Review: CyberLink PowerDVD 10 Ultra Mark II
July 7, 2010 – 19:30 by Mike Williams in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: CyberLink PowerDVD 10 Ultra Mark II

Every DVD and Blu-ray disc comes with its own bundled movie player, so at first glance you might not see why you’d want to buy another one in the shape of CyberLink PowerDVD 10 Ultra Mark II. Take a closer look, though, and you may well change your mind, because it’s a very impressive package.

The program handles Blu-ray very well, for instance, with support for BD-Live, HDMI Audio and just about every Dolby standard there is (Digital Plus, Digital EX, TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, 5.1, Logic IIx and more). Excellent DVD upscaling ensures your older movies will look great, too. And a range of TrueTheater processing options work to improve picture quality wherever it can.

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CyberLink PowerDVD 10 Ultra Mark II with Blu-ray 3D support
July 6, 2010 – 17:40 by Mike Williams in News | Comments Off on CyberLink PowerDVD 10 Ultra Mark II with Blu-ray 3D support

Playing Blu-ray 3D movies on a computer can be a seriously challenging task. Why? Just do the math. You’ve probably seen DVD playback stutter before when a PC is doing something else; a 1080p Blu-ray frame has around 5 times more information, and your player must combine two of those frames in order to create the 3D effect. Before repeating the entire process around 0.04 seconds later.

Earlier this year, however, CyberLink PowerDVD 10 became the first Blu-ray 3D player to achieve certification from the Blu-ray Disc Association, for its ability to handle the new Blu-ray 3D standard (Profile 5.0). And so not only does the program have the processing power to create smooth 3D effects, but you can be sure that’s also up to the challenge of handling every other aspect of your discs: the full Blu-ray quality audio, 3D menus, subtitles, BD-J interaction, and more.

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View, edit and annotate your PDF files with the new Foxit Reader 4
June 29, 2010 – 15:07 by Mike Williams in News | Comments Off on View, edit and annotate your PDF files with the new Foxit Reader 4

PDF files are everywhere online, and that means a decent PDF viewer is an essential requirement for every PC. But the obvious choice, Adobe Reader, really isn’t the best. Bulky, slow to load, short on features and plagued with security concerns, if it’s still your PDF viewer of choice then now would be a very good time to look elsewhere.

You may not have to look very far, though, because Foxit Software have just released the latest version of their own PDF viewer, Foxit Reader 4. It’s fully compliant with all PDF standards, so will display all the same files as Adobe Reader, only faster, with fewer demands on RAM and hard drive space – and a lengthy list of powerful new features.

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Windows Live Essentials 4 Beta made available for testing
June 29, 2010 – 10:53 by Mark Wilson in News | Comments Off on Windows Live Essentials 4 Beta made available for testing

Windows Live Essentials is a collection of free tools from Microsoft that covers many aspects of life online. The suite includes Messenger, Photo Gallery, Mail, Movie Maker, Writer, Family Safety, Bing Bar, Messenger Companion, Sync, Outlook Connector and Silverlight.

The latest beta version of Windows Live Essentials recognises the fact that life in the cloud has become increasingly important for internet users. As well as enabling users to upload photos, videos and other files to Microsoft’s own online services, there is also support for a range of other online tools.

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Review: Xara Designer Pro 6
June 28, 2010 – 20:22 by Mike Williams in Reviews | One Comment

Review: Xara Designer Pro 6

There are many different ways to get creative with graphics, and satisfying all those needs can require an entire library of applications. So you’ll open one program for photo editing, another for web graphics, a third for desktop publishing, and the list goes on.

Maybe, though, there is a another way. Xara Designer Pro 6 is a photo editor, yes. But it’s also a vector drawing tool. A web graphics creator. An excellent desktop publishing tool, with templates to help you build calendars, greetings cards, brochures, business cards, CD covers and labels, newspapers and more. An easy to use and very capable WYSIWYG web designer, a useful collection of 3,000 clipart items, and more.

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Review: Acronis Disk Director 11 Home
June 22, 2010 – 17:12 by Mike Williams in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Acronis Disk Director 11 Home

Repartitioning your hard drive can help organise your data, reduce defragmentation, improve performance and give you a better chance of recovering key files if your system crashes. Making this happen with Windows own partitioning tools may take a while, though – they’re basic in the extreme. So if you’re serious about drive management then you’ll save a great deal of time and hassle by opting for a third-party alternative, like the new Acronis Disk Director 11 Home.

Just as you’d expect from any product that’s reached version 11, Disk Director comes packed with functionality. It’s able to create, format, label, resize, move, copy, split and merge partitions, without destroying any data. There are tools to clone disks, manage multiple operating systems on one PC, and recover lost or deleted partitions. And a host of compatibility updates means it works with more drive types than ever before.

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BitDefender Total Security 2011 made available for testing
June 17, 2010 – 15:37 by Mike Williams in News | Comments Off on BitDefender Total Security 2011 made available for testing

Symantec and Kaspersky have already offered interesting previews of the Internet Security 2011 suites, and now, not to be outdone, BitDefender have launched a public beta of their latest technology: BitDefender Total Security 2011.

The redesigned installation process provides immediate benefits, with the setup program scanning your PC for malware, and unusually not forcing you to reboot when it’s done. So you’re able to browse the other new features immediately – and there’s plenty to explore.

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Exclusive: Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 SE for FREE!
June 11, 2010 – 20:16 by Chris Wiles in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Exclusive: Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 SE for FREE!

Some people are quite wary of system boosting and optimisation tools and, perhaps Auslogics have picked the wrong name for their ‘BoostSpeed’ technology as this app does a lot more than just optimise your PC. It’s a complete system maintenance toolkit and pretty much everything you need to defrag, fix, repair and cleanse your system.

Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 was released officially on the 1st of June but, through June we’re giving you the full version of Auslogics BoostSpeed 5 SE, for FREE, as an intro to the new application. It’s available to download, exclusively from Downloadcrew, for members-only.

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Get an early warning of PC disasters with Acronis Drive Monitor
June 11, 2010 – 11:17 by Mike Williams in News | Comments Off on Get an early warning of PC disasters with Acronis Drive Monitor

A hard drive crash is perhaps the worst of all PC problems. It will usually destroy all your data, and you can forget about undelete or recovery tools: the chances are you won’t be able to get any of it back. Every email, digital photo, music file, download, contact record or browser favourite that you haven’t backed up, will have gone forever.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Drive crashes generally don’t happen “just like that” – there are warnings. High temperatures, read and write errors, and other drive-related issues that tell you its reliability is failing. If only you could see those warnings then you’d be alerted, could buy another drive, or make sure this one was regularly backed up. And that’s where Acronis Drive Monitor comes in.

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Review: Kaspersky Internet Security 2011
June 10, 2010 – 12:37 by Mike Williams in Reviews | 14 Comments

Review: Kaspersky Internet Security 2011

At first glance Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 looks much like many other internet security suite. Antivirus engine – check; real-time protection – check; firewall – check; safer surfing tools – check; parental controls – check, it’s all seems very much business as usual.

Spend a little more time with the program, though, and you’ll soon begin to realise that this isn’t just another identikit security tool. A strong attention to detail, extreme configurability and some uniquely powerful features are a few of the positive reasons that help Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 stand out from the crowd. There are some negatives, too, but it’s still an interesting package overall, and if you’re looking for a new security suite then Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 deserves to be high on the candidate list.

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Backup your PC's recovery partition using Macrium Reflect Free
June 8, 2010 – 15:41 by Nick Peers in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Backup your PC's recovery partition using Macrium Reflect Free
Only a short while back, manufacturers gave away a bona fide Windows installation disc with their PCs. For reasons of cost and convenience, the Windows disc was eventually replaced with a recovery disc that contained a complete backup of the PC’s hard drive when it left the factory. Restoring this rather than reinstalling Windows was easier for end users and tech support alike.

Then, something happened. As the size of Windows installations grew, the prohibitive cost of providing two or more recovery DVDs persuaded manufacturers to go for the ultimate cheap option: storing the recovery image on the computer’s hard disk. That’s fine until something happens to your recovery partition, or your hard drive fails and needs replacing. If this is the only copy of Windows you have, you could find yourself having to pay your system manufacturer a pretty penny for a set of recovery discs – assuming they have any to sell, of course. Before this happens, then, you should take steps to protect your recovery partition.

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