A Recommended Windows File Manager and Explorer Replacement

February 25, 2015

File management is a skill that I have found that most computer users have a hard time grasping. If you can understand the concept of file management and how the files (and folders) on your computer are layed out, it will boost your confidence and open up a whole new world to you when it comes to using your computer. If you are a power user when it comes to file management, then you most likely prefer a file manager that is tabbed based or dual-paned based that will allow you to perform file management operations in a more efficient manner.

Today I want to share with you a file manager that gives you the best of both worlds (tabbed based and dual-paned based) called XYplorerwith its’ friendly,beautifully engineered and easy to use interface.

XYplorer

This file manager comes to you in a FREE version and a PAID version (compare here) that is continually being improved and developed; AND, can be either installed as a normal Windows installation or installed as a portable app (that can be carried with you from PC to PC on your flash drive). In my case I use the portable version, which I know will help keep my registry a little cleaner; plus, XYplorer is one of my “go to” tools in my portable app tech toolbox.

The features of XYplorer are too numerous to list here; however, you can get a quick alphabetical overview of the features, including links to online documentations by clicking HERE. You don’t have to take my word for it, but this file manager is an excellent replacement (or supplement) to the Windows File Manager and Explorer.

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FREE Software To Password Protect And Secure The Files You Store Online

February 17, 2015

I will be the first to admit that I am skeptical of storing sensitive files on the internet and what files I do store (or backup) online are encrypted with AES256-based encryption using a small file archive utility program called PeaZip. This added level of security gives me peace of mind knowing that my files cannot be compromised in the event my online account disappears (or the account in itself is compromised).

PeaZip

After spending a considerable amount of time looking for software to carry out the encryption of my files (that I store online), I did not go for a standalone encryption utility; instead, I ended up using the file archive utility, called PeaZip (screenshots).

What I like about PeaZip is that the focus is on security where multiple strong encryption password protected archive files standards are supported, such as the AES256-based encryption standard. If you really want to make your files secure you also have option of using PeaZip’s two factor authentication where a password and keyfile are both required in order to access the archive.

Integrated into PeaZip are utilities to create random keyfiles and passwords; AND, this I really likePeaZip has a built in utility that supports secure file deletion to erase tracks of unwanted data.

If you are looking for an easy way to secure files on your computer and/or secure files you store online, I would definitely give PeaZip a try (which is available as a Windows install and portable app):

  • PeaZip is a free cross-platform file archiver that provides an unified portable GUI for many Open Source technologies like 7-Zip, FreeArc, PAQ, UPX…
  • Create 7Z, ARC, BZ2, GZ, *PAQ, PEA, QUAD/BALZ, TAR, UPX, WIM, XZ, ZIP files
  • Open and extract over 150 archive types: ACE, ARJ, CAB, DMG, ISO, LHA, RAR, UDF, ZIPX files and more…
  • Features of PeaZip includes extract, create and convert multiple archives at once, create self-extracting archives, split/join files, strong encryption with two factor authentication, encrypted password manager, secure deletion, find duplicate files, calculate hashes, export job definition as script.

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A FREE Backup Software Solution For Computers At Home

January 29, 2015

What I have found (over the years) is that most folks, who own computers at home, do not back up their files. The reason, in most instances, is that folks feel it is beyond their level of comprehension and is a difficult task.

Today, I want to share with you a FREE backup software solution that may be helpful, called Allway Snyc that is easy to learn, yet is powerful in what it can be configured to perform. I especially like that there is not only a Windows install version; but, also a portable app version (called Allway Sync ‘n’ Go). As a matter of fact, the portable version is what I use to backup my personal files to an external drive. Simply put, you enter the source path, determine what direction to perform the sync, and then enter the destination path. There are numerous configuration options (such as real-time automatic backups or syncs when file changes occur) to customize each backup job. The FREE version of Allway Sync should be enough to serve the moderate use of the typical home based user in the backing up of personal files. If not, definitely consider buying the Pro version.

Allway Sync

In a nutshell, this is what Allway Sync is about:

Allway Sync uses innovative synchronization algorithms to synchronize your data between desktop PCs, laptops, USB drives, remote FTP/SFTP servers, different online data storages, and more. Encrypted archives are supported. Allway Sync combines bulletproof reliability with extremely easy-to-use interface. Also Allway Sync can process Apple MAC data via Sync Gateway OS X software.

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Get Perfect Copies Of Your Windows Registry (for XP and Newer)

January 26, 2015

Registry Backup is a program by Tweaking.com that has the ability to use the Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service to make a perfect copy of your Windows registry. Tweaking.com recently upgraded the program (to v2.0).

I have featured this utility on the blog in the past and due to its’ powerful ability to backup the registry (in an easy way) on computers from Windows XP to 8.1 I thought it necessary to remind my readers of the importance of this program. Registry Backup is available as a Windows install or as a portable app (which is ideal for you troubleshooters out there).

Tweaking.com - Registry Backup

If you wondering what the Volume Shadow Copy Service is, then CLICK HERE. Microsoft recommends using the Volume Shadow Copy Service to backup up the registry. This grabs a complete backup of the registry hives as they are (in their current real-time state); thus, giving you that perfect registry backup.

Below is a video that demonstrates and explains Registry Backup 

Key Features:

  •  The program is 100% free.
  •  One click backup and restore.
  •  Can restore from Windows Safe Mode.
  •  Portable version can be ran from a thumb drive and keep backups of multiple systems.
  •  Automatic cleanup of older backups.
  •  Set and control scheduling options.
  •  Can backup & restore all user profiles on the system, not just the ones that are currently loaded.
  •  Control which registry files are backed up or restored.
  •  Detailed logs are saved with each backup.
  •  Multiple easy restore options.
  •  Online videos showing how to use the program and how to use the different restore options.

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Portable App Screen Reader That Is A Notch Above The Windows Accessibility Option (for screen reading)

January 24, 2015

Found this portable app, called Screen Reader that has been developed for people with visual impairment that is a notch above the built in Windows accessibility option (for screen reading). Simply download, unzip and run the executable to launch Screen Reader. I have been using Screen Reader to read back my blog posts and other documents that I compose using the “checked” setting below. To get to these settings, right mouse click the Screen Reader icon in the system tray.

Screen Reader

In my case, I unchecked everything on the menu with the exception of “Auto Read Clipboard On Change” (see screenshot above). I also went into the “Hotkeys” options, checked the box for “Use Hokeys”, and made the “End” key on the keyboard as the key that allows me to stop any text being read back, if need be (see screenshot below).  Another option to this (if you want better control), is leave everything unchecked on the menu (above); then go into the “Hot Keys” option and in the “Read Clipboard” use the “Home” key (or whatever key combo you desire) and in the “Start / Stop Reading” use the “End” key. This option allows you to start and stop any text reading.

Screen Reader Hotkeys

FEATURES:

  • Screen Reader reads all elements menus or screen text pointed by mouse.
  • This software has been done for people with visual troubles.
  • It use new microsoft SAPI 5 technologie without agent, and replace the older Agent Screen Reader software
  • It has a text free window (like the old Simple Reader software), and shortcut to read clipboard content

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Free Portable App To Search For and Download of MP3 Files

January 21, 2015

I am seeing more and more music downloaders. This one is called MusicWire, and what I like about MusicWire is that it is a portable app.

MusicWire is a free application you can use to easily search for and download MP3 files. The app allows you to search for audio books and music files from different places on the web, giving you access to over 100,000,000 MP3 files… MusicWire has a more modern interface than some of the other downloaders I have tried; has the ability to perform simultaneous downloads; AND, allows you to test and play the downloaded songs. You also have option in the settings to select the download folder.

MusicWire

 

MAIN FEATURES:

  • Search by track, author or album name
  • TOP-1000 sound tracks
  • Quick search video on YouTube
  • Quick search music information on Last.fm
  • Choose download directory
  • Automatically play downloaded songs
  • Download history
  • Friendly UI

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A GUI Front End To Microsoft’s Check Disk Program

January 20, 2015

Running chkdsk from the Windows Command-line creates and displays a status report for the disk and (with the proper switch parameters) can list and correct the errors that is found on the disk.

To make this an easy process and a nice addition to the tech toolbox,  go to Chris’ Realm and download Chkdsk-GUI. The GUI passes the settings selected within the GUI and then launches the command line disk checker in the normal way, using the correct switches.

chkdsk-GUI

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