Posts tagged windows

Must have FreeWare Windows Apps

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As a Multimedia business owner workflow and efficiency are the keys to success. I use a multitude of shareware and freeware applications to increase my efficiency at the office. There are a few that really stand out and deliver the ultimate in time saving so I decided to share them here.

DupFinder
Duplicate File Finder is a simple, but effective tool to locate duplicate files in one or more selected search paths. It scans the files and compares them based on Byte for Byte Comparison, which ensures 100% accuracy. You can then choose to delete the selected duplicate or original files. The program is multi threaded and performs scans quickly.

Download dupfinder >>

ImageResizer
Resizing hundreds of images is now extremely fast and simple.
Just drag and drop the images you want to resize onto the dialog.
%name variable can be used to retain the original file name (without extension).
Supports saving files into the same directory, or subdirectories.

Download resizer >>

BulkRename Utility

Bulk Rename Utility is a free file renaming software for Windows. Bulk Rename Utility allows you to easily rename files and entire folders based upon extremely flexible criteria.

Add date/time stamps, replace numbers, insert text, convert case, add auto-numbers, process folders and sub-folders….plus a whole lot more!

- Rename multiple files quickly, according to many flexible criteria.

- Rename files in many ways: add, replace, insert text into file names. Convert case, add numbers. Remove or change file extensions.

- Check the detailed preview before renaming.

- Rename photos using EXIF meta data (i.e. “Date Picture Taken”, “Resolution” and other information embedded in all JPG photo files) Rename your holiday pictures from a meaningless dsc1790.jpg to NewYork1.jpg in a flash.

- Rename MP3 files using ID3 tags (a.k.a. MP3 ID3 tag renaming).

- Change files’ creation and modification time stamps.

- It’s free. Easy to Install. Download and start renaming your files now!

Download BulkRenameUtility >>

CCleaner
CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. But the best part is that it’s fast (normally taking less than a second to run) and contains NO Spyware or Adware!

Download CCleaner >>

image menu WampServer
Wampserver
WampServer is a Windows web development environment. It allows you to create web applications with Apache, PHP and the MySQL database. It also comes with PHPMyAdmin and SQLiteManager to easily manage your databases.

WampServer installs automatically (installer), and its usage is very intuitive. You will be able to tune your server without even touching the setting files.

WampServer is the only packaged solution that will allow you to reproduce your production server. Once WampServer is installed, you have the possibility to add as many Apache, MySQL and PHP releases as you want.

WampServer also has a trayicon to manage your server and its settings.

Download WampServer >>

Review
I have tested this software on Vista 32bit, Vista x64 and windows XP and have had no problems with any of these tools on any of the systems tested on. These utilities are FAST and efficient at what they do. A must have for anyone looking to speed up some of the mundane tasks involved in the Webdesign business, Graphic Design business and Programming.

Hope you enjoy…

Windows 7 Review Redux

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Well I figured its time to re-review Windows 7, in my previous review I did hammer on it a little bit but the major issues were due to the age of the machine that I was trying to install it on. There was a lack of driver support for some of the older equipment in the box.

Well I have built another machine for the office and decided to test Windows 7 again and see what it is all about.

Computer Specs
Mainboard Gigabyte EP45-UD3P
4GB DDR2 Corsair Dominator 5 5 5 25 Ram
250GB Seagate 7200.11
Intel Q6600 Quad core
BFG Nvidia 9600GT
Seasonic 650W PSU
Antec 300 Tower

Install
The previous disk that I had for Windows 7 would not allow an install to occur. Missing win install dll was the error that came up during the installation. So I grabbed a fresh copy of Windows 7 (this time I opted for the 64 bit version) and started again, just as the previous time I installed 7 it went very smoothly and installed as quickly as Vista does.

The majority of the drivers required were automatically installed with the installation. Again though there was no drivers for the onboard lan, out comes the driver disk from the motherboard box. Once the driver was in I was able to activate windows and the updates began to download. So far so good!

Features
The first things that I noticed was the new desktop tools. The side bar is now removed making way for free gadget placement on the desktop. Right Click >Personalize to find that the interface for desktop customization is much easier to navigate through. The options are listed on the bottom of the panel with nice big icons. The same old customization tools are present however there is more choice of color for the windows and there are some nice default themes. But wait what is that desktop slideshow tool I see? Using the browse tool I was able to navigate to my favorite wallpaper folder and I see a select all button. When pressed it selects all of the images in the folder and the slideshow options are available below. I cannot beleive what I am seeing here, the one feature I have wanted in Windows for years, can it be real? YES it is Windows 7 uses a slideshow for the desktop wallpaper. I am overwhelmed with awe as I am now able to have my favorite wallpapers change at set intervals.

The rest of the interface is just as described in my previous review.

Glitches
Just as  I was thinking all is good with this new installation, time to play some video files and check out Media Player 12. The interface in media player 12 has changed again, I am not sure if I like it this time.  The enhancements tools are nowhere to be found and the player seems to be separated from the library all together so that you can have the library and the player open at the same time. BSOD oh yes part way into the video the dreaded Blue Screen Of Death! well thats not very good. After a few attempts at playing videos with constant Blue Screens its time for diagnostics.

  • Updated all drivers for sound and video – No fix!
  • Downloaded Windows 7 Video codec pack – No fix!
  • Disabled sound in biot – No fix!
  • Switched to the 64 bit player (Vista and 7 Default to using x86 player) – No fix!
  • Checked the error logs!

After getting into the error logs I was able to find out that there is a hotfix for a transer protocol which was causing the BSOD. Send off email to Microsoft and request the hotfix. 5 minutes later I recieve an email with the hotfix download and install it on the machine. Very hesitantly I open up a video and to my amazement I am able to watch through the entire video. Keep in mind this is the Beta 7000 Build so I cannot expect perfection.

Experience Index
The dreaded experience index is still present in windows 7. Although there is a much larger range of numbers so no cap out at 5.9 like in Vista. Something is not right here however my index is listed as 2.9 due to disk data transfer rate. I tried to enable AHCI instead of IDE in the bios for the SATA drive but it caused BSOD on boot. Not willing to go through another hassle of debugging this glitch I reverted back to the IDE control interface for the SATA drive.

I was able to get the drive performance to 5.3 by disabling the Write Caching on the disk which is good for now. The rest of the Experience Index was acceptable so no need for any major tweaks here. Now that the system is up and running I move some files around, the transfer speeds of files is far superior to that of vista.

Other stuff
I use multiple computers with same keyboard and mouse utilizing Multiplicity by Stardock. The application installed smoothly and needed no addition setup to run on Windows 7 and I am able to use concurantly with Vista 64bit on the other computer.

Conclusion
I haven’t had a chance to go any further into the OS and play with performance but Windows 7 really does feel more responsive than Vista and even with the hassles I faced it does seem more stable than Vista aswell. The OS itself seems like it is lighter as there are less applications integrated with it now. The live essentials pack is downloadable and there are WAY more options for removing windows components in the control panel. Overall I would have to say the Microsoft has gotten it right with this OS. I cannot wait to see the Release Candidate.

Psyc3d Updated Rating 8.5/10

Windows Vista SP1 Update

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Well as I began using the Windows Vista SP1 update and putting it through its paces on my laptop. Some major concerns have come up which have now caused me to uninstall the service pack and wait till Microsoft gets it right before I install it again.

Problems:

I predominantly use Firefox as my browser but after installing SP1 Firefox began hanging when loading pages, especially during tabbed browsing sessions. I tried to recreate this problem in IE7 but I could not recreate the problem. The router and modem are working fine and tested well on other computers in the network. After uninstalling add-ons and trying an upgrade to Beta 5 of firefox I still found the same problems occurring. Therefore I concluded that this is a conflict between Firefox and SP1, where does the blame lie? I would put the blame on Microsoft myself considering that Firefox was working fine before the update.

When shutting down the laptop the system would hang at “Shutting Down” at one point I left the system to see how long it would hang but after 45mins I decided it was time to hit the power button. After fixing some registry entries the main one being this:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control] On the right panel look for the “WaitToKillServiceTimeout” string and change it value to 5000 by right clicking the string and selecting Modify…

Default Value WaitToKillServiceTimeout=20000

Modified value WaitToKillServiceTimeout=5000

This sped up the shutdown time a little but it would still hang on some shutdowns. With these to issues I have had enough of SP1, a service pack is supposed to enhance the usability of a system not cripple regularly used programs. At this time I am going to wait until the update is available through windows update. [NOTE] On my x64 VIsta system in the office I have not seen these problems, all though on that machine the update came through windows update. The x64 system is also a desktop and built with newer components.

Thats it for now, I patiently await a REAL service pack from Microsoft for Vista.

Vista SP1 – Review

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Well its here and ready to install, Windows Vista SP1. I grabbed the install from the downloads because its not available for Windows Update until April18, 2008.

The Review
This install took approximately a 1/2 Hr. and was uneventful, this installation was on my Fujitsu 6025 Lifebook. Reboot worked without out fail and there it was. Some of the first things that I noticed was that the delay in file transfer estimation was gone as I transferred some large files from one partition to another. The file transfer rate on the 5400RPM laptop drive was approx. 5-6MB/Sec but the update bar is more consistent than it is in the non SP1 setup.

Vista SP1 ScreenshotWhen using FireFox and trying to open html links from within applications like Mail there is an error that pops up saying that the page cannot be found but then FireFox loads the page anyway. It is more of a minor inconvenience than a major problem. There is a driver compatibility problem with SP1 and the Fujitsu shock sensor. A quick check on the Fujitsu site netted me an updated driver that seems to be working properly.

I am still finding that the network detection tools are still weak, often when clicking network my router is not in the list so to log-in to the router I have to go in via http. Other times the router appears and the standard Right Click>View Device Web-page is available. Network access is quicker when navigating through shared folder on the XP machine in the network.

Display adapters
There was supposed to be fixes in this Service Pack for display adapters running multiple displays from a notebook. I have not yet seen the fix I was looking for, when I plug my plasma T.V. into the laptop via VGA I can use it as a second monitor but when I unplug it from the laptop the task/start menu bar goes invisible with a thin outline of where it is supposed to be. In order to get it back I have to stop the dwm.exe (Desktop Window Manager) from the task manager and let it restart the service for the start menu to appear again. Still no fix for this error in the new SP1.

So far I have seen one of the fixes that I was looking for in HDD file transfer and Network access but other than that there is not much of a change to the general functionality of Vista.

Well that is my first glance, I will make updates to the post as I delve into the update a little more.

Vista x64 Business Review

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Well I have been running Windows Vista 64 bit for a week now and all the bad things that I heard from people when I decided to switch have not happened. The system runs very efficiently all of my software works well with it and even games are running smoother and with less video glitches.

Problems that I have found to date are as follows.

  1. SyncToy from Microsoft does not work on x64 bit vista but there is a work around that I found here.
  2. PCI Simple communications Device driver not found but after uninstalling the device and running diagnostics when it was found on reboot. I was directed to a link to an Intel download that corrected the problem.

Windows is recognizing all of the RAM installed in the system currently 4GB with the other 4GB en route. Overall I am very happy with how well vista 64 is running and there is no conflict with any of my applications. Install time was just shy of 15min from boot to reboot after install. Adobe Master Collection CS3 installed in a very short time compared to installing it on the XP system.

64 bit OS’s are the future and if you are building a new system then I highly recommend Vista 64. If you are worried about certain applications not running in 64 bit environment then you can just run them in compatibility mode. 16bit applications won’t run on 64bit but seriously there is not a reason to run 16bit applications in todays world.

Here is a great site for tweaking Vista and learning more about how to speed up the OS at pcstats.com.

Well thats it for now folks. If you have any questions or want me to test things feel free to drop a comment.

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