Category Archives: New Computer User Software Tools

SpywareBlaster 4.6 Released – An Important Building Block In Your Wall Against Malware

spywareblaster_largeIf there’s a lesson that an average Internet user needs to be reminded of until it becomes second nature it’s this – “prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

Just as in real life, where the public health practice of systematic inoculation has proven to prevent a wide range of serious diseases (prevention is worth a pound of cure at its best) – giving a computer a “shot” (which SpywareBlaster is designed to do), as part of a layered defense strategy, has proven benefits.

Relying on a malware removal tool, following a serious malware infection, is often a fool’s errant since there is simply no way that an average user can be absolutely sure that the infection has been contained – never mind removed. It’s no accident that a huge number of specialty malware removal tools have been developed to address this very issue. Applications which, unfortunately, are often outside the capabilities of an average user.

So, stopping the bad guys from gaining a foothold has to be a primary objective of that layered defense strategy that I mentioned earlier. And, part of that strategy includes raising barriers at the doorway to the system – the Internet browser.

SpywareBlaster, the granddaddy (in a sense), of Internet browser security applications –  which has just been updated to version 4.6 – is a free application which is well suited to helping raise those barriers.

SpywareBlaster, once installed, doesn’t use any services, or drivers, and does not use memory or processing time. You just open SpywareBlaster, set your protection, close it – you’re protected. SpywareBlaster continues to provide protection without the need for user interaction.

SpywareBlaster doesn’t scan for or clean spyware, since it’s designed to prevent installation only – so, it must be used in combination with your existing antimalware applications.

A quick walkthrough:

First – a little house cleaning. Enable all protection.

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SpywareBlaster continues to provide protection without the need for user interaction.

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A secondary, but equally important function offered by SpywareBlaster is its ability to block spyware/tracking cookies and restrict the actions of spyware/adware/tracking sites in Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape, Seamonkey, Flock and other browsers.

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A bonus feature included with SpywareBlaster is – System Snapshot. You can take a snapshot of your computer in its clean state, and later revert to this state, undoing any changes made by spyware and browser hijackers that have infected your system despite the security in place.

I recommend that you take advantage of this important feature – just in case.

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For a more hands on approach – open the Tools menu and fiddle to your hearts content.

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Fast facts:

Prevent the installation of ActiveX-based spyware and other potentially unwanted programs.

Block spying / tracking via cookies.

Restrict the actions of potentially unwanted or dangerous web sites.

Unlike other programs, SpywareBlaster does not have to remain running in the background. It works alongside the programs you have to help secure your system.

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

Browser compatibility:

Internet Explorer

Mozilla Firefox

Netscape

Seamonkey

Pale Moon

K-Meleon

and browsers that use the IE engine, including:

AOL web browser

Avant Browser

Slim Browser

Maxthon (formerly MyIE2)

Crazy Browser

GreenBrowser

Download at: Javacool Software

Need answers? Visit the SpywareBlaster Forum

SpywareBlaster is definitely low maintenance and the only thing you need to remember is – update the database which contains information on known spyware Active-X controls – regularly.

Additional free applications available from Javacool Software:

Doc Scrubber – Microsoft Word files can contain more than just text you see while editing them. Depending on the settings or features you use, they may contain all kinds of additional information that you may not want shared outside your home or company. Doc Scrubber lets you see that information, and scrub it from files before sending them to others.

EULAlyzer – Discover if the software you’re about to install displays pop-up ads, transmits personally identifiable information, uses unique identifiers to track you, or much much more. EULAlyzer can analyze license agreements in seconds, and provide a detailed listing of potentially interesting words and phrases.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Browsers, downloads, Freeware, Malware Protection, New Computer User Software Tools, Software

Have A Need To Burn CD/DVDs? – Checkout Free CDBurnerXP 4.4.0

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The predictions are  – CDs and DVDs, as storage media, are on the way out. It seems a reasonable prediction given the  availability, and cost effectiveness, of both large capacity USB Flash Drives and large capacity USB portable Hard Drives. We’ve come a long way from the days when I bought my first USB stick – with its tiny 128 MB capacity (huge, in its day) – to today’s mega monsters.

It’s hardly surprising then, that CD/DVD costs have taken a dramatic tumble. I recently came across an offer at a local “excess inventory” outlet, which makes that point eloquently – 100 Memorex DVDs for $2.96. I couldn’t buy drink coasters at that price and, old/damaged CD/DVDs make very acceptable coasters.   Smile

So, despite the fact that solid state devices are cheap and portable and, are often ideal for long term storage, I still have a need to burn data to DVDs. If you have a similar need, and you’re looking for value in a CD/DVD burner (and what can be better than free), then CDBurnerXP (last updated November, 2011), is definitely a significant freeware application.

The fairly simple interface makes it a breeze to use for even the most inexperienced user, although it should be said that some users have mentioned the interface has some confusing aspects.  Hmm, I don’t see it.

I have burned dozens of DVDs in the last year using this free application, and in every case, CDBurnerXP did the job flawlessly. I can’t tell you how many times, over the years, a burner has misbehaved – but lots, comes close.

If you’re looking for a free CD/DVD burner application to do what it says it will do, with an easy to work with interface, then CDBurnerXP could be the program you’ve been looking for.

The following screen captures illustrate just how “one click simple” it is to burn an ISO for example, using CDBurnerXP.

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Now, how hard is that?

Quick facts:

Burn audio-CDs with, and without gaps between tracks

Burn on the fly (you don’t have to image the disc in advance)

Rip Audio-CDs to a Hard Drive

Obtains track-information (ID3-tags) from the Internet

Burn and create ISO-files

Create bootable discs

Drag-and-drop

Multilanguage interface

Customizable with many settings

Data verification after burn,

Simple cover printing

Supports most IDE, USB, FireWire and SCSI drives

Free – (for both personal and corporate use)

No adware, malicious components, or restrictions

Available languages: Arabic, Bahasa Melayu, Catalan, Georgian, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Slovenian.

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

Additional Requirements: .NET Framework 2.0

Download at: CDburnerXP

A portable version of CDBurnerXP (last updated January 8th, 2012) which includes the full feature set (ideal for installation on a Flash Drive), is available at: Softpedia

Note: If you are using a DVD-RW (as I did for these tests) which already contains data – CDBurnerXP will not warn you that you are about to overwrite that data.

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Filed under CD/DVD Tools, downloads, Freeware, New Computer User Software Tools, Portable Applications, Software

Tweaking.com Windows Repair Utility – What Super Users Say

Normally, I wouldn’t re-run an application review in less than twelve months – unless the features and benefits of the application had been upgraded, very substantially. Even so, I’m reposting my August 31 review of Tweaking.com Windows Repair, because of the following comments from regular readers and super users – Steve M. and Rocco T.

If you haven’t yet added this outstanding repair utility to you tech toolbox, you may reconsider after reading the following two comments.

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

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

imageSince reviewing software (both free and commercial), is a good part of what I do as a blogger, I’ve tested and evaluated more than a thousand applications in the last few years.

Sprinkled amongst these applications has been a good selection of  “one click simple” computer maintenance solutions. But, “one click simple” computer repair solutions, have been conspicuous by their absence.

While freeware maintenance applications are readily available for download (and, many of them are very capable), finding a good, solid, freeware application, suitable for less technically inclined computer users, has been more of a challenge – until now.

Tweaking.com has just released (August 24, 2011), a super all-in-one repair tool called – what else – Windows Repair. Don’t be fooled by the plain name though. 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.

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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 a System Restore option is available.

A quick piece of advice: never allow an application to make system changes, without creating a System Restore Point first.

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The application provides a three level system of repairs – Basic Mode, Advanced Mode, and Custom Mode. I’ve shown the Basic Mode, and Custom Mode interfaces, in the following two screen captures.

Basic Mode:

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Custom Mode:

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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

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

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 64 Bit Software, Computer Tools, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, New Computer User Software Tools, System Recovery Tools, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

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

imageSince reviewing software (both free and commercial), is a good part of what I do as a blogger, I’ve tested and evaluated more than a thousand applications in the last few years.

Sprinkled amongst these applications has been a good selection of  “one click simple” computer maintenance solutions. But, “one click simple” computer repair solutions, have been conspicuous by their absence.

While freeware maintenance applications are readily available for download (and, many of them are very capable), finding a good, solid, freeware application, suitable for less technically inclined computer users, has been more of a challenge – until now.

Tweaking.com has just released (August 24, 2011), a super all-in-one repair tool called – what else – Windows Repair. Don’t be fooled by the plain name though. 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.

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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 a System Restore option is available.

A quick piece of advice: never allow an application to make system changes, without creating a System Restore Point first.

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The application provides a three level system of repairs – Basic Mode, Advanced Mode, and Custom Mode. I’ve shown the Basic Mode, and Custom Mode interfaces, in the following two screen captures.

Basic Mode:

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Custom Mode:

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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

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

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 Computer Tools, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, New Computer User Software Tools, Software, System Recovery Tools, System Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Free SlimCleaner 1.8 – Now With IntelliCookie

SlimCleaner just keeps on getting better. The latest release of this free application which is designed to cleans out your PCs deep dirt, now includes IntelliCookie – in addition to a wide range of extra functionality.

IntelliCookie lets users delete tracking cookies from their PCs while preserving the time-saving cookies that contain login information for frequently visited Websites, such as email, bank or social media sites.

IntelliCookie isn’t the only innovative new feature in SlimCleaner 1.8. The free software’s latest version also includes a new section that lets consumers manage their browser settings and remove any “junkware” that can bloat and slow down a browser.

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For a complete rundown on this trend setting application, take a look at Free SlimCleaner Final – Optimizer, Uninstaller, Shredder and Anti- Hijacker Built In, here on this site.

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

Download at: Developer’s site – Slimcleaner.com

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 64 Bit Software, Computer Maintenance, Computer Tools, downloads, Freeware, Integrated Solutions, New Computer User Software Tools, Software, System Utilities, Uninstall Tools, Windows Tips and Tools

Don’t Have WinPatrol? Look What You’re Missing!

imageI’m often asked to describe the security applications I run on my primary home machine and, I’ll occasionally post an article which does just that. Regular readers will have noticed, that consistent with that old aphorism “the only constant is change”, my choices of security applications over the years have frequently changed. Except for one application – WinPatrol.

WinPatrol makes my indispensible program list every time – as it has for the last 10 years, or more (WinPatrol is now in its 20th version). No other security application, on any of my machines, comes close to that.

WinPatrol’s strong point is – it monitors system areas that malicious programs attack. The free version of this highly regarded application doesn’t stop there though. With WinPatrol in your system tray, you can monitor your system, startup programs, services, cookies, current tasks, and more.

If anything changes, Scotty (the system tray Icon) will alert you. Taking it one step further; WinPatrol allows you to terminate processes and enable, or disable, startup programs.

WinPatrol’s user interface couldn’t be any simpler. New users should have no difficulty following this self explanatory layout.

Selecting options is “click the box” simple.

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The following screen shot shows currently running applications on my machine, at the time the window was captured.

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The following screen shot shows recent activity. The right click context menu allows the user to perform a number of operations on the selected entry. I’ve illustrated this by selecting “Properties” of the highlighted .dll.

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WinPatrol Free – Feature Chart

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Additional Features in WinPatrol Plus

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System requirements: Window XP, Vista, Win 7 ( including x64 support).

Download WinPatrol Free at: BillP Studios

If you’re currently a WinPatrol user – don’t keep it a secret. Let you friends/relatives/associates know – WinPatrol is a must have application.

BTW, Bill Pytlovany, WinPatrol’s developer, accepts and encourages donations.

WinPatrol Plus lifetime licenses are available as follows:

WinPatrol PLUS $29.95

WinPatrol PLUS Family Pack $49.95

Download WinPatrol Plus at: BillP Studios

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 64 Bit Software, Anti-Malware Tools, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, HIPS, Malware Protection, New Computer User Software Tools, Software, System File Protection, System Security, System Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Free EASEUS Todo Backup 2.5.1

imageIf you don’t yet have a backup plan, it’s time you thought seriously about developing one. The effort involved in learning how to protect your data, by developing and implementing a backup plan in today’s computing age, is minimal. Much easier than it was, even as little as two or three years ago.

The best backup strategy includes imaging your Hard Drives and partitions, since that allows you to restore your important data, your complete operating system, as well as your installed applications, user settings, etc.

There are loads of free applications out in the wild blue that, used properly and regularly, will speed to the rescue. One of the best free program, that I have no difficulty recommending, is EASEUS Todo Backup 2.5.1.

This is a brilliant application that will allow you to backup, recover your backups, image your Hard Drives, clone your Hard Drives, and a host of additional features. All of this, in a “follow the bouncing ball” simple, user interface. If there’s an easier way to backup critical data, I have yet to find it.

Following installation, a restart is required.

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The user interface has been designed so that a user with minimum computing experience, should have no difficulty.

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The following screen captures illustrate the simple process of backing up a particular folder.

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In this case, I choose the task name, selected the folder to be backed up, selected the backup media/location, and ….. Done!

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Recovery, is point and click simple.

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Additional functions and features are available under the “Tools” menu.

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Fast facts:

Backup Management – By Managing backup tasks and plans, you can change a backup task or plan and execute the changes immediately, delete image files, and even convert a disk image.

Mount and Unmount – Mount a disk and partition image to a virtual partition (working as ordinary, logical drives) to explore or copy files in it.

Image Splitting – Split an image file into several files of specified size to fit different storage devices. This feature is helpful to burn the backup file to CD/DVD.

Image Compression – Compress a backup image to save disk space. The higher compression level, the smaller image is.

Check Image – Check the integrate of backup image. You can validate whether you will be able to recover from the backup image.

Disaster Recovery – Restore important files from backed up image and perform disaster recovery just by simple clicks. It ensures quick recovery from system crash, a personal error, hardware or software failure, virus attack or hacker’s intrusive destruction, etc.

Disk and Partition Clone – Migrate or copy all the data on a hard disk or partition to another.

Wipe Data – With this feature, you can erase all the sensitive data on a disk or partition to protect your privacy.

Bootable Media – Run EASEUS Todo Backup from an emergency disk to perform recovery in case of system crash, etc. USB drive, CD or DVD Bootable media can be created.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and Win 7 (32 and 64 bit).

Download at: Download.com

If you’re looking for a free application to handle all of your backup needs, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in EASEUS Todo Backup. Give it a try.

Note: EASEUS Todo Backup 3.0 is scheduled for release in Mid- August 2011. In the meantime, if you’re the experimental type you can download the Beta release – here.

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 64 Bit Software, Backup Applications, Backup Tools, downloads, Free Backup Applications, Freeware, Hard Drive Cloning, Hard Drive Imaging, New Computer User Software Tools, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools