Tag Archives: manage

TuneUp Utilities 2012 – The Classic Computer Maintenance Application

imageThe Internet is awash in computer tuning tools – tools designed to help computer users manage, maintain, optimize, configure and troubleshoot their computer system. From freebies to shareware, to full-blown commercial products, the market is saturated with applications targeted at those who suspect that their PC is operating at less than maximum potential. That pretty well describes most of us, I should think.

Those of us who are technically competent are, I suspect, comfortable using any number of free system tools readable available for download on the Internet – tools that can act as a helpmate in tweaking and maintaining computers.

Now that’s very cool – if you’re a high end user. But, if you’re a “I know where the power button is” – type of user, you’ll need more than just a handful of freebie helpmate applications to assist you in tweaking and maintaining your computer.

Luckily, there are tune-up applications designed specifically for average users – applications that make it easy for a typical user to achieve the same level of high performance as a techie. One such application, an application which can rightfully be called a “classic” in it’s class, is TuneUp Utilities 2012.

I’ve tested every released version of TuneUp Utilities going back to 1997, and I’ve come to rely on it to help me get the very best out of all my machines. Despite the fact that I’m a huge fan of free software, there are times when only a commercial application will meet all of my needs in one interface.

Quick overview:

Following installation, you will have the opportunity to analyze your computer to search out issue that are negatively impacting performance.

For this test, I’ve installed TuneUp Utilities 2012 in Windows 8 developer edition with it’s hilariously absurd Metro interface.

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An abundance of modules, shown in the Windows 8 screen shot (above), are available to analyze and repair, maintain and improve, and configure the operating system. The following screen capture, in Windows 7, shows a more familiar application module layout.

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In step one of the test, I checked the system status and choose to allow the application to recommend improvements.

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When the analysis phase is completed, system issues that require action can be dealt with easily and quickly.

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Done! Virtually in the blink of an eye!

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Fourteen days later, after running the 1-Click maintenance module intermittently, the following screen capture shows just a small number of issues which need to be corrected. Optionally, the 1-Click maintenance module can be set to run automatically which will ensure that any issues which arise will be dealt with immediately.

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Common computer problems are a snap for TuneUp Utilities 2012 to deal with. Simply select the problem in TuneUp’s Repair Wizard and in a couple of clicks, the issue is resolved.

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As with previous reviews of  TuneUp Utilities, I could go on and on describing the additional features that are included in this terrific application but, I think you get the point. This program is overwhelmingly inclusive, and provides virtually every tool and applet, that an average computer user is ever likely to need.

Is it worth $49.95 US for a 3 machine (many of us have more than one computer), license? In my view the answer is a definite – yes. TuneUp Utilities 2012 is easier to use than ever, is overwhelmingly inclusive, and provides virtually every tool and applet, that an average computer user is ever likely to need.

Take a free test run on TuneUp Utilities 2012 for 15 days, and see if you don’t agree that this is one commercial application that offers excellent value – $49.95 US for a 3 machine license.

System requirements: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP (all 64 bit compatible).

Download a fully functional 15 day trial version at: TuneUp Utilities

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Filed under Computer Maintenance, Computer Tune Up Utilities, downloads, Integrated Tune Up Solutions, TuneUp Utilities, Windows 8, Windows Tips and Tools

Get Ready For School With These 35 Free Computer Apps

Heading back to school? Make your life easier and checkout these free PC applications.

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Take a look at the following recommended free downloads that will help you communicate, get those assignments done, have some fun, and manage and protect your system while you’re surfing the Internet.

These applications have riding out the storm of new competitors, and have developed a strong, loyal following, based on their reliability and functionality.

Process those words:

Nitro PDF:

With its ability to not only view and review PDF files, but create PDF files as well, it’s little wonder Nitro PDF Reader has amassed such a large following. I have to say that Nitro PDF Reader is my favorite PDF tool so, I’m more than a little enthusiastic to get on the go with this latest release.

Version 2 continues the strong tradition which Nitro has established with previous version – it’s fast, lightweight, and incorporates customizable security controls, including the option to completely disable JavaScript – no small consideration for security conscious users.

Listen N Write:

Anyone who has to transcribe recorded audio should try Listen N Write, a free tool designed specifically for transcription. Perfect for lectures.

LibreOffice:

LibreOffice is the power-packed free (open source) personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and GNU/Linux, that gives you six feature-rich applications for all your document production and data processing needs: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base.

AbiWord:

AbiWord is a free light weight word processing program similar to Microsoft Word. It is suitable for a wide variety of word processing tasks.

AbiWord allows you to collaborate with multiple people on one document at the same time. It is tightly integrated with the AbiCollab.net web service, which lets you store documents online, allows easy document sharing with your friends, and performs format conversions on the fly.

WordWeb:

WordWeb is a one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows that can look up words in almost any program. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia.

Manipulate and correct your pics – put them online:

FastStone Image Viewer:

This is one of my favorite photo applications, with good reason. It’s not just a viewer, but an image browser, converter, and an editor as well. You’ll find the interface intuitive and very easy to use. This program is loaded with features including, renaming, cropping, color adjustments, lossless JPEG transformation, drop shadow effects, image frames, scanner support, histogram and much more.

IrfanView:

With IrfanView you can fix and enhance digital photos including resizing, cropping, correcting red eye, flipping, and rotating. As well, you can perform a wide variety of image adjustments, including brightness, contrast, and applying special effects such as sharpen and blur. I’ve been using this neat little program (every day) for years, and with each new release it just keeps getting better.

Google Picasa:

A free application that helps you locate and organize all the photos on your computer, edit and add effects with a few simple clicks, and share your photos with others through email, prints, and on the web.

Play those tunes:

Audacity:

Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It’s available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. Definitely the best of breed.

iTunes:

According to Apple, this is the world’s best digital music jukebox. Download music, TV shows, movies, and more.

Winamp:

A multimedia player that supports numerous audio and video formats. It also plays streamed video and audio content. Winamp is designed for people who like to customize, tinker and tweak: offering the widest range of extensions, skins, and services to add to your listening experience.

Watch your fav videos:

Miro:

Miro is a free application designed to be easy to use and to give you an elegant full screen viewing experience. Not only can Miro play virtually any video in HD, including, QuickTime, WMV, MPEG, AVI, and XVID, but on top of that this application, which sports major changes from previous editions, is effectively a media management center.

VLC:

VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD, and various streaming protocols.

Free Video To iPhone Converter:

Convert video files to Apple iPhone MP4 video format. Convert the whole movie or select a partition from the movie to convert (trim video).

iPod Video Converter:

Free iPod Video Converter provides an easy and completed way to convert all popular video formats to iPod video. You can enjoy DVD/VCD and AVI, MPEG, WMV, RM, RMVB, DivX, ASF, VOB video files in your iPod with few clicks.

Better browsing:

Firefox:

Firefox includes tons of useful features such as tabbed browsing, built-in and customizable search bars, a built-in RSS reader and a huge library of extensions developed by thousand of developers.

Opera:

The fastest browser on Earth – but that’s not all. Use Opera Turbo to double your page-download speed on slow connections. Download Opera now and get more from the Web.

Google Chrome:

A browser that combines a minimal design with new technology designed to improve the user experience. Includes download and documentation.

Web of Trust (WOT):

WOT is a free Internet Browser add-on. WOT tests web sites you are visiting for spyware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, unreliable online shops, phishing, and online scams, helping you avoid unsafe web sites.

Cocoon for Firefox:

Protect your privacy and security online with this Firefox add-on, which has on-the-fly e-mail dropboxes and lets you watch Netflix from outside the U.S.

Protect your system:

Immunet Protect – Free Cloud Based Antivirus Application:

Immunet Protect is a lightweight cloud based, community driven, antivirus application, (available in both a free, and a paid version), designed to add a layer of protection while working in partnership with the most popular antimalware solutions.

Microsoft Security Essentials:

Microsoft Security Essentials, which incorporates antivirus, antispyware and rootkit protection, all under one roof, was released by Microsoft as a free  replacement application for the late, and unlamented, Windows Live OneCare.

ThreatFire:

ThreatFire blocks malware (including zero-day threats) by analyzing program behavior, instead of relying only on a signature based database. ThreatFire works together with your signature based security applications, to increase the effectiveness of your total security arsenal.

SUPERAntiSpyware Free Edition:

The free version of this award winning program, is used by millions of people worldwide to protect their computers. And why not? SUPERAntiSpyware is well known for its high malware detection rate. A simple, intuitive, and easy to use interface makes SUPERAntiSpyware straightforward to setup, customize, and run, for both less experienced and expert users alike.

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware has an excellent reputation (shared by me), as a first class security application, for its ability to identify and remove adware, Trojans, key-loggers, home page hijackers, and other malware threats.

PC Tools Firewall Plus 7:

I’ve been running with PC Tools Firewall since I installed Win 7 and I have been impressed with its performance. It installed easily, set up quickly, and has not caused any conflicts with my machine. The default settings are well thought out, and provide excellent protection for less experience users. Experienced users on the other hand can tinker to their hearts content, customizing and tweaking the application to meet their specific requirements.

Staying in touch:

Windows Live Essentials 2011:

Do more with Windows on your PC with free programs from Microsoft for photos, movies, instant messaging, email, social networking, and more. Get it all in one simple download.

Pidgin:

A multi-protocol Instant Messaging client that allows you to use all of your IM accounts at once. Pidgin can work with: AIM, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, ICQ, IRC, MSN, Yahoo!, MySpace IM and many more.

Trillian:

A fully featured, stand-alone, chat client that supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, and IRC.

Skype:

In its basic form, Skype is a free communication package, using proprietary code, which allows users to make free computer to computer calls, including video calls, across the globe. As well, there are a bundle of additional features, that can be purchased at a low cost, which will expand the application’s functionality.

System Tools:

WinPatrol:

You can monitor your startup programs and services, cookies and current tasks. Should you need to, WinPatrol allows you to terminate processes and enable, or disable, startup programs. There are additional features that make WinPatrol a very powerful addition to your security applications.

CCleaner:

CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. But the best part is that it’s fast; normally taking less than a second to run.

Autoruns:

You can configure Autoruns to show additional locations, including Explorer shell extensions, toolbars, browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications, auto-start services, and more. Autoruns goes considerably beyond the MSConfig utility bundled with Windows.

Glary Utilities:

Glary Utilities, a free all-in-one utility, is a terrific collection of system tools and utilities to fix, speed up, maintain and protect your PC. Personal experience with this application for the last 2 years has convinced me that a typical user can really benefit by having this application on their system. With this free program you can tweak, repair, optimize and improve your system’s performance; and its ease of operation makes it ideal for less experienced users.

Revo Uninstaller:

Revo Uninstaller is a superior program to uninstall programs from your computer. This free program with its advanced and fast algorithm scans before, and after you uninstall an application. After the program’s regular uninstaller runs, you can remove additional unnecessary files, folders and registry keys that are usually left over (those “orphaned” registry entries we talked about earlier), on your computer. This feature is a definite plus.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Anti-Malware Tools, Audio Applications, Browser Plug-ins, Chrome, Computer Tools, Digital Media, downloads, Free Office Suites, Free PDF Software, Malware Protection, MS Word Alternatives, Multimedia Tools, Photo Tools, Software, Video Apps, Windows Tips and Tools, Writing Aids

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

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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

Take Control – Stop Windows Update Prompts

Do you get a little bugged out when Windows constantly reminds you of an update that you have decided you don’t want to install? Want to put a stop to this annoyance?

Guest writer TechPaul, my tech wizard friend, a CompTIA Certified computer technician, and the owner of Aplus Computer Aid, shows you how.

Sometimes we need to tell Windows Update to stop prompting us to install a particular Update.

When Microsoft has released important and/or critical Updates (aka “patches”) for us, Windows has various ways of letting us know, including a System Tray icon.

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Note: The normal route for accessing Update choices is Start >Windows Update, or Start >Programs >Windows Update. Click “View available updates”.]

I am a big fan of Updates. I (almost) always install them the moment I become aware of them. I use Secunia’s Personal Software Inspector to keep an eye on all my installed programs’ update state.. and I recommend you do too. Updates are ‘good’, and you want them.

Manage Windows Updates prompts

Currently, Microsoft Update is annoying me by continuously nagging me that there are Updates available. And when I click on the icon to see just what these updates are…

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.. and I see that there is just one Update Microsoft wants me to install (the others only rate “optional”) – Internet Explorer 8.

Now, I understand why Microsoft wants us to be using a more secure browser (and I understand why it’s considered “important”) and I will upgrade from IE7 on most of my machines – but not all. Not yet.

So I right-click on the Update I don’t want to be nagged about and then click on “Hide update”.

That’s it. I’m done. Windows Update will no longer prompt me to install this (now) ‘hidden’ update. At a later date, to see Updates that I’ve hidden, I just click on “Show hidden updates”. I can undo my change.

Note: This technique can be used on troublesome Updates that cause incompatibility issues such as a BSOD.

If a Windows Update install causes you trouble, and you need to uninstall it, the “Hide” tip won’t help you (it’s too late). Please refer to the 3rd answer in this article, IE’s Menu bar, Taskbar icons, and bad Updates*, to see how to remove Updates.

After you get that Update uninstalled, (then) use the Hide feature to prevent Windows Update from re-installing it on you again.

To uninstall IE 8: Uninstalling IE 8 will automatically restore your older version. Please see Microsoft’s official How To, here, How do I uninstall or remove Internet Explorer 8?

This is a guest post by Paul Eckstrom, a technology wizard and the owner of Aplus Computer Aid in Menlo Park, California. Paul adds a nice humorous touch to serious computer technology issues. Why not pay a visit to his Blog – Tech – for Everyone.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved*

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Filed under Computer Audit Applications, Don't Get Hacked, Freeware, Guest Writers, Security Rating Applications, Software, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Update

Free FastStone Image Viewer! – Browser/Converter/Editor – USB Compatible

As the heading of this article sets out, FastStone Image Viewer allows you to work on your photographic images to your hearts content. You can even build a musical slideshow with over 150 transitional effects.

FastStone Image Viewer is one of my favorite photo applications, with good reason. It’s not just a viewer, but an image browser, converter, and an editor as well. You’ll find the interface intuitive and very easy to use.

This program is loaded with features including, renaming, cropping, color adjustments, lossless JPEG transformation, drop shadow effects, image frames, scanner support, histogram and much more.

With FastStone installed you’ll have support for all major graphic formats including BMP, JPEG, JPEG 2000, GIF, PNG, PCX, TIFF, WMF, ICO and TGA.

Quick Facts:

  • Windows Explorer-like user interface
  • Supports popular image formats
  • Full Screen viewer with image zoom support and unique fly-out menu panels
  • One-click image magnifier
  • Red-Eye removal/reduction
  • Resize/resample, rotate/flip, crop, sharpen/blur, brightness/contrast, etc.
  • Image color effects: gray scale, sepia, negative, Red/Green/Blue adjustment
  • Image special effects: watermark, annotation, drop shadow, framing, bump map, lens, morph, waves
  • Multi-level Undo/Redo capability
  • Acquire images from a scanner
  • Screen capture capability

A no-install, fully portable version, can be run from a removable storage device

Latest Version 3.5 – January 15/2008

FastStone Image Viewer includes two versions in one installation:

Standard Edition – Free for private or educational use.

Professional (Pro) Edition – Registration required.

Download at: Download.com

XNView is an alternative application with similar features, but with support for more than 400 graphic file formats. As well as offering easy image viewing, XnView also offers more advanced features such as Web page creation, contact prints, multiple conversion (format and transformation), slide shows, screen capturing and twain support for scanners and digital cameras.
For a review and free download read my article on this Blog.

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Filed under Freeware, Graphic Software, Image Editors, Productivity Software, Screen Capture Utilities, Software, USB, Windows Tips and Tools

Update Freeware/Open Source Apps Automatically – FreewareUpdater

I’m a strong advocate of open source and freeware software applications, and have been since I began computing in the early 1980’s. In fact, 65 out of a total of 86 applications on my home machine are either open source, or freeware applications. So, just over 75% of the applications I use fairly frequently I’ve downloaded and installed at no cost to me.

I have no way of knowing if these statistics are high, or relatively normal, for an advanced user; without question they’re certainly not on the low side.

I do know that trying to keep open source and freeware applications updated with the latest version can often be a hassle. This is particularly true if, like me, the majority of your installed software is open source, or freeware applications.

To reduce the drudgery involved in manually updating to the latest software version you can subscribe to an Internet service that will help do the job for you, such as Freeware Updates. Alternatively, to retain more control over the update process, you can download and install a tiny application FreewareUpdater that will allow you to conveniently manage and update, the open source and freeware applications on your computer.

Simply download and install FreewareUpdater to your computer, and then update the application list using the application’s intuitive and user friendly interface. From now on the application will keep track of any updates to the software on this list.

When any of the listed applications are updated, or a new release is issued, the list will be automatically updated. Installing the update, or new release, is as easy as double clicking on the software in the list and FreewareUpdater will download and install it on your system.

Quick facts:

  • Collects data on freeware/open source software online
  • Automatic update of application list
  • Installs new applications directly from FreewareUpdater
  • Advises you on both installed, and non installed, applications

System Requirements: Windows 2000/XP/Vista, Microsoft .NET Framework

Download at: Download.com

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Filed under Freeware, Open Source, Timesaving Tips, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools