Gizmo Richards' Support Alert Newsletter

"Gizmo's top picks of the best
Tech resources and utilities"

 Free Edition
Issue 127,  16th November, 2005

IN THIS ISSUE:

0. EDITORIAL: Is your Windows Update Working?
1. TOP TECH SITES AND RESOURCES
1.1 Convert Your USB Drive into an Instant Toolbox
1.2 Free Bootable Ubuntu Linux CD
1.3 The Best Free Fonts
1.4 Fast Free Anonymizing Service
1.5 Find Photos Quickly
1.6 The Best and Worst Cell Phones for Radiation (SE Edition)
1.7 How to Burn an ISO Image to CD or DVD (SE Edition)
1.8 How to Configure Azureus (SE)
1.9 Free Computer Books and Magazines (SE Edition)
2. TOP FREEWARE AND SHAREWARE UTILITIES
2.1 Free Snippet Manager
2.2 Firefox Extension Lets You Use Old Extensions
2.3 $50 FolderShare Web Service Now Free
2.4 Free Hotkey Utility With Inbuilt Reminder
2.5 Best Free Web Form Filler/Password Manager
2.6 Free Digital Camera Lens Correction Software (SE Edition)
2.7 Free Utility Enhances Excel Productivity (SE Edition)
2.8 Firefox Screen-Grabber Captures Off-Screen Areas (SE) 2.3 Automatically Convert iPod Music Files to MP3 (SE Edition)
3. SECURITY PATCHES, SERVICE RELEASES AND UPDATES
3.1 Microsoft Security News
3.2 Serious Flaws in RealPlayer Patched
3.3 Flaw in Macromedia Flash Player Prompts Microsoft Comment
3.4 Multiple Flaws in Skype
3.5 Rootkit Worm Spreads via AOL IM
3.6 New Rootkit Detection Tools
3.7 Sony Using Rootkit in Music CD DRM
3.8 Another Top Freeware Program Bites the Dust
4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
4.1 Tiny USB Network Adaptor and Wi-Fi Finder
4.2 Cheap Solution to Cable Mess
4.3 How to Easily Remember People's Names
4.4 Watch Your Computer Think
4.5 Useless Waste of Time Department
4.6 Excellent BitTorrent Metasearch Site (SE Edition)
4.7 34,000 Free Online Classical Music Tracks (SE Edition)
4.8 Test Your Hearing Online (SE Edition)
4.9 A Free Guide to Editing Your Digital Photos (SE Edition)
5. TIP OF THE MONTH
5.1 How to Reduce Desktop Clutter
6. FREEBIE OF THE MONTH
6.1 The Best Free Dictionary/Thesaurus Utility
6.2 Free Utility Reveals Secret Internet Connections(SE Edition)
7. MANAGING YOUR SUBSCRIPTION
0.0 EDITORIAL

Are you really sure that your Windows Update is working?

I ask because update problems are surprisingly common and worse still, Windows won't usually tell you if you have a problem.

This is bad news particularly if you have your computer set to update automatically. You may believe your computer is being updated when in fact it isn't. That makes you a sitting duck to be attacked.

It's easy enough to check your Windows Update is working and I suggest that you do it right now. It's probably working just fine but you really can't afford to take the risk.

To check, start up Internet Explorer, select Tools from the top menu them Windows Update. This will take you to the Windows update site.

When the page loads it will automatically check to see what updates are installed on your PC. When the checking is completed select "Express."

If your automatic update is working correctly you should be told, "No high priority updates are available."

If updates are available this doesn't necessarily mean your Windows Update is not working as there are two other possible causes.

First, you may not actually have your computer set to update automatically. You can check by following the instructions here:

http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/update/msupdate_keep_current.mspx

Second, new updates may have been just been issued by Microsoft. Normally these come out on the second Tuesday of each month ("Patch Tuesday") but it can take several days for these to be distributed through the Update service.

If you can rule out these two possibilities then it's likely your automatic updates are not working. This isn't good news but it's far better to know you have a problem rather than live in the belief that all is well.

The first thing you should do is try to download and install the updates manually from the Windows Update site. If it works at least you know your computer is up-to-date and furthermore you can keep it that way by regularly visiting the Windows Update site. If it fails, you may also get an error message that will help you pin down the problem.

Generally what I've found is that when automatic updates are not working, manual updates aren't working either.

The possible causes are many and tracking the problem down can be difficult. Thankfully, Microsoft provides an excellent set of resources to help you which can be accessed here:

http://update.microsoft.com/windowsupdate/v6/default.aspx?ln=en-us

I believe Microsoft also offers free support for Windows Update problems to registered Windows users. I haven't used this service and can't comment on its quality.

In my experience most Automatic Update problems are usually due to a failure in BITS, the Windows Background Intelligent Transfer Service. You can test this by trying to start the BITS service manually. Start up the Control Panel, select Administrative Tools then Services. Right click on the Background Intelligent Transfer Service and select "Start." If it doesn't start note the error code as this may help you track down the problem.

Hundreds of web pages and forum threads have been dedicated to solving BITS problems. One of the best is here:

http://www.botmanfamily.net/~aurelien/articles/BITS_reinstall.html

My standard technique is to open a command window and run the following command:

Reg add HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\BackupRestore\FilesNotToBackup

It seems to work in most cases and is definitely worth trying.

Once you have the BITS service running your Windows Updates should work fine but remember to check from time to time to confirm that it's still working. These days you simply cannot afford to operate your PC without the latest Windows monthly patches installed.

See you next month.

Gizmo
editor@techsupportalert.com

PS This month I'm giving away six free copies of the the top rated Acronis True Image drive imaging program plus lots of Google GMail invites. Full details below:

Support Alert relies on paid subscriptions to survive. If you feel that you've benefited from reading this newsletter perhaps you would like to consider donating by subscribing to the premium "Supporters' Edition" of this newsletter.

The Premium SE Edition contains almost twice the number of great tech sites, free utilities, tips and other content as the free edition. It's also ad-free.

You'll also get immediate access to the archive of all past issues of the Premium Supporters' Edition of the newsletter where you can catch up on the hundreds of great utilities you missed in the free edition. And it only costs $10.

All new and renewing subscribers this month have a chance of scoring a free copy of the latest Version 9 of the top rated Acronis True Image drive imaging program.

True Image is quite simply the best imaging program available. That's why I use it myself. It is the absolute best way to back up your Windows system and if you use it regularly, you can recover from system crashes and malware infections in a few minutes rather than spending hours re-installing windows and your data files. At $49.99 it's good value but it's even better value when you can get it for nothing.

The six copies I'm giving away will be allocated at random but your chances of scoring one are actually quite good. So if you have been thinking of subscribing, now's the time.

I'm also giving away invites to Google Gmail to new SE subscribers. Last month everyone who wanted one got one and I expect the same to happen this month. Just email me at editor@techsupportalert.com after subscribing to the Premium SE Edition and I'll send your invitation.

Even if you don't win anything you'll still get my special report "Gizmo's Desert Island Utilities" which outlines the software I use myself, including many free products.

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE PREMIUM SE EDITION

12 months subscription to the Supporters' Edition costs $10 which can be made by check or credit card using either ClickBank or PayPal or simply send cash.

Use the link below to subscribe now:

http://www.techsupportalert.com/se-edition.htm

1.0 TOP TECH SITES AND RESOURCES


1.1 Convert Your USB Drive into an Instant Toolbox

This site offers a 187MB download that will install dozens of useful applications and tools on your USB drive along with a self-contained menu system. For security, all files are fully encrypted. The programs run directly from flash drive and require no installation on the host PC. Applications include the Firefox browser, Thunderbird email client, FileZilla FTP client, Trillian IM and the latest version of Open Office. The full tool list is very extensive. You'll need at least a 512MB drive to hold it all.
http://www.theinfobox.com/index.php/Portable_USB_Apps

1.2 Free Bootable Ubuntu Linux CD

If you haven't dabbled with Linux for a while you should try the latest 5.1 release of Ubuntu. It's a real step forward in both ease of installation and general usage. It's available for free download [1] as a full installation version or as a bootable live CD which includes all the free software from TheOpenCD project [2]. The live CD version is a great way to try out Linux without risking your Windows setup. It also allows you to test drive popular Open Source software products such as OpenOffice, Thunderbird, AbiWord and The Gimp which come pre-installed on the CD. Ubuntu.org will even send you free CDs containing both the full install and live CD versions by mail [3] though you do have to register first. You can even order multiple sets of CDs to give away to friends. They are truly free as Ubuntu.org wears the mailing cost as well. Now how good is that? Before installing Linux beginners should check out the introductory guide referenced in the last link below [4].
[1] http://www.ubuntulinux.org/download/
[2] http://theopencd.org
[3] Http://www.ubuntu.com/download/support/documentation/faq/shipit/
[4] http://www.paulstamatiou.com/2005/10/24/how-to-ubuntu-linux-for-novices/

1.3 The Best Free Fonts

German blogger Vitaly Friedman is offering his pick of "the 20 best license free official fonts." Nice collection, though a couple are clearly geared to the German language.
http://www.alvit.de/blog/article/20-best-license-free-official-fonts

1.4 Fast Free Anonymizing Service

Anonymouse [1] is a free web service that allows you to browse anonymously via their site. No proxy setup is required; all you have to do is go to the Anonymouse home page and enter the address of the site you want to browse to. Anonymouse also offer from their site a free web based anonymous email system called AnonEmail. Anonymouse has been recommended by over a dozen subscribers and I can see why; it's relatively fast for an anonymizing service, easy to use and free. I doubt that it provides the industrial strength security of services like JAP [2] and Tor [3] but most folks don't need that anyway and besides, Anonymouse is way faster.
[1] http://anonymouse.org/
[2] http://anon.inf.tu-dresden.de/index_en.html
[3] http://tor.eff.org/

1.5 Find Photos Quickly

Here's a neat idea: a site that find photos at Flickr using a tag search. Use your mouse to find related tags.
http://www.airtightinteractive.com/projects/related_tag_browser/app/

** Additional Items in the Premium SE Edition **

1.6 The Best and Worst Cell Phones for Radiation

1.7 How to Burn an ISO Image to CD or DVD

1.8 How to Configure Azureus

1.9 Free Computer Books and Magazines

Got some great tech sites to suggest? Send them to: editor@techsupportalert.com

2.0 TOP FREEWARE AND SHAREWARE UTILITIES


2.1 Free Snippet Manager

It's really useful to be able to save bits of text from web pages for later use. Firefox users have had the excellent free ScrapBook extension [1] available for some time but Internet Explorer users have had few usable free products. Until now that is. Clipmarks [2] is an IE plug-in that adds a toolbar to allow the easy collection and recall of snippets from websites you visit. Usage is simple; just press the "Clipit" button, select the text or image you want, describe what you are saving and then save it to the central Clipit server. The system supports optional sharing and del.icio.us style tags for later retrieval. It works quite well though is not as fast as products that store data on your hard drive. On the plus side, the centrally stored information is accessible from any computer via the web interface. A Firefox toolbar extension is also available. There's much to like about this free service, I hope it survives.
[1] http://amb.vis.ne.jp/mozilla/scrapbook/
[2] http://www.clipmarks.com/download/ (IE: 2.5MB)

2.2 Firefox Extension Lets You Use Old Extensions

One of the annoyances about installing a new version of Firefox is the likelihood that one or more of your old extensions won't work with the new version. This will become a pressing problem for many users when they upgrade to version 1.5. You can get around this by using the free "Nightly Tester Tools" extension which allows you to re-install your old extensions by bypassing compatibility testing. It adds a check box to the Firefox install dialog box. When checked, the extension will be installed regardless. That doesn't mean it will necessarily work, though, so use with appropriate caution.
http://users.blueprintit.co.uk/~dave/web/firefox/buildid/nightly.html

2.3 $50 FolderShare Web Service Now Free

I've reported favorably about FolderShare in previous issues. It's a web service that allows you to automatically synchronize and/or share files in a given folder across multiple computers. It also allows you access these files from any computer. FolderShare used to offer a cut-down service for free but a full- featured service with unlimited file space and individual files up to 2GB cost $50. Not anymore. FolderShare has just been bought by Microsoft and you can get the full premium service for free. I recommend you sign up, it's an unbeatable deal. Use it for syncing your home and office data, sharing photos and other large files with friends or simply as online backup of your critical data. To use the service you need to sign up on the web site and download the FolderShare "Satellite" client software. Free, Windows ME and later plus Mac OSX 10.3.8+, 646KB.
http://www.foldershare.com

2.4 Free Hotkey Utility With Inbuilt Reminder

If you are like me and keep forgetting your hotkey assignments then you might like to check out qliner's free Open Source "hotkeys" utility. It's a not only a first rate hotkey utility; it also has this neat feature: when you hold down the Windows key for three seconds it displays an image of the keyboard showing all the hotkeys that have been assigned. The same screen can be used for defining new hotkeys using drop and drag. The application comes with around 20 pre-defined hotkeys for standard Windows applications. Also included is a keyboard volume control and hotkey for an analog clock. Over 100 international keyboards are supported. Overall, it's not as quite flexible as my top recommendation Hotkeycontrol XP [2] but it's faster, slicker and prettier. Thanks to subscriber Ken Free for the suggestion. Freeware, Windows XP, 804KB.
[1] http://qliner.com/hotkeys/
[2] http://www.digital-miner.com/hkcontrol.html

2.5 Best Free Web Form Filler/Password Manager

Last time I looked at this category I suggested the free version of RoboForm [1] as a clear first choice with the Open Source KeePass [3] as an alternative. This prompted subscriber Susan Martin to suggest KeyWallet [2] as a better alternative choice than KeePass. It is indeed a very capable program. It is superior to KeePass in the way you can drag and drop saved information directly into web forms. Not quite as neat as RoboForm's click and fill system but still highly effective. KeyWallet can also automatically save form data, handle difficult Java based forms and is skinable. Donationware, Windows 98 and later, 1.4MB.
[1] http://www.roboform.com/
[2] http://www.keywallet.com/
[3] http://keepass.sourceforge.net/features.php

** Additional Items in the Premium SE Edition **

2.6 Free Digital Camera Lens Correction Software

2.7 Free Utility Enhances Excel Productivity

2.8 Firefox Screen-Grabber Captures Off-Screen Areas

2.9 Automatically Convert iPod Music Files to MP3

Got some top utilities to suggest? Send them to
editor@techsupportalert.com

3.0 SECURITY PATCHES, SERVICE RELEASES AND UPDATES


3.1 Microsoft Security News

Microsoft released only a single patch this month [1] but it was one of critical importance. It fixes three separate flaws in the way images are displayed in Windows 2000 and later, including XP SP2. If exploited, the worst of the three flaws could allow an attacker to take control of a PC just by getting the victim to view a specially crafted image file. Security experts were highly critical of the fact that Microsoft has taken more than seven months to fix these serious flaws. Whatever; just make sure your PC is updated from Windows Update [2] as an attack utilizing the flaws is inevitable.
[1] http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/Bulletin/MS05-053.mspx
[2] http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/

3.2 Serious Flaws in RealPlayer Patched

RealNetworks Inc, maker of the popular RealPlayer media viewer, has released a patch that fixes several serious flaws in their product. One of the flaws could allow a PC to be compromised simply by viewing a .rm movie file. Users of RealPlayer should update their product by selecting the Tools option from the menu bar and then click "Check for Update."
http://service.real.com/realplayer/security/

3.3 Flaw in Macromedia Flash Player Prompts Microsoft Comment

Macromedia has issued an advisory [1] about a critical flaw in version 7 of its widely used Flash Player that could allow an attacker to take complete control of a PC. The flaw is so serious that it even prompted Microsoft to take the unprecedented step of warning its customers about the flaw and the urgent need to update. All users should upgrade to version 8 immediately using the second link below.
[1] http://www.macromedia.com/devnet/security/security_zone/mpsb05-07.html
[2] http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/download.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash

3.4 Multiple Flaws in Skype

Skype has issued advisories [1] covering several serious flaws in its popular VoIP software, the most serious of which could allow an attacker to take control of an affected PC. The flaws are in Skype for Windows Releases 1.1.*.0 through 1.4.*.83. Users are advised to update to version Release 1.4.*.84 or later [2]. There is currently no patch for the Pocket PC version.
[1] http://www.skype.com/security/skype-sb-2005-02.html
[2] http://www.skype.com/download/

3.5 Rootkit Worm Spreads via AOL IM

In last month's Editorial I noted with concern the increasing using of rootkits to stealth malware. My warning proved timely with the emergence during the month of the W32/Sdbot-ADD worm packaged with the lockx.exe rootkit to hide its presence. The worm was spread over the AOL IM and chat networks by encouraging users to click on a file link. This worm has been around for some time but the use of the stealthing rootkit is new and indicative of the escalating trend towards the use of rootkits in the latest malware. In last month's editorial I gave details how to detect and remove rootkits. If you didn't read that article I suggest you do so now. Thou hast been warned.
http://www.techsupportalert.com/rootkits.htm

3.6 New Rootkit Detection Tools

Two new tools have arrived. The first is RootKit Hook Analyzer [1] from the folks over at Resplendence. It's currently a beta and free for the moment but will eventually become a commercial product. It identifies any active kernel hooks in your system. Now some kernel hooks may be established by legitimate programs so you need to be very careful interpreting the results. Also some rootkits don't employ kernel hooks so it won't catch these. These reservations aside, it is a useful tool. The second tool, IceSword, is not new, but has finally become usable. IceSword [2] is a free utility that was originally only available in Chinese but an English version is now available. IceSword provides a whole set of tools including a process viewer, startup manager, port enumerator and more, all of which display actual system data regardless of rootkit stealthing. It's a brilliant product in the hands of a skilled user. I've given a download link below but be warned, the Chinese site is agonizingly slow - it took me two days of trying before I finally got a working copy.
[1] http://www.resplendence.com/hookanalyzer 992KB
[2] http://www.xfocus.net/tools/200509/IceSword_en1.12.rar 565KB

3.7 Sony Using Rootkit in Music CD DRM

This story whipped up a storm during the month after PC SysInternals Mark Russinovich discovered a rootkit installed by a Sony copy protected audio CD. "Not only had Sony put software on my system that uses techniques commonly used by malware to mask its presence, the software is poorly written and provides no means for uninstall. Worse, most users that stumble across the cloaked files with a RKR scan will cripple their computer if they attempt the obvious step of deleting the cloaked files." Sony initially tried to defend their software but finally caved in and announced they would suspend the copy protection scheme. Several security vendors have released removal tools including Microsoft who will include that capability in the their Malicious Software Removal Tool distributed via the Windows Update service.
http://www.sysinternals.com/blog/2005/10/sony-rootkits-and-digital-rights.html

3.8 Another Top Freeware Program Bites the Dust

KeyNote has long been regarded as one of the best outliners available but all development work has now stopped. The author Marek Jedlinski has outlined why in a polite and graceful exit note but I suspect the underlying reason is the demanding and ungrateful attitude of some freeware consumers. This is a message I hear repeatedly from freeware developers. Programmer David Brown summed it up nicely in a recent email: "I've put hundreds of hours of my own time into this utility and all I get is abusive letters saying why doesn't it do this or do that or how the program is just junk or rubbish. I've had enough - they can go write their own programs." I concur. Every day I get rude and hostile email about the programs I recommend on my "46 Best-ever Freeware" list. It's water off a ducks back to me but I sure understand how the program developers must feel.
http://www.tranglos.com/free/closedown.html


----------------- sponsored links -----------------------

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The Best SpyWare Detector
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If you use Ad-aware or SpyBot you will be surprised just how more effectively SpySweeper detects and protects your PC from Adware, Spyware, Trojans and other malicious products. That's why it won the prized "Editor's Choice" award in PC Magazine's massive January 2005 survey of anti-Spyware products. Try the free evaluation copy of the new Version 4 and see for yourself.
http://www.webroot.com/consumer/products/spysweeper/index.html?acode=af1&rc=1132

The Best Remote Access Software
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http://www.pcsupportadvisor.com/best_remote_access_software.htm

The Best Anti-trojan Scanner
Most users are not aware that their anti-virus scanner can only provide a moderate level of protection against trojan programs that try and take control of your PC. To really protect your computer, you need a dedicated anti-trojan program. Our editor's have reviewed every major product on the market and have concluded that two scanners stand head and shoulders above the other contenders.
http://www.anti-trojan-software-reviews.com

------------- end of sponsored links --------------------------

4.0 OTHER USEFUL STUFF

4.1 Tiny USB Network Adaptor and Wi-Fi Finder

Linksys has released a neat flash drive sized 802.11b/g wireless adaptor that includes a network finder allowing users to determine if a connection is available without powering up their laptop. According to Linksys, the finder displays the "wireless network's name (SSID), signal strength, the channel used, and whether wireless security is enabled or not. The information is displayed on an easy-to-read LCD display and can be set up to look for only open networks, all networks, or a specific named network. Discovered networks are listed in order of signal strength." Model number WUSBF54G, street price $65-70.
http://www.linksys.com
http://compnetworking.about.com/b/a/212857.htm

4.2 Cheap Solution to Cable Mess

The Bluelounge Cableyoyo is very thin spool measuring around 3" across that allows you to neatly store up to 6 feet of cable. It can be used free standing or attached to the back of equipment using an adhesive pad. At $4.99, it's a cheap solution to cable mess.
http://www.cableyoyo.com/

4.3 How to Easily Remember People's Names

I tried the various techniques suggested here and they work. Unfortunately I've now forgotten the techniques. ;>)
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/Careers/07/22/names/

4.4 Watch Your Computer Think

This is an online game of computer chess with a difference. While the computer is thinking it shows in graphic form the various moves it is considering. Quite fascinating for anyone who plays chess.
http://turbulence.org/spotlight/thinking/chess.html

4.5 Useless Waste of Time Dept

Nothing left to do but work? Then try the classic "Petals Around the Rose game." It's challenging but solvable.
http://www.borrett.id.au/computing/petals-j.htm

** Additional Items in the Premium SE Edition **

4.6 Excellent BitTorrent Metasearch Site

4.7 34,000 Free Online Classical Music Tracks

4.8 Test Your Hearing Online

4.9 A Free Guide to Editing Your Digital Photos

5.0 TIP OF THE MONTH

5.1 How to Reduce Desktop Clutter

Most folks have their desktops cluttered with lots of icons. That's OK but you soon reach the point where the time lost finding an icon outweighs the time saved by having it accessible on your desktop.

There are many utilities on the market that can help you tidy up this mess. These include application launchers, virtual desktops and more.

However, one of the simplest ways to do it is to more fully utilize the capabilities of the Windows Quick Launch toolbar. Furthermore, it won't cost you a cent. Here's how you do it.

The Quick Launch Toolbar (QLT) was introduced with Windows 98 to allow users to start commonly used programs with a single click of the program icon. It's located in the left hand section of the taskbar, just to the right of the Start button. By default it includes an icon for Internet Explorer, your desktop and Windows Media Player though other programs you have installed may have added additional icons.

If your QLT is not visible you can turn it on by right-clicking in any empty portion of the Windows taskbar then selecting Toolbars and Quick Launch.

The first step in cleaning up your desktop is to move to the QLT the icons for programs on your desktop that you use most often. You should also delete from the QLT any programs you don't use much. For example, I've added Firefox and Outlook and deleted the Windows Media Player.

To add a program to the QLT, just drag the icon from your desktop and drop it into the QLT. To delete items from the QLT, right-click the icon and select delete.

Don't add too many icons to the QLT otherwise it will eat up too much of the taskbar real estate. Only include the programs you use most frequently. Five icons is a reasonable maximum.

Once you have added items to the QLT you can delete those items from your desktop. Just right-click the desktop item and select delete.

Now the interesting bit; how to clear your desktop by organizing your QLT to store your less frequently used desktop items.

All the icons in the QLT are stored in a special folder. The location varies with different version of Windows but in XP it can be found at:

C:\Documents and Settings\yourusername\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

The easy way to access this folder is to right-click in a blank space in the QLT. The best spot is just immediately to the right of the last (i.e. right-most) icon. This will bring up a menu from which you should select "Open folder."

You should now see the Quick Launch folder. Each item in the folder corresponds to an item displayed in your QLT.

Now the trick is to add folders to the QL folder and use these folders to store your less frequently used desktop items.

The number of folders you need and their names will depend on the nature of the icons you want to move from your desktop.

On my computer I've added two folders called "PC Maintenance", and "Security Tools" to the QL folder. You'll have to make your own choice.

To add a folder right-click in the QL folder and select New/Folder. Name the folder according to your needs.

Once you've created and named your sub-folders in the QL Folder you can now drag and drop icons from your desktop directly into the appropriate folders. They will be automatically deleted from the desktop.

To launch a program from your QLT right click the ">>" sign, select the folder you want and then click on the program. Simple as that.

My desktop used to have 51 desktop icons but now there are only eight. I can find things quicker and have lots of desktop space for my current working documents.

Now that I've created all that desktop space I guess it's time to start filling it up again. ;>)

6.0 FREEBIE OF THE MONTH

6.1 The Best Free Dictionary/Thesaurus Utility

My long time recommendation for this category has been WordWeb [1] but thanks to a suggestion by subscriber Ben Scheiner I can now suggest an excellent alternative. It's a stand-alone application called TheSage [2] from Sequence Publishing. Like WordWeb, it's a comprehensive dictionary with over 140,000 references together with a powerful thesaurus. It differs in that it is free even for commercial use and offers a couple of features missing from the free version of WordPro such as anagram solving and wildcard word matches. On the minus side, WordPro allows you to find meanings and synonyms in any application just by double clicking the word; with TheSage you have to cut and paste it into the application after you've launched it from its task bar icon.

Picking a winner here is too hard. Try both and decide for yourself. Both products work with Windows 95 and later.
http://wordweb.info/ (6.96MB)
http://www.sequencepublishing.com/thesage.html (8.3MB)


** Bonus Freebie in the Premium SE Edition **

6.2 Free Utility Reveals Secret Internet Connections

In my October "Tip of the Month" [1], I talked about the usefulness of having a port enumerator utility to tell you what programs on your PC were connected to the internet. This can be invaluable when trying to trace down the source of suspicious internet activity.

I mentioned that, while there were some excellent free port enumerators that told you the programs that were connected, I couldn't find anything free that told you which programs were actively transmitting or receiving, which is what you really want to know.

That prompted subscriber T. Jansen to email me about a free utility that does just that. It's not really a Port Enumerator but is more like an Upload/Download meter that identifies the programs responsible for current network traffic. This makes it ideal for identifying sudden unexplained internet activity.

Once you have identified the program responsible, this utility can track down the port involved, the IP of the remote site and its domain name. This allows you to track down whether your PC is talking to a legitimate web site or some hostile site intent on stealing your confidential information.

An essential security utility to have in your collection. Freeware, Windows XP or later, 588KB.

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True Image is quite simply the best imaging program available. That's why I use it myself. It is the absolute best way to back up your Windows system and if you use it regularly, you can recover from system crashes and malware infections in a few minutes rather than spending hours re-installing windows and your data files. At $49.99 it's good value but it's even better value when you can get it for nothing.

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See you next issue

Gizmo
Ian Richards
editor@techsupportalert.com