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.
Piriform, Inc has released CCleaner for Mac 1.07.233, a minor refresh of its Mac freeware cleaning tool. Modelled closely on CCleaner 4.0 for Windows, version 1.07 sports the same refreshed program icons and interface tweaks as found in the latest Windows build, but also sports a number of new and improved features.
Notable improvements in this new release include better compatibility with OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and better cleaning speeds when running in the latest version of OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion).
Anonymous proxies can be a very useful privacy tool, hiding your IP address from websites, and perhaps allowing you to bypass local restrictions on the websites and pages you can visit.
The technology can also be complicated, interfering with your regular network settings, and drastically cutting your online performance, of course. But Freegate proves that it doesn’t have to be that way.
The PC world is packed with supposed performance-boosting suites, most of which are almost exactly the same. You’ll have a program to list your Startup programs, another one to delete your temporary internet files, a few system tweaking options – all very predictable (and, usually, not even that effective).
The news that Synei are introducing a very similar range of free tools -- a disk cleaner, services optimiser, startup manager and more -- probably won’t fill you with excitement, then. But wait: while the tools are far from perfect, there’s more than enough functionality here to make them very interesting.
If you find Finder frustratingly limited, then you’ll be in the market for a replacement/enhancement tool. There are plenty of paid-for Finder enhancements out there, but over the past year or so they’ve been increasingly put to the shade by a fabulous, and rapidly developing, free tool called XtraFinder 0.16.1.
We’ve been checking back occasionally to see how XtraFinder is developing, and with version 0.16.1 now out, there have been a staggering 20 updates since we last looked at it back in September, so we thought it was the perfect time to bring you up to speed.
What’s the one thing that is missing from Windows Explorer? Actually, there’s probably more than just one thing missing, but what is the most obvious? Tabs. They are now so ubiquitous in web browsers that it’s unlikely you give them a second thought; they’re just there and you use them. Why should your file browser be any different? This is an anomaly that the developers of Clover felt had to be put right with the latest release.
Aside from the addition of tabs to Explorer -- which means that it is possible to deal with multiple folders in a single window -- there are a number of other changes in this latest released. For anyone concerned with aesthetics, support for themes means that the look of the program can be completely changed.
Saving a document as a PDF generally produces a very small file, which is one reason the format is such a popular way to share information.
This isn’t always the case, though. And so if it’s important your documents are as compact as they can possibly be, then you might like to try shrinking them even further, with a little help from the free (for personal and non-commercial use) ORPALIS PDF Reducer Free.
If you’re working on some important PC task and want to avoid distractions, then maximizing your program window is usually a good place to start. But if you need to monitor several programs -- or the window just can’t be maximized -- then Le Dimmer may offer a more interesting approach.
The program is tiny, portable, and has just a single task: after launching, it dims everything on your desktop apart from the current window.
Keyboard task switching under Windows normally means repeatedly pressing Alt+Tab or Win+Tab, cycling through your running applications until you find what you need. But this is a more direct way. If you see you required program is, say, the 7th button on the taskbar, then pressing Win+7 will launch it directly.
When your taskbar is cluttered then of course it may take a moment to figure out exactly which number any particular button might be. But that’s where the free 7+ Taskbar Numberer comes in. The program can add number overlays to each of your taskbar buttons, helping you identify them at a glance.
Although the decentralized digital currency first appeared in 2009, Bitcoin’s popularity has really taken off in recent weeks and the value of the coins has skyrocketed since January. The world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, currently has the currency listed as being worth $209 per coin.
Although you can purchase bitcoins, the real way to get your hands on some is to mine for them using a computer. The process involves solving a complex mathematical algorithm and it becomes harder to find blocks of bitcoins as time goes on because there’s only a set number of them in the system (the total number of bitcoins in existence will never exceed 21 million).
Adobe has refreshed its cross-platform web media playback and runtime tools with the release of Adobe Flash Player for Other Browsers 11.7, Adobe Flash Player for Internet Explorer 11.7 and Adobe AIR 3.7.0.
There’s only one notable change to report in this first stable release of Flash Player 11.7: enhancements to the sandboxing features that allow it to better address application launches in protected mode.
Task Manager, Regedit and Explorer are fine for basic Windows troubleshooting, but if your system is having real problems, or you’re trying to manually remove a virus, say, then stronger medicine will be required.
And it would be difficult to find anything quite as strong as PC Hunter.
Patch Tuesday is almost upon us yet again. As is its custom, Microsoft has released a monthly Advance Security Bulletin to let customers know what to expect next week. There are nine bulletins headed our way on April 9, with two of them being considered critical.
Per standard procedures, Microsoft does not release details of the patches until the updates are actually live. This is done in an effort to prevent the bad guys from knowing the vulnerabilities and attempting to take advantage of them between now and the update release. There is, however, nothing to protect those users who fail to install Windows updates in a timely fashion.
It’s no secret that Windows 8 has seen some controversial changes, in particular the removal of the Start menu. But with all the focus on these larger issues, you might have missed some smaller, but also significant design decisions. Like, for example, that there’s no longer any desktop alert when Windows updates are available.
There is a new alert on the logon screen, of course. And you can always set up Windows to install updates automatically. But, if you don’t reboot often (or you bypass the logon screen), and you want to keep tighter control over your updates, then you’ll need to look elsewhere for a little extra assistance. And Windows Update Notifier is the perfect candidate.
Capturing streaming videos from other sites can be a challenge, though, as their URLs are often concealed by scripts and similar tricks. Examining the page source will sometimes give you clues, but URL Snooper could be a simpler option: the program just watches your internet activity, and displays a list of any streaming URLs it finds.