Thursday, July 22, 2010

Acronis Drive Monitor

You may remember some of my older posts recommending "Acronis" a program that in my view is one of the best for your hard drive complete backup operation.

As you know this program is not free and costs about $45.00.

You can backup all files in your hard drive but also make a "Mirror Image" of the same which is a complete copy of the entire drive, (including all the software programs and your operating
system, Windows or other OS).

Now Acronis has a free program, "Acronis Drive Monitor" which is a great addition to your computer:

Protect data stored on your PC hard drive, workstation or server with Acronis Drive Monitor. The innovative technology provides an early warning that can make all the difference between keeping the data you have stored on any machine, reducing the risk of data loss and less headaches.

Acronis Drive Monitor checks disk health in the following three categories and reports deviations from normal operation to users, giving them an opportunity to replace affected drives prior to a potential total failure.

Automatically checks for disk problems:

Using a disk-resident function called S.M.A.R.T (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) to monitor the health of your machine.

Monitor Windows event logs:

Monitor critical events that may indicate a risk to data safety including logical file corruptions on NTFS and FAT file systems, corruption of dynamic disk logical structure, failed read or write operations that could indicate faulty hardware, Volume Shadow Copy Service failures and similar types of events.

Automatically receive warning alerts:

Get immediate notification of early warnings with email and a message displayed on the Windows taskbar in order that preventive actions can be taken.

Weekly status Reports:

Stay current about your computer/ server health with weekly reports. Plus, you’ll have access to the Acronis forum, a knowledge base with articles and built-in help for this easy-to-use software.

In order to download and install this software, go to:

I have in my computer and love it.

George Freire

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Old Posts that will help you handle Windows better

I was reviewing some old posts published in this blog and came across these two, which I think you'll enjoy. I know some of our new viewers, for sure, never read them before.

George Freire

Note: most of these secrets also apply to Windows 7

So here goes:

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

Saturday, July 17, 2010


We are less than 100 more visits to our blog, to reach # 3000.

At the bottom of the blog page there is a counter, (as of now at 2911); when you visit the blog check the counter and if it shows 3000 you are the one!

Let me know and we'll have a surprise for you.

George Freire


There is a very useful and free program, " DOUBLE DRIVER", which will allow you to backup all the drivers that you have hidden in your computer.

All of these drivers that you may not even know about, are required for proper operation of your software programs and most importantly, all the pieces of hardware which are connected to your computer. such as printers, flash drives, external drives etc.They can disappear or get corrupted and I bet if that happens, you probably do not know where to find the originals or even know how to re-install them.

One of the main reasons why you would want to collect installed drivers is if you don’t have the Driver CD that came with the computer or they are unavailable online. This comes in quite handy if you purchase a computer and want to backup the initial set of drivers. It can be quite difficulty for example to find drivers for hardware installed in a notebook if the operating system has to be setup again. Luckily Double Driver can now lend you a hand with that and save you a lot of time.

Double Driver is a very simple and useful tool which not only allows you to view all the drivers installed on your system but also allows you to backup, restore, save and print all chosen drivers.

Double Driver analyzes your system and lists the most important driver details such as version, date, provider, etc. All drivers that are found can easily be backed up the application and easily restored at a later point in one go.

Double Driver is freeware. Feel free to use and give this program to anyone you know. Your donation or feedback would be greatly appreciated.

To download and install this program go to:

When you run the program, a screen opens and gives you the choice, (when you click the "backup" choice), to scan your entire system. When this is finished, (it does not take more than a few seconds), it shows you a complete list of all the drivers installed in your computer; click the "Backup now" button on the lower left side of the screen. All the drivers are then backed up in a file called "double driver back up", (what else?), under the Documents folder in your computer.

Should you need to re-install any driver, all you have to do is select the drivers from the list and then click the choice "restore". That's all!, all the drivers selected will be restored in no time flat.

I strongly recommend that you all install this program in your computer. It is free and can save you lots of aggravation.

Have a good week-end,

George Freire

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Free Office Suite almost as good as Windows Office

I got this one from PCWorld and it is very good.

Here is the review by Mr. Preston Gralla:

"Don't want to pay hundreds of dollars for an office suite--and don't want to settle for a Web-based office application? Then get the latest version of OpenOffice.Org, a full-blown office suite that includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, database, drawing program, and math program.

Just because it's free doesn't mean that is underpowered--far from it. All the applications are full-featured, and unlike Microsoft Office, it includes drawing and math programs. It also handles Microsoft Office formats, as well as many others, including .rtf and open-source formats. It can even export to .pdf. And it works with Word markup, so you can easily exchange documents with those who use Office. However, it does have one problematic format shortcoming: Although it can open files in the Microsoft Office 2007 formats .docx in Word,. .xlsx in Excel, and .pptx in PowerPoint, it can't save files in those formats.

The overall interface isn't as slick as Office 2007--for example, it doesn't include the Ribbon. (Of course, there are people who hate the Ribbon and will be happy to hear that.)

This newest 3.2 version of OpenOffice.Org includes a variety of tweaks and fixes, such as adding a sticky-note collaboration tools to its drawing and presentation modules, improved context menus when creating charts.

If you're looking for a way to get away from spending hundreds of dollars for a suite, is a great solution.

Note: This program is donationware. It is free to try, but the authors accept and encourage donations towards further development. This link takes you to the vendor's site, where you can download the latest version of the software.

--Preston Gralla"

To download this program go to:

I hope ypou'll enjoy it.

George Freire

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Why don't you send me e-mails with funny stuff or computer problems you were able to resolve ?

Hi everybody!

Once in a while friends send me e-mails with funny stuff, like for instance the posts I have publish recently, "The seagull and the lazy cat", "Mission impossible with the trained squirrel" etc., or... problems you have had with your computer etc. etc.

I would love to have some good and interesting material to publish for everybody's entertainment.

Please send me those e-mails to:

Thanks a million,

George Freire

Sunday, July 4, 2010



Windows 7 is fast and it is quite satisfying in the role of replacing Windows XP and Vista, but you can make it much faster and responsible with EnhanceMySe7en.
EnhanceMySe7en helps users to control many aspects of the system with maximum convenience.
You will get everything needed for maintaining Windows 7 in a perfect condition. The program offers tools that take care of the registry, disk space and its defragmentation, installed software, HDD temperature and all sorts of things related to system's health. Also there are lots of other options helping to boost your system's performance.

With a clean and simple interface it brings you an All-in-One set of powerful and neatly classified tools, settings and tweaks.

As a bonus there are some unique and uncommon options too.

In order to download this software free, go to:

This is good stuff.

George Freire

Sorry for my laziness, but summer and a little vacation are the culprits...

I have been very very lazy for the last few weeks. It's been hot and humid around my neck of the woods and frankly I have had no great enthusiasm to sit at the computer and do a little writing for the blog. I am sorry for those who expect to see interesting and useful stuff published on a regular basis.

Well, today I felt I could finally come up with some good stuff, which I have been reviewing on some of my favorite computer publications. First, from PCWorld Patrick Miller tech writer, here goes:

(I am not selecting all the items in his publication because it would be too long. However I made a selection of those tips that I think all of you readers of this blog will find very practical and useful).

Super Software Secrets:

The apps you use most--your Web browser, productivity tools, media managers, and Windows and its built-in accessories--are more powerful than you realize. They are loaded with unpublicized features that make your PC easier to use, they respond to superquick keyboard shortcuts that you've never heard about, and they support add-ons and plug-ins that can shave minutes or even hours off of mundane daily chores.

But finding these shortcuts and obscure features usually means perusing dusty manuals or digging through intimidating help menus, and many of the most useful tips are ones that you would never have thought to look for in the first place. Fortunately, you don't have to do the searching yourself--we've done it for you. Read on for the mother lode of expert software secrets.

Work Your Windows Key:

Quickly view your system specs: Press Windows-Pause to bring up the System Info window. This keyboard shortcut can be especially handy if you're troubleshooting a PC and need to pull up the system's specs in a hurry.

Launch taskbar apps: Put your most commonly used appli­cations in the taskbar, and you'll use your mouse a lot less. Pressing Windows plus any number key will launch the program in the corresponding taskbar slot (so Windows-1 will open Windows Explorer, Windows-2 will open the app positioned to the right of Explorer, and so on).

Run apps from anywhere: You can launch applications and set parameters from your keyboard, without having to waste time digging through the Start menu to find the one you want to use. Press Windows-R to bring up the Run dialog box.

Fix the Small Stuff
Don't lose your work to automatic updates: Windows Update often forces your PC to restart after it finishes updating the operating system with the latest fixes--and if you're away from your desk with an unsaved document open at the time, you'll lose your work. To prevent this from happening, open Windows Update in the Control Panel, click Change settings, and in the drop-down menu select Download updates but let me choose whether to install them. That way, you'll never again get burned by a post-update reboot.

Safely remove memory cards without waiting: You're supposed to use the Safely Remove Hardware icon in the system tray before unplugging memory cards and the like--but waiting for it is such a pain that you'll be itching to pull your memory card without waiting for Safely Remove Hardware to do its thing. The key to making quick removal safe is to ensure that Windows isn't writing to the card without your knowledge; if the operating system behaves itself, you can eject the card whenever you want without corrupting your data. To adjust your settings, first right-click the memory card in Windows Explorer, choose Properties, click the Hardware tab, select the memory card reader, and choose Properties; then click the Policies tab (you may have to click the ‘Change settings' button before Policies shows up), and choose Optimize for quick removal. Henceforth, you won't need Safely Remove Hardware.

Mastering Microsoft Office
While your job might be sheer drudgery on certain assignments, working in Office doesn't have to be. Office has its fair share of hidden secrets that can lighten the load of your workday.
Convert your PDF files: PDF to Word is a neat Web service that converts PDF files to Word format so that you can edit them. Alternatively, you can download Nitro PDF Reader, an app that comes from the same company and offers similar features.

Maximize your macros: If you spend a significant amount of time in Word, consider using the built-in Macro function to record and automate repetitive tasks. First enable the Developer tab (in Office 2007): Click the Office button in the upper-left corner, choose Word Options, and check Show Developer tab in the Ribbon. Then switch to the Developer tab in your document, and you can record your own macros (global as well as document-specific) and assign them to keys or toolbar buttons.

Navigate with your thumbnails: Scrolling through long Word documents is a waste of time. Click the View tab and check the Thumbnails box to add a bar on the left side of the window that you can use to skip quickly from page to page.

Find a lost e-mail message: By default, in its All Items searches, Outlook 2007 doesn't include e-mail messages consigned to the Deleted Items folder. If you're looking for a missive that you think you may have deleted, select Tools, Options, Preferences, and click Search Options. Check the box under ‘Deleted Items' that says Include messages from the Deleted Items folder in each data file when searching in All Items, and you may be able to pull your missing mail out of the trash.

Web Browser Tricks and Scripts
Like the exploding ballpoint pen and powerful laser watch that James Bond found so handy in GoldenEye, your browser can do more than meets the eye. Whether you are Firefox friendly or an Internet Explorer devotee, plenty of great add-ons are available for customizing and controlling your Web browsing experience.

Take advantage of the tips in this section, and you'll never again have to endure a lost comment or forum post, spend precious time stripping unwanted formatting out of blocks of copied and pasted text, or waste sheets of paper every time you print out a copy of a Web page. Besides being easy on your processor, these practical add-ons are free, so load up on them.

Firefox Fans Only
Make Gmail better: Grab Better Gmail 2, a suite of scripts and add-ons designed to fix some of Gmail's niggling annoyances. With Better Gmail 2, your mouse will highlight the e-mail message that you hover it over, the Unread count in the Gmail window will ap­­pear first (so that it won't get cut off if it's located in a tab), and attachments will show up from the list view, among other useful improvements. Meanwhile, the first version of Better Gmail has become available to users as a Chrome extension.

Never lose another forum post: Use the Lazarus Firefox add-on to save everything you type in a form, just in case your PC crashes at an inopportune moment. Your blood pressure will thank you.

Deep-six the links: Copy Plain Text is another convenient Firefox add-on. It strips all of the nasty, unpredictable formatting out of text that you copy and paste.

Tips for Any Browser:

Save eight keystrokes from every URL: You no longer need to type "www." or ".com" in most URLs. Instead, merely type the unique part of the domain name that you want to visit--say, pcworld--into your browser's navigation bar, and press Ctrl-Enter. Your browser will automatically fill in the "www." and ".com" parts of the address.

Middle-click to open a link in a new tab: Middle-clicking a link (that is, clicking it with the scrollwheel) will cause it to open in a new tab. Middle-clicking a folder containing multiple bookmarks will cause all of them to open in new tabs.

Upgrade Your PC's Accessories:

Windows' built-in accessories are nice, but eventually you may want something more. If so, check out these apps, which pack more useful features while managing to stay svelte.

Notepad++ is Notepad for advanced text wranglers. Most of the features in this application are aimed at people who work with raw code--Notepad++ supports HTML, XML, JavaScript, .ini files, and various flavors of C, among other languages and formats--but the tabbed document displays, macros, and in-document bookmarking features are useful for anyone who regularly works with plain text.

ZuluPad, on the other hand, focuses on the "note" side of the Notepad feature set. With ZuluPad (the Basic version is free; the Pro version costs $15), you can pull in images, automatically link to your other notes while you type, and even sync your ZuluPad documents online. is a lightweight paint program that has been around forever--and with good reason. It's much more capable than Microsoft Paint (which falls short of most people's image-editing needs), and yet at the same time it's smaller and easier to use than professional-caliber applications such as Adobe Photoshop Elements and GIMP.

I hope the above tips will keep you occupied for a couple of days!

George Freire