I can’t believe it! Sunday isn’t even over and I have processed about eight loads of laundry, taken the trash out, cleaned the kitchen at least two times, baked peanut-butter cookie bars, cleaned up the “downloads” directory of our laptop (it was quite full), installed/removed a number of assorted utilities and software, hung out with Alvis as she did her homework, and sorted the collection of recycling trash to go out next week.
Working in my favor was a quiet weekend on the InterTubes, allowing me to easily keep pace with the remaining links in my “to blog” bookmark folder.
Special thanks this weekend to Gary Berg for taking his time to leave me some great feedback on the Olympus E-5xx line of DSLR cameras.
Also getting a big hat tip this weekend is SunbeltBLOG who I had a brief but awesome back-channel conversation with this weekend. I’ll eventually disclose a bit more of that goodness in the coming weeks.
This week’s links are almost all software related. There are a few tips, but it’s pretty much all neat stuff to consider and play with. All free!
Help! Some idiot partitioned my giant hard drive! - Download Squad – The DSquad suggests some software tools to help fix accidently (re)partitioned drives. Take a quick look and make sure you have noted these recommended tools.
Free ISO Creator - (freeware) – I have quite a collection of ISO file tools. This will become yet one more to add to that mix. It makes creating an ISO file (particularly for data-disks) a very simple process. Spotted via Download Squad.
ISODisk - (freeware) – While I personally use and recommend the freeware tool SlySoft Virtual CloneDrive for my virtual drive (ISO file mounting) needs, this one looks pretty sweet also. ISODisk supports up to a remarkable 20 virtual drives for ISO file mounting support. Wow! Not sure why anyone would need that many, but if you do, there you go. I generally just mount one or two ISO files at a time, max.
5 Windows tools to remove damaged antivirus programs - Download Squad – Very nice collection of commercial AV product uninstall tools. These are always great to keep bookmarked. I can’t recall how many times a borked Symantec AV install simply refused to come out of a system and we had to resort to a brute-force SAV uninstaller tool to gut it from a system.
Ammyy Admin - (freeware) – Funny name but handy “remote control” software for Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008, 32-bit and 64-bit systems. Basically you and your remote “customer” both download the file and run it. The customer provides you the ID # which you enter into your window and away you are connected. See this MakeUseOf.com review for more details and screenshots.
Hive Five: Five Best Remote Desktop Tools – LifeHacker – Not to be outdone by MakeUseOf, LifeHacker offers five additional remote-desktop tools. Take the time to sort through the comments as LifeHacker readers are known to be a clever bunch and the comments really add some meat to the post.
ShowMyPC- (freeware) – My personal favorite and “go-to” tool for remote-desktop support extended to family and friends. It’s got an easy-to-remember URL. Just have your “target” download the single file and click-to-run. You do the same. Have them click the “show my PC” button and provide you the password ID number. You click on “View a Remote PC” button and enter in the number they give you. In a matter of seconds, you are viewing (and controlling) their system. Works through firewalls quite nicely with almost no issues.
Windows Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2 - the interesting part – 4sysops – What is going to be the most interesting part of Vista SP2? Nothing!
New features of Vista SP2
- Windows Search 4.0
- Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack
- Support for ICCD/CCID smart cards
- Ability to record data onto Blu-Ray media natively
- Adds Windows Connect Now (WCN) to simplify Wi-Fi Configuration
- exFAT file system to support UTC timestamps, which allows correct file synchronization across time zones
- New VIA 64-bit CPU support
- Print server and spooler performance improvements for printers
- Application compatibility updates
New features of Windows Server 2008 SP2
- Hyper-V RTM included
- Backward compatibility with Terminal Services licensing keys
- Improved manageability features with DFS/FRS console and Storage Resource Manager
- Print server and spooler performance improvements for printers
- Improved error reporting in DFSR to help identify incorrectly configured deployments which lead to failed replication
- Improved power profile
Delicious new Windows Live Wave 3 icons – istartedsomething – Long’s got some new icons dug up for the Windows Live Wave products. I rather like them.
ShadowExplorer - (freeware) – Now this is handy for all you Vista Home Premium users out there! Basically, Vista’s “Volume Shadow Copy Service” creates point-in-time duplicates of your files. So if you accidently delete or change one, you should be able to recover a prior “shadow” version. Only the problem is that even though all versions of Vista run this service by default, only users of les you accidentally deleted or altered. This service is turned on by default on all versions of Vista Ultimate, Business, and Enterprise editions can take advantage of the benefits. ShadowExplorer allows Vista Home users to now have access to retrieval of those “shadow” files. Neat! For more information check the developer’s website as well as a review by Confessions of a freeware junkie.
Tiny Victories Inside Microsoft - SmallestDotNet makes headway & SmallestDotNet: On the Size of the .NET Framework – Scott Hanselman’s Computer Zen. - This is some good stuff to read and then bookmark. Many more applications today are being developed on the .NET framework from Microsoft. The problem is that for many users, trying to decide which is the best package to download can be a real headache. As Scott points out, the .NET download can be a real whopper. So one of Scott’s first tasks at Microsoft was trying to make this process much clearer to understand. He had mixed results, but it’s a good reminder that a stop by the SmallestDotNet.com website will almost certainly ensure you get the smallest-sized, but correct, .NET package you need. It’s a great and interesting series of posts to read.
Two tools to remove locked Windows files on restart - Download Squad – Yep. DSquad has two more freeware utilities to assist with removing stubborn files from your system. For an expansive roundup check out my previous GSD post of freeware locked-file deleter utilities. I bet you won’t click-away unsatisfied.
Use On Screen Keyboard - Technofriends - Who knew that XP and Vista OS’s included a handy on-screen keyboard utility. Yep. Just go to
Start —> Run –> and type OSK then press <enter>. There you go! Great if the keyboard goes out…what? How are you to type OSK if they keyboard isn’t working? Ummm Good question. Try navigating to the OSK.exe file in the Windows\System32\ folder with just your mouse and launch it.
For a slightly more configurable and fully portable version use On-Screen Keyboard Portable from PortableApps.com. I now include it on all my USB and utility/Win PE 2.0 boot CD’s…just in case the keyboard drivers fail to load. (Grrrrr.)
WinAudit Creates Seriously Extensive System Profiles – LifeHacker – Nice recommendation for WinAudit which is yet another system auditing tool. Looks like it has been recently updated. In the past I used Belarc Advisor which does a great job but isn’t able to be used at work without a license. Nowadays I prefer to use SIW-System Information for Windows (freeware) or the amazing SIV - System Information Viewer (freeware) tools. If you want a truly “tiny” application in this class, consider looking at the EFD Inspector (freeware) tool. Although it doesn’t provide quite the same depth of information, it does weigh in at just 252kB. Scroll down a bit on the page to find it as it isn’t the main focus of it’s developer’s page. By the way, all of these are nicely portable for use on USB sticks.
How To: Customize Your Own Killer "Enigma" Desktop – Lifehacker – Now I personally have my desktops just the way I like them, and as cool as the Vista Sidebar is, it seems a bit cluttered to me so I disable it from running on my Vista system. Nevertheless, reader Kaelri has provided a great tutorial on how to create a very polished and stunning desktop theme. Check it out.
Signing off for now…!