Windows News, Updates, tips and software

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superfast shutdown

Superfast Shutdown for Windows

It sometimes takes ages to shutdown Windows XP and Windows Vista, most of the time when you are in a hurry. This can be caused by processes that are still open or not reacting. Windows tries to close those processes which can take a long time. If you don't have the time or patience to wait for the shutdown you might want to try the excellent freeware Superfast Shutdown which does exactly what the name suggests.

Extend Vista Activation Period to 12 Months

It is getting better and better. I was describing a method to extend the activation period of Windows Vista by 90 days to a total activation period of 120 days. But this is actually not the maximum that you can extend the activation period of Windows Vista. Ryan from Cybernet wrote a nice article today that explains how every Windows Vista user can extend the activation period by the factor three raising the total time until Windows Vista has to be activated to

hitachi feature tool

Reduce Hard Drive Noise with Hitachi's Feature Tool

Many modern hard drives support a function called AAM - Automatic Accustic Management. The feature is currently supported by most hard drives from Samsung, Maxtor and Hitachi. Most hard drives have the feature disabled by default which decreases access time but increases the noise level of the hard drive. If you prefer silence over performance you might want to enable AAM to decrease the noise level of your hard drive and slightly increase the access time.

Crap Cleaner (CCleaner) a second look

Crap Cleaner has been released in a new version just a day ago and I decided to take another look at it. I removed all options during installation except the one that would create a start menu entry in Windows - no need for additional toolbars on my system. I especially wanted to take a look at the Issues tab which someone mentioned in the comments sometime ago.

The Issues tab in Crap Cleaner scans the registry for missing shared dlls, activex issues, unused file extensions, obsolete software and many more entries and displays them after finishing the scan. You may then click on fix all issues which prompts to backup your registry before continuing. After that the first issue is displayed with information why Crap Cleaner decided it is one.

dopdf

Free Fast Virtual PDF Printer

I'm currently using the Screen grab extension in Firefox to save complete websites as pdf files to read them later or print them eventually. Screen grab has some limitations, mainly size of the website that should be saved and that it only works in Firefox. I sometimes use Opera or want to convert other documents such as emails to pdf.

DoPDF looks like the perfect replacement for Screen Grab. It is a freeware application for Windows and takes only a few megabytes of hard drive space. It adds a virtual printer to your installed printers in Windows and you can choose to make it the default one. Please make sure that the Print Spooler service is running during installation, otherwise the setup of the virtual printer will fail.

CrossLoop - free secure screen sharing

You might want to take a look at Croosloops if you are looking for an efficient, easy and free way to connect securely to a computer at another physical location. CrossLoop enables you to see the screen and control the mouse and keyboard on a remote computer using an encrypted connection which utilizes the Blowfish 128 bit algorithm. Explicit permission has to be granted before the connection is established.

Cancelling WGA Installation sends a report to Microsoft

The German computer magazine CT analyzed the new WGA Notification that is installed during Windows Update. They decided to cancel the installation and immediately after doing so the firewall reported that update.exe tried to connect to the internet. This caught their attention of course and they decided to analyze the data that was send after the connection was established.

They used Wireshark to analyze the traffic and found out that update.exe sends data to genuine.microsoft.com. Some of the data seems to be encrypted while some could be identified. It sends registry information, namely the SusClientID as well as information about the version of the WGA tool, the windows version and the language of the operating system. It also sets a cookie which contains a GUID which could possibly be used to identify the computer.

New Filters for Vista Search

Did you know that you can add ifilters to the search function in Windows Vista ? The new ifilters, think of plugins if you like, add content indexing for various formats that the default Vista search (and desktop search) does not support, those include Adobe Reader documents, mp3, wmv and wma files as well as various other formats including zip, rar and help files. This is a great addition to the search in Windows Vista, especially if you do work with those file formats regularly.

Method to Bruteforce Vista key a hoax - kinda

Yesterday I was writing about a method to get a working Windows Vista key by bruteforcing. The method would generate random keys and check them locally for validity. If the local check would be successful the user had to try and use the key to activate his version of Windows Vista. This could of course still be rejected if someone else did already use the key to activate his version.

Windows Vista Bootlogo Generator

Many users are disappointed with the selection of bootlogos that are preinstalled in Windows Vista and many would like to change the bootlogo to a custom one. The process of creating a custom boot logo is pretty easy. You do need to download the boot logo generator which can be freely obtained at the authors homepage.
http://www.computa.co.uk/staff/dan/wp-trackback.php?p=15

speedfan

Use Speedfan to control temperatures

Speedfan has been released in a new version yesterday which added support for many new technologies such as full Vista 64 bit support. The basic functionality could be described the following way. Speedfan monitors temperature levels of core system units such as cpu and hard drives and puts out warnings if they do reach a critical level.

An unidentified program wants access to your computer

Vista offers a new feature which is called User Account Control. User Account control separates user and admin functions in Windows Vista which increases security. It basically ensures that malicious programs can't be run using administrative privileges without the administrator first accepting it. This is great if security is concerned but really painful if you are running programs on a daily basis that require administrative privileges.

system health report

Generate A System Health Report in Windows

Windows Vista offers a way to quickly perform a system check which results in a so called System Health Report. It takes about 60 seconds to gather the information and display them in a list. You find the option to generate a system health report in your control panel. Click on System and Maintenance, then Performance Information and Tools. Select advanced tools from the menu and click on generate a system health report to start the program.

Use Multiple Screens over Network

Using multiple screens on one computer is nothing unusual these days. All you need is a graphics adapter that supports two screens and a operating system that supports it. Setup is really simple and many professionals that do web design or work with image editing software use it to increase their workflow.

Alt Tab Replacement for Windows XP

Advanced users usually switch between open windows using the keyboard shortcut ALT + TAB which is fast but has the disadvantage that only an icon is displayed which makes it impossible to distinguish between windows of the same type. Microsoft created a fre program called Alt Tab Replacement which is part of the Microsoft Powertoys which displays additional information about all tabs that are open.

Recover Windows XP Passwords

It is human to forget passwords, this is actually happening to everyone once in a while. Fortunately there are ways to recover passwords if you fail to remember them. Many web based services send it to you again, you can use tools like Snadboys Revelation to check on passwords in Windows that are hidden with *****. There is however no obvious way to recover or change a forgotten password in Windows.

Save Money when you buy Windows Vista

Microsoft decided to publish several versions of Windows Vista who all differ from one another when you compare the functionality of the operating systems. Prices vary from $199 for Windows Vista Home Basic to $379 for Windows Vista Ultimate. Those prices are already beginning to fall slightly but it will take some time until they drop significantly. There is however the possibility to purchase Windows Vista for a cheaper price.

ditto clipboard replacement

Replace the Windows Clipboard with Ditto

The Windows Clipboard is absolutely awful, it lacks so many features that I really do not know where to begin listing them. Ditto on the other hand is an open source replacement for the Windows clipboard that adds functionality to the clipboard function. Ditto makes it easy to save any type of information to the clipboard including the most usual data types such as text, images and code.