FREE Microsoft Software To Create Your Own Movies

April 21, 2015

Looking for an easy way to edit and create your own movie or enhanced slide show (using your photos)? Microsoft back in 2012, as part of their FREE Windows Essentials package included Windows Movie Maker.

 Windows Live Movie Maker

Today, in 2015, Windows Movie Maker is still a viable option (for FREE) that will run on 32- or 64-bit version of Windows 7, or 32- or 64-bit version of Windows 8, or Windows Server 2008 R2. Microsoft did a fine job with this software in giving people the ability to take their photos and movies and compile (and edit) them into something that will grab anyone’s attention.

When you download Windows Movie Maker, you will be prompted to download the Windows Essential platform (which is OK); however, you will reach a point during the install where you need to select what Windows Essential option you want. Simply select Windows Movie Maker and Photo Gallery.

FEATURES AT A GLANCE:

  • Import and edit slide shows and videos
  • Add and edit audio
  • Edit your movies and choose a theme
  • Share your movie online

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(In My Opinion) – Best Dedicated Photo Resizer Out There

April 18, 2015

Needed to batch resize some photos this morning, so I immediately went to FastStone’s website and grabbed the portable version of FastStone Photo Resizer. I was able to resize a folder containing approximately 300MB of photo files (that were of high def) to 100MB without any noticeable loss of clarity in the pics (so that I could post them online to share with the family). I like the idea that this photo resizer is dedicated solely for the purpose of resizing photos and easy to learn (and navigate).

FastStone Photo Resizer

FastStone Photo Resizer is an image converter and renaming tool that intends to enable users to convert, rename, resize, crop, rotate, change color depth, add text and watermarks to images in a quick and easy batch mode. Drag and Drop mouse operation is well supported.

FEATURES:

  • Convert and Rename images in batch mode
  • Support JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG, TIFF and JPEG2000
  • Resize, crop, change color depth, apply color effects, add text, watermark and border effects
  • Rename images with sequential number
  • Search and replace texts in the file names
  • Preview conversion and renaming
  • Support folder/non-folder structure
  • Load and save settings

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How To Auto Hide Icons On Your Desktop

April 3, 2015

I am real particular when it comes to the organization of icons (if any) on the desktop of my computers. What I have found over the years from assisting others (especially at home) is that people do not remove the icons on their desktop; thus, disorganization and clutter results. I truly believe, for most folks, it is out of fear of not knowing what is OK to delete and what is not OK to delete. Typically, most icons are shortcuts and are safe to delete; however, there are those occasions where you may have saved an important file to the desktop (which I would not do); where if you delete it, it will go to the recycle bin (for future permanent removal). Usually in that case, you need to move the file to another folder on your computer (such as your document folder).  If you want to learn what is safe to delete and what is not I encourage you to read this article from Microsoft — CLICK HERE — titled “Add or Remove Icons From Your Desktop…

If you are someone that adamant about not removing the icons from your desktop or you use the desktop as a launching point for the programs that you use on a regular basis, I encourage you to look at the small utility called AutoHideDesktopIcons.

AutoHideDesktopIcons

This utility, after a period of time it will auto-hide the icons on your desktop so that you have full view of your wallpaper. If you want the icons to show, all you have to do is left mouse click on the desktop and icons will reappear. I typically use AutoHideDesktopIcons on my notebook computer to make launching of my programs easier when using the touchpad. Another feature in the program is that you can set the program to auto-hide the taskbar with the exception of the start button…

AutoHideDesktopIcons is a Windows based program that works on all Windows OS platforms from Windows 98 to Windows 10.

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A FREE Screen Capture Program That You Must Have

March 18, 2015

Just when I think I am running out of steam and have tried and tested all the screen capture programs out there, I find ShareX…  Really, I do not know how I missed this awesome “must have” screen capture program.

ShareX

What makes ShareX standout is that you can upload your screenshots to over 25 different file hosting services. The ShareX user interface is easy to use and understand allowing you to use hotkeys to initiate a screen grab (or capture); or you can launch the screen capture selections by right mouse clicking the ShareX icon in the system tray. ShareX can capture screenshots with different shapes such as rectangular, rectangular rounded, ellipses, triangular, diamond, polygon and freehand. There is a built in editor where you can apply different effects (such as transparency, shadowing, torn edges, text, borders, etc…).

ShareX is available as a full install and if you dig deep enough on the site you will find that there is a portable app version as well (which is what I went for)…  Really nice screen capture program that is open source and FREE.

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A FREE, Versatile and Portable Windows Multimedia Player

March 13, 2015

Anytime I can find software that meets my criteria of being multi-purpose; looks good; is available as a portable app; and, is FREE — I will grab it… The Windows multimedia player called CherryPlayer meets that criteria and more. I will definitely be following the development of this player. I threw a number of various audio and video file formats at CherryPlayer and it played them all with success.

CherryPlayer

The beauty of CherryPlayer is that the developers have combined all the features from the best media players with new modern technology. This allows you to listen directly to millions of MP3 song for free, view/download/search YouTube movies inside CherryPlayer, listen to radio or expand your music catalog by purchasing new albums and songs. I especially like the YouTube viewer where you can watch any video that is available on YouTube in a playlist format…

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Make MailStore Home Part Of Your Email Backup Strategy

March 6, 2015

Most of us never think of backing up our email and really do not have a clue to go about it. This is especially true with online email accounts where there is a false sense of security that your email will always be there, when in fact, online accounts are compromised on a daily basis.

To make backing up our email an easy task, a company called MailStore has developed a FREE Windows based software application called MailStore Home that makes backing up (and archiving) your email an easy (on-going) task with the ability to perform lightning fast searches of the archive. Another option (that I really like) is that during the install process you can select to make MailStore Home a portable app, which I personally have included in my tech toolbox (as an option to assist others with downloading and archiving their email AND as a forensic tool).

MailStore Home

In my particular case, as an example, I use the portable version of MailStore Home to backup and archive my Gmail account. The cool thing about Gmail is that I use my Gmail account to pull my email from my other online accounts such as Yahoo and Hotmail. As a result, when I perform the MailStore backup of my Gmail account I am able to capture all my email accounts in one archive session. One thing to note is that on the first go round of using MailStore, the backup (archiving) process will take some time depending on the size and number’s of email you have in your account. Typically, I start of MailStore Home, start the archiving process and then let it run while I perform other tasks on my computer.

MailStore Home Supports:

  • Internet mailboxes such as Gmail or Yahoo! Mail
  • Any POP3 and IMAP mailboxes
  • Microsoft Outlook XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
  • Microsoft Outlook ExpA Central Archive for All Emailsress and Windows Mail
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2013 mailboxes
  • Microsoft Office 365 (Exchange Online)
  • Mozilla Thunderbird and SeaMonkey
  • .EML and other email file formats

For home users, emails are also a valuable source of information. A large amount of data and important files is saved in the form of emails. With MailStore Home you can backup all emails in a central archive, even if they are distributed across different computers, programs or mailboxes. You can do this either on your PC or on a USB drive as a “portable” option.

This way, you will never lose emails again and can search all of your emails extremely fast. You can still reply to or forward archived emails by opening them with a single mouse click in your standard email program.

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A Swiss Army Knife Of Powerful Network Tools

March 3, 2015

As a blogger there are those times when you run into what I call “writer’s block” and everything shuts down. Today, I did come across, what appears to be a pretty nice suite of network tools called Essential NetTools that will hopefully get me back on track. This set of tools is primarily geared toward the network administrator.

Essential NetTools

Essential NetTools is a set of network scanning, security, and administrator tools useful in diagnosing networks and monitoring your computer’s network connections. It’s a Swiss Army knife for everyone interested in a powerful network tool kit for everyday use.

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