Review: Paragon Drive Copy 10 Personal
April 29, 2010 – 14:22 by Mike Williams in Reviews | One Comment

Review: Paragon Drive Copy 10 Personal

Paragon Drive Copy 10 Personal is a comprehensive drive management tool that makes it easy to copy files and partitions, clone entire hard drives, recover an unbootable PC, and even migrate your system to a virtual machine, so you can run your applications anywhere.

This type of application can often be very complex, burying you in jargon about partitions and file systems that you might prefer to avoid. Paragon Drive Copy 10 Personal opens in Express Mode, however, a simple front end that provides a straightforward menu of the program’s core options. So you might click Disk Copy and Imaging, select the Copy Partition option, and a wizard will open (eventually – it’s a little slow) to walk you through the process. It’s all very straightforward and easy to use. And if you want more control, just click Advanced Mode for immediate access to every Drive Copy feature.

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Review: ACDSee Photo Manager 12
April 27, 2010 – 21:42 by Mike Williams in Reviews | One Comment

Review: ACDSee Photo Manager 12

ACDSee Photo Manager 12 is a comprehensive image organiser that can also help import, view, enhance and share the very best of your digital photos.

Launch the program and initially Photo Manager looks much like any other image organiser. There’s an Explorer-type folder list, a pane of photo thumbnails, double-click any to get a closer look: it all seems very familiar. Take a moment to explore, though, and Photo Manager’s advantages soon become clear.

It’s easy to find the photos you need, for instance. Just hover the mouse cursor over a thumbnail and you’ll see a larger preview image. And a Windows-style Quick Search box lets you search for image names or metadata, like the photographer or photo location.

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Review: Foxit Phantom PDF Suite 2.0
April 27, 2010 – 15:33 by Mike Williams in Reviews | One Comment

Review: Foxit Phantom PDF Suite 2.0

Foxit are perhaps best known for their compact PDF viewer, a speedy and lightweight alternative to Adobe Reader, but the company has plenty more to offer. Late last year they released Foxit Phantom PDF Suite, a versatile tool for creating, editing, comparing and organising PDF files. Powerful though it was, Foxit have continued working on the product, and the newly released Foxit Phantom 2.0 contains some welcome new additions.

As with the previous version, you’re able to create a PDF file from any application by using Foxit’s virtual printer driver (open the relevant document, print to the Foxit Printer and it’ll generate a PDF file for you). The program can also scan a document directly to PDF. And a Microsoft Word add-in lets you convert your current Word document to PDF in a couple of clicks.

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Save drive space, time and money with the Radical Image Optimization Tool
April 26, 2010 – 18:11 by Mike Williams in News | Comments Off on Save drive space, time and money with the Radical Image Optimization Tool

With even budget digital cameras now including 10 megapixel sensors, it’s never been easier to take high quality photos. But there’s a problem. More megapixels usually means you’ll end up with huge files that gobble up your hard drive space, and are way too large to email or put online. So what’s the solution?

You could just try resizing them in your graphics editor, or saving the shots with different compression settings. There’s a lot of time-consuming trial and error, though, and you’ll still never really know whether you’ve found the right settings, or not. Which is why you need a different approach.

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Review: Serif DrawPlus X4
April 24, 2010 – 18:37 by Mike Williams in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Serif DrawPlus X4

Serif DrawPlus has been around for many years, a constant reminder that quality illustration software doesn’t have to be expensive, or difficult to use. And the latest DrawPlus X4 release takes the package considerably further. This isn’t just a cosmetic upgrade: it fixes a few long-standing issues, and adds even more versatility with some major new features.

Compatibility, for instance, is better than ever. Not only can DrawPlus X4 handle the basic formats (JPG, GIF, PNG, WMF, TIFF and more) and many others (PSD, PDF, EPS), but it’s also finally able to work with SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) files. These can produce very small files, are supported by web browsers, and are text-based, so their content may be indexed by search engines – they’re a perfect choice for many online graphics projects.

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Preview: Norton Internet Security 2011
April 23, 2010 – 20:16 by Mike Williams in News | Comments Off on Preview: Norton Internet Security 2011

Preview: Norton Internet Security 2011

It really doesn’t seem that long since Norton Internet Security 2010 made its first appearance, but eager to show us what’s coming next, Symantec have released a public preview of the 2011 edition. And even though the finished version won’t be available for perhaps another 5 months, it’s already looking very impressive with some interesting new additions.

The antivirus engine, for instance, extends its current file, folder, quick and full system scans with the new Reputation Scan. This checks your files against Norton’s Insight database, then displays information about them: how “trusted” a file is, when Insight first recorded it, how common it is amongst other Norton users, and so on. While none of this can conclusively establish that a file is dangerous, if you suspect an infection already then it could be very helpful. A few clicks with show you files that are new, uncommon and with a low trust rating, perhaps pointing you in the right direction.

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Review: Xara Web Designer 6
April 21, 2010 – 12:33 by Mike Williams in Reviews | One Comment

Review: Xara Web Designer 6

Xara Web Designer 6 is a template-based WYSIWYG web editor that makes it quick and easy to build websites, even if you’ve no HTML skills at all.

If you’ve tried other programs that make similar claims, then you may be sceptical, because they’re usually a huge disappointment. But Xara Web Designer 6 is a very interesting exception. It comes with a lot of usable templates, your sites can be extended with a huge range of powerful features, and the program generates good quality code, helping improve performance and avoid browser compatibility issues.

The power of Web Designer 6 becomes apparent from the moment you click File > New From Designs Gallery and start exploring the sites you can create. Competing products generally offer you a single picture, giving you a vague idea of how the site will look. Web Designer 6 templates have multiple linked pages, though, so double-clicking Fusion Theme, say, will display thumbnails of all 12 pages, as well as previews of the buttons, navigation bars, headers, footers, heading styles, and the six optional colour schemes that you can choose from. It’s much easier to pick out exactly what you need.

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Paragon give away 50,000 free "HFS for Windows 7.5" licences
April 20, 2010 – 19:15 by Mike Williams in News | Comments Off on Paragon give away 50,000 free "HFS for Windows 7.5" licences

Buy an Intel-based Mac and it’s easy to have Mac OS X and Windows 7 booting on the same computer. Sharing drives between Macs and PCs is still a problem, though, as Mac OS X can natively only read NTFS drives, while Windows can’t see Mac HFS+ partitions at all.

Paragon Software have a straightforward solution to this problem, though, in the shape of their HFS for Windows package. Install this, reboot, and Windows will immediately be able to find HFS+ partitions, giving you the ability to access them in Explorer and Windows, just like any other drive.

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Symantec previews its 2011 security range
April 20, 2010 – 11:52 by Mark Wilson in News | Comments Off on Symantec previews its 2011 security range

It may only be early Q2 2010, but Symantec is previewing its 2011 range of security software. Both Norton Internet Security 2011 Beta and Norton AntiVirus 2011 Beta feature enhanced performance so scans run quicker than in previous version and the software uses fewer system resources.

Norton AntiVirus 2011 not only offers protection against viruses and spyware, but also helps to improve overall system performance by warning when other programs are using large amounts of memory and other resources. System Insight enables users to take control of their computers and reduce slow down.

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Solve computer problems with Microsoft Fix It
April 19, 2010 – 16:24 by Mark Wilson in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Solve computer problems with Microsoft Fix It

One of the most useful features of Windows 7 is the Action Center which not only provides information about the state of installed virus protection, but will also alert you to computer problems. Users of Windows XP and Vista do not have access to a similar tool, and instead have to trawl through the Microsoft web site to track down solutions to problems they may be experiencing.

Microsoft Fix It is a free diagnostic tool that can be used to detect and fix a wide range of software and hardware problems. While aimed at Windows XP and Vista users who do not have access to the Action Center, Microsoft Fix It can also be used with Windows 7.

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Review: Norton 360 4.0
April 19, 2010 – 14:27 by Mike Williams in Reviews | Comments Off on Review: Norton 360 4.0

Review: Norton 360 4.0

Norton 360 is Symantec’s family-friendly security suite, which aims to deliver all the online protection you need without the hassles, complications and confusing settings you’ll often see with other suites.

Once installed, the program launches with a clear and straightforward interface that breaks your system down into four areas: PC Security (antivirus, firewall, antispam), Identity Protection (antiphishing and other web tools), Backup and PC Tuneup (disk cleaning, startup program management and more). If all is well then each section will be labelled “Protected”; if there’s a problem then it’ll be highlighted, and you can click that section for information on what to do about it.

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