Tag Archives: Portable Software

Optimize Windows 7 Services with SMART

Windows Operating System has been designed to be suitable for almost anyone and everyone. However, there are always disadvantages associated with the one-size fits all approach. Windows ships with dozens services – many of which common users do not require. Disabling these unnecessary services helps in reducing boot time and increases general system performance.

Over the years, BlackViper has earned a reputation for providing in-depth and accurate advisory on tweaking Windows System services. You can find his excellent guide on optimizing Windows 7 services over here. However, manually tweaking your system can be time consuming. In order to speed up this process TheWindowsClub has released SMART (Service Management And RealEasy Tweaking).

SMART-Tweak-Windows-7-Services-Configuration

SMART automatically optimizes your services configuration in accordance to BlackViper’s guide. You are provided three presets – Safe, Tweaked and Advanced. As the name suggests, ‘Safe’ is intended to work on most PCs and disables only the absolutely useless services. The ‘Tweaked’ configuration takes things to the next level and changes a total of 57 service settings (compared to 19 in ‘Safe’). ‘Advanced’ mode is designed for gamers who seek extreme performance, even at the expense of functionality. This configuration is not recommended unless you know what you are doing. Several features including Wireless Networking, Windows Defender and Windows Update are disabled in this mode.

Techie Buzz Verdict

SMART doesn’t do anything you can’t do manually, but it helps you in getting things done faster. The main reason why you might want to use SMART is that in case things go wrong, you can get back your default configuration with the click of a button. It is also a handy utility to carry while you visit your friends and family during the holidays.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

[ Download SMART for Windows 7 ]

Download Firefox 3.6 Portable Edition

For all you people who like to live their computing life out of a flash drive, Firefox 3.6 is now available as a portable software, courtesy PortableApps.com.

Firefox 3.6 Portable Edition

Portable Apps have released the latest version of Firefox just a day after it was officially released. The portable version of the Firefox 3.6 can be installed on any portable flash drive and allows you to take your browser, bookmarks, settings and extensions and use it on the go.

Firefox 3.6 portable is available in 15 languages including Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal and Brazil), Russian and Spanish (Spain and International).

Download Firefox 3.6 Portable

See the Whois Information Of any Domain from Desktop

The Whois information of a domain tells us the following important things:

  • The registrar of a domain.
  • The IP address and name servers of a domain.
  • The date when the domain was created
  • The contact information of the domain owner and his address.

If you need to perform frequent Whois lookups of different domains and then it may become necessary to use a desktop tool rather than rely on any third party websites. Whoislookup is a nice little tool for Windows which can be used to find the Whois information of a domain from desktop.

Here is how the interface of the application looks:

whois-lookup-from-desktop

To see the Whois information of a domain, enter the URL in the domain name field and press “Lookup”. The entire Who is information of the domain will be available inside the application window.

detailed-whois-information-desktop-tool

As you can see, the application shows the Whois information of the domain in the left frame while the website loads in the right. All the domain names are saved in the “History” pane so that you can quickly repeat the Whois lookups at a later time. You can also use this tool to check whether a domain is available to buy or not.

The application is portable and you can use it on multiple computers from a removable drive without installation. It’s compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Techie-Buzz Verdict

The application is a small and useful tool for bloggers and webmasters.However, the ability to save the Whois information in a text file would be perfect.

Techie-Buzz rating: 3/5(average).

Create Animated Gifs with UnFREEZ

Once in a while, it’s fun to play with animated GIFs. These are the little moving images you often see at websites. Some people like them so much that they collect large numbers of them.

Bouncing_sheep_2

Other people really enjoy making them. If you’ve never created an animated (active) GIF, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is if you have the right tool.

I’ve tried a number of GIF tools over the years, but UnFREEZ is typically the one I use for simple and quick projects.

Grab a copy

The first thing to do is to go to the Whitsoftdev website and download UnFREEZ. You will first be amazed at how small this utility is. It’s less than 20K in size. It’s offered as a ZIP file, so all you need to do is extract it to a folder on your hard drive, then double click to run it.

Here’s what it looks like.

unfreez_app

How does it work?

Create or gather some GIF files, make sure that they are all the same dimensions, then drag them one at a time into the frame window on UnFREEZ.

As you can see in the screen-shot above, I dragged in 5 files and they are all 284 x 96 pixels in size. If you want your animation to keep playing over and over, be sure to place a check in the Loop animationcheck-box. The Frame delayis the amount of time each of your images is shown before the next one displays. The Frame delay is measured in hundredths of a second, so that 100cs is equal to 1 second.

Once you have your GIFs loaded, the loop set and the frame delay entered, you are ready to push the Make Animated GIFbutton to create your new file.

Don’t be too concerned about getting the frame delay set perfectly the first try. You can always change the delay and regenerate a new file.

Here’s a cute little animated sign I made just for this article. It only took me a few minutes to create.

unfreezee

Note: If you don’t like UnFREEZ, you can also create animated gifs online at GIFUP.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

UnFREEZ is a perfect little tool for people just starting to learn about animated GIFs. It’s great for small projects, however, you can also use it to make some pretty decent GIF movies.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Turn Photos into Art with FotoSketcher

You can create some very stunning pencil sketches, pen and ink drawings or paintings the old fashioned way if you have the time and materials. Since I don’t have the time, materials or the skill, I’m using version 1.95 of FotoSketcher on my Windows PC.

A few years ago, I found a nice Photo to Sketch utility that I used to make a picture for my online avatar. I also found an online tool to create sketches from photos. However. I was blown away by all of the features in FotoSketcher. It’s free, it’s not a big program, and it’s also available as a stand-alone executable file.

Even though it’s simple to open a new picture in this app, it may take a while for you to figure out the multitude of effects that you can apply to an image. Here’s an example of a picture that I found on the author’s website.

FotoSketcher - 280130_8025

This looks like a very nice oil painting, but the author started with a real photo he found on Stock.xchng.

Below you can see a video tutorial I found at the FotoSketcher website.


Download FotoSketcher:

http://www.fotosketcher.com/

Techie Buzz Verdict:

This little freeware application takes photo tweaking to the next level. It makes it possible for an average joe to create real art with almost no training and very little time. I can easily give it a highly recommendedstamp of approval. (Note a before and after I tweaked our stamp with FotoSketcher to make it look like a colored pencil drawing).

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1 FotoSketcher - techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

How to Take Ownership of Files and Folders in Windows Vista and 7

File permissions are a much needed addition to Windows, but occasionally it can get on your nerves. There may be times when you will need to take ownership of a file or a folder in Windows. Sure, you can modify permissions through the file properties dialogue box. However, there are a couple of much simpler alternatives.

The first alternative is to use the registry files provided by Vishal Gupta from AskVG. Just double click on the Add Take Ownership Option.reg to apply the required changes to your registry. This modifies the discretionary access control lists and grants you permission to do whatever you wish with the file/folder. After this you should be able to take ownership of any file/folder through the right click context menu. Undoing the changes is as simple as running the Remove Take Ownership Option.reg file.

Take-Ownership-File-Permissions

The second option is to use the Rizone Take Ownership Shell Extension. This is a portable utility which essentially does the same thing. You can create and delete the context menu entry with a single click. The utility doesn’t itself require any installation and is a tiny download.
Both of these are good options. Chose the one you feel comfortable with.

Enable Aero Effect in Windows Vista and Windows 7 Home Basic

Aero was one of the most celebrated additions to Windows Vista. The snazzy new Aero effects brought Windows on par with modern GUIs. Windows 7 further refined Aero and succeeded in delivering an attractive yet intuitive interface. Unfortunately, Aero is disabled in cheaper editions of Windows Vista and 7 (Home Basic and Starter editions). Aero is also locked on lower end systems.

AeroEnabler is a simple utility which unlocks Aero in Home Basic and Starter Editions. It can also be used to disable Windows hardware check. This makes it possible for everyone to get a taste of Aero, without upgrading the hardware or software.

Enable-Aero-On-Windows-Vista-7-Home-Basic-Starter

Techie Buzz Verdict

AeroEnabler does what it promises. However, one must be careful while forcefully enabling Aero effects on lower end configurations. The hardware check was included in the first place because, running Aero on systems which aren’t powerful enough, may lead to major performance issues. If your hardware doesn’t satisfy the Windows Display Driver Model specifications, then you would probably be better off without Aero.

Techie Buzz Rating: 2.5/5 (Average)

[ Download AeroEnabler ]

via NirmalTV

Use Function Keys to Launch Applications or Documents

Natural keyboards usually have 12 function keys which provide users with several easy to use functions. However, not every function key is actually usable without key combinations. Few of these keys include F9, F10, F11 and F12.

function_keys_utility

Function Keys is a handy , which will allow you to setup shortcuts for the above function keys, so that you can quickly launch an application or document by pressing the function keys.

Once you download the software, just run it and setup the applications you want to open when you press the function keys, save you settings and your all set.

Techie Buzz Verdict

Function keys is a , however its requirement of .Net Framework 4.0, is something which will deter users from using it. I myself was using .Net Framework 3.5 and had to upgrade the .Net framework, to test the software.

Other than that, it is a decent download and does the job it is supposed to do. I tested this app on and it worked perfectly. However, you will need to download .Net Framework 4.0 to use it.

Ratings: 2/5 (Average)

Download Function Keys

Windows Hotkey Explorer Shows You Global Shortcut Keys

Most of us know shortcut key combinations like Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V and more common ones by heart, however, in addition to those commonly used . Many different applications register global hotkeys, which can be useful to launch applications and perform different tasks.

windows_registered_hotkeys

Also read: Put the Alt, Shift and Ctrl keys to good use

Windows hotkey explorer is a decent , which displays all the globally registered hotkeys on Windows. With the help of this tool, you might come across some very useful hotkeys thanks to it.

Techie Buzz Verdict

This is a good which you can use to find out the globally registered hotkeys on any computer. However, it would be good if it could also show shortcut keys registered by different applications.

I tested this on and it worked great. However, one annoying problem with the software is that, the Alt + Tab switch will stop working while this app is open, it starts working after you close it though.

Techie Buzz Ratings: 2.5/5 (Good)

Download Windows Hotkey Explorer

Google DNS Helper Automatically Changes DNS to use Google’s DNS

We have written some lengthy tutorial to setup Google DNS for and ( users follow the Windows 7 tutorial). However, not many users would have the expertise, or want to perform the listed steps in the tutorial.

google_dns_helper

Google DNS Helper is a small written in C#, which will automatically backup your current DNS records, and update it to use Google DNS servers. You can also easily restore your old DNS with the click of a button.

Techie Buzz Verdict

Very helpful tool, specially for lazy people like me, who want everything done with the click of a button. What is Google DNS? Don’t know yet? Visit our earlier post where we told you about Google DNS and also our editorial where we dissected some view’s by the OpenDNS founder, who is the closest rival of Google DNS.

This software is only 89 KB and works well on Windows 7. It is portable, so you can drop it on a flash drive and change the DNS setting of any computer.

Rating: 2.5/5 (Good)

Download Google DNS Helper

Convert Doc and Docx files to PDF with Doc2PDF

Ever wanted to share document files as PDF files, but don’t want to go through too much hoops and hassles? Doc2PDF is a handy and portable software which will allow you to convert Doc and Docx files to PDF with ease.

convert_documents_to_pdf

Doc2PDF is a open source software which will allow you to choose and convert Office documents including the latest format docx, included in Office 2007 and .

Techie Buzz Verdict

techie-buzz-recommended-software[2]

Doc2PDF is a really easy to use software, however the interface is a bit oldish, specially the document selection browse menu. It would be great if this software supported drag and drop operations, this would definitely make it much more easier.

The document to PDF conversion is really very good and we converted both doc and docx files to PDF in few seconds. If you are looking for a no-frills software to convert documents to PDF, this is a highly recommended one.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3.5/5 (Very Good)

Download Doc2PDF (Download the Doc2PDF.exe file from the list)

Rohos Mini Drive – Hide Your Data on Flash Drives

I carry a 2Gb SD Card in my wallet almost every day. On the card, I have a complete portable suite of applications, pictures, movies, music and some personal data.

I keep it backed up occasionally, so I’m not worried if I lose it. However, I don’t want my personal data falling into the wrong hands. Up until recently, I’ve been using the free  Safehouse Explorer to encrypt all that data. It’s a fantastic and easy to use encryption utility, but now I’m using an app that works better for me.

rohos_mini_logo_new

Features:

Rohos Mini Drive (RMD) is a free encryption utility, especially designed to hide and protect data on a USB flash drive or other flash media, such as my SD card. RMD has a host of features that make it simple to manage hidden data on a flash drive. Here are a few:

  • Creates a virtual encrypted partition (volume)
  • Automatically detects your USB drive and helps create a new volume
  • Portable works on a guest computer without Admin rights
  • Volume is protected by password
  • Encryption is automatic – on-the-fly’
  • Encryption algorithm is AES 256 bit
  • Virtual Keyboard – protects your password from keyloggers
  • Autorun Folder – shortcuts that automatically start when volume is opened great for launching portable menus
  • File Virtualization you can safely open files without them being decrypted to temporary space on the host PC
  • FREE for non-commercial, personal use

Set-up and Use:

Change Your DNS Settings Fast with Dns Jumper

If you don’t know what a DNS is, or how to access your DNS settings, I recommend that you read an article I posted nearly two weeks ago: How to use Google Public DNS on Windows 7 and Windows XP

If you already know what DNS is, then you might get a real kick out of Dns Jumper.

Dns Jumper is a small, portable freeware application which makes changing your DNS settings as easy as clicking a button.

Here’s what it looks like:

You’ll need to download and unpack a ZIP file in order to gain access to the Dns_Jumper.exefile. There is no installation. Just move the EXE file to a safe folder and double click it to run Dns Jumper.

The home site for this little utility is fairly new, so it’s not rated by anyone yet, but this particular app seems to be quite safe to use.

Download Dns Jumper

http://sordum.3eeweb.com/?p=4573

Techie-Buzz Verdict:

Using this free little app sure beats having to dig into the Control Panel settings. The fact that it’s portable freeware is just icing on the cake. However, since I’m not familiar with the site and it’s author, I’ll reserve giving Jumper a higher rating. Oh, one thing I’d suggest to the author is … get rid of the music.

Techie-Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

AppPaths Exports Installed Software as a List

AppPaths is a handy program which will display a list of installed software and allow you to export it or save the list as a file.

apppaths_export_installed_progam_list

The app is both a and Portable Software. However, it only does one part of what it promises. It can only display the installed software list. The Save button is practically useless as it does not do anything. I searched high and low but could not find the file, this in turn makes this software not so good on our list.

Techie Buzz Verdict

We hope the developer of the application is reading this and will let us know where the application list is saved? We searched high and low but could not find it, while you are reading this, kindly add an option to export the data as both a HTML or text file.

We would have rated this app much higher, but alas for the missing save option, or mysterious save location as we might call it.

Rating: 1.5/5 (Average)

Download AppPaths [via Technix Update]

Create Shortcuts To Handy Windows Functions

Handy Shortcuts is a and portable software which will allow you to create shortcuts to handy windows functions on your desktop.

handy_windows_shortcuts

Handy shortcuts allows you to quickly create shortcuts for the following Windows functions: Lock WorkStation, Switch Account. Shutdown, Restart, Log Off, Hibernate, Show Desktop, Uninstall Programs, Device Manager, Security Center, Windows Defender, Windows DVD maker, Flip 3D, Launch Screen-saver, Disable Windows Firewall, Enable Windows Firewall, Clear Clipboard, Connect to Internet, Safely Remove Hardware and a Master Control Panel.

Everything aside, I still did not get it why one would want to create a shortcut to Show Desktop on the desktop :-).

Download Handy Windows Shortcuts