Mike Williams

IrfanView 4.44 adds lots of new features

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The superb freeware image viewer IrfanView has hit version 4.44 with a pile of tweaks and additions. A much-improved histogram is now modeless, and offers curves, RGB and other viewing selections.

The Batch Scan dialog supports scanning multiple pages to PDF files.

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Back up, restore or migrate an Oculus Rift install with AOMEI vrBackupper

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Oculus Rift may be a powerful and well-designed VR system, but its file and application management abilities aren’t so smart. Early versions would only install on your system drive, games and apps are always installed to a library in the same location, and if you uninstall Oculus then all your software disappears as well.

AOMEI vrBackupper is a 64-bit Windows 10 program which can back up, restore or migrate your Oculus Rift installation or just your installed games and applications.

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RansomFree keeps your PC safe from ransomware

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Cybereason has released RansomFree, a free anti-ransomware tool for Windows. The program uses behavior monitoring to watch your system for ransomware-like actions, detecting and suspending any malicious process once encryption starts.

RansomFree is exceptionally easy to install and use. There are no setup options, no scheduling tools, no lists of drives or folders: you just install the program and leave it to do its work.

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Install and run WordPress on a local desktop

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WordPress is a fabulous website builder, and it’s very easy to learn the basics. Just sign up for a free blog at WordPress.com and start to play.

If you’re a serious developer, though, you might prefer to run WordPress locally. There’s no data transfer delays, no waiting for connections, and you can be sure that no-one else will ever be able to see your work-in-progress. This can take a little preparation. WordPress needs a server, for instance. PHP. MySQL. Setting these up on a PC or Mac usually requires a lot of web experience -- but it doesn’t have to be that way.

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Ellp automates PC tasks with a click

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Ellp is a free tool which delivers very simple, script-free automation of common PC and other tasks. There are no menus, no complex dialog boxes, no command-line arguments, nothing to learn at all. You can get started in seconds and leave Ellp to do all the real work.

The program opens by displaying these ten cards, each representing a task you’d like to automate.

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How to test anti-keylogger software

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Installing any good antivirus program will protect you from known keyloggers, but you’ll still be vulnerable to the very latest threats.

Specialist anti-keyloggers such as SpyShelter take a very different approach. Instead of trying to detect and remove malware, they focus on preventing anything intercepting your keypresses.

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Vectr is a polished vector editor you can use almost anywhere

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Vectr is a well-designed cross-platform vector editor with a strong focus on sharing and collaboration. The simple interface may look basic, at least initially: a few basic shapes, pen, pencil and text tools and not much else.

A bonus "More Shapes" panel is just one click away, though, giving you arrows, stars, lightning bolts, image and calendar icons, and assorted other clipart-type designs.

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Angry IP Scanner 3.5 adds high DPI support, drops XP

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Popular network tool Angry IP Scanner has hit version 3.5 with new support for high DPI displays on Windows and Linux (Mac Retina displays were supported already).

There are visual improvements for everyone, whatever your hardware, thanks to redesigned high DPI versions of all icons.

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AVG Free Antivirus and Internet Security betas released

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AVAST has announced betas of AVG Free Antivirus 15 (32-bit here) and AVG Internet Security 17 (32-bit here).

The releases follow AVAST’s acquisition of AVG earlier this year, and aim to combine the best technologies from both companies: AVAST’s core engine with AVG’s behavior analysis.

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Registry Finder gets regular expression support

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Freeware Registry editor and search tool Registry Finder has been updated with regular expression support.

You’re now able to use regex in both the Find and Replace dialog. Just check "Use regular expressions" and go to work.

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QOwnNotes is a versatile notepad and to-do list manager

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At first glance, QOwnNotes doesn’t seem like the most interesting of apps. An "open source plain-text file notepad"? Aren’t there enough of those already?

Download and try the program, though, and you might be surprised at how much more it can do.

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Access Ext2, HFS and other file systems with DiskInternals Linux Reader

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DiskInternals Linux Reader is a freeware Windows application for browsing drives using Linux, Apple and other file systems. The program enables reading (but not writing) drives using Ext2/3/4, ReiserFS, Reiser4, HFS, HFS+, FAT, exFAT, NTFS, ReFS and UFS2.

It’s also possible to mount and read raw disk images (*.dsk, *.img) and assorted virtual disk formats (*.vmdk, *.vhd, *.vhdx, *.vdi, *.vds).

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Automatically optimise your photos with AutoHDR

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Top photo editors will often have "auto-fix" tools to optimize colors, lighting, sharpness and more, all with a single click. But they’re often short on configuration options, and some editors may not have any automatic fixes at all.

AutoHDR is a tiny stand-alone replacement for other image enhancers. Drag and drop a photo, click Process, then Save: it could be as simple as that.

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Windows Update Blocker disables OS updates on demand

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Freeware developer Sordum has unveiled Windows Update Blocker, a free tool for disabling Windows Updates.

At first glance, the program doesn’t seem very interesting. Launch it, select "Enable" or "Disable" and click "Apply Now" to make the change. No surprises there.

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Malwarebytes 3.0 aims to replace your antivirus

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Malwarebytes has released Malwarebytes 3.0, a new package which combines its anti-malware, anti-exploit, anti-ransomware and web protection technologies. You won’t see most of these in the free version, unfortunately. That’s still strictly on-demand anti-malware only, although the new product does allow you to check out the new features with a 14-day Malwarebytes Premium trial.

Both the free and Premium builds see major performance improvements, with scan speeds up to 4x faster than the previous editions.

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