Mike Williams

SSuite NoteBook Editor: not just another WordPad replacement

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If you’ve tried your share of WordPad replacements then you’ll know they’re usually identikit me-too products with barely any interesting ideas of their own.

SSuite NoteBook Editor is a rare exception which manages to bring something a little more original to the standard text editing feature list.

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Sidebar Diagnostics is a stylish system monitor for your desktop

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Sidebar Diagnostics is a well-designed professional system monitor for Windows Vista and later.

No, we’re not usually interested in this kind of tool, either, but wait -- this is a package you might actually want to use.

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How to boot a USB key in VirtualBox

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VirtualBox is an amazing virtualization tool, ideal for all kinds of software testing situations -- unless they involve booting from USB, where there’s no direct support at all.

There’s a workaround which will sort-of solve the problem, no additional software required, but it’s awkward and inflexible. Virtual Machine USB Boot is an interesting alternative, an open-source portable tool which makes it much easier to boot USB keys in both VirtualBox and QEMU.

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Protect your PC from the latest threats with Shade Sandbox

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Sandboxing is a smart technology which isolates programs from the operating system, preventing them from making any permanent changes.

Run your browser in a sandbox, say, and it won’t matter if you’re hit by a drive-by download, a toolbar gets installed or your home page is updated: clear the sandbox and all changes will be lost.

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Build your own Windows 10 update blocker with Aegis

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There are now a pile of Microsoft telemetry and Windows 10 update-blockers around, all claiming to protect your privacy and get rid of annoying "upgrade to Windows 10" alerts.

Unfortunately most give very few details of what they’re doing. You have to click the "Disable evil stuff" button and hope the developer has got it right.

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Download files from a script with fGet

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Foolish IT has released fGet, a freeware portable tool which enables downloading files from a script.

The program uses Internet Explorer components to handle the tricky bits, which means the fGet executable can be a tiny 51.1KB.

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netboot.xyz boots PCs from an image on the web

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If you’ve been managing computers for a few years then you’ve probably build up a library of supporting discs or USB keys. OS installers, antivirus rescue discs, backup tools, partition repair, hardware checkers, and the list goes on.

These aren’t just a hassle to build. You’ll also need to keep them up-to-date, and make sure they’re around and working whenever you need them.

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AnVir Task Manager Free 8.0 now available

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After three years without a major update we thought AnVir Task Manager Free was dead, but no: the developer released a beta 8.0 version late last month.

What’s new? Unfortunately AnVir forgot to tell us, but we grabbed a copy anyway for a closer look.

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Tron is the ultimate PC cleanup script

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Your PC is misbehaving, and there’s no obvious cause? Then it’s usually time to start working through the generic "fixes": run an antivirus scan, clear your temporary folders, enter "sfc /scannow" and more.

But if you’ve tried everything you know, without success -- or you don’t have hours to spend in front of the keyboard -- then maybe it’s time to call in some heavy-duty support.

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Ultra Virus Killer gains VirusTotal support

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Carifred has updated its malware hunter Ultra Virus Killer with integrated VirusTotal support.

No need to manually launch checks on individual files any more: just open the Process, Autorun, Service or Modules lists and a new column displays the VirusTotal score for every file.

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Mount cloud storage as local drives with Mountain Duck

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Iterate GmBh has shipped Mountain Duck 1.0, a smart tool which mounts remote volumes as local drives in Windows Explorer and the Mac’s Finder.

Based on the developer’s Cyberduck technology, Mountain Duck connects to FTP and SFTP servers, WebDAV, Amazon S3, Azure and OpenStack Swift storage.

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VClip is a quick and easy desktop recorder

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BahraniApps has released VClip 1.0, a freeware tool for recording video and audio of your desktop.

The program has a strong emphasis on simplicity. Which means: it’s basic. Very basic. There’s no option to capture the full screen, for example, or a specific window -- you can record a freehand rectangle only.

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PDF Multitool extracts audio, video from PDFs

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ByteScout’s do-everything freeware PDF Multitool has been updated to 6.20 with new options for extracting embedded audio and video from PDFs.

Smarter text extraction means the program does a better job of auto-detecting document tables and saving their data to CSV or XML.

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Soundnode is a stylish Soundcloud app for desktops

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Music discovery website Soundcloud has some great mobile apps, but desktop users aren’t so lucky: it’s the browser, or nothing at all.

Fortunately there’s now an unofficial alternative in Soundnode, an open-source Soundcloud client for Windows, Mac and Linux.

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Malwarebytes ships Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware beta

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Malwarebytes has released the first public beta of Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware, a stand-alone ransomware blocker for Windows XP or later.

The application is lightweight, and designed to run alongside other security products without conflict, looking out for ransomware-like behaviour and blocking the process before it can encrypt your files.

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