Windows News, Updates, tips and software
userassist

Windows stores information about the programs that you use

I really had troubles finding an appropriate title for this article. Windows XP displays a list of the most recent programs that you have accessed by default in the start menu. Did you know that those information are continuously updated even though the option to show them has been disabled ? A check on my personal account revealed that Windows stored information from 2005 until today.

Change all the icons that you want in windows

The freeware IconX makes it possible to change any icon that you can get your hands on in Windows. It takes care of file type and specific files, folders and even drives. The installation is pretty simple. Download the IconX software and right-click IconX.inf and select install to install the shell extension. Please note that you need to write the author to receive a validation code because the software was shareware and is now freeware.

dvd flick

Create Custom DVD's with DVD Flick

When I'm looking at my video collection I see different formats, file sizes, resolutions, bitrates, audio formats and codecs. It normally takes some time to create a DVD from this mess. What would you do if you wanted to create a DVD from various .mov, .avi and .mpg files ? Convert them, load them into a program that is able to create DVD`s and burn them afterwards ? How much time would that take, what would you say ?

rip-it-4-me

Backup your DVD's

Why would someone want to backup his DVD`s ? The Movie Industry apparently thinks that no one should be able to backup his own, bought, DVD movies because of the build in copy protection of almost all new movie DVD`s. We, who pay money for the DVD`s, want to have the right to make a backup of a DVD that cost $20 or more. Some users don't want to have scratches on their DVD`s, some want to use the DVD in their cars or Notebooks without fearing to lose or damage the original one.

How to clone your hard drives

A recent forum post from ffolke at the ghacks forum asked about a free method to clone a hard drive to another one. There are actually several freeware tools out there that can do this and they distinguish each other mostly by ease of use and interface. The one tool that I would use for such a purpose is called DriveImage XML which supports SATA drivesn external hard drives and flash memory such as that of my iPod Nano.

grid move

Grid Move divides your desktop into grids

It is often a time consuming task to arrange three or more open windows on your desktop in a manner that the information of all windows is accessible. You drag them around, make one window smaller, place the next besides and reduce the size of the third one to match the remaining free space. Grid Move makes it all so much simpler.

Secure Windows XP

There are many articles floating around on the internet covering this subject and I would like to stay at the basics this time. A way to secure Windows XP with little effort. You can't make a system 100% secure, there will always be ways to beat every protection. I collected a list of things that should be done to secure the system, it is not a huge list but it covers all the necessary steps I think.

ntfs disable 8dot3 name creation

Remove Ntfs Timestamps to speed up Vista

If you are using the nfts filesystem in windows xp you might know this registry hack to speed things up a little bit. The default mode is that every time you alter a file a timestamp will be saved which is for most users completely useless. Some backup programs or synchronizers use this feature but most others don't.

divx repair

Fix your Divx Movies

I guess one of the following situations has happened to everyone who is viewing Divx movies on his computer. If you have experienced a frozen image with the sound still playing normally or pixels that distort the image then Divx Repair is the program that you could use to fix the errors automatically.

readyboost

Activate ReadyBoost in Windows Vista

Readyboost is a new disk caching technique in Windows Vista which uses flash memory from flash devices to boost system performance. Caching system ressources for small, random I/Os in flash ram is faster than caching them on one of your hard drives which speeds up certain disk reads by the factor 8-10.

drop my rights

Drop my Rights: run programs with limited rights on Windows

Most users that work with Windows XP in a home environment use the administrators account which is probably the easiest but also least secure way of working with Windows XP. A solution that most users dislike would be to create a limited second account and only switch to the administrators account if the privileges of that account are needed. Many users don't like this idea because it means switching accounts every now and then to be able to use the system.

http file server

Share Files with HTTP File Server

You have some friends or business partners that you want to share data with but have no website with enough space and don't want to use p2p as well ? One simple way to share files of any size is to use the HTTP File Server which emulates a basic file server on your home computer. The server can be run in public or private mode and it is normally a very good idea to run it in private mode.

tweak vista screenshot

Tweak Vista Freeware

Vista can't be bought by the public but some developers are already starting to create special tools for Windows Vista that give you the same functionality that you enjoyed while using Windows XP. The freeware that I'm going to review today is called Tweak VI and is the successor of the well know Tweak XP program. You need to supply a email during installation and will be asked if you want to install EasyBCD as well.

pc decrapifier

Get rid of preinstalled Software

Did you ever buy a new computer from manufacturers like Dell, HP or Sony ? If you did you know that those computers come loaded with a bunch of preinstalled software products that are normally not very useful and use valuable disk space. One option would be to uninstall one product after the other until you have every last one of them removed from your new computer.

Use your Wiimote in Windows

I bought a Nintendo Wii when it came out. As you might know you do not use gamepads to play the games but the so called Wiimote which looks very much like a tv remote control and uses bluetooth to communicate with the core system. Carl Kenner developed the software Glove Pie which can be used to control games and applications with gestures, speech and other input devices.

RivaTuner 2.0 Final

RivaTuner is a freeware tweak utility for NVIDIA and ATI based video cards. I have been using RivaTuner for a while to reduce the fan speed of my video card to decrease the noise level. I configured it to decrease the fan speed to 25% in 2D mode which includes all applications such as word processing and internet surfing. This is the lowest setting that is possible and it did reduce the fan speed so that the video card is almost silent.

mp3 my mp3

Record any sound on your computer

I always thought that it should be theoretically possible to record any sound that you are hearing on your computer. Sometimes solutions for selected programs exist but I was looking for a free program that could record any sound no matter the source it was coming from. This can be for example quite useful if you want to record conversations in Skype or Teamspeak or record a sound that you heard on a website on the internet. Yes, even streaming radio poses no problem but you should note that the following free tool is not capable of recognizing the beginning and end of songs. It just records for as long as you want.

karens replicator

Karens Replicator automatic backup solution

I think it is funny that I never experienced a hard drive failure in my whole life. Many friends that I have been talking to did experience corrupt or damaged hard drives and lost data because of this. Did I mention that I do backup my files regulary while they are not ? I could bet a large amount of money that one of my hard drives would fail as soon as I would decide to discontinue backing up my files.