Mike Williams

Check Windows and Firefox for rogue root certificates with RCC

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Root certificates are a cornerstone of web security, a vital element in ensuring the sites you visit are who they claim to be.

Windows ships with a lengthy list of known trusted certificates, but applications -- and malware -- can add more, and there’s no easy way to tell which are legitimate, and which might be a problem.

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Delete locked Registry keys with Registry DeleteEx

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Deleting Registry keys is an important part of removing malware or other stubborn applications, but it’s not always easy. If the key is locked then you might see errors, or find your delete attempts just don’t work.

Registry DeleteEx is a portable free tool which enables deleting of even the most stubborn Registry keys.

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Create and search file lists with File List Maker

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Windows Search is great at locating files on the current PC, but what if you also want to check CDs, DVDs, USB keys, even other computers?

File List Maker is a free tool which offers probably the simplest and most lightweight solution available.

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Selectively extract images from PDFs with PdfTrick

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PdfTrick is a free open-source tool for selectively extracting images from PDF documents.

Yes: selectively. Unlike most of the competition, PdfTrick doesn’t dump hundreds of files in a folder -- it only saves the images you actually need.

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Access your clipboard from any PC or Mac with 1Clipboard

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1Clipboard is a free tool which enables sharing your clipboard contents with other PCs or Macs. The developer says that Android and iOS apps are "coming soon".

The program works by synchronizing your clipboard contents via Google Drive. This keeps 1Clipboard relatively simple and straightforward internally, but does mean you’ll need to sign in with a Google account wherever you want to use it.

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Animated GIF creator Instagiffer gets a big Mac update

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Freeware animated GIF builder Instagiffer has finally seen its long-awaited full Mac update.

This may not be the end of any problems -- the release notes say "fonts and captions should now work in newer OSX versions", and "it’s been tested on Mavericks and Yosemite only" -- but it’s a fun program and worth a try.

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Peer deep inside .NET files with PExe

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PExe is a tiny free tool for identifying and disassembling .NET executables.

This could be useful for basic troubleshooting (is this a .NET program?), looking inside an application before you run it, detecting signs of malware, and more.

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Expand short links with httpres

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Link shorteners like bit.ly, tr.im and T.co offer a convenient way to share URLs, but they also hide their real destination. Is it a malicious site? Who knows?

Websites like LongURL or CheckShortURL will usually expand short links for you, as long as they’re using a supported service.

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How to free up RAM from the command line

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Most memory "optimizers" are a pointless waste of time, more likely to slow you down than offer any noticeable performance benefit.

But if you think your PC is using more RAM than it should, then there is one small and very simple tool which might be able to help.

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Free Video Cutter slices and trims your videos without losing quality

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Before sharing most videos you’ll probably want to cut out unwanted scenes, reducing file size and helping viewers focus on the main content.

Free Video Cutter is a simple tool which strips out the leading and trailing frames you specify, saving the results without any loss of video quality.

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Google Docs now exports to ePub format

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Google Docs has a new option allowing your documents to be saved directly to the ePub format.

All you have to do is click File > Download as > EPUB Publication. EPUB documents are widely supported across most ebook readers, so this could be a good choice for sharing your work with others.

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TreeSheets: a smarter way to organize your data

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TreeSheets is a freeform data organizer, which developer Wouter van Oortmerssen describes as "the ultimate replacement for spreadsheets, mind mappers, outliners, PIMs, text editors and small databases".

Okay, yes, that is a little over-ambitious, but van Oortmerssen -- a software engineer at Google, who formerly worked at Crytek on the original Far Cry -- knows what he’s doing, and TreeSheets delivers far more than we expected.

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Benchmark your hard drives with Microsoft’s open-source Diskspd

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Benchmarking your PC’s hard drives is easy, at least in theory. Download some freeware, point it at your hardware, and you’ll have some vaguely performance-related figures within a very few seconds.

That’s fine for getting a basic speed measurement, but if you’re got more heavy-duty requirements -- benchmarking a server, say -- you’ll need something far more configurable.

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Generate soothing forest sounds on your desktop with Aura

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Aura is an ambient sound generator for Windows which combines soothing forest sounds to create a comfortable, relaxed working atmosphere.

Launch the program and it immediately starts playing its samples in a random pattern: a babbling brook, the wind in the trees, woodpeckers, cuckoos, rooks, crows and more.

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Windows File Analyzer is a versatile PC forensics tool

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Whether you’re worried about malware, or just need to find out what someone else is doing on a PC, logging any executables launched can tell you a lot.

Normally this involves installing some kind of monitoring application, like the Event Monitor Service we talked about last week, but if you’re trying to track PC usage without someone’s knowledge, that can be risky.

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