Articles about Know Your PC

O&O DiskImage 7 Professional streamlines user interface

hard drive

Berlin developer O&O Software has released a brand new version of its drive-imaging and backup tool. O&O DiskImage 7 Professional 32-bit, also available as a 64-bit build, adds full support for Windows 8 and EFI/UEFI systems.

Version 7 also allows users to create an emergency boot CD from directly within the program itself, plus debuts a streamlined interface designed to appeal to less experienced users. It’s also now capable of adapting to third-party energy saving settings, ensuring disk images aren’t compromised.

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Uniblue PowerSuite 2013 build 4.1.4.0 adds startup manager and resource optimizer

Powersuite 2013

Looking to tweak Windows? There are plenty of tools to choose form if you don’t fancy the idea of editing the registry, but you have to sort the wheat from the chaff in order to find something half decent. The world of tweaking tools is divided into two camps: utilities that are free and those that are not. Paying for a program is not necessarily an indication of quality, and with PowerSuite Lite 2013 you have the option of sticking with the free version or paying a bit for a range of extra tools.

Whichever route you decide to go down, the latest build 4.1.4.0 introduces two important new enhancements -- a PC startup manager and PC Resource Optimizer. The free, lite version of the program features the PC Resource Optimizer component and, when enabled, this component of the suite aims to improve the performance and responsiveness of your system by balancing processor and disk resources so demand is never too high at any given time.

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re7zip remotely extracts files from online archives

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Although ISO files are a very convenient way to distribute software, then can often be very large, perhaps gigabytes in size. And if you only need maybe one or two files from the image, having to download the whole thing first will probably seem just a little annoying.

There could be an alternative, though. Re7zip is an interesting Java-based tool which can remotely extract files from an http-hosted archive, without having to download the full archive first -- and in some situations that could save you an enormous amount of time.

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Need to restore your PC? Try Windows Post-Install Wizard

CD DVD optical disc

The prospect of reinstalling Windows is not one that many people relish, particularly if it is something that needs to be done on a regular basis, to numerous machines, or both. Part of the problem is that getting everything set up how you want it to be is that once Windows itself is up and running, there is still a great deal to do in terms of configuring the operating system to your liking as well as installing the applications you need.

Whether you are someone who frequently wipes the hard drive to start afresh, or you are an admin looking after several computers that need to be refreshed from time to time, Windows Post-Install Wizard is a tool that exists to help make your life easier. The seemingly simple task of cleaning up a system by installing the operating system from scratch can very easily turn into a chore that takes up and entire day -- until your create your own custom installation disc that is.

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WinZip 17 reaches for the cloud

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Connecticut-based WinZip International LLC has updated the Windows version of its world-famous compression tool with a plethora of major new features, including cloud integration and sharing. WinZip 17.0 launches with the ability to zip, manage and share files directly from cloud-based services and social media sites.

Version 17 also adds tools for converting Office documents to PDF, resizing images and adding watermarks, plus revamps its interface in a move designed to make the program more intuitive to use.

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StaxRip is a video conversion tool with real power

film director

Converting videos from one format to another can be an extremely complicated process, which is why most transcoding tools do their best to protect you from it. You might drag in a movie, choose the iPhone profile and click a button to begin conversion, say – all very easy.

If you have a good understanding of video basics, though, this handholding can become annoying, and you might occasionally wish you had access to something more powerful. Sounds familiar? Then you might want to take a look at the open source StaxRip.

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Advanced SystemCare 6 FREE is Windows 8-ready

Hard Drive

IObit has released Advanced SystemCare 6 FREE, a brand new version of its freeware optimization tool. Version 6.0 debuts a new, streamlined interface, and comes with full support for Windows 8.

ASC 6 Free, which is also available in Pro form with additional functionality, also updates its Surfing Protection, Driver Manager and Privacy Sweep databases, adds support for additional languages and provides unspecified general bug fixes.

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What's filling up your hard drive? JDiskReport can tell you

hard drive

When you’re looking to free up a little hard drive space, then you might start by using something like CCleaner to find and remove logs, leftover temporary files and assorted other junk.

But if that doesn’t help very much, then your next step should be to try and get a better understanding of exactly what is filling up your drive. And the free, Java-based JDiskReport is the ideal tool to help.

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Got big files to backup? Try Split Byte

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Shoot a video, run a backup, create a virtual machine: there are all kinds of programs and operations that can create truly massive, multi-gigabyte files. And while these monsters remain on your hard drive, there’s no problem.

But if you want to back them up, perhaps share the files with others, then life could become a little more difficult. Unless, that is, you use a tool like Split Byte to separate your files into smaller, more manageable chunks.

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FileOptimizer can compress 33 different formats

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Recently we took a look at PNGGauntlet, an excellent tool which could compress PNG files by up to 50 percent without any apparent loss of quality.

If you found that program useful, but wished it had more scope, then you might want to take a look at FileOptimizer. This tool can compress images, documents, archives, audio files, executable files, 33 formats in total: AIR, APK, APNG APPX, BMP, CBZ, DOCX, DLL, EPUB, EXE, GIF, GZ, ICO, JAR, JPEG, MNG, MP3, MPP, PNG, PPTX, ODT, OGG, OGV, PDF, PUB, SCR, SWF, TIF, VSD, WEBP, XAP, XLSX, and ZIP.

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Save big on these October software treats

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September was crazy month for new software. Whether this was the rush to get new products on-sale before the Windows 8 launch or the traditional Q3 pre-Christmas release schedule, or a combination of both, you may have missed one of these important releases.

Creating PDF files used to be an incredibly expensive operation but this is no longer the case. Nitro Pro 8 is an advanced PDF creation and editing tool which is available at a 20-percent discount -- just $95.99. For a limited period of time, you can get the previous Nitro Pro 7 for only $59.99, saving 50 percent from MSRP. There are also multi-user versions of Nitro Pro 8, so you can buy for your business and save further.

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When Task Manager isn't enough, try Process Liquidator

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When you need to view or close a few running processes, then Task Manager isn’t too difficult to use. A quick Ctrl+Shift+Esc, the Processes tab will show you precisely what’s running, and you can close whatever you like with some assistance from the “End Process” button.

But if you need something even easier, though, there’s always Process Liquidator, a simple Task Manager alternative which claims it can display all your running processes, and delete your preferred choice with a single click.

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ExamDiff makes comparing text files easier

keyboard

If you need to figure out the differences between two files on a PC then you’ve always been able to use the COMP command. And we do mean always: it’s been around for 30 years, since the days of DOS 1.0. COMP isn’t exactly the most intuitive of tools, though, so if you just want to compare a couple of HTML files, say, then we’d recommend something a little more up-to-date, in the shape of the free ExamDiff.

Launch the program and you must first point it at the files you’d like to compare. Only text files are supported (the commercial Pro versions can compare binary files, directories and add many other features: see the author’s website for details). Click OK, and both documents are displayed, side-by-side, with added, deleted or changed files highlighted.

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Turn your tablet or phone into a second monitor

laptop tablet smartphone

If you use, or have ever used, a multi-monitor computer, you’ll know just how useful a setup it can be. Have the extra space afforded you by double the usual number of monitor enables you to see more at once, work more quickly and be more productive -- but it can also be expensive and requires you to have a desk large enough to hold two monitors comfortably. If you have a mobile device, however, you can use iDisplay to gain an extra monitor from your existing hardware.

The name of the software might imply that this is something that will only be of interest to Apple hardware owners, but in fact it can be used in conjunction with an iOS or Android phone or tablet. Your mobile device does no need to be physically connected to your computer -- the desktop version of the client software is available for both Mac and PC -- which opens up new opportunities.

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Need to find files or folders nearly instantly? Try UltraSearch 1.7

Search

AM Software has released UltraSearch 1.7, a major update of its super-speedy MFT search tool.

As with many similar tools, the program doesn’t waste resources maintaining an index on your hard drive. Instead it accesses the NTFS Master File Table directly, which allows UltraSearch to retrieve its results at very high speed, typically just a second or two.

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