Every day we perform a lot of tasks on our computers. Some of these tasks are repetitive and can consume your precious time. Here is a useful windows freeware that organizes the frequently used windows tasks under one interface so that you can get them done easily and in less time.
It happens quite often that you plugin a printer or a USB drive and your Windows go haywire telling you that a driver does not exist for the device. Your first instinct is to go to the manufacturer’s site and download the driver from there, however, manufacturers are not considered to be very good about keeping old drivers available for people to download. If you are ever stuck in a situation like this, NoDevice might be the best resource for you.
NoDevice contains free windows drivers for a large number of devices. Currently they contain over 30,000 drivers that are all free to download. You can either search for a driver or browse to it by device type or manufacturer. Furthermore, drivers are sorted by device model and operating systems so it is easy for you to find the right driver.
NoDevice also contains over 20,000 user manuals in case you have lost yours. A large number of Windows DLL files are also available for free download.
Consider a situation: Everyday you have a list of files or torrents to download at 2 AM. To do that you have to start your computer at 2 AM, download the files and then shutdown your computer. All of this requires manual intervention from your end and you might even be sleeping and miss downloading the files.
However you can wake up your computer from hibernation, perform a particular task and then shutdown your computer automatically. So if you have a large number of movie or torrent downloads or some scheduled tasks to perform on a daily basis you can automate the job using a application.
To perform the scheduled task by waking up your computer all you need is WakeupOnStandby. This Freeware (windows only) can wake up your system from hibernation and automatically perform a number of tasks and then shutdown your system. (Note : You can also set up a timer for automatic shutdown or a Sleep timer for your computer)
How it works?
With the help of this software you will be able to perform all these processes automatically, you don’t even have to start your computer as the application will take care of everything for you. Here is how you can get started using this application.
1. Install Wake up on standby and run the application.
2. Specify the time when you want to wake up your computer.
3. After that specify which program you want to run after your computer has started. You can also supply parameters to your programs after they start from wake up on standby.
4. Next you have to specify what you want to do after the specified task is completed. You can choose to start another task or you can also choose to shutdown or hibernate your computer.
5. You can repeat the tasks and the scheduling on any day of the week. Just make sure that Before hibernating your system you should run Wake-up-on-standby and keep it running in your system.
How I use Wake up on Standby and Save Internet Bandwidth
The internet plan that I am using offers free unlimited download between 2AM – 8 AM. But most of the days I sleep early.
But guess what? My computer wakes up automatically at 2 AM every night , downloads all the stuff that I had accumulated over the day and when the download is complete shuts down the system.When I wake up in the morning I have all my files in my downloads folder ready to be used.
This process saves me time, Internet bandwidth and above all allows me to have a sound sleep without worrying about the downloads and other scheduled tasks.
Other features of Wake up on Standby:
The above method is just a special case of using this application .Here are some more useful features that might be of your interest :
– Can be used to turn off, standby or hibernate your system after a specified time interval.
– Can run a file, program or open a webpage at a specified time even if your system is running. So if you check your email everyday at 5 AM just add a scheduled task in wake up on standby and forget about it.
– Can turn the Monitor on and hold off the screensaver during the waiting time that you specify.
– Can be used to repair your LAN or Internet connections upon waking up.
– It can also be executed from the command line without requiring any user to interact with it. You can also create a batch file for this application and use it later.
Wake Up on stand by works in Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP and Vista. Do you know any other application that can perform a similar job or even better? I would love to hear from you in the comments.
Last week we showed you how to analyse your Linux system’s boot performance using Boot Chart. Windows users need to feel left out because Microsoft provides a little known free utility for doing the same (and more). Microsoft Windows Performance Toolkit (WPT) consists of several utilities – one of which is xbootmgr. Xbootmgr is an On/Off Transition Trace Capture tool that collects information during bootup, shutdown, hibernate etc.
Once you have installed WPT creating a trace and analysing it is very simple. To create a boot trace type in the following command in the Command Prompt (or Start Menu Search box) :
xbootmgr trace rebootCycle noPrepReboot
The above command will automatically reboot the computer and run a Boot time trace. -noPrepReboot prevents any additional prepatory reboots before the trace and is ideally suited for running a quick single trace. By default the Event Trace Logs are saved in the current directory (by default c:\Windows\System32). If you wish to specify the directory use
xbootmgr trace rebootCycle noPrepReboot -resultPath C:\mydir
Xbootmgr supports multiple command line arguments. If you wish to learn more about them check out this guide by Microsoft. The MSDN Quick Start Guide is also a good place to start off if you want to explore the options offered by xbootmgr in greater details.
Once you have created an Event Trace Log (.etl) you need to open it using the Windows Performance Analyser GUI. Type xperfview in the Command Prompt (or Start Menu Search Box) and open the *.etl file using it. Windows Performance Analyser is an advanced tool that displays among other things CPU Utilisation, Disc I/O and Services loaded during Windows boot process. This allows you to quickly find and eliminate bottlenecks.
Windows Performance Toolkit offers a wealth of information which advanced users would appreciate. If correctly used Windows Performance Toolkit can help in diagnosing hard to detect system problems and reduce bottlenecks.
We previously mentioned EASEUS as a great software to manage disk partitions in windows. However, if you don’t want to go for a paid software, there is an alternative.
[email protected] Partition Manager is a free software that lets you create, delete and manage your disk partitions. You can also rename or format the partitions without shutting down the system. Most of the changes you made are applied immediately. You can also use [email protected] to create partitions on your external hard drives and even your USB flash drives.
Here are some of the key features for [email protected] Partition Manager:
. Create a partition or logical drive
· Format a logical drive or partition (FAT16, FAT32, NTFS)
· Assign or change partition attributes
· Format a Flash memory as NTFS
· Delete a partition or logical drive
· Create FAT32 partitions greater than 32GB in size (up to 1Tb)
· Mark partition as active.
· Create several partitions on a USB flash memory device
· View the properties of a partition, logical drive or hard drive device
It is a light application and works for all windows OS.
If a computer starts acting strange, slow or simply starts freezing up, the first instinct is usually to press Ctrl+Alt+Del and see what applications and processes are running. All of us can usually figure out the applications and close them if necessary, but we usually don’t have enough knowledge about the processes to take the appropriate action.
Here’s an awesome website that can help. FileInspect is a complete resource about all the Windows processes that are running in your background. If you want to see what a specific process does and how safe it is, just head on to FileInspect and start typing the name of the process.
The website would autocomplete your search and once you select a process, it will provide you details about what the process is and how safe it is. After telling you what the process does, FileInspect also provides a recommendation about if you should let the process running or turn it off.
The processes marked with green are considered safe while the processes marked with red are considered dangerous and should be turned of as soon as possible.
Every storage media has a shelf-life. In most cases it is just a few years. Loosing precious data due to damaged media can be a devastating experience. But even if Windows File Copy fails, all hope is not lost. You can still salvage your data using tools like RoadKil’s Unstoppable Copier.
RoadKil’s Unstoppable Copier works on all media including Hard Disks and Optical Disks. Unlike Windows, Unstoppable Copier doesn’t give up when it encounters an unreadable bit. It will attempt to read the damaged portion multiple times. In case your media is badly damaged and the data can’t be read, it moves on to the next bit. Unstoppable Copier reads as much of your data as possible and then pieces them together. This technique works especially well with multimedia content. Even if some of the data is damaged beyond recovery, you would still be able to play the video or audio(with a few frame skips).
Unstoppable Copier also provides a few other advanced options like Batch Processing mode and File Copy automation which advanced users will appreciate. You can use it as a daily backup software by creating a batch transfer and running it as a commandline script.
RoadKil’s Unstoppable Copier obviously has its limitations. It can’t recover something which no longer exists. However it works quite well on partially damaged disks (especially for multimedia files). Unstoppable Copier works on hard disks with bad sectors as well as scratched optical disks (CD/DVD) and is available for both Windows and Linux.
[Windows] Generally, while watching movies or reading an eBook, I fall asleep. This must also be a case with many of you, watching movies on your laptop and then lying asleep the next minute, with only ghosts left to watching your boring movie.
Many download junkies also queue files for overnight downloading. And in places where an uninterrupted supply of electricity is not present, these poor download junks have to wake up early to switch off their PCs and avoid data corruption.
As usual, we Techie Buzzers can’t see the plight of such poor souls. Batman is here to help, Gotham shall not worry!
How to Set a Timer for Automatic Shutdown
Setting up a timer for automatic shutdown is no big deal, in fact many people would already know about it, but if you don’t, read on.
There is no software to install and no tweaks to be made. An automatic shutdown is inbuilt into Windows and ready to be explored. Let’s check out how we can set a timer for automatic shutdown.
- Right click on the desktop. Select New â†’ Shortcut.
- A New Shortcut dialog box will appear.
- In the location box, this is how you will enter the details: shutdown.exe is for calling the shutdown executable. s is the command for shutdown. f is for performing a forced shutdown. If an application stops responding when shutting down, this command will force shut it. Using this command is not compulsory, but recommended. And next, the t command is for specifying the time the shutdown will take place. After you put the t command give a space and then enter the time in seconds. So in the above example, the computer will be shut down in 6 hours. Let’s put the whole command in one line:
shutdown.exe -s -f -t seconds
- Click next and the shortcut will be created on the desktop. Give it a name and click it whenever you wish to initiate an automatic shutdown. If you want to change the time, right click on the shortcut, select properties and change the time from the dialog that opens.
Tip: This command can also be initiated from the Run box or CMD.
Tip 2: If you want to display a message that displays when the countdown is in progress, you can append a c command with a message attached. Like this:
-c Computer is shutting down
Tip 3: If you want to restart the computer instead of shutting it down, replace the s with r. Similarly, if you’d like to logoff, replace s with l.
How to abort Shutdown
If you just woke up from sleep and feel like working on your laptop a bit more, there is no easy way you can abort the shutdown. The cross on the top will not work and you won’t be able to kill the process from task manager. But still there’s a way to stop the timer and stopping the bomb before it blasts.
- Click the WinKey + R
- The run dialog box will appear. Type shutdown.exe a
- A stands for abort. The shutdown timer will vanish.
So this was it, let us know how you make use of this feature in the comments!
Microsoft has revealed the price of Windows 7 Anytime upgrade pack which will allow you to upgrade to Windows 7 from a previously installed version of Windows 7.
Customers using lower versions of Windows 7 will be allowed to upgrade to a higher version.
The pricing for the WAU will be;
- Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Home Premium: $79.99
- Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional: $89.99
- Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Ultimate: $139.99
In addition to this, Microsoft will also offer Windows 7 Family Pack in select locations, which will allow users to install the same copy on 3 PCs in the household.
In the US, the price for the Windows 7 Family Pack will be $149.99 for 3 Windows 7 Home Premium licenses.
For complete pricing details of Windows 7 please visit our earlier post on Windows 7 pricing.
Customers will be able to buy retail copies of Windows 7 starting October 22nd, however you can start buying laptops, desktops and netbooks preloaded much more earlier than that.
[via Windows Team Blog]
If you are trying to configure/clean/fix your PC and you want it to start in safemode, you probably press F8 and then select the safemode option. That is a perfectly fine method but can be a little time consuming if you want to start it in safemode the next few times.
Here’s an easy way to do it. Click on the Start button and in the text box labelled Run (Search for Vista), type msconfig and press enter. This will take you to a configuration panel for the operating system. Now choose the boot tab, and under boot options, check the box for safe boot.
You can leave the optional settings on Minimal, or choose a more specific setting for booting in the safemode. Now click on apply and you are all done. Windows will now boot in the safe mode by default.