Set and Create Time Zones with Zone Manager

clock-002 Have you ever heard of Karen’s Power Tools? Karen Kenworthy is a Visual Basic programmer and she offers most of the programs she writes for free at her website, Karen also occasionally sends out a newsletter featuring one of the tools she’s recently worked on. This time her newsletter featured a tool named Zone Manager.

Zone Manager let’s you quickly control and set new time zones in Windows. You can create a desktop shortcut to any time zone, so that you can switch between zones with a double-click of your mouse. You can also create your own custom time zones and enable or disable Daylight Saving Time. In addition, Zone Manager can synchronize your PC clock to one of the super accurate Internet Time Servers.

Why would you need it? Let’s say that I’m hopping on a jet from New York to India. While I’m on the way there, I may stop in Europe or Arabia. If I know my route ahead of time, I can create desktop shortcuts that quickly change my PC’s time zones. A double click and I’ve changed from one time zone to another. I’ll have the local time set even before I hit the terminal.

You can find out more about Zone Manager in Karen’s most recent Newsletter.

Here’s what it looks like.


Here you can see that I’ve made a time zone named Twilight Zone.


Download Karen’s Zone Manager

The source code for many of the programs at Karen’s site is available for download. That means you can customize these programs or use the code as a learning resource.

Once I asked Karen about making one of these program portable, so that it could run from a flash drive. I didn’t get an answer, but I’ve figured it out on my own. If you want to use any of Karen’s Power Tools on a flash drive, follow these steps.

1. Download and install the Power Tool. (note step 4 before you finish installing)

2. Go to the Program folder for that program and copy it to your portable drive. Example path: C:\Program Files\Karen’s Power Tools

3. Since Karen’s tools need the Visual Basic runtime files, you need to copy these into the portable drive folder you created in step 2. If you don’t have VB6 runtime support installed, you can get it here. Here are the files you will need, they are usually located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder.


4. There may also be some OCX files you’ll need. When you install a Power Tool, it will display all of the files it needs in it’s installation window just as it finishes. Once again, these are usually located in the System32 folder.

Here are some more of Karen’s Power Tools, just in case you are curious:

Replicator –
Countdown Timer II –
Directory Printer –
Computer Profiler –
Show Stopper –
WhoIs –
URL Discombobulator –
Calculator –
Once-A-Day II –
Hasher –
‘Net Monitor –
Cookie Viewer –
Zone Manager –
Print Logger –
E-Mailer II –
Disk Slack Checker –
Drive Info –
Time Sync –
LAN Monitor –
Window Watcher –
Recycler –
Alarm Clock –
Font Explorer –
Power Toy –
Time Cop –
Mailer –
Version Browser –
Autorun.inf Editor –
Registry Pruner –
Registry Ripper –
Snooper –
Clipboard Viewer –

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Zone Manager is one of many very good tools from Karen that I’ve used over the years. It offers a unique set of features you aren’t likely to find anywhere else. I like the fact that it’s not only free, but that the source code is also offered for free.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

How To Disable “This Program Might Not Have Installed Correctly” Notifications

Before I begin, allow me to get one thing out of the way; I absolutely hate the “This Program Might Not Have Installed Correctly” dialogue box. They are not only annoying but also misleading. Whatever little purpose they serve is negated by the fact that these prompts tend to be woefully inaccurate.


These warning prompts are triggered by the Program Compatibility Assistant (PCA) Service, which monitors all application installations and tries to detect known compatibility problems. The trouble is that most portable applications seem to trigger PCA alerts. Thankfully, disabling the PCA service is straightforward.

  • Type services.msc in the Start Menu (or in the Run dialogue box).
  • Locate the entry for Program Compatibility Assistant Service.
  • Program-Compatability-Assistant

  • Right Click on it and select Properties from the context menu.
  • Set Startup Type to Disabled and close the Services applet.
  • If you ever feel the need to undo the changes, simply change the Startup Type back to Manual.

A New and Improved Start Menu with StartMenu7

In September of 2008, Keith wrote about a Windows Start Menu replacement called VistaStartMenu. The author of that program has created a new alternative based on the Windows 7 menu. If you are running an older version of Windows, and you have a slight case of feature envy, StartMenu7 may be an option you’ll enjoy adding.

7start-menu-icon I recently tried StartMenu7 and took a few screenshots. I’ll share them with you here and add a few comments on some of the features.

This screen-shot is from the author. It shows the default skin.


If your system supports it, portions of the menu are transparent.

This menu has a search box at the bottom, like Vista and Win7. It works pretty much the same. Typing into it searches your Start Menu for programs or actions. Also across the bottom are buttons for PC power control and options. Just above the power buttons are three tabs labeled All Programs, Quick Startand Autorun. The All Programsis the default view and it shows all of your programs. The Quick Startmenu can be populated with items that you add to it through the Options.

Here’s another skin called Classic…


… and another skin called Windows. I liked this one the best.


At the top of StartMenu7 are two buttons for adding and removing program shortcuts. There’s a third button for access to a custom Runmenu with several interesting features.


Shown above is the Runsub-menu called Commandsand below is the sub-menu for Folders.


StartMenu7 is installed like most other applications and can be removed using the Windows Add/Remove applet. You can launch StartMenu7 normally or you can set it to automatically launch when Windows boots up.

There are many options that I haven’t explored. Here are a few that are listed on the program’s website.

  • The list of menu items is alphabetically sorted, so you can easily find any program or command by its name.
  • Open any location on your PC with a single click.
    You can create, modify, and reorder items in Start Menu 7. So it’s easy to create a list of the most used locations, popular directories, and virtual folders to access them with a single click.
  • There is a special Run button to access seldom used locations without adding them into menu.
  • Start Menu 7 has a customizable Power Buttons panel.
  • With Power Timer feature you can delay any of power management operations.

Download StartMenu7 (Windows 2000, 2003, XP, Vista, 7)

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I don’t use many addons like StartMenu7. I like to keep my resources free and I’m also a big fan of Classicmenus. That said, I’m very tempted to add StartMenu7 to my Windows XP machines. While I was using it, it seemed bug free and didn’t slow things down one bit. I really did like all of the extra features it adds.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Resize and Tweak Windows 7 Taskbar Thumbnails

The folks at TheWindowsClub have made a habit of releasing awesome tiny free utilities. In the past, we reviewed several TWC utilities including SMART, GodMode Creator, FixWin and Windows Access Panel. The latest TWC offering is the Windows 7 Taskbar Thumbnail Customizer.


Windows-7-Taskbar-Thumbnail-Large Windows 7 Taskbar Thumbnail Customizer allows you to modify various aspects of Windows 7 Taskbar thumbnails such as maximum and minimum thumbnail size, spacing between thumbnails, margin size and thumbnail delay. Just select the desired values for various properties and click on apply. Windows 7 Taskbar Thumbnail Customizer will automatically restart explorer.exe so that all the changes are visible immediately.

Techie Buzz Verdict

Like all TWC utilities, the Windows 7 Taskbar Thumbnail Customizer is extremely easy to use and idiot proof. In case you go wrong, you can restore the default settings with the click of a button. The app itself is just 100 KB in size and does not require installation. Try it, if you are not satisfied with the default taskbar thumbnail settings.

Techie Buzz Verdict: 3/5 (Good)

[ Download Windows 7 Taskbar Thumbnail Customizer]

AutoPatcher Adds Support for Windows 7 – Download and Distribute Updates Offline

AutoPatcherEarlier today, we shared with you how to slipstream (integrate) Windows updates into the setup, in order to avoid downloading them every time you (re)install Windows. In case you do not want to take the trouble of creating a custom Windows setup, AutoPatcher is your best friend.

AutoPatcher has a very simple aim – to make installing updates as simple and hassle free as possible. Originally, all the essential Windows updates used to be included in the download package itself. However, due to objections raised by Microsoft AutoPatcher had to change its ways. In its current form, AutoPatcher comes with an update module, which identifies and downloads all available updates. The deployment tool then takes care of the rest. The final product is a simple executable file, which can be used to install all available updates at one go.

Until now, AutoPatcher was available only for Windows 2000, Windows XP and Vista (with the latest Service Pack already installed). The good news is that AutoPatcher has now been updated to support Windows 7. The biggest benefit of AutoPatcher is that it is able to effortlessly install multiple updates in a batch without requiring repeated user intervention. Additional modules also available for deploying essential utilities like Adobe Reader, DirectX and .NET Framework.

Create Custom Windows 7 Setups with RT Se7en Lite

You may be wondering why anyone would take the trouble of creating his or her own Windows setup when the default installer works just fine. To be honest, creating custom setups is not something every user would need to do. The default Windows setup is designed to provide a balanced experience to everyone. However, an installation fine-tuned for an individual or an organizations needs would obviously perform better under certain circumstances. Sure, you can tweak the system after installation. However, this is not the ideal solution for a computer administrator or a user who frequently formats his computer.


RT Seven Lite is quite similar to nLite (for Windows XP) and vLite (for Windows 7). It allows users to remove unnecessary Windows utilities and integrate system updates, drivers, third party applications, tweaks, wallpapers and themes into Windows installations. The entire interface is wizard based and is designed to ensure that the process is as simple as possible.

Techie Buzz Verdict

RT Se7en LiteAlthough, vLite works reasonably well with Windows 7 there are several issues since it does not officially support Windows 7. This makes RT Seven Lite a must have for anyone looking to create their custom Windows 7 setup. Even if you have not tried customizing your Windows setup earlier, give it a try. Benefits such as unattended installation and integrated security updates make it work the effort.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

[ Download RT Se7en Lite ]

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.


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.


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


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


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


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


As you can see, all of the files inside the 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.


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.

Fake Antivirus Sites Target Windows 7 Users

The folks who write malware and virus are not just smart at writing them, they are also very smart at camouflaging their stuff in such a way that unsuspecting users may easily get fooled to believe that they are actual doing something legitimate.

Many malware and virus thrive on SEO poisoning for popular search terms. They make use of the fast indexing capabilities of Google to get indexed for popular search terms, especially "sex scandals" and "sex videos".

Also Read: Tips To Keep You Safe On The Internet | Protect Yourself from Internet Threats

A recent analysis from the folks at Sophos Labs, uncovered several URLs which made it to Google through blackhat SEO, however, the more interesting finding was that, malware and virus writers have now started to generate spoof screens which look similar to .

Fake Antivirus Windows 7 Security Popup

When users visit sites which host such malware, they will come across an interface which is similar to Windows 7, with a popup which looks exactly like the security center popup for Windows 7. Furthermore, the malware site also displays fake antivirus scan results which show the user that there are several viruses installed on the PC.

Fake Antivirus Scan on Windows 7

It is easy to get fooled because of the stark similarities between this Fake antivirus, however, users should know that they are using a web browser, and such scans are not carried out by Microsoft in the web browser.

Though the looks may be deceiving, you should not click on any security related or free antivirus scans on a web browser. Additionally, many modern browsers are smart enough to block such malware sites, so make sure to keep your browser upgraded to the latest version.

You might also want to check on some tips we had written earlier to keep yourself safe on the internet.

Windows 7 SP1 Beta On The Horizon

With 90 Million copies sold, Windows 7 is definitely a success but that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from working on updates for Windows 7. has been following the SP1 progress quite closely and according to Softpedia, Microsoft is expected to start rolling out a beta of the Service Pack by next month. According to, the latest internal build of Windows 7 is 7601.16518.100302-1530 where:

  • 7601 is the build number, Windows 7 is 7600
  • 100302 stands for 2nd March 2010 and 1530 is 3:30 PM.

So far Microsoft has been steadily releasing new internal builds. The possibility of new functionality being added to OS are less, the service pack is expected to be a roll up of all Windows 7 updates released so far with some bug fixes. We shall keep you posted about any further development.

Microsoft Releases New Windows 7 Theme to Celebrate the Onset of Spring

Robin Williams said that, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!'”. Indeed, Spring is a season whose onset is marked by festivals in most parts of the world.

Spring has already arrived in most of the Northern Hemisphere. However, even if it hasn’t yet arrived at your place, you can get in the spirit of spring thanks to Microsoft.


To celebrate the onset of spring, the official Windows 7 Personalization Gallery has been updated with a brand new theme called Czech Spring (České jar). It includes eight gorgeous wallpapers featuring Mother Nature in her full glory. Each of the wallpapers is simple yet refreshing and enchanting. Download the theme pack from the Official Personalization Gallery if you wish to freshen up your desktop.


(via IntoWindows)