Manage and maintain your drive’s partitions with Aomei Partition Assistant

The price of SSD’s is coming down. At about $1.00 per gigabyte, putting an SSD in your notebook PC is becoming more and more realistic. Upgrading from smaller SSD’s to larger, faster SSD’s isn’t as financially painful as it used to be. The problem, though is finding a decent drive migration and management tool. This is one of the biggest reasons why I like Aomei Partition Assistant Home Edition. It’s a partition and drive management tool for Windows.

AOMEI Partition Assistant Home Edition is a completely free partition manager. It carries out hard disk and partition management, advanced system optimization and easy copy and partition recovery to keep your computer running. The app works in both 32bit & 64bit versions of Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows 2000 Professional. It has the ability to resize and move partitions, migrate an OS to either an SSD or hard drive, to merge or split partitions, to allocate free space, to copy partitions, to copy a disk and to recover a partition on MBR and GPT formatted disks. The app also includes the ability to create a bootable CD to ensure data and system safety. As an added bonus, it includes a free, portable partition manager portable. With it, you can copy the installation directory of AOMEI Partition Assistant Home Edition to any device, including a USB flash drive, a portable hard drive, etc.

Read full review | Download Aomei Partition Assistant

 

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Help the Angry Birds free their friends in this awesome, fun to play Windows game

Quiero que me ayude a dejar de ir a casa a Río de Janeiro.

Well, at least, that’s what I’d say to Blu and Jewel if I were as fluent in Spanish as I used to be. With the Angry Birds Rio, YOU can help Blu and Jewel get home to Rio on a Windows PC near you.

Angry Birds Rio has tons of dedicated levels based on the motion picture. The game pairs the physics-based gameplay of the original game with unique twists based on the film. In Angry Birds, Rio, your job is to rescue the birds that have been captured, and eventually save Blu and Jewel as well. The game is very similar to the original Angry Birds. Instead of popping pigs, though, your birds fling themselves at caged birds, trying to free them from the cages they’re trapped in. You have the same birds with the same abilities as you did in the original Angry Birds.

Despite the lack of anything innovative in Angry Birds Rio, the game is still a great deal of fun. You’ve got a number of different episodes with a huge amount of levels to play. If you’ve played Angry Birds or Angry Birds Seasons, you’re going to like Angry Birds Rio. With free and paid options on your smartphone or tablet, as well as access to games on your PC, this fun, action packed game is a great addition to your gaming portfolio.

Download Angry Birds Rio

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Keep your computer running well with Windows Doctor

With nearly the entire computer-verse running some version of Windows, keeping your PC running well has become a huge subject of interest. I for one, am constantly tweaking my PC trying to eek out every last possible gram of performance from it. This is one of the reasons why I like applications like Windows Doctor. It’s a performance utility for Windows.

Windows Doctor is a comprehensive PC care utility that helps you easily protect, maintain and optimize the performance of your computer. It provides an all-in-one solution for your PC’s daily maintenance and protection. It protects your system by locating and fixing all its system vulnerabilities.

Windows Doctor can speed up your system and internet access by as much as 100%. By tuning-up Windows, Windows Doctor can significantly boost your system and internet speed. It provides an all-around optimization of your system so that the overall PC performance can be highly improved.

If you’re on a shared machine, or just concerned with privacy in general, Windows Doctor can take care of you. It cleans historic traces left by many different applications so you’ll have no more worries about your computing habits being disclosed. Windows Doctor is able to clean all the traces from your computer.

If you’ve got PC errors that you’re constantly bumping into, Windows Doctor has you covered there as well. With it, you can fix dozens kinds of PC errors in order to make your computer run smoothly. Most PC errors are caused by invalid registry entries. Windows Doctor can clean and optimize your Windows registry, making your PC error free.

Read full review | Download Windows Doctor

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Create and manage virtual machines with Paragon’s Virtualization Manager 12 Professional

Virtual machines are becoming quite the hot computing topic.  In many cases, they are becoming the way to go for OS testing, specialty software installs, demos and other evaluations.  This is one of the reasons why I like Virtualization Manager Professional. It’s a VM tool for Windows.

Creating bootable images of a supported guest operating system is easy with their native tools. Moving and managing them in combination with each other, isn’t always easy. Managing the combination of more than one guest OS on a host OS, isn’t always easy either.

Virtualization Manager Professional has full OS support for any Windows version from XP forward, including all server edtions.  With it, you can migrate an OS from a physical drive, to a virtual one, or convert a backup image to a bootable virtual drive.  You can also migrate full, bootable operating systems from virtual to physical, virtual to virtual as well as physical to physical.

If you need to make potentially volatile changes to a virtual machine, say for example, to install a difficult to remove application, and don’t want to worry about dealing with program artifacts that may get left behind in your registry or on your hard drive, you can use VMP’s snapshot mode to connect a virtual disk as if it’s an ordinary physical disk and open up all physical-disk functionality in a virtual environment. You can use a read only mode or a special read/write mode that creates a snapshot and applies all changes after the snapshot to test the application without destroying your virtual source drive.

VMP supports virtual machines from Oracle VirtualBox 4, Microsoft Virtual PC, VMware Workstation, VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop but Parallels supports Connect VD only.

read full review | download Paragon Virtualization Manager 12 Professional

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Get detailed information about your computer hardware with CPU-Z

Troubleshooting PC issues isn’t always easy. Hardware issues… Software issues… Issues with software and peripherals… sometimes it’s difficult to know which end of your PC is giving you grief. This is one of the reasons why I like CPU-Z. It’s a hardware detection tool for Windows.

CPU-Z is freeware that gathers information on some of the main devices of your system. It gives you the name and number of your CPU, its core stepping and process information, package information, core voltage information, as well as information on instructions sets and cache information.

When it comes to your motherboard, you get vendor, model and revision; BIOS model and date, Chipset (Northbridge and Southbridge) and sensor; as well as the Graphic interface and amount of memory. Speaking of memory, when it comes to the RAM installed in your system, you’ll also get the specifics of frequency and timings, Module(s) specification using SPD (Serial Presence Detect), as well as vendor, serial number, and a timings table.

Getting detailed information on your hardware can be very important if you’re trying to troubleshoot your PC or if you’ve purchased a PC third hand, and need to find out what’s installed in it so you can safely modify or upgrade it. CPU-Z is a great little utility for providing you specific information on your PC’s components. If you’re running a virtual machine, though, don’t look to get too much information from it. I tried and was unable to get it to give me much more information other than the type of processor I had.

Download CPU-Z

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Protect and maintain your PC using Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus 2012

Keeping your PC free of viruses, Trojans and worms isn’t always an easy thing to do. There’s a great deal of malware out there, and not nearly as many antivirus and antimalware apps. Finding the right one for you can be a bit of a chore. This is one of the reasons why you might like Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus. It’s a system utility suite for Windows.

Based on both BitDefender antivirus technology and the IObit anti-malware engine, Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus incorporates top anti-virus capabilities with an already proven comprehensive PC tune-up utility. With its real-time antimalware protection and powerful tune-up and cleaning functionality, Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus provides always-on, automated, all-in-one protection against all kinds of security threats, system slowdowns, freezes and crashes. It ensures PC security, and maintains maximum computer performance automatically without a performance hit.

Besides its newly built-in antivirus functionality, Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus includes all of the PRO features of Advanced SystemCare. It features one click to clean functionality to root out hidden and stubborn Viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware, and adware. It also provides rapid virus database updating.

Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus’ proactive virus control technology monitors process behavior in real-time. It scans files shared with email and blocks possible threats. It’s already proven, powerful, PC tune-up utility unleashes the full power of your PC; and its ActiveBoost feature, your system resources are intelligently managed.

Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus is a decent utility suite. It’s all in one design insures that your PC not only runs at peak performance, but that it stays malware free. The only issue we found with it is its non-standard interface, which requires extra resources to run. However, given the amount of benefit you’ll receive from the app, you may not notice or mind the minimal performance hit you may take.

Download Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus 2012 (beta)

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Take complete control of your hard drive with Hard Disk Manager Suite

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past five to six years of being a Mac, its that hard drive management under OS X is MUCH easier than under Windows.  With OS X, upgrading to a larger, bigger, better, faster, stronger hard drive is as easy as making a copy of your hard. There are some really nice utilities out there that do that very well. With Windows machines, its not even remotely close to being that easy. This is why I really like tools like Hard Disk Manager Suite. It’s a hard drive utility for Windows.

Paragon’s Hard Disk Manager Suite is a serious hard drive tool.  Its advanced weaponry for your Windows system and as such, isn’t for people that aren’t comfortable working under the hood.  It has a completely new engine for all partitioning tasks; and works generically with all modern hard drive technologies, regardless of spindle type, drive size, rotation speed, etc.

You can use it to create, format, delete, undelete, hide or unhide partitions, make partitions active or inactive, set, change or remove a drive letter, change a volume label, etc.  You can separate the OS and your data or different types of data by splitting one partition into two different partitions of the same type and file system.  You can merge or consolidate disk space from two adjacent partitions (NTFS, FAT16/FAT32), into a single, larger partition, redistribute free space, or increase free space on one partition by utilizing unallocated space and the unused space of other partitions.

Hard disk Manager Suite will let you optimize the performance of your hard disk during partitioning/copy operations and restoring a backup image to new hard drives, though not all operations are supported.  You can convert basic MBR to basic GPT disks and enjoy all benefits of the newest partitioning scheme with minimal effort.  The app also allows you to perform NTFS and FAT defragmentation, MFT defragmentation and shrinking, low free space defragmentation and can fix most system boot problems that result from human or program error, or a boot virus activity.

read full review | download Hard Disk Manager Suite

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OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Developer Preview 4

There’s a lot of iOS based improvement going into Apple’s newest Operating System, OS X 10.8, code named, Mountain Lion. Let’s take a look at how it and iOS are converging.

Soft32 covered the recent release of Apple’s Mountain Lion Developer Preview 3 earlier this month (Review). Shortly after the review was completed, Apple released Developer Preview 4. What you’ll see here is the analysis that we’ve been able to do on the changes between the two prerelease states of the latest Mac operating system.

Since the release of Mountain Lion Developer Preview 4, Apple has also released an update to it, via its new update mechanism in the Mac App Store. Here, we’re going to look at the changes between Dev Preview 3 and Dev Preview 4, as well as the changes that Apple released in Dev Preview 4 Update.

Hardware and Software Requirements
Mountain Lion won’t run on every Mac. You’re going to need to have one of the following supported models in order to run Mountain Lion.

  • iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)

If you’re upgrading a supported Mac, you’re also going to need to be running a minimum of Snow Leopard 10.6.8. In some cases, you may need to purchase a Snow Leopard upgrade for $29.99, if you don’t already have it, before you upgrade to Mountain Lion at $19.99. Users running Leopard and have a MobileMe account need to upgrade to Snow Leopard in order to move to iCloud. Those users can get a Snow Leopard DVD for free, saving you the original $30 bucks.

Mac App Store
Apple is doing away with Software Update and relying on the Mac App Store to present appropriate OS updates to end users in Mountain Lion. Apple recently tested this new update process by offering a number of Mountain Lion Developer Preview 4 updates through the Mac App Store. Like in Software Update, you can choose which components to install and which ones to ignore. Its not an all or nothing deal. The components also come with release notes that allow you to click on them to display all of the notes for that specific update.

Reminders
iOS 6 is due to be released in the Fall with iPhone 5, or whatever they end up calling the new Apple smartphone. One of the big updates to Reminders in iOS 6 is Geofencing, or the ability to trigger system events after you cross a geographical location.

In Mountain Lion, Reminders allows you to create a task or to-do list, to set the date and time you want the reminders to go off. You get the the ability to push them to all of your iDevices. Having Reminders on your Mac also means you get the ability to search through and view them on your calendar.

The one feature that Reminders doesn’t do on your Mac is provide full geofencing support. Laptops don’t have built in GPS receivers, so reminders on the desktop aren’t triggered via a geofence line.

iCloud Integration
Mountain Lion is more complete in Developer Preview 4. The big change comes at the start of the OS, where you’re asked to provide your AppleID and password for the iCloud Preference pane so it can log you in and/or create your iCloud account.

Conclusion
Mountain Lion is not a revolution set of changes for desktop Mac users. Like its iOS mobile operating system, Apple is content to introduce carefully engineered and designed evolutionary change. This is a repeat of the same behavior Apple introduced with its Leopard to Snow Leopard based upgrade path. They didn’t introduce any further radical changes until they changed “cat families” with the introduction of Lion in July of 2011. However, this wasn’t too radical of a change, either.

While this desktop evolution doesn’t provide for huge innovative strides, it does insure that the current user base is smoothly able to nurture and navigate their usage habits through the changes Apple has made. As such, Apple maintains their, “it just works,” user perception. As they are making a push for the enterprise, this is a huge gain.

In contrast, Microsoft’s upgrade to Windows Vista from Windows XP in 2007 created a huge amount of panic in the enterprise, as users couldn’t understand the logic or reasoning behind the UI changes. With Mountain Lion, those users migrating from Lion won’t have too much trouble making the switch.

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