3 Free Windows Utilities to Reclaim Disk Space and Boost System Performance

Hard disk prices have plummeted over the years, and within a remarkably short span of time we’ve progressed from talking about storage space in gigabytes to terabytes. Recovering every little megabyte of disk space from the operating system is no longer as crucial as it might have been a few years back. Nevertheless, it still makes sense from a performance point of view to give your system a little spring cleaning. Of course, if you have shelled out the big bucks to get a Solid State Disk, disk space might still be a scarce resource for you. SSDs are now more affordable than ever before, but still expensive enough for storage space to be a constraint. Here are three free utilities to help you remove junk from your system.


There are plenty of junk cleaners, but CCleaner is probably the most popular and trusted one. I’m not going to dwell a lot on this tool, because chances are that you already know about it. Piriform CCleaner cleans up temp files, junk files, log files, memory dumps, and other unnecessary system files as well as temporary files left behind by third party apps. It supports over a dozen third party applications including Adobe Acrobat, WinRAR, Nero, Microsoft Office, and all popular browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Flock, Rockmelt, Maxthon, Avant, and more).


[ Download CCleaner ]


DiskMax is another disk clean-up tool. I reserve this for the times when I’m really short on space. It cleans up stuff that CCleaner leaves behind. They say that with more power comes responsibility, and that’s definitely applicable for DiskMax. The Detailed Scan deletes unused hibernation and page files, Microsoft Office installer cache, logs, .sav files, memory dumps, windows update backups, and more. If you want to reclaim even more space, it even offers a Deep Scan mode which cleans up files based on extension from all folders. However, I would advise against employing Deep Scan unless absolutely necessary. Even without Deep Scan I often end up reclaiming several gigabytes of storage space with DiskMax. You can find an earlier review here.


[ Download DiskMax]

Should I Remove It

If the sheer number of installed apps overwhelm you, then this tool is for you. It identifies and highlights apps that you can and should remove from your system. It lists all installed apps along with an average user rating and the percent of users that have decided to remove it. This can be really handy in identifying crapware, malware, and even apps that are just not very good or necessary. There’s also a “What is it?” button which opens up a webpage with more detailed information about a program, including the features offered by it and the risks presented. Here’s a sample information page. ‘Should I Remove It’ also supports real time monitoring. Once enabled, it will quietly run in the background, and alert you as soon as you try to install an app with a low rating.


[ Download Should I Remove It]

Nvidia’s GeForce Experience Tool Optimizes Your Game Settings Automatically

Unless you are lucky (and rich) enough to own the latest Alienware, squeezing the best out of your rig on new games is an exercise in trial and error. Running latest games at maxed out settings will knock your fps (frames per second) down to single digits, but the preset quality modes often don’t do justice to your hardware. Getting the best possible combination of quality and performance often involves carefully balancing individual aspects like texture quality, reflection detail, and shadow quality.

Nvidia GeForce Experience is a new utility that strives to makes things a bit easier for gamers with a GeForce graphics card. The GeForce Experience software analyzes your system configuration and then recommends and applies the optimum configuration for recognized games. The GeForce Experience project maintains a cloud database of top games and their recommended configurations for various specifications. It can scan through your hard disk to detect installed games and their current settings. The Windows app clearly highlights the differences between your current settings and the recommended settings. It also explains the impact of some of the crucial settings with the help of images from the game.


The GeForce Experience tool is currently in beta, and this shows. The tool picked up Max Payne and Team Fortress installations automatically. However, it missed Trine, Portal, Braid, and The Walking Dead. In its defense, none of these games are graphically demanding by today’s standards or they have simple configuration options. I have a hunch that the GeForce Experience uses the pre-existing GeForce guides, and is actually fairly restricted in terms of games available in its database. It also made a couple of questionable recommendations for Max Payne. It completely disregarded the native resolution and aspect ratio of my display, and it recommended turning off shadows completely. I accepted most of its recommendations and found them to be optimal, but changed the display resolution to match my AR, enabled shadows, and decreased the shader quality a notch (to compensate).

[ Download GeForce Experience Beta for Windows ]

Remove Metro UI from Windows 8 with Ex7ForW8

Windows 8’s new Modern UI (Metro) hasn’t exactly wowed users as Microsoft was hoping it would. For me, the biggest annoyance with Windows 8 is its jarring and conflicting nature. I had detailed my frustrations with the Metro UI more than a year back. Unfortunately, not a lot has changed since then. The full-screen app layout might make a lot of sense on smaller form-factors; however, it feels crippled on a laptop. Windows, which was one regarded as the king of multi-tasking, sacrificed one of its biggest features in an attempt to become modern.

To be honest, not everything about the Modern UI is bad. The Start screen is definitely a big improvement. It’s not only beautiful to look at, but it is also pretty productive. The Market is something that Windows should have received a long time back. And, SkyDrive integration is really handy. However, if you feel that the Windows 8 Metro UI is more trouble than it’s worth, then you can easily nix it.


A new portable Windows 8 application called Ex7ForW8 (Explorer 7 for Windows 8) allows you to enjoy all the performance and security benefits of Windows 8, while removing the Modern UI. Ex7ForW8 is actually a wrapper to the Windows 7 explorer.exe. Once installed, it will automatically launch Windows 7’s Explorer on boot and hide all traces of the Metro UI. It doesn’t actually modify any system and protected registry entries. So, you can easily switch back to the old UI by switching shells from the app. The app itself works as advertized, with the only drawback being that you will need to supply the WIndows 7 explorer.exe as the app doesn’t include one in its package.

[ Download Ex7ForW8 ]

via BetaNews

Pokki Takes on Microsoft, Tries to Fix Windows 8

Microsoft expects Windows 8 to herald a new era in computing with a touch-first user interface that is suitable for both post-PC devices like tablets, and traditional computing devices like desktops and laptops. One of the most iconic changes in Windows 8 is the lack of a start button as well as a start menu. While the new Start Page is a lot more informative and interactive, it will undoubtedly confuse a lot of users. This has prompted some manufacturers like Samsung to bring back the Start Menu through software patches. Pokki is amongst those that are trying to fix Windows 8.

Pokki isn’t, however, a simple Windows 8 Start Menu app. It’s an entire ecosystem. Pokki believes that Microsoft is onto something when it comes to using the web technology stack for native desktop apps. However, it doesn’t believe that a touch-first interface with reduced emphasis on multi-tasking is the way forward.


Pokki has a fairly decent selection of apps. It’s not even remotely as comprehensive as the Play Store or the iTunes App Store; however, it’s better stocked than I was expecting it to be. You can find games like Angry Birds and Cut the Ropes, and apps like Facebook Lite and Tweeki.


The Pokki Start Menu stocks your Pokki apps in a handy favourites section, but also provides access to traditional Windows apps, and frequently accessed system folders like Control Panel and Documents. Pokki will also begin supporting Modern-style Windows apps in its Start menu in the coming weeks.

The Start Menu also has a nifty search bar that searches for installed apps, documents on your system, as well as resources on the web. However, the search function doesn’t work perfectly, and is the biggest annoyance with Pokki. For example, I searched for ‘IrfanView’, and the search functionality only returned ‘IrfanView – Thumbnails’, which is a different app. The other big draw of Pokki is a smart notifications system that displays real time notifications from your installed apps in the Start Menu.

Techie Buzz Verdict

After taking Pokki for a brief whirl, I can confidently say that it’s worth a try. However, it is facing an uphill challenge. Not only is Pokki betting on the desktop app ecosystem, but it is also going head-to-head against the Windows Store that will be built into Windows 8. As browser developers like Mozilla and Opera can attest, that is never an easy proposition. In order for Pokki to survive and develop a viable business model, it will need to be adapted by a sizeable chunk of Windows 8 users. No matter how impressive the functionality offered by Pokki is, without an advertising budget, the little startup has slim chance of taking on Microsoft and surviving. I am rooting for Pokki, but I will be surprised if it actually succeeds.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

[ Download Pokki ]

Wakoopa, the Service that made Software Social, Comes to an End

In an email to all customers, Wouter Broekhof, the Founder & CTO of Wakoopa, has announced that the service that enabled discovering software social is now coming to an end. wakoopaWakoopa Social started six years ago with the intention to build the ‘lastFM for software’. Wakoopa uses a client side application that logs the usage of software and Web applications and lets users publish this usage information on their profiles at the website. Analysis of ones profile leads to recommendations for additional software while users can write reviews, give descriptions, and tag software.

In June 2008, Wakoopa announced $1 million USD in new funding and since 2010, Wakoopa has been focused on the corporate research community. They’ve developed products such as Trailspot and QD to bring online research to the next level. Wakoopa will continue to focus on making products for corporate research market, although they’ve hinted that something is in the works for the consumers as well. The switch in priority would mean the end of Wakoopa Social.

From next week, Wakoopa Social will stop tracking your data and on June 30, 2012, the service will be closed definitively. From July 1, 2012 to the next three months, you will be allowed to download an export of your own Wakoopa data.

SunVPN: Best Reliable and Affordable VPN Service

The web is not a very safe place anymore.

With all kinds of threats, breaches and security loopholes emerging every other day, users are increasingly worried about the security of their online identities. You have your email account(s), bank account, social profiles, documents, photos, videos, files and all the digital data stacked up in the cloud. A single mistake and your data may be compromised.

Did I hear you saying “But I use a strong alphanumeric password for my online accounts and it is impossible for anyone to guess that”? Well, I am not arguing about the strength of your password here, however, do you trust the network you are using (e.g public library, cafes)? Is it completely safe? Are you sure that the system you’re using isn’t being monitored or your keystrokes are not being recorded? What about encryption?

If you are not using a completely secured network connection, there are malicious tools (e.g Firesheep) which can sniff data from the public wireless network you are using to transmit the data.

The answer – a virtual private network. Users can buy VPN services to ensure a secured connection layer and to circumnavigate the restrictions put in by your ISP and country. A VPN service also prevents unauthorized hacks and breaches from third parties by creating a secured tunnel between the host and target server.



These days VPN services are not just restricted to large corporations and companies and is becoming common for home users due to the following reasons:

  • You can use a VPN account to access sites that are blocked in your country.
  • A virtual private network can be used to bypass country specific filters (e.g the blogspot.in filter that was recently imposed on Indian users or watching Hulu videos outside U.S.).
  • Keep everything private and anonymous.
  • Stay safe from hackers and ensure that your identity can not be tracked over a public and open Wi-Fi connection.

If you are looking for a reliable and affordable VPN service, we recommend you to give SunVPN a try.

SunVPN is one of the major VPN service providers who have servers around the globe – running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. SunVPN is the go to option for home users who want their own secured connection tunnel which would allow them to access blocked sites and browse the web through secured glasses. Using SunVPN, you would be able to browse any website on the world, regardless of your country or geographic location.

For example, Hulu is available only for U.S users but using SunVPN, you can browse and watch Hulu videos from any computer or location.



Setting up SunVPN is as easy as installing their application on your operating system and connecting to a preferred SunVPN connection from your system’s network preferences. To get started, sign up for an account, download the installer and follow this setup guide.

You may be wondering why use SunVPN when there are so many free VPN services available? The short answer is security, reliability and excellent tech support for which SunVPN is known. SunVPN has its own servers at US (West Coast, Central, East Coast), Canada, UK, Germany and Singapore.

Moreover, SunVPN is powered by OpenVPN which uses the best encryption techniques by using 1024 bit certificates for authentication and 256 bit keys for encryption. Firewalls will be a thing of the past as SunVPN’s OpenVPN service uses generic ports that can never be blocked by firewalls.

SunVPN also has a mobile plan which starts at $9.99 a month, while desktop users should use the SSL plan at $14.99 a month. However, if you want the flexibility of switching between devices, you can go ahead and buy the combo plan for $14.99 a month. More details are available on the pricing page.

Are you already using a VPN service? Tell us your thoughts and experience in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This post is a sponsored review. The views in this post are of the author and have not been endorsed by the sponsor.

Use Sticky Notes with Evernote

I have been a big fan of note-taking software which allow me to quickly jot down notes for later. In the past  I have covered several note-taking and sticky notes software and even for . However, Evernote has always been one of the best software I have used for my desktop and mobile devices.

One of the things I usually miss while using Evernote is the lack of ability to post sticky notes on my desktop and a desktop widget which would allow me to quickly jot down notes without having to open up the app itself.

While searching for a Sticky notes application which would work with Evernote, I came across the "Sticky Notes" app in the Evernote Trunk, where external developers create apps based on the Evernote API.

Also Check Out Some Similar Software:

Sticky Notes for Evernote has looks and feels like any sticky notes app for desktop out there. However, the advantage of using this app is that it automatically synchronizes your notes to Evernote making it available on multiple devices. Additionally, you can also setup the app on multiple desktops and it will automatically synchronize notes on them, provided you link it with your Evernote account.

Sticky Notes for Evernote

Download Google Drive for Android, Windows and Mac

It was no secret that Google was working on a competitor to and SkyDrive and the official announcement came today. will provide users with 5GB of free space to all users. This is in line with Microsoft’s recent announcement to provide 7GB of free space for SkyDrive.

Google Drive

Google Drive will tightly integrate with and allow users to create and store documents, spreadsheets, presentations, PDF files and more and collaborate with friends and family online.  Additionally, Google Drive will also provide users with apps for PC, Mac and .

Also Read: Google Drive vs Dropbox vs SkyDrive | Google Drive, Another Privacy Disaster

Google Drive will directly compete with the likes of Dropbox and SkyDrive on PCs and mobile devices. It will also be an answer to Microsoft’s SkyDrive on Windows Phone 7 and iOS devices which is not available for Android devices. Dropbox on the other end is available for all mobile devices and also supports Linux. However, their initial free space is only 2GB which might potentially go up now. Additionally, Dropbox also allows for 16GB additional space from referrals.

Also See: Get 50GB Free Space for Android from Box.net | 5 Best Ways to Keep Documents Online

Google Drive will also provide users with a search functionality which will also make use of OCR to search images and scanned documents thanks to their acquisition of reCaptcha. This is definitely a big plus for them.

You can download Google Drive for your computer or device by using the link below; an iOS app will be released soon:

*Please note that the Android app is a rebranding of the Google Docs app for Android.

Free Duplicate Image Finder and Remover

If you are someone like me, you might download a lot of images, music and video from the internet. However, over the course of time you might have downloaded tons of duplicates. In the past we have told you about several software which find duplicate files fast free and also allow you to find and delete duplicate files from your hard drive, however, lot of time has past since then and I had the changes to use another software specifically to find and delete duplicate images and pictures.

Find and Delete Duplicate Images

VisiPics is a simple duplicate image finder which works very well to find duplicate images. It allows you to scan through various folders and sub-folders to find duplicate images and delete them from a single interface. The best part is that it allows you to preview those images before you can actually delete them.

Once you have downloaded VisiPics you can launch it and select the folders you want to run duplicate checks on. Once you have selected the folders you can set the comparison filter for the images. There are three different filters available: Strict, Basic, Loose. Running the Loose filtering allows for greater comparison and a chance to find more duplicate images.

After you have changed the settings for finding duplicate images click on the play button and it will start scanning the folders and then running duplicate checks. The duplicate checks might take a while depending on how many images it has to compare and the type of filtering you chose.

Once the comparison is over VisiPics will show you the duplicate images in the left hand side container, you can hover over the images and see their preview and then mark the images by clicking on the image. Once you have scanned and marked the images which are duplicate you can either move them, rename them or delete them using the buttons in the right hand side container. You can continue browsing more duplicate images by clicking on the page links at the bottom of the left hand side container.

Overall, I have used VisiPics and have claimed over 1GB of space by deleting duplicate images, this is definitely a great software to compare and remove duplicate images from your hard drive.

Techie Buzz Ratings: 4.5/5

Download Link: Download VisiPics

BlackBerry PlayBook OS Update Pushed to 2012

If you were waiting for the PlayBook to get an update to OS2.0 before actually being useful, unfortunately you’ll have to continue waiting.

While RIM is going against all odds and continuing to provide support for the PlayBook, the shiny brick won’t be getting the expected update to OS 2.0 until February of 2012. It’s not the recently announced BBX, but it is supposed to be a fairly large upgrade for existing users. It wouldn’t be a product from Research in Motion if it didn’t ship missing crucial features, would it? Of course not, so it’s very fitting that RIM has decided to leave BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) support out of the update. That’s right, it’s going to take an additional 4 months of work before the system is polished up, but it still won’t have their proprietary instant messaging functionality. Feel free to purchase a new $500 (likely) BlackBerry to accompany your $700 PlayBook so you can use BBM with it. That’s a pretty good option, right?Maybe news of RIM doling out a couple of hundred PlayBooks loaded with OS 2.0 beta might make you feel better. Developers and any other DevCon attendees were given a new PlayBook. So, technical journalists, hobbyists and other random kids got them, but not paying customers. Members of the BlackBerry Early Access Program will also be getting closed betas of 2.0 shortly, this is mainly for tackling Enterprise support and integration.

In a post to the Inside BlackBerry Blog, Senior VP of BlackBerry PlayBook at RIM, David Smith gives a few reasons for the delay and lack of features upon launch.

First off, we have decided to defer the inclusion of the BBMâ„¢ application to a subsequent BlackBerry PlayBook OS release. We are committed to developing a seamless BBM solution that fully delivers on the powerful, push based messaging capabilities recognized today by BlackBerry ® users around the world and we’re still working on it. In the meantime, BlackBerry smartphone users will be able to continue to use BlackBerry ® Bridgeâ„¢ to securely access BlackBerry ® Messengerâ„¢ on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s high resolution display.

These betas will be rolled out over the course of this year and are an important next step to bringing our unmatched enterprise app deployment, device manageability, security and email integration capabilities to the tablet category.

There is a bit of good news in the tidbit. When OS 2.0 does pop around for download, it will bring integrated email, calendar and contacts. Your “business ready” tablet, isn’t exactly business ready at all, but it soon will be.

The software update will add advanced integrated email, calendar and contact apps, a new video store, as well as new functionality that will allow your BlackBerry smartphone and BlackBerry PlayBook to work together even better.

Hopefully this means a few software managers at RIM got slapped with a trout and are now starting to put actual work into the PlayBook. Their half-assed Android Player isn’t going to bring any new customers, so hopefully the brand spanking new OS, BBX, will make it to smartphones by February with the new PlayBook OS in tow.