Thursday, December 31, 2009


Happy New Year to you all friends and readers of this Blog!

I have another "goodie app" from our favorite tech writer Mr. Rick Broider at PC World. This is a nice program that soon you will find indispensable in your daily routine relationship with your computer and a good New Year little gift to you all.

Mr. Broider's comments on this app follow:

"Tired of typing the same words, signatures, phrases, and even paragraphs over and over? What you need is a program that automatically inserts text when you type an abbreviation or hit a hotkey.

PhraseExpress is one such program, and it's my favorite for several reasons. For starters, it expands typed abbreviations into complete phrases. You could type, say, "fwiw," and PhraseExpress would instantly insert "for what it's worth." Or "sig" to insert a custom signature (complete with images and/or HTML code) at the end of e-mails.

This capability works in any program (word processor, e-mail client, blog tool, etc.), and PhraseExpress can even scan your documents and e-mails to find frequently used text to add to its auto-complete list. (It can import existing AutoCorrect entries from Word, too.) Of course, you can define your own entries as well.

The program also includes a global spell-check feature and a clipboard history tool, which stores all recent clipboard entries, not just the most recent one.

Needless to say, it's a killer app, one you'll quickly come to find indispensable.

Note: This program is free for personal use. For business use, you must register the paid version.

--Rick Broida"

I have downloaded this program, and find it fascinating and very helpful.

If you want to try it out, (and it is absolutely free !), go to:,65010-order,4-c,desktop/download.html

Click the above and you will go directly to the page where it can be downloaded. If for any reason it does not take you to the web page, just copy and past this address to your browser. I hope you'll enjoy it.

For 2010, I will try, whenever possible, to have new posts at least a minimum of once a week, therefore if you will go to the Blog every week-end you'll find them.

I also wish that those of you who have questions, experience computer problems, have good ideas, have come up with solutions etc. etc. will come forward and publish your comments. It is very easy, just click the "comments" tab at the end of each post and write whatever you think will be interesting! I promise that I will answer every one of your comments.

It has been a little over a year since I started this Blog. As of today we have had 1,856 visitor hits which comes to an average of 5 per day. I'll try my best to make the Blog even more interesting and hopefully double the number of visitors for 2010!

Again thanks for your interest and readership. This is for me a great way to keep myself busy and in good spirits. I am totally retired and this Blog keeps me from getting older and bored of doing nothing!

Happy New Year again and good health for you all.

George Freire

Monday, December 28, 2009


If you remember, on October 31st I published a post concerning the conversion to Windows 7:

"Windows 7 report; how I managed to do the conversion from Windows Vista".

This post covered my tribulations when upgrading my laptop to Windows 7 from the then installed Windows Vista. I also mentioned that I was planning, (at a later date), to do the same in my main PC "Super Computer".

Well I did it the day after Christmas, Saturday December 26. Initially, it was no big deal, in as much as I had the previous experience in doing the same with my laptop.

Of course I ran the "Windows 7 Upgrade Advisory Report" program which I downloaded from web page, prior to start the conversion steps. This report advised that I should un-instal certain programs such as "ATI Catalyst Install Manager", update a couple of drivers for other programs etc.

I did all that religiously, (I advise you all to do the same, meaning: follow what the report recommends you to do before you start the conversion).

After I inserted the Windows 7 disk in the computer it took a couple of hours for the conversion to take place . I went and had dinner, watched the news on TV etc. and finally went back to my office to check the computer.

It was done! the new Windows 7 desktop was glistening and I was very very happy, saying to myself how easy it had been.

Until... I tried to open a few utility programs such as "Disk Keeper", "Registry Mechanic" and others. No dice! instead of having the programs open, all I got was a message as follows:

"Windows cannot verify the digital signature for this file. A recent hardware or software change might have installed a file that is signed incorrectly or damaged, or that might be malicious software from an unknown source".

Well, first of all I was absolutely sure there were no "malicious software" programs in my computer before the conversion, therefore the problem could not have been caused by such.

Also, the programs I tried to open as mentioned above, were reported as compatible in the "Windows 7 Upgrade Advisory Report" not to mention that they are installed in my laptop and no problem such as this had happened when I did the same conversion.

I scratched my head in desperation... then I tried to re-install the software I had un-installed prior to the conversion such as the "ATI Catalyst Install Manager", no dice, the same message showed up again:

"Windows cannot verify the digital signature for this file. A recent hardware or software change might have installed a file that is signed incorrectly or damaged, or that might be malicious software from an unknown source".

I was so frustrated that I decided to go to bed, (it was almost midnight by then!).
"Maybe tomorrow morning I may be able to think clearer and come up with a solution..." I though to myself.

Sunday morning, (yesterday), I got back to the task of getting my computer to work right. Please note that except for the utility programs and re-installation of some software, all other programs worked OK, giving me no problems whatsoever!

I thought it over and, (in a moment of inspiration), decided to restart the computer in safe mode and try to run the programs that gave me trouble, as well as re-installing "ATI Catalyst Install Manager".

Can you guess what happened? all went well, all the programs opened and "ATI Catalyst Install Manager", was re-installed immediately!

Now , what this means is that somehow, during the upgrade process some crazy file was screwed up in the registry, causing all these problems, there was no other explanation. Still, would I have the same problems once I started the computer normally?

No! when I restarted the computer under normal conditions again, everything worked fine and my computer is now working beautifully under Windows 7.

Why did this happen? I had to find out, therefore I called Microsoft support
(800-936-5700) and managed to talk to somebody in India, (by the way a very nice lady), who explained that probably by starting the computer in safe mode, opening the programs and then restarting the computer under normal conditions, I had "refreshed the registry" ??? and solved the problem.

Folks, this is still a mystery to me, but the main thing is the problem was solved.

I decided to post this experience, just in case you guys and girls come through the same annoying experience during your conversion to Windows 7.

Your comments to the above story will be very much welcome.

George Freire

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Friends, yesterday a new feature was added to this blog.

If you look at the third entry on the left column of the blog, you'll find a new gadget that will allow you to see TV channels in many different countries around the world!

Just try it: select the country, select a station from the list of stations which will open for that country, wait a few seconds for the connection to work and zip! you are there!

Hard to believe what today's technology can do!


George Freire

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I consider myself a reasonably knowledgeable computer guy, but there are so many things that I don't know about!

Fortunately, I get tons of emails from technical sources well above my pay grade, that keep me learning new stuff on a daily basis...

One of my favorite sources of knowledge is as I have mentioned a thousand times, PC World Magazine. This magazine has a number of top of the line editorial technical writers whose articles I have many times transcribed on this blog.

Mr. Rick Broida is one of my favorite technical writers of this magazine. I received an email today with an article I am going to transcribe herein which really shows how good Mr. Broida is:

Bring Your Middle Mouse Button to Life
That middle button is often ignored, but you can tap its potential for browsing more efficiently, scrolling quickly, and more.
Rick Broida, PC World

Dec 22, 2009 12:10 pm

Take a close look at your mouse. Chances are good it has at least three buttons: left, right, and middle. (Note: Your middle button might be your scroll wheel, which on most mice is clickable.) I've already talked about getting the most from your mouse, but this week I thought I'd home in on the middle button.

Why would I want to do that? Well, I just took an informal poll of about ten people, and guess how many of them actually use that middle button? A grand total of one. One! People, people, people...

Close Browser Tabs Quickly
First up: browser tabs. I routinely have 10-15 tabs open in my browser at any given time. If I want to close a tab, I have to click it, then click the little X that appears on the tab. That's one more click than I prefer, and it brings into focus a tab I'm planning to close. Crazy, right?

If you middle-click any tab in Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Internet Explorer, boom, it's gone. No need to make it visible first; no need to reach for the X. Just middle-click, boom.

Open Links in New Tabs
When you middle-click a link in Google Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer (not sure about Opera, but I'm guessing so), that link opens immediately in a new tab.

Incidentally, you can accomplish the same thing by holding down the Ctrl key and left-clicking a link. But why bother with that when you can just as easily click the middle mouse button?

Open All Your Oft-Used Sites
Let's say that you use Firefox or Internet Explorer and you've organized a handful of favorite sites--you know, the ones you visit daily--into a folder. Smart move.

Here's an even smarter one: You can instantly open every link in a folder, each in its own tab, by middle-clicking that folder.

This works regardless of where the folder is located: your bookmarks toolbar, your navigation toolbar, even a pull-down menu. One middle-click of a folder and presto: every link therein opens in a new tab.

Scroll In Your Docs
Have you ever wondered what happens when you click and hold the middle mouse button? Glad you asked. This action activates a handy page-scrolling option in applications like Microsoft Word and Excel, Adobe Reader, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.

In other words, when you click and hold the middle mouse button, you can then drag your mouse forward or back to scroll up or down the page, respectively. This feature is intended for folks who don't have a scroll wheel, but it works just as well with scroll wheels--and I know many people who prefer the speed of middle-click scrolling to the slow, steady pace of wheel scrolling.

Customize Your Scroll Speed
After the mouse itself, the mouse wheel is the single greatest navigation tool ever invented. Mine is spinning constantly, especially in Firefox, where I use it to zip up and down Web pages.

By default, however, one "turn" of the mouse wheel scrolls only a few lines at a time--and I want to move faster. Fortunately, there's a fairly easy way to adjust Firefox's scroll speed. Even better, there's a keyboard shortcut that can slow it down again for "precision" scrolling.

Here's how to change the default scroll speed:

1.Open Firefox, then type about:config in the address bar and hit Enter.
2.In the Filter box, type mousewheel.withnokey.
3.Right-click mousewheel.withnokey.sysnumlines and then click Toggle. This should set the value to False.
4.Right-click mousewheel.withnokey.numlines and then click Modify. Bump the value to 6 or so, click OK, and then switch to another tab to see if you like the scroll speed. (Thankfully, you don't have to restart Firefox every time you make a change.) If not, experiment a bit until you find a number you like.
Rick Broida writes PC World's Hassle-Free PC blog . Sign up to have Rick's newsletter e-mailed to you each week .

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Today I'm going to bring you a couple of excellent utility programs for your computer, thanks again to PC World never ending helpful contributions:

SUPERAntiSpyware Free Edition

One anti-spyware program isn't enough. This useful program does a thorough job of scanning your system for dangers, and then whacks any it finds. SuperAntiSpyware scans not just your files and memory, but your Registry as well in search of potential dangers. It doesn't offer real-time protection, but it's a worthy addition to your anti-spyware arsenal.

--Preston Gralla

In order to download and install this great little free program go to:,64862/description.html?tk=nl_ddx_h_dlfeat

Click the above or copy and paste to your browser. It will take you to a PC World page where the download is available.

The second (also very useful program) is:


If you suspect your PC has been invaded by malware, FreeFixer can help you find it. It shows you a wealth of information about what's running on your PC, but the data is meant primarily for security gurus.

When you kick off a FreeFixer scan, the program digs into those areas of your PC where malware commonly hides, and then displays what it found in categories such as drivers, registry startups and running processes. Many of the discovered items display a "more info" link that will check FreeFixer's database for information such as whether the file or application uses a digital signature, whether other FreeFixer users have reported finding the same file, and what they've chosen to do with it.

The useful app will avoid showing files and programs that are known to be safe, such as Windows components and known good software, to help you focus on potential baddies. But unless you know just what you're doing, you should be very careful about deleting any discovered files yourself.

Instead, you can post your FreeFixer log at a Freefixer Group or online forum, where white-hat volunteers can sift through the data and help you figure out what's what. The FreeFixer user's manual contains instructions for posting your logs, along with plenty of other helpful info for using the app.

FreeFixer can also reverse some malicious system changes put in place by some malware, such as blocking access to the Windows Task Manager or Registry editor. In knowledgeable hands it can help get rid of a malware infection, but non-gurus should get advice from an online volunteer before taking action based on a FreeFixer scan.

--Erik Larkin

In order to download and install this great little free program go to:,81161/description.html?tk=nl_ddx_h_dlfeat

Click the above or copy and paste to your browser. It will take you to a PC World page where the download is available.

Both the above programs are great. Thanks again PC World for your help!

To you all who will be using these programs, I please ask for your comments either by email to me or you can also post them right here.

Again, Merry Christmas and a very very Happy New Year to you all.

George Freire

Saturday, December 19, 2009


It's been a year since this blog was started.

I hope we have been of help to some, brought new stuff to a lot of our viers and computer users, but above all offered some enjoyment and good reading to all.


George Freire

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


As you know I'm always looking for good free software utilities. I receive a lot of tips from my friends at PC World, (for me the best computer technical magazine on the market).

Today they have sent me an e-mail concerning an interesting free utility that can be quite useful and simple to use for fixing "on the spot" a number of annoying problems which once in a while frustrate all of us who use computers frequently.

The name of this utility program is "FixWin". Mr. Rick Broider one of the best tech writers at PC World tells us the following:

"Have you ever longed for a quick Windows fix? Fix Common Windows Problems with One Click?

Have you ever wished for a magic wand that could make annoying Windows problems disappear? Like, say, a missing Recycle Bin icon, or those pesky Runtime Error messages in Internet Explorer ?

FixWin is that magic wand. This ingenious free utility requires just over 500KB of space, runs without installation, and quickly fixes 50 different Windows glitches--many of which would normally require a trip to the Registry. These are divided among five categories, including Windows Explorer, Internet & Connectivity, and System Tools.

Each problem is presented with a brief but thorough description. Here's an example: "CD drive or DVD drive is missing or is not recognized by Windows or other programs." (Been there!) To fix a problem, just click the corresponding Fix button.

It really is that simple. And before you get started, FixWin can scan your machine for--and fix--corrupted system files. It also allows you to create a System Restore point before making any changes, a smart addition.

Certainly FixWin won't solve all your Windows issues, but if it can correct just one, it's well worth the download."

In order to download this program go to:,82272-order,3/description.html

(copy and paste the above address to your browser if clicking the above does not work)

The editorial review of the program is as follows:

"Looking for a fix to a simple problem in Windows Vista or Windows 7? FixWin offers one-click solutions to dozens of Windows problems. Run the program and look through its menu for a description of your woe. When you find it, click a button, and your problem should be fixed. I used it to restore my Internet Explorer icon, for example, and it worked without a hitch.

FixWin doesn't actually look into your system and uncover problems. Instead, it lists several dozen potential problems in five categories: Windows Explorer, Internet & Connectivity, Windows Media, System Tools, and Additional Fixes. It lists all the problems you might have, not ones that it knows that you do have. So, for example, it lists "The Recycle Bin icon is missing from your desktop," even if the icon is there. You have to know you have a problem, and then use this program to fix it. It won't uncover problems for you.

Should you download the program? If Windows is working fine, there's no need to do it, because it won't do anything for you. But if you know that you have a problem, FixWin is worth the little download, in case it can fix it for you.

--Preston Gralla"

I have downloaded the program and I think and recommend that you do it to. Even if you have no problems now, it is well worth having it available.

George Freire

Monday, December 7, 2009


As I have mentioned in posts of late October concerning the best upgrade procedures to Windows 7, in my case I did not, (fortunately), find any serious problems.

However, in an e-mail from PC World to yours truly, they mention 3 problems that some people have encountered when doing the upgrade.

Because some of you may be unfortunate and come across such problems, I am transcribing what PC World advises in order to overcome any installation woes for Windows 7.:


We all know that not every OS upgrade goes smoothly--but we're still annoyed when faced with seemingly unresolvable installation problems. Windows 7 has presented some users with a few serious upgrade bugs of its own. This week I explain how to exterminate them.
- Robert Strohmeyer, PC World

In order to read the whole article and get the information you need to overcome such problems when upgrading to Windows 7, go to:

Copy the above web address, paste it on your browser and you will see the whole article by Mr. Robert Strohmeyer. It is indded very good stuff.

I hope this will be of help to those who may experience problems during the upgrade installation.

George Freire

Sunday, December 6, 2009



I have been so busy with Christmas planning, some parties, buying presents etc., that I have not had much time to prepare new posts.

Therefore, today I am going to make it easy on myself and just review two past posts that I am sure will be useful for those of you who may not have read them in the past. The first was published on from April 22nd and the second was published July 9, 2009.

The day after tomorrow will be our first anniversary! this Blog was started on December 8, 2008.


George Freire

April 22nd, 2009


Both WINDOWS XP and VISTA have vast hidden commands and functions which are in most part unknown to many of you readers of this blog.
Today I'm going to show you some of these "secrets", which will make your computer work better and faster.
Like everything else, if you proceed to optimize your computer by following the suggestions herein, make sure to do it step by step and read the instructions carefully.

1- Lots of visual effects cost valuable computer power. You can tone down the visual effects on WINDOWS XP by going to Control Panel/System and under the "Advanced" tab disable "visual effects" to free up valuable computer power.
On WINDOWS VISTA, go to System Properties, click "Advanced" tab, then "Performance settings" tab and under "Visual Effects" click "Adjust for Performance" button and then OK.

2- When using an alternative firewall, which in most cases are better the WINDOWS firewall, such as Norton or other security programs, it is highly recommended to disable the WINDOWS firewall, otherwise the two firewalls operating at the same time may slow down the system or even make it inoperable.

3-Every time there is a crash or program error, WINDOWS saves a "memory dump" in a file called "MEMORY.DMP" under the installation directory, (e.g. C:\Windows). In order to free disk space, this file can be deleted without a problem.

4- WINDOWS can significantly slow down its own start as it searches for shared files, folders and printers. In WINDOWS EXPLORER, you can go to "TOOLS/Folder Options/View" and disable the feature "Automatically search for network folders and printers".

5- WINDOWS XP has a command that lets you verify and restore critical system files if necessary. Type the command "sfc /scannow" under the "Start/Run. WINDOWS XP will check through the system files and automatically replace any damaged files. (It might sometimes ask you to insert the WINDOWS CD when doing this).

6- When WINDOWS VISTA is first installed and in most cases also in a new computer just purchased, there is no "Run" command in the "START" menu. If you want to have this command available, (and I recommend you should have it available), go to "Control Panel", choose "Task bar and Start Menu Properties", go to the "Start Menu" tab, click "Customize" find and check the option "Run Command" and then click OK and OK again.

7-Did you know that you can download WINDOWS VISTA and test it for a period of 30 days, without having to buy it? Well you can do it and extend that period to 120 days! How?
Log on as Administrator, go to "All Programs/Accessories" and right click on "Command Prompt". Select "Run as Administrator", then type in the command "slmgr.vbs-rearm".
You can do this up to 3 times!

8- WINDOWS indexes nearly all files and folders used during work flow on the system. Those who can do without this feature, can go into "My Computer", right click on the drive in question, (normally drive C:), choose "Properties", then uncheck the option "Allow Indexing Service to Index This Disk for Fast File Searching".

That's it for today. From time to time I'll come up with more secrets, (there are so many that it will take a life time...)


George Freire

Thursday, July 9, 2009
Here are some tips that will help everyone make their computers work better and faster:

-Windows can significantly slow down its own start as it searches for shared files, folders and printers. In Windows Explorer, you can go to "Tools-Folder Options-View" and disable the feature "Automatically Search For Network Folders and Printers". This will make your start faster.

-Whenever there is a crash or error, Windows saves a memory dump in a file called "Memory.Dump" under the installation directory, (e.g. C;\Windows). This file can be deleted without any problems resulting. This will free disk space that you might need.

-When using an alternate firewall solutions, such as those available in virus protection programs such as Norton and many others, it is recommended to disable the Windows Firewall, otherwise there will be interference between the two firewalls. To do this, go to "Control Panel-Network Connections", open up the connection you use and choose "Advanced-Internet Connection Firewall", (or Windows Firewall , after SP2), and turn it off.

-Lots of visual effects cost valuable computing power and in most cases they loose their luster after a few days...
You can ton down the visual effects by going to "Control Panel/System", under the "Advanced" tab and disabling them to free up valuable computer power.
In Windows Vista, go to "System Properties, click "Advanced " tab, "Preference Settings" tab and under "Visual Effects" click "Adjust for Performance" button and then click OK.

-When Vista is first installed, or on new computers, there is no "Run" command visible in the start menu. If you want it to show there, which is a good thing, go to Control Panel, choose "Task Bar and Start Menu Properties", go to the "Start Menu" tab, click "Customize...", find and check the option "Run Command" and then click OK again.

Windows XP has a command that lets you restore critical system files if necessary. Click "Start/Run" and then type the command "scf/scannow". Windows XP will check through the system files and automatically replace any damaged files. (It may ask you in some instances to insert the Windows CD or the restore CD that came with the computer when doing this.

For today this is it. I hope the above will be of help for your good computing.


George Freire