Tag Archives: Windows Explorer

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 28, 2014

Facebook updates terms of usage;  Victoria’s Secret silently launches heart-sensing bra;  How and why to move your media to Google Drive;  Personalize the Windows Explorer Navigation Bar;  Your Christmas Gaming Guide;  Weather.com fixes web app flaws;  Scout Alarm review: DIY home security you’ll want;  Apple to wind down iPhone 5c production;  Microsoft fined $140 million in China;  Alibaba plans to invest more in India;  10 excellent movies to stream on Netflix over Thanksgiving weekend;  Aomei Partition Assistant (free);  10 killer Black Friday gaming deals.

Facebook updates terms of usage, lets users opt out of app usage tracking – Facebook has started notifying its users about the upcoming changes to its privacy policy which will be applicable starting January 1st and has now made it possible to opt out of app usage tracking.

Digital detox for smartphone addiction: There’s an app for that – Can’t stop checking your messages? Real life events like going to the cinema or taking your partner to dinner getting in the way of reading your emails? Then the solution to your problem could well be at hand, in the form of a digital detox that offers you time out from the online world. How do you do that? With an app, of course.

Personalize the Windows Explorer Navigation Bar – Want to find a favorite folder quickly? Here’s how to configure your favorites and libraries in Windows 7 and 8’s file managers.

Twitter Experiments With Engagement Stats Directly In Tweets – Want to know just how many people actually care about what you’re tweeting? A new Twitter experiment spotted by ex-Twitter platform head Ryan Sarver will show many you how users are clicking on the links in the updates you post, with a handy link directly in the expanded Tweet view in the iOS application. As usual with Twitter’s features, this is limited to a small sample pool of users at first, but could roll out more widely if deemed successful.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How and why to move your media to Google Drive – Did you know that moving videos and images to Google Drive not only improves access to the files but also reduces your on-site storage needs? Andy Wolber explains.

Victoria’s Secret silently launches heart-sensing bra – Wearable devices are in fashion. Don’t believe it yet? Just ask Victoria’s Secret. The famous lingerie retailer has just outed, albeit without much fuss or fanfare, a new bra named “Incredible” that incredibly has its own heart-rate sensor inside. Designed for athletes and women with active lifestyles, this bra will allow users to be updated of their heart’s status without having to wear conspicuous or uncomfortable straps. That said, you’ll still need to wear or at least attach some monitor of sorts to go with it.

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The Most Popular Enterprise Sync and Share Product Might Surprise You – 451 Research released a report this week with details on the enterprise sync and share market and what they found may surprise you. The report, which surveyed over 1000 IT pros in October and asked them about the sync and share tools in use in their companies, found that Dropbox was the enterprise leader by far with more than 40 percent of responders saying their companies used that. The next in line was OneDrive with just over 25 percent followed by Google in third with over 20 percent and Box in fourth with just under 15 percent. All the rest had less than 10 percent.

Your Christmas Gaming Guide – We have put together a large guide to gaming gifts for Christmas. So if you are wondering what to buy a gamer for Christmas, look no further. We’ve covered the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and the PC.

Security:

Syrian Electronic Army hacks online analytics system, prominent websites affected – The Syrian Electronic Army has reportedly hacked an online analytics system, which has resulted in parts of many websites showing popups and redirecting users away from the website.

Weather.com fixes web app flaws – The Weather Channel has fixed a common web application security problem on its website that made nearly all links vulnerable to cross-site scripting attacks. Wang Jin, a doctoral student at the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, found more than 75 percent of the web pages on Weather.com were vulnerable.

Scout Alarm review: DIY home security you’ll want – DIY home security — it seems like everyone is doing it. After being privately funded, Scout is ready to toss their hat into the ring as well. The interesting thing with Scout is that you get a bit more off-the-grid security, but still remain connected. In bridging the gap between modern hardware and software in new ways, Scout is aiming to become the new darling of the home security world. Is Scout worthy of praise, or is their system too clumsy and dated for a modern world?

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Siemens patches critical SCADA flaws likely exploited in recent attacks – Siemens released security updates for several of its SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) products for industrial environments, in order to fix critical vulnerabilities that may have been exploited in recent attacks.

ACMA hones in on malware with internet security portal – The Australian Communications and Media Authority has launched its Australian Internet Security Initiative portal to give internet service providers access to information about what IPs in their networks are infected by malware.

Company News:

European Parliament Backs Investigation To Split Google Search From Its Other Businesses – To be very clear, this is not an enforceable vote, in that it doesn’t directly give regulators the mandate to force Google to break up. What it will mean is that European Commission and state competition authorities now have been given a green light to ask these questions of Google, and potentially lodge antitrust investigations that could result in more enforceable calls for Google to change how it does business in Europe, or potentially break up.

Apple to wind down iPhone 5c production after fewer than expected sales – It seems Apple learned a thing or two after its experiment to bring a ‘low cost’ iPhone for the masses which wasn’t actually that much cheaper at all. Now the 5c will fade into history, very soon.

Microsoft fined $140 million in China over a similar issue that was investigated by the IRS – Microsoft has been fined in China roughly $140 million for cross-border tax evasion in that country which is quite similar to that which was investigated by the IRS.

Alibaba plans to invest more in India – E-commerce giant Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma has promised to invest more in India, where online sales are soaring, predicting that the internet will transform the country’s future.

GoPro flies towards consumer drone market – The wearable video camera creator is taking its business plans a step further by experimenting with consumer drones.

Games and Entertainment:

Space Age Is An Old-School Adventure Built For Mobile – Fans of adventure games will find Space Age’s $4 entry fee well spent. Whether you’re playing on a phone or tablet, the game’s touch controls are a perfect fit to the style of gameplay, and there’s not much else like it out there in the sea of free-to-play games and action-heavy premium titles on mobile today.

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10 excellent movies to stream on Netflix over Thanksgiving weekend – Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to gather on the couch and watch a good movie. While we’re sitting there, moaning in pain, having eaten too much yet again, and thinking about how miserable it was to travel, and how crazy our family members are, these 10 movies are a reminder that we’re not alone in the world. And, indeed, despite everything, there are many, many wonderful things about this time of year, and plenty of things to be thankful for. Like Netflix.

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Star Wars 7 trailers go unofficial: Watch the best fan-made – Leading up to the real-deal full-sized trailer for the 7th Star Wars film, a number of creators have made their own. Using all manner of Star Wars fan films, odd animations, and clips from earlier movies, these trailers aren’t 100% official, but they summon the feeling we’re all aiming to resurrect. Remember what it felt like when the first trailer for Episode I was released? Welcome back to the Dual of the Fates – with a lot more promise of greatness this time around.

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10 killer Black Friday gaming deals: Games, hardware, consoles, and more – Black Friday’s got some great gaming deals, provided you know where to look. We snagged the best deals we could find and threw them in here, from the R9 290X to the Alienware Alpha to Titanfall for $5.

Off Topic (Sort of):

‘Star Trek’ began filming 50 years ago – The crew of the Enterprise walked in front of cameras for the first time on 27 November 1964 — but the legendary TV show nearly didn’t make it to the screen.

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“The guy with the ears” and the captain who isn’t Kirk: Leonard Nimoy and Jeffrey Hunter in the long-lost “Star Trek” pilot episode “The Cage.”

Alien spotting: Eight space theories you won’t believe other people believe – In an age of social media and renewed interest in space exploration, 2014 has also been a good year for speculative alien and UFO spotting. Crave’s Eric Mack rounds up some of the year’s craziest bits of “evidence.”

Lego Christmas tree lights up Sydney – A 10-metre tall Christmas tree built out of Lego stands tall in Sydney, Australia to celebrate the holiday season.

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Something to think about:

“Facts have a cruel way of substituting themselves for fancies. There is nothing more remorseless, just as there is nothing more helpful, than truth.”

–       William C. Redfield

Today’s Free Downloads:

Aomei Partition Assistant – Partition Assistant is a comprehensive disk partition solution, which includes a Partition Manager and Extend Partition Wizard for Windows 7/XP/2000/Vista and Server 2008/2003/2000. Besides, the magic partition utility can support all hard disks recognized by Windows such as IDE, SATA, SCSI, Hardware RAID, USB external disks, Fire wire disks etc. Partition Assistant provides powerful and professional features to manage disk partition including:

Extend NTFS system partition without restarting computer.

Resize and Move partition to optimize disk space management.

Extend Partition Wizard help you step by step expand the size of your selected partition.

Merge two or more partitions into a larger one.

Split one partition into two or more.

Create, Delete and Format partition.

Convert file system from FAT to NTFS.

Wipe permanently sensitive data to anti-recovery.

Repartition by drag & drop mouse on a disk panel.

Partition Assistant is a partition magic alternative. It has been widely used by many companies as well as individuals all around the globe with fine reputation, and the Home Edition is absolutely free of charge for personal users. You will be amazed by its cool functions and would like to recommand to your friends after you try our top-notch technologies.

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Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

Disable Hidden File Extensions, Or Not?

imageIn the world of technology, the accelerating rate of change is so fast, the environmental changes so rapid, that looking back just 3 years, for example, is akin to looking back into ancient history.

Even so, there are some characteristics of computing where the old truism “the more things change the more they stay the same”, are entirely relevant – and, the fundamentals of system security is a singular example.

One of the principals of system security – one which is rarely referred to is – the need to understand file extensions – and, more particularly – why it is file extensions should NOT be hidden.

Dave Brooks, a highly competent computer pro, and a popular guest writer here, addressed this issue in a guest post (ahem), 3 years ago. This article is every bit as important today, as it was when it was first posted. Perhaps, even more so.

Here’s what Dave had to say:

One of Bill’s security recommendations (among the many that he tries to pound into the heads of his readers), is to disable the hiding of file extensions for known file types.

I will explain why this is important and how it can protect you. This can get a bit complicated for the novice user, so I’ll try to make it easy to understand.

Firsts things first. What is a file extension? File extensions tell the operating system what type of file it is dealing with, which in turn determines what application is opened when you double click the file.

Adobe PDF documents have a PDF extension, MP3 audio files have the MP3 extension, video files use a number of extensions such as AVI, MPE, MPEG, WMV, and so on. Windows keeps track of what file extensions should be opened with which application, if you rename a file and delete its extension, Windows no longer knows what type of file it is and will not be able to open it.

When working with Windows, almost all files have an extension, this is the 3 or 4 characters after the LAST “.” (dot or period) in the file name. Why is the word LAST in upper case? Because file names can have more than one “.” in them, and this is where your ability to see these extensions can save you.

For example, consider this file named “Invoice.doc”. For many people they would immediately know this is a standard Microsoft Word document. If your PC is set to hide known file extensions then your computer would display the file in a Windows Explorer window, or email attachment, as “Invoice”, hiding the 3 digit extension.

The problem here is, a Trojan can come in as an email attachment as a compressed file, or an executable called Invoice.doc.exe. Remember, only the digits after the LAST “.” are important to the file type, so even though you see Invoice.doc, the file actually has an exe extension, making it an exe or program.

If you have your PC set to hide extension, you would see the file name as “Invoice.doc”, even though the actual extension (which is hidden by Windows) is exe. Another trick is to give the file an icon that makes it look like it’s a Word document to fool unsuspecting users even more.

So you can see, if you disable hidden extensions, you will be able to see the actual file extension, not the one the Trojan wants you to see, and you will be able to better determine if the file is in fact what it is claiming to be.

To unhide these hidden extensions;

1. Go to start>Control Panel

2. Click on >Folder Options

3. Now go to >View tab> Then uncheck the box “Hide extensions for known file types” >click Apply>then OK. That’s it done.

Now you can see the file extensions on all file types.

What's in a file name

 

Note: If you come across a file type (extension) that you don’t recognize, the website FILExt will tell you. Simply enter the “.abc” and FILExt will tell you the program that created it and, recommend how to open it.

Bio: Dave Brooks is a professional Computer Technician from New Hampshire, USA. Dave has now become a regular guest writer who’s last article “Let’s Talk About Backups” was a huge hit.

Drop by Dave’s site at Tech-N-Go, and checkout the Security Alerts.

12 Comments

Filed under Don't Get Hacked, File Management, Guest Writers, Windows Tips and Tools

xplorer2 lite Freeware – Does Portable Too

imageYou might think that your stuck with the Windows Explorer version that your particular version of Windows supports – but, your not. While the Windows 7 version of Explorer is an improvement over previous versions, it still falls short in several areas – for those of us who manage files on a daily basis.

A freeware Windows Explorer replacement* xplorer2 lite (last updated October 2011), offers a number of additional functions including dual panes, and folder tabs, which should make your file management tasks more efficient.

* during installation you may choose to replace Windows Explorer, or you may install xplorer2 lite side-by-side with Windows Explorer.

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Typical Windows Explorer display – in this case Windows 7. (Click on graphic to expand).

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xplorer2 lite display in dual pane mode – showing local disk E: (Windows 8), and local disk C: (Windows 7). Click on graphic to expand.

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xplorer2 lite display in thumbnail mode.

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A very cool tip of the day function helps users learn to take advantage of the great features in xplorer2 lite. Examples are shown below.

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Fast facts:

Dual panes and folder tabs

Browse everywhere (all shell namespace)

Preview documents, pictures, music, video

Side by side views for easy file management

Filter and select with wildcards

Synchronize folders

System requirements: Windows All (32 & 64 bit) XP, Vista, 7

Languages supported: English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and more.

Download at: Developer’s site

xplorer2 lite edition portable version available at: SmithTechSoftware

A caveat – during installation you will be offered a Toolbar. Consider carefully as to whether installation is in your best interest.

2 Comments

Filed under 64 Bit Software, downloads, File Management, Freeware, Portable Applications, Utilities

Take That Extra Step To Protect Your Sensitive Data With Free AxCrypt Encryption

imageSophisticated and  aware computer users know, that financial data and other confidential information stored on a computer, can easily be subject to intrusive viewing by those not authorized to do so.

Some examples of how this might occur:

Internet malware attack: Increasingly, statistics reinforce the fact that financial data continues to be targeted by hackers/information thieves, for the purpose of identity theft.

Contrast that reality with these facts; there is no such thing as a totally secure Internet connected computer. All Internet connected computers are subject to attack and compromise.

Lost or stolen Laptop: How often have we read the following – 200,00 (insert your own number here), bank account numbers, Social Insurance Numbers, names, addresses and dates of birth were on a laptop stolen/lost earlier this week.

In too many of these cases, negligently, the data is unencrypted. Certainly Laptop theft or loss is not restricted to organizations; it can just as easily happen to you.

Lost or stolen USB drive: Since USB flash drives are so portable, you can take a drive virtually anywhere. Just like most items that are portable and that you carry with you, this type of drive can be lost, or stolen.

To reduce or eliminate the security threat of sensitive data exposure then, the most prudent course of action is data encryption. Essentially, data encryption is a secure process for keeping your sensitive and confidential information private. It’s a process by which bits of data are mathematically jumbled with a password-key. The Encryption process makes the data unreadable unless, or until, decrypted.

AxCrypt, a free (open source) encryption application which I have reviewed here previously, takes a different approach than many other encryption applications inasmuch as it is not a stand alone executable application – instead, it’s fully integrated into Windows Explorer and is invoked from there. Integration into Windows Explorer makes it an ideal encryption application for less experienced Windows users.

As the following series of screen captures clearly show, AxCrypt integrates seamlessly into Windows Explorer’s context (right click) menu.

Right clicking on the selected file/folder in Windows Explorer, followed by selecting “AxCrypt – Encrypt”, begins the process of encryption.

Click on any graphic to expand to original size.

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The next step requires the user to enter a protective password.

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In the following graphic (following successful encryption) you’ll notice the green AxCrypt icon, indicating that encryption is now in force.

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The decryption process is ever bit as simple –it’s virtually a mirror image of the encryption process.

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The following graphic illustrates the decryption password box.

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In the following graphic you’ll notice the green AxCrypt icon no longer shows – indicating that decryption has been successful.

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Bonus: Built in file Shredder illustrated.

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Fast facts:

Password Protect any number of files using strong encryption.

Right-click integration with Windows Explorer makes AxCrypt the easiest way to encrypt individual files in Windows.

Double-click integration makes it as easy to open, edit and save protected files as it is to work with unprotected files.

Many additional features, but no configuration required. Just install it and use it.

AxCrypt encrypts files that are safely and easily sent to other users via e-mail or any other means. Self-decrypting files are also supported, removing the need to install AxCrypt to decrypt.

Available languages: English, Danish, Swedish, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Spanish, French, Italian and Norwegian.

System requirements: Windows 2000, 2003, XP, Vista, 2008, Win 7 (32 and 64 bit system support).

Download at: Developer’s site (Axantum Software AB).

It’s not always possible to cover all the features and benefits of an application in a short review article – additional information is available at the developer’s FAQ page.

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, downloads, Encryption Software, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Integrated Solutions, Open Source, Privacy, Software, System Security, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Free AxCrypt – Encrypt, Compress, Decrypt in Windows Explorer

imageI was introduced to AxCrypt by my good buddy Glenn Taggart, just over a year ago, and while I don’t currently use this application (I’m a diehard TrueCrypt fan), that doesn’t detract from the fact that this is a sweet encryption application – and free, as well.

AxCrypt takes a different approach than many other encryption applications  inasmuch as it is not a stand alone executable application – instead, it’s fully integrated into Windows Explorer and is invoked from there. Integration into Windows Explorer makes it an ideal encryption application for less experienced Windows users.

As the following series of screen captures clearly show, AxCrypt integrates seamlessly into Windows Explorer’s context (right click) menu.

Right clicking on the selected file/folder in Windows Explorer, followed by selecting “AxCrypt – Encrypt”, begins the process of encryption.

Click on any graphic to expand to original size.

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The next step requires the user to enter a protective password.

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In the following graphic (following successful encryption) you’ll notice the green AxCrypt icon, indicating that encryption is now in force.

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The decryption process is ever bit as simple –it’s virtually a mirror image of the encryption process.

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The following graphic illustrates the decryption password box.

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In the following graphic you’ll notice the green AxCrypt icon no longer shows – indicating that decryption has been successful.

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Bonus: Built in file Shredder illustrated.

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Fast facts:

Right-click integration with Windows Explorer makes AxCrypt the easiest way to encrypt individual files in Windows.

Double-click integration makes it as easy to open, edit and save encrypted files as it is to work with unencrypted files.

Many additional features, but no configuration required, just install it and use it.

AxCrypt encrypts files that are safely and easily sent to other users via e-mail or any other means. Self-decrypting files are also supported, removing the need to install AxCrypt to decrypt.

Available languages: English, Danish, Swedish, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Spanish, French, Italian and Norwegian.

System requirements: Windows 2000, 2003, XP, Vista, 2008, Win 7 (32 and 64 bit system support).

Download at: Developer’s site (Axantum Software AB).

It’s not always possible to cover all the features and benefits of an application in a short review article – additional information is available at the developer’s FAQ page.

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.

5 Comments

Filed under 64 Bit Software, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Encryption, Encryption Software, Freeware, New Computer User Software Tools, Open Source, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

xplorer2 lite Freeware – A Better Windows Explorer

imageYou might think that your stuck with the Windows Explorer version that your particular version of Windows supports – but, your not. While the Windows 7 version of Explorer is an improvement over previous versions, it still falls short in several areas for those of us who manage files on a daily basis.

A freeware Windows Explorer replacement* xplorer2 lite, offers a number of additional functions including dual panes, and folder tabs, which should make your file management tasks more efficient.

* during installation you may choose to replace Windows Explorer, or you may (as I have done), install xplorer2 lite side-by-side with Windows Explorer.

Typical Windows Explorer display – in this case Windows 7. (Click on graphic to expand).

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xplorer2 lite display in dual pane mode – showing local disk C: and data partition D: (Click on graphic to expand).

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xplorer2 lite display in thumbnail mode.

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A considerable list of additional display options are available through column optimization.

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A very cool tip of the day function helps users learn to take advantage of the great features in xplorer2 lite. Examples are shown below.

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Fast facts:

Dual panes and folder tabs

Browse everywhere (all shell namespace)

Preview documents, pictures, music, video

Side by side views for easy file management

Filter and select with wildcards

Synchronize folders

System requirements: Windows All (32 & 64 bit) 9x/NT/2000/XP/Vista/7

Languages supported: English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and more.

Download at: Developer’s site

xplorer2 lite edition portable version available at: SmithTechSoftware

A caveat – during installation you will be offered a Toolbar. As always, you should reject the offer.

My thanks to Michael F. for reacquainting me with this neat freeware application. I actually run xplorer2 on a Win XP Pro system, but since I don’t do much file management on that system, it had slipped to the back of the pack, so to speak, until Michael’s timely reminder.

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, flash drive, Freeware, Portable Applications, Software, System Utilities, USB, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Free FilerFrog – A Powerful Windows Explorer Context Menu Extension

imageIf you’re a power user, then you know that by utilizing the “right click context menu” in Windows Explorer, you can obtain a real productivity boost. So, if you’re looking for a context menu extender that will increase your productivity when you’re working with files and folders, then take a look at FilerFrog.

FilerFrog (last updated November 8, 2010), is an open source Windows Explorer context menu extension, that adds a bag full of additional context menu support  in the following categories – image resizing, file renaming, encryption, listing, path copying, and a whole lot more.

Following installation ( a restart is required), you will see the new “FilerFrog”, command in Windows Explorer context menu (right click menu), as the following screen capture illustrates.

Click on to graphic to expand to original size. (1100×776)

I’m a big fan of Explorer context menu extensions, so you might see some menu extenders in this screen shot that you’re not familiar with.

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If the right click context menu is a tool you use frequently, installing FilerFrog should help boost to your productivity when you’re working with files and folders.

System Requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7.

Downloads: Be sure you choose the right installer.

32 bit.

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64 bit.

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If the right click context menu is a tool you use frequently, installing FilerFrog should help give a boost to your productivity.

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.

7 Comments

Filed under 64 Bit Software, downloads, Encryption, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Productivity Software, Software, System Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Dell KACE Free Virtual Disk Utility

imageDell KACE is currently offering a free Virtual Disk Utility for creating, mounting and dismounting Virtual Disks on Windows, MacOSX and other kinds of computers.

Dell KACE uses a rather neat analogy when defining a Virtual Disk Drive – “A Virtual Disk might be compared and contrasted with a USB “thumb” drive. Both are removable media containing directories and files that can be added to a system when needed, updated locally and removed when no longer needed”. For example, I often use Virtual Disks in testing.

Program files, data files, and application directory structures can all be stored on a Virtual Disk Drive and with KACE’s Virtual Disk Utility, you will have the opportunity to both  encrypt, and password protect, the Virtual Drives which you have created. Keep in mind this application creates Virtual Disks – not Virtual Machines

Following installation, the screen shots which follow, illustrate just how easy it is to set up a Virtual Disk with KACE’s Virtual Disk Utility.

I should point out that in normal operation, you would launch the Virtual Disk Utility by selecting the application from the Windows Start Menu; then simply follow the same series of choices. (There are additional methods for Virtual Disk creation, discussed later in this review).

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As I mentioned earlier, Virtual Disks you create can be encrypted so as to restrict mounting a Virtual Drive to only those users who can provide the correct password.

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As the following screen capture illustrates, you will have a wide range of choices in picking a drive letter.

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When finished, an Explorer window will open to show the initial contents of the new Virtual Disk and MyComputer windows will display the mounted drive. You can drag-n-drop files as you normally would, to the new Virtual Disk, launch applications, and open additional Explorer windows via MyComputer while the drive is mounted.

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Through the Properties tab you can adjust the characteristics of the Virtual Drive.

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Optionally, you can quickly set up a Virtual Drive (or, more than one Virtual Drive), by selecting a folder on any drive, and then create the drive from within Windows Explorer context menu.

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Additionally, you can “dismount” a Virtual Drive from within the Windows Explorer context menu.

In this review, I’ve managed to cover only some of the features of this application. To read a more in-depth overview please read an Introduction to Virtual Disk, on the developer’s site.

System Requirements: Windows 7, Vista, XP, or Mac OS 10.5 or later (Windows 64 bit native installation available).

Download at: KACE (Registration is required).

Note: Additionally, the application will install the open source Dokan library which contains a user mode DLL (dokan.dll) and a kernel mode file system driver (dokan.sys). Dokan is used to mount Virtual Disks and make them accessible as normal drives with Explorer visibility and Command Prompt access.

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, Business Applications, downloads, Encryption, Freeware, Mac OS X, Open Source, Software, Utilities, Virtualization, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

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

SkyDrive Explorer – Simple, Efficient, Fast, and Free!

Guest writer Rick Robinette explains how you can manage your SkyDrive space smarter, and faster, with SkyDrive Explorer, a free extension for Windows Explorer.

If you have a Windows Live account (e.g. Hotmail) I am sure you are taking advantage of the Microsoft’s Windows SkyDrive service, which offers 25 GB’s of FREE password protected online storage space that can be used to store, access and share files.

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Normally, to copy files to and from your PC to your online SkyDrive space, you are required to log into the SkyDrive service through your web browser. Today I want to expose you to a new utility, called SkyDrive Explorer, that will allow you to access and manage your SkyDrive files through Windows Explorer.

Now the thing I want directly point out here is that SkyDrive Explorer is currently in beta, was a little buggy (during my testing), and is developed by a third party developer (not Microsoft).  This app looks very promising and could change the way you manage your SkyDrive space from within Windows Explorer. I recommend you keep an eye on this one.

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Features (as described by the developers):

View the structure and contents of folders in SkyDrive;

View files information (type, size, creation date in GMT format);

Create new root folders and subfolders;

Copy files into the storage;

Delete files and folders;

Copy files from the storage to the computer;

Copy folders and subfolders from the storage to the computer keeping their structure;

Use Drag & Drop for files operations;

Rename files and folders;

Create links to SkyDrive folders on your computer.

SkyDrive Explorer uses the standard Microsoft library for work with Windows Live Id services. Your personal information does not leave this library and is not passed to the SkyDrive Explorer engine. Also, the traffic with online storage goes through HTTPS protocol that protects data from snoopers.

System requirements: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and 2008, and Windows 7 – 32- and 64-bit.

Download at: SkyDrive Explorer

This is a guest post by Rick Robinette, who brings a background as a security/police officer professional, and as an information technology specialist to the Blogging world.

Why not pay a visit to Rick’s site at What’s On My PC. Like me, you’re sure to become a frequent visitor.

If you enjoyed this article, 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 Backup Tools, Cloud Computing Applications, downloads, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Microsoft, Online Photo Storage, Software, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Live SkyDrive, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP