Use Windows Explorer to Access Your Windows Live SkyDrive Files

October 31, 2009

If you have a Windows Live account (e.g. Hotmail) I am sure you are taking advantage of the Microsoft’s Windows SkyDrive service, which offers 25 GB’s of FREE password protected online storage space that can be used to store, access and share files.

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Normally, to copy files to and from your PC to your online SkyDrive space, you are required to log into the SkyDrive service through your web browser. Today I want to expose you to a new utility, called SkyDrive Explorer, that will allow you to access and manage your SkyDrive files through Windows Explorer.

Now the thing I want directly point out here is that SkyDrive Explorer is currently in beta, was a little buggy (during my testing), and is developed by a third party developer (not Microsoft).  This app looks very promising and could change the way you manage your SkyDrive space from within Windows Explorer. I recommend you keep an eye on this one.

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Features (as described by the developers):

  • View the structure and contents of folders in SkyDrive™;
  • View files information (type, size, creation date in GMT format);
  • Create new root folders and subfolders;
  • Copy files into the storage;
  • Delete files and folders;
  • Copy files from the storage to the computer;
  • Copy folders and subfolders from the storage to the computer keeping their structure;
  • Use Drag & Drop for files operations;
  • Rename files and folders;
  • Create links to SkyDrive™ folders on your computer.

SkyDrive Explorer uses the standard Microsoft library for work with Windows Live Id services. Your personal information does not leave this library and even is not passed to SkyDrive Explorer engine. Also, the traffic with online storage goes through HTTPS protocol that protects data from snoopers.

SkyDrive Explorer works both in 32- and 64-bit Microsoft® Windows OS. Minimal required OS is Windows XP, and SkyDrive Explorer will successfully work in Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and 2008, and Windows 7.

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Highly Recommended – Bill Mullins’ Top 12 FREE Downloads

October 30, 2009

If you are a frequent visitor to What’s On My PC… , then you know Bill Mullins’, the blogmaster, at Tech Thoughts.  Bill, along with TechPaul (at Tech-for Everyone) were the motivators that got me into the blogging arena.  As a result, I have (2)-two virtual friends that continue to encourage, prod and motivate. Both are very unique individuals; AND between myself and these two individuals, I believe some cloning occurred somewhere along this life’s path.

If you are a blogger, then you know it is work; BUT, it is rewarding and enriching, as well.  Bill, at Tech Thoughts, has been a professional blogger for nearly 2 years and has mastered what it takes to be successful at blogging. Over 1.5 million hits in a 22 month period are numbers you typically see on some of the top sites on the internet.

During that 22 month run, Bill has posted (relentlessly) tech article after tech article with numerous software reviews. The cool factor about all of this is that Bill actually tests the software to give you the low down of what is hot and what is not.

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During a recent visit to Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts, I noticed Bill posted a review about the “Top 12 Downloaded Free Applications on Tech Thoughts”.

Bill’s comments about the top 12 applications:

In the roughly 22 months I have been writing Tech Thoughts, these are the top 12 downloaded free applications on this site. Having had the opportunity to test each and every one thoroughly, I have no hesitation in recommending these top performing free applications.

I am not going to reveal those Top 12 applications here; instead, I encourage you to visit Bill Mullins’ – Tech Thoughts to get this highly recommended listing for yourself.

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Defragmentation the Smart and Lazy Way

October 29, 2009

I have found, from personal experience, that most people do not take the time to perform routine computer maintenance and will resort to paying someone to do it when there PC is crawling at a snail’s pace.

image One of the most important components to maintaining your PC is to perform a disk defragmentation, at least once a month. When files are written to your hard disk they are typically not written as one unit, as you would think. Instead a file can be broken up to fill the empty spaces that are available on the disk; and, as a result the file(s) are not of one unit, but scattered about. In the end a noticeable degradation in the load time of files and programs occur and additional disk space is allocated to store the file pieces that ultimately affects the performance of the computer. When you run your defragmentation utility, the defragger will ultimately move the file pieces closer together and contiguously (the pieces are adjacent to one another and will appear to be connected).

There are numerous defraggers out there that are more powerful than others (from a technical standpoint) that offer a variety of defragmentation methods; however, you  have to be savvy enough to understand those methods and what you ultimately want to achieve. Again, the everyday computer user does not understand the various methods and really do not care. They just want their PC to run efficiently with minimal fuss and intervention.

A solution that I recently have been testing (and have been impressed with) is a FREE program called Smart Defrag by IObit.com. I call it the lazy man’s defragger.  Why? Well, you simply install it, select the drive(s) you desire to defrag, select Auto Defrag, and the program does the rest.

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When you are not using your computer (and it goes idle) Smart Defrag automatically, in the background (unseen to you), commences defragging the drive you selected. If you feel that Smart Defrag is causing an interference, which I did not personally experience, there are slider settings that you can adjust under Auto Defrag. For example I used the default settings where Smart Defrag will pause when my resource usage exceeds 20 percent. I also have Auto Defrag set to engage defragmentation after 5 minutes of the computer being idle. The first time you use Smart Defrag, I suggest you do a manual defrag first to get everything in good shape. After that, Smart Defrag will do the rest for you.

Smart Defrag is Windows® Vista™, XP, 2000. and Windows® 7 READY!

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Key Benefits (from the developer, IOBit)

Extremely Easy to Use

Install it and forget it. This powerful, free defragmenter works continuously, automatically and quietly in the background on your PC. Its intuitive interface makes Smart Defrag the ideal utility for complete computer dummies.

Exceptionally Efficient Defragmentation

Smart Defrag has the world’s fastest defragmenting engine. It’s been specially designed for modern, large hard drives, so it eliminates long waiting times.

Optimize Disk Performance

Smart Defrag doesn’t just use simple defragmentation. It also streamlines your file system, places the frequently used files and directories into the fastest area of the disk, enabling your computer to run at top speed with the most stability.

Always-on to Work Automatically

Smart Defrag works automatically and quietly in the background, so it continually and constantly keeps your computer fragment-free.

Data Safe and Reliability Guaranteed

Smart Defrag uses the commercial-level standard to move data and does not damage any file in your disk. Besides, unlike other “Automated” Defragmenters, Smart Defrag does NOT constantly perform analysis and defragment, which does damage your hard drive and shorten its life. Smart Defrag has a “Safe Intelligence” technology that can assure the health of your disk by deciding When and How to start defragmentation.

Free Defragmenter Forever

Smart Defrag is 100% freeware. Download, use, and update it absolutely free for your personal computers, business or enterprise servers –– it won’t cost you a penny.

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#34)

October 28, 2009

image We are in the midst of the fall season and Geek Squeaks’ is going strong.  If you are a person who has a love for information technology, computers, and software; then Geek Squeaks’ are for you. Each week What’s On My PC… randomly selects an article posted by the blog authors (within the past 7 days) who are connected to the What’s On My PC… blogroll community. If you have not visited these blogs, I encourage you to do so. This week’s roundup is reflected below.

Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
Hard Drive Cloning is Easy with Free Easeus Disk Copy

Right On Technology
Top Black Friday Ad Sites 2009

Evilfantasy’s Blog
Resizeable Textarea add-on for Firefox

Plato On-Line
Multitasking Might Cause Brain Damage

Teck~Line Lounge
Free Easy To Use Portable Start Menu For Your USB Drive

411-Spyware.com
How to Remove ShieldSafeness

Carol’s Vault
8 FPS characters on multiple challanges. Very funny!

AKS-Feel The Change
Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer

Free PC Security
Malicious Sites October 27

AskBillFirst
What Can The Wheel On My Mouse Be Used For?

Tech-for Everyone
Troubleshooting Stop Errors In Vista

Sugarloaf Tech
Java Update Available – should I install it?

Rarst.net
PDFCreator – virtual printer to create documents

Lifehacker
Google Voice Offers Voicemail
Without a New Number [Google Voice]

Crazy World of G
Welcome to Frickintardistan

Computer Too Slow
How To Format a Hard Drive

Tune Up Blog
A Step-by-Step Guide: How to Clean Install Windows 7

Computer Maintenance
Diagnose Hard Drive Failure | Troubleshoot Hard Disk Problems

Technogran’s Tittle Tattle
Windows 7, these are a few of my favourite things

Freeware Elite
Gridy: a great active window manager by Sector Seven

Technize
How To Log On To Your Windows User Account If You Forget Your Password Or If Your Password Expires

I Love Free Software
How to Draw in Your Computer with your Pen

The Abbey Rose
Memory Lane

TTC Shelbyville
Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit – MAP 4.0

Tux in the Midwest
Drupal Notes – My Project

Snakebytez
Monitor UPS status with UPS Assistant

What’s On My PC…
Get the Last FREE version of FastStone Capture

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When Windows 7 Will Not Boot

October 27, 2009

Did you know that Windows 7 contains an utility to create a “System Repair Disc”? I highly recommend that you take the time to create this disc, in the chance your Windows 7  becomes broken or will not boot.

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The  System Repair Disc is an option designed to help users “fix or repair” Windows 7 without resorting to a complete re-install or resorting to your system recovery software. The System Repair Disc is a bootable disc, that provides accessible options for using System Restore, Complete PC Backup, Automated System Repair, Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool and a Command-line Prompt for manual advanced recovery.

The easiest method to initate the process to create the “System Repair Disc”, is to click on “Start“, go to the “Run” dialog, type: recdisc, and hit “Enter“.  The following dialog box will appear prompting you for a  blank CD or DVD disc.  Once the CD or DVD has been created, label the disc, and store it in a safe place. This simple process may save you a whole lot of headaches later.

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Windows 7 Recovery Options

If for some reason you are unable to create the “System Repair Disc” from your Windows 7 PC, you can download and create a bootable copy of the System Repair Disc at NeoSmart.

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All Time Top Ten Tech Articles at What’s On My PC…

October 25, 2009

When you write articles in a blog, nearly everyday, they have a tendency to accumulate and eventually get lost in the pile (especially to the frequent visitor). Today I was reviewing some past posts and decided to make a listing of the “All Time Top Ten” at What’s On My PC.  Enjoy!

In summary you will find that: Windows Vista still is causing gray hair; AOL is not dead; WD TV Media Player is a hit; people do not like change, including bing;  we need browser protection; there is a cheap way to use a Blackberry; we love FREE software; people are still trying to figure out MS-Word; and Conficker continues to evolve and is still alive!

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If you experience
Windows Vista Service Pack 2 installation issues…

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Creating an AOL Install CD… (if you must:)

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When Vista will not boot…

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Review of the Western Digital WD TV HD Media Player

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“WOT” is NEW…

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bing – Microsoft’s New Search Engine

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How to use a Blackberry Smartphone with a cheap
“Pay As You Go” mobile phone plan…

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Software AppsFreebiesPortable Apps

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Adding a “Watermark” in Microsoft Word 2003 or 2007

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Conficker and Spyware Protect 2009

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My Windows Vista to Windows 7 Upgrade Experience

October 23, 2009

I had purchased the upgrade version of Windows 7 Home Premium back in June when it was offered for $49.99; however, the delivery did not occur until the much anticipated October 22nd release date. Sure enough, I had an email in my Window’s Live account, on that date, informing me that I could download my copy of Windows 7.

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I opted to download the 32 bit version in an ISO format. The download file was approximately 2.5 GB’s that I burned to a DVD. The first thing I did, prior to making this install, was to make sure that all of my “important” files were properly backed up. Once I had an updated backup, my Product key in hand and the install DVD created, I was ready to rock and roll.  I turned off or exited everything in the Windows system tray to prevent anything from possibly running in the background that could disrupt or interfere with the install routine.

Now, what I was about to do, goes against everything that a good tech will tell you when it comes to an operating system upgrade. I opted to perform a direct upgrade from Vista to Windows 7, instead of a clean install.

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Now, this is a big deal on my PC, due to the fact that I am a customization, configuration and organization geek freak. I initiated the install process, by launching the Setup file on the DVD, at 11:15 PM.  By 11:30 PM, Windows 7 was already begging for an online update to continue the installation. I downloaded the update; however, the install would not proceed and reached a point that it was going to reboot; or I thought it was. I know patience is required during an OS install, so I waited (hard drive light “on” at full throttle), and I waited AND Nothing! I force the reboot and had to start back over from scratch. Whatever file that was downloaded, during the update, was the medicine that the Windows 7 install needed. By this time, it is 11:40 PM and I am finally in the actual Windows 7 install mode.

To make a long, long story short; between 11:40 PM to 1:45 AM (over 2 hours), the Windows 7 install ran full throttle and meticulously setup my PC for the Windows 7 environment. The only intervention on my part during this process was entering the product key at the end of the install routine (nearly 2.5 hours later).  Whatever you do, make sure you have that product key.

In the end, Windows 7 was completely setup on my PC and guess what?  Everything was there and it worked.  No device errors, software all accounted for and working, etc…  Was one of the easiest upgrades from one OS version to another that I have ever experienced; however, it was the longest (over 2.5 hours).

If you are planning to do a direct upgrade make sure you are prepared and have a lot of patience; especially if you are new to this.

Just when you think the upgrade (install) process is hanging, just wait and watch the hard drive indicator light and the onscreen prompts.  It will happen, but it is like birthing a baby… If you don’t have this kind of patience, and your PC is a mess anyway, then do like any good tech would do; perform a clean installation.

Reflected are some Windows 7 Resources that may be helpful to you if you are considering the upgrade:

Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7

Upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7

Windows 7 Home Page

Step-by-Step: Windows 7 Upgrade and Migration

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