Mike Williams

Etcher burns images to USB keys, SD cards, more


Etcher is an open-source cross-platform tool for burning images to SD cards, USB drives and other removable devices.

The program keeps operations to the bare minimum, all of them clearly displayed on a simple interface. Choose your image, then your drive, and finally click the "Flash!" button.

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Search for animated GIFs from your desktop with AstroGif


AstroGif is an open-source menu bar app which allows you to search for animated GIFs and copy their URL, or the markdown equivalent, to the clipboard.

The program runs in the background on your PC. It can be launched by clicking its system tray icon, or pressing its (customizable) hotkey, Ctrl+Alt+Space.

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Add shortcuts to Control Panel with My Computer Manager


Windows makes it easy to place shortcuts in any folder, except of course system folders like Control Panel or My Computer (aka This PC), where for some reason none of the usual rules apply.

My Computer Manager is a free portable tool which helps out by displaying details of your existing Control Panel applets and enables adding custom items of your own.

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ImageDownloader batch downloads pics from Reddit, Imgur


ImageDownloader is a portable open-source tool which can batch download images from your favorite subreddit, or Imgur album.

The program arrives as a very compact 396KB download, so it’s no surprise that the interface is basic, just a few tabs and settings for each download task.

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Omnicode Snatch is a quirky desktop recorder


Omnicode Snatch is a free tool for capturing video and audio of what’s happening on your desktop.

The program interface is, well, a surprise. There are no menus, toolbars or panels, no flashy graphics, hi-res icons or even any touches of color -- it’s just a mess of buttons, boxes and lists.

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Unigine ships graphics benchmark with 8K, VR support


Russian software developer Unigine Corp has shipped a new graphics benchmark based on the Unigine 2 engine.

Unigine Superposition Benchmark can use DirectX or OpenGL to stress-test your GPU, and offers support for resolutions from 720p up to 8K.

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My Family Tree 7 extends GEDCOM, PAF support


Chronoplex Software has released My Family Tree 7.0 (32-bit here), the latest edition of its excellent freeware genealogy package.

This release adds support for importing the old FamilySearch Personal Ancestral File (PAF) records, as well as older GEDCOM files produced by the Family History System.

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Force Windows to write cached data to disk with FFB


Run a Windows program which writes to disk and the changes won’t necessarily be saved immediately. The OS holds them in its cache for a short while, then writes them all at once in an optimized order to improve performance.

While that seems like a smart speedup move, it can also cause problems. Unplug a USB key before all the changes have been corrupted and the drive could be corrupted.

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CrankWheel: easy screen sharing for Chrome


CrankWheel is an easy-to-use Chrome extension which enables speedy sharing of your Chrome tabs or entire screen, without installing any other software.

The service requires a little setup before you start. You must provide your email address, choose a password, a unique name for your "meetings", and so on.

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How to download old versions of Firefox


Downloading the latest version of Firefox for your PC is simple. Point your browser at the site, click "Free Download" and you’ll automatically get the latest version that matches your PC.

If you regularly need to download another build, though, life gets more complicated. You have to follow an "other platform" link, maybe select a 32 or 64-bit version, or follow yet another link to work your way through a list of languages.

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GetDiz: a Notepad replacement with a difference


Notepad replacements are usually aimed at the most technical users, and like to boast about their syntax highlighting for 500 languages, customizable Git integration and support for more code pages than you ever knew existed.

GetDiz isn’t interested in any of that, it doesn’t even have tabs, but if you just want something that’s like Notepad, but better, it might appeal.

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Cerebro is a keyboard-friendly launcher and search tool


Cerebro is an open-source Alfred-like search bar and application launcher for Windows, Linux and Mac.

The program aims to be a mix of your OS search with a web search engine, and can be extended even further with a host of plugins and addons.

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Registry Finder adds concurrent search support


Sergey Filippov’s excellent Registry editor and search tool Registry Finder has hit version 2.18 with some major additions.

The big news is that searches now run independently of everything else. There’s no need to sit and wait for a search to complete: you can browse other parts of the Registry, carry out edits or other tasks while the search continues.

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Inspect and optimize your Windows startup programs with StartEd Lite


StartEd Lite is a free-for-personal-use Windows application for viewing, editing and optimizing your startup programs. It’s a familiar idea -- we’ve probably used hundreds of programs which claim to do exactly the same thing -- but StartEd does manage to include some interesting and unusual ideas.

The program doesn’t get off to a good start. It has to be installed, as there’s no portable option, and the list of startup programs is taken from your startup folder and Registry Run keys only. StartEd will only ever display a fraction of the programs you’ll see in AutoRuns.

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Record your desktop instantly with ChrisPC Screen Recorder


ChrisPC Screen Recorder is a versatile desktop recorder in both cut-down free-for-personal-use and commercial (24.99 Euro) editions.

Both builds offer recording of full-screen, application window and rectangular areas, in windowed or borderless forms and with audio support. There are options to highlight your mouse cursor in the recording, and play a sound on mouse clicks, helpful in video tutorials.

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