Articles about Know Your PC

Microsoft joins the party, warns users against Java

Java

Oracle has had no shortage of headaches recently, thanks to Java. The exploits have been running wild lately, making attempts to fix the problems resemble a game of whack-a-mole. In fact, the troubles even resulted in the United States Department of Homeland Security being forced to post a warning against using the platform.

In a post to the government website, the DHS warned that "by convincing a user to load a malicious Java applet or Java Network Launching Protocol (JNLP) file, an attacker could execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable system with the privileges of the Java plug-in process".

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Shutter lets you schedule automatic PC shutdowns and more

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Shutting down your PC is often simple and straightforward. You finish what you’re doing, save your work, close any applications and hit the shutdown button: done.

Sometimes, though, life is more complicated. Maybe you want to leave your PC running and have it automatically close at a particular time, say; when a program has finished running, or on some similar event. And that can be more difficult to organize -- unless you get a little help from Shutter.

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RetroShare lets you build your own invitation-only social network

social network

Social networks are great, in theory. But then you run into problems with other users, advertising, spam, unexpected and unnecessary interface redesigns, security issues, privacy problems and the list goes on.

If you’re in the mood to try something different, then, you might be interested in RetroShare. It’s a cross-platform, open source tool which provides a rich set of features -- instant messaging, voice chat, forums, channels, file sharing and more -- but in a peer-to-peer form, so you only get to connect to people that you’ve specifically invited.

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Diagnostic and benchmarking tool AIDA64 adds support for new processors, including Intel’s Atom Z2760

Intel Z2760

Budapest developer FinalWire Ltd has released AIDA64 Extreme Edition 2.80.2300 and AIDA64 Business Edition 2.80.2300, new versions of its streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking tools. The Extreme Edition is aimed at home users, while the Business Edition is designed to work with small and medium scale enterprises.

Version 2.80 is a relatively minor upgrade, refreshing and improving the benchmarking and diagnostic tool’s support for newer technologies, including the Intel Atom Z2760 and OCZ Vector SSD.

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Test driving BitTorrent Sync

file folder backup

Who outside Hollywood doesn't like BitTorrent? There's another reason for you to, with the new PC-to-PC file synchronization app. It is free, but for now "pre-alpha", meaning users should beware of the potential dangers -- bugs, crashes. You know the routine. It is also only available in private beta, so if you are interested then you will need to request an invitation.

Once you gain access then you will find the app is available for Windows, OS X and even Linux. The download file is small -- just under 500 KB for the Windows version.

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Mirage Anti-Bot 3.0 blocks access to websites infected with dangerous malware

Virus

PhrozenSoft has released Mirage Anti-Bot 3.0, a tiny tool which aims to prevent your PC from accessing sites infected by the Zeus, SpyEye and Palevo families of malware.

The core of the program remains very simple. It just downloads the excellent www.abuse.ch blocklist and updates your HOSTS file accordingly, immediately preventing you from accessing any of the included malicious domains.

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Best Windows 8 apps this week

world-tv

Thirteenth in a series. Microsoft released the company's fiscal second-quarter results on January 24 and to the surprise of many the company's Windows division did well despite PC shipments being down during the same period.

Windows Store has recovered from last week's low number of new store apps. This week, 928 new apps were listed in the operating system's US store, an increase of more than 31 percent over last week. Free apps, on the other hand, only increased by 136 this week while paid apps made a huge jump to 5,801 from 5,011 the week before.

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Manage all of your downloads with EagleGet

Eagle

Downloading is such a fundamental part of the online experience that you might expect every browser to include a quality download manager by default. The standard offerings are usually a little more basic, though, so if you’d like some help in, say, downloading online videos more easily, then you’ll need to install a specialist download manager like the new EagleGet.

This kind of tool is notorious for trying to drown your PC in adware during installation, but EagleGet is much more straightforward, for the moment at least: it’ll install itself, and nothing else at all. This might be because the program is still in beta, of course, but at the moment it’s safe to try.

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CCleaner 3.27 adds support for Internet Explorer Metro in Windows 8

brush clean

Piriform has released CCleaner 3.27, a minor update for its popular Windows free cleaning tool. CCleaner 3.27, also available in portable form, basically adds updates for major new browser releases, including support for Internet Explorer Metro in Windows 8.

The release is joined by Speccy 1.20, a minor update of Piriform’s system information tool, which adds version number detection for a number of major apps.

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Quttera URL Scanner bulks up VirusTotal

bicep muscle

VirusTotal.com is perhaps best known for its free virus detection service, which allows you to upload almost any suspect file for a speedy verdict from all the main antivirus engines (and several of the lesser ones, too). The service can also vet URLs for presence of malware, though, and VirusTotal has just extended this capability even further with the inclusion of a URL scanner from Quttera.

What’s interesting about Quttera is it’s not just another signature matching tool. Instead it uses a wide range of heuristic techniques to detect JavaScript exploits, suspect HTML code, malicious PDF files and exploits concealed in other content.

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Convert videos from over 60 formats with Any Video Converter Free 5.0.2

video film pc laptop

AVCLabs has released Any Video Converter Free 5.0.2 a major new version of its freeware video transcoding and conversion tool for Windows. The new build sports a radically overhauled and simplified user interface, plus promises faster, more powerful performance.

AVC Free promises to effortlessly convert videos from over 60 formats, with presets for popular mobile devices such as Android and iOS phones included. It’s also capable of downloading YouTube videos and includes limited video-editing tools.

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Track down missing software product keys with Weeny Free Key Recovery

Software key

Having to reinstall software is never exactly fun, but it gets particularly annoying if you’ve been unfortunate enough to lose the CD case, email or whatever else contained that application’s product key. Especially if the developer isn’t able to send you a reminder.

Even if you can’t find any record of the product key, though, you may be able to use a product key finder such as Weeny Free Key Recovery to recover it from your existing installation.

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Find anything on Windows with Effective File Search

Magnifying Glass PC

At first glance, Effective File Search seems much like any other Windows search tool. Enter the file spec here; choose the folder you’d like to search over there; optionally filter by date or file size, or maybe enter some text which the file must contain. It all seems very familiar.

Take a closer look, though, and you’ll find this free program offers a real depth which goes far beyond what you’ll see with most of the competition.

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O&O AutoBackup 2 adds new features, optimizes Windows 8 support

file folder backup

Berlin developer O&O Software GmbH has released O&O AutoBackup 2.0.18, a brand new version of its file backup and sync tool for Windows. Also available as a 64-bit build, version 2.0.18 adds a number of new features and options to its roster, while promising optimized support for Windows 8.

O&O AutoBackup allows users to quickly, easily and automatically backup and synchronize selected files and folders with external backup devices, and is designed to integrate with Windows Explorer.

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Get Linux: the perfect way to find and download the distro you want

tux

If you’re an old hand at Linux then downloading a specific distribution won’t be a problem. You’ll probably have your preferred distro bookmarked already, if not a quick search will turn up the necessary links and you’ll be downloading the appropriate files in a few seconds.

If you’re a total Linux newbie, though, it’s a very different story, and just figuring out which variations might best suit your needs may seem like a major challenge. But fortunately help is at hand in the shape of a small Windows tool called Get Linux.

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