Mike Williams

Save energy and extend battery life with Monitor Power Saver

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Monitor Power Saver is a lightweight tool which can disable monitors automatically or on demand, saving energy and extending battery life. The surprisingly small download -- barely 100KB -- unzips to a single executable which runs on Windows XP or later.

Double-clicking its system tray icon displays a simple tabbed interface with various options.

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Convert video, audio and images with File Converter

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File Converter is a lightweight tool for converting video, audio and image files from Explorer’s right-click menu. There’s no system tray icon to get in your way, no bulky interface to navigate. Just right-click your selected files in Explorer, click File Converter > To… (destination format) and watch as the files are converted.

File format support isn’t as wide as many other tools, but the program covers all the basics, and a little more (video > animated GIF).

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Find and fix common PC problems with Windows Repair Toolbox

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If you’re regularly fixing other people’s PCs then you could spend an age researching the best problem-solving freeware, building up your own portable troubleshooting toolkit, and then keeping it up-to-date.

Or you could avoid all that time and effort and download a copy of Windows Repair Toolbox, instead. Launch the program and its Tools tab lists troubleshooting essentials like Autoruns, Process Explorer, Geek Uninstaller, Ninite, PatchMyPC and many more.

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Pint: a complete package manager in a single PowerShell script

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Pint is a simple package manager which can download, install, and update the portable editions of VLC, LibreOffice, 7-Zip, SumatraPDF and many other popular Windows applications. It’s a familiar idea, but what’s different about Pint is that it’s all done in a single PowerShell script.

This makes for an ultra-lightweight download (under 18KB), and "installation" should be as simple as unzipping the core files.

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Avira Phantom VPN is fast and free(-ish)

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Avira Phantom VPN is a fast virtual private network for Windows and Android. Once running, the program encrypts all your internet traffic, keeping you safe even when using insecure wireless hotspots.

Avira Phantom VPN can also help you bypass geographical restrictions on websites by assigning you an IP address from another country. Options include Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Netherland, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA.

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Winja is a feature-packed VirusTotal uploader

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Phrozen Software has released Winja, a one-stop VirusTotal uploader and system investigator. A simple opening menu allows scanning of individual files, downloads or running processes with VirusTotal.

The "malware" score ("5/58") appears in a separate notification, and you can view a breakdown of verdicts by antivirus engine with a click. Winja also provides four extra system security tools of its own.

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ConsoleZ adds tabs, visual styles and more to the command line

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ConsoleZ is a feature-packed enhancement for the Windows command line, an updated and extended fork of the open-source Console 2.

There’s no installation, and ConsoleZ won’t interfere with your existing command line. Just run Console.exe and it opens its own window.

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Take, annotate, process and share your screenshots with Photon

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Photon is a free PC screen capture tool for Windows Vista and later. The program’s core capture engine is basic, but good sharing support and some unusual processing options make it worth a closer look.

Install Photon, press PrtSc, and you’re prompted to draw a freehand rectangle. There’s no full screen capture type, no "active window", no ellipses or anything advanced, unfortunately (like we said, it’s basic).

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Restrict access to individual Android apps with Avira AppLock+

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Android’s lock screen is a strong first layer of protection for your mobile, keeping snoopers firmly locked out of your device. But once you’re in, just about everything else is freely accessible. And if you’d like others to browse your photos, but not anything else, that could be a problem.

Avira AppLock+ offers one solution, enabling PIN-protection for individual apps or entire groups.

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Speed up your internet connection with SpeedGuide.net TCP Optimizer... Maybe

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Once upon a time, not so long ago, just about every PC optimization suite included a module to "speed up your internet connection".

They’re not so common these days because Windows’ own settings generally give good results, but if you’d like to try one for yourself then there are still some useful programs around. SpeedGuide.net TCP Optimizer has been around for years, and is very convenient to use: there’s no installation required, and it runs on everything from Windows XP up.

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Vine unveils Windows 10 app

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Video sharing social network Vine has released its first app for Windows 10. In a click -- or a tap -- you’re able to explore channels like Music, Sport and Comedy, or follow individual creators, even if you don’t have a Vine account.

Videos play back-to-back by default, as with the mobile apps, but you can loop them with a mouseover or touch.

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Passcape ISO Burner adds FAT32 support for >32GB USB sticks

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Passcape Software has shipped Passcape ISO Burner 2.1 with a new option to format high capacity (>32GB) USB sticks to FAT32.

Windows can’t do this, but the developer explains "the program now uses its own code to format some USB sticks".

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LastAudit is a free PC security scanner

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LastAudit is a free Windows security and vulnerability scanner, IT audit and forensic tool.

The program aims to detect and list configuration issues, weak permissions, browsing history, sensitive metadata, previous wifi connections, network resources, and Active Directory OUs, users, servers, shares and services.

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Monitor and record webcams and IP cameras with ImWatcher

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ImWatcher is a free Windows application for monitoring and recording webcams. The program is simple, straightforward and easy to use, but it also has one or two more advanced features that we really weren’t expecting.

The good news starts on launch, when you can point the program at any connected webcams, IP cameras, as many as you have.

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How to change your MAC address in Windows 10

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Every network adapter has a MAC address, a unique value used to identify devices at the physical network layer. Normally this address stays the same forever, which may allow networks to recognize and track you.

This isn’t always a bad thing -- a network could use a MAC address to allow device access without authentication -- but if you’re concerned, most MAC addresses can be changed in a few seconds. Windows 10 comes with MAC randomization built in. Click the network icon in your taskbar, then select Network Settings to begin.

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