Saturday, September 25, 2010
CFS Weekly Newsletter #561
CFS Weekly Newsletter #561
Web Site: http://www.completelyFREEsoftware.com
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COMPLETELY FREE SOFTWARE
Falco Race v1.0 -- Win98/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Falco Race (also known as "Race of Lost Roads") is an arcade car racing simulator. It features a choice of 17 worldwide tracks, 10 different GT-class cars, 6 different drivers from around the world, Championship & Single Race modes, different time of the day, ODE physics engine, HUD, and more. This is an energetic car racing simulator where you can compete on most of the major tracks around the world (USA, Europe, Australia, etc). There is a good choice of cars and drivers and the game has a good 3D feel about it. Typically of this type of game, controls are generally the arrow keys (forward, reverse, left and right) and this takes some mastering for players not used to this type of racing car game. The physics in the game are well done and most obstacles will stop you, though you can drive through a few signs. Graphics are quite good and there are quite a few video quality variables in the Preferences section. If you enjoy car racing simulators then Falco Race is one you jus
t must have. We liked! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 20.8MB download from:
Fey TagEditor v188.8.131.52 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (4 doves)
Fey TagEditor is an ID3 metadata editor. It features auto completion of ID3 MP3 tags, creates playlists, organizes folders, renames files, exports data to various formats, plays & enqueues files, adds lyrics to MP3 audio files, and more. On paper, Fey TagEditor is a full-featured ID3 tag editor that could help you organize your MP3 audio files. You could add lyrics, complete ID3 tags when full information hasn't been provided, and much more. Alas, in real life this program falls well short of expectations. Quite possibly it does everything it claims but, without any sort of Helpfile, we could not get it to do more than the most basic ID3 editing functions. It is not easy to use and many of its function buttons seem to do very little. Fey TagEditor does help you organize your MP3 files once ID3 tags are in place, but it does not automatically grab this information from the FreeDB on-line database. Because of this, we were somewhat disappointed in Fey TagEditor. So much promise
, but the delivery left a lot to be desired. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 2.34MB download from:
Ophcrack v3.3.1 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Ophcrack is a Windows password cracker based on rainbow tables. It cracks LM & NTLM hashes, tables available for XP & Vista, brute-force module for simple passwords, audit mode & CSV export, a LiveCD (ISO file) available to simplify the cracking (496MB), loads hashes from encrypted SAM recovered from a Windows partition (Vista included), and more. Unfortunately CFS was unable to review this program. We do understand that Ophcrack is for advanced PC users only as you are expected to "understand how to use third party tools like pwdump or fgdump to dump the SAM of a Windows system". You will also need to download Ophcrack rainbow tables -- the XP free small, XP free fast and Vista free rainbow tables are free, others start at $99. Rainbow tables are an additional download -- between 380MB and 403MB for the free tables. This program is specifically designed for Window XP (LM hashes) and Vista (NT hashes) but we expect that it could also work with later NT-based versions (like Wi
ndows 7). We suggest that you turn off your anti-virus program before downloading and using Ophcrack. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 5.40MB download from:
AnVir Startup Manager v6.3.1 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
AnVir Startup Manager is a tool that manages programs that run at Windows startup. It features alerts on new startups, blocks undesired startup programs, removes Trojans, manages Internet Explorer toolbars & BHOs (Browser Helper Objects), delays the startup of individual processes to speed up Windows, there is an on-line process check to ensure you are only blocking unwanted programs, and more. Even thought this is a cutback version (the full version is automatically available for 20 days before it reverts to the free version), AnVir Startup Manager is an excellent way of controlling what programs start with Windows, and what don't. Sometimes anti-virus programs allow some questionable processes to run but, by using the on-line check, you can ensure that all the processes you have running are legitimate tools and not Trojans. One of the best features of AnVir Startup Manager is its ability to delay the startup of a program, which can speed up the normal Windows startup. Many programs are not required immediately so their startup can be delayed, making the desktop available sooner. With good information, even inexperienced PC users can determine what is necessary to start with Windows and what is not. By removing those unnecessary startup programs (like the quick-start processes for Nero and RealPlayer), Windows will load faster, run faster, and be more reliable. We were most impressed with AnVir Startup Manager. While the free version does lack some of the bells and whistles (specially access to the startup database), it is sufficiently valuable in its own right to be a "must have" program. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 4.97MB download from:
SunlitGreen Photo Editor v1.3 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
SunlitGreen Photo Editor is a photo enhancer and editor. It features automatic color corrections, previewable image adjustments, photo viewer with easy-to-use zoom tools, editable & savable image selections, advanced channel-oriented color corrections, multi-level undo/redo, drag 'n drop, good Helpfile, and more. This is an unpretentious but highly effective image editor. While it offers only a limited number of filters and editing tools, those that are included are more than enough for the vast majority of non-professional digital photographers. SunlitGreen Photo Editor can increase image blur, or sharpen and image, it can adjust the color hue and saturation, and even the individual colors. It can trim an image by cropping out marginal pixels with the same color as the top-left pixel, rotate it, and flip it. Images can be resized and duplicated. It displays changes in real-time so you can preview your corrections but, ff you are not happy with a change, the multi-level undo
gives you an opportunity to revert to an earlier edit. Once you are happy with the result, the image can be saved as a BMP, JPG or PNG file. SunlitGreen Photo Editor lacks the ability to add text to an image (a caption, for example) but this is one of the few areas in which it is deficient. Even though it is small, SunlitGreen Photo Editor is a powerful photo enhancer. A "must have" for digital camera owners. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 1.25MB download from:
Fresh Websuction v1.0 -- Win98/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
ns aside, Fresh Websuction is an excellent way of grabbing the contents of entire sites for off-line viewing. We liked! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 992kB download from:
Video Memory Stress Test v1.7.116 -- Win98/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Video Memory Stress Test is a utility that can completely test a computer's video RAM (accessible to DirectX). It features DirectX & OpenGL testing, 3 levels of testing (Small, Express 15% & Full), can carry out a continuous test, can test via nVidia's CUDA interface (for nVidia GeForce 8xxx & 9xxx series cards), and more. Designed primarily for video card overclockers, Video Memory Stress Test does exactly what the title suggests, it stresses the video memory of a computer to see if there are any problems. When started, it offers to change the screen resolution to 640x480 to assist in the test and then converts it back to the original resolution after it has completed. Video Memory Stress Test stays always-on-top but we advise that you close or minimize all open programs on the desktop prior to use -- the less graphics being drawn on the screen, the faster it will work. If you want to overclock your video card but aren't sure how far to go, or if it is producing any errors,
then Video Memory Stress Test is what you need. Worth grabbing, specially for advanced PC users. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 643kB download from:
Bubble Shooter v1.0 -- Win98/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
Bubble Shooter is a fun arcade game. It features good graphics, simple gameplay, it is highly addictive, fun for all ages, and more. Bubble Shooter is a classic in its own right, and has been copied many times. In this game you shoot a colored ball at clusters of balls, matching up three or more of the same color to have them explode. As soon as you start playing the game becomes obvious and, even though it is suitable for all ages, there is a certain amount of strategy required to get really high scores. If you are looking for a game to kill five minutes, or an hour, then Bubble Shooter is for you. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 1.97MB download from:
Visual LightBox -- creates an HTML photo gallery with a built-in slideshow -- has been updated to version 4.3 with a new, slightly larger download size of 9.82MB. The author advises that changes in this version include: new iPhone/Android/Aero themes; improvements in "Insert to Page" wizard; now you can add several galleries to one page; multi-level undo/redo; faster page loading; and assorted bug fixes. Access this update from:
COMPUTER TIP OF THE WEEK
from Dr T -- RTemlak4dds@aol.com
Q: My computer has Windows XP Pro. I need to reformat and I have no idea how to do that. The computer shop said if they came out to do it, it would be $75.00 per hour and to figure on 1 1/2 hours JUST to reformat and put in my OS and that I would be responsible for re adding the things I wanted back on the computer. That means the IP address and that sort of thing. How can I do that myself?
A: The spyware and viruses that are out there today really make a mess of Windows files. Often afteryou have removed the spyware and viruses, there is so much damage to Windows that the system still has a lot of problems. Check around and see what other computer shops in your area are charging. Usually it takes about three hours.
Reformatting and re-installing everything on your computer is not something the beginner should do, but I would be glad to give you some pointers and a website that will help you through the process. (www.freepctech.com)
The first thing to do is find the CDs that came with your computer and figure out how hard the format and restore will be.
Some computers like Gateway and Dell ship with one CD for the operating system (Windows) and separate disks for hardware drivers and programs, while other computers come with a disk or set of disks labeled something like "System Recovery" or Restore. A few computers like some HP and Compaq computers come with the recovery files on a hidden partition on the hard drive.
System Recovery disks are easier to use than the individual disks, but there are still things that you need to look for and know about. Most System Recovery programs want you to do a non-destructive restore. This means that your hard drive won't be formatted (or erased) during the restore. If you have corrupted Windows files, they won't be replaced and you will end up with the same problems you had to start with. Usually you can access the destructive restore by going into the advanced options. Using the System recovery disks usually takes about an hour.
Using the Windows CD and individual driver disks is much more complex and too involved to cover here. I would suggest you go to www.freepctech.com and check out the guides for articles about installing Windows, then go to the forums and join the PCBUILD list. There you can ask as many questions as you want and some of the best computer people on the internet will guide you through the process.
You can usually connect to the internet again by giving your ISP a quick call. They will be happy to talk you through the process of setting your IP address or dial up information back up. Don't forget to set up your e-mail with them while you are on the phone.
Once you have Windows installed and all your hardware working, you are not done! You need to take some steps to protect your computer from future harm.
These are the steps I take when I re-format a computer for my customers.
1. Install all Windows updates. I have a CD with XP Service Pack 2 that I install for Windows XP computers, another CD that I use for Windows 98 and ME. Once I have installed the CD updates, I go online and install all the remaining updates for XP. I install everything except the Language updates for Windows 98 and ME. This process can often take several hours, and you will have to re-boot your computer a half a dozen times during the process.
2. Install Virus protection. Don't use the trial version that came with your computer and no longer has updates available, you need up to date antivirus protection to prevent viruses. I usually use AVG antivirus at www.grisoft.com they have a great program that has kept my computer virus free for 5 years now. They have a full version that includes daily updates for two years, for only $34. or, if you are confident that you wont be needing tech support, you can use their free version.
3. Spyware Protection. Lately, spyware has gotten so bad on the internet that it will cause as much, if not more damage to your system than many viruses. I don't send a computer home without these two programs installed, updated, and set to prevent the spyware from being installed in the first place.
First, is Spybot Search & Destroy from http://www.safer-networking.org . This is a free program, if you download something called "Spybot" and it asks you to pay before it will clean out your computer, get rid of it and go back to my freeware page: www.asktcl.com/free and download it from one of the sites listed there. Once you installed Spybot, download all the available updates, then use the immunize function to protect you from all the spyware currently in their database.
The second free spyware program I install is called SpywareBlaster from http://www.javacoolsoftware.com this program will protect you from home page hijackers and other Active X based spyware. Again, make sure you have installed all the updates and enabled protection, and be sure to check for updates on both programs every month or so.
4. Pop-up Protection. The internet is full of pop-ups advertisements, and they slow down your web surfing, expose you to potential spyware, viruses, and images that you just don't want to see. There are some good pop-up stopping programs out there and they are worth the money, but the Google Toolbar does a good job of stopping 80% of the pop-ups and is free so I make sure I install the Google toolbar on my customers computers. It does not block pop-ups that are needed like banking login screens, but blocks most of the bad ones. You can get the Google toolbar at www.google.com just click on the link that says "More".
These are all the programs that I consider necessary to protect a computer from the potential harm out there on the internet right now. In addition, I also install a half a dozen other programs like Adobe Acrobat Reader that I know will be useful to my customers.
SMILE OF THE WEEK
(contributions for this section are most welcome)
IF MEN REALLY RULED THE WORLD...
* nodding would be considered an acceptable response to "I love you."
* the funniest guy in the office would get to be CEO.
* your raise would be tied to the fortunes of your fantasy sports team.
* a "night out with the boys" once a week would be obligatory.
* the workday would start a lot closer to noon.
* every anniversary gift you would ever need could be found at the local hardware store.
* tanks would be a *lot* easier to rent.
We would like to thank the regular visitors to the CFS site who have told us their favorite freeware. If you have a favorite program which isn't listed on the CFS pages we invite you to share that information with everyone through this site and this newsletter.
If you are an author of a freeware application and you would like it listed on these pages please fill in the form at:
If you enjoy the Completely FREE Software site -- and this newsletter -- please don't feel shy about letting others know.
Daves Computer Tips
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