VirtualBox 4.2.8 refines free virtualisation tool with over 30 changes
February 28, 2013 – 08:24 by Nick Peers in News | Comments Off on VirtualBox 4.2.8 refines free virtualisation tool with over 30 changes

Oracle has released VirtualBox 4.2.8, a maintenance update for its open-source, cross-platform virtualisation tool that should improve stability and fix various regressions. Notable changes include a fix that caused guests to crash when using a huge amount of guest RAM on machines with Intel Virtualisation (VT-x) technology.

Aside from bug fixes, there is one minor performance tweak of note, which sees the time for merging snapshots reduced under certain conditions. Users can now also change VRDE settings for saved VMs under Settings.

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Amazon Cloud Player 2.0 for iOS adds iPad support, customisable cache settings
February 28, 2013 – 07:53 by Nick Peers in News | Comments Off on Amazon Cloud Player 2.0 for iOS adds iPad support, customisable cache settings

Amazon has launched Amazon Cloud Player 2.0 for iOS. The app, which lets users stream or download music from their Amazon Cloud collection, has been revamped to support the iPad and iPad mini for the first time in addition to previous support for iPhone and iPod touch.

Version 2.0 also debuts a revamped user interface and adds a new setting that allows users to configure the size of the offline cache used for storing streamed music for access while offline.

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Mount just about any disc image as a virtual drive with VirtualDVD
February 28, 2013 – 07:15 by Mike Williams in Tips | Comments Off on Mount just about any disc image as a virtual drive with VirtualDVD

Download an ISO disc image onto a brand new PC and you probably won’t need any third-party software to handle it. Windows 8 makes it easy to mount the image as a virtual drive, so you can access the contents without needing to burn them to a physical disc.

This option isn’t exactly configurable, though. It offers no support for the many other disc image formats out there. And it’s not much help if you don’t have Windows 8, either – which is why you might prefer to install VirtualDVD.

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Kaspersky PURE 3.0 Total Security improves browsing protection, adds online backup
February 27, 2013 – 12:00 by Mike Williams in Featured, News | Comments Off on Kaspersky PURE 3.0 Total Security improves browsing protection, adds online backup

Kaspersky Labs has released Kaspersky PURE 3.0 Total Security, the latest edition of their extremely comprehensive security suite.

And although you might have thought the package already included just about every security option you could possibly want, the company has found several ways to improve the new build.

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Stardock DeskScapes 8 adds Windows 8 compatibility, revamped user interface
February 27, 2013 – 10:38 by Nick Peers in News, Tips | Comments Off on Stardock DeskScapes 8 adds Windows 8 compatibility, revamped user interface

Plymouth, MI-based Stardock Software has released Stardock DeskScapes 8.0, a brand new version of its Windows desktop and screensaver animation tool. Version 8.0, which costs $9.99 after the intial 30-day trial expires, adds full Windows 8 compatibility to the tool’s roster, plus debuts a brand new user interface that’s designed to be easier to use.

DeskScapes 8.0 allows users to customize existing desktop wallpapers with animations and over 40 special effects. Users can also apply – and create – specially animated desktops created using Stardock’s own proprietary Dream format. A number of examples are provided with the program, but dozens more are available to download via wincustomize.com. Stardock, which specialises in desktop customisation tools, is celebrating its 20th year.

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WaveShop: a fast audio editor which preserves your sound quality
February 27, 2013 – 06:47 by Mike Williams in Tips | Comments Off on WaveShop: a fast audio editor which preserves your sound quality

If you’d like to edit an audio file then there’s plenty of free tools around to help, however most of them are prone to altering your files in unexpected ways. To test this yourself, just open any file, save it with a different name, and compare that file with the original. Even though you’ve not performed any operations on the second file at all, you’ll still often find there are differences, and inevitably that’s going to mean some compromise in sound quality.

WaveShop takes an alternative approach. The program is specifically designed to be bit-perfect, only altering your audio when it’s absolutely necessary. So if you open a file and then save it immediately, there will be no changes. And if you carry out some editing task on one area of the file – fade it out at the end, say – everything else remains exactly as it was.

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Measure and compare drive speeds with BenchMe
February 26, 2013 – 13:05 by Mike Williams in Tips | Comments Off on Measure and compare drive speeds with BenchMe

If your PC has multiple drives – or even just several USB keys – then you’ve probably already decided exactly how each drive is going to be used. But are you sure that decision is correct? Do you know which drive is the fastest, for instance? If that might make a difference, then BenchMe is a simple and free device benchmarking tool which may be able to help.

The program comes in a very small download (703KB), which unfortunately then requires installation. We’re not quite sure why – it looks like the kind of tool which could very easily be portable – but at least there’s no adware or other dangers to worry about.

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Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 released, promises faster, more private browsing
February 26, 2013 – 11:06 by Nick Peers in News | Comments Off on Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 released, promises faster, more private browsing

Microsoft has released the first stable version of Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 (32-bit) and Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 (64-bit). The latest version of the browser – which comes pre-installed in Windows 8 – promises improved performance, better privacy and supports the latest web standards, plus adds integrated spell-checking and auto-correct tools.

Internet Explorer 10 in itself isn’t new – it was bundled with Windows 8 on its release on October 26th. However, it’s only now that Windows 7 users have been able to install a stable version of the software, although a Release Preview has been available since mid-November. Just as Internet Explorer 9 dropped support for Windows XP, so IE10 drops support for Windows Vista.

Visually speaking, there's not an awful lot of difference between IE9 and IE10.

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EssentialPIM 5.5 adds Dropbox support, extends sync reach to iCloud
February 26, 2013 – 08:39 by Nick Peers in News | Comments Off on EssentialPIM 5.5 adds Dropbox support, extends sync reach to iCloud

EssentialPIM 5.0Astonsoft Ltd has released EssentialPIM Free 5.5 and EssentialPIM Pro 5.5, major new versions of its Windows personal information manager. Highlights in this new release include support for iCloud synchronization, native Dropbox support and improved CardDAV tools.

Also updated are EssentialPIM for iOS 2.6 and EssentialPIM for Android 1.8.2, mobile apps designed to give users access to their EssentialPIM data while on the move. While iOS users only see minor bug fixes in this update, Android users will enjoy major improvements to the Calendar and Contacts modules.

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Disable unwanted browser addons with avast! Browser Cleanup
February 26, 2013 – 07:42 by Mike Williams in Tips | Comments Off on Disable unwanted browser addons with avast! Browser Cleanup

If your browser has been taken over by an aggressive addon then you can try the standard routes to remove it (the “Manage Addons” dialog in IE, for instance). These can be confusing for beginners, though, and may not always work, so avast! has developed a custom Browser Cleanup tool as a simpler alternative.

The program is portable, a compact 1.75 MB download which runs on Windows XP, 7 and 8, so it’s generally convenient to use. It supports IE, Firefox and Chrome, and on launch checks each of these to evaluate your browser addons.

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CCleaner 3.28 update overshadowed by version 4 news
February 26, 2013 – 06:44 by Nick Peers in News | Comments Off on CCleaner 3.28 update overshadowed by version 4 news

Piriform Software has released CCleaner 3.28 and CCleaner Portable 3.28, updated versions of its popular freeware Windows cleaning tool. Version 3.28 is a minor release, promising better performance and compatibility, plus support for cleaning up behind two new programs.

Piriform has also announced that the release of CCleaner 3.28 will be the last of the 3.x branch, with CCleaner 4.0 the next release slated. It also hints that this is the first of a number of major updates to its product line planned over the coming months.

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