsis of my experience on the Internet. Not much different from yours, I expect.

Years back, I used to write for Makeuseof.com – a cool site run by a super bunch of people. Despite the income loss – yes, you can make money writing for the Internet – I pulled back on the reins, and resigned as a writer, within a year.

The issue? In a nutshell – not enough time. The time to seek out and develop appropriate content. Not much has changed in that sense – it’s still a chore finding content that appeals to me – which by extension, should appeal to the majority of readers who drop by this site (hopefully   Smile  ).

So, any time a regular reader recommends an application or a web site, one that has proven to be valuable to that reader, I’ll jump on that recommendation. Not only because of the time/work that it saves me – but, what can be better than a recommendation from a reader whom I have come to know, is on top of the game?

A perfect example:

Here, I’ll let regular reader Richard J. explain -

Hello Bill,

I thought that I’d drop you a line about a website that offers a few decent security tools. I’ve only used a few of them – on Windows 7, but there are a few good ones in the list of products available, and they’re free.

Many of them can either be fully installed or else offer a portable version. Most of them work with Windows 8. Personally I’ve chosen to only use the portable versions.

The ones that I’ve found most useful are:

http://securityxploded.com/winservicemanager.php

This one helped me to identify a service that was installed even though I’d removed the associated program.

http://securityxploded.com/streamarmor.php

This one identified one data stream needing analysis but everything else showed up clean! I think that Windows 8 is not supported at least according to the website. This one adds a VirusTotal uploader to your desktop.

http://securityxploded.com/virus-total-scanner.php

This one adds a VirusTotal uploader to your desktop.

I must admit to, not having heard of this site previously – despite the fact that the site is in the top 50,000 sites on the Web. A good example of that “not enough time” thingy.

The site, as it turns out, is similar to Nirsoft  – a site which offers 100+ freeware utilities ranging from Password Tools, Network Monitoring Tools, to System Tools, and more. Utilities and system tools, which I have reviewed individually, and in bulk, any number of times here.

Just like the tools over at Nirsoft, the applications at SecurityXploded are designed to be used by sophisticated users. Since these applications in many cases, dig deep into the operating system, replicating the behavior of hacking tools on the one hand – and malware on the other hand (a number of the recovery utilities are in fact, hacking tools) – you should be prepared for your AV solutions going into overdrive.

From the site:

SecurityXploded is a popular Infosec Research & Development organization offering FREE Security Software, latest Research Articles and FREE Training on Reverse Engineering & Malware Analysis.

So far it has published 50+ research articles and 90+ FREE security software. Most of these software have been listed and received top awards from leading download sites including Softpedia, BrotherSoft etc.

Below, I’ve listed just some (some – so that you don’t have to cursor down all day   Smile   ), of the applications/tools that are available.

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Password Recovery Tools:

AIM Password Decryptor

Asterisk Password Spy

Browser Password Decryptor Updated

Chrome Password Decryptor

Digsby Password Decryptor Updated

Dreamweaver Password Decryptor Updated

Excel Password Recovery

Facebook Password Decryptor

Filezilla Password Decryptor Updated

Fire Master

Fire Master Cracker

Anti-Spyware/Anti-Rootkit Tools:

Advanced Win Service Manager Updated

Dll Hijack Auditor Updated

Exe Scan

Shell Detect

Spy BHO Remover Updated

Spy DLL Remover

Stream Armor

Virus Total Scanner

Network Tools:

Directory Scanner

LDAP Search

Net Database Scanner

Net Share Monitor

System Tools:

Auto Screen Capture

Browser History Spy Updated

Download Hash Verifier Updated

Hash Compare

Hash Generator

All of the tools listed here – and many more – are available for download at the developer’s site: SecurityXploded

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Richard, thank you – I’ve had a super time checking out some of these freebies. I suspect that regular readers will have some fun as well.

13 Comments

Filed under Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, downloads, Computer Tools

Advanced System Care 6 – Newbie Friendly (With a Little Help)

imageSome months ago, IObit asked that I take a look at their latest Advanced System Care – Version 6 (free edition). Since I’ve reviewed IObit’s various applications as far back as 5 years ago (ancient history in Technology/Internet time) – and, since I’ve generally rated the company’s free offerings at the high end of the scale, it was easy to say “Yes”.

For this particular review though, it was time to do something a little different. Not only would I run with the application for several months (as opposed to my normal test period of two weeks, or so) – but, three of my “I’m only a regular user” friends would run with it as well.

The primary objective of structuring the test in this manner was to to isolate and compare the experiences of a techie, against the real life computing experiences of a “regular” user – one who has little or no understanding of the Registry, Junk Files, …………

There was no miracle transformation during the time that I worked with my small group. They did not magically turn into “super techs.” But, it’s fair to say, that each of them has a better understanding of the relationship between various parts of their OS, and the need to keep the OS neat and tidy.

Equally as important, at least for this review, was the unanimous agreement  (in this small friendly sample), that Advanced System Care, when run regularly, improved their computer experience.

But did it? Let’s find out.

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Installation:

Installation was fast and clean and did not lead to the expected (from the group) – “what’s this” or “what does this mean”, or……………..

User Interface:

As you’ll see in the following screen shots the GUI is relatively uncluttered and straightforward.

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The application is broken down into three modules – CareToolbox – and, Turbo Boost, as shown below.

Care:

Selecting specific settings to apply to a particular action/s can be accomplished by pointing to an item. If the item can be selected, a settings icon will appear as shown below at the arrow. Across the board, the group found this method awkward, easy to miss, and not instinctive.

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The settings menu allows for a considerable degree of choice. Participants in the test found that choosing which repairs to select was, in most instances, easy.  That’s not to say, that the occasional phone call wasn’t required. But, that’s a matter of user experience as opposed to a shortfall in the application.

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The results of a quick scan (less than a minute on a relatively clean system), are shown below.

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Users will have the option of selecting “automatic repair” prior to running the scan. Less experienced users should exercise caution.

Clicking on repair, in this example, completed the job in less than 30 seconds.

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Who makes mistakes? Me, you – we all do!

IObit, recognizing this, has built in a safeguard – the Rescue Center. Each time a cleaning operation is launched, the first process is the creation of a backup point so that Registry, and Internet changes, can be reversed if necessary.

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Bummer Time (or not?) -

From the Quick Settings menu, clicking on “Activate all functions” ……….

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pops up a teaser.

Keeping in mind that this is a FREE product, I must admit to being astonished by the negativity generated on many forums by this teaser. I wonder how these people respond to ads on TV, or in their newspaper – items that they’ve paid for.  

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Toolbox:

The Toolbox is chock full of goodies (lots of goodies) – some of which are in fact, built in OS system tools. Still, having access to a wide range of tools, all in one place, is a bonus.

More advanced users who like to carry around their “IT Toolbox” on their keychain (on a USB stick, of course   Smile) should find the portable tool creation applet worthwhile.

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Overall Rating:

My assessment: A-

On the whole, this application does what it says it will do – and, it’s fast. But, I will mark it down for a rather convoluted settings menu access.

The groups assessment: A+

Participating in an application test was, I think, a bit of a thrill for my guys – particularly one in which (HELP!) was just a call away. What surprised me was, just how quickly folks grasped the fundamentals with just a wee bit of help.

Overall, participants were pleasantly surprised at both the built-in functionality of the application, and the ease of use. And, in what may come as a surprise to more experienced users – participants were astonished at the availability of such a high quality application for FREE.

System requirements: Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, XP and 2000.

Languages: English, Arabic, Belarusian, Czech, ChineseSimp, ChineseTrad, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese(PT-BR), Romanian, Russian, Serbian (cyrillic), Serbian (latin), Slovenian, Spanish, Turkish, Vietnamese.

Download at: Softpedia

7 Comments

Filed under Cleaning Your Computer, Computer Maintenance, Computer Tools, downloads, Freeware, IObit

Tweaking.com Windows Repair 1.7.5 – A One Click Simple Free Repair Utility

imageWhile freeware maintenance applications are readily available for download (and, many of them are very capable), finding a good, solid, freeware system repair application, suitable for less technically inclined computer users, is always a challenge.

One of my favorites in this application genre is Tweaking.com’s Windows Repair - a super all-in-one repair tool which has undergone 30 revisions since I last reviewed it. This small tool has plenty of functionality, including the ability to fix registry errors and file permissions – as well as issues with Internet Explorer, Windows Update, Windows Firewall, and more.

Windows Repair can even restore Windows original settings which have been changed by malware – a common occurrence.

Fast facts – Windows Repair can do the following:

Reset Registry Permissions
Reset File Permissions
Register System Files
Repair WMI
Repair Windows Firewall
Repair Internet Explorer
Repair MDAC & MS Jet
Repair Hosts File
Remove Policies Set By Infections
Repair Icons
Repair Winsock & DNS Cache
Remove Temp Files
Repair Proxy Settings
Unhide Non System Files
Repair Windows Updates
and more…

As the following screen captures show – Windows Repair is not only simply to operate but, it “holds the user’s hand” while working through the repair process.

Note: All screen shots can be expanded to the original size by clicking.

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For those users dealing with a malware infected system, the application directs to a number of anti-malware freebies so that the repair process can begin on the right footing.

Previous users will note that both Avast and ComboFix (a specialty antimalware tool), have been added to Step One.

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As the application points out in the following screen shot, there’s nothing to be gained by completing a repair sequence if there are errors in the file system.

While the system file check is optional, it makes good sense to run this tool.

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Likewise, with the file version checking tool.

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Prior to starting the repair process both a System Restore Point, and a Registry backup option, are available.

A quick piece of advice: Never allow an application to make system changes, without creating a System Restore Point first. It takes only a minute, or two.

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The updated application dispenses with the old three level system of repairs. Instead, all repairs have been  combined into a single window – as illustrated in the following screen capture.

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In the above screen capture, I’ve highlighted a single repair – Repair Winsock and DNS Cache. For the Geek crowd this is a simple repair.

The Geek way:

Go to “Run” in the Start menu (“Search” for “Run” if you can’t see it).

In the Run box, type CMD (doesn’t need to be capitalized).

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At the command prompt, (not in the Run box), type – ipconfig/flushdns.

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Hit “Enter”, and that’s it. The DNS cache has just been flushed.

Looks pretty simple – if you are a Geek. With Windows Repair, there’s no need to have all the esoteric system info that geek’s carry around in their heads – one click and the job is done.

Let’s take a quick look at repairing a problem I have on this machine – Windows Update is acting a little wonky.

I’ve selected the Repair Windows Update checkbox.

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The following screen capture illustrates Windows Repair running the routine.

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Time to complete the repair – 14 seconds – not including the required restart. How’s that for speed?

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Here’s what regular readers have to say about this super application – based on a previous review.

Steve

September 1, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Excellent program. Just featured it twice in a week because it really saved us. I’m so use to re-registering files or doing fixes it is second nature. We just ran into a computer that the answer and suggestions on the web just didn’t work. The program re-registered over 1000 files and the pc was fixed. Ironically I had worked with it for two hours and remembered your review! SFC and every solution became fruitless.

TeXaCo

September 7, 2011 at 10:34 pm

I just wanted to let you know that my brother talked to me about problems on his computer where registry entries were apparently messed up. He could not open any word documents at all because they were all garbled with numbers and letters.

I didn’t know exactly what to tell him how to fix it and then I remembered you posting this so I told him to download this and try it out. Sure enough after using the registry repair at tweaking.com his computer is back to normal….without a reformat.

I just figured you would like to know. It saved me some headaches

Thanks for posting this.

Using Tweaking.com – Windows Repair by MajorGeeks.com (Click on graphic to play video).

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System requirements: Windows XP, 2003, 2008, Vista, Win 7.

Download at: MajorGeeks

For those users who prefer to carry their utilities on a Flash drive – a portable version is available here.

Windows Repair makes it easy to repair common Windows problems and, its ease of operation should make it ideal for less experienced users.

7 Comments

Filed under Computer Tools, downloads, Freeware, Malware Removal, System Utilities

Free PhotoRec – Easily Recover Deleted Photos And More

Yesterday, I posted an article on BootMed, a Ubuntu Linux driven set of recovery tools which is a worthwhile addition to any techie’s toolbox. One of the recovery tools packaged with this free Live CD is TestDisk – which includes the file recovery application PhotoRec.

In previous reviews, I’ve covered more than a few file recovery tools,  some of which have lived up to the developers’ claims – but, most have not. PhotoRec, on the other hand, (despites its name, it’s capable of recovering 390 types of files according to the developer), performed far outside my expectations.

In the following review, I’ll describe how easy it was to recover deleted photos from my camera’s SD Card and, deleted music files from my iPod. As you’ll see, this application is not wizard driven – but, despite that, it’s still very easy to use.

First up was a recovery attempt on an iPod.

On launching the application, the connected iPod was immediately identified.

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Selecting the drive was a simple matter of cursoring down, and pressing the Enter key.

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In just a few moments PhotoRec identified and recovered 13 previously deleted music files.

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All recovered files were saved to the recovery directory – as shown below.

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Each and every recovered music file was playable – as shown in the following screen capture.

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Next up – photo file recovery from my camera’s SD card.

In the following screen capture, I’ve illustrated the files Windows Explorer  identified on the SD card prior to the recovery operation.

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Again, after launching PhotoRec, the application correctly identified the attached device.

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The application “did its thing” and recovered 86 previously deleted pics.

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The following screen captures shows not only the photos that were recovered, but a number of recovered sound files and text files as well. I’ve highlighted one recovered photo file for illustrative purposes.

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The recovered photo (selected in the above screen capture), is shown below opened in IrfanView. As you can see from the Image properties box, all of the file properties have been recovered intact.

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System requirements: Windows 98 and later, Mac OS X, Linux (2.4 /2.6 kernel)

Download at: Cgsecurity.org

TestDisk – which includes PhotoRec – is in fact, a portable application and, does not require installation. Simply unzip the file and you’re good to go.

When it’s time to recover deleted files from an SD Card, Hard Drive, Flash Drive, etc., this powerful recovery application, (despite its command line interface), makes deleted file recovery just about as simple as it gets. It may even be suitable for those users who might not qualify as “expert”.

2 Comments

Filed under Computer Tools, downloads, File Recovery Software, Freeware

Download Free BootMed – PC Medicine That Works

imageI’ve covered a load of  free Live CDs here in the last few years, including – Boot, Recovery, Rescue, Antivirus ……….. To work effectively with such tools though, demands a very high level of user experience with operating systems which, effectively restricts usage to geeks or, the occasional very daring newbie.

I’ve just spent a week, or so, testing BootMed, a Ubuntu Linux driven set of recovery tools which is just a little different than most such tool sets, inasmuch as it’s much more new user centric than most.

On launch, BootMed defaults to Firefox which opens on the developer’s site – “What can BootMed do”.

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That’s a bit of a twist on most recovery tools/disks/applications, since the developer has recognized that not all users have the practical background, or the experience, to work with these type of tools unaided.

The tutorials – What can BootMed do – shown below – should make working with the specific applications included on the CD/DVD much easier for less experienced users than it would be otherwise. Kudos to the developer on this one.

Recovery

Misc

More experienced users will simply venture straight to the Desktop to access the available tools.

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The following screen capture illustrates the applications available.

Note: Under “Applications”, additional tools are available.

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You can see from the following screen capture, that BootMed allows the user to access all attached devices (and their files), from the “Computer” icon.

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The following two graphics show the AV’s available. Both AVs will automatically update their definition database – provided the PC is connected to the Internet.

McAfee’s Stinger – a stand-alone utility used to detect and remove specific viruses.

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ClamWin Free Antivirus – ClamWin is a free antivirus designed for Windows.

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Two file recovery applications are available including PhotoRec, a powerful recovery application.

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And TestDisk, which adds additional functionality – including partition recovery.

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There are many more applications included in this bag of tools including – GParted partition manager, as well as WINE, which will allow you to run Windows applications from within BootMed.

The CD/DVD burning application Brasero (available under “Applications”), is shown in the following screen shot.

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System requirements: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7

Download 32 bit ISO at: Developer’s site.

Download 64 bit ISO at: Developer’s site.

Installing BootMed to a USB flash drive: If you do not have a cd-rom (e.g. a Netbook), you can install BootMed to a bootable USB flash drive. To do so you first need to download the cd, then follow these instructions.

I particularly like BootMed since it allows a fairly typical user access to complex tools while at the same time, not feeling abandoned in the scary world of operating systems. The developer has recognized this chill factor, and does a fair amount of “hand holding” – I think that’s very cool.

If you’re now a geek, or a high level user, think back to the days when you could have used some “hand holding”. If you were lucky enough to get it, I think you’ll agree that “hand holding” can make a major difference.

6 Comments

Filed under Computer Tools, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Live CDs, System Recovery Tools

Free LiberKey Version 5.5 – A Computer Toolbox On A Stick

image LiberKey (which I’ve reviewed previously – version 4.1 – March 2010), is a compilation of freeware, and open source  portable applications, offered in three flavors that can be installed on, and run from, a USB drive.

Additionally, the application can just as easily be installed, and run, from a Hard Drive. In fact, for this updated test and review, that’s exactly what I choose to do – installing LiberKey to my F: drive. You might consider a similar solution – an install to a Flash drive and a further install to your HD.

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

Basic suite: 13 Applications, Installed size: 120.51 MB

Standard suite: 83 Applications, Installed size: 561.61 MB

Ultimate suite:  144 Applications, Installed size: 711.47 MB

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

There have been major changes since I first reviewed LiberKey. This time out, on launching the application, you will find that you are presented with a blank  LiberKey menu applet. I’m not convinced that this

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You will then have the opportunity to select the most appropriate suite for your needs as per the following screen capture. I’m not convinced that this process is instinctive, but……

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I choose the Ultimate edition adding (144 applications), which took approximately  11 minutes to download and install (in a single seamless process), to my Hard Drive. The same install to a Flash Drive, ate up roughly 30 minutes.

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Following installation, you’ll notice that the Menu has been populated.

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The portable application launcher is user friendly, and no learning curve is involved, as the following screen capture indicates. In this example, simply clicking on FastStone Image Viewer, brought up the application.

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With so many applications to choose from, finding the right tool for the job could be a bit of a hassle. But, the developers have anticipated this and provided a pop out description of each application – making it easy to put your finger on just the right tool.

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Fast facts:

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.

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

Download at: LiberKey.com

The developers have put up a short install demo video you might find worthwhile viewing.

6 Comments

Filed under Application Launchers, Computer Tools, downloads, Freeware, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Kill Malware And Fix Windows With Free UVK – Ultra Virus Killer

imageI’d venture to guess, that the majority of computer users take it for granted, that – if they should become infected by malware -  their antimalware application will do all the hard work in detecting and removing the infection. All will be well, once more, with the World – so to speak.  Good luck with that!

Given the complexity of much of today’s malware, its removal can hamper normal Windows operations; leading to an unstable system (or worse). To deal with that, most users will have to seek professional help. Unless, that is, they can turn to a specialty system repair tool like UVK – Ultra Virus Killer (portable version available).

Given the application’s name, it would be easy to assume that the focus here is on scanning for, and removing malware. And, to a point, that’s true – the application can be set to scan with MalwareBytes, SUPERAntiSpyware, and Hitman Pro (these applications will be automatically downloaded and installed, if not already on your system). Additionally, you may choose to run Kaspersky TDSS Killer and ComboFix.

The real strength of the application, in my view, lies in the repair tools which have been designed to repair Windows (if necessary), after the disinfection. On top of that – users may create and run scripts that perform complete system repair and maintenance.

Quick walkthrough:

The following “Welcome” screen is the business end of the application. From here you can -  analyze and clean your machine of malware, spyware and adware, and perform complete system repair and maintenance.

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This is a rather full program with a range of capabilities. I have chosen to highlight just a few, for this short review.

Startup Entries and services and Drivers/Tasks:

Delete startup entries, infected services, drivers or scheduled tasks and corresponding files simultaneously.
Select and manage several entries at once.
Verify startup entries files signatures.
Search information about a file over the internet.
Submit one or more entries files MD5 to VirusTotal using the VT API.
Open the registry key where the entry is located with regedit.
Open the entry’s file location.
View the entry’s file properties.
Maximizable window on these sections for a better view.

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Run UVK Scripts:

Disinfect your computer by pasting lines from UVK log to delete corresponding registry entries and files.
Use custom commands to download files, execute programs, delete or add registry entries, terminate processes and delete files and folders, run cmd scripts and register system dll’s or run UVK Fixes.
Create system restore points, empty the recycle bin and all users temporary folders.
Create and run scripts that perform complete system repair and maintenance.
Automatically run any of the UVK fixes or scans.

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Repair system and UVK Fixes:

Fix your computer with more than fifty exclusive fixes: Fix file extensions, register system dlls, enable and repair Windows update, clear dns and hosts cache, reset user default registry settings, fix installation problems, empty all browsers cache, reset security settings, defragment and optimize the hard drives, install Java, Flash, DirectX, .Net Framework, Fix the WMI and the system restore, delete all restore points, fix the windows shell and the user shell folders and much more.

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Automatic anti-malware scans:

Perform automated scans with the most known malware removal programs: MalwareBytes’ AntiMalware, SuperAntiSpyware, Hitman Pro, Kaspersky TDSS Killer and ComboFix.
Automatically delete the threats found in the scans.
Run a configurable automated UVK system repair script after the scans.
Run ComboFix in unattended mode.
Perform all these actions automatically with no user interaction, which can save several hours of work.

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Then, on to SUPERAntiSpyware.

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In the short time I’ve been running this application – I’ve been impressed. I’ll keep this one around.

I should point out – taking full advantage of all of the features of this application, requires better than average skills.

Checkout the full feature list (much, much more), here – UVK – Ultra Virus Killer

Download at the developer’s site: carifred.com

Developer’s Note:

If your .exe file extension has been corrupted by malware, download the .com version.

You can take a peek at the application in action. Watch – UVK – Ultra Virus Killer – Powerful Virus Removal & System Repair Tool by Britec, on YouTube.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Computer Tools, Free Anti-malware Software, Freeware, Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, Manual Malware Removal, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, SUPERAntiSpyWare

SSDownloader – A Free One Stop Security Software Downloader

imageSecurity Software Downloader (SSDownloader) – now in it’s second edition – is a small open source executable (669KB) – designed specifically as a bulk downloader which focuses on security applications and, security related specialty tools.

A quick walkthrough -

The tab based user interface (Free Antivirus, Security Suites (Trial Versions), Malware Removal, Firewalls, and Other Tools) is uncomplicated, and checkbox simply.

In the first screen grab, referencing “Free Antivirus”, I’ve selected three popular applications for download. Notice the languages which are available, as well as the OS “auto detect” feature.

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For this test, I’ve bypassed the Trial Versions opportunity. Still, there’s a good selection of well know applications to choose from.

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In this screen capture, I’ve focused on two tools which, I know from experience, can get the job done with a minimum of fuss.

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From the “Other tools” menu, I’ve selected three more applications which have served me well in the past.

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In testing this neat little tool, I choose a total of 10 applications for download -  and, the task was completed in just over 5 minutes.

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As each download is completed, a system notification area popup, tells the tale – as illustrated below.

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Note: The default download location is the Desktop. You will however, have an opportunity to select an alternative location.

Fast facts:

Download the most popular free and paid security software with a single click.

OS auto detection.

The latest version of the selected applications will be downloaded.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7 (32 bit and 64 bit). 

Download at: Sourceforge

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In my estimation, SSDownloader is a terrific portable tool. For those of us who are geek inclined, SSDownloader (especially given its small footprint), would make a nice addition to a Flash drive toolbox.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Tools, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Freeware, Malware Protection, Software, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

NirLauncher – 100+ Free Utilities In One Download

imageIf you’re  a Geek, then I’ll wager that you’ve got at least one of NirSoft’s incredibly useful small utilities on your Hard Drive – or, on a Flash Drive. If you’re not yet familiar with NirSoft’s  collection of free tools, then you’re in for a treat.

NirSoft offers over 100 freeware utilities ranging from Password Tools, Network Monitoring Tools, to System Tools and more. All are available as individual downloads, or you can download all 100+ applications in one neat package – NirLauncher

In order to start using NirLauncher, extract the files in the package to your Flash Drive, or your Hard Drive. After you have extracted the package, simply run the executable file – NirLauncher.exe

Once you’ve launched NirLauncher, you can then launch any utility you choose from the GUI. You’ll notice, in the following graphic, that the tools are grouped by function.

Clicking any graphic on this page will expand it to its original size.

A total of 106 Utilities.

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Password recovery utilities illustrated.

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Fast facts:

NirLauncher can be used from USB flash drive without the need to install.

NirLauncher package includes a variety of tools, 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 installed on a USB flash drive, the configuration of every utility is saved into a .cfg file on the flash drive.

On x64 systems, NirLauncher automatically runs the x64 version of the utility, when there is a specific x64 version.

NirLauncher allows you to add additional software packages – including SysInternals Suite. Please see the download page for additional information.

System requirements: Windows 2000 up to Windows 7.  NirLauncher also works on x64 systems.

Download at: Nirsoft – scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Available languages: Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Traditional Chinese.

The false positive issue:

I recently came across a forum comment (on another site), made by a regular reader, who made the comment that he occasionally gets a malware warning on applications I recommend.

He’s right, and here’s why.

Many of the applications I test and recommend, are designed to be used by sophisticated users and often, these applications dig deep into the operating system replicating the behavior of hacking tools on the one hand – and malware on the other hand.

Some of the applications in NirLauncher are a perfect example of this. A number of the recovery utilities are in fact, hacking tools. Any application which can recover a hidden password is, by its very nature, a hacking tool.

You can see from the following graphic, that on installing NirLauncher my primary AV, Microsoft Security Essentials, went into overdrive to warn me of 5 potential threats contained in the NirLauncher package. This is exactly what Microsoft Security Essentials is designed to do.

Here’s what I said in a previous article dealing with false positives:

Antimalware applications are not immune from false positives. In fact, false positives are more common than many users realize. Just one example – some AVs are notorious for seeing extractor files in application setup files as a Trojan.

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Since I was well aware that the warnings were false positives – all items were allowed.

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Here’s what NirSoft has to say on the false positive issueAntivirus companies cause a big headache to small developers.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Tools, downloads, Freeware, Integrated Solutions, PC Tools, Portable Applications, Software, System Utilities, Utilities