While the ability to capture and share an image of your screen is extremely useful, it’s not exactly an area where Windows has excelled. Under DOS pressing PrtSc sent an image of your screen to the printer; under Windows 3.x the grab was copied to the clipboard; after more than 20 years, Windows 8 added the ability to save an image by pressing Win+PrtSc; and that’s about it.
If you’d like something a little more capable, then, it’s probably best to forget Microsoft and look for a third-party solution. And if you’re particularly interested in sharing screengrabs then PostImage could make an excellent choice.
Using your laptop on the move can mean having to dart from one power source to another. Whether you have a new laptop with a brand new battery, or an aging system with a battery that has seen better days, the amount of time you can use your computer without plugging in is of paramount importance. There are steps you can take to maximize the life of your battery, and it is also something that FatBatt can help you with.
There are several facets to the app. Firstly, it aims to give you an accurate estimate of how long your battery is going to last before you need to charge it up. This enables you to make informed decisions about how to use the time available to you, and how to manage your next charging session.
There are plenty of ways you can spruce up your Windows desktop, but if you’d like to inject some useful functionality into it with the help of customisable information panes and interactive widgets, then you shouldn’t look much further than Rainmeter 2.5. The open-source skinning tool isn’t for novices, but spend a bit of time with it and you’ll soon find your desktop is as functional as it’s attractive to look at.
One of Rainmeter’s weaknesses is the quality of the text displayed, particularly at smaller sizes. That’s about to be rectified however, and you can see how they’re getting on by installing the latest pre-release in the form of Rainmeter 3.0 Beta.
The first public beta of WinRAR 5.0 is now available. And it’s an interesting release with quite a few new features, although most are based around the addition of a new archiving format -- RAR 5.0.
This first aims to improve compression performance by increasing the maximum and default dictionary sizes. Some older and less efficient compression algorithms have been ditched, while RAR 5.0 decompression can make use of multiple CPU cores.
One way to gain loads of free online storage space is to mix and match storage providers, taking advantage of each to quickly build up tens of gigabytes of cloud-based storage for backup, sync and sharing purposes. The downside of such an approach is the fact you need to manage each provider using its own dedicated app.
Nowhere is this frustration more evident than when using a tablet or phone to access your data, as you have to switch between apps to try and locate where you’ve stored a particular file. But help may be hand in the form of an app for Windows 8, iPad and Android calledRainbowDrive 2.0.0 that attempts to bring multiple providers together under one roof.
If you’d like to keep an eye on your kids’ PC activities then you could pay big money for a full-strength parental controls package, with comprehensive monitoring tools, detailed reports and a whole lot more.
If your needs are more basic, though, you could just download AutoScreenShot, a tiny free tool which will save regular screenshots which you can review later.
Piriform has released CCleaner 4.01 and CCleaner Portable 4.01, a minor update to its popular Windows freeware system cleaning tool. Version 4.01 is the first release since version 4.0 split users into free and paid-for camps by restricting product features to Pro license holders only.
Most of version 4.01’s tweaks are available to both free and paid-for users, and revolve around improving existing tools and adding cleaning support to several new applications.
Stardock Software has released ModernMix 1.05, the first major update to its paid-for Windows 8 tool for running full-screen apps in their own window within the confines of the Windows 8 desktop.
Version 1.05 adds background sound support for apps such as Netflix that don’t explicitly support it, meaning users don’t need to focus on the window in order to hear that app’s audio output. The new feature is joined by a preference that allows this support to be switched off if it’s not wanted.
BurnAware 6.2 adds two new features to its roster: the first allows users to set individual priorities for any file or folder in the Compilation window -- simply right-click the item in question and select Properties. The default setting is Very Low, but can be cranked incrementally all the way up to Very High via the Priority dropdown menu.
The time has come to move on to a new PC, but before jettisoning your old computer, you need to make sure you’re ready for the big move. That means two key things: getting your data, programs and settings migrated across to your new computer, and making sure there’s nothing sensitive or incriminating left on your old PC before you dispose of it.
Thankfully, both tasks can be made simple with the help of two or three superb tools, all of which are heavily discounted in the Downloadcrew Software Store this month. Step forward Laplink PCmover Professional 8, O&O SafeErase Professional 6 and for those looking to migrate to Windows 8, O&O Migration Kit for Windows 8.
IObit has released Advanced SystemCare Free 6.2.0, a minor update to its freeware system optimization and maintenance tool. The program, which can be upgraded to a Pro version with enhanced malware protection, deeper cleansing and automatic optimization, offers PC users a wide range of tools for maintaining, cleaning, optimizing and securing their computer.
Version 6.2 is a minor maintenance release that promises improvements across many of the program’s individual components. It also promises better compatibility with Windows 8.
Even when they appear idle, PCs are forever buzzing with background activity, as Windows and application processes save data to log files, tweak Registry keys and carry out assorted other updates. Normally this can be safely ignored, but sometimes -- if you think you’ve just installed malware, say, and would like to check what it’s done -- then you might wonder what’s changed on your system in the past few minutes.
And that’s where DiffView comes in. If you want to find out more about recent activities on your PC, then you’ll first need to tell DiffView where you’d like it to scan. Clicking the Files tab reveals an Explorer-type view where you can select particular folders – \Windows, say, or \Program Files – while the Registry tab allows you to select a particular area of the Registry.
If you regularly try out freeware tools then you’ll know many come bundled with annoying adware. This can use all kinds of dubious tactics to install itself on your PC, and getting rid of these irritations later can be a problem (even if you remove the core code, remnants usually remain to clutter your system).
Fortunately there are plenty of tools around to help clean up your PC -- and Junkware Removal Tool is just about the simplest we’ve ever seen.
Piriform has released Defraggler 2.14.705 and Defraggler Portable 2.14.705, a minor, but noteworthy, update of its freeware defragging tool that allows users to both defrag entire drives and individual files.
Version 2.14 adds support for UDF file systems, plus allows users to defrag their drive’s free space on a schedule while also improving its search tools and navigation.
Every time you create, modify or access a folder on your PC, Windows records these details in the Registry. There’s nothing shady about this -- the action is a key part of recording your folder view settings, and maintaining a list of your favorite folders -- but it does introduce a privacy risk, as snoopers can use the data to track some of your PC activities.
Exactly how much information is exposed here will vary, but if you’re not already familiar with the issue then it makes sense to check your PC with the free ShellBag AnalyZer & Cleaner. There’s no adware, no installation required, just download and launch the program and in a few seconds you’ll have the full picture.