All posts by Clif Sipe

Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of FreewareWiki.com with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.

How to Add a Right Click Search Menu to Firefox

ff-logo Would you like to be able to highlight words on a page and choose the search engine or a site to look them up? This can be done in most web browsers, but it may not be a built-in feature.

A while back, I told you How to Add a Right Click Search Menu to Internet Explorer.   Now I’ll tell you how to add this to Firefox. Here’s what it looks like:

smartsearch

As you can see above, the word RSSis highlighted on the page. A right click on the highlighted word, brings up the context menu(or right click menu).

To add the Search formenu item, we’ll need to install an addon to Firefox. There are a few addons which add this type of function, but I like the SmartSearch addon.

Do you see all of the search engines listed in that menu? Those won’t be there when you use this addon the first time. You have to add them yourself. It’s easy to do, and the beauty of this is that you can add only the sites you like to search. Nobody will be giving you a pre-made list that they think you’ll like.

Here’s how to add a site to the Search formenu after SmartSearch is installed. I’m going to use Download.com as an example.

Go to download.com

When you see the search box, right click on it and choose Add a Keyword for this Search.

firefox-add-keyword-search

Next, you’ll need to fill out the name of the search and add your own short keywordfor it (as shown). You can see that I’ve chosen the two letters DLas the keyword.

firefox-add-keyword-search2

Notice that the Folder says Bookmarks Menu. You are actually better off creating a new folder for all of your searches. I chose to call my folder quicksearch.

After saving, you’ll have a new search in your right click Search formenu.

There’s an additional benefit. Since you have a keywordon the bookmark, you can search from your address bar using that keyword. If you want to search for browsersat download.com, just type dl browsers  into the address bar and the results from download.com will quickly fill your page.

Here’s where to install SmartSearchfor Firefox.

Be sure to check out some of the other cool Firefox addons we’ve talked about in the past.

Happy searching!

Zip Up Files to Hide Your Secrets [How to]

zip-icon Zip files are a great way to pack up a collection of files to send them to other people, usually in an email. At least three or four times a year, I run into someone who doesn’t know how to zip up a collection of files in Windows. I ran into three people in the last two weeks at work.

Years ago, you had to have a third party tool such as WinZip to create and open zip files. In 2001, Windows XP was released with built-in zip capabilities. Microsoft decided to call these compressed folders.

Not only is it easy to use the built in zip features in Windows, it’s also possible to password protect zip files so that others can’t open the files inside them. However, even though a zip file is password protected, you can still see a list of files inside it. I have always hated that, but I found a way around it.

Here is how to hide all of your top secret files in a zip file (or compressed folder).

First, let’s create two zip folders. You’ll see why we need two of them shortly.

To create a zip folder, right click into any folder or in an empty place on your desktop, and choose NewCompressed Folder.

image

Let’s choose Stuffand Top Secretas the names of the new zip files.

Now we can add some top secret files to our Stufffolder. I’m going to add a JPG picture to it here. I’ll open up Stuff.zipby double clicking it, then drag the JPG file into it.

add-files-to-zip

Now let’s add the Stuffzip file to the Top Secretzip file.

add-zip-to-zip

Now we need to add a password to the Top Secretcompressed folder.

menu-add-a-password

You’ll have to type your password in twice to confirm it.

enter-password-twice

That’s it. The next time anyone opens that zip folder, all they’ll be able to see is a file named Stuff.zip. If they try to open it or extract it, they’ll have to know the password you’ve set.

trying-to-open-protected-file

As you can see, all of the files inside the Stuff.zip are hidden. That’s why we needed two zip files.

As a final cleanup step, you can delete the older copies of Stuffand the JPG. These are safely and securely inside the Top Secretzip folder now.

delete-older-copies

These techniques will work in all versions of Windows released after XP, as well as XP itself.

Here are some other ways to use zip files:

1. Compress and Zip Files Online Without Any Software
2. How to Fix Default Zip File Behavior
3. Open Zip Files Online
4. Repair Corrupted Zip Files
5. Unzip or Extract Files Online

Here are some other ways to hide files:

1. Lock And Hide Files & Folders
2. Windows Scripts: Show/Hide Hidden Files and Folders In Windows
3. Password Protect and Hide Personal Folders
4. Hide Drives From My Computer

If you have your own special way to hide secret data, let us know in the comments below.

Skeet – A New Twitter Client for Google Chrome

A few days ago, Arpit mentioned that there were 3 new extensions for the Chrome browser. Skeet was one of these.

skeet-icon

Skeet is a simple Twitter client which lets you see your timeline, mentions and direct messages very easily. Once it’s installed, it places an icon next to the address bar in Chrome. Clicking on the icon opens Skeet in a small floating window (shown here).

1001

Skeet is an open source project hosted at Google Code. At this time, don’t expect many features, because there aren’t any more than what you’ll find at Twitter.com. Did you know that Twitter has Crossed 10 Billion Tweets?

These are the features listed at the Skeet extension page:

  • – View your home timeline, mentions, and messages
  • – Twitter Search
  • – Get notified as new tweets come in
  • – Reply and retweet quickly

Some people, including Sarah at RWW, have told me that they are not having any luck getting Skeet to work. I was skeptical at first, because I received several connection errors and had to wait five minutes before Skeet finally showed me my timeline.

Like any Chrome extension, all you have to do is go to the Chrome Extension Gallery and download it. It will install automatically.

Download Skeet

chrome-extension-gallery-skeet-page

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Skeet is working fine for me. It might save me time, then again, it may not. Currently, my biggest problem with Skeet is that it disappears as soon as you click away from it. This can be maddening if you are in the middle of tweeting or replying, because your unfinished message also disappears. If you are already using another Twitter client, you might be wasting your time trying this one.

Techie Buzz Rating: 2.5/5 (Average)

How to Add a Right Click Search Menu to Internet Explorer

ie8-icon There is definitely something missing in Internet Explorer 7. When I’m using Firefox, Opera, and Chrome, I have gotten used to highlighting a word or phrase, then right clicking and choosing a search engine to look it up. I noticed that it was missing in IE7 the other day, and I immediately set forth on a quest to fix this fault.

It didn’t take long to find the answer. Once again, an old acquaintance, Ramesh Srinivasan, had a solution handy at his WinHelpOnline website. The right-click-search (or context menu search) is fairly easy to add. Just follow my instructions below. (This should work in IE6 and IE7, but may not work IE8.)

  1. Download Google.zip from WinHelpOnline.
  2. Right click on the zip file and Extract Allthe files to a folder. (the Windows Desktop is a good spot)
  3. Open the folder and copy google.htm to the C:\Windows\Web folder.
  4. Double click on the google.reg file and click Yesto add this information into the registry.
  5. The next time you open up Internet Explorer, you’ll now be able to right click on a highlighted word and search for it.
  6. An undo.regis included in the zip file, and you can run it if you want to remove the google search from your menu.

ie-context-search

Wait! I’m not done with you yet. I can tell you how to add other search engines to the right click menu. I modified Ramesh’s code and created more search context actions. Thanks to Ramesh for permission to re-use his code.

Here are searches for:

To install these, just use the same instructions (2 through 6) above. Substitute the name of the site you are installing for google.

Note: IE8 already has a similar feature called accelerators. At this time, I don’t know how to write those.

Do you need any other websites added to this list? Let me know, when I have time I’ll add more.

How to Create Your Own Site Searches in Internet Explorer

internet-explorer-iconDo you have favorite websites that you need to search? You might already know that you can search specific websites by using the pull down menu on the built-in search box in Internet Explorer. You can see a list of sites, such as Bing, Google or Yahoo; these are called Search Providers.

what-are-search-providers

You can add Search Providers in Internet Explorer very easily, but what if the site you want isn’t included in Microsoft’s list of providers? Here are a few of the providers listed by Microsoft:

Bing SearchNew York Times Instant SearchWikipedia Visual SearchAmazon Search SuggestionseBay.com Visual SearchGoogle Search SuggestionsYahoo! Search SuggestionsESPN SearchRealtime Web Search (by OneRiot)Sports Buzz from Buzztap

Creating your own Search Providers is an easy trick to learn. It might save you several minutes every day if you have to perform lots of web searches. I’m only going to show instructions for Internet Explorer 7 and 8. If you have Internet Explorer 6, you should upgrade to a newer version. IE6 is getting too old, slow and insecure (like me). Unlike me, however, IE6 is not getting any wiser.

Let’s start with a good example. let’s say that you are in love with the Techie Buzz site and you need to search it every day. Follow the steps below to add your own “Techie Buzz Search” to Internet Explorer.

1. Open Internet Explorer and navigate to Techie-Buzz.

Free GPS on Your Laptop – Geosense for Windows

I have a GPS unit to keep me from getting lost while I’m driving, but it doesn’t hook up to my computer. If I wanted to use geolocation applications to show online friends where I was at the moment, I couldn’t do it.   Until now ….

Sathya Bhat sent me an email yesterday telling me about a new geo-location solution. Two crazy programmers named Long Zeng and Rafael Rivera have created a program that identifies where you are by using either your IP address, or Wifi triangulation. The application is called Geosense for Windows, but, it only works in Windows 7. Apparently Windows 7 has a built in location sensing API that nobody else is taking advantage of yet.

Here’s how to set it up:

First, go to the home page and download Geosense and install it.

To enable Geosense, go to your Start Menu and type location(without quotes) into the search box. Then click on Enable location and other sensors.

control-panel-location-search

Next place a check-mark in the check-box to enable Geosense.

control-panel-enable-location-sensor

Once you’ve clicked Apply, you won’t notice anything new. However, you’ll find that any location aware application you run, will now automatically know where you are.

The Geosense website offers a nice Google Maps test application to try out. You can also run the Windows Weather Gadget to find your local weather. Here you can see both of these running on my laptop.

google-maps-applet

They also mention that there’s a Twitter application called MahTweets which can grab the location and put it into your tweets.

Here’s the Geosense homepage: Check it out.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Geosense is not going to be able to replace my car’s GPS unit, but if I’m on the road, at least I’ll know about where I am, even when I’m away from the car. I did notice that it was only able to give an approximate location, within half a kilometer, so it’s not perfect. It’s a free app that makes excellent use of a previously hidden feature in Windows 7. I love it.

techie-buzz-recommended-software

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Backup Your Device Drivers with Double Driver

IN A WINDOWS PC, the drivers are some of the most important files you need to keep everything working as it should. The drivers control all of the hardware devices in your PC. So when they don’t work, your display, or sound, or CD/DVD drives, or networking cards may not be working.

Usually, this happens when you are setting up a new PC that you don’t have the original install disks for. I’ve had it happen many times and the only solution is to search the internet for the correct drivers, then install them.

If you have all of your required drivers, re-installing Windows will most likely be a trouble free experience. The best place to get the drivers is off of the PC that’s going to need them. Over the years, I’ve gotten a little smarter. After a successful install of Windows, one of the first things I do is back up all of the system drivers someplace safe. I’ve found one of the best ways to do this is to use a driver backup utility.

double-driver-icon Double Driver is a good freeware driver backup solution. It’s not a large download and it’s also a portable application, meaning, you can take the program with you on a flash card or USB drive. There’s no need to install it since it will run right from the portable drive.

double-driver-files

Installation is easy. Download the zip file, extract it to a folder, then double click the dd.exe file to start Double Driver.

Once it’s running, click the Scan button to make Double Driver scan your PC for all of the driver files.

By default, the drivers you need to back up will already be selected. However, it never hurts to back them all up. You can select all of the drivers from the Select menu.

double-driver-scanned

Once you’ve selected all the drivers you wish to back up, then you only need to hit the Backup button to start the process. You’ll have an option to change the backup settings at this point.

double-driver-backup

The default options are fine unless you need to compress the files because of limited space in your backup location. The default option to Include Double Driveris a bonus that’s worthy of praise. After all, it’s likely you’ll only need to restore the drivers to a system which doesn’t already have Double Driver on it.

Restoring the drivers on a PC is also very easy. Navigate to the folder where you have the backup drivers stored, then double click the dd.exe file.

double-driver-restore

Once Double Driver is running, hit the Restore button and you’ll see your drivers listed, selected, and ready for you to hit the Restore button once again.

Download Double Driver

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Double Driver meets almost every good point that I use to judge software. It’s freeware, portable, useful, easy to use, bug free and runs on most versions of Windows. I have no problem recommending it as a must have.

techie-buzz-recommended-software

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Learn to Program with Microsoft Small Basic

This is what my first computer looked like. It was a Xerox Sigma, if I recall correctly, and it took up an entire room at the college I was attending.

xerox_sigma

I learned how to program this machine in 1977. The college course I took was for a language called Fortran. The next year, I fell in love with Basic, and I’ve used it on and off ever since then. Basic is one of the easiest languages to learn, and I actually learned it from an instructional program on that huge computer. The name is an acronym for   Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.

Microsoft wants you to learn Basic, and they’ve made it as easy as possible with the recent release of Small Basic. They have a PDF beginner’s guide that walks you through Basic programming step by step. Here’s what Small Basic looks like:

small-basic-program-listing

The first thing that struck me was that this program gives all kinds of help while you are typing in the editor window. If you aren’t sure how to finish a command, you can scroll through the pop-up to see what your options and arguments should be. When you click on a command or object word, the sidebar tells you all about it.

Here’s a video showing your first steps:

Small Basic isn’t the only free programming suite that Microsoft offers. A few years ago, they made three of them available. Here’s the quick list:

The Visual Basic suite is the big brother to Small Basic. If you have it installed, you can even convert your Small Basic programs into Visual Basic so that you can create executable files.

Small Basic is definitely the best way to start if you’ve never tried programming. Once you have it under control, you’ll be ready to move to the other three I’ve listed.

Download Small Basic

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Microsoft Small Basic is one of the easiest programming tools I’ve tried. If you’ve ever considered learning to program a computer, you won’t find an easier way to learn. The instructional PDF file that’s provided, teaches you step by step. Even a cave man could do it.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1_thumb

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Find and Read Tons of Free E-Books with FBReader

Do you like to read? I love to read, but I have trouble making time for it. Typically, I’ve always read books, and only recently, have I moved to reading on my laptop or netbook. While using a computer, I wondered why so many people preferred using an e-book reader application. I always found most books in PDF or plain text.

Now I know why. An e-Reader can be your best buddy if it’s a good one. It keeps track of all your books, keeps track of where you are in each book, and it may also help you find more books. That’s certainly the case for FBReader, a free and open source (FOSS) e-book reader.

fbreader-icon As you may already know, besides plain text or PDF, e-books come in many formats. FBReader supports html, chm, plucker, palmdoc, oeb, rtf, tcr, OpenReader, non-DRM’ed Mobipocket, and fb2. It also supports reading from tar, zip, gzip, and bzip2 archives. It also has automatic language and encoding detection, automatic hyphenations, full-screen mode, and screen rotation.

Perhaps the best feature for FBReader is that it’s available for many platforms and operating systems. Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, Android, Sharp Zaurus, Siemens Simpad with Opensimpad ROM, Nokia Internet Tablet (Maemo platform), Archos PMA430, Motorola E680i/A780/A1200 smartphones, PepperPad 3, Asus Eee PC, IRex iLiad, UMPC. There’s also a Java version that likely works on a Mac OS.

The FBReader menus and help are available in 13 languages; Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Lithuanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Ukrainian.

If may have spoken too soon, when I said best feature. I also love the fact that I don’t even have to leave FBReader to go and look for more books. It’s able to search several online libraries and download new books for you. You can even add libraries, as if there wasn’t enough to read already.

Here are four screen shots showing the major functions.

Finding New Books

fbreader-network-library

Looking at Your Books

fbreader-book-lists

Book Cover Art

fbreader-book-cover

Reading a Book

fbreader-book-reading

In Windows, FBReader is offered as a 5MB installer. I found that the program folder can be copied to a flash card or USB drive and used as a semi-portable app as well.

On a final note, there is an active FBReader Group online, which can offer all kinds of help and advice, such as, where to find more cool books.

Download FBReader

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I haven’t been using FBReader long, but I have a feeling it’s going to be one of my favorite apps. The ability to read when I want, on the go, on any PC, and find more books easily is priceless.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent)

5GB of Free Online File Storage with CloudDrive

I have more free storage space online than I know what to do with. I have SkyDrive, Google Docs, Dropbox, Ubuntu One, Drop.io and several others. That doesn’t mean I won’t accept more if it’s offered. In 2008, when Adobe offered 5GB of free space online for files, I snapped it up. Their service is called Adobe Acrobat Document Service. All you need is an email address and a password to use it. There was one major problem with it and I have not been using it. Adobe’s service only allows you to upload one file at a time.

Since you can only upload one file at a time, it takes too long to use their service. Most of the time, I use SkyDrive Explorer to upload files when I need cloud storage. This may change since I found a free program called CloudDrive. This freebie app let’s you upload multiple files into your Adobe Acrobat Documents account. Take a look at the CloudDrive application:

CloudDrive-file-listing

CloudDrive looks almost like a regular file window and you’ll have no trouble figuring it out. It allows you to create folders, but I did notice one problem with that. You can’t move files between folders easily. As far as I can tell, you have to download a file and then re-upload it into a different folder.

Other than that, I can’t see much wrong with this application.

[via DownloadSquad]

Download CloudDrive

http://www.driveoncloud.com/ (XP, Vista, 7)

Techie Buzz Verdict:

If you are going to use Adobe’s Acrobat Document Service, you are definitely going to want CloudDrive to help you upload multiple files and folders. CloudDrive is still very new and I’m hoping they’ll add a way to move files between folders soon. CloudDrive has quite a way to go before it’s as easy to use as SkyDrive Explorer or Dropbox.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

How to Restore Default File Types in Vista and Windows 7

registry iconA few weeks ago, I told you how to repair the default image file types in Windows XP. At the time, I wasn’t aware of any utilities that could help you restore file types in Vista or Windows 7. I should have guessed that Ramesh Srinivasan would make good on his word. I had seen an old post which said he’d be working on something to help out.

Why would you need to restore a default file type?

You probably already know that a file type is controlled by the last letters after the dot in a file name. When you install new applications, sometimes the new app takes over the opening of some file types automatically. If you installed a new music player, you might discover that all .MP3 files now open up in the new player. That’s fine if you like the new player, but what if you don’t? You can re-assign the MP3 file type to another player by using the Open Withmenu when you right click on an MP3.

If you want Windows to use the default player that Microsoft had originally chosen for MP3 files, you might have trouble figuring out how to do that. I have found that it’s also sometimes tricky to get the defaults back on image file types. Fortunately, there are a few scripts and utilities that can help.

Using .REG Scripts

Ramesh has a page on his site that helps you restore a few Windows 7 file types to their defaults. He also has a page that lets you restore Vista file types to their defaults. Read the instructions on those pages to use REG (registry) scripts to make the changes.

Here’s a list of the file types that can be changed there:

AUDIOCD, AVI, BAT, BMP, CHM, CMD, COM, DVR-MS, EXE, GIF, HTM, HTML, ICO, INF, IMG, JPE, JPEG, JPG, JS, LNK, MP3, MPE, MPG, MSC, MPEG, REG, SCR, TIF, TIFF, TXT, VBS, WMA, WMV, WSF, XML, XPS, ZIP, FOLDER, DIRECTORY, DRIVE

Using the Unassoc Utility

Free Online Anti-Virus Scan from Trend Micro – the HouseCall

Here at Techie-Buzz, we keep our eyes open for free and easy to use online services. One of the most important things you need to manage is your computer’s security. If you surf the internet, it’s always possible that you’ve either gotten infected, or may suspect you’ve been infected by Malware, Trojans or Viruses.

housecall-icon Fortunately, there’s no shortage of security tools that you can install on your PC. There are also several online tools that you can use, and most of the online tools are free. Trend Micro, one of the most trusted providers of security software, also offers a free online anti-virus scanner, named HouseCall.

Don’t consider online scanners as any replacement for installing good anti-virus and anti-malware tools. The online scanners are there in case you need a second opinion.

It’s easy to use and you can see the steps involved below in a screen-show I’ve inserted.

If you can’t see the screen-show here, follow this link to view it.

Here are links to a few other online tools that you may like to take a look at:

Free Online Security Scan From Secunia

Scan Files Online In 24 Antivirus Engines From One Place

Review of ESET Online Scanner

Security Advice From McAfee That You May Not Want

Compress and Zip Files Online Without Any Software

Best Free Online Image Editors

Techie Buzz Verdict:

HouseCall is a good free anti-virus scanning service from a well respected source. I recommend it as a good source for a second opinion when you are afraid that your current security software is failing you.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Can You Hide Your Web Browser While Surfing at Work or School?

If you have to sneak around, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it. You could get fired or expelled. However, there is one way to hide your surfing from other people as they walk past your computer. GhostZilla was designed to help with this exact problem.

ghost-from-clif What is GhostZilla? It’s a web browser that behaves like a scared chameleon. It blends into your desktop windows so well that anyone who’s more than 2 feet away won’t even see it at first. If someone is looking, a single mouse movement causes GhostZilla to disappear completely.

GhostZilla is a modified version of the Mozilla web browser, which is no longer supported. The Mozilla and Netscape browsers are the parents of the modern Firefox browser. You could say GhostZilla is an aging uncle to Firefox. The main feature of GhostZilla is that it appears inside the window frame of any application window that’s on top at the time.

Here’s what it looks like before you launch –

ghostzilla-word-0-large

– and after you launch GhostZilla, you see this.

ghostzilla-word-1-large

While you are surfing, you’ll notice that the text is displayed in a low contrast mode, and gray images will only appear as you hover your mouse over them.

monochrome-image-google

When you want GhostZilla to disappear, just move the mouse out of the window and it disappears, leaving behind the original window.

ghost-zilla-mouse-moves

To get GhostZilla back, you need to move your mouse all the way to the left edge of the display screen, then back to the right edge, and finally back to the left edge once again. Suddenly, GhostZilla should re-appear in the current active window.

There are a few problems with GhostZilla as it currently stands.
• It’s an abandoned project
• The original website is no longer there
• It doesn’t work as well in Vista/Win7 (XP is fine)
• It’s pretty big – 26mb

GhostZilla is a free and open source (FOSS) portable app. You can download it, unzip it and run it from a folder, flash memory stick, USB thumb drive or CD. To start GhostZilla, double click the Start-Ghostzilla-CD.exe file.

There is a current add-on project, named GhostFox, which is trying to duplicate the features of GhostZilla in the Firefox browser. However, I have not been able to get it to work because of add-on compatibilities. Once this add-on is working, it should be the ideal way to go.

If anyone out there has the time, I’d like to see a portable version of Firefox with the GhostFox add-on enabled and running by default. Be sure to let us know if you succeed.

Download GhostZilla:

http://www.portablefreeware.com/?id=681

Techie Buzz Verdict:

GhostZilla is a great idea that isn’t great for everyone at this time. It’s old, it’s big and it’s no longer supported. However, some of you may find it useful. Remember that I warned you not to secretly do your web surfing at work or school.

Techie Buzz Rating: 2.5/5 (Average)

How To Create and Use System Restore Points

I often create backups of my registry files when I’m getting ready to try out new software. Lately, I’ve been setting System Restore Pointsas well. Why would I do this? Let’s ask Microsoft.

Quote from Microsoft: Every time you download or install a new game, application, or software update, you make changes to your computer. Sometimes that change may make your system unstable. Have you ever wanted to go back to the way it was? With System Restore, you can.(source)

What is a System Restore Point?

System Restore is a Windows feature that takes snapshots of the system files and registry at regular intervals or during important system events. The snapshots are stored as System Restore Points (SRP). If you run into a problem, you can often use a previous SRP to undo many of the changes to your system that created the problem.

It’s not fool proof. Sometimes it didn’t correct the problems I had. Most of the time, it does a good job as long as the Restore Point isn’t very old. Since it seems to be important to use a recent SRP, I often set my own SRP just before installing software. I’ll show you how to do this below.

How to Create a System Restore Point

In Windows XP, use your start menu to go to Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore.

You should see this:

system-restore-point-create-xp

Set the button on Create a restore pointand click Next. At the next screen, you’ll be able to type in a name or description for your restore point.

system-restore-point-name-xp

In Vista and Win7, you can set an SRP just as easily.

Click your Start button, then type restore, then click the entry that says Create a restore point.

create-a-restore-point-win7

Next you’ll see a screen like this:

advanced-system-settings-protection-tab

Click the Createbutton and you’ll get a window that will let you choose a description for the new SRP.

create-a-restore-point-name-win7

How to Use a Restore Point to Recover from a Problem

In WinXP, you can use the Start menu as shown above to find the System Restore settings.

When you get to the System Restore panel, select Restore my computer to an earlier time.

You’ll get a window that will let you select a restore point.

system-restore-select-a-point-xp

Once you have an SRP selected, hit the Nextbutton to start the recovery. You’ll get a screen with some info on it and you’ll have to click Nextone final time. The computer will restart.

In Vista and Win7, you can click the start button and type restore. You’ll need to click the entry labeled Restore your computer to an earlier time.

image

You’ll get a window up that let’s you start System Restore. Then you’ll be able to select an SRP to recover.

system-restore-point-list

Once you have one selected, hit the Nextbutton, and then the Finishbutton to confirm it. Your computer will reboot and hopefully everything will be better.

Conclusion

Now that you have the general idea, don’t forget that setting a System Restore Point could save you time and trouble when you try out new software. If you have any suggestions or questions, be sure to comment below.

How to Speed Up Windows Disk Cleanup

disk-cleanup-icon Cleaning out the junk files on your PC is something you should do on a regular basis. Microsoft has included a file cleaning utility in Windows, and it’s called Disk Cleanup. Running Disk Cleanup will often make your system a little snappier and you can also free up a large amount of used disk space.

You can find the Disk Cleanup utility in the following locations:

WinXP: Start > Program Files > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup

Vista/Win7: Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup

disk-cleanup

If you occasionally clean out your unwanted system files using Windows “Disk Cleanup”, you may have seen that the Disk Cleanup utility takes a long time scanning for “Compressed Folders”. I have seen this many times and it makes me impatient every time.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine at work (Bill M), told me that there’s a registry hack to make Cleanup skip the long wait. He was right, I found it using a simple Google search.

Here’s the registry hack (works in XP, so far – have not seen this work in Vista and Win7):

WinXP: Open up the registry editor by clicking the Start Button, then choose Run, type in “regedit” and press the OK button.

Vista/Win7: Hit the Start button and type regeditin the quick search.

Once you have regedit running, find the following location:
“HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows
\CurrentVersion\Explorer
\VolumeCaches\System error memory dump files”

The “Flags” value must be set to “0”.

For 64-bit Windows only:

“HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows
\CurrentVersion\Explorer
\VolumeCaches\System error memory dump files”

The “Flags” value must be set to “0”.

You may not   notice any difference until you reboot, but the next time you use Disk Cleanup, you should notice a substantial decrease in the amount of time it takes.