From malware to hardware failure, bugs to human error, there are many potential dangers just waiting to trash your most valuable data. Which is why it’s generally a very good idea to back up your system, from time to time.
And while there are many possible backup software options, we’ve always had a personal preference for the simplicity of disk imaging tools, the latest example of which is O&O DiskImage 7 Professional.
O&O Software has announced the availability of the Migration Kit for Windows 8, a bundle of two packages which aims to simplify the process of upgrading to the new operating system. At the heart of the Migration Kit is Laplink PCmover Professional, which can transfer your data, applications and settings from a Windows XP, Vista or 7 PC to Windows 8 (either on a separate PC, or in place).
The other major kit component is a copy of O&O DiskImage Professional 6.8.1, ideal for creating a backup image of your original system configuration before you start.
There are many circumstances in which you may need to capture an image of what is happening on your screen at any given moment. Hitting Prt Scr will do the job, but apart from the option of pressing Alt at the same time to capture just a single window, there are few options available to you. Ashampoo Snap has been updated to make image capturing easier and more flexible than ever before, even introducing video capture as a new feature.
The latest version of the app includes a new minimalistic capture bar that resides at the top of your screen at all times. If you’re the sort of person who does not get on with keyboard shortcuts, although these are still available, this bar provides you with access to all of the various capturing modes supported by Snap 6, ranging from simple full screen captures and individual windows to scrolling windows and freeform shapes.
NirSoft has announced the availability of LastActivityView, a new tool which displays details of recent user actions and events on almost any PC (it runs on Windows 2000-8, both 32 and 64-bit editions). And while that doesn’t sound too exciting, wait – it turns out to be surprisingly useful.
The program logs the applications you’ve launched recently, for instance. The files you’ve opened or saved (from the standard Windows Open and Save dialogs, anyway). The folders and files you’ve opened in Explorer, the software you’ve installed, and the networks you’ve accessed. It also details your system startups and shutdowns, user logons and logoffs, software hangs, blue-screen crashes and more.
Microsoft officially launched Windows 8 at midnight yesterday. There were launch events in New York and even earlier, thanks to the International Time Line, Sydney, Australia, where the product first went on sale. With the weekend here, and for many people a little more free time, the new operating system is sure to be closely considered by many; and even purchased.
While the vast majority of people upgrading will not have any issues, there is always the stray use-case scenario that will cause grief. Microsoft does a great job with compatibility, and even works to make the OS backward-compatible with older hardware and as much software as possible. One of the biggest issues that can bite end users is drivers. A printer here or video card there can wreak havoc with the upgrade experience. A free app called DriverScanner aims to fix all of that, and there is brand new 2013 version offering Windows 8-friendly scanning.
If you’re the proud possessor of a copy of Windows 8, or you rushed out today to buy a brand new touchscreen device with it pre-installed, the first thing you’re going to need to do is configure it to suit your needs, and install all of your favorite software.
You’ll probably want to make installing a better browser a priority (no offense Microsoft) and Google has designed a version of Chrome especially for the new OS, with some customizations for touch screens, including larger buttons and the ability to keep the browser open next to other apps.
It is here. After months of waiting, beta releases and consumer previews, Windows 8 has finally hit the shelves and download servers. If you’re considering upgrading the next thing you need to consider is whether your computer is up to the task, whether all of your hardware is going to be compatible and how many of your applications are going to need to be upgraded. These are all questions that can be answered by the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant.
As Windows 8 is the first version of Windows to be made available as a download, it should come as no surprise that once you have run through the Upgrade Assistant you will be invited to purchase the latest version of the operating system. Compared to previous versions of the assistant, the Windows 8 specific release seems to take rather more time over system analysis during which all of your hardware and software will be checked.
When your PC is infected by malware then of course you’ll want to remove it immediately, but that won’t necessarily be the end of your problems. Malware will often change key browser or Windows settings to suit its needs, and restoring these can take a very long time.
Or you could just use Anvisoft’s free Browser Repair Tool, which claims it can fix everything you need with just a single click.
The introduction of tabs to web browsers is arguably one of the most useful innovations that have been made. Advances in security and performance are all great, but tabs make a real difference to the usability of browsers, making multi-tasking a great deal easier. Clover is a free Windows add-ons that enables you to take advantage of this very same feature in Explorer so you can navigate between your folders in tabs rather than having to have multiple windows open.
The addition of tabs to Explorer may seem like a fairly minor change, but it is amazing just how much of a difference it can make. If you’re a fan of the way tabs work in Firefox, Chrome, et al, you’ll love the similar way in which Clover works. All of the shortcuts you have become used to can be used here -- Ctrl+T to open a new tab, Ctrl+W to close it, Ctrl+Tab to move the next tab etc.
It’s something that programmers of the popular credit card-sized ARM GNU/Linux box have been asking after for a while now, and finally that wish has come true. Broadcom has agreed to make its mobile GPU drivers open source, releasing them under a 3-Clause BSD license.
What that means for developers, is it will now be much easier to implement Wayland EGL client and server support, and allow anyone attempting to port a different OS to Raspberry Pi to take full advantage of the graphics core.
Migrating to a new PC is often a complex, time-consuming business. There will be applications to reinstall, CDs and registration keys to find. And then endless hours of reconfiguration as you try to get everything working just the way it did before. Fortunately this is an area where Laplink have always presented a number of effective alternatives, though. And their latest offering, Laplink PCmover Professional 8, aims to migrate all your data, applications and settings from one system to another, while you (for the most part) just sit back and watch.
The program has its limitations, of course. This new version is capable of moving your installed applications to a Windows 8 PC, for instance, but if some of them aren’t compatible with the new system then that won’t help you very much. If you’re moving to Windows 8, though, and you’ve lots of compatible applications you need to migrate, then the program could still be worth the money. But, does it work? It was time to find out.
Tweaking performance is something that virtually every Windows user is interested in. There are various degrees to which performance tweaks can be applied, starting with simple things such as ensuring that there are not too many programs configured to start when Windows launches, to more advanced options such as tinkering with services and the registry.
Whether you are a newcomers to system tweaking or a more seasoned user, turning to a third party-tool -- rather than doing all of the legwork yourself -- not only helps to save a good deal of time, but also helps to reduce the risk of making mistakes that could have disastrous consequences; edit the registry incorrectly and you could find that you have an unbootable system on your hands.
As text editors go, Notepad and Wordpad are clearly just a little too basic, which is why a host of developers have made their own replacements available online. But if you’re just a regular user then many of these may seem too complex, with syntax highlighting, code folding, regular expression support and many other features which may not rank high on your priority list.
There are also some mid-range editors around, though, and Jarte is one of the most interesting: portable, free and feature-packed, yet also concentrating on the kind of functionality that matters to most people.
Piriform has updated the Mac version of its popular freeware cleaning tool to add full support for the latest revision of Mountain Lion plus an option for selecting files and folders to include or exclude from scans.
CCleaner for Mac 1.05 also resolves issues with older versions of OS X, and includes a number of other performance and stability improvements in addition to the usual round of minor bug fixes.
Microsoft may have changed the name of the interface formerly known as Metro to Modern Interface, but that does little, if anything, to stop consumers and software publisher from continuing to use the original moniker. As such, one of the apps that brings the look of Windows 8 to older versions bears the name WinMetro.
Regardless of the technical appropriateness of the name, WinMetro is a handy utility for anyone impressed with the aesthetics of Windows 8 but who is not looking to make the jump from the current operating system. While the tool is not a replacement for the Start menu in the strictest sense of the word -- it is not possible to remap the Windows key to bring it into view for instance --- the application is a neat overlay that brings you the look and feel of Windows 8 at no cost.