Tag Archives: access

Holiday Season Shows the Importance of Mobile Interaction

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

In 2012, shoppers spent $1.46 billion online on the Monday following Thanksgiving (also known as “Cyber Monday”). And more than 18 percent of shoppers used a mobile device to access retail sites that day. As mobile devices become more available – and as retailers designer their websites to be more mobile-friendly – the trend in online shopping is expected to continue.

Of particular interest to retailers is the fact that people who use mobile devices to shop online exhibit a slightly higher rate of conversion when compared to their desktop computer-using counterparts. That’s why it pays to develop a strategy for capturing this audience.

Buying habits

Shopping data pulled from Black Friday and Cyber Monday show that the average mobile shopper is approximately 7 percent more likely to make a purchase in the evening than during the day. While they may not be outside of their home in the evening, the convenience of their tablets and cell phones makes for easy shopping from their favorite leisure spot in their home. To take advantage of this trend, be sure to coordinate your efforts to take place after dinner time to achieve better conversion rates.

Best practices

To achieve sales conversions, you should engage the potential customer in a variety of ways. Some good approaches include:

  • Optimizing your mobile site – To convert visits to sales, you need to use simple features on your website. Especially when dealing with mobile devices, which have less precise input and smaller screens, an optimized site is easier for shoppers to use. Make sure to include basic features customers may be looking for, such as “subscribe” and “contact” fields.
  • Implementing social media campaigns – While a long-term campaign is needed to build a significant following, you can ramp-up customer excitement about sales or new inventory by carefully timing tweets and social media posts. Tying in your message to your other channels (including blogs, emails and print publications) will help to unify your message for any special sales or deals available. Consider including deals or discounts for followers of your accounts to foster brand loyalty.
  • Using SMS messages to get immediate results – A text message is frequently read within four minutes, which can lead to quick conversions on limited-time offers. Brands such as Redbox and Papa John’s effectively use SMS to deliver coupon codes to subscribers, encouraging them to take advantage of deals and generate business on specific days.
  • Building a subscriber list – When it comes to digital marketing, email is a very effective solution. A subscriber list can bring customers back repeatedly, especially if you deliver limited-quantity offers to subscribers on occasion. Making your brand advocates feel appreciated will lead to higher conversions – and people who appreciate your brand are more likely to spread the word about positive interactions with your business.

Mobile shopping could eventually become the main way people buy goods and services. Plan accordingly, always being mindful of how mobile-friendly your website is. And don’t be afraid to ask for input and ideas from your customers – they’ll happily share their opinions about what might make your website easier to use.

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Filed under Connected Devices, Guest Writers, Point of View, Web Site Design

Google Drive: One of the Best Things to Happen to the Web

Store your files in a safe placeI remember when I bought my first MacBook. I had been waiting two years to make the exciting switch to Apple, and once I did, I knew I’d never go back. I even remember the day I turned it on.

I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around all the beautiful typography, colorful hues, up-to-date programs, and obvious innovation that composed my 12-inch computer. Sure, it wasn’t a cheap purchase, but I was in love… with a computer.

As the years go by and innovation and creativity continue to grow at infinite speeds, I’m captivated by technology more and more every day. It would be foolish not to give credit to Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter for changing the way in which we exist and interact with one another. No one could deny that. But, I want to take a moment to talk about Google, particularly Google Drive (formerly Google Docs).

Since the day I started using Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and the rest of those compose-your-own-document programs, I have absolutely detested them. Not only have they become more and more difficult to navigate through over the years, they are also unreliable. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve grown angry with a Word document for instantly formatting my stories, at PowerPoint for crashing when I’m almost done finishing my last slide, or at Excel for being one of the most poorly designed programs on the market today.

Whenever it came time to print a document or email it off to a colleague, I always prayed everything would work out. My mind would conjure up the worst anxieties about a paper not making it to its destination, and often times, my premonitions came true. I’d wonder why the document didn’t download as the right file, why my PowerPoint presentation was not compatible with a newer version of PowerPoint, and why I put up with all the stress of these programs.

Google Docs, now called Google Drive, changed the way in which I interact with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. If a document wasn’t able to print from my home, I could breathe a sigh of relief knowing I could access it from anywhere. If my computer crashed, I felt confident in knowing all of my documents were still accessible. If I needed a colleague to look over my work before I submitted it, I could rely on Google Docs to “share” my document with them and allow the person to incorporate changes or suggestions.

In fact, I no longer even store programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint on my computer because I find Google Drive to be useful in most every shape and form.

Google has been at the forefront of innovation since its creation. Google Drive is receiving a lot of positive reviews, and the hype surrounding this newest version couldn’t be more appropriate.

Google Drive allows individuals to collaborate on documents at the same time, access documents through a simple link, search through a document archive, and go back and undo automatic revisions. If that isn’t exciting enough, an iPad and iPhone app is coming soon that will allow individuals to access Google Drive through their smartphones or tablets. If you haven’t accessed Google Drive yet, give it a test drive and see what you think.

About the Author:

This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas – an avid blogger whose true calling is researching and exploring the future of learning. For comments and questions, she can be reached at katherynrivas87@gmail.com.

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Filed under Cloud Computing Applications, downloads, Freeware, Google Drive, Guest Writers

Locked Files? The Solution – Unlocker Windows Explorer Extension

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The error message says – “error deleting file or folder, cannot delete folder it is being used by another person or program”.

You say – “expletive deleted”.

We’ve all had that problem attempting to delete a file that simply refused to be deleted. The reality is, these types of messages are not as uncommon as you might expect, and can be caused by any number of issues, including (let’s hope not), a malware infection.

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Fortunately, there’s Unlocker – a free Windows Explorer extension (now in version 1.9) which gives you the means to handle those “expletive deleted” locked file messages – with a simple right-click on a file, or folder.

As you can see in the following screen capture, after installation – you’ll have a new command in Windows Explorer’s “right click” context menu. Click on the graphic to expand.

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In the following screen shot, you’ll see that I’ve selected the Recycle Bin, and you’ll also see that this folder has a small “lock” icon beside it. The lock icon is Unlocker’s way of letting you know that this folder is locked.

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Right clicking on the file (Recycle Bin) brings up a “locked” list which, as you can see in this screen capture, incorporates a series of operators you can employ on the files/s.

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Fast facts: Unlocker will handle the following.

Cannot delete file: Access is denied
There has been a sharing violation.
The source or destination file may be in use.
The file is in use by another program or user.
Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use.

System Requirements: Windows 2000,  XP,  2003, Vista, Win 7 (64 bit available).

Languages: Multiple language support.

Download at: developer’s site (emptyloop.com/unlocker/)

As with all application installations, pay particular attention to the additional features which may have automatically being selected.

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Note: Caution is the keyword here. Working with critical system files may cause system errors, or failure. If you are not familiar with these issues, seek help from an advanced user.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, downloads, Freeware, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Unlocker Windows Explorer Extension – Take Control Of Locked Files In Windows

imageIf you’ve ever attempted to delete a file that simply refused to be deleted, then you know how frustrating that can be. The following screen shot illustrates just one of the commonplace warning messages a Windows user can run into when attempting to delete a File, or Folder.

This type of message can pop up more often than you might expect, and can be caused by any number of issues including (let’s hope not), a malware infection.

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Unlocker, (last updated April 13, 2011), is a free Windows Explorer extension that allows you – with a simple right-click of the mouse, to handle this particular error message – as well as the following:

  • Cannot delete folder: It is being used by another person or program
  • Cannot delete file: Access is denied
  • There has been a sharing violation.
  • The source or destination file may be in use.
  • The file is in use by another program or user.
  • Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use.

After a simple straightforward installation, you will notice a new command image, has been added to your Windows Explorer context menu –  as illustrated more clearly in the following Windows Explorer screen shot (Windows 8 version).

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System Requirements: Windows XP, 2003, Vista, Win 7 (64 bit compatible).

Languages: Multiple languages

Download at: FileHippo

Note: Caution is the keyword here. Working with critical system files may cause system errors, or failure. If you are not familiar with these issues, seek help from an advanced user.

Note: During the Install you will have the option to install two Toolbars.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Tools, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Software, System Utilities, Uninstall Tools

Not Using Google Shortcuts? Here’s What You’re Missing

The following article was originally posted September 6, 2010.

Comments from readers:

I have to say that is such a great plugin. It is so customizable and puts all the Google services at one place. I can even remove the separate plugins I have for Gmail and reader.

Great find, Bill. I’m going to be putting this to good use!

Looks fabulous Bill. I removed the Google Toolbar from Firefox as it refused to untick some checkboxes, so this could be a great substitute.

imageDespite my personal view that Google trashes personal privacy rights, I continue to use a fairly large number of Google services, including Gmail, Google Reader, Maps, Calendar, and so on.

Until now, I’ve used my Bookmarks menu in Firefox to access these services, since this method is very convenient. But, when I came across the Google Shortcuts extension for Firefox, all that changed.

An  add-on that can display over 160 Google services as buttons next to the address bar, or in a one-click popup menu, is a sure fire winner with me. And Google Shortcuts for Firefox, or Chrome, can do that – and more.

Adding this extension to either Firefox, or Chrome, is accomplished in the usual manner that most of us are familiar with (you’ll find the download links at the end of this article).

Following installation, I jumped right in – setting up the extension to best serve my particular needs.

You can place your most commonly used Google services as buttons beside the address bar in Firefox, as the following screen capture indicates. This seems like an awkward way to display – eats up a lot of screen real estate.

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The option of using a dropdown menu option instead, as I’ve done here, is a better alternative – at least for me.

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The number of services available is really astonishing. In fact, there are services listed here that I was completely unaware of. Hopefully, G+ will be added shortly.

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Additional control options are available on the advanced options setting screen.

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Requirements: Firefox 2.0 – 6.*, or Chrome

Download at: Mozilla or Google Chrome Extensions

For super convenience, this is one of the better Firefox add-ons I’ve come across – I highly recommend it.

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 Browser add-ons, Chrome, Chrome Add-ons, Cloud Computing Applications, downloads, Firefox, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Google, Google Chrome, Google Software, Interconnectivity, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

FlashToMyPC – Access Your PC Remotely

Carrying computer files with you while you’re on the go is a breeze – USB devices, for example, are perfect for the job. File portability doesn’t stop there though. With a little planning, you can access your files through a Cloud based storage solution – SkyDrive, DropBox, Box.net – readily come to mind.

Here’s the kicker though – both of the above require that you plan ahead so that the required files are stored either on the USB device, or resident in the Cloud. Despite this plan ahead strategy, you may still run into one of those “uh, oh” moments. Robert Burns hit the nail on the head when he wrote (pardon the misquote) – “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray”.

If the file/s you need – then and there – are not on your USB device, or stored on a Cloud server, you’re probably looking at one of those “uh, oh” moments. Luckily, there are solutions to those almost inevitable – what am I going to do now times – that we’ve all experienced.

FlashToMyPC, developed by the folks at GigaTribe, which utilizes a good deal of the latter product’s technology, is a USB application which will allow you to access your entire hard drive from any Internet connected computer.

Here’s the lowdown:

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Graphic courtesy of FlashToMyPC. Click on graphic to expand to original size.

Step by Step installation

Select the USB device to which you will install the application.

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Once I had installed the application I took a quick look, using Windows Explorer, to ensure the executable installed correctly. Click on graphic to expand to original size.

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Launching the executable (from the USB device), will bring up the following screen so that the second part of the install can be completed ……

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the installation of FlashToMyPC on the selected machine.

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Setup continues with the usual user name and password input requirements.

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That’s it!

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From now on, just insert your Flash drive into an Internet connected machine to access your own Hard Drive.

For the security conscious user (and, who isn’t theses days), the developer has built-in a number of hardcore security features, including

Only your USB Flash Drive can access your computer.

Your Flash drive is identified via a unique combination of hardware ID, software ID, username and password.

All data exchanged between your flash drive and your computer is encrypted (AES 256).

Transferred files are downloaded directly onto your USB Flash Drive, leaving no trace on the computer.

After 3 failed password attempts, your computer access is suspended for 24 hours.

If you’ve lost your USB flash drive, you can delete your computer’s access to it.

Deleting a Flash drive’s access link is easy.

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System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7. According to the developer a Mac version

FlashToMyPC is not freeware but, you can download a 30 day free trial at the developer’s site. You may continue past the trial date, at an annual fee of $9.95 USD.

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Filed under Cloud Computing, Connected Devices, downloads, Encryption, File Sharing, Geek Software and Tools, Interconnectivity, Networking, Portable Applications, Software, Software Trial Versions, USB, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Lock Your Computer’s Folders With Free BuduLock

imageIf you’re on the hunt for a free privacy application designed to password protect folders on your drives, including USB drives, then you’ll be interested in BuduLock.

As a bonus, BuduLock will protect your PC from unauthorized USB flash drive access by implementing password protection – password protection which effectively disables USB operations on your system. Considering that malware infection by Flash Drives, is the second leading cause of system infection ….

This small application is driven by a self explanatory tabbed interface, which even less experienced users will find easy to follow. Simply choose the folder to be locked – enter a password – and you’re done.

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Browsing to the selected folder in Windows Explorer reveals that the folder has been successfully locked, as indicated by the “lock” icon – shown in the following screen capture.

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Unlocking the folder is the process in reverse. Launch the application – highlight the selected folder – enter your password – done.

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Flash Drive Blocker:

When you disable the USB port, unauthorized users (those without the password), will be denied access.

Flash Drive Blocker Requirements:

UAC setting (User Account Control) feature must be disabled to use this feature. (Go to Control Panel > User Account > Turn UAC On or Off)

No password is required during the initial setup – (blank password). To setup and change your password, go to “Change Password”.

BuduLock will only disable the USB port for flash drive for that particular computer. It does not disable your flash drive.

System requirements: Windows Vista, Win 7.

Download at: Developer’s site.

The application is slightly more cumbersome to use than it needs to be – no access is available by way of the context menu. The addition of context menu access to the lock/unlock function is an improvement the developer should consider.

Other than this convenience issue, I found BuduLock very easy to use and perfect for locking folders on shared machines.

Last in a series:

Additional articles in this series on encryption and privacy:

Free AxCrypt – Encrypt, Compress, Decrypt in Windows Explorer

TrueCrypt – Free Encryption To The Max

EncryptOnClick – Encrypt and Decrypt Files and Folders With A Few Clicks

Free Secret Disk – Keep Your Secret Computer Files “Secret”

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Filed under Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Encryption Software Alternatives, flash drive, Freeware, Privacy, Software, USB, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Password Protect Folders (And More) With Free BuduLock

imageIf you’re on the hunt for a free security application designed to password protect folders on your drives, including USB drives, then you’ll be interested in BuduLock.

As a bonus, BuduLock will protect your PC from unauthorized USB flash drive access by implementing password protection – password protection which effectively disables USB operations on your system. Considering that malware infection by Flash Drives, is the second leading cause of system infection ….

This small application is driven by a self explanatory tabbed interface, which even less experienced users will find easy to follow. Simply choose the folder to be locked – enter a password – and you’re done.

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Browsing to the selected folder in Windows Explorer reveals that the folder has been successfully locked, as indicated by the “lock” icon – shown in the following screen capture.

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Unlocking the folder is the process in reverse. Launch the application – highlight the selected folder – enter your password – done.

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Flash Drive Blocker:

When you disable the USB port, unauthorized users (those without the password), will be denied access.

Requirements:

UAC setting (User Account Control) feature must be disabled to use this feature. (Go to Control Panel > User Account > Turn UAC On or Off)

No password is required during the initial setup – (blank password). To setup and change your password, go to “Change Password”.

BuduLock will only disable the USB port for flash drive for that particular computer. It does not disable your flash drive.

Personal note:

Disabling UAC, under any circumstances, is not something I would recommend. Based on this, I have not tested the Flash Drive Block feature.

System requirements: Windows Vista, Win 7.

Download at: Developer’s site.

The application is slightly more cumbersome to use than it needs to be – no access is available by way of the context menu. The addition of context menu access to the lock/unlock function is an improvement the developer should consider.

Other than this convenience issue, I found BuduLock very easy to use and perfect for locking folders on shared machines.

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, Malware Protection, Privacy, Software, USB, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista

Google Shortcuts – Access Google Services With One Click From Firefox and Chrome

Despite my personal view that Google trashes personal privacy rights, I continue to use a fairly large number of Google services, including Gmail, Google Reader, Maps, Calendar, and so on.

Until now, I’ve used my Bookmarks menu in Firefox to access these services, since this method is very convenient. But, when I came across the Google Shortcuts extension for Firefox, all that changed.

An  add-on that can display over 100 Google services as buttons next to the address bar, or in a one-click popup menu, is a sure fire winner with me. And Google Shortcuts for Firefox, or Chrome, can do that – and more.

Adding this extension to either Firefox, or Chrome, is accomplished in the usual manner that most of us are familiar with (you’ll find the download links at the end of this article).

Following installation, I jumped right in – setting up the extension to best serve my particular needs.

For the moment, I’ve placed my most commonly used Google services as buttons beside the address bar in Firefox, as the following screen capture indicates.

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Alternatively, I had the option of using a dropdown menu instead, as I’ve done here, for illustrative purposes.

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The number of services available is really astonishing. In fact, there are services listed here that I was completely unaware of.

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Additional control options are available on the advanced options setting screen.

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Requirements: Firefox 2.0a1 – 4.0b4, or Chrome

Download at: Mozilla or Google Chrome Extensions

For super convenience, this is one of the better Firefox add-ons I’ve come across – I highly recommend it.

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 Browser add-ons, Browser Plug-ins, Chrome Add-ons, downloads, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Google Chrome, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Access Denied in Windows 7? – Download Free TOwnership (Take Ownership)

I love Windows 7, since it was built with more security in mind than previous Windows operating systems. No, I’m not saying that it’s perfect, but Windows 7 is a significant improvement.

I’m all for enhanced security but, I get plenty ticked off when I need access to a specific file, or folder, and I find out Windows 7 won’t allow it. It doesn’t even trust ME, and I have administrator privileges!

Here’s an example of operating system paranoia, when I requested access to MY local settings folder.

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Now, wait a minute – that’s just wrong! I’m the one in control here – not some bloody computer operating system. Computers will do as I command; not the other way around.

I understand, up to a point, why Microsoft programmers decided that some users shouldn’t have access to certain files, or folders, in order to prevent unintentional, or intentional, file or folder modification. Microsoft’s habit of “hiding”system files, by default, is one example of this “safety first” thinking.

Frankly though, I don’t allow any files or folders, on any of my systems, to remain hidden, or inaccessible. I want to know what’s there, who put it there, and most importantly – what it does.

It’s easy enough to change the default setting in Windows Explorer so that system files are no longer hidden. And, I highly recommend that you do so; since malware is notorious for sitting in these files, and attacking/changing them.

Here’s what to do, so that you can at least see these files:

On the Tools menu in Windows Explorer, click Folder Options.

Click the View tab.

Under Hidden files and folders, click Show hidden files and folders.

However, doing this will not change restricted access to certain of these files, and folders. Microsoft does provide a solution though – if you want to work through an 11 step process. I kid you not – 11 steps!

A much easier solution to this aggravation, comes in the form of a neat little free application – TOwnership.

Take Ownership is a Shell extension which adds a Windows Explorer context menu option – “Take Ownership” to all folders and files, which will allow you to take ownership of a file, or folder, thereby gaining access.

Following installation you will see the new “Take Ownership”, command in Windows Explorer context menu (right click menu), as the following screen capture shows.

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When you take ownership of a file, or folder, you will see a screen similar to the following screen capture, as the application goes through its machinations.

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Remember the “access denied” warning at the top of this article? After installing and launching TOwnership, it has been replaced with the following, which indicates I now have complete access to my local setting folder. So take that Windows 7!

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This is a great free application that can save a user a ton of steps when taking ownership of a file, or folder, is necessary. I highly recommend it.

Download at: Softpedia

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Filed under Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Software, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista