avast! 2014 available: new look, better protection, faster scans
October 15, 2013 – 15:57 by Mike Williams in News | Comments Off on avast! 2014 available: new look, better protection, faster scans

AVAST Software has announced the release of avast! 2014, the latest edition of its antivirus and internet security range. The new build is now available in four consumer variations: avast! Free Antivirus, avast! Pro Antivirus, avast! Internet Security, and avast! Premier.

Every edition benefits from a range of new protection features. There’s enhanced streaming updates for real-time detections; a new DeepScreen technology helps the program make smarter decisions about unknown files; extended cloud scanning again assists in detection; and if something does turn up, then improved cleaning will get rid of it more reliably.

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Watch file system activity in real time with Phrozen Windows File Monitor
October 15, 2013 – 11:20 by Mike Williams in Tips | Comments Off on Watch file system activity in real time with Phrozen Windows File Monitor

Phrozen Windows File Monitor is a free portable tool which makes it easy to track all kinds of file system activities on a PC. You can watch file and folders being created, changed, renamed or deleted, as well as some network activities, very useful whenever you want to understand exactly what a program is doing on your system.

Windows File Monitor arrives in a 1.55MB archive containing a single executable, so it’s not exactly difficult to use: just unzip it, launch the program, and click “Record” when you want to start the monitoring process.

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Emsisoft Online Armor 7.0 released
October 15, 2013 – 09:31 by Mike Williams in News | 2 Comments

Emsisoft has announced the availability of Emsisoft Online Armor 7.0, the latest edition of its versatile firewall. The update doesn’t bring any new features, and instead optimises the program’s existing features for enhanced usability, protection and performance.

New support for asynchronous connection handling means existing connections will no longer be blocked if you have a pending firewall alert, for example.

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Lion DiskMaker 3.0b2 adds support for creating OS X Mavericks install disk
October 15, 2013 – 06:10 by Nick Peers in News | Comments Off on Lion DiskMaker 3.0b2 adds support for creating OS X Mavericks install disk

Lion DiskMaker 3.0OS X Mavericks is coming – we’re still not exactly sure when, but probably October 22 – and if you want to create a backup install USB stick for when things go wrong, you’ll want to take a look at Lion DiskMaker 3.0 beta 2.

Lion DiskMaker is designed to create bootable rescue discs from your OS X installation files (from 10.7 Lion onwards). Version 3.0 beta 2 adds support for the forthcoming OS X Mavericks release.

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Rainmeter 3.0 debuts high quality text rendering
October 14, 2013 – 12:27 by Mike Williams in News | Comments Off on Rainmeter 3.0 debuts high quality text rendering

Popular desktop customisation tool Rainmeter has today been updated to version 3.0.

The big story comes in the new build’s use of the Direct2D rendering engine when available, which means anyone using Rainmeter on Windows 8 (or a fully updated Windows 7 system) should see much improved text quality.

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Close even protected Windows processes with ProcessCritical
October 14, 2013 – 11:05 by Mike Williams in Tips | Comments Off on Close even protected Windows processes with ProcessCritical

If you’ve identified a malicious process running on your PC then you’ll probably want to close it down, and in theory this seems easy enough (right-click in Task Manager, select End Task). Malware can apply several tricks to escape, though, and one of the easiest is to assign its process the “critical” flag, normally reserved for key Windows processes. Try to close a critical process, and your PC will immediately crash.

Windows provides no standard way to get around this, probably because tinkering with the critical flag can be dangerous. But if you’re an experienced PC user and willing to take the risk, then the open source ProcessCritical should be able to help.

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First Paint.NET 4.0 alpha arrives, offers new features, tweaks and performance improvements
October 14, 2013 – 09:15 by Nick Peers in News | Comments Off on First Paint.NET 4.0 alpha arrives, offers new features, tweaks and performance improvements

Paint.NET 4.0It’s nearly here: dotPDN LLC has released the first alpha of Paint.NET 4.0, a major update and rewrite of its popular freeware image-editing tool for Windows. Featuring a rebuilt rendering engine, improvements to various tools and a tweaked user interface, the new release has finally reached the stage where daring members of the public can test it for the first time.

The new build does come with some restrictions – as telegraphed at the beginning of its development, Paint.NET 4.0 will only run on Windows 7 or later.

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FXiTe: a powerful Notepad replacement with PDF export
October 13, 2013 – 08:36 by Mike Williams in Tips | Comments Off on FXiTe: a powerful Notepad replacement with PDF export

If Windows Notepad is too underpowered for your plain text editing needs, then the open source FXiTe could be an interesting alternative. It’s targeted at developers, but don’t let that put you off: there’s plenty here for regular users, too.

This starts with its extreme ease of use. The program is compact (a 1.29MB download), and portable, you can just unzip and go. The interface looks a little odd – the toolbar has coloured buttons, rather than icons – but there’s nothing too complicated, and you’ll be creating and editing plain text files without any problems at all.

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hubiC offers 1TB online storage space for $136/ year
October 12, 2013 – 19:52 by Mike Williams in Tips | Comments Off on hubiC offers 1TB online storage space for $136/ year

Online storage services are a great way to make your most important files available everywhere, but they can be expensive. Those monthly fees soon mount up, particularly if you need a high capacity account.

If you’re looking for low prices, though, hubiC will appeal right away. You get 25GB for free; 100GB is around $18 a year, 500GB is about $82, and 1TB is an annual $136 (all prices plus VAT). You can even expand this to 100TB, if you really must. Not bad at all.

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Kaspersky 2014 gets “Patch B” release, essential for forthcoming Windows 8.1
October 11, 2013 – 10:05 by Nick Peers in Featured, News | Comments Off on Kaspersky 2014 gets “Patch B” release, essential for forthcoming Windows 8.1

KasperskyKaspersky has released updated installer versions of Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 and Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2014. Both updates include the recently rolled out “Patch B”, which adds support for Windows 8.1 and Firefox 23/24.

The update also fixes a number of bugs, but previously had to be installed separately after installing KIS 2014 or KAV 2014.

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MiTec InfoBar 1.8.0 adds a simple spreadsheet
October 10, 2013 – 06:35 by Mike Williams in Reviews | Comments Off on MiTec InfoBar 1.8.0 adds a simple spreadsheet

MiTeC’s free and feature-packed desktop accessory MiTeC InfoBar has been updated to version 1.8.0. As usual, there are some bug fixes, but the main news in this release is the addition of a basic spreadsheet.

The new tool can be launched from the regular InfoBar menu (the star icon, top-left) or a hotkey (Ctrl+Alt+S), and presents a grid in the usual spreadsheet style. It’s extremely limited – you can’t open existing spreadsheets, there are no graphs or other extras – but you can still start entering data right away.

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