Category Archives: Software

EASUS Partition Master - Home Edition 3.5

easeus-partition-master

Modern day hard drives are continuing to leap forwards in terms of their storage capacity and, as a result, the prospect of dividing a large drive in to several partitions becomes increasingly tempting.

Partitioning a drive up in to several smaller segments allows you to easily create completely separate drive letters that can be used for specific purposes.For example, rather than just having your ‘C:’ drive which is used to hold your Windows installation and program files you could also create alterative drive letters such as a ‘D:’ drive to store all your documents and an ‘E:’ drive that is used solely for media such as pictures, music and video files.

In particular, one thing that frustrates me is that whenever you purchase a new computer, the system manufacturers often decide that you should use sizable chunk of the drive to hold your Windows backup files in case you need Read the rest

Bundled Software #2

tuxpaint

This week I received the following e-mail in response to my article last week regarding useless software which is ordinarily bundled with any new computer.

“Hi Chris, I’ve got a couple more suggestions for you…

Avoid: Microsoft Office 2007

Why?: Its annoying interface is a step backwards in usability and as usual Microsoft have put even more bloated junk in thereWorse still, they attempt to up sell features like SharePoint to get the customer into expensive server software.

Superior Alternative: OpenOffice.org 3 (www.openoffice.org) which is available for Windows and now natively for MacOS X and Linux. It’s free and does the job perfectly well and it’s compatible with all current and previous Microsoft Office formats.

Avoid: Microsoft Outlook Express

Why?: Like Internet Explorer, it’s prone to security vulnerabilities and it wouldn’t think twice about e-mailing everyone in your address book if the user were to Read the rest

Useless Bundled Software

recyclebin

I was setting up a new laptop this week and, half way through, got thinking to myself what a peculiar state of affairs we have got ourselves in to.The machine was set up and ready to use straight out the box but then I was required to spend half an hour removing all the crummy software that had been loaded by the manufacturer.Bundling software has become big business for the computer manufacturers as they are paid by the software developers themselves for every copy they distribute so below I have made a handy list of items that you should remove immediately:

Avoid: Adobe Acrobat Reader
Why?
Acrobat Reader is widely considered to be overly boated and unstable.
Superior Alternative
: FoxIt Reader (www.foxitsoftware.com) represents a small, capable, stable and free alternative.

Avoid: Trial Internet Service Provider Offer
Why?
Not only is it unlikely to be the Read the rest

Microsoft Simple Basic

simple basic

Something I believe should be missed most about the 8-Bit Computer era (think Commodore 64’s, Sinclair Spectrums and Amstrad CPC 464’s) is the BASIC programming language which was built in to pretty much every one of these machines.BASIC not only allowed users to make their own programs, but also acted as the primary computer Operating System and since a rudimentary grasp of it was required to use even the simplest of functions, most users would have at some point also got around to writing their own simplistic computer programs.At the age of about six, I think my first program went something along the following lines:

10Print “Chris is Ace”

20Goto 10

The language was so simple that even those that had never used a computer before shouldn’t have had any real difficulty picking it up.Indeed, even those who have never seen a piece of BASIC code should be ashamed at Read the rest

Virtual Network Connections

realvnc

A useful piece of software for most people who use more than one PC on a regular basis is a remote VNC (Virtual Network Connection) application which allows them access to one machine while using another.Personally I use such a piece of software so that if I’m working from home in the evening then if necessary I can access any files or other information from my office computer.Whilst some would argue that taking your work home with you in this fashion isn’t healthy, in some instances it is necessary.

For example, this article is currently being written at 21:30 on Wednesday evening and since I don’t have my e-mail account or address book on this machine I will log in to the office computer when complete and send it directly from my regular company e-mail address.

In the past I have covered RealVNC which although being a fantastic little free Read the rest

OpenOffice 3.0

OpenOffice

This week OpenOffice 3.0 was released and once again I found myself questioning as to why we spend good money on Microsoft Office when there is a completely free alternative available that does the job just as well.After all, it’s not as if Office 2007 is cheap; the professional version comes in at an impressive £350 and it’s not as if I even like Office 2007.

Unlike previous versions which used a standard Windows interface, I find the latest incarnation completely out of keeping with other applications which all keep to roughly the same, familiar user interface.Perhaps old age it starting to catch up with me but even after a year of usage I still find myself spending what seems like an eternity looking in vein for even the most basic of functions. Software for the Windows Operating System has always adhered to a certain menu layout so that users Read the rest

Defragmentation

defragmentation

One of the easiest ways to gain a little extra speed from your computer is to defragment the hard drive every now and again.As your computer uses files it has a habit of splitting them up in to different clusters of data on your hard drive which results in something called fragmentation - rather than storing everything in a neat sequential order your data gets dotted around the place.The result of this is that when your computer comes to use a file that has become fragmented it has to access from several places on the disk which results in slower loading times.

A disk defragmenter is designed to organise your hard disk back in to some kind of order so that your computer has to do less work and hence becomes more responsive.I have in the past talked about this subject but made the mistake of suggested the defrag utility Read the rest

Undelete Plus

undelete-plus

Although I have covered this subject before in the past, I am still getting a large number of people regularly e-mailing me asking how they can undelete a specific file so thought it might be time for a quick recap.

The Windows recycle bin is a godsend for many users as in the majority of circumstances a deleted file will be transferred to the recycle bin so it can be quickly recovered if necessary.There are some instances however when a deleted file won’t go via the recycle bin or alternatively the bin will be emptied before the mistake has been discovered. However fortunately there is usually still a way to retrieve the data.

In order to understand how this is possible, we need to understand a little more about how your computer manages deleted files.When you request that Windows deletes a file, rather than actually physically removing it from the Read the rest

CDBurnerXP

cdburnerxp

We often receive blank DVD discs back that have been marked as being faulty due to the fact the customers machine refuses to write to them.After a little cross examination we almost always arrive at the same conclusion; the machine doesn’t actually have any software installed which would allow it to write to DVD hence the difficulties the customer is facing.

Such an obvious slip-up is easily understood; Windows XP, an application capable of DVD playback and CD writing must support DVD burning, surely?After all the application has been through three service packs and is still the most widely used distribution of Windows in the world.The sad truth is that support for DVD writing wasn’t considered important when XP was released seven years ago and since then Microsoft bizarrely haven’t seen fit to supply an update.Whilst Vista does support DVD writing it can’t handle HD standards such as HD-DVD or Read the rest

EssentialPIM

essentialPIM

Sometimes I miss not seeing what I would call the stereotypical 80’s businessman; I was a little too young to take note at the time but when I look back I always envisage a man with a long black ponytail, dressed in an expensive suit and carrying a briefcase.This briefcase would surely contain a Filofax, the size of which would be directly correlated to how important you wanted to be considered by those around you.

In the 00’s we appear to have lost the Filofax only to have it replaced by something equally pretentious; the PDA (Personal Digital Assistant).When I first went in to business I bought myself one of these but put it back in the box almost completely unused when I realised that I spent more of my time working on prioritised lists of things I needed to do than on the actual tasks in hand.

Even to Read the rest

Top