Nick Peers

Opera 49 adds editable elements to its screen capture tool, rolls out VR headset support

Opera Software has unveiled Opera 49, the latest version of its Chromium-powered browser for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Opera 49’s headline new feature is a major update to its new snapshot tool, with editing features, a selfie mode and support for emoji. Elsewhere, the VR headset support previewed in the Developer release has also been included, along with a new 'easy setup' button offering convenient access to key settings.

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Audacity unveils new themed look along with other interface updates

Open-source sound recording, editing and mixing tool Audacity 2.2.0 has been released for Windows, Mac and Linux, around two years after version 2.1.0 made its bow.

Version 2.2.0’s highlights include support for themes -- with a choice of four provided, plus reorganization of the program’s menus, additional help buttons and a major code overhaul.

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Foxit Reader 9 unveils single-key accelerators, plus improves search, commenting and accessibility tools

Foxit Software has released Foxit Reader 9.0, a major new version of its free PDF creation and reader tool for Windows PCs.

The new release focuses on improving the program’s accessibility with new single-key accelerators among other changes, but also adds a new single-column Reflow view and features notable updates to the program’s commenting features and search tools.

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O&O DiskImage Professional 12 promises to speed up file backups by up to 100 percent

O&O Software GMBH has launched O&O DiskImage Professional 12, the latest version of its Windows disk-imaging and file backup tool.

Version 12 focuses on improving its file-backup component, promising to complete backups in half the time of the previous release. It’s also updated for full compatibility with the newly released Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

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WebSite X5 Evolution 14 improves navigation menu, updates effects and templates

Incomedia has released a major new version of its wizard-driven web-building tool with the launch of WebSite X5 Evolution 14.0. Website X5 Evolution is accompanied by both higher (Professional) and lower (Start) packages.

Version 14.0 focuses its new features in three key areas: usability, graphics and performance. Highlights include more flexible navigational menus, better support for web fonts, additional special effects and revamped blogging and ecommerce modules.

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FBackup 7 adds Dropbox and CD/DVD support, Fast Mirror backup option

Softland has released FBackup 7.0 and Backup4all 7.0, major new versions of its free and paid-for Windows backup products.

Both programs, which offer file-based backup and extended functionality via plug-ins, add new cloud backup destinations, while FBackup gains support for CD/DVD backups and a Fast Mirror backup option.

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AOMEI PE Builder Free 2.0 released, now supports Windows XP through to Windows 10

Three years ago, AOMEI unveiled the first version of PE Builder. We were thrilled, because it provided a simple -- yet flexible -- way of creating the Windows equivalent of a "live" Linux CD, whereby you can run a graphically friendly operating system direct from CD/DVD or USB flash drive.

After a few updates, the software appeared to have died -- with only support for Windows 7 and 8. Imagine our delight, then, when we were informed that AOMEI PE Builder 2.0 had been released.

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Windows Firewall Control 5 released, extends protection offered by built-in firewall

Why does anyone need a third-party firewall when Windows offers one of its own? One huge plus for switching firewalls is to provide yourself with two-way protection: the Windows Firewall only monitors inbound traffic from the internet, not traffic that originates on your PC.

The annoying thing is, the Windows Firewall can offer two-way protection, but it’s fiddly to configure and not enabled by default. Enter stage left, the recently updated Windows Firewall Control 5.01.

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Macrium Reflect Free 7.1 adds Hyper-V support, now licensed for commercial use

Paramount Software (UK) Ltd has released Macrium Reflect Free Edition 7.1, a major new release of its disk imaging backup tool for Windows.

Macrium Reflect 7.1 adds three headline features: integrated viBoot2 providing instant virtualization of Macrium backup images, Task Scheduler 2.0 API use for compatibility with the latest versions of Windows 10, and finally a license for use in a business as well as a non-commercial environment.

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Firefox 56 unveils improved preferences, paves the way for Firefox Quantum

Mozilla has released Firefox 56, with Firefox for Android 56.0 due imminently. Firefox 56’s chief highlight is the rollout of Firefox Screenshots to all users. The built-in tool for capturing, saving and sharing screenshots from the browser was made available to a subset of users with the previous release.

The announcement comes with news of Firefox 57, which has been billed by Mozilla as "our biggest release of the year." It will unveil portions of a new next-generation browser engine as well as a major design refresh to fit in better with modern operating systems.

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Opera 48 unveils pop-up search and conversion tools, Snapshot screen-capture utility

Opera Software has unveiled Opera 48 for Windows, Mac and Linux. After the last feature-light release, version 48 adds a number of interesting new features as well as improvements.

Chief among these is a new pop-up search tool, which also doubles as currency, unit and time zone converter. Opera also adds a new screenshot capture tool for web pages, plus widens its bookmark-importing tool to support Edge and Yandex browsers.

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O&O Defrag Professional 21 adds O&O DiskStat 3, streamlines performance and improves cleaning

O&O Software GmbH has unveiled O&O Defrag Professional 21.0, a major new build of its renowned Windows drive defragmentation and optimization tool.

Version 21’s headline new feature is that it includes a free version of O&O DiskStat 3, which can be used in conjunction with O&O Defrag’s DiskCleaner component to help clean up hard drives. O&O Defrag 21 also comes with the promise of faster file access and further optimizations to its DiskCleaner module.

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Surf the web securely and anonymously with Hotspot Shield 7

When it comes to protecting yourself online -- particularly when surfing through insecure public connections -- then nothing beats a good old VPN. Virtual Private Networks create encrypted tunnels in which you can surf the web, check your email and connect to remote networks secure in the knowledge you can’t be hacked.

If you’re a Windows user, then the recently released Hotspot Shield 7.1.2 may appeal, offering a free, ad-supported (and bandwidth-limited) way of connecting via VPN.

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Blender 2.79 adds new and improved tools, enhances cycle rendering feature

Non-profit organization The Blender Foundation has released Blender 2.79, an update to its cross-platform, open-source 3D graphics tool. The new build further improves its Cycles Rendering feature, bringing feature parity with NVIDIA CUDA and improved performance to AMD OpenCL hardware.

Other highlights include additional tools and options being added to the Grease Pencil, Alembic, Mesh Modeling tools, while simplified video encoding and user interface improvements have also been implemented.

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Mountain Duck 2.0 adds support for client-side encryption of cloud storage

Bern software developer iterate GmbH has released Mountain Duck 2.0 for Windows and Mac. Mountain Duck is designed to make it easy for users to mount server and cloud storage through File Explorer and Finder.

Version 2.0 adds several new features, most notably support for transparent client-side encryption of data using Cryptomator. It also adds support for Microsoft OneDrive accounts.

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