It’s a week since we covered Switchblade, an interesting portable troubleshooting toolkit which was a little flawed by its selection of programs. While there were some excellent choices, the package was distinctly short on system monitoring tools. And we weren’t entirely sure that most people would want to install a copy of Apache on a PC they were investigating, either.
With further questions soon emerging over licensing issues for some of the programs, it wasn’t long before the author removed the SourceForge download. It’s just reappeared in a new Switchblade 0.70 build, though, which appears to address at least some of the previous issues and concerns.
Maybe you’re having problems with Flash, and would like to do a clean reinstall. Or perhaps you’ve decided the technology causes more problems than it solves, and would like to delete it forever. Whatever the reason, you may one day find you want to completely remove Flash from your PC -- but that can sometimes be a problem.
You won’t be able to use the standard uninstaller if there are other background processes using Flash, for instance. And your Flash installation can sometimes become corrupted, causing further complications. Don’t give up, though -- with just a little perseverance your PC should soon be Flash-free (apart from embedded plugins via apps like Chrome, anyway).
Whether you’ve accidentally deleted a file, a partition or an entire drive, there are plenty of recovery tools you can turn to for assistance. And most of these claim ease of use as a key selling point. You won’t have to worry about low level drive structures or other complexities, as the program will try to handle everything for you.
If you’re at home with file systems, though, and familiar with partition tables and the MFT, you may sometimes get better results with a tool which lets you take more hands-on control. And the free (for personal use) DMDE is a great example.
What do you really want from a security suite? Most companies appear to believe the answer is "as many features as possible", and so they’ll cram their products with as many vaguely security-related tools as possible, in the hope that the sheer weight of functionality might win you over.
Comodo Internet Security Pro 2013, however, takes a very different route. There’s no spam filter here. No parental controls, or backup tool. And it won’t add warning icons to your web page search results. Instead, the program concentrates very much on the core security basics: detecting and removing known malware immediately, while preventing even brand new threats from causing any damage.
The popularity of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model has raised a lot of questions about security and the cloud, and firms embracing the trend also have to worry about what might happen to important data if a laptop, tablet, or smartphone gets stolen, lost, or broken while an employee is away from work.
It doesn’t matter how careful people are, accidents will always happen. According to a recent study by SquareTrade, over 30 percent of iPhones have been damaged in some way. Deaths by misadventure include being dropped in the toilet (9 percent), put in the washing machine (5 percent), and being left on the roof of a car prior to the driver making a quick getaway (6 percent). In the case of BYOD hardware, the loss of data is usually more worrying that the loss or destruction of the device itself.
Welcome to the second Tuesday of the month, the day that has become universally known in tech circles as Patch Tuesday. It is that one day when Microsoft chooses to reach out and touch our computers in an effort to fix whatever has gone wrong or been exploited over the past month. Even during the Consumer Electronics Show we cannot escape Microsoft -- Steve Ballmer made a surprise appearance on stage last night, and now there is this.
For January 2013 there are several fixes in store for customers. There is of course the obligatory Malicious Software Removal Tool update, which appears almost every month. The tool works in the background in an effort to keep PC's safe. Most customers never know it is there because it does not appear in any app list, but if needed, you can launch it from "Run" by typing "MRT".
Tenth in a series. Welcome to this year's first look at what's new and hot in Windows Store and the Windows 8 ecosystem. The week has been rather uneventful but that can easily be explained with the Holiday season, which is never the most productive time of the year when it comes to software. This week there are 23,788 apps in the U.S. Windows Store of which 4,439 are paid applications of which about half offer free trials, and 19,365 free apps. Some of the free apps may include advertisement or in-store purchases, but there is unfortunately no statistic available on that.
Here is a selection of 10 Windows 8 apps that released this week or were updated.
If you regularly find yourself helping to fix other people’s PC problems then you’ve probably already thought about creating a portable troubleshooting toolkit. And this needn’t take very long. Just copy something like the Sysinternals Suite to a USB stick, for instance, and you’ll be more than equipped to diagnose and resolve all kinds of issues.
And if you find you need to extend your troubleshooting capabilities even further, then you can always add another free toolkit or two. Switchblade is an excellent free example: just download the latest version, unzip it to your USB key and you’ll gain all kinds of useful features and functionality.
Are you tired of the standard Windows search tool? You’re not alone. Its indexing component is difficult to control, and uses too many resources; we’ve found the index can become corrupted for no apparent reason; and filtering the results just isn’t as easy as it needs to be.
Fortunately there are plenty of interesting alternatives around, and AstroGrep is one of the best: compact, powerful yet also simple to use, it’s a search tool which should appeal to just about everyone.
While anti-virus packages are fine at removing malware, they’re often less useful at undoing the damage an infection has caused. And so even if you’ve managed to get rid of the initial threat, you might still have problems running Explorer, opening particular files, launching key Windows components, and so on.
Windows Medkit is an interesting collection of tools which promises it can help regain control, fix the Registry and get everything working again. Sounds impressive, especially when you notice that the package comes in the form of a tiny (107KB) download, but can it really deliver? We took the program for a spin.
Microsoft chose to kill off Live Mesh, its PC-to-PC syncing service, late last year. Of course we knew this was coming when Windows Essentials 2012 was released without the Live Mesh app as a part of the suite, but for some reason, the company waited to hold off making the official announcement until a bit later.
The reason for the move is clear -- Microsoft wants customers to migrate to SkyDrive. Although it's unquestionably a great cloud service, SkyDrive doesn't provide P2P syncing like Live Mesh, instead forcing customers to use the cloud as an intermediary. Sounds fine, but it only comes with 7 GB of free storage, or 25 GB if you were grandfathered in as an early adopter.
Browsers are fine for displaying content, but not nearly as useful when you want to download it, and this is especially true with web galleries. No matter how simple the collection of images, you’ll still probably have to work them all manually, right-clicking each in turn and trying to figure out the appropriate option ("Save as", "Save link as", whatever it might be).
If you’d prefer an easy life, though, you could forget all the usual hassles and turn to NeoDownloader Lite, instead. While the program has some issues, it’s still a great way to simplify and speed up the process of downloading images from the web.
Anvisoft has released Anvi Uninstaller, a basic tool which aims to help you fully remove unwanted applications.
The program is essentially a free, cut-down version of a module in the company’s Cloud System Booster Pro 2.0, and it’s decidedly short on features and functionality. But, if you’re looking for something very simple and safe, then it could still appeal.
It’s no secret that the Windows clipboard is, well, just a little limited. Copy a snippet of text from your web browser, say, and you’ve already reached the clipboard’s capacity: copy another and the first will be removed, lost forever, a real annoyance if you need it later.
There are plenty of clipboard extenders around to try and address this problem, of course. Basic examples might save clipboard text. Most will save text and images. But Save.Me is rather more ambitious, with the program aiming to save absolutely everything: text, images, URLs, files, folders, it’s all preserved for speedy access at a later date.
If your PC’s performance is currently suffering because of a few memory hogs, then a few minutes spent with Process Explorer,Process Hacker, or even just Task Manager will probably be enough to tell you what’s going on.
Those tools can be a little intimidating, though, so if you’d like something simpler – or would just like to monitor your system’s RAM usage all the time -- then you may prefer Cathargo Software’s free and extremely lightweight MemInfo.