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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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:


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.


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


Looking at Your Books


Book Cover Art


Reading a Book


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.


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, 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 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 (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:


Using the Unassoc Utility

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:


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.


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.


Next you’ll see a screen like this:


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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:
\VolumeCaches\System error memory dump files”

The “Flags” value must be set to “0”.

For 64-bit Windows only:

\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.

Find as You Type with Listary

Last year, while trying out some Linux operating systems, I was surprised to discover a cool find-as-you-type feature in the Gnome Nautilus file browsers.

listary-icon While looking for a file, you only had to start typing and a small text box appeared in the bottom right of the window (as shown below).


At this point I had feature envybecause I wanted to see the same feature built into Windows Explorer. However, I knew that this was not going to happen anytime soon. Windows is traditionally many years behind on cool features that appear in other operating systems.

Last week, I found that my wait was over. As usual, someone saw the need and developed a third-party app which adds this cool feature to Windows. Listary not only reproduces the find-as-you-type feature, it adds even more little time-saving tricks.

Here’s what Listary looks like in Windows 7 (or Vista):


As you can see, it not only lists the first match as Nautilus does in Linux, it adds a drop-down list with all the possible matches. Another great addition is that it accepts the asterisk and question mark wild-card characters that help you find files quickly.

If you were looking for only JPG files in a folder, you would start by typing *JPG in the window and your matching files would be listed below. To navigate inside the list, you can use the TAB key or the UP and DOWN arrow keys. As each file is highlighted in the Listary search box, the corresponding file in the Explorer window is also automatically shown and highlighted. If a file you wish to open is highlighted in the results box, pressing ENTER will open it.

In addition to working in Windows 7 and Vista, Listary also works in Windows XP, as shown below.


Listary is a free program although there is a paid version (Listary Pro) which offers more search features. You’ll find that it’s offered as an 827kb setup file that must be installed. The installation doesn’t spring any surprises on you and you do have the ability to set several options in it.

The most important option is whether to allow Listary to start when Windows does. Listary only takes about 7mb of memory while running and is always shown as an icon in the system tray. Right clicking on the system tray icon allows you to exit the program or change settings.

Download the free version of Listary

[via DownloadSquad]

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Listary has given me the chance to try a feature I’d wished for in Windows. I like how it works and I was also surprised to find that it offers more than similar features in Linux. I can’t complain about any lack in features, because there is a Pro version and I could pay for the additional features if I need them.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5

Create a Hyperlinked Notes Database with Tomboy

tomboy-icon I’ve been playing with Linux for a couple of years now. One of the applications on Linux that I’ve grown to use often, is Tomboy. Since I spend most of the day in Windows, I was pleased to find out that the developers of Tomboy have ported it over to Windows (and Mac). I’ll tell you a bit about this app and how to install it on your Windows PC.

What is Tomboy?

It’s a note taking application. However, it blends normal text with links and hyperlinks, such as you see while using a web browser. A link in Tomboy usually opens another Tomboy page. This feature allows you to quickly build a personal knowledge database that’s easy to navigate, organize and manage. Tomboy also allows you to use web links and email links.

Here’s what a Tomboy note looks like:


When you need to create a new page in Tomboy, you can either use the “new page” button, or you can create a link using a word or several words in a page. Once you’ve created a link such as “My Personal Info”, every time you type those words into Tomboy, the text automatically turns into a link to the “My Personal Info” page.

Here are some other features of Tomboy:

  • Text Highlights
  • web links & email address links
  • Undo/redo
  • Font styling & sizing
  • Bulleted lists

When you highlight text in Tomboy, a single click can turn it into a link, or you can format the text by using the “Text” menu.


When it’s not in use, Tomboy normally resides as an icon in the system tray. Right clicking on the system tray icon will bring up the main menu. However,   I’ve noticed that sometimes the icon disappears in Windows. Tomboy can still be accessed by using the ALT + F12 hotkey combination to pop up the Tomboy menus.


Take a look at the following video to get a better idea of how Tomboy works.


Installing Tomboy in Windows?

Tomboy requires .NET 3.5 (from Microsoft) and GTK# (from Novel) in order to run. If you are running Windows 7, you already have .NET, but XP users may need to install or update their current .NET.

Dowload GTK# for Windows and install it.

Once you have .NET and GTK# installed, you can download the Tomboy Installer and run it.

Final Note: Tomboy also has the ability to synchronize notes between operating systems and between different computers. I plan on showing you how to do this in a later article.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I usually don’t care much for applications that have strict requirements such as .NET. In the case of Tomboy Notes, I’m willing to overlook this failing. The ability to work with the same notes when I’m using Windows, Linux or Mac is pretty valuable to me. Many would argue that several online services already allow you to do this from a web browser. Just as many people still like to have a local application to keep their private notes more secure and easier to access. If you need to keep your notes on a local drive, Tomboy can be a flexible choice for you.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Immunet Protect Offers Side by Side Compatibility with Your Current AntiVirus

When Immunet Protect came out some time last summer, I did a little research on it and then tried it. Immunet is a Cloudbased antivirus program, much like Panda Cloud Antivirus. Here’s how Immunet works, according to the home site:

Imagine for a moment that you could leverage the computers of your friends, family and a worldwide global community to harness their collective security. Every time someone in this collective community encounters a threat everyone else in the community gains protection from that same threat in real time.

I was pleased with the way that it worked and I kept it on my system for several weeks. I soon moved on to try Microsoft’s antivirus. Currently, I am running Antivir, after reading a Techie Buzz article which was titled, Avira Antivirus Is the Lightest Antivirus Software.

Recently, I received notice from TechTracker, that there’s a new version of Immunet available. Here’s the news that made me look at Immunet again.

Version 1.0.25 supports ‘side by side’ installs with over 20 new Anti-Virus products including current versions of AVG, Avira, Mcafee, Kaspersky, Avast and Trend products. It also now supports Windows 7, XP and Vista 32/64-bit installs.

Immunet has been friendly with other antivirus apps from the day it was born. The newest version simply adds more friendsto it’s list. What does this mean for the average user? It means that you can run Immunet all by itself, or you can have additional AV protection if you need it. In my case, I have installed Immunet Protect side by side with my current Avira Antivir.

So far, Immunet and Avira are acting like old buddies, but I’ll keep an eye on them. The extra load on my system seems to be about 24mb of memory and I can handle that. I’m seriously tempted to keep Immunet and dump Avira after reading that Immunet recently ranked higher than Microsoft Security Essentials And Avira In MRG Rogue AV Test.

Since we didn’t show you Immunet in our last article about it, I’ll give you a few screen shots and some more details.