Is 123456 A Good Password? — and MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF (#2016-04)

January 25, 2016

Is 123456 A Good Password? – Apparently many people think that it is. The password “123456” once again reigns as the most commonly used password, as it has since SplashData’s first list in 2011, demonstrating how people’s choices for passwords remain consistently risky. The second most risky password used is; you got it, is the word “password”. To see a listing of the worst passwords for 2015 — CLICK HERE… The whole purpose of this annual publishing of bad passwords is to encourage “we the people” to use stronger passwords in an effort to protect our personal data and to improve internet security.

Worst Passwords

One of the options that I use to protect myself, due to the numerous passwords that I use, is to use a password manager. The password manager that I use and strongly endorse is the S10 Password Vault which is available as a Windows install, portable app (on USB Drive), iPhone app, iPad app, and Android app. Many folks have a tendency to use one of the cloud-based password managers; however, I personally just do not feel comfortable with piping the passwords to my personal accounts into the cloud and not knowing (for absolutely sure) that it will always remain protected. With S10 Password Vault, I at least feel I have some level of control.

MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF

How To Create A Bookmark For The Download List In Google Chrome – Open chrome://downloads in your browser. Click the star next to the link and then save it on your bookmarks bar. You can adjust the name of the shortcut to whatever you desire..

Google Chrome

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If You Have Windows 10 And Love Jigsaw Puzzles – Check out Magic Jigsaw Puzzles, a Windows app, that has some FREEBIE options built into it, as well as paid options. Featuring: Lot’s of  beautiful, high-definition puzzles; Downloadable content (including FREE puzzles); Constantly updated pictures gallery; 4 levels of difficulty (up to 280 pieces); Move pieces in groups; Rotation mode for a greater challenge; Create your own puzzles from your pictures; New special picture every day; Work on more than one puzzle at a time and see your progress; Easy-to-operate control and Easy preview. After installing and trying it out, I found there were some ads and a few freebie puzzles. There was an option to buy into a package for $9.99 that makes the ads go away and opens up many options. Nice jigsaw puzzle software (even for $10)…

Magic Jigsaw Puzzles

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Synchronize Your Folders and Drives In A Quick and Easy Way – I have been testing various FREE backup and synchronization software. One that is currently on my computer now that is leading the pack is Synchredible. The standard version is free for private purposes. What I really like about Synchredible is that it has a built in wizard that will walk you through configuring your sync jobs. Once these jobs are setup, performing synchronized backups is as easy as clicking a button.

Synchredible

Synchredible

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A “News Spread” Like No OtherCLICK HERE to see Newsola… I have featured Newsola on here before and decided to throw it out there at you again. Really neat way that the news is presented. You can set Newsola up so that it will auto refresh on a regular basis. Nice cloud based app that you can keep up on the screen when your computer is idle that will keep you up to date on the latest news.

Newsola 

Newsola

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Need A Router? Check This One Out – The TP-LINK TL-WR841N Wireless N300 Home Router is one of those routers I am seeing on Amazon that is inexpensive, but has a great number of customer reviews. At the time of this posting, this router was at the $20 mark.

TP-LINK TL-WR841N Wireless N300 Home Router

TP-Link Router

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Geek Squeaks (#2016-01) FEATURING — The Lemming Effect Top 25 For 2015 — and MORE GREAT STUFF

January 4, 2016

The Lemming Effect Top 25 For 2015   – In today’s world we depend on a multitude of readily available sources for current events, news, politics, etc… The media competition is intense to the point that a lot of what we read, watch and hear is diluted with mistruths and downright lies. I am a firm believer that if you hear and see mistruths (and downright lies) enough, you will believe it to the point that if the truth were actually pointed out to you that you will deny it is the truth (and will become angry). “How dare you tell me this is not true!”, I saw this on my news channel, read it in my email, saw it on Facebook, and it is gospel. Folks, I am here to tell you that we are a very gullible society and are like a bunch of lemmings…

republicans cliff

If you don’t know, the term lemmings is a a metaphor for people who go along unquestioningly with a group with potentially dangerous consequences. The “Lemming Effect” is an innate psychological phenomenon, a survival trait, an inborn instinct in the majority of people. For example (and I have been around weapons for hunting purposes all my life), the media hype over the gun issue has initiated this “Lemming Effect” that has generated fear that we better arm ourselves now before our right to own guns are taken away. As a result, we are like lemmings and lineup to buy military grade weapons (and handguns) that require skill (and continual maintenance) that potentially could have dangerous long term consequences (even beyond our generation).

When there are times I feel I am becoming a lemming, I start looking for facts. For example, how many of you fell for the Mark Zuckerberg Giveaway Hoax where on 1 December 2015, Mark Zuckerberg shared a post on Facebook announcing the birth of his daughter and a pledge to giveaway 99% of his Facebook shares to users who shared the post?  If you fell for this, then you joined the Lemming’s Club. I fell for it because one of my reliable Facebook friends was circulating it; and, then it hit me, I need to check this out. Just because someone says it is true, does not make it true (even if it is someone that you consider to be a reliable resource).

One such site that I use to “assist” in research of some of this crazy stuff is Snopes.com which has come to be regarded as an online touchstone of rumor research. Recently Snopes posted the Most Popular Urban Legends of 2015 that features the top 25 rumors (or urban legends) that circulated most widely on the internet. Don’t become a lemming, always look for the facts and truths.

Most Popular Urgan Legends of 2015

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How To Import Your Browser Bookmarks Into Pocket – In a nutshell, Pocket is an online cloud based “bookmarking” service that will help you “save interesting articles, videos and more from the web for later enjoyment. Once saved to Pocket, the list of content is visible on any device — phone, tablet or computer. It can be viewed while waiting in line, on the couch, during commutes or travel — even offline”. I love Pocket and use it to categorize and save sites I want to visit later. I know you can save (bookmark) your sites in your browser, but Pocket is like a bookmarking site on steroids (much, much better in my opinion). Recently I was wondering if it was possible to import browser bookmarks into Pocket and found that “yes you can”…  To do this, CLICK HERE to visit the Import Bookmarks Into Pocket.

How To Import Your Browser Bookmarks Into Pocket

Pocket

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Tech For Everyone Let’s Out Secret You Need To Know About Ebooks – Tech Paul at Tech For Everyone recently posted a notice on his site that led me to another site called BookBub that will send you a daily email that alert you to free and deeply discounted ebooks that are available for a limited time. I have taken advantage of this and already have downloaded some FREE ebooks (from the likes of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc…).  Good find there Tech Paul…

BookBub

BookBug

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“All In One” Cable Modem Router – I have an older version of one of the Motorola Cable Modem Routers and it has not given me an ounce of trouble. The one I am sharing with you today is the newer version (compared to mine) called the Motorola ARRIS SURFboard SBG6580 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem/ Wi-Fi N Router … With this device you can free up some desk space. The Motorola ARRIS SURFboard SBG6580 is designed for seamless mobility, Motorola’s SBG6580 is a fully integrated all-in-one home networking solution that combines the functionality of a DOCSIS/EuroDOCSIS 3.0 cable modem, four-port 10/100/1000 Ethernet switch with advanced firewall, and an 802.11n Wi-Fi access point in a sleek, stylish package for the sophisticated consumer.

Motorola ARRIS SURFboard SBG6580 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem/ Wi-Fi N Router

Motorola Cable Modem

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Geek Squeaks (#2015-42) FEATURING — An Easy To Use Backup Program — and MORE GREAT STUFF

December 28, 2015

An Easy To Use Backup Program – Nearly every home based computer user that I have encountered do not backup their personal files. Most of what files people have stored on their computers they feel are files that are unimportant; until the moment comes that they lose those files. An example being, many people store family pictures on their computers. At the moment they may seem unimportant; however, when the computer fails (and it will), all of the sudden you realize that you lost precious memories. If you fall into this category, which most likely you do, please take the time to purchase an external hard drive (click here) and establish a backup plan. Finding an external hard drive and connecting it is the easy part. Finding a software solution is another matter. To help you along, a software solution that I use is called

To help you along, a software solution that I use is called Bvckup 2. If you visit the site you will see that it is software that you have to buy; however, to get around that option, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page where the download button is located, you will see “Looking for the last beta?”.  If you click on that link you can download the last beta version of Bvckup, which is FREE. By trying out the beta, you may be encouraged to purchase the software; however, I have found the beta’s of BVCkup 2 to work perfectly fine for our purposes. Bvckup 2 is easy to use (and learn) and it does not compress, encrypt or FTP files. It’s not a two-way sync nor is it a full system backup software. It simply makes a copy of your personal files from your computer to a designated location on the external hard drive; AND, the best part (by default), Bvckup will automatically perform these backups for you in real-time.

Bvckup 2

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Turn Your Android Smartphone Into A Digital Bubble Level – Our smartphones have many other purposes other than making calls and texting. For example, did you know you can turn your smartphone into a bubble level that comes in handy when you need to make sure a picture is hung straight on the wall, or a length of lumber is level, etc… If you search the Google Play store you will many bubble level apps available. The one that I settled for is an app developed by a company who actually makes levels, called Rigid. The app that they have developed is called Rigid Digital Bubble Level. This app features a calibration mode that will allow you to use this app in three views: Bubble View (the standard bubble level you’re used to); Horizon View (a horizon line that twists as you rotate. Enable the camera feature in this view to level things from afar.); and, Flat View (placing the phone on a surface activates this view where an optional beep can indicate how level the surface is without needing to look at the screen.)…

Rigid Digital Bubble Level

Cover art

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A Gizmodo Field Guide To 9 Google Now Voice Commands to Take Control of Your Smartphone – I am sure, if you own a Google based Android phone, you have used the “ok Google” feature where you speak to your phone by saying “ok google” and then tell (speak to) the Google Now Assistant to perform searches, etc… I am still trying to get used to this, but when I do use it I am really amazed of the accuracy and the results. Along with performing searches there are other commands you can give. Gizmodo has put together a nice field guide to “9 Google Now Voice Commands To Take Control Of Your Smartphone” that you need to learn. Commands such as turning your wi-fi on/off; the flashlight on/off; read text messages; etc…

9 Google Now Voice Commands
To Take Control Of Your Smartphone

9 Google Now Voice Commands to Take Control of Your Smartphone

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verykool Sleek, Contemporary Unlocked GSM Phones – I was focused on smartphones when I visited Amazon and what I came across is a smartphone brand that I have never heard of (called verykool). What caught my eye and made me look more than twice was the unbelievable super low pricing. Based on the low number of customer reviews (which, by the way are high ratings), verykool must be a newcomer at Amazon. I will definitely be keeping an eye on this smartphone brand that just may change the whole landscape of things when it comes to smartphones.

 verykool

verykool

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Geek Squeaks (#2015-39) FEATURING — Put All Your Cloud Drives In One Place — and MORE GREAT STUFF

December 7, 2015

Put All Your Cloud Drives In One Place – Thought I would share with you an online service that I use called MultCloud (by AOMEI). This service provides a FREE option (as well as a PAID option) that can help you easily (and safely) manage multiple cloud storage services. For example, I currently manage online drives from Box, Copy, Google, Dropbox, Mediafire and OneDrive ALL from MultCloud. In that mix I also use MultCloud to manage two Google Drives. What MultCloud does is allow you to pull all of those services and manage those services from one location. MultCloud FREE features an online file manager, cross-cloud file transfers, and a countless number of cloud drives. The file transfer speeds for the FREE version are slower than the PAID version and there is a monthly data cap on the FREE version (which is quite high in my opinion). For normal everyday use, the FREE version has worked for me and in the end (after I give this a run for awhile), I may opt to go to the PAID version.

MultCloud 

MultCloud

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Use Your Android Phone (or Tablet) To Convert An Image To Text – Ever heard of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) where you scan a paper document and OCR software that is engineered to recognize the characters in the document then translate (or convert) it into an electronic text version (that you can then edit, insert into documents, etc…)? There is an OCR version for your Android Phone or Tablet called Text Fairy that has the ability to scan for and extract text from an image. From my testing, I found Text Fairy to be quite accurate and the best part is that it is FREE. Some words of advice is when you scan the document is to make sure the images are sharp (with good lighting) and the text is black on a white background.

Text Fairy

 Text Fairy (OCR Text Scanner)- screenshot

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Nothing Gets Old Faster Than The Technology News – Case in point, check out the boredpanda for 15 Vintage Computer Ads That Used To Be Cool.  The ad I have reflected below is my favorite one from the 15 selected. Which is your favorite?

15 Vintage Computer Ads That Used To Be Cool

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How To Disable Login Screen on Windows 10 after Sleep – I have been recently assisting quite a few folks with breaking through the Windows 8.1 barrier to Windows 10. One of the most asked questions that I am receiving is “How do I disable the login screen on Windows 10 after sleep?”. What this means is that Windows 10, by default, will go into a sleep mode when the computer is idle for a prescribed period of time. When the end user comes out the sleep mode, the computer will prompt you for your password. To change this setting, to prevent or disable the login prompt, is actually quite easy and the best way to show you is for you the watch the video below from Simple How To Guide

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This Software May Be Useful When You Sell or Get Rid Of Your Hard Drive (or PC) – Came a across this portable app, called My Disk Wiper, that may be a keeper for the tech toolbox. What this portable app does is securely wipe hard drives, flash drives, SD cards, etc… by overwriting the files with a standard pattern that the developer claims cannot be undeleted or restored. To ensure maximum privacy the file names are wiped before deletion.

My Disk Wiper

My Disk Wiper

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The easiest and fastest outdoor Christmas light solution – no more hanging string lights – My neighbor has one of these and it is awesome (and beautiful). If you are looking for an alternative option to hanging lights for Christmas, take a look at the Star Shower Outdoor Laser Christmas Lights… Plant this thing in the ground, plug it in and you will have up to 600 square feet of green and red lights displayed. The one I have reflected below is the number one best seller at Amazon with a near 5 star rating…

Star Shower Outdoor Laser Christmas Lights

Star Shower

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Geek Squeaks (#2015-38) FEATURING — My Reset Experience With Windows 10 — and MORE GREAT STUFF

November 30, 2015

My Reset Experience With Windows 10 – I recently performed a reset on my Windows 10 based computer and found the experience to be quite positive. I thought I would share some pointers with you so that if you have to perform a reset, it is not a scary experience.  Even though the reset preserves your personal files, I highly recommend that you always have a backup of any files on your computer that you cannot live without.

To get to the reset option in Windows 10, click on the Windows Start button (bottom left corner), go to Settings > Update & security > Reset this PC > Get started and choose an option. The option I chose was to reinstall Windows 10 and keep my personal files. This option will reinstall Windows 10 and keep your personal files; will remove the apps and drivers that you originally installed; will remove the changes made to any settings (and return them to the default settings); and, will remove any apps that the PC manufacturer installed (Note: If your PC came with Windows 10, the apps from your PC manufacturer will be reinstalled.).  After I launched the reset on my PC, it was pretty much hands free; and, what I really liked was that following the reset, Windows 10 generated a html page on my desktop titled “removed apps” that listed all of the programs I originally had installed on my computer. I had already written down what I wanted to re-install, but this list came in quite handy. In the end, the reset took approximately a half hour to 45 minutes and I can honestly say my computer is cleaner and faster.

Windows 10 Reset

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How To Mark All Your Unread Gmail’s As Being Read  – After performing a reset on my Windows 10 computer, I found myself motivated to do some housecleaning in my Gmail account. One of the issues I ran into was that I had hundreds of email’s that I did not read. As a result, I needed and wanted to mark those emails, as being read. The problem with this is that Gmail will only allow you to bulk select only a certain number of emails. This is where I started thinking, “there has to be a way to mark all the emails in my account as being read”. After performing some online research, I found an article at a site called Chron, titled “How to Mark an Entire Gmail Inbox as Read“. By using the Google Search box in your email as a filter to generate all unread messages, and following the step-by-step instructions, at Chron, you can easily mark hundreds (or thousands) of unread emails and change them to read.

 

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A Simple Program To Troubleshoot Network-Related Problems – If you manage a network, Win Network Tools may be helpful. The program provides a graphical interface (or launcher) of common command line tools that are built into Windows (that are typically run from the command prompt) and some other options (such as Speed Test) that will launch a site to test out your connection speed. What would be nice is if this program had a “portable app” option readily available for the tech toolbox. I did find that if I installed the program, and copied the “WinNetworkTools.exe” to another location (such as a flash drive) I was still able to run the program.  I then uninstalled it from the computer. Nice concept…  May contact the developer to suggest the portable app idea.

Win Network Tools - Interface

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Checker Plus for Gmail – You do not know what you are missing if you do not have Checker Plus for Gmail installed (as a Google Chrome extension). In my opinion, this is probably one of the best (and most useful) extensions available. I currently use this to monitor 4 different Gmail accounts and the best part is that you can set this to run in the background so that you will get notifications when an email arrives. If you have Chrome installed, get this one…

Checker Plus for Gmail

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Shield Your Electronics From Electrical Power Surges – When Christmas rolls around many of you may be installing new electronic equipment. What we have a tendency to forget is to purchase a surge protector to help protect the equipment from power surges. I went on the hunt to find what I think is a good investment and came up with the Tripp Lite 8 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip 25ft Cord Right Angle Plug 1440 Joules . This Tripp Lite Surge Protector has a 1440 joule surge suppression rating with EMI/RFI line noise filtering to help components perform at their peak while extending their lifespan; 8 outlets with 3 specially designed to accommodate transformer plugs without blocking other outlets; an extra-long 25 foot cord with space-saving right angle plug; diagnostic LEDs that alerts you to the protection and grounding status; convenient built-in outlet safety covers to protect young children from possible harm and prevent dust from eroding internal components; and, a lifetime Warranty and $75,000 Ultimate Lifetime Insurance for connected devices. On top of this, to support my opinion on this, this surge protector is carrying a 5-Star rating.

 Tripp Lite 8 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip 25ft Cord Right Angle Plug 1440 Joules

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Geek Squeaks (#2015-36) FEATURING — Control What People See About You On Google Services — and MORE GREAT STUFF

November 16, 2015

Control What People See About You On Google Services – If you are a subscriber to any of Google’s services, it is important to know that you can control what people see about you at aboutme.google.com. While you are there, click on the privacy checkup where you can review and adjust what data Google uses to personalize your experience, and update what information you share with friends or make public.

Google About Me

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Safely AND Quickly Hide Files and Folders – If you are looking for a way to hide a file or folder, then take a look at WinMend. I can tell you that I have used WinMend for the past several years and I have never lost a file.  The WinMend site states it, like this; “While ensuring the absolute system safety, this application can quickly hide files and folders on local partitions and/or on removable devices. The hidden files/folders will be safely hidden whether the drive is accessed in another operating system on the same computer or reinstalled on another computer”. I have added WinMend to the downloads page, located under the FREE SOFTWARE swarm…

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Using The Disk Cleanup Tool In Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 – Cnet has a nice tutorial (click here), on how to clean up the junk in Windows using the built-in cleanup tool. The tutorial covers each aspect of what the tool removes and cleans from your system such as the browser thumbnail cache, system files, system restore files, the hibernation cache, and the recycle bin.

Cleaning up system files

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A Tool To Reset And Repair Windows Update Related Components – The Windows Club posted this article, Reset Windows Update to default in Windows 10, that features using the Windows Update Component Tool (aka Reset Windows Update Agent) to reset and repair the components to the Windows Update service. The tool itself is available from Technet – click here

Reset Windows Update 1

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MORE Quick Links To Amazon Holiday Deals – As you probably have noticed I have an obsession with Amazon and the challenge of locating their best deals. As Christmas gift giving (and receiving) nears, I really go on the hunt to bookmark links to their holiday deals.  Below is my latest collection to share with you.

Quick Links

Today’s Deals

Cyber Monday

12 Days of Deals

Last-Minute Deals

Year-End Deals

Black Friday

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Geek Squeaks (#2015-32) FEATURING — Beware: A Browser Hijacker That Replaces Your Default Browser — and MORE GREAT STUFF

October 19, 2015

Beware: A Browser Hijacker That Replaces Your Default Browser – Scams, viruses, malware and hijackers are constantly being developed and engineered to make our computing lives a nightmare. Today I want to make you aware of a piece of software, called eFast, that the Malwarebytes research team has determined as being a browser hijacker. What is unique about this browser hijacker is that it does not hijack your existing browser; instead, eFast replaces your existing browser. This hijacker takes control of the file associations for .gif, .htm, .html,.jpeg, .jpg, .pdf, .png, .shtml, .webp, .xht and .xhtml files AND displays numerous advertisements.

Typically eFast will piggyback its’ way onto your computer through third party software installs. Always read what is occurring when you install software.  You can usually tell it is installing (by the install prompts) and from what I getting, eFast is similar in appearance to Google Chrome. If you have been fooled into installing eFast, reflected below are the removal steps. To read more about eFast CLICK HERE

eFast

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware can detect and remove this potentially unwanted program.

  1. Download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to your desktop.
  2. Double-click mbam-setup-version.exe and follow the prompts to install the program.
  3. At the end, be sure a check-mark is placed next to the following:
  4. Enable free trial of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium
  5. Launch Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
  6. Then click Finish.
  7. If an update is found, you will be prompted to download and install the latest version.
  8. Once the program has loaded, select Scan Now. Or select the Threat Scan from the Scan menu.
  9. When the scan is complete, make sure that all Threats are selected, and click Remove Selected.
  10. Restart your computer when prompted to do so.

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A Command-Line To Cleanup Windows – TTC Shelbyville posted Advanced Windows Cleanup using cleanmgr /sageset:50 and cleanmgr /sagerun:50 that gives you step-by-step instructions on how to use these commands to cleanup windows. Note: Do NOT Delete Windows ESD installation files. These files are NEEDED to Reset or Refresh your PC.

1 More Options Cleanup

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Jump Your Car AND Charge Your Devices With This Power Bank – If you get chance, take a look at the BESTEK® 400A Peak Current Portable Car Jump Starter Power Bank that not only can jumpstart a vehicle (up to 16 times); BUT, can be used to charge your portable devices (such as GPS devices, smartphones, tablets, etc.). This power bank has a 11,000 mAh battery capacity that is able to jump start a 3L gas or 2.5L diesel vehicle engine. The neat thing about this is that it is safe and can fit in your glovebox… CHECK IT OUT HERE!

Power Bank

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OW Shredder Is Portable AND FREE File Shredder Software – I came across OW Shredder through reading the article Free File Shredder With Full Drive Eraser, Disk Analyser (@ILoveFreeSoftware) and thought it was well deserving of a post here, as well. What I especially like about this file shredder is that it is portable and has the ability to erase entire volumes.

OW Shredder is an advanced security tool which allows you to completely erase secret data with all drive traces from your hard drives by overwriting it. Individual files, free disk space and entire volumes can by erased. In addition OW Shredder offers various tools to scan, analyze and wipe more drive information and traces. Beside of it OW Shredder supports a desktop widget, a context menu integration and automated recycle bin cleaning. All in all this small and portable application gives private users or even companies the perfect solution to eliminate sensitive data.

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