Tag Archive: Microsoft Windows



 

  1. 1.       Internet Explorer 10Windows 7 vs Windows 8

With the Metro user interface of Windows 8, Internet Explorer is just the ideal browser with tons of fast, fluid fun in Metro. It makes perfect sense to navigate forward and backward with swipes, double tapping to zoom in and out, even when IE is running in Snap state. Zooming and panning with Windows 8 Metro is fluid and very reactive. However, you are just two clicks away from the plug-in capable version of IE.

  1. 2.       Semantic Zoom

All your apps can be organized in a snap with Semantic Zoom. You can zoom out the screen by just pinching it and then the start screen tiles can be minimized entirely and also they can easily be rearranged. Without scrolling endlessly you can choose to drag individual tiles or a group of them, reorder them to decide how they should appear in the Start screen.

  1. 3.       App Bar

Metro does not allow applications like Chrome, however, it knows that you might need it sometimes. So when you try swapping from the bottom of the screen, Windows 8 gives you access to it via the App bar.  This is indeed a better way to have controls when you need them and remove when you don’t need them. By swiping up from the bottom edge of the screen, they show in-app commands in a couple of apps.

  1. 4.       App Management and Switching

By swiping from the left edge, you can swap between running apps in Metro in the developer preview. But in the consumer preview, this functionality

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

features in new Windows 8

is taken to another level. By doing a left side mini swipe or by using the mouse to go to top left corner of screen and pulling it down, you can see the running apps.

  1. 5.       Charms

Charms bar is brought up when you swipe in from theright side; it allows you to access settings, search, share data with other apps and more.

 Features

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

New features of Windows 8

Windows 8 is the upcoming operating system of Microsoft and has lots of new features included in it when compared to its predecessor, Windows 7. This article illustrates some of these new features of Windows 8.

Customizable start menu in Windows 8

In Windows 8, you will be able to customize your startup menu according to your needs and preferences. You will be able to add tiles for email, calendar, music, Netflix, and may more things. It also enables users to view live information from Windows 8 metro based applications.

Introduction of snap multitasking

The introduction of snap multitasking in Windows 8 has simplified the feature of multitasking. It enables users to run two applications side by side, switch between them and resize them. In Windows 7, a separate dialog window would’ve opened up for each file copy job where as in Windows 8, all copy jobs are integrated in to a single dialog box. In Windows 8, you will also be able to stop, pause or resume any copy operations, thereby giving you more control over what you are doing. Windows 8 copy dialog box will have a real time graphical display for each copy operations.  All of these provide an enhanced copy experience for Windows 8 users.  The control panel of Windows 8 also has an entirely new look. It is incorporated with new options like privacy, search, share, notification, search and users.

Windows 8 with Internet Explorer 10 

Internet Explorer 10 is designed to provide faster browsing through hardware acceleration. It also has in its offering a rapid gesture based zoom, web site navigation and pan.

Windows 7 vs Windows8

New features of Windows 8

Windows 8 is equipped with two touch keyboards

Microsoft has included two touch keyboards in Windows 8, one of which is the traditional keyboard and the other meant for non-touch typist. They also have attempted to make their virtual keyboard faster. It has a spell checker and will also suggest words which you are going to type. Windows 8 provides support for USB 3.0 which is around 10 times faster than USB 2.0.

Enhanced support for multiple monitors

Windows 8 offers enhanced support for multiple monitors. In Windows 8 it will be very easy to switch between multiple monitors. The primary monitor will be having a Start button where as the secondary monitor will be having a switch button.

Windows 7 Vs Windows 8 – performance Evaluation

Even in the performance fronts, it has been widely touted that the capabilities of Windows 8 clearly beats Windows 7 by far. You could argue that the tests or the reviews are based on the Windows 8 developer version, which is true but yet the results that these benchmarks came up with are stunning.

Windows 7 Vs Windows 8

Windows 7 Vs Windows 8 comparison

The benchmark done by the people at Lifehacker has revealed that the performance of Windows 8 is faster.  To test Windows 7 and Windows 8, the benchmark team assigned systems with equal computing power, they both had an over clocked 3.8 GHz i7 machine that had 6GB of RAM, the hard disk size was 2TB,  an GeForce 9800 Nvidia GT  graphics card and connected to the internet with a speed of 20Mbps.

They found that the boot time, decompression and compression of files all decreased with Windows 8. Movie Encoding was also faster. The other big advantage that Windows 8 had when compared with Windows 7 was the presence of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) that aided the security layer when the computer booted up.

These tests and their results talk for themselves and so, we have Windows 8 as the clear winner among the two.

 New Features of Windows 8:-

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

New features in Windows 8

Microsoft’s latest version of Windows operating system that is under development is the Windows 8 OS. The developer preview of the operating system is already available for download and users are excited about its new and trendy features like, Metro UI, Ribbon interface for explorer, Disk images mounting, enhanced Multi-tasking, Sensor Fusion, revamped Log on etc. When doing the windows 7 vs Windows 8 comparison, it can be seen that Windows 8 is a revamped version of Windows 7 and is inspired by Windows Mobile 7. Below given is a list of some crucial features incorporated in Windows 8 OS.

New features in Windows 8

  • There is built-in anti-virus technology in Windows 8 including Smart Screen Filter used in IE 9. No matter which internet browser you use, Windows 8 will be automatically checking your downloads for malwares.
  • Metro UI can be said as the catchiest feature in Windows 8. Everything from the Boot screen in Windows 8, Lock screen, Log on screen and even the Control Panel are revamped in Windows 8. They are all retouched with Metro style thumbnails making the user interface in Windows more fluid and dynamic. The PC can be configured more easily with the complete Metro styled Control Panel. However, the bad news is that the Start menu orb will not be there in the desktop anymore with Windows 8. The other Metro UI features are the standard view of copy progress changed to an expandable one with pause and start options for the process, detailed control over management, file name conflicts, etc.
  • Booting in Windows 8 is also improved greatly with support for touch screen or mouse to make options.Windows 7 vs Windows 8

    New features in Windows 8

  • The shut down and startup processes are other things which are improved greatly in Windows 8.To ensure faster launch next time, Windows OS hibernates its core processes when it is shut down.
  • The new Ribbon UI has extra options included in it like, disk mounting and burning options for ISO images, pinning, extraction for compressed files, pinning, running as administrator etc.
  • A refined multi tasking can be discovered in Windows 8. A drag and throw style in touch screen is used to terminate the processes running in the background.
  • Windows 8 comes with IE 10 for both touch screen and desktop versions.

Windows 7 vs Windows 8: Speed

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

Windows 8, as you know, is the upcoming operating system from Microsoft. If you are a Windows fan, you might have to wait a bit more to get the final release of Windows 8. Meanwhile you can satisfy your anxiety levels by downloading the Windows 8 consumer preview from the website of Microsoft. This is basically the beta version of the new OS; this was released a couple of months before. It is good to install this version of Windows 8 on your computer as it will help you to experience the new interface and some of the newly installed features of windows 8; this is very helpful especially when it comes to making a decision on whether to go for Windows 8 or to stay with Windows 7 at time of the final release of the new OS. Talking about whether to buy or not, the one important thing you would like to consider will be the performance. This article provides information regarding the performance of Windows 8 with respect to Windows 7.

Performance test

As it is expected, Windows 8 consumer preview clearly beats Windows 7 in most benchmark tests conducted on these platforms. These tests were performed by some of the best brains of the PC world and the results indicate that Windows 8 is much more fine tuned than its predecessor. Almost all the test results show that Windows 8 is relatively faster than Windows 7.

Both the operating systems were tested on the same machine with Intel Core i5-2500K at 3.3 GHz, 8 GB of RAM, 1 TB hard drive, and an NVIDIA GTX 560 Ti video card as its configuration. The benchmark mark used was WorldBench 7 and Windows 8 gained 14% over Windows 7. The report indicates that even a performance improvement of 5% is a notable one, 14% in the case of Windows 8 is a clear advantage.

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

Things on which Windows 8 is faster than Windows 7 are, start up time (36.8 seconds against 56.2) and web performance through WebVizBench (28.6 FPS against 18.9).

However, while comparing Windows 7 vs Windows 8 in terms of content creation, Windows 7 scores the point for being better. But the difference is very subtle which probably might not be there evident in the final release.

Windows 7 vs Windows 8 comparison based on the touch screen feature with responsive edges

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

Better touch screens in Windows 8

Though Windows 7 has the provision for touch screens, you will see the best of it with Windows 8 operating system. And though Windows 8 is still in the developing stage, Microsoft confirmed that it is working with hardware partners to feature better options for touch screens in Windows 8. Windows 8 is, in fact, suitable and convenient for touch screen devices, though it works well with keyboard and mouse too.

Better touch screens perfect to the edges in Windows 8

With the Windows 7 vs Windows 8 comparisons, Microsoft recently said that the touch screen in Windows 8 is going to be an enhanced feature of that found in Windows 7. The way the touch screens will respond, especially when it comes to the edges of the screen is the major touch performance improvement brought in Windows 8. Windows 8 makers are looking forward to implement these improved touch screens on laptops and tablets that will run the coming Windows 8 operating system.

The company is dedicated to improving the touch screen feature in every way they can as Windows 8 is a completely touch based operating system. With Microsoft releasing Windows 8 commercially, many systems like Ultrabooks, Tablets, notebooks, and general laptops are stated to be released with the operating system.

Better edge response for touch screens

The way the new touch based interface works in Windows 8 is the reason why Microsoft is focusing more on edge to edge response for the touch screens. To bring up features like search, tools called ‘Charms’ and several other features for the users, Windows 8 has multiple edge swipes.  Microsoft will not approve sub-par touch screens from vendors who sell Windows 8 tablets and touch based devices and will be actively inspecting all the designs before they go to the market.

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

Better touch screens in Windows 8

In contrast to Windows 7, where, Microsoft reserved 20 pixels for edge swipes, Windows 8 allows developers to use all the available pixels. And also the Windows 8 apps can utilize all pixels that are available with the full screen mode. Microsoft is further trying to make the touch screens even better to detect the edge swipes all the time.

So that was some differences in Windows 7 and Windows 8 based on the touch screen setup.

Replacing Windows 7 with Windows 8? Let’s see if it’s a good choice or not!

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

Windows 7 vs Windows 8 comparison

Let’s have a Windows 7 vs Windows 8 review and decide.

Given below is the Windows 7 vs Windows 8 comparison of features. Read through to know what Microsoft has brought as the big change in its new operating system.

Start page

Windows 7 supported the touch screen partially only, but with Windows 8, users will see much matured versions of touch screens. After installing Windows 8, you will notice that the programs are launched in it accurately and quickly from the tiles instead from the menus as in earlier versions of Windows. They include an enhanced handwriting recognition system and use the on-screen built-in keyboard like those available with smartphones. But this doesn’t mean users can’t use the traditional keyboard and mouse, that too is possible.

User Interface

Windows 8 has the Metro UI from where users can locate any targeted program easily and click on the Start button for returning to the Start page and even more.

Multiple Screens

It is much easier in Windows 8 to access multiple-screen. Multi task lovers, who prefer complete customization of each screen, would just love this option.

Portable Windows

In Windows 8, users can copy the Windows 8 to a USB drive and load its image on any other Windows 7 computer or Windows 8 based computer.  With this feature, identical computer environment can be brought back home which shall change the way people work.

Windows Store

Windows 8 will now include Windows store like the Android Market and Apple store. Users can purchase stuff from the Windows store to use it on their

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

Windows 7 vs Windows 8 comparison

Windows 8 machine.

File System

Replacing the old NTFS, Windows 8 has introduced “Protogon” which gives a more efficient platform.

Some other features

Windows 8 has a new “Hybrid Boot” option, using “advanced hibernation functionality” on shutdown that minimizes the startup time. Other new features are ribbon interface for Explorer, Modern Reader, task manager called Modern Task manager, and native ISPO mounting, Internet Explorer 10 with advanced features etc. The IE 10 in Windows 8 takes advantage of the hardware acceleration for speedy browsing and enhanced performance.

So these are some improvements in Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 8. And this is why it is different from other versions of Windows.

Windows 7 vs Windows 8 with respect to Consumer Preview

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

comparison of consumer preview

This guide will give you some insights into some of the best features of Windows 8 and a comparison of it with Windows 7.

1.       Metro UI

This is among the newest ways of using your windows. Any applications or programs which you choose to install are instantly available as a tile in the Metro UI.

2.       Taking Screenshots Just Got Easier

Previous versions of windows allowed you to take a screenshot that you press on the print screen key and then paste the image file in paint or any other software in order to save the screenshot. As far as Windows 8 is concerned, simply press the windows key as well as the print screen key at the exact same time and the screenshot is directly saved as an image file in your pictures folder.

3.       Hot Corners and Charm bars

Hot corners as well as a charm bar make the use of windows much more fun. Just by hovering the mouse at the top four corners of your screen, it will be possible to access hot bar which enables you to go into further settings.

4.       PC Settings Got Simplified

It is now possible to access the new metro UI PC settings by;

  • Go to the top right corner and the charm bar opens
  • Click on settings and look below for the option More PC Settings
  • Click it. Open the metro UI settings where you may adjust things like lock screen, metro color, windows 8 settings and much more.

5.       No need of reinstallation

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

comparison of consumer preview

As far as Windows 8 is concerned, it is possible to simply select either the “Refresh” or else “Reset” function in order to restore or repair a damaged operating system.

6.       Enable Super Administration in One click

  • Make use of the cursor in order to navigate to the lower left corner of the windows 8 metro UI or traditional desktop until you receive live thumbnail of switching to environment.
  • It is not required that you left click at this point but right click instead and you will see a menu which presents you with some useful power user shortcut which includes command prompts, disk management, system menu.

Windows 7 vs Windows 8- Who’s Faster?

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

Is Windows 8 faster?

Windows 8, owing to the numerous promises made by Microsoft and the demonstrations presented by its developer preview, has by now become the most discussed topic in the computing world. Its two main highlights- the Immersive Browser and the Metro UI have undoubtedly garnered a great deal of appreciation from all sides.

And now, much to our excitement and curiosity, the consumer preview of the OS has been released. Obviously, the only benchmark that would help us evaluate the new OS is its immediate predecessor- Windows 7. In this post, we give you a report on the performance test conducted recently on these two platforms, which revealed some surprising

Is Windows 8 faster?

results.

Windows 7 vs Windows 8- The Speed Test

Computers are synonymous with speed. And when it comes to the case of contemporary operating systems, ‘lightening speed’ is an absolute criterion. As the Windows 8 support team points out, the developer preview of the new OS itself was able to put up a good show in terms of its booting speed. While Windows 7 took nearly 30 seconds to boot, its successor was able to do it in about 10-15 seconds.

File Transfer Speed   

When it comes to file transfer speed, the Windows 8 consumer preview seems not to have lived upto users’ expectations. The astonishing result was that Windows 7 copied faster than the Consumer Preview of the new OS. The speed tests for the same were performed on ASUS Zenbook UX31, Samsung Series 7, and Dell Inspiron 15. In the case of ASUS Zenbook UX31 and Samsung Series 7, the difference between file transfer speed of Windows 7 and Windows 8 was quite significant. And that’s really disappointing for Microsoft’s most ambitious project.

The Open Office Spreadsheet Test

In this test too, Windows 7 seemed to put up a better show. While the graphics performance of both Windows 7 and Windows 8 was somewhat the same, the latter proved to use more battery power. No matter how impressive the UI of and OS is, what users ultimately seek for is enhanced performance and battery life. As such, would the new OS be able to cater to the needs of users who spend long hours on their PCs is a question that remains unanswered.

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Linux is a great operating system and more often than not, it’s the installation of Linux that is the matter of discussion.

For a change, I will be talking about how touninstall Linux Ubuntu (or other operating systems) from a dual boot windows pc, and still being able to boot into other OS without much work. So let’s get started right away.

Backup your Linux files

It pops up everytime, but backup really is very important. If you have been using your Linux system for some time, chances are you would have created files you wouldn’t want to loose. In such a case, you can boot into Linux, backup your files (check out your Home directory) on an external device or onto a Windows partition.

Alternatively if you somehow managed to mess up and can’t boot into Linux, you can use ext2 IFS which allows you access to your Linux paritions. It can only read ext2 and ext3 filesystems though. If you are using other filesystems, you would have to look around a bit for a similar application. In any case, you can always boot from a Linux live CD to backup files if everything else fails.

Delete Linux Partitions

Next step: delete every Linux partition. That would include everything – boot, swap, home, whatever way you set up your system, it is time to delete all Linux partitions. There are a couple of ways to achieve this, easiest being from within Windows’ Computer Management. You need to:

how to uninstall ubuntu from dual boot windows pc

  • Log in to an account with administrative privileges.
  • Right click on My Computer, click ‘Manage’.
  • Choose ‘Disk Management’ listed under ‘Storage’ and you will see all of your partitions listed there.

how to uninstall ubuntu from dual boot windows pc

Next, you need to identify Linux partitions. The Linux partitions generally don’t have a file system listed with them if Windows doesn’t recognize it, so this can serve as a clue. Other ways can be identifying by size or partition number. You can use partition managers, these are generally better at identifying filesystems. Go ahead, delete the partitions, just make sure you delete the correct ones. Linux is gone and so is GRUB, which allowed you to choose operating system to use at boot time. So currently, you cannot boot into any other operating system, without some help. We are going to fix that soon.

Restore MBR

As we noted, GRUB is gone and so is the ability to boot into Windows. You would now need to boot from the Windows CD/DVD to restore the Master Boot Record. You can also use other Live CDs like one of my absolute favorites and highly recommended HBCD just in case you don’t have Windows installation media handy. Here are the steps:

  • Boot from Windows CD/DVD and choose “Repair” when it shows up.

uninstall ubuntu from dual boot pc

  • Choose command prompt on the resulting screen and run the following two commands:
    • bootrec /fixmbr
    • bootrec /fixboot

XP users need to run the recovery console from Windows XP CD and then type fixmbr when at the command prompt.

Reclaim free space

Restart now, remove the CD and you should be able to boot into your Windows installation. Once there, you should go ahead and reclaim the unpartitioned free space which was previously occupied by Linux. Doing so is simple and straight forward:

  • Fire up Disk Management as before.
  • Right-click on the unparitioned space, choose new partition or new logical drive.
  • Specify the size and other options according to your needs and you are done.

The free space should now be accessible from My Computer like any other partition. Alternatively, you can create multiple partitions from the free space or resize existing partitions to suit your needs.You can use utilities like GPartedEasues Partition Master or any one of the many partition managers on HBCD to perform such advanced tasks easily.


When you are having OS and you are going to delete the OS through windows you have to download the software EASYBCD

Step 1 – Check where the bootmgr resides

Open Disk Management and find the partition that is marked “active”. That is the partition that contains the bootmgr.

The active partition is usually from the OS that was on the system first – e.g. if you installedWindows 7 on an XP system, the XP system would be the active partition. But there are also other cases.

If Windows 7 was the first OS on the system, then your bootmgr resides most likely in a separatesystem partition which is usually small.

If you installed Windows 7 as first OS to a disk that was not attached to the Sata port0, it can very well be that the bootmgr resides on an arbitrary partition on the disk that is attached to port0.

If you have e.g. a Dell system, your bootmgr may be on the recovery partition. Other OEMs may do the same, but I was not able to verify that.

This is the example of my current system. Note the two last partitions which are Windows 7 and Windows 8. The Windows 7 partition is marked as active. You also see that I have no small system partition because I have eliminated that partition after I moved the bootmgr from that small system partition to the Windows 7 partition.

Dual Boot - Delete a OS-pic-1.png

If I would delete the Windows 7 partition, my Windows 8 would not boot any more because it would have lost it’s bootmgr that is in cohabitation with the Windows7 bootmgr.

In order to avoid such an unfortunate situation, we launch the system that we want to retain and move the bootmgr to that system’s OS partitionHere is how.

Step 2 – Delete the unwanted OS partition and reuse the space

Stay in the OS that you want to keep and open Disk Management. Right click on the partition that contains the OS you want to delete and Delete Volume. Then right click on the deleted volume and Delete Partition. Now you should have “Freespace” where this partition originally was.

With Disk Management, you can define a new partition in that freespace or you can add it to the partition that shows to the left of that freespce. Just click on the partition which is to the left and Extend Volume.

If, however, you want to add that freespace to a partition that is to the right of the freespace, then you have to use an external tool. I suggest the bootable CD of Partition Wizard. Here is how.

A word of caution: before you manipulate partitions with Partition Wizard, make an image of all partitions on that disk. I once lost all my partitions on a disk because I made a small mistake manipulating one partition with Partition Wizard. For imaging I recommend Free Macrium. Here is how.

Step 3 – Cleanup the bootmgr

Now that we removed one OS, we have a surplus entry in the bootmgr. We will remove this entry with EasyBCD. As you can see in the picture, the operation takes only 4 clicks.

EasyBCD is a very handy tool for a variety of operations on the bootmgr. You should have that in your toolkit anyhow.

Dual Boot - Delete a OS-pic-2.png

If you stop at this step, the MBR is still in a double boot configuration and when you boot, the BIOS will present you the black screen where you have to choose the operating sytem – although only one operating system is present. This is not a disaster, but it is an unnecessary step that requires your intervention.

The next two steps will reset the MBR to your current OS and then your system will automatically boot into that.

Important: You absolutely have to execute both Steps 4 and Step 5. If you only do Step 4, your system will not boot any more. 

Step 4 – Clean the MBR

Dual Boot - Delete a OS-pic-3.png

Step 5 – Reset MBR with the entry of the current OS

Dual Boot - Delete a OS-pic-4.png

How to make Windows Genuine


Follow some simple steps and you can get rid of trial version of windows 7 and activate it for lifetime:

1.Type “RUN” at start menu,and click on the search result.

2.Type Regedit and press enter.

3.now go to the location described below:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE–>SOFTWARE–>Microsoft–>Windows NT–>CurrentVersion–>SoftwareProtectionPlatform–>Activation

4.Now look at right side and right click on manual and click on modify..and change its value..if it is 1 then change to 0 and if 0 then change to 1.

5.Restart the computer and enjoy.

or to do it it automatically download the software ———CLICK HERE

If you are facing any problem with the registry editing please write us here….!!


(Sweet) collection of programs

Add/Remove

Total Uninstall

This program monitors changes to the system during installations, allowing you to perform a full uninstall of programs that leaves traces; quite a number of programs does not uninstall completely, leaving scars all over the system. It is particularly useful for people who install / uninstall lots of programs frequently.

Anonymizers

Anonym.OS

Anonym.OS LiveCD is a bootable live CD based on OpenBSD operating system, providing a hardened environment whereby all ingress traffic is denied and all egress traffic is automatically and transparently encrypted and/or anonymized.

Archiving

7-Zip

7-Zip is an archive manager for 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2, and TAR (packing and unpacking) and RAR, CAB, ISO, ARJ, LZH, CHM, Z, CPIO, RPM, DEB, and NSIS (unpacking only) file formats.

IZArc

This is another powerful archive manager, with a wide support of formats, including 7-ZIP, A, ACE, ARC, ARJ, B64, BH, BIN, BZ2, BZA, C2D, CAB, CDI, CPIO, DEB, ENC, GCA, GZ, GZA, HA, IMG, ISO, JAR, LHA, LIB, LZH, MDF, MBF, MIM, NRG, PAK, PDI, PK3, RAR, RPM, TAR, TAZ, TBZ, TGZ, TZ, UUE, WAR, XXE, YZ1, Z, ZIP, ZOO.

Backup

DriveImageXML

DriveImageXML is a program for backup and imaging of partitions and drives. It is also available as a plugin for the BartPE or Ultimate Boot CD for Windows live bootable CDs.

ERUNT

ERUNT is a registry backup and restore utility. It allows you to maintain daily backups of your system (up to 30 days) and quickly recover in case of an emergency. The program is also twined with NTREGOPT registry optimizer

Karen’s Replicator

Replicator is a utility that allows you to automatically backup files, folders and drives. It allows to set a schedule for your updates, define an ignore list and more. Furthermore, Karen has a long list of useful applications, called Power Tools. You can find them on Karen’s site.

Browsers

Firefox

Firefox is an open-source browser, available for both Windows, Linux and Mac. It is stable, robust, secure, and highly customizable, with more than 700 extensions. You can find about all the possible extensions at Mozilla Firefox Add-Ons.

Personally, I would suggest the following extensions:

Adblock or Adblock Plus, with Adblock Filterset.G Updater, for blocking of advertisements

Cookie Button and Cookie Button in the status bar, for control of cookies

IE Tab, for watching pages using Internet Explorer engine

Noscript, for control of javascript and other plugins

Refcontrol, for privacy issues

Scrapbook, for saving and organizing web pages

Sage, a lightweight RSS feed reader

Tab Mix Plus, for enhanced tabbing

User Agent Switcher, for privacy issues

Of course, there are many other extensions, like mouse gestures, password generators, anti-phishing, anti-spoofing, FTP, and tons more – feel free to explore.

K-Meleon

This is another open-source Gecko-based browser. It is very light and fast and will probably offer better experience on low-end machines than other browsers.

Opera

Opera is yet another solid browser. Like Firefox, it is available for the three major desktop OSes. It is mature, fast and includes a BitTorrent and a mail client. It is also the most compliant browser by W3C standards.

CD/DVD burning

CDBurnerXP Pro

CDBurnerXP Pro is a free burning solution. It will burn CD-R, CD-RW, DVD+R/RW, and DVD-R/RW discs.

InfraRecorder

InfraRecorder is another easy-to-use burning software for Windows, allowing you to copy discs, burn images, blank rewritable discs, and more.

Checksum

MD5Summer

MD5Summer is a Windows MD5 sum generator, allowing you to verify the integrity of downloaded files or burned isos.

Codecs

Please be extra careful when downloading codecs.

Free-Codecs

To the best of my knowledge, this site has a large collection of available audio and video codecs. Although not programs in the strictest of terms, the codec packages often contain miscellaneous tools like media players and converters. You should probably choose either K-Lite Codec Pack or XP Codec Pack.

Customized OS builders

nLite

nLite is a deployment tool for unattended installation of Windows. Furthermore, nLite is a customization tool, which allows you to remove certain Windows components from the installation, add drivers and patches and tweak a variety of configurations. It can be used to build your own custom install CDs as well as learn the functionality of the Windows operating system in greater depth.

Development tools

Eclipse

Eclipse is an extensible IDE that allows easy development of C++ and Java applications. It has a wide range of plugins that can be used with it.

Diagnostics

HDD Health

HDD Health is a program intended to monitor hard drives and predict their failures.

HDD Thermometer

This tool monitor the temperature of the hard drives and can prevent overheating and data loss.

Memtest86

Memtest86 is a memory diagnostics tool. It needs to be run from a floppy disk or a CD before the operating system boots.

SpeedFan

This program will monitor fan speeds, voltages and temperatures of hardware components in computers with monitor chips. It is a tool designed for a power user and should not be used in vain. Just like CT scans are not performed on every patient with headache, you should consider using it if you think there might be a problem with your hardware.

Note: Most hardware vendors offer a variety of diagnostic tools for their products. For instance, all major hard drive manufacturers also offer small diagnostic utilities for examining the disks. Please refer to relevant vendors’ sites if you want to download and use these utilities. Most often, they will need to be run from a floppy disk of a CD.

Emulators

DOSBox

DOSBox is an x86 PC emulator, complete with graphics, sound, mouse, and modem, allowing you to run old DOS-based games that are no longer supported by modern operating systems.

QEMU

QEMU is an open-source processor emulator. It requires some knowledge to be fully utilized. Nevertheless, it can be useful for creating virtual hard drives, for example.

Erasers

Eraser

Eraser is a secure deletion tool, allowing you to completely wipe information off your hard drives.

Explorers & File managers

freeCommander

freeCommander is an alternative to the standard Windows Explorer. It will also run from a USB stick and is one of the many tools included in the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows (see below under Live CDs).

FTP clients

FileZilla

FileZilla is a fast, open-source FTP client.

Graphics (image animation, editing and viewing)

Image manipulation

GIMP

GIMP is a powerful, comprehensive image manipulation program. Like most open-source software, it is also available for Linux and MacOSX. GIMP offers an extremely wide range of tools for graphic editing of images. It requires extensive knowledge to be fully utilized – however the possibilities are virtually limitless. The program requires a GTK runtime environment to be installed. GIMP is also available in a version similar to Adobe Photoshop, called GIMPShop.

PixResizer

This programs allows you to quickly manipulate batches of images, by converting their format or color map, resizing them, or rotating them. It is very handy for people who frequently have to manipulate lots of pictures.

ScreenshotCaptor

ScreenshotCaptor is a very handy program for taking screenshots. Unlike the standard commands, Alt + PrintScrn or PrintScrn, it allows you to take screenshots in different file formats, automatically save them to a folder rather than clipboard, schedule operations, and more. It is also capable of taking screenshots of regions or full content of partially hidden windows.

Image viewers

IrfanView

IrfanView is a very light, very fast and extremely powerful viewer. It includes a media player and also has some very neat editing features. A range of plugins is available.

HTML editors

Nvu

Nvu is an open-source, cross-platform HTML WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. It can be run alongside or instead of Mozilla Composer HTML editor. Nvu can be boosted with extensions, which include tools for advanced HTML editing, javascript debugging, code enhancement, tutorials, localized language support, and more.

Instant messaging

GAIM

This is yet another open-source, cross-platform software. Like all open-source projects, it is light, fast and clean. GAIM is a multi-protocol client and will allow you to connect to several networks, without using several (often) bloated and unneeded IM programs. GAIM supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo!, IRC, Jabber, Gadu-Gadu, Silc, GroupWise, SameTime, and Zephyr networks.

Java

Sun Java

Although not strictly necessary for everyday home computing, Java is used in the design of some web pages and a runtime environment will have to be installed on your PC before you will be able to view them. Sun Java offers a solid and secure Java engine. Additionally, development tools for programmers or hobbyist seeking to learn Java are available. The home user usually needs only the Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

It is also advisable to remove the default Microsoft Java Virtual Machine (MSJVM), which has been known for a number of security holes. Windows XP SP2 removes the machine during the installation, but you might want to run a separate uninstaller. MSJVM Removal Tool can be downloaded from MajorGeeks.

Live CD utilities

Bart’s PE Builder

Bart’s PE Builder allows you to build customized bootable live Windows CDs. Bart’s PE Builder offers a range of useful utilities, including system diagnostics and recovery, hardware inspection, and more. It is an ideal tool for rescue operations and offers a familiar interface to Windows users who might have qualms about using Linux-based live CDs.

For details and instructions, please refer to my article How to create a bootable live Windows CD. Note: You should burn a separate stand-alone bootable CD containing only the BartPE environment.

Knoppix

Knoppix is a Linux bootable CD or DVD. Although not strictly a Windows utility, Knoppix is famous for a very good hardware support, that is if you have problems with the detection of a hardware component like the sound card or a graphic card, you’re most likely to start solving the problem booted with Knoppix. It can also function as a rescue disc, a backup tool, a safe browsing platform, or a great tool for learning Linux.

Ultimate Boot CD for Windows

This is one of the most important tools a Windows user can have. Like Bart’s PE Builder, UBCD4WIN is a story unto itself. It is not just one program, it is a complete bootable Windows kernel, packaged with tens of useful utilities in a range of categories. UBCD4Win PE Builder is based on Bart’s PE Builder. Nevertheless, UBCD4WIN offers a much greater range of available tools. You can also add your own plugins.

Among offered tools are 7-Zip, a43, Ad-Aware SE, Agent Ransack, AVPersonal, BGInfo, CPU Bench, CWShredder, DeepBurner, Dirms, Disk Copy, Disk Image, Disk Wipe, Eraser, ERUNT, Explore2fs, ExplorerXP, File Recovery, FileZilla, Firefox, Floppy Repair, freeCommander, Free Undelete, HD Cleaner, HDTune, HijackThis,  IPScan, IZArc, MaxBlast, MemTest, MbrFix, MBRWiz, P95, PasswordPro, PDF Reader, Popcorn, PPPOEXP, Putty, R-Linux, RecoveryManager, RegCleaner, Scribe, SmallCD, Stinger, Sysclean, UltraVNC, xplorer2, WinDLG, and many more.

For a complete list, you might want to refer to the List of Tools. For details and instructions, please refer to my article How to create a bootable live Windows CD. Note: You should burn a separate stand-alone bootable CD containing only the UBCD4WIN environment.

Mail clients

Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird is a good alternative to default Outlook Express or Outlook clients. It is secure, fast, has a very good content filter, and can be customized with extensions (like Firefox). There are more than 100 available extensions for Thunderbird.

Maintenance

CCleaner

CCleaner (the first C stands for Crap) is a system optimization and privacy tool. It allows you to clean browser caches, delete cookies, remove corrupted or unusedfiles and erase tracks of your online activities. It also has the ability to clean leftover registry keys and values – use at your own discretion.

Important: Due to a recent doubt that the latest version of CCleaner (1.34.407) might cause problems with networking and/or Internet connection when used for routine cleaning at the default settings, I must exclude it from the list of recommended software for the time being. I will keep you updated.

Note: I cannot recommend a free registry cleaner. There is a number of available tools, all of which will do a good job. But none excellent.

Media manipulation

Audacity

Audacity is a cross-platform sound editor, allowing you to edit and record audio files. It also has a number of plugins available, including LAME mp3 encoder.

VirtualDub

VirtualDub is a very powerful video processing utility.

Media players

VideoLAN

This is an open-source, cross-platform player, with a large number of supported media formats.

WinAmp

WinAmp is a highly customizable media player, with a range of available skins and plugins (including a Karaoke plugin). It also supports a range of file formats.

Office

AbiWord

AbiWord is an open-source lightweight word processor, and a good replacement for Wordpad.

Open Office

Open Office is an open-source, multi-platform, multi-language, complete office suite that is a solid substitute for the standard Microsoft Office package. The suite offers the same range of applications, including a word processor, a spreadsheet, a presentation tool, a graphic package, a mathematical equation editor, and a database tool.

Partitioning

GParted

GParted is a Gnome Partition Editor. Although Linux-based, it fully supports the NTFS file system. It runs from a CD.

PDF software

Foxit

Foxit is a fast, light PDF reader and printer.

PDFCreator

PDFCreator allows you to create PDF documents; it is used like a printer from any Windows application.

Peer-to-Peer

eMule

eMule is an open-source project. It supports several networks, is rather robust and has good security; it can be run as an unprivileged user.

Portable applications

PortableApps

The above link leads to a family of portable applications, including 7-Zip, AbiWord, Audacity, ClamWin, Firefox, Open Office, Nvu, Thunderbird, and more. All of these can be run from  a USB stick.

Portable Opera

Like Opera browser, with the benefit of being able to run from a USB stick.

RSS feed readers

FeedReader

FeedReader is a lightweight RSS and ATOM aggregator.

Security

Admin privileges

DropMyRights

This little utility allows you to run programs with limited privileges while logged in as the Administrator. It can be useful for neutering the potential hazard of online activities by reducing the rights of Internet-dependent programs like browsers, mail client, P2P software etc.

Anti-keyloggers

SnoopFree

SnoopFree will allow to you to prevent certain applications from watching your screen or monitoring your keyboard strokes. Programs with shortcuts, certain games or other software might need to exercise these activities to function properly, therefore be careful when denying (or permitting) access to your screen and keyboard.

Anti-rootkits

I cannot recommend any anti-rootkit tools. These tools require a fair knowledge of system calls to properly interpret. For most people, reading the scan logs will be a complete and utter mystery with counterproductive results – confusion, fear, paranoia.

Anti-spyware

Ad-Aware SE

Ad-Aware is an on-demand anti-spyware scanner. It can also search for Alternate Data Streams.

Spybot Search & Destroy

This tool is a handy on-demand scanner. It also includes the immunization feature for Internet Explorer and Opera browsers, as well as a registry monitor called TeaTimer.

SuperAntiSpyware Free

SuperAntiSpyware is a lightweight anti-spyware solution with very good detection and (even more importantly) removal capabilities. While the free version lacks real-time protection or automatic updates, it is still a very handy addition to one’s security arsenal.

Anti-trojan

A2

The free version of A2 is a solid on-demand scanner, mainly useful against trojans, although the definition is becoming more blurred every day. A2 complements nicely with Ewido.

Ewido

Ewido Security Suite can be classified as anti-spyware, although the program was born to fight trojans and it excels in this more than other types of malware. The free version is a solid, on-demand scanner.

Anti-virus

avast!

avast! anti-virus is a free product, with a resident shield and an on-demand scanner.

AVG

AVG offers a free, real-time anti-virus, which includes scheduling, automatic update and email scanning.

ClamWin

This is an open-source on-demand virus scanner.

Dr.Web anti-virus link checker extension for Firefox

Firefox users can install this extension in order to scan remote links before downloading them. This offers the user the benefits of another powerful anti-virus engine without actually running it on his / her own machine.

Kaspersky ActiveX plugin for Internet Explorer

Similar although slightly different than Dr.Web extension, the Kaspersky scanner is installed as an ActiveX and runs with a web interface. Claimed as one of the better anti-virii in terms of detection, this plugins offers another layer of protection for Windows users.

Encryption

AxCrypt

AxCrypt is a file encryption software, allowing to protect your files and folders.

TrueCrypt

TrueCrypt is an open-source disk encryption software, which allows you to encrypt entire partitions, hard disks or USB sticks.

Firewalls

Comodo

Comodo is a nice firewall for the average user.

Online Armor Free

The free version of this program offers a very thorough security solution for the Windows users. It is very easy to configure and use. In addition to the basic firewall functions, the programs also has some HIPS ability.

Sygate
Although discontinued, I think this was and is the best free firewall for Windows available. It can be still found at a few sites, like Tucows.

ZoneAlarm

ZoneAlarm is one of the more popular firewalls, because it has a very simple interface and is easy to use. It is recommended for a beginner user.

Immunization

SpywareBlaster

If you are using Internet Explorer to surf, you could benefit from this tool. It will insert a blacklist of sites into the Internet Explorer’s Restricted Sites zone.

Privacy tools

PeerGuardian

PeerGuardian is an IP blocker and will work well in conjunction with firewalls and P2P software. It allows you to block whole ranges of IPs, including known advertisement, education, government, P2P, or spyware addresses.

Proxomitron

Proxomitron is a very powerful web filtering proxy. Properly configured, it can be used to clean the web pages of advertisements, exploits, nags, or just about anything. It has the similar impact to a number of Firefox extensions combined, except that it will function for all browsers rather than just Firefox. Recommended filter packages are GrypenJD5000 andSidki.

System diagnostics

asquared HiJackFree

This is a detailed system analysis tool, mainly intended to help user prevent infections by malware. It can be used to monitor BHOs, DLLs, LSPs, services, the Hosts file, and more.

Autoruns

Autoruns is a startup monitor, allowing to closely inspect the status of your system during bootup and login. I do not recommend it to an average user.

Filemon

Filemon allows you to monitor system file activity in real time.

HijackThis

HijackThis is intended to remove malware infections like browser hijackers. Nevertheless, it also functions as a diagnostics tool since it allows you to inspect your system, including services, BHOs, Winlogon entries, items that run at startup, and more. Using this tool requires caution and expertise. Malpractice can render your system unbootable.

Port Explorer

This tool allows you to monitor the connections your computer establishes with the world. Interpreting the results requires some advanced knowledge.

ProcessExplorer

You can think of ProcessExplorer as a boosted version of the Task Manager, with some fancy extras. I do not recommend it to an average user.

Regmon

Regmon allows you to monitor utilities accessing the registry in real time.

StartupList

This tool allows to list all startup entries on your system. Just like ProcessExplorer is a Rambo Task Manager, so is StartupList a Rocky msconfig.

TCPView

TCPView allows you to monitor TCP and UDP connections on your system.

Note: Sysinternals have a huge choice of excellent utilities. You should definitely visit there.

Virtualization

VMware Player & VMware Server
VMware offers a range of virtualization products. The Player and Server are excellent tools for experimenting with new software, other operating systems, for education, safe browsing, and more. For details and information, you can read my article on the subject.

Appendix (for bold and beautiful only)

In my opinion, the above list is more than enough to keep you busy for a few weeks. When referring to the (sweet) package, I mean all of the above. Below is a compilation of other suggested links, general information and advices that can come handy. However, it is up to you to sift through the massive amount of data and decide what suits you best.

Other useful tools

Acrobat Reader – the most popular PDF reader.

Belarc Advisor – a PC audit tool.

BitDefender Free anti-virus – an on-demand anti-virus scanner with automatic update and schedule scan options.

EULAyzer – a tool for inspection of license agreements.

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer – a Windows audit tool.

Notepad++ – an open-source code editor and Notepad alternative.

PageDefrag – this tool allows you to defragment page files and registry hives.

Winpatrol – a multipurpose security monitor.

Users’ recommendations

Below is the list of programs that you, readers, have suggested. Please note that the recommendations meet the following criteria: I am aware of the existence of the software and have used it (or at least tested). Clean, free, simple yet effective. Did not aggravate me personally in my history of computing. Preferably suggested by a member of a respectable forum. Take no offense if certain programs are not listed here. It does not mean they’re bad; it just means that I, a human of particular taste, do not think they fit in the existing context. Elsewise, it might take me some time to go through the long list of suggested programs, so have patience.

Thanks to the following people for their suggestions: Ben, Devinco, djg05, dog, goldengreek, iceni60, Notok, nossirah, roger_m, Tommy, WSFuser, a few other souls who wish to remain Tor … I mean anonymous.

aMule – an open-source cross-platform eMule-like P2P software; quite useful for people running dual OS machines.

Antivir – a rather popular anti-virus, which can be used instead of other suggested solutions; the free version does not have an email scanner, though.

Azureus – an open-source P2P client implementing BitTorrent protocol; it is based on Java and will run on any machine with Java Runtime Environment.

CDex – an open-source tool for ripping MP3 files.

Enigmail – an extension for Mozilla Thunderbird, allowing users to access the authentication and encryption features provided by GnuPG.

GnuPG – an open-source project that allows you to encrypt your data and communications; Windows users might also want to check Gpg4win, email security specially oriented for Windows environment.

HDTune – a diagnostics tool for inspection of hard drives.

K9 – an anti-spam filter for POP3 mail accounts.

KeePass – an open-source password manager.

Lightning – Sunbird extension for Mozilla Thunderbird.

Media Player Classic – a light, open-source media player that supports a wide range of formats.

Privoxy – a web-filtering proxy akin to Proxomitron. It is aimed at protecting privacy and removing web annoyances.

Shareaza – an open-source P2P software that supports BT, ED2K, Gnutella, and G2 networks.

Sunbird – an open-source cross-platform calendar application (also available as a portable application).

Tor – an anonymizing proxy that can be used to ensure a high level of privacy while online; the use of a chain of proxy servers and the necessary encryption of traffic will cause a slowdown in the Internet speed.

Wireshark – an open-source, multi-platform network protocol analyzer; it is very powerful but is not aimed at the beginners or even intermediate users.

XnView – a graphic and photo viewer similar to IrfanView.

xplorer2 – a file manager similar to freeCommander; another potential replacement for the Windows Explorer.

Things I will not usually recommend

Anti-social-engineering-software

Internet is loaded with tools intended to keep a sinful user from hurting himself. I find this approach to be misplaced. It is akin to giving a helmet to a person who likes to bang his head against the wall. Gullibility can be countered with nothing but a bit of logic.

Phony links to suspicious sites (a.k.a. phishing and pharming)

Do you honestly think your bank will ask you to confirm your password through an email? Do you read garbage emails that drop into your inbox? If the answer is yes, to either of the questions, some attitude changes are needed.

You do not need special tools to tell you that a site you go to is bad. The rules are simple: you are not sure if the site is bad, it’s bad; the link came in an email you did not expect, it’s bad; you were directed to a site you did not expect, it’s bad.

Spam

If you’re receiving spam, there are two likely reasons: You have submitted your email somewhere. You are on a friend’s mailing list and your friend is not exactly the hacker material. Make dedicated email addresses for dedicated spam use. Imagine if it were that simple in life – a room where you could store away all uninvited, unwanted family members.

Anti-scripts & worms software

Do you often download screensavers from the Internet? Do you click on files with funny extensions like .scr and .pif in emails titled Re: your website, when you do not even have a website? If not, you are probably OK.

Tweaking

I’m against it. If you like tweaking, you should switch to Linux. Linux is one big tweak. Windows is supposed to run as it is, and it will not like you if you tamper too much. Many times, people disable certain options in their setup without being fully aware of possible consequences. Then, many months later they are faced with a problem they cannot solve, not realizing it is rooted in a complex web of tweaks they can no longer remember, let alone undo.

My motto is: don’t poke into open wounds, don’t pick on scabs. If your system works, let it be. If your operating system is not working well, upgrade your hardware. Most tweaking guides assume you’re a single user, with no printer, no other computers connected to your home network, no file sharing, no gaming, and a whole lot more no-nos. If you’re that much afraid of the Windows, then you should choose a more inherently secure operating system. Full functionality and a fair sense of security-enjoyment can be achieved without barricading your PC.

Memory optimization

This is a myth. Using software that runs in the memory to boost memory. If you want a good analogy, it is similar to lifting yourself up in the air, kind of contradictory to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. If your memory does not please you, test it or buy extra sticks.

TCP/IP optimization

If you do not have a sufficient knowledge of what TCP/IP stack is and how it works, you should not meddle. If your Internet is slow, upgrade the line.

Services

There is little reason to disable services. If you fear being hacked, use a firewall or switch to Linux. If your system is sluggish and programs take a lot of time to load, maybe you should consider a better CPU and more RAM. An extra 512MB of RAM will make your machine work much faster than any number of disabled services. One or two services might be OK, but a compulsive crippling of the system is not the best doctrine.

Themes & visualization

Although this sounds innocent, it ain’t. First, you will unnecessarily hog your system with potentially incompatible styles. Second, you will be tempted to download free packages, often containing lots of bundled surprises.

Unregistering DLLs

The relationship between programs and associated DLLs is usually more complicated than it seems. You could innocently remove a DLL only to lament a lack of functionality in a completely unconcerned program months later.

Useful links

Disclaimer #2: I have NOT personally tested each and every application at the below sites. I cannot guarantee their quality. Treat the below links as a good reference point from which you may expand your searches.

Links to freeware

A+ Freeware

Freeware and Open Source Software

Links of portable software on Wikipedia

NoInstallFreeware

Security

Eric L. Howes’ Privacy & Security page

Sub-section of the above site: Spyware/Adware/Hijackware Tools

Microsoft updates – Manual download of all security patches for Microsoft products

Secunia – Multi-platform security advisories
Tell good from bad (highly subjective to user’s motives, perception and taste)

Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware Products & Web Sites

General advice

Drivers

Linking to online repositories of drivers is against my computer religion. It is similar to prescribing medications. The procedure must be exact. On one machine, a driver can do miracles. On another, it can undo them.

Drivers are required for your operating system to function properly. General software listed above is not. Therefore, while tampering with programs can be fun, tampering with drivers is dangerous. You can cripple your system. Here are some rules that I have found to be useful:

Do not be tempted to flash your BIOS just to have the latest version; you might end with an unbootable system.

Do not be tempted to upgrade your drivers only because a new patch has been released. If it ain’t fixed, don’t broke it.

If you do intend to update the drivers, BACKUP your personal data first, make sure you have a Windows installation disc and license key ready, make sure you can boot from a CD, make sure you understand what needs to be done and know how to follow the instructions.

Always download ONLY the official drivers from their vendors’ sites.

Always make sure you know who to contact (support email, forum etc.) if something goes wrong.

Never ever EVER install drivers when it’s stormy outside.

Obsessive-Compulsive Computing (OCC)

It is very tempting to run everything AT ONCE. Some people like control – unfortunately too much. I know people who run several different types of port monitors, startup monitors, registry watchers, hardware inspectors, and other little gadgets that grant a greater view of things. I think this is the wrong way to befriend computers.

Computers are better at processing information than the human mind. By competing in numbers against a machine, we are waging a losing battle. We cannot efficiently maintain an all-out vigilance of everything that happens inside an operating system. Even when extremely peaceful, a typical Windows setup runs about 1,000 processes simultaneously, most of which are invisible to the user. Running programs that can display long lists of system calls can be a nice hobby, but it can also be very frustrating and exhausting for an average man looking for security and stability.

Going through a list like the one above can be daunting. Even alarming. The best course of action is to evaluate the list and filter our applications that you are most likely never to use. And then, master the remaining package slowly, gradually, learning the strong and the weak points of each program, according to YOUR needs and tastes.

There is no need to run three hard disk monitors at the same time. You think your hard disk is going to die? Replace it. Backup your data. Two monitors will not keep it healthy. On the contrary, they will burden the system more and probably speed up its death.

You wish to control your programs startup. You think there are programs that are running out of control and needed to be reined in. Ask yourself why are they installed in the first place? Do you really need them? Do you think your system has been compromised? In that case, could there be perhaps a better course of action than an erratic attempt to douse a fire that cannot be extinguished.

You wish to control the registry. You want to know what happens. Well, if things are happening that you do not quite understand, then monitoring the heart of this mess is not going to help. Knowing things can be OK. But if you strongly suspect programs of doing things behind your back, do you honestly think such programs should continue to reside on your hard disk?

In other words, relax. Burn the CD. Keep it somewhere dry and cool. Let it be an emergency package that you might never need to use. Once in a while, when a need arises for a program that could be useful, go through the list, see if there is something that might interest you. You don’t need encryption software if you never encrypt your files. You do not need an FTP client or a mail client if you never upload files to the web or only read webmail. If you do not download movies or music, you do not need a P2P client. As a popular saying goes, never wear two sweaters at once – dunno, just made that one up. Take it easy.

Cheers.

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