Use a GUI to examine the hard drive on your Wii with WBFSManager

If you’ve got a Wii set top gaming console, managing data on that drive just got easier.

WBFSManagerNewThis application basically provides a GUI for working with hard disk drives that have been formatted to the WBFS file system. The file system used by the console for this purpose is WBFS (Wii Backup File System), a system that is similar to NTFS, that you will now be able to handle thanks to WBFS Manager.

Customizing your gaming experience takes a bit of know-how. Getting custom content to your Wii is now possible with WBFSManager.  The app lets you list the games on the drive so you can see what you have. You get most of the standard drive manager features you’d expect – contents, space used, space available, etc.  You can also copy, move and rename files as you wish.

WBFS-05

The biggest and perhaps best use of WBFSManager is that you can use it to clone your drive to another one. If you want or need to move the content to a different or perhaps bigger drive, then WBFSManager can get you there.  If you’ve got a lot of Wii channels on your system, this can be a huge plus.  Bigger and faster drives make for a better gaming experience.

I never really got into hacking the Wii systems we have in the house; but then again, I’m not much of a gamer, either.  However, if you want to build custom channels for your Wii or want to mount ISO images that you’ve copied to the drive, this the best way to get the content there.  The app hasn’t been updated since 2009, but then again, the file and drive formats haven’t changed either.

download WBFSManager

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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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Capture your gaming experience with Fraps

Although I have access to all kinds of software, finding a proper one for my personal use becomes an annoying thing sometimes. That’s maybe because I tend to notice only the bad things from a software or maybe because I know that there should be a better one undiscovered yet. One of these examples, that really surprised me was Fraps. A tiny but very powerful software.

With the help of Direct X and OpenGL technology, this software can capture in realtime any video source from your desktop, can capture screenshots in BMP, PNG, JPG and TGA formats and can be used also as a benchmarking software. Fraps can save your work into any folder, without any prompting message or any preview screen. This can be done by using hotkeys which can be activated from the main interface. You won’t feel anything wrong in the game while you make these screenshots.

The same goes with the video capturing. This represents the best part of this application. The game will not slow down a moment (unless you have a really poor system), and the resulting video file has an astonishing quality. All this while I was running a game at a resolution of 1280×1024. The reason for this is because the application won’t use any compression tool for capturing the video. It will be saved in a pure AVI format without compression. You won’t get any framed clips and the sound will match the image perfectly.

Fraps 3.5 adds the much requested feature to allow AVI movie files larger than 4 gigabytes. Fraps will now write hybrid OpenDML/AVI files and allow large movies on NTFS drives. There’s still an option to split at 4 gigabytes for legacy AVI 1.0 support.

Fraps can be used also as a Benchmarking Software, by monitoring the frames of any game. The FPS counter can be displayed on the screen along with the game. The statistics can be saved on your disk for further analyzes and reviews.

Please be aware that the minimum system requirements have changed in Fraps 3.5.0. We now require a CPU with SSE2 instructions (Pentium 4 & above). Windows XP or higher is also now required. If you have an older system (Win2K or non-SSE2 CPU) you can still download the previous Fraps 3.4.7 release from the Members Area.

download Fraps 3.50

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Recover any registry key with yaru

Written in standard C/C++ with no dependencies on the Windows registry API functions, ‘yaru’ is a free experimental registry viewer. The idea behind it was to parse the Windows registry hives and display them in a tree view GUI. ‘yaru’ was designed with a portable and extensible architecture in mind so that it could be compiled to run on various operating systems. Currently there are compiled versions of ‘yaru’ that will run on Windows, Linux and MAC OS X.

Every deleted registry key leaves behind a trace which can be used by ‘yaru’ in order to recover the lost key. All you have to do is to let ‘yaru’ scan all the registry hives and after a few second it will display a branch of deleted keys with all the values and types, from where you can use all the information to recover yours. Just open REGEDIT and enter the right values to recover and activate the lost key.

Besides its main focus, the Windows version of yaru, has the ability to take a snapshot of the currently running hives and examine them. Since the Windows OS locks down the active hives from other processes reading them, ‘yaru’ can resort to raw NTFS disk reads to read any of the desired hives. Consequently, this requires the user to run this tool with administrative privileges. While this approach adds complexity to yaru, it ensures that there is no corruption or changes to the active hive during analysis.

download yaru for Windows

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Get over the 4GB limitation on FAT32 file-system very easily

If your USB flash drive (or any other storage device) is FAT32, you’ll face the 4GB limit. This file system has a ‘natural’ limitation for the maximum file size it can handle, which is 4GB. The partition itself can have a greater size, but you will not be able to create files greater than 4GB. The only way to solve the problem (beside splitting yours files to a limit of 4GB each using a spitting tool) is by converting the FAT32 partition of your USB flash drive to NTFS which can handle files of a greater size.

The simplicities way to do this is using Windows’ native conversion utility which works from the command prompt. Assuming the drive letter of your USB flash drive is is K:, here is what you have to do:

1. Open the Command Prompt (if you have Windows XP: Start > Run > cmd; if you have Windows 7 or Vista: type ‘cmd’ in your Start > ‘Search programs and files’).
2. Type: convert k: /fs:ntfs (substitute k: with the letter of the USB flash drive of the partition you wish to convert, then press enter)

Thats it, after a while the partition will be converter to NTFS.

Note: NTFS is a fault-tolerant and more efficient than FAT32, beside, handle files of a greater size and provides performance improvements.

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