Tag Archives: System Tools

5 Windows Apps to Quickly Disable Stuff

Every so often, you   might want to disable something on your PC. However, you’ll need to dig deep down in the Control Panel settings to make that happen. Here are five apps that let you disable everything from your Aero Glass effects to your keyboard at the click of a button.

1. Disable the touchpad with TouchFreeze

touchfreeze

Changing specific settings to automatically disable the touchpad when typing could be cumbersome, so TouchFreeze comes to the rescue. You needn’t fiddle with the Control Panel settings anymore – just install the utility and you’re done – the touchpad will not be active during typing if TouchFreeze is running.

2. Disable Aero Effects with Aerofoil

aerofoil

Aerofoil is a simple utility that runs from the system tray and lets you disable all snazzy Aero Glass effects in Windows 7 with a single click. You can also use it to switch between multiple power plans you’ve created.

3. Disable the keyboard with Kid Key Lock

kidkeylock

Kid Lock disables standard and special keys on your keyboard and mouse buttons. Pretty useful when you’re going to clean your keyboard or if you have kids or pets in your home. The program runs from the system tray.

4. Disable the CapsLock key with Handicapslock

If you find yourself hitting the Caps Lock key often when you shouldn’t, chances are you want to disable it. A Lifehacker reader created an AutoHotkey script that activates the Caps Lock key only when it’s pressed twice, and you can download the same as an .exe from here.

We haven’t tried this ourselves, but give it a go and let us know.

5. Disable UAC Prompts with TweakUAC

tweakuac

If you never want to get annoyed by those User Account Control notifications that often pop up, download TweakUAC and just hit Leave UAC off. The UAC is completely disabled, so you’ll never get to see those again.

=== About the Author ===

Shankar writes at Killer Tech Tips, on everything ranging from keyboard shortcuts that make you productive to advanced Google search operators you may not know about. Check out his blog!

Comodo Program Manager – Maximum Control of Your Programs

[Windows Only]

Many years ago, I ran into some software from Comodo and I was impressed with its quality. To this day, Comodo continues to offer free system and security software that competes quite well with software you’d have to pay for. Recently, I saw something called Comodo Program Managerand I decided to give it a try.

Beware of the Fake System Tool

malware[Windows]

The other day, I spotted a warning at the Microsoft Malware Protection Center. They presented some great information about a piece of malware called    Winwebsec,  which is more commonly seen as “System Tool“. Apparently it’s popping up more often now, so I decided to put out a warning to our readers.

I’ve actually run into this one before, while fixing some of my friends and family’s computers. It wasn’t much trouble to get rid of at the time, but I’ve read that some of the newer versions are more difficult to remove.

An infected computer will start getting fake warnings like the one shown here. These warnings are very realistic. Their purpose is to try to fool you into buying some more fake software that will make things even worse for you.

system-tool-fakealert

I looked around and I found one or two good articles that tell you how to remove the fake System Tool, but I decided to put together my own little guide.  Below you’ll find a slideshow that I’ve put together. It will give you a better idea of what to look for and some suggestions on how to remove this Fake System Tool.

If you can’t see the slideshow here, you can view it at Google.  For those interested, here are some cool technical details about this infectious fake.

How to Create a Hard Disk Partition in Windows 7

hard-diskDo you have plenty of free space on your C: drive? If so, one of best things you can do is to create another drive on your hard disk by creating a new partition (also known as a volume). Fortunately, Windows Vista and Windows 7 both allow you to do this easily.

You might be wondering why this is such a good idea. The safest place to store important information would be on a different machine, a backup drive or DVD. These aren’t always immediately available. It’s convenient to have an extra drive always there when needed. Another reason is that your operating system may some day need to be re-installed. If your personal information is on the same drive as the OS, you might lose it if it’s not backed up somewhere else.

Now that I’ve told you why, I’ll show you how. First, we’ll open the disk management console. An easy way to do this is the hit the Start button and type in the word partition, then select the result labeled Create and format hard disk partitions.

search-menu

Right click on the C: drive and choose Shrink Volume. This is the first step in creating the space you need for your new partition.

shrink-volume

Now you’ll see the system checking to see how much space you can borrow from your C: drive.

querying-shrink-space

After the query process, you’ll see the size before and size available. Type in the number of megabytes you want for your new partition. Keep in mind that 1024 megabytes is equal to one gigabyte. Also make the size smaller than the availableby a one or two thousand megabytes, just to allow a safety margin.

amount-of-space-to-shrink

After the Shrink process finishes, you’ll see the new partition as Unallocated. The next step is to turn it into a simple volume. Right click on the unallocated space and chose New Simple Volume.

new-simple-volume0

Now you’ll see the New Simple Volume Wizard.

simple-volume-wizard

After clicking Next, you’ll be asked to specify a size for the new volume. The default is what you’d normally want, so click Nextonce again.

simple-volume-wizard2

You’ll be prompted to assign a new drive letter. I usually choose a higher letter so that the DVD or other devices on your system won’t have to be assigned new letters when they are detected. Click Nextwhen you are done.

simple-volume-wizard3

Now you’ll be asked if you want to format the new volume. The best choice is typically NTFS. After making your choice here, click Next.

simple-volume-wizard4

You’ll be given one more look at the settings before you launch the formatting process. Review the info and click Finishwhen ready.

simple-volume-wizard5

Before it starts, you may get a warning about Dynamic disk’s. If you aren’t dual booting another operating system, you can ignore this and click Yes. If you are using more than one OS, you might lose any special boot managers at this point. You should research your best options if that’s the case.

dynamic-disk

Your new disk will appear in the Disk Management console now.

new-simple-volume2

That’s all there is to it. When you return to Windows, you’ll be able to use the new disk to store your personal information.

See also:

Create Extra Partitions From Unused Space In Windows Vista


Driver Magician Lite – Backup Your Windows Drivers Now

When trouble strikes your PC, you might need to re-install or repair Windows. Sometimes, after re-installing,   you find out that hardware such as the sound system or   a network card is no longer working. That means that the correct device drivers are missing.

When you don’t have the proper device drivers for hardware, you often have to spend time looking online for the correct drivers. Sometimes the drivers are very difficult to locate. Is there something you could do to prevent this problem? Yes, you can back up your drivers now, before you have a serious problem.

There are several free applications that allow you to back up system drivers. One of them is Driver Magician Lite.

You can find Driver Magician Lite at Download.com. When you run Driver Magician, it quickly scans and locates all of the drivers that your PC uses. All you need to do is place check marks beside each driver you wish to back up, then hit the Start Backupbutton.

driver-magician-0

The drivers will be copied to any location you specify. Each driver will be located in a sub-folder having the name of the driver. Also inside each sub-folder, will be an INF file which allows you to re-install the driver in the future. Double clicking an INF file will re-install the driver.

driver-magician-backed-up-drivers

I usually store my backup drivers in a zip file, somewhere online, such as DropBox. Never leave your backup on the same hard drive that your Windows is using. After all, your hard drive could crash and you’d lose the backups along with Windows.

arrow-down-double-3 Download Driver Magician Lite

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Driver Magician Lite is a simple way to back up your critical system drivers. Although you may not need those backups, if you ever do, you’ll be glad you have them.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Review of Wise Registry Cleaner Free

[Windows Only]

wise-registry-cleaner-iconWould you pay good money for a program, if you could get some of the same features for free? How many ridiculous TV commercials have you seen for Double-My-Speed or My-Clean-PC? Both of those programs are from Cyberdefender, which many people claim is a scam.   One of the main components of these questionable programs, is a registry cleaner.

There are many free registry cleaning programs out there. The idea behind them is that they remove registry entries that are not needed, thereby speeding up the PC. I recently tried one named Wise Registry Cleaner Free.

Below, the first image shows the Wise cleaner in action. As you can see, the scanning can be adjusted to include or exclude several types of registry entries. Once the scanning is done, a click on the Fixbutton takes care of the cleanup.

wise-free-registry-cleaner

This program is a free but limited version, and you’ll notice an upgrade button in the toolbar. However, it contains everything most other registry cleanup utilities have.

The most important feature any registry cleaner should have, is a way to backup the registry settings before making any permanent changes to the Windows registry. The Wise cleaner has very good backup features, easily found by hitting the second button in the toolbar. You can create a System Restore Point, or a full registry backup. I recommend doing both of these before doing any registry cleanup.

wise-free-registry-cleaner-backup

One additional feature is the registry defragmenter, which is initiated from the main toolbar. Once it’s running, it will analyzethe registry and then offer you a chance to defragment it. This supposedly helps Windows run a bit faster, since the registry is better organized after a defrag.

wise-free-registry-cleaner-defrag

Wise Registry Cleaner Free is offered in a regular and a portable version.

arrow-down-double-3Download Wise Registry Cleaner Free

arrow-down-double-3Download Wise Registry Cleaner Free Portable

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Some people claim that registry cleaners are a waste of time and possibly dangerous . I am still undecided as to how much good they do, but I’ve never had any bad mishaps using them. If your PC is running a bit slow, this cleaner may help speed things back up. I believe it’s very safe to use as long as you take advantage of the backup features.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

SystemNucleus: Consolidating Windows Admin Tools

[Windows Only] SystemNucleus is a free tool that consolidates multiple Windows system tools within a single window. You can view, edit or manage system resources and settings within the same interface.

Features :

1. The tool generates a detailed report about the system events which helps in tracking the PC status.

2. It lets you edit and fix almost all common system errors. If you are an advanced user you can tweak system properties in the Advanced mode.

3. It gives you better control over your startup items. You can delete entries or disable them if you are not sure about them. You can also re-enable items that were previously disabled.

4. You can perform all kinds of necessary backup operations. The list includes system restore point, registry hives, event logs and even drivers.

5. The app automatically scans the system for applications and sorts them into 5 categories which are Administrative Tools, Network, Security, System and Diagnostic & Repair.

6. The tool can analyze and create detailed reports on storage volumes. You can also use this app to defragment hard disk partitions.

7. Batch processing is a key feature in SystemNucleus. You can install or uninstall multiple applications simultaneously.

sytemnucleus window

[Download SystemNucleus]

Techie-Buzz Verdict:

SystemNucleus is a freeware tool that supports batch processing and offers an easy GUI (Graphical User Interface). The tool provides most of the administrative controls in a easy-to-choose categories.  The tool also offers a portable version which makes it easy to use it on any Windows computer. The tool is something every Windows user must try.

recommended

Techie-Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

[via DownloadSquad]

Collect Complete PC System Information with WinAudit

[Windows only] There are dozens of utilities around that will give you details about the guts of your PC. If you’re looking for a free and easy to use system information tool, WinAudit is one of the best. Here’s what the authors of WinAudit say in their description of this program.

PC audit and inventory of software, licenses, security configuration, hardware, network settings…

  • Easy to use
  • No setup
  • Csv/html/pdf/xml
  • E-mail
  • Database export
  • Command line
  • Fully documented
  • Free for any use!
  • WinAudit can be used to collect information on home PCs or work PCs on a network. Since WinAudit can be run from the command line, it’s easy to set up business PCs to automatically run a WinAudit report and file the reports on a central server.

    The program is offered for download as a ZIP file. After downloading, you should unpack the single program file to a safe place. To launch the program, simply double click the WinAudit.exe file.

    winaudit-file

    When running in normal mode, this is what you’ll see:

    winaudit-home-screen

    The first things you should do are to set your default language under the Language menu and then click the Options button to set the types of information you want to collect. As you can see next, there are plenty of categories of information to be seen.

    winaudit-settings

    The report interface is easy to navigate and search.

    winaudit-reports

    Once you are done looking things over, you’ll be asked if you want to save the report. The reports generated can be saved in several formats, such as PDF, CHM, CSV, TXT, HTML or XML.

    The information you file away should probably be saved someplace safe, either online or on another PC. That way you’ll have it if you ever need to replace broken hardware or software.

    arrow-down-double-3 Download WinAudit

    See also: Know Your System’s Details With Speccy

    Techie Buzz Verdict:

    WinAudit is a small, stand-alone executable and it’s free for personal or business use. When it comes to collecting useful system information, it does far more than you’d expect from such a compact program. In addition, this program is fully explained and documented in the help menu. WinAudit deserves to be highly recommended.

    techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

    Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

    Manage Windows Services with Portable Services Suite

    win[Windows Only]

    If you need a fast, functional and easy way to manage the services that run on your PC, take a look at Services Suite, a portable application from RoyalFool.de. Below are some screenshots and a brief description of how it works.

    To use it, you’ll have to download and extract it to a folder somewhere on your PC or on a flash drive. It’s offered as a RAR file download, so if you aren’t familiar with RAR archives, you we’ll show you how to open a RAR file.

    Once you have it unpacked, all you have to do is double click the file ServicesSuite.exe to start the program.

    services-suite-file

    When it’s first started, you may have to select your language in order to read the menus. Right now, it’s only available in German and English.

    The program interface will list all of the registered services on a PC in a three column format. The three columns are automatic, manual and deactivated, as shown next.

    portable-services-manager

    In order to change the status of any service, you can click on it and drag it from one list to another. When you are finished making changes, you’ll have to write these changes to the registry by clicking on the check mark icon in the top right of the application window.

    portable-services-write-changes

    That’s all there is to it. The only problem you might have is if you aren’t a system administrator on the PC you are using. Some services can only be changed if you are the administrator.

    arrow-down-double-3 Download Services Suite (requires .NET Framework 2.0)

    [via WebDomination]

    Other ways to work with Windows Services:

    How To Delete/Remove Services In Windows XP and Vista

    Tweak Windows 7 Services With SMART | Windows 7 Services Optimiser

    Advanced Windows Service Manager Plus

    ServicesEditor Makes Tweaking and Restoring Windows Services Easy

    Techie Buzz Verdict:

    For experienced users, this may not be a huge help. After all, you can easily access the system services using the services.msc applet. However, it’s nice for quick changes and it’s so simple to use. The fact that this app is very small, portable and free, makes it a win on my score card.

    Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

    How To Use Regedit

    reg-icon Windows stores its configuration settings in a database called the registry. These settings are constantly modified by the many different programs running in Windows. Users can also make changes to the registry by using the Windows registry editor, regedit. Making changes to the registry is a common way to correct problems and change the way Windows looks and acts.

    However, making the wrong registry changes can cripple your Windows system. So before you start hacking away with regedit, you should learn a little about it. This tutorial will explain some of the features in regedit and tell you how to use it safely.

    Backing up the registry

    Back up the registry before you make changes. One convenient way to do this is to use Windows System Restore. Here’s how to use System Restore. Another method for backing up the Windows registry is using a free utility named ERUNT, and here is how ERUNT works. Make sure you understand one of these methods before going any further.

    Launching regedit

    Unlike most other system tools, regedit will not appear in any of your menus when you click the Start button. That means you’ll have to launch it some other way. I’ll tell you how to start it using the Run dialog.

    To bring up the Run dialog, hold down the Windows key and tap the R key.

    winkey r

    Now type regedit into the command entry box and click OK.

    start-run-regedit

    Using Regedit

    Once launched, regedit will pop up pretty quickly. Here’s what it looks like:

    regedit-hives-displayed

    First, I’ll mention that you can see a Helpmenu in regedit and you’ll find plenty of information in it that I won’t cover in this tutorial.

    The navigation pane (on the left) is showing the 5 main hivekeys, which always start with the word HKEY. To navigate deeper into the registry, you need to click on the plus (+) signs next to a hive key. The same applies the further into registry you go. Once you click on a plus, it will display all the sub-keys under that key and the plus will change into a minus (-) sign. Clicking on the minus sign will collapse the structure back to the way it was.

    In the view below, you can see that I’ve located the key for a piece of software that I had installed.

    regedit-delete-key

    At the bottom of the window you can see the registry path to this key. Right clicking on a key will bring up a menu showing several actions.

    • New, will create a new key under the key I have selected.
    • Delete- If this was a program that was no longer installed on my PC, I could safely delete this key.
    • The Copy Key Nameaction places the full path to the key in your Windows Clipboard, and it can be pasted as text into other applications, such as email or a web browser.
    • Exportaction allows you to save the information under a registry key, and this information can be restored later if it’s needed. It’s a good idea to export a key before you make changes to it. I’ll talk more about exported keys later.

    Here you can see that I’ve navigated down into the Current User hive to take a look at my mapped network drives.

    regedit-add-new-key

    In this view, I have the Zkey open. In the right pane (data pane), you can see the entries for the data values under this key. Each piece of data under a key has a name, type and value. The data name can be almost any string of letters as long as it doesn’t contain a space. There are several types of data, as shown above, and you can learn more about them in the regedit help file.

    Right clicking into an empty area in the data pane will bring up the Newmenu, as shown above, which allows you to add new data entries. Right clicking on one of the data entries, as shown below, will allow you to modify its value or delete it entirely.

    regedit-modify-data

    Importing data into the registry

    Above I mentioned that you can export a key to save all the sub-keys and data under it. When you export a key, you will see that it wants to save as a REG file.

    regedit-export-a-key

    A .reg file is actually a plain text file and you can open it up in Notepad to see what’s inside of it. Here’s a look inside of one:

    regedit-exported-reg-file

    That’s good to know, because you will often find registry tweaks published online in plain text as shown in the image above. All you need to do is to copy the text, paste it into Notepad and then save it as a .REG file.

    reg-file-merge

    Once you have a REG file that you want to restore or add to the registry, all you need to do is double click on it, or right click on it and Mergeit into the registry. When you do this, you’ll get a message asking you to confirm this action.

    reg-file-merge-dialog

    After you confirm, you’ll get a message telling you that the information was entered.

    reg-file-merge-dialog-confirmed

    Notes:
    • If you’ve made changes to the registry, you won’t always see an immediate change (if it’s one you can see). Many times you will have to log out of Windows and log back in before you see any changes.
    • Some free tools make it easy to change your registry without using regedit. These programs are often called tweakor system enhancement tools, such as TweakUI (from Microsoft).
    • Here are some sites with lots of registry tweaks you can apply to Windows.
    • Here are some tutorials on how to use the registry and REG files.
    • Here is a list of free registry tools.
    Summary

    I’ve told you what the registry is, how to back it up, make changes to it, and finally, how to add to the registry using REG files. Now you have enough information to safely make registry changes, and you can learn even more about these topics in the regedit help file and other places online.