Archive for the ‘freeware’ Category

Whoops – nobody tests Ubuntu 12.04 releases anymore?

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

whoops-ubuntu12041In this multi-disciplined world I fine myself, in using Unix, Linux and Windows.

Does nobody test Ubuntu releases on Intel anymore? works fine on 64 bit AMD!

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Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008: R2 testing in VMware Workstation 7.1.4

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Carrying on the nested hypervisor theme from the other day, when I tried VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi), free download from VMware, on VMware Workstation 7.1.4, as it’s becoming common place for vendors to allow the use of Hypervisors for free, I downloaded the Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008: R2 hypervisor for free to also try in VMware Workstation 7.1.4.

Here are the results

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008: R2 installs correctly, and looks like it’s going to function, but then Whoops, cannot power on any Virtual Machines!

Well these are the results I would expect from installing Hyper-V in a VMware Workstation 7.1.4 virtual machine, as often nested hypervisors do not function correctly. I just thought I would prove this.

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DVD Decrypter beaten!

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

I’ve been using DVD Decrypter to rip and backup my DVDs to iPods for years, despite no further developement since 2005.

DVD Decrypter Version (final)

DVD Decrypter Version (final)

An exceptional tiny application that easily removes the Copy Protection System from DVDs, which enables you to transcode the DVD for mobile device playback. I also use Badaboom, Badaboom is a blazingly fast media converter that formats video files for a variety of devices, including iPod, PSP, iPad, and YouTube, by using your system’s graphics processing unit (GPU).  If you have an Nvidia chipset!

DVD Decrypter output 1

DVD Decrypter output 1

So I was a little surprised when I couldn’t backup Disney’s new Alice In Wonderland…

It starts to report Read Errors (Retry 1 etc), but this DVD disc is brand new out of the cellphone wrapping, so it cannot be physical errors on the media, but something is odd, because if you look at the number of files and total it’s repoting 58GB on the disc, this should read alarm bells.

DVD Decrypter output 2

DVD Decrypter output 2

if you continue, the Retry errors increase and eventually, you’ll get an error message below

DVD Decrypter error message when trying to backup Disney's Alice in Wonderland

DVD Decrypter error message when trying to backup Disney's Alice in Wonderland

if you ignore this error message, it will continue to extract the data, but you’ll end up with a 58GB DVD! It would appear that Disney have done something with the layout to confuse DVD Decrypter Version (final). Maybe it’s the Fast-Play, I don’t know, but as I’ve always said software can always be broken with software, so time to try another software product…

Enter DVDFab HD Decrypter, another backup tool which is also FREE.

DVDFab HD Decrypter

DVDFab HD Decrypter

Ah, this software does the job nicely, shame I still prefer the simplicity of DVD Decrypter, and it’s has a tiny footprint.

So if DVD Decrypter doesn’t work for you try DVDFab HD Decrypter

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BSOD on my Production Workstation!

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

I returned home this evening to find my main production workstation had hung, I left it to restart, went off to attend to other business, and when I came back it was looping with the dreaded BSOD (“Blue Screen of Death”)

… and nobody to telephone and helpme, other than me! Odd because last night I noticed that the Vista would stall with an hour glass, randomly, indicating a disk retry – disk fault, but on checking he Event Log, no errors were logged.

I should practice what I preach and backup more, after 30 minutes of chkdsk, I managed to get Vista working again, but now the Eventlog is showing a dying hard-disk and lots of disk errors are clocking-up, time for an emergency backup to one of me NASes!

I use Drive Snapshot a very simple small application, that doesn’t cost the earth. I hoping I can get all the data off before it fails completely.


you can see in the screenshot, it’s already found 35 duff sectors, and it had found 88+ by the time I written this!

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Microsoft Security Essentials

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

Fed up with how bloated AVG has become over the years since v7, it now seems to really slow down all my computers when installed. In search of a better anti-virus product I came across Microsoft Security Essentials at


The slogan says “Proven antivirus protection for free? That’s what I need”. I’ll try it and see!

There’s also a true 64bit version available as well.

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Nasty Fakeware – Anti Virus Live

Friday, December 11th, 2009

I’ve come across a some nasty fakeware that infected my business laptop, so here’s some free advice to you. Fake ware is a software trojan that finds it’s way onto your computer from a website, and this particular software program pretends to be an anti-virus program called Anti Virus Live, and if you visit their website, you can purchase options to enable it! Umm!

I’m very careful with all my computers, especially my business laptops. I only went onto two websites the day in question when the computer was “infected”.

A program called “SYSGUARD.EXE”, or in my case “WDXHSYSGUARD.EXE” is hooked into the Run line in the computers registry. It then disables various options, like the Command Prompt, Task Manager, Internet Explorer, when you try to run these applications, it states they are infected, and do you want to Purchase Protection. Also false firewall attacks pop up on screen, and multiple browser windows appear.

The first thing to do, is shutdown, and start the computer in Safe Mode (f8) at boot prompt, and Select Safe Mode. Check the computers registry for anything odd, now this might be difficult, if you don’t know what you looking at, so why not have a look now, and check what’s normally there.

easy way:-

run Msconfig at the command prompt

System Configuration

System Configuration

If anything looks weird, google it!

(for geeks and nerds! see below)

  1. At the command prompt type regedit.exe
  3. Expand SOFTWARE
  4. Expand Micrsoft
  5. Expand Windows
  6. Expand CurrentVersion
  7. Expand Run

and check what is there…



I’m going to giveaway some of the Dark Arts’ I’ve learnt over the years….

Free tools I use:-

  1. Free Online and Virus Scan – – Upload suspect files here to check them, it will scan them with many different types of virus/malware checkers.
  2. Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware – – Download and install, full scan, you’ll be surprised what you find!
  3. SuperAntiSpyware – – Download and install, full scan, you’ll be surprised what you find!
  4. Trend Micro HiJack This – – Trend Micro HijackThis is a free utility that generates an in depth report of registry and file settings from your computer. HijackThis makes no separation between safe and unsafe settings in its scan results giving you the ability to selectively remove items from your machine. In addition to this scan and remove capability HijackThis comes with several tools useful in manually removing malware from a computer.
    IMPORTANT: HijackThis does not determine what is good or bad. Do not make any changes to your computer settings unless you are an expert computer user.
    Advanced users can use HijackThis to remove unwanted settings or files.

and don’t use the following tools much anymore, but always worth adding to the toolbox, if you are paranoid, I just find that Ad-aware has become very bloated!

  1. Ad-aware Free –
  2. Spybot Search andf Destroy – Useful utilities, nopw detects, three quaters of a million, trojans, malware, fakeware items!
  3. Sypblaster – Useful for browser protection.

The last three software products have been around for many years, but the “new kids on the block” seem to have the edge!

anyway, if you have any problems, you could always contact me!

Good Luck!!!

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Protected: Freeware Links

Monday, April 13th, 2009

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