Tag Archives: portable

Glary Utilities 2.52 – A Free Collection of System Tools and Utilities – In 2 Flavors

imageGlary Utilities Free (last updated Jan. 9, 2013), 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.

With a graphical user interface arranged in a clean straightforward manner, you can quickly find the tool you’re looking for: disk cleaner, uninstall manager, secure file deletion, memory optimizer, registry cleaner, duplicate file finder, tracks eraser, empty folder finder; a very convenient feature for those of us who like to test drive new software.

Installation: YIKES!!!!

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You can avoid all of the above (strongly recommended), by selecting the Slim Version – no toolbar. Alternatively, choose either of the two Portable Versions as per the following screen shot – no toolbar.

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I suspect that there may be users who see the advantages of installing a Toolbar such as the one offered as part of this installation package. Quite frankly though, I’ve yet to meet one. For a taste of my views on Toolbars please see – We Don’t Want No Stinkin’ Toolbar!

For users who are comfortable with a “one click” solution – Glary Utilities covers the basics nicely.

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Results: running the Standard Version installed on an SSD HD. Scan time – 2 minutes and 8 seconds.

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Results: running the Portable Version from a Flash drive. Scan time – 2 minutes and 8 seconds.

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Dig a little deeper: The hands-on crowd can dig into the individual Modules and clean and massage their machine to their heart’s content.

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Users can even avoid the frustration of having to hunt down a number of standard Windows tools by selecting the appropriate tool from the System Tools menu.

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You can comfortably fine tune the application using the clear and precise Settings Menu. While the “Settings” menu is often the last item to be looked at following an application installation, it should be at the top of the “to do list” prior to running any new application. Unpleasant surprises can be avoided with a little prep work – first.

Of particular interest, to those of us who work with files using a “context menu”, Glary Utilities has a nice selection of new items which will be added to Windows Explorer.

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There are those who will take comfort in an included “Restore Center” but, a more prudent course to follow is – prior to completing any significant system changes – take the time to generate a manual Restore Point.

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Fast facts:

Disk Cleaner – Removes junk data from your disks and recovers disk space

Registry Cleaner – Scans and cleans up your registry to improve your system’s performance.

Shortcuts Fixer – Corrects the errors in your start menu & desktop shortcuts

Uninstall Manager – Uninstalls programs completely that you don’t need any more

Startup Manager – Manages programs which run automatically on startup

Memory Optimizer – Monitors and optimizes free memory in the background

Context Menu Manager – Manages the context-menu entries for files, folders…

Tracks Eraser – Erases all the traces,evidences,cookies,internet history and more

File Shredder – Erases files permanently so that no one can recover them

Internet Explorer Assistant – Manages Internet Explorer Add-ons and restores hijacked settings

File Encrypter and Decrypter – Protects your files from unauthorized access and use.

Disk Analysis – Shows you the disk space usage of your files and folders

Duplicate Files Finder – Searches for space-wasting and error producing duplicate files

Empty Folders Finder – Finds and removes empty folders in your windows

File Splitter and Joiner – Splits large files into smaller manageable files, and then rejoin them.

Process Manager – Monitors programs that run on your PC and stop spyware and Trojans.

Windows Standard Tools – Provides direct access to the useful windows default functions.

Current Version: 2.52.0.1698.

File Size: 8.59 MB.

Release Date: Jan. 9, 2013.

System requirements: Windows 8, 7, 2000, XP, Vista. 32/64bit versions.

Languages: 23 Languages.

Download at: Glarysoft

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Tune Up Utilities, downloads, Freeware, Integrated Tune Up Solutions, System Utilities

Laptop vs. Tablet: Which One Do I Need?

Guest article.

imageEver since the first laptops became available in the 1980s – in a very different incarnation from the sleek creations we’ve grown accustomed to today – the option of portable computers has revolutionized the market. All sorts of people, from business professionals to home users, welcomed their ease of use and mobility.

However, today that market has leaped much further with the introduction of tablets, smartphones and netbooks, giving users enhanced portability and an ever-increasing choice of technology, and posing a new question: which is better, a laptop or tablet?

For many users, the laptop remains the number one choice. Whereas some struggle with the touch screen keyboards featured on tablets, the fully integrated keyboards of laptops are simple to use, enabling faster and more accurate typing.

The larger screen size is also preferable for many people, particularly when dealing with complicated data on spreadsheets, which can become tricky to view on the smaller tablet screens.

Yet the laptop does not necessarily out-do the tablet in all respects. Despite being introduced as a portable alternative to desktop PCs, laptops are now quite bulky compared to other devices on the market. Whereas a tablet can slip discreetly into a day bag, most laptops require a separate carry case, which can seem cumbersome to many users.

This is where tablets really come into their own. With their integrated touch screen technology, tablets are incredibly lightweight and portable, with many weighing less than a pound. And despite their small size, the majority of devices can still store large quantities of music, video and photo files, making them a top choice for leisure users seeking entertainment on long journeys.

The touch screen, though tricky for some users to negotiate, also has its own advantages over the traditional keyboard and mouse set-up, with the hands-on, tactile technology often proving particularly useful for designers and digital artists.

With both laptops and tablets offering their own benefits, the decision of which product to choose must ultimately come down to your own personal needs and preferences – if you’re a fairly casual computer user who is often on the go, a tablet may be the best option for you.

On the other hand, if you often need to carry out complex word processing and data handling tasks, a fully-equipped laptop is likely to serve you better.

Comments Off on Laptop vs. Tablet: Which One Do I Need?

Filed under Connected Devices, Guest Writers, Tablet Computing

EraserDrop – Drop Files Unto An Icon To Erase Securely

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This little Icon pictured here, is not just an Icon – it’s an active Icon. Let me explain – when the free portable application EraserDrop is active, this Icon is what you see. The Icon floats on the Desk Top or, on top of any opened applications. Simply by dragging and dropping selected files, or folders, onto this Icon, permanently, and securely, erases the files/folders from your system.

You may change the position of the Icon by holding down the “Left Shift” key and moving it to a desired position. As well, you may “Hide” the Icon by choosing “Hide” from the context menu.

A quick walkthrough:

For this review, I’ve selected 14 files from an old download folder (1773 Files – 17.5 GB – I download a lot of stuff for testing, most of which never makes it to these pages), dragged and dropped them onto the EraserDrop Icon – and ……

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gone – deleted – securely – never to be seen again. Following an erasure, an “Erasing Report” is provided, as shown below.

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The erasing method can be set by opening the right click context menu and, selecting from a variety of increasingly more complex erasure settings.image

You can choose to wipe both the Recycle Bin, and wipe the HD’s free space, from within the context menu.image

The options menu will allow you – amongst other selections – to choose a “target image” for the Icon that is more to your liking.

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Since this is a portable application –  it will not show up in installed applications –  so, it’s best to install to a new folder that’s easily accessible.

System Requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Win 7.

Download at: PortableApps

Why should you bother to erase files/folders permanently?

If you’re a typical computer user, you quite likely believe that the files you’ve deleted and sent to the recycle bin, are gone forever.

Not quite true however. When a file is deleted from your Hard Drive, what really gets deleted is the system link pointing towards the file, but not the file itself. Surprisingly, it is relatively easy to retrieve the deleted file using specialized file recovery software (often available as a free download), which takes advantage of shortcomings in the Windows operating systems.

In order to delete or shred files permanently – to protect your privacy and potentially your security – or, for any other reason for that matter, you need a program  that is capable of overwriting the file with a random series of binary data multiple times. That way, the actual content of the file has been overwritten and the possibilities of recovering such a shredded file, becomes mainly theoretical.

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Filed under downloads, Freeware, Privacy, Secure File Deletion, Software

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.

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

Download Microsoft’s Free Microsoft Office Starter Edition 2010

Update: November 30 – This offer is no longer available.

In October of last year, I noted that Microsoft had begun a campaign to tear down OpenOffice by focusing on what Microsoft considered the downside of working with OpenOffice. This struck me as a bit unusual – after all, why waste time on those who can’t hurt your sales. Unless, that is, OpenOffice, LibreOffice and similar open source office suites, are in fact, “real competition” for Microsoft.

It seems that may well be the case since Microsoft has now released Office Starter Edition 2010 (as a freebie), which includes Microsoft Word Starter 2010 and Microsoft Excel Starter 2010 – it does not include PowerPoint or Outlook. Both included components function almost the same as the full editions.

No need to worry about licensing issues either – Office Starter 2010 is not a trial version – it will not expire. On top of that, installing the application to a USB stick makes for the perfect (sort of), portable office.

Installation is an easy task – both application download and installation combine in a seamless single process.

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Following installation you’ll find the application, and its components, neatly laid out in your “Start” menu as illustrated below.image

Word Starter 2010 screenshot:

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Excel Starter 2010 screenshot:

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Fast facts:

Create and edit basic Word documents and Excel spreadsheets with 100 percent file fidelity

Open existing Word and Excel documents

Manage a simple home budget

Write letters

Create newsletters with photos and easily send them out

System requirements: Windows 7, Windows Vista with Service Pack 1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2 and MSXML 6.0 (32-bit Office only), Windows Server 2008, or later 32- or 64-bit OS.

Download Office 2010 Starter at: Microsoft

There is some discussion, at the moment, as to just how long this offer from Microsoft will continue to be available so, if you’re interested, now might be the time to jump on this.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, downloads, flash drive, Free Office Suites, Freeware, Microsoft, Software, USB, 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

Free Glary Utilities Is Indispensable. Really?

Glarysoft  has a blurb on their site that at first glance may seem to be a little over the top. … “To call Glary Utilities helpful would drastically understate the situation. It hopes to become your INDISPENSABLE friend with its one-stop-shop utilities for optimizing and maintaining your PC for best performance.”

Since 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. Sad to say, 30% or so, have turned out to be “not fit for consumption”. No, you normally don’t get to read reviews on the dreck – better to focus on what lives up to expectations, and not what doesn’t.

Based on this exposure to software applications, Glarysoft’s “indispensable” statement, got me thinking – so, I put it to my personal test. First, let me point out that I get loads of free licenses for the commercial version of applications that I test. However, to avoid the disclosure/non-disclosure issue, I do not keep such software on either my home system, or my test systems. Other than the OS, all software on my home machine is freeware.

But, I could have chosen to have kept on board any one of the dozen or so licensed computer maintenance utilities I’ve had access to in the last few years. Truth is, aside from the disclosure/non-disclosure issue, I’m just not into a “one click simple” computer maintenance solution. I’d rather rely on, as I do, a collection of freeware apps which are specially designed to address specific issues.

And, first among these freeware applications is Glary Utilities. So, from a personal perspective, I find little to argue with in Glarysoft’s “indispensable” claim. Since discovering Glary Utilities years ago, it has remained my go-to application for maintenance and cleanup.

Here’s why:

Glary Utilities, (last updated May 26, 2011 – version 2.34), is a terrific collection of system tools and utilities to fix, speed up, maintain, and protect a PC.

A great deal of personal experience with Glary Utilities has convinced me, that a typical user, particularly a new user, will really benefit by having this application on their system. Twenty million+ downloads from Download.com alone, speaks to the popularity of this indispensable application (last time I reviewed this app – February 11, 2010 – this figure stood at eight million).

Using Glary Utilities, it’s easy to tweak, repair, optimize and improve your system’s performance; and its ease of operation makes it ideal for less experienced users.

You can quickly find the tool you’re looking for: disk cleaner, uninstall manager, secure file deletion, memory optimizer, (a gentle) registry cleaner, duplicate file finder, tracks eraser, empty folder finder; a very convenient feature for those of us who like to test drive new software.

Prior to making important changes to your system, Glary Utilities creates a backup copy first, a very important feature.

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

As well, you can manage and delete browser add-ons, analyze disk space usage, find, fix, or remove broken Windows shortcuts, and manage startup programs.

A one click maintenance solution is included, but I’m not a fan of this since I like to be much more hands on. But, less experienced users, should find this feature useful.

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Hands on users will appreciate the functional and easily understood GUI.

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You can comfortably fine tune the application using the clear and precise Settings Menu.

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Fast Facts:

Disk Cleaner Removes junk data from your disks and recovers disk space

Registry Cleaner scans and cleans your registry to improve your system’s performance

Shortcuts Fixer eliminates the errors in your start menu & desktop shortcuts

Startup Manager manages programs which run automatically on startup

Memory Optimizer monitors and optimizes free memory in the background

Tracks Eraser erases all traces, evidence, cookies, internet history and more

File Shredder erases files permanently

Internet Explorer Assistant manages Internet Explorer Add-ons

Disk Analysis provides detailed information files and folders

Duplicate Files Finder searches for space-wasting duplicate files

Empty Folders Finder removes empty folders (I love this feature)

Uninstall Manager completely uninstall programs

Languages: 23 Languages available.

System Requirements: Windows 7, 2000, XP, Vista. 32/64bit versions.

Download at: Download.com

A portable version is also available which you can download at GlarySoft.

During the install, pay particular attention to the offer to install the Ask toolbar. I suggest you reject this offer.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Computer Maintenance, Computer Tools, downloads, Freeware, Portable Applications, Privacy, Software, System Utilities, USB, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools