Mike Williams

Get organized with sChecklist's to-do manager


Task management software should be all about making you more productive, saving you time, but it doesn't always work out that way. Especially if the software is so complex that you waste most of your time just trying to figure out how it works.

SChecklist isn't that kind of package. You won't spend an age figuring out how to set up sub-tasks, time requirements, dependencies or web sync because it can't do any of that. It's just about creating lists of item names, with checkboxes, and there's absolutely nothing else.

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Clean PC infections with Trend Micro Anti-Threat Toolkit

TrendMicro (1)

Trend Micro may not always make the headlines, but it produces some great antivirus products which are loved by the independent testing labs (the company came top of the list in AV-Comparatives' December 2014 Real-World Protection Test).

Detection rates aren't everything, of course, and you might prefer something else. But if your system gets infected anyway, you can try out the company's technology for free with Trend Micro Anti-Threat Toolkit.

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List image aspect ratios with Arti


If you need to find images which fit into some predefined web or document layout, you’ll probably need to consider their aspect ratio. But that might require some manual calculations, especially if your pictures aren’t in standard sizes.

Alternatively, you could just use Arti -- "Aspect Ratio Tool for Images", the latest release from prolific freeware developer Jody Holes, aka skwire -- to handle everything for you.

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TailExpert is a versatile Windows log monitor


Windows Event Logs can be a great troubleshooting resource, packed as they are with a host of essential low-level system details. But the bulky, underpowered Windows Event Viewer means all this data isn’t nearly as easy to access as it could be, and so many people avoid it just as much as they can.

TailExpert is a free-for-personal-use alternative, a powerful tool for viewing, analyzing and monitoring Windows Event and plain text logs.

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Build multimedia HTML quizzes with QuizFaber


Quizzes have been used to test our knowledge since the dawn of schooling, and they’re still just as effective today.

They're not just for teachers, either. A well-designed quiz can help anyone find out more about themselves, learn about something that interests them, maybe compete with friends.

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TaskUnifier Pro now free! But…


Benjamin Leclerc has announced that TaskUnifier Pro, his comprehensive task manager for Windows, Mac and Linux, is now available for free.

Unfortunately this isn’t quite as good as it sounds, because the reason is the program will no longer be maintained.

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Detect signs of malware with Recent Files Seeker


If you suspect your PC has been infected by malware, but your regular security package hasn't raised an alert, then you could try to locate the threat yourself. It's sometimes easier than you might expect.

One strategy is to search your system for recently changed or modified executables. If you find an EXE file created yesterday on your desktop, maybe an SCR file in a temporary folder, and you’re not sure how they got there, then they might deserve further investigation.

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Ashampoo reveals Ashampoo ZIP Pro


With so many great free archiving tools around for the PC, commercial packages need some seriously powerful features to stand any chance of success. Berlin-based developer Ashampoo has taken the plunge anyway by releasing their $29.99 Ashampoo ZIP Pro -- but does the program have what it takes to win us over?

ZIP Pro’s Windows 8-like interface gets it off to a good start, pastel-shaded tiles floating over a white-gray background. And if this isn’t quite to your taste, there are a few alternative skins to try out.

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Control PC user accounts with Quick User Manager


If your PC has several users -- or you’re checking its security -- then you might occasionally want to examine or tweak its user accounts. You can do this from Windows, but it’s far from easy. Information and options are scattered across several applets, sometimes buried in the Registry, and it can take quite some time to find what you need.

Quick User Manager is designed to simplify user management by making all the important details and settings available from a single interface.

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LaunchBox is a gorgeous game database and launcher


First revealed back in Windows Vista, the Games folder was supposed to be the starting point for all your games, with shortcuts, cover art, updates, news and more. But no-one cared, unfortunately, and although it’s still there, most gamers pay no attention to the Games folder at all.

If you’re happy with a service like Steam then this won’t be a problem. But if you’d like something simpler, more lightweight, then you might be interested in LaunchBox, a free games database and launcher for Windows Vista+.

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View 70+ file types with Free Editor


Office, PDFs, ebooks, archives, audio, video, images: the average PC owner regularly encounters a lengthy list of file formats, and viewing them all typically requires an entire library of software.

Free Editor claims it can simplify all that by opening 70-plus file formats from a single interface, and editing some of them, all for free. Too good to be true? Let’s see.

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Tweak, process and optimize your JPEGs with Jhead


Jhead is a free command line tool which crams a host of JPEG-tweaking power into its tiny 163KB executable.

The program can strip out all unnecessary metadata, reducing file size a little (occasionally, a lot), and maybe protecting your privacy.

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J7Z is a simpler, faster 7-Zip gui


It may be more than 15 years old, but 7-Zip is an open source classic, still used as the archiving engine for a host of applications.

7-Zip’s interface isn’t a strong point, though, and if you'd like something simpler then you might prefer the Java-based J7Z.

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How busy were you last Tuesday? Desktop APM can help


Spend a day on some personal PC task and you’ll probably only be interested in the end results. Did you find the information, produce the document, achieve everything you wanted?

Go to work on a commercial project, where someone else is paying, and you’ll probably want a far more detailed breakdown. Which applications did you use, for how long, and just how much work was involved?

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Check and manage Win7+ and Mac security with OPSWAT GEARS


How secure is your computer? Finding out can take a little work. You might have to check your antivirus, firewall, backup program, maybe the Windows Action Center and various other system settings.

OPSWAT GEARS is a free utility which tries to do everything you need from a single interface. It works on individual PCs (Windows 7+) or Macs, and can also be used to check and manage security on up to 25 network computers (switching to the paid version removes that restriction).

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