Keep your hard disk in tip-top shape with O&O Defrag

Keeping your spinning media running at peak performance isn’t always as easy as it might sound. Yes, Microsoft has included Defrag in Windows since Windows 95; but the application is basic, and does only the bare minimum in keeping your hard drive running well. This is why I like O&O Defrag. It’s one of the best Windows hard drive defrag utilities on the market today.

O&O Defrag helps you maximum the performance on your PC. If you work on your computer a lot, then after a while, you’re going to notice slow system and program starts, endless rendering and memory processes, or even system crashes. The first thing most people will recommend you do is to try optimizing or defragging your hard drive.

The benefits are well documented. Defragmenting your PC can accelerate the speed your runs and responds to disk activity requests. In the latest version of O&O Defrag, you can now see what the program does for your system thanks to its graphics and statistics displays. They give you a before-and-after Defrag contrast on your hard drives usage as well as file fragmentation status.

Aside from the basic PC performance features you get, O&O Defrag offers some really nice advanced features. The application adapts itself to your PC usage patterns and system loads with Activity Guard. It’s only going to run when you need it to, based on historic use; and won’t get in the way of your computing activities. Best of all, it works on both conventional, spinning media hard drives as well new SSD, without damaging these new solid state storage devices.

Download O&O Defrag

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Windows Live is Officially Dead

After a brief stint in the sun, Microsoft has officially killed off the Windows Live brand, and its associated programs.

For Microsoft, Windows Live was supposed to help define the Windows Ecosystem. A direct response to Apple’s iLife, Windows Live was supposed to attract and help the Windows brand retain PC customers. The best thing about it was that users were promised tons of updates and innovations that weren’t tied to any other Microsoft or Windows update schedule. The component updates would come as they were completed.

Unfortunately, for users, none of this happened. The applications were effectively orphaned right after they were released. While there were a couple of updates between their original release and the release of Windows 7, and then a major component upgrade in 2011, the apps were largely ignored.

With the release of Windows 8, the Windows Live brand will officially be completely dead. While the programs live on as the Metro Apps that are showcased in Soft32’s Windows 8 Consumer Preview Review, there will never be another version of any of these apps for any existing Windows operating system (meaning Windows 7 and earlier). So, if you really use any of them, you’ve got what you’ve got.

Microsoft’s Chris Jones, the vice president overseeing the Windows Live group, said, “Windows Live services and apps were built on versions of Windows that were simply not designed to be connected to a cloud service for anything other than updates, and as a result, they felt ‘bolted on’ to the experience.

I completely disagree with this assessment. The Windows Live brand never took hold because Microsoft doesn’t manage brands well. They’ve had problem with their MSN brand going back to 1995, including both MSNBC and their MSN online services, Windows Live as well as their Windows OS brand. They simply seem unable to gain any real traction and consumer excitement and instead seem to rely on the fact that Windows won the enterprise space wars. If the OS weren’t on nearly EVERY business desktop from east to west, they wouldn’t have the hold they enjoy in the consumer space. Period.

However, the release of Windows 8 gives MS an easy out – they’ve removed the Live brand in all the software and services, and have simply built them into the new OS. You don’t have to use them, but they’re there if you want them…all except Windows Live Writer, which is missing, without any kind of explanation or replacement from Microsoft… I (and many other pundits) have no idea why.

Windows Live Essentials 2011 will NOT install on Windows 8, so if you want the software in its Live Essentials form, you’ll need to have it installed on your PC before you upgrade to Windows 8. If you try to install it after the fact, you’re going to be out of luck.

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TED Notepad is the advanced replacement for the basic Notepad

Notepad has always been a useful tool in manipulating texts, but its reliability was always over-passed by its lack of features. In case you need a free replacement for this basic text editor, TED Notepad is the one. With almost 312 text-processing functions, innovative features and timesaving tools all wrapped in a simple light-weight interface this app is nothing else but the Swiss knife for any casual user or even programmer.

Every feature can be activated by hotkeys; all designed for quick advanced editing. Features like Line numbers, Multi-level undo, Regular expressions, Unicode, UTF-8, Unix and Mac file types support,  two advanced searches, indentation, word auto-complete, enhanced clipboarding (supports up to 9 clipboards at the same time), extensive statistics, optional favourites menu, case conversions, characters translating, quoting and enclosing lines, reversing (words, lines), unique lines and duplicates counting, have their own hotkey for instant access.

The filters architecture for user plugins and console applications brings TED Notepad to a new level of customization compared to the basic Notepad. For experienced users, the command-line is a necessary tool for advanced control and manipulation. The application can be set to stay on top or go to system tray, save window placement or change to customizable dual font.

TED Notepad is extremely light-weight and portable. It fits on any USB flash disk and loads instantly with no installation required.

download TED Notepad

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The superstar within

How many times did you find yourself singing your most favorite songs at home, in your car, at work or anywhere else? How many times each of you had a spark, a tiny dream of becoming a superstar? Well, some of you I’m sure that already got the courage to perform on stage, or even at a karaoke party. But now you have the chance to practice at home your favorite songs with instrumental part and text, as in a real karaoke party!

Karafun comes as a complete solution for those who love to sing! The new version can set you up for singing in no time! You can login and gain access to some of the most popular songs, and play them with the new Karafun feature named Karafun Online. And if a song is in a different Key tone than your voice (too high or too low), you can set the track key with ease for your voice. Also the song tempo and echo can be adjusted as anyone pleases directly in the software interface.

Karafun supports many types of multimedia files like MP3’s+CDG, AVI’s. MKV’s, even compressed MP3’s with CDG in an ZIP or RAR archive, without extraction.

Also, it supports full screen, high quality, customizable backgrounds and fonts, and most of all, you can EDIT the lyrics!(that would give your friends a hard time :) )

Download Karafun

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Be the DJ your party needs with DJ Mixer 3 Pro

Getting the party started and everyone involved is always a challenge. Having the right music for your festivities aside, providing a never ending stream of dance music to “get the party started,” isn’t always the easiest of activies. That’s why I like DJ Mixer Pro. It’s a multiplatform digital mixing application.

Now-a-days, its not just about pumping up the volume.  Most parties (want to) incorporate video as well as audio into the mix, provided the spinologist and/or venue has the equipment to make it happen.  With DJ Mixer Pro, this isn’t an issue. You can use it to play professional video, karaoke as well as audio.DJ Mixer Pro is a full-featured and complete VJ/DJ software tool for both beginners and seasoned professionals alike. It combines a sophisticated, easy-to-use interface, with innovative mixing tools to help you perform electrifying live mixes.  With it, you can take advantage of all four of its audio and video decks to create unique, complex, and dynamic mixes. Regardless of what media types you mix together, DJ Mixer Pro’s innovative feature set, reliable mixing engine and interface will insure that you bring down the house. Its automated beat matching, real-time effects, sampler, smart looping, tempo shifting, pitch shifting, MIDI controller support, video mixing features, just to name a few, are all at your fingertips.

DJ Mixer Pro enables you to mix your music, karaoke and video regardless of format. It supports such as MP3, M4A, WAV, AIFF, FLAC, OGG, CDA, Karaoke CDG, MP3+G, AVI, MPEG, MP4, MOV, MKV, and WMV just to name a few; and you can mix and matchthem in a play list to your heart’s desire.

download DJ Mixer 3 Pro

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Scan, fix and repair issues on your computer with Reimage

The Windows Registry is a touchy thing. Screw up your Registry, and I don’t care how great your PC is. The performance is going to tank. This is one of the reasons why I like Reimage. It’s a Swiss army knife utility for windows.

With Reimage, you can perform a quick scan of your PC’s Windows operating system. This will help you uncover specific information that will help you understand the problems your system has and what needs to be repaired. While the Registry is one of the items it scans, Reimage does a lot more.

Reimage scans for security threats. Malware including computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, dishonest adware and other malicious and unwanted software are easily identified. Any files that have been tagged as malicious and harmful to your system will be deactivated and quarantined.

If your PC is having hardware issues, such as low memory, hard disk speed, CPU power and temperature, Reimage can recommend solutions for you. For example, if your PC’s CPU temperature is too high, you’ll be advised to clean your cooling fan. If the scan detects low memory, you’ll be advised to add more, etc.

Reimage is also the only PC repair service that has the ability to reverse the damage done to your operating system by replacing any damaged or missing files on a Windows operating system. It does this with the use of a continuously updated online database of over 25,000,000 updated essential components. Every time you run the Reimage program, it will immediately download the latest version and files you’ll need for a successful repair.

Read full Review | Download Reimage

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Backs up any type of document with easy to use AutoSave Essential

Keeping your data safe isn’t always easy. It’s very easy to have something eat your hard drive – a virus or other piece of malware for example or for your hard drive to fail. This is one of the reasons why I like applications like AutoSave Essentials. It’s a backup tool for Windows systems.

With AutoSave Essentials, you’ll never lose important data again. With its automatic file backup software, you simply follow the wizard and select what you want to save and where you want your back up. The application automatically saves any types of documents – Photos, Emails, Videos, Documents and more without you having to worry about it. The app runs continuously in the background to automatically protect your files If disaster does strike, easily restore your data in one click.

AutoSave Essentials can save any data that is valuable to you. If you collect your family’s memories or your company’s accounts or even general data, it will protect the data that’s important to you. Your data can be saved locally, externally or on remote network drives, including FTP sites, without any hassle or fuss. AutoSave Essentials works in the background while you are doing other things

AutoSave Essentials is a good backup program; but there’s nothing really remarkable about it. It backs up your data, any of the data you specify; and it does a good job, but it’s just one of many backup apps available on Soft32. The app is reasonably priced and if you give it a try and purchase it, it’s not going to be a purchase you regret making.

Download AutoSave Essentials

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Find tons of free multimedia content with Audials One

In today’s fast paced world of content consumption, finding plentiful, LEGALLY available audio and video can be a problem.  Ripping CD’s for your digital music player has become common place and acceptable, but yanking movies from DVD’s is still somewhat of a no-no. Downloading MP3’s and the like from the digital store of your choice is ok, but can be expensive if you have a large “appetite.” This is the main reason why I like Audials One. It’s a content engine for Windows.

Audials helps you find the music you’re looking for when you need and want it.  All you really need to do is enter a preferred genre, artist, album or song title, and Audials will provide you with your desired music. You can record the audio from one of the 60,000 Internet radio stations or via direct download from a website.

Whenever you stream to music from a website or separate stream player, Audials can record that music for you and then automatically save it for you as an MP3. No matter if it is a streaming service like Simfy or a music portal such as Last.fm, Grooveshark or Spotify.  Audials makes recording that music easy.

If movies are your thing, then Audials is your way to the silver plated screen.  It magically displays a button next to videos and films in any browser or stream player that lets you record it. Just click the button with your mouse and Audials automatically saves the video. Audials records movies from online video queues, media queues or even from video streaming services; and then automatically saves the subsequent files in the desired file format for all of your playback devices.

download Audials One

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