Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is Google Dying?

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Vol. 1, #53 - Jan 25, 2011 - Issue #463

 Is Google Dying?

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Is Google Dying?
    • Follow-up: Laws regulating online life
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. News, Hints, Tips and Tricks
    • To shorten or not to shorten; that was the question
    • New eBook application for XP and above
    • Apple removes XP (and Vista) from Boot Camp options
    • IT pros are still using XP
  3. How To: Using XP Features
    • How to change the Categories arrangement in Control Panel
  4. XP Security News
    • Mandatory Windows Live Messenger and Essentials Refresh for XP
  5. XP Question Corner
    • Is there a way to automatically delete the contents of the paging file?
  6. XP Configuration and Troubleshooting
    • Administrator can't unlock a locked computer
  7. Fav Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  8. Product of the Week
    • DriverHive: Keep Your Drivers Updated - 80% of PC Crashes are Caused By Conflicting Device Drivers

VIPRE Antivirus is the Fastest Antivirus

VIPRE has the fastest real-time protection against 5 major competitors according to a comprehensive test by a leading independent testing organization in November 2010.

VIPRE processed 4,500 megabytes of file data in 195 seconds, compared to a benchmark of 127 seconds; the next closest competitor processed the same data in 233 seconds. Complete results are available upon request from GFI.

 Editor's Corner

Is Google Dying?

That might seem like a silly question, given the Internet behemoth's presence in almost everything. Google is still by far the top search engine, despite slow inroads being made by Bing. Their Android phone OS has overtaken Apple's iPhone in market share. They're preparing to release a new netbook operating system to compete with Windows and Linux on low powered laptops.

On the other hand, their stock is down 14.94 (or 2.38%) as I write this (but that's from a two year high of $639 in December). More troubling, perhaps, is the reason for this downward turn. Last week saw a major management shakeup within the company, with Larry Page taking over the CEO reins from Eric Schmidt:

Next came the news that Schmidt, while not leaving the company, filed to cash out $335 million in Google stock. Remember the outcry, when Steve Ballmer sold $84 million of his Microsoft stock, about how it was an indicator that the company was in trouble?

Companies go through reorganizations all the time; Microsoft has recently seen the departure or announced the pending departure of several key employees, such as Server and Tools Business (STB) Division president Bob Muglia and marketing chief/vice president Brad Brooks.

Although Schmidt is staying with the company, some of Google's best and brightest have departed over the last year. Lars Rasmussen, co-creator of Google Maps, left to join Facebook. Key architect Matthew Papakipos also went over to Facebook. Android senior software engineer Cedric Beust left for LinkedIn.

Why are they leaving? The chief complaint we've heard from inside is that the company has grown too big and bureaucratic - the same problem that plagued Microsoft and before it, IBM.

Google is weathering storms on several fronts, too. Oracle filed a suit against the company last summer, alleging that Android infringes on their Java patents. Now we're hearing that there's evidence that Google directly copied some of the Java code.

If Oracle/Sun wins the lawsuit, will that kill Android? Probably not - but it could cost Google a pretty penny.

Google has been trying to position itself to own the cloud, but it has ignored the fact that a) a large number of consumers and businesses don't want the cloud in the first place and b) it faces some formidable competition from Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and others in that space - and these are companies with far more experience working with the enterprise market (where the real money is).

Google is also trying to position itself as the ultimate innovator, and has come out with lots of new technologies and services. However, many of these didn't go over too well. Business Insider named four of them - Buzz, Wave, Google TV and the Nexus One phone - in its list of the 15 biggest tech flops of 2010.

Even Google's prominence as the Search King is coming under attack. Many users are complaining that Google's search results have deteriorated recently, at least in part due to the way search optimization, content farms and paid advertising have skewed search results. Here is Google's response to those complaints:

Some analysts are even speculating that social media could eventually replace - or at least cut heavily into - the search business. In their vision of the future, when you want to find content, you just ask via a social networking site. This has the advantage of not being subject to manipulation as automated search results are.

Is this idea completely far-fetched? There is a lot buzz right now around a new social site called Quora. It's a Q&A site, somewhat like Yahoo Answers - but it connects to your Twitter and Facebook accounts and gleans from them the topics it thinks you would be interested in, and shows you questions pertaining to those topics. Something similar to this could be used to ask for pointers to various types of content. Check out Quora here:

Tell us what you think about Google's future. Is it all downhill from here? Will the company turn itself around? Will Android thrive, or will Oracle bring it down? Will Chrome OS be a big success, or will it be on next year's list of the biggest tech flops? Is the management shakeup a good thing or a bad thing for the company? If you own Google stock, is it time to sell? Is there room for Google, Microsoft and Apple at the top of the tech heap, or will only one emerge victorious? Have you noticed a recent deterioration in the quality of Google searches? Tell us what you think in our forum at

Follow-up: Laws regulating online life

Last week's feature article addressed the increasing control being exerted over online behavior by governmental laws and regulations. There were a number of comments indicating that many people are not happy with this tightening of the reins, especially when it comes to rules made by an agency like the FCC that do an end-run around the legislative process.

George95662 made an interesting statement: "I'd love to sit down with some folks who have the teeth of law enforcement and show them how easy it is to flush out criminals on the 'net. They are literally everywhere, especially if $ is involved. Why they can't do this on their own is a better question." It happens that I'm currently working on an article for my Cybercrime column, published monthly by TechRepublic, that will provide some answers to that question. It's called What Makes Cybercrime Laws so Difficult to Enforce and explains some of the obstacles that law enforcement officials encounter, including jurisdictional issues and the nature of the evidence in such cases. Watch my Facebook page (Deb Shinder) or follow me on Twitter to be notified when it's published.

In response to fbanta, who quotes the fourth amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure to support his contention that a husband has no right to search his wife's "papers" without her permission: The constitutional protection applies only to governmental agencies, not to private persons, and applies only to search for evidence of a crime. While there may be statutory privacy laws in some jurisdictions that prohibit private persons from accessing others' "papers," the Bill of Rights doesn't. (And yes, I know what I'm talking about; I taught U.S. Constitution as a college criminal justice instructor for many years). For the record, I do agree with most of fbanta's other points.

As always, thanks to everyone who participated in the discussions!

'Til next week,
Deb Shinder, Editor

Follow Deb on Twitter

PS: Did you know this newsletter has a sister publication called Win7News? You can subscribe here, and tell your friends:

And for IT pros, there's our "big sister," WServer News, at

Look up the WXPnews Fan Page and join us on Facebook!

Quotes of the Week

Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status. - Laurence J. Peter

Bureaucracy gives birth to itself and then expects maternity benefits. - Dale Dauten

Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy. - Franz Kafka

VIPRE Antivirus is the Fastest Antivirus

VIPRE has the fastest real-time protection against 5 major competitors according to a comprehensive test by a leading independent testing organization in November 2010.

VIPRE processed 4,500 megabytes of file data in 195 seconds, compared to a benchmark of 127 seconds; the next closest competitor processed the same data in 233 seconds. Complete results are available upon request from GFI.

 News, Hints, Tips and Tricks

To shorten or not to shorten; that was the question

I mentioned last week that three readers had requested that I be less "long winded" and keep the editorials shorter. Based on the responses I got to that, it seems they're in the minority. Many of you wrote to urge me to stick to the chattier and more in-depth format. In fact, those who prefer the "long form" outnumbered the "shorties" by over twenty to one. I want to give you what you want, but I know I can't please everybody, every time. I'll be trying to strike a happy medium when it comes to the length of the articles, and I thank you all for your input and for the kind words.

New eBook application for XP and above

Ebooks are becoming more popular all the time, and it's no wonder. Carrying around an armload of heavy hardbacks gets old fast, but you can carry hundreds of books on a tiny SD card when they're in electronic format. There are plenty of ebook reading applications out there - Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader and more - but now there's a new player in that game. KooBits offers some features that will appeal to those who still feel torn between ebooks and the paper variety. It lets you create custom categories for your books and drag them around to arrange them on virtual bookshelves. You can also bookmark, highlight and clip notes from your books, and the company wants to add more sophisticated features such as narration, animations and interactive elements. The software is available for Windows computers running XP and above. Find out more about it here:

Apple removes XP (and Vista) from Boot Camp options

Apple's Boot Camp feature allows users to install Windows in a dual boot configuration on their Apple computers. The newest version of Snow Leopard has apparently removed support for Windows XP and Vista, and now requests only a Windows 7 installation disk. Whether or not you can ignore the text and install XP anyway isn't clear, but if any of our readers have tried doing so, please let us know your results. Read more here:

IT pros are still using XP

This month, TechRepublic put up a poll to ask IT professionals what version of Windows is being used in their organizations. The assumption was that IT pros would be using the latest and greatest - i.e., Windows 7 - but so far the results have proven otherwise. As of the time of this writing, 66% responded that they're using Windows XP Pro, compared to 29% running Windows 7. You can keep up with the ongoing results and put your own vote in here:

 How To: Using XP Features

How to change the Categories arrangement in Control Panel

Personally, I don't like the Categories view of Control Panel; I always immediately switch back to the "Classic" Control Panel view. But some folks find the categorization useful - yet don't necessarily agree that Microsoft has put everything into the right category. Well, if you're brave enough to venture into the registry, you can actually assign a different category to a Control Panel item. Here's how:
  1. In your registry editor, navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Control Panel \ Extended Properties \ {305CA226-D286-468e-B848-2B2E8E697B74} 2
  2. Now in the right pane, find the item that you want to recategorize. Double click it to bring up its properties box.
  3. Change the DWORD value to the number that corresponds to the category where you want to place it. See the list below for the numbers for each category.
  • Other Control Panel Options - 0

  • Appearance and Themes - 1

  • Printers and other Hardware - 2

  • Network and Internet Connections - 3

  • Sounds, Speed and Audio Devices - 4

  • Performance and Maintenance - 5

  • Date, Time, Language and Regional Options - 6

  • Accessibility Options - 7

  • Add or Remove Programs - 8

  • User Accounts - 9

  •  XP Security News

    Mandatory Windows Live Messenger and Essentials Refresh for XP

    If you're running Windows Live Messenger and other Live Essentials programs on your Windows XP computer, Microsoft has made it mandatory for all XP users to update the software. The update includes security updates as well as performance improvements and some bug fixes and it's been available for a while, but Microsoft is just now making it mandatory, and that's because of the security issues. You can find out more here:

     XP Question Corner

    Is there a way to automatically delete the contents of the paging file?

    I work with confidential information on my XP Pro computer, and even though I'm diligent about deleting files that contain something sensitive as soon as I'm finished with them, I worry that someone could find out information that's stored in the paging file or swap file or whatever you call it. I can delete the file before I shut down the computer every night but is there a way to make that happen automatically? Thanks! - Dean L.

    There is a registry edit that you can use to clear the page file whenever you shut down the computer. Here are the instructions:
    1. In your registry editor, navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ System \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ Session Manager \ Memory Management
    2. Double click the item ClearPageFileAtShutdown to display its properties box.
    3. Set the value to 1.
    Note that if the item doesn't exist, you can create it as a new DWORD value. Also note this will make your system shutdowns slower. That's because all the data in the paging file is being overwritten with zeros.
     XP Configuration and Troubleshooting

    Administrator can't unlock a locked computer

    When you restart your XP computer, you can't log on and you get an error message, telling you that the computer is in use and has been locked. But even though you're an administrator, you can't unlock it. What's up with that? This happens when the default screen saver is set to use a non-existent screen saver program or you use a corrupted screen saver that's password protected? What to do? KB article 242917 has the answer. Check it out at
     Fav Links

    This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

    Disclaimer: WXPNews does not assume and cannot be responsible for any liability related to you clicking any of these linked Web sites.

     Product of the Week

    DriverHive: Keep Your Drivers Updated - 80% of PC Crashes are Caused By Conflicting Device Drivers

    80% of PC crashes are caused by outdated or conflicting device drivers. Out of date and incorrect system drivers can lead to driver conflicts, system errors, system crashes, poor operation, and slow PC performance. In the old days, Windows driver Issues typically resulted in the dreaded Blue-Screen-of- Death (BSOD). Today, things have changed. While faulty windows drivers or driver conflicts can still result in blue screen crashes, there are numerous other, less intuitive performance issues that can result, including: hardware not working properly, slow web surfing, slow boot times, system crashes, and overall sluggish computer performance Hardware manufacturers regularly update their drivers, in many cases to correct conflicts, stability, and performance issues. DriverHive will scan your computer, identify any out-of-date drivers you have, set a system restore point, and then download and install the most current drivers on your PC, transforming a typically tedious and time consuming task into a few quick clicks of the mouse. Maintaining updated drivers on your PC is one of the best ways to ensure top PC performance. Protect your system with DriverHive! Get a Free System Scan with DriverHive here to see if your PC drivers are out of date.

     About WXPnews

    If you have feedback or wish to write to the editor, write to us at

    Sunbelt Software
    33 North Garden Avenue
    Clearwater, Florida USA 33755

    CFS Weekly Newsletter #568

    CFS Weekly Newsletter #568
    [ISSN 1441-6840]
    Web Site:  

    Air Assault 3D v1.70 -- Win98/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    Air Assault 3D is a fast action 3D helicopter shooter. It features 5 missions (incl tutorial), 5 landscapes, 20 levels, 5 levels of difficulty, 10 unique helicopters to fly, lots of weapons & power-ups, night missions & weather patterns, 1- & 2-player modes, excellent 3D graphics, various camera views, great sound effects, and more. Air Assault 3D is a frenetic war-based shooter where you pilot a helicopter through enemy territory, blasting away at everything that moves, and lots of things that don't. You collect powerups along the way, which includes missiles, health, new weapons, etc. While this is a standard shooter in many ways, the excellent 3D graphics and equally excellent sound effects put this shooter in the same category as the best of this genre. It is so much fun to play we felt that Air Assault 3D should carry a health warning -- "Playing this game is highly addictive!" If you enjoy fast action shooters with great graphics and sound effects then Air Assault 3D is a "must have". We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 10.9MB download from:

    JaBack v9.03 -- Win9x/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    JaBack is a program that can automatically backup, synchronize and/or archive files & folders. It will backup to a standard ZIP format, file copy, it can automate multiple tasks, the scheduler can handle over 1,000 tasks per day, it can transfer backups via FTP or e-mail, it has an optional e-mail notification of task failure, and more. This is a great, but not-so-little, backup program that incorporates virtually all the bells and whistles anyone could want in a backup scheduler. Its list of functions is extensive and it includes a detailed Helpfile to ensure you get the best from this tool. Like most tools of this type, JaBack requires a small amount of education before you can get the best from it. However, once you are over the small learning hump, you will find that it is a powerful backup tool that offers a great number of worthwhile functions. We liked! Access this 39.0MB download from:

    Clementine Music Player v0.5.3 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    Clementine Music Player is a music player with an easy-to-use interface. It features an optional OSD (on screen display), you can listen to Internet radio (, SomaFM or Magnatune), it has tabbed playlists (import & export M3U, XSPF, PLS & ASX), visualizations, it can carry out file conversions (into MP3, Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Speex, FLAC or AAC), it can edit MP3 & OGG tags, download album cover art, there is a queue manager, and more. This is an excellent music player that handles a wide range of playlists, a good range of audio formats, and it can convert between those formats,. It can be minimized to a tray icon so it is hidden away and plays in the background while you continue with whatever else you are doing on your computer. Even though it is still a beta program, it appears robust and stable, and the features we checked worked as they should. One of the better music players we have seen, Clementine Music Player is worth checking out. Note: we have been advised that thi
    s program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 14.4MB download from:

    SearchMyFiles v1.55 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    SearchMyFiles is a powerful, fully portable, desktop file search tool. It can search files on your computer by wildcard, by last modified/created/last accessed time, by file attributes, by file content (text or binary search), and by the file size. As the author says, it can "search all files created in the last 10 minutes with size between 500 and 700 bytes". Once you have created your file list, you can select one or more files, save the list to a file (text, HTML, CSV, or XML), or copy the list to the Clipboard. In many ways, this is a much more powerful search than the Windows "Search For Files And Folders" module, though it cannot search for text within a file. It also lacks an indexing feature. This means that it is an adjunct to the existing Windows search and not a replacement for it. SearchMyFiles includes a duplicate file finder so it can ensure that you aren't duplicating your files and wasting valuable hard drive real estate. It is also fully portable and requires no installation. It runs just as happily from a USB stick drive as it does from your hard drive. With its tiny size, we suggest that you keep a copy on your hard drive, and also another copy on your USB pen drive (the one with your backup on it that you carry at all times!). We loved SearchMyFiles and suggest you grab a copy for yourself. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 60kB download from:

    Greatis Image Print Wizard v1.0 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    Greatis Image Print Wizard is a program that prints large images in multipage mode. It features a simple 3-step Wizard, you have control over image size (varies the number of pages required to print image), it has image zoom, you can print images on a single page, and more. This is an excellent way of printing a large image across multiple pages so they can be taped together for a poster-sized image. But it can also be used for printing images on a single page -- either full page or part of a page. When printing an image across multiple pages you can set a border so that you can allow for printers which cannot print to the edge of a page. These need to be trimmed before the pages are joined. Simple to use, Greatis Image Print Wizard is a terrific way of printing images -- either a single image to a page or a large image across multiple pages. We liked! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 361kB download from:

    SportPlayer v4.1 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    SportPlayer is a program that gives access to hundreds of live sport events broadcast across the Internet, sorted by sport or time. It supports Sopcast, TVU, JustinTV, Freedocast, BoxLive, and other formats. If you love sports, specially various sports from around the world, then check out SportPlayer. It gives you a huge selection of sports, and quite often multiple access points for each game. Some games are not described in English, depending on the country which is broadcasting the sport. This may not be the country where the sport is being played. Many of the broadcasts start with an advertisement, but these seem to come from the broadcasting site and not from this program. Check out your favorite sports with SportPlayer. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 3.57MB download from:

    Baku v4.2.3933 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    Baku is a small but powerful utility that repairs System Registry errors, and removes unneeded & duplicated files. It features a simple-to-use interface, it has 4 separate searches (unneeded files, Registry errors, MRU lists & duplicate files), the searches can be tweaked by the user, and more. With the four searches, Baku puts the maximum control back into the user's hands. Before a search you can tweak the search criteria and, when the search is complete, you have the option of selecting all files for deletion or only selecting certain files. Once you have removed all unwanted links, empty folders, 'History' folder contents, 'Recent documents' folder contents, cookies, temporary Internet files, etc you can use Baku to compact or compress the Registry, saving hard disk space and making Registry access faster. It automatically backups the Registry before changes are made and gives you the option to create a Restore point as well (always worth doing). Baku also has a small app let that lists hidden installations and allows you to uninstall any found, or check their Registry keys. It can also backup and restore System device drivers. Even though it has a plain Jane face and does not look very inspiring, Baku is a fantastic tool that all PC users should have. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 1.06MB download from:

    Puzzle RailWay Deluxe v3.0 -- Win98/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    Puzzle RailWay Deluxe is a terrific puzzle where you build a railway track to keep the train rolling, while picking up all the workers, and arriving at the final station. It features 3 levels of difficulty, timed-based gameplay, a challenging puzzle, good graphics, fullscreen & windowed modes, and more. This is a great puzzle with blocks that must be moved (left mouse button) or rotated (right mouse button) so the train can continue to its destination, picking up passengers along the way. You also have to pick up coal, and contend with traffic lights and tunnels. If the train wasn't moving then Puzzle Railway Deluxe would be relatively easy, but because the train is on the move you have limited time to make your choices and move the blocks containing the track. Of course, the more you play it the easier it becomes because you learn what blocks to move, and where, but the course is quite involved and it would take a long time to master every junction. Fun to play, but not too easy so you get bored, Puzzle Railway Deluxe is a great puzzle and a great way to kill an hour or three. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 3.46MB download from:


    Keyboard Indicator -- a set of 3 tray icons that indicate if the Caps Lock, Insert or Scroll Lock buttons are "on", etc -- has been updated to version with a download size of 36kB. The author advises that changes in this version include: the ability to change the font; more label positions to choose from; and opacity control. Access this latest version from:

    from Dr T --

    When filling out a form online, why do I always have to fill in my e-mail address and password more than once? It's not hard to do, but it is a hassle. Got any explanations?

    I'm sure you're not the only one who has ever wondered that. It is true. Most of the time when you go to fill out an online form, you're asked to enter in your e-mail address and your password twice. Why is that? It just doesn't seem to make much sense. It's not that big of a deal and it's easy to do, but you're right, it is somewhat of a hassle, especially if you're in a hurry. So, there must be some valid reason why you're required to do this. Well, as a matter of fact, there is and it's actually all very plain and simple.

    Most Web sites that have you fill out forms require you to enter your e-mail address twice simply for the purpose of making sure it was entered correctly. Perhaps your finger slipped when you were typing it in the first time. If you didn't have to enter it again, you wouldn't receive any of the informative e-mails from the Web site. But, since you typed your address twice, the Web site knows if everything matches up or not.

    This is also done to eliminate any fake e-mail addresses. Any Web site who requires a form doesn't want a whole bunch of bogus e-mail addresses filling up their database. If they have to deal with a lot of phony addresses, it just takes longer for them to e-mail their information out to all of their customers. This is especially true if they have a huge list of clientele. If the e-mails with the fake addresses aren't able to go through, it holds up the process, wastes disk space and it just takes up too much time.

    For example, you're obviously a subscriber of WorldStart's newsletters since you're reading this. Let's say we had a major problem with people entering in bogus e-mail addresses on our Web site. We send our newsletters out every single day (more than one newsletter at that) and if we had to wait on all the fake addresses, it would take forever for all of them to go out. Therefore, anyone who entered a correct address would have to wait extra long just to get their newsletters. What a pain, right?!
    Now, for the password part of your question. You are required to enter your password twice for security purposes, obviously. Web sites want to know that you aren't trying to scam anything from them and by you putting in the same password twice helps them to rest at ease. It's also protection for you, because you can be sure your password is correct once you type it out twice. And hey, it gives you another chance to remember what exactly you chose to use as your password!
    So, next time you're filling out a form online, don't feel hassled by having to duplicate your e-mail address and password. Feel safer knowing that Web site is going to protect you! Got it? Good!

    Tech--for Everyone

    Tech--for Everyone

    Posted: 26 Jan 2011 09:36 AM PST
    “Hi Paul, I’m just a single user with a question I apparently can’t get answered very easily by searching for it via the Internet. I’m hoping maybe you can ‘square me away’ by answering it. On it’s face, this seems like a fairly simple question. If I’m using an excellent antivirus program (which I am; [...]

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    CFS Weekly Newsletter #567

    (Mailing list information, including unsubscription instructions, is located at the end of this message.)
    CFS Weekly Newsletter #567
    [ISSN 1441-6840]

    Web Site:

    My favorites are Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder, a program that turns digital photos into movie-style slideshows, Chameleon Window Manager which adds up to six customizable buttons to the titlebars of all program windows, Steel Storm: Episode I, a frenetic, top down arcade shooter, Word Artist, a small tool that creates excellent 2D & 3D text effects, and... Well, check them all out because what floats my boat may not float yours.

    We also have our regular columns -- Dr T's excellent Computer Tip of the Week, and our ever popular Smile of the Week.

    To get access to the best downloads, why not take a minute and become a member of arguably the best freeware-only site in the world. More details from our members' page:
    Steel Storm: Episode I v1.00.01723 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    Steel Storm: Episode I is a frenetic, top down arcade shooter with score oriented competitive gameplay. It features single & multiplayer modes, deathmatch & coop game modes, 6 missions of various difficulty, mission editor, hordes of enemies to destroy, vast numbers of destroyable structures & obstacles, huge territories to reclaim, quick games, highly configurable, and more. This is a game for people who have limited time and want fast-action shooter. You control an advanced hovertank, packed with the most advanced and sophisticated weapons (of course) which is set in an alternative universe. You are fighting with, as the author says, "presumed extraterrestrial invaders". The action is fast and furious, and you must expect to lose many battles before you can hope to win this war. If you don't have a gamepad you can play using mouse and keyboard, but the default movement keys are WASD. These can be changed to, say, the arrow keys if, like us, you find the arrow keys easier to use. Graphics are excellent, animation very good, and the game has a high addictive index -- you'll find yourself coming back to Steel Storm: Episode I regularly as you master the strategies required to overcome the enemy. If you enjoy fast-action games that are over in a few minutes (one way or the other) then Steel Storm: Episode I is for you. We do, and we loved this not-so-little shooter. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 258MB download from:

    Chameleon Window Manager v1.0.0.113 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    Chameleon Window Manager is a small utility that allows the user to add up to six customizable buttons to the titlebars of all program windows. These allow the user to minimize a window to the tray, minimize a window to the title bar, keep a window always-on-top, it offers variable window transparency, and it will position a window at the left or right of screen (with an optional half screen window so you can run two program windows side-by-side). It adds a group of buttons next to the normal titlebar buttons on the top right hand side of a program's window. These allow the user to better control the window. The buttons are customizable, you can change the order of the buttons, and Chameleon Window Manager will auto-start with Windows. This is an extremely handy tool that, once used, you will wonder how you lived without. Simple to use, Chameleon Window Manager puts more power back in the hands of the user by allowing better control over program windows. We loved! Note: we ha
    ve been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 3.77MB download from:

    Yadis! Backup v1.9.17 -- Win98/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    Yadis! Backup is a simple file/folder backup. It features a Wizard-style interface, it copies files or folders anywhere on the computer, marked folders are backed-up real-time (no scheduling needed!), and more. This is a neat little backup program that copies selected files or folders to a specified location (often a USB drive). Backed up files do not need Yadis! Backup to access them as they are simply copied to the new location. If that location is not currently available, the backup will occur when the location next becomes available (ie a USB pen drive is inserted). While Yadis! Backup lacks many of the bells and whistles of many other backup tools, its appeal is in its simplicity -- you don't need to hold a PH.d in Computer Science to use it. If you are looking for a basic backup tool that does not archive or compress files (ie copies them without change) then Yadis! Backup could be exactly what you are looking for. We liked! Note: we have been advised that this program
    is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 1.07MB download from:

    Driver Identifier v3.0 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    Driver Identifier is a small tool that scans a PC for outdated drivers. It features automated driver installation, driver update capability, updates previously installed drivers to their latest versions, simplifies downloading new drivers from the Internet, and more. Updating drivers on a computer can be a laborious task, but Driver Identifier helps to take the pain out of it by scanning your computer, comparing your existing drivers with its database on the Internet, and giving you a list of all drivers with links to updated versions if any exist. Simple. Of course, like most products of its type, you get a few false readings and, when you download those driver sets (often more than 50MB each) you may find they are not for your computer. However, generally the driver list is accurate and you can update your computer's drivers with the minimum of fuss. Driver Identifier requires an active Internet connection so it can access the updated database. One of the easiest to use dri
    ver updaters, Driver Identifier is worth checking out. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 411kB download from:

    Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder v6.0.2 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder is a program that turns digital photos into movie-style slideshows for DVDs, YouTube and mobile devices. It features over 130 Hollywood-like movie styles, more than 60 DVD menu templates, includes a timeline to organize & edit content, text effects create animated titles, an image editor, you can add music with or without voice-over, it offers a full-screen preview, supports 4:3 & 16:9 aspect ratios, captures photos from cameras or other connected devices, and more. It isn't often we see a program that makes us simply say "Wow!" Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder is one such program. It creates professional slideshows of still images, with full fade-in and fade-out effects (select from a list or use the random option), full control over DVD menus, and much more. Images can be edited within Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder and there is even an automated image "repairer". You can add pre-audio (a sound clip at the very start), clip art, and lots of other effects. It includes a large number of clip art and pre-audio clips. The final slideshow can be burnt directly to a DVD, saved as an ISO file (great for making multiple DVDs to share with your friends), or as a video file. It supports FLV, F4V and SWF Flash video formats suitable for YouTube, FaceBook and most mobile devices (PSP, Android & Nokia phones, etc) and it also supports common AVI, WMV. MPG, etc video formats, including HD versions of them. There are some limitations which are lifted in the Pro version, but we found little that wasn't available in this free version. There is so many features and functions included with the free version of Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder that we could not list them all. Let it be suffice to say that this is a superb program and one that anyone with a digital camera will love. Grab a copy now! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 41.8MB download from:

    CodeLobster PHP Edition v3.6.1 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    CodeLobster PHP Edition is a PHP, HTML, CSS & Javascript editor. It features code highlighting, HTML inspector, debugger, dynamic help, advanced autocomplete, portable option, pair highlighting, browser preview, and more. Unfortunately CFS was unable to review this program. The author says: "Codelobster PHP Edition streamlines and simplifies PHP development process. You don't need to keep in mind names of functions, arguments, tags and their attributes; methods etc -- we've implemented it for you in the autocomplete feature for PHP, HTML, JavaScript and even CSS. Also, you can always get necessary help information by F1 or using special Help control. Internal free PHP Debugger allows validating code locally. It automatically detects your current server settings and configures corresponding files in order you can use the Debugger." CodeLobster PHP Edition can be used with a a number of plug-ins which are available for purchase. These are CakePHP plug-in, CodeIgniter plug-in, D
    rupal plug-in, Facebook plug-in, JQuery plug-in, Joomla plug-in, Smarty plug-in, and WordPress plug-in. CodeLobster PHP Edition requires free on-line registration before it can be used. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 13.7MB download from:

    Word Artist v1.2 -- Win98/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    Word Artist is a small tool that creates excellent 2D & 3D text effects. It features over 170 editable effects' templates, an effects' editor to create your own effects, the effects can be varied by changing font/color/attribute, it saves effects to any of 5 popular image formats (BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG & TIF), text effects can be printed, and more. This is a cool little program that creates amazing text effects. You can use any of the preset templates (all of which can be edited) or you can create your own effect with the effects' editor. Even using the preset templates, your text can be altered dramatically by changing the font, font size, font attribute, or any of the three basic text colors plus the background color. The angle of the text (and its background) can be altered, and even the background canvas size can be changed. We were most impressed with Word Artist. For such a simple little tool, that anyone could use, we found the effects amazing. If you are looking to creat
    e text effects then Word Artist should be high on your list. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 526kB download from:

    Babobab Solitaire v1.0 -- Win98/ME/WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    Babobab Solitaire is an unusual solitaire cardgame where you must get a score of 21 either vertically or horizontally. It features timed gameplay, it is easy to play but challenging, good instructions, has excellent graphics, good background music & sound effects, and more. This is a great way to kill an hour or two. In this game you are faced with a 4 x 4 grid and a stack of cards. Click on any of the 16 squares and the top card will be moved there. Get exactly 21 points (Aces are 1 or 11, court or picture cards are 10, and all others are their numeric value) either vertically or horizontally. If you go over 21 points in either direction (column or row) you lose those cards, and some points. With its good graphics and pleasant background music (which can be muted if you like), Babobab Solitaire is one of the better solitaire card games we have played. Simple in its gameplay, but challenging to gain high scores, Babobab Solitaire makes a good change from the perennial Freecel
    l, or Klondike. Grab a copy and see what everybody's talking about. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95. Access this 3.27MB download from:


    TranslateMe -- a translation & dictionary utility - has been updated to version with a slightly smaller download size of 1.94MB. The author advises that changes in this version include: adding a settings option in the tray icon context menu, and some bug fixes. Get this excellent little program from:

    from Dr T --

    Q: I lost my icon in bottom right hand corner that shows I'm connected to the Internet. How do I get it back?
    A: Sometimes your Internet connectivity icon (located in the bottom right hand corner of your screen) can seem to disappear as if by magic. This is annoying when you want to find out information about your Internet connection like speed, packets sent and received or even just which provider you are connected too.
    It's solved quite simply, though. It's different depending on which version of Windows you are currently running.
    Windows XP:
    - Click Start icon
    - Scroll up to Settings
    - Then click on Control Panel
    - When the screen has loaded, click on the Globe icon called Network Connections

    Now this part might be a little tricky if you use several Internet providers, but should not be a problem for most users.
    - Right click on your preferred network then click Properties (It will be the one which has "Connected" status)
    - When the new screen loads, make sure you are in the General tab.
    - At the bottom, make sure the box is ticked which says "Show icon in notification area when connected". While you are here, you can also choose to get your computer to start or stop informing you about limited Internet connectivity by ticking the other box.
    - Click OK and the icon should now appear.

    Windows Vista/7:
    If you are using Windows Vista or 7, then it is a completely different set of instructions, but just as simple.
    - Click the right mouse button on the Windows task-bar
    - Click Properties
    - Change the tab over to Notification area
    - Now, you have several options here. You can choose to show or hide Clock, Volume, Network and
    Power by ticking or removing the tick from the boxes. (Note: Windows 7 has drop-down boxes)
    - Put a tick in the Network box and make any other changes you wish
    - Whilst here, you may also want to change the option where icons are removed from the task-bar if they are not clicked often. This should not be a problem if you click the Internet icon regularly though but is worth consideration.
    - Click Apply
    - Click OK and the icon should now appear

    Just because the Internet Icon has disappeared does not necessarily mean the Internet is not connected. I always find it easier to open a Web Browser, search something and see if it loads to check connection. If you were looking to check connection speed then there are plenty of free tests available online with a Google search for "Free Internet Speed Test".
    Your computer also might be set up with a setting that hides icons that are inactive. This is helpful if you have a lot of icons at once but can be an annoyance when you are trying to find one. This is easily solved by right clicking the task-bar, going to properties and looking for a ticked box which says something along the lines of "Hide Inactive Icons" and removing the tick.
    If none of the above techniques work there are a few things you can do. If you have the settings of your system saved then you can revert back to those. This is likely for those of you with programs like Norton Anti-virus. Also, as a very last resort, you can save your files to an external hard-drive and reinstall your Windows system as the original settings include the icon on the task-bar.


    (contributions for this section are most welcome)
    =: 14 Signs You're Drinking Too Much Coffee :=
    ~ Starbucks is accepting bids for a franchise located in your house.
    ~ The National Bank of Columbia has offered you a Platinum Visa card with zero percent interest.
    ~ Folgers has offered you a "distributors" franchise for your block.
    ~ Your co-workers are getting rich buying stock in companies that manufacture foam coffee cups.
    ~ You just went to the store and bought ten cases of non-diary creamer "to get you through the week".
    ~ Those strange footprints in the ceiling of your office.
    ~ You haven't slept in a week and no one notices, not even you.
    ~ You find yourself sneezing Folger's Crystals.
    ~ Juan Valdez starts sending you hand-written Thank You notes.
    ~ You eat garlic to overcome coffee breath.
    ~ Your dentist upgrades to a belt sander.
    ~ Alvin & the Chipmunks start to sound like Barry White.
    ~ Auctioneers begin to make sense.
    And the number 1 Sign You've Had Too Much Coffee...
    ~ YYoouu ssttaarrtt ttyyppiinng lliikkee tthhiiss..
    [author unknown]


    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.
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    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    CFS Weekly Newsletter #566

    CFS Weekly Newsletter #566

    3D Ant Attack v1.02 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    3D Ant Attack is a retro arcade game where you rescue people from a 3D city swarming with giant ants. It features challenging gameplay, simple 3D graphics, multiple camera views, multiple color schemes, multiple screen resolutions (including widescreen), and more. This is a remake of the classic 1983 Sinclair ZX Spectrum arcade game of the same name which was seen at that time as a breakthrough in 3D graphics. 3D Ant Attack is much harder to play than its simple graphics might indicate. You have to wend your way through a city infested with these giant ants, rescuing people as you go. As you progress through the game the people you save are harder to find. You can use a grenade to stun or kill the ants, or you can jump on them to stun them long enough to get to the next place of safety. Controls are simple, with the arrow keys for movement, the spacebar to jump, and the right Ctrl key to throw grenades. When throwing grenades, the distance they travel equates to how long you hold down the Ctrl key before releasing. Release too soon and the grenade will fall short and kill you. You will also get killed if the ants bite you often enough -- and you will become ant food. Even though this is a relatively faithful reproduction of this old game, 3D Ant Attack holds up well today. What it lacks in fancy eye candy it makes up for in challenge, and this is one remake that is very much still playable today by people who never played the original (unlike many remakes that rely on nostalgia for their popularity). 3D Ant Attack is a great way to kill an hour or three. We loved! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 5.73MB download from:

    Easy Image Modifier v3.0 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    Easy Image Modifier is a batch photo editor. It processes single images or entire folders, supports common image formats (JPG, BMP & PNG), offers basic image editing (resize, realign, change format, set watermark, rename, sort, resize unproportional, remove meta information, filter images, change file date, set JPG compression level, etc), and more. This is a simple photo editor which is designed for batch processing. It will resize all your images (optionally keeping the proportions correct), add a watermark, rotate images, and more. While Easy Image Modifier is not an alternative to Photoshop or other sophisticated image editors, for basic editing it is very good, and very fast. It supports three popular image formats, loading and saving to them, and converting between them. We also noticed that it processed GIF and TGA images too, but didn't allow you to save to those formats. The watermark feature was appreciated, but you could not change the opacity of the watermark, though you could change the location of the text, the font, and the font attributes (including color). While Easy Image Modifier is not designed to be a competitor to the commercial photo editors, as a batch image processor it works extremely well within its own limitations. Small, fast and efficient, Easy Image Modifier is worth having around for those quick batch jobs on your digital photos. We liked! Note we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 375k download from:

    BitDefender Rescue CD -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    BitDefender Rescue CD is an ISO disk image that creates a bootable, Linux-based CD. It is designed to scan and disinfect all existing hard drives when the operating system is not working properly because of virus infections. The ISO image can also be mounted on a USB drive after following the instructions on the program's support page. Useful when virus infections have crippled your computer, this is a tool you will need to have downloaded before you have a problem. After the disk has been created, simply ensure that your computer will boot from your CD drive (this is set in the BIOS) and allow the computer to boot up using this Linux-based rescue disk. Once booted up, it will seek the internet to download the virus definitions, etc to be able to scan your computer. This is about a 15MB download. It will then scan your computer (all drives) and resolve any virus issues. While we were able to successfully boot up using BitDefender Rescue CD, we didn't have any virus activity that needed to be removed so we cannot comment on the value or otherwise of that part of the system. The Linux interface you see once the disk is booted up is very close to what you normally see with Windows, so most non-Linux users should have no trouble using this rescue CD. However, we suggest that, once the disk is created, a new user should boot into it and see what happens. You can stop the scan once it has started if you don't want to wait while it scans the entire computer. Once you have familiarized yourself with the disk you will feel more comfortable using it if there is a problem on your computer. The CD includes a few other tools, like a Web browser, but its primary task is to scan and clean your computer of malware. The biggest problem with BitDefender Rescue CD is that it needs an active Internet connection to get the updates, and there have been instances where it hasn't been able to access the network. This makes a pre-problem test all the more worthwhile. We were impressed with BitDefender Rescue CD. It is a large file to get, and you will have to burn the disk image onto a CD or DVD, but if you ever have problems with viruses (virii?) you will be pleased you took the trouble to be prepared. Grab a copy of BitDefender Rescue CD now! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 319MB download from:

    SSDLife Free v1.0.12 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    SSDLife Free is a compact SSD (solid state drive) diagnostic tool. It displays general & technical information about an SSD, checks the SSD health status, displays a detailed on-line SSD health status report, and more. Unfortunately CFS was unable to review this program. The author says: "Today, more and more users decide to replace conventional hard drives in their desktop PCs and laptops with modern, silent and fast solid state drives (SSD). Since the price of these new devices is still rather high and they are often used for storing sensitive data, regular checks of the status of these drives can be an efficient means of early problem detection and can prevent potential data loss. Among all other disk management tools, there are specialized applications that are created specifically for SSD devices and support the majority of controllers and storage devices available on the market. If you take SSD's seriously and have already replaced conventional hard drives with SSD units, don't forget that their life expectancy is considerably shorter than that of regular hard drives. The age of these devices is relatively short and you should be financially and organizationally ready to replace them when the time comes." There is a Pro version and a Free version of this product. The author says: "The main feature of the paid version is the possibility to run disk checks (scheduled) in the background mode, display detailed information about SMART attributes and tweak the system for use with SSD drives." If you have a solid state drive (SSD) then grab a copy of SSDLife Free. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 1.55MB download from:

    Hewbo Video Converter v1.50 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    Hewbo Video Converter is a tool that converts videos to AVI, DivX AVI, XviD AVI, 3GP, 3G2, MP4, WMV, MKV, TS, FLV, SWF, MOV, GIF, MP3, MP2, OGG, WMA, WAV, AAC, AC3, AU, MMF & M4A formats, as used on iPhone, iPod, iPad, Apple TV, Android devices, PSP, PS3, XBOX360, ZUNE, Nokia, BlackBerry, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, LG, Samsung, Blu-ray disc, NTSC DVD, PAL DVD, and more. This is a video to video (and audio) converter that covers virtually every filetype you can imagine. It will even convert a DVD's VOB file to any of the supported formats, though most movies have multiple VOB files (usually of 1GB each) so you might have to convert them separately and then combine them using a video editor. Hewbo Video Converter is extremely simple to use, and is suitable for both novice and experienced PC users. We had a couple of issues with Hewbo Video Converter. We assume that you must have all the appropriate codec library (like K-Lite) preloaded on your computer to attain the full range of
    supported conversions. This is not outlined within the program, or on the author's Website. However, some codecs are included with the program, and some come with Windows, so most basic conversions should be covered. We were also disappointed in the consistent nagscreen for you to register (and pay) for the Pro version. Apart from the nagscreen, we could not find any restriction in the use of the free version, even though the nagscreen says that registering will: "Remove all limitations of free version." Maybe that is talking about the lack of batch processing... With its bland interface, a lack of any real information, and the annoying nagscreen, we didn't want to like Hewbo Video Converter. However, it works so well, and is so simple to use, it is hard to dislike. If you don't mind being nagged, and not being able to carry out batch processing, you will find Hewbo Video Converter an excellent conversion tool. Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 3.55MB download from:

    KeepNote v0.6.5 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    KeepNote is a note taking application that stores all types of notes. It features rich-text formatting, you can include images, it uses an hierarchical organization for notes, it offers a full-text search, you can add an integrated screenshot & file attachments, it offers backup & restore, auto-saving, and more. This is a great way of storing class notes, TODO lists, research notes, journal entries, paper outlines, etc. Using an hierarchical system, you can sort your notes easily, but still find what you are looking for quickly using the search function. You can add a screenshot to your notes, add highlighting to the text, and even share your notes with users of KeepNote using other operating systems (Linux & MacOSX) as notes are implemented in Python and PyGTK. You can also archive your notes to a ZIP file. One of the better hierarchical notetakers, KeepNote is worth a look. Check it out now! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 7.43MB download from:

    Tapin Radio v1.20 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (5 doves)
    Tapin Radio is an Internet radio station player. It features over 10,000 preset stations sorted by country & genre, includes worldwide air traffic control & rail radio traffic transmissions, you can record the active station (including separate song files), save stations as Favorites, it supports most Internet radio formats (MP3, WMA, OGG, AAC+, etc), there are regular station preset updates, and more. This is a great way of accessing radio stations from around the world -- and even recording their output. It offers over 60 categories of station (genres), each sorted by country, and a growing list of Internet radio stations. You can also listen to many air traffic control transmissions from around the world. To make it even better, it can record individual song tracks, automatically separating them. Cool. Sound quality is generally excellent, though this does depend on the quality of the transmitted audio of the individual station. While the interface is a little bland, it is very functional and the program can be minimized to the tray and run in the background. We were impressed with Tapin Radio. The navigation is a little clumsy but you can easily select the station you wish to hear and even save it as a Favorite for fast access next time. If you enjoy listening to the radio through your computer then grab a copy of Tapin Radio. We liked! Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 7.70MB download from:

    Mudding Racer v1.0 -- WinXP/Vista/Win7 (4 doves)
    Mudding Racer is a top-down, dirt track, 4x4 racing game. It features an intelligent opposition that is able to recover from scuffles with greater ease & get back onto the course, improved physics, customizable 4x4, and more. In Mudding Racer you use the arrow keys to move your vehicle -- up/down for forward and reverse, left/right for steering. You play the game looking down on a very bland track with some straights and a few hair-pin bends. Because you are trying to control your 4x4 with the arrow keys from a different perspective it is awkward to play. Combined with boring scenery and childish vehicles, Mudding Racer is not a game that will bring you back to play it again unless you have masochistic tendencies. We don't, so we were happy to uninstall Mudding Racer from our computer. Save your download bandwidth for a better racing game (of which there are many!). Note: we have been advised that this program is not suitable for Windows 95, 98 or ME. Access this 2.50MB download from:

    from Dr T --

    I would like to remove some programs from my computer, but when I go to the Add/Remove Programs section of the Control Panel, the Change/Remove button that's normally there is missing. What can I do to get it back so I can get these programs uninstalled from my PC? Any help you have would be greatly appreciated!

    Wow, that has to be so frustrating! I have to admit that I have never had this happen to me before. (On another note, I also have to admit that I don't go through and remove my programs like I should sometimes. Shhh! Don't tell on me!) Either way, I still feel your pain with this one and after a little research, I was able to find a quick fix for this. Let's check it out, shall we?!

    First of all, if some of you aren't quite sure what I'm talking about, go to Start, Control Panel and select the Add/Remove Programs link. There you will see a list of all the programs you have installed on your computer. If you run down through that list and highlight your programs, there should be a Change/Remove button for each of those applications. With that button, you can control all that you do with your programs.
    You can either change them or completely remove them from your computer. So, as you can see, if that button isn't there, all your control is gone and that is what's ailing the person who asked today's question. With all that said, let's get on with the show!
    Warning: For this tip, you will be working in your Registry Editor, so before you begin, make sure you're comfortable using it. The Registry Editor is not a tool to just play around with. If you make a mistake, you could risk messing up other parts of your computer and so on. If you're not 100 percent sure you can do this, please ask someone who is for some help.

    When you're ready, just simply follow these steps to get your Change/Remove buttons back:

    1.) Go to Start, Run and type "regedit" (without the quotes) into the box. Click OK and the Registry Editor will open for you.

    2.) Then navigate to this location: "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\<Program Name>." (Note: for the program name, you'll want to look for the program you want to remove from your computer).

    3.) In the right pane, double click the NoRemove choice (REG_DWORD) and set the value to 0 (zero). If it happens to be set to 1, the Remove button will not be available.

    4.) Back in the right pane, double click the NoModify option (REG_DWORD) and set it to 0 (zero) as well. If this happens to be set to 1, the Change button will not be available.
    Now, you will need to do this for each program you want to remove, but once you change those two values, click OK and close everything else out. Then go back to the Control Panel and look through your list of programs.
    All of the Change/Remove buttons should be back for you and you can then continue removing all those unnecessary programs from your computer. No more missing buttons. Oh yeah!

    Daves Computer Tips


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    Added Comment: Blastgroups provides lots of freebies. However it has a confusing interface. I have been doing computers since the 70's and it IS confusing to me. However if you can wade through, you will get LOTS of great stuff for your group. - Computer Doc Blastgroups Claims that it is FREE and you can ... Create a free website for your: Sports Team–Club–Family–Friends Church–Work–School–Organization What can you add to a BlastGroup? Calendars – Photo Albums – Forums – Blogs Email Lists – Videos – Audio – Links – Files I just discovered this site and have NOT tried them. If you try them and have some comments, they are certainly VERY WELCOME! I am signing up today so that I can see how it works and report back to you. The other one I am familiar with like this is I loved airset until I realized that geeks like me would have no problem with it BUT perhaps the average computer user may. -Charles