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Time posted Article title Postersort icon Comment Link
3 years 32 weeks ago Best Free Memory Optimizer wj32

Publishing this article is simply irresponsible, and very disappointing for a website such as this one. As Anonymous (#52174) noted, there is no way any "memory optimizer" program can improve physical memory usage.

Let's go through some basic facts of memory management. Memory is divided up into chunks called "pages", which are 4 kB in size. When a program needs a page, it "commits" the page. Essentially this is saying to the operating system, "I'm going to store stuff in this page. Make sure you have some kind of storage available (RAM or pagefile), and above all make sure you don't lose what I have stored in there." When RAM is low, the OS may move pages from RAM to the pagefile. But data is never lost (within the context of process-allocated memory), and this is why "memory optimizers" will never work.

CleanMem claims "The API call frees up unused memory from programs, when a program needs the memory again it can simply take it back instead of forcing the memory out of ram and into the page file." This statement is absolute nonsense. If memory is "unused" and unneeded, why would a program "take it back"? If the memory isn't forced into the pagefile, where is it stored when CleanMem "frees" it?

All "memory optimizer" programs do one of two things:

* They empty the working sets of processes, moving pages from RAM to the pagefile. This is completely pointless and degrades performance because when the pages are needed, they have to be faulted back into memory.
* They empty the system cache. This is again completely pointless because the OS will re-use these pages when needed, and arbitrarily freeing pages from the cache will get rid of potentially useful information.

Don't try to optimize your RAM. The reason you use an operating system is so that it can manage these kinds of things.

3 years 31 weeks ago Best Free Memory Optimizer wj32

"Have you never heard of memory leaks? In programming a programmer needs to cleanup memory no longer being used. Otherwise the memory stays until the OS needs it, then the OS will remove it on its own."

You're being vague here. The OS doesn't know whether a program is "using" a page or not *. It doesn't care if it's the result of a memory leak. All committed memory is memory that is potentially going to be used, and so cannot be magically reclaimed. It's either in RAM, or in the pagefile.

Side remark: If I'm not a programmer, how do you think I know this stuff?

"The api moves NOTHING to the pagefile. This is because no active memory is being touched. Again had you actually tested it you would have seen that. The unused, no longer marked active memory is cleaned up, just like the OS does. In fact the OS is doing the cleaning."

Would you care to explain where these pages are going when they are "cleaned up"? What do you mean by "cleaned up"? If the pages aren't going into the pagefile, then they're still in RAM. If they're in RAM, then how are they being "cleaned up"?

The author's own words: "calls the Windows API EmptyWorkingSet for each processes". This is exactly what I stated before - this program does what every other program does, which is to move pages to the pagefile.

"We can now just control when instead of waiting for the memory to be used completely before the OS starts to clean it up."

And what makes you think that these programs know any better than the OS?

"forces Garbage Collection."

If you mean Garbage Collection as implemented by things such as .NET, then this is simply absurd. As I've stated previously, the OS doesn't know or care about memory leaks. Heaps and GCs are purely user-mode concepts.

I suggest you read Mark Russinovich's excellent article on this topic.

* Note - This is not completely true, because working set replacement uses a LRU algorithm. But again, arbitrarily removing pages from working sets (like CleanMem does) is pointless, because the OS will remove them when they actually need to be removed. There's a chance that these pages will need to be used again by the program.

3 years 31 weeks ago Best Free Memory Optimizer wj32

There's a reason why things such as homeopathy and chiropractic are regarded as "alternative medicines". Calling the article "irresponsible" is indeed my opinion, just as when scientists call the "alternative medicines" various names.

Regarding your personal experience - this is a placebo effect, or a coincidence. If there's no mechanism through which memory optimizers can work, they simply won't work. Again, I could draw a parallel with medicine and science...

3 years 31 weeks ago Best Free Memory Optimizer wj32

"It is stored in Page Cache."

There's nothing called the "Page Cache" in NT, so I presume you mean the pages are used for the file cache. This may or may not be true, because as soon as the pages are written to the pagefile (and therefore off the modified page list), they can be put on the standby list or the free page list. This however, is irrelevant to the argument. If the pages were written to the pagefile and the process needs them back, it's a hard fault and a performance hit. If the pages were in the modified page list and weren't written to the pagefile yet, then it's a soft fault and still a performance hit. How is this beneficial, when the kernel can manage this more effectively anyway?

"Two wrongs statements indeed. ... So, calling the EmptyWorkingSet (that isn't the same that SetProcessWorkingSetSize...) is just a way to clean up before the OS does it."

Your quote is not relevant to what I stated. When the kernel needs to *trim* working sets, it's because there's memory pressure and therefore it is necessary. When a "memory optimizer" *empties* working sets, it doesn't have the information the kernel does. It can't possibly make any smart decisions on memory management. In fact, it tells the kernel to remove as many pages from the working set as possible.

So, no, EmptyWorkingSet is not "just a way to clean up before the OS does it", because the OS will rarely (if ever) need to empty out the entire working set of a process.

3 years 31 weeks ago Best Free Memory Optimizer wj32

Alright. I hope my explanation below will dispel this myth once and for all. Now firstly, if you want to argue from authority, fine. I'm a MCTS: Windows Internals. I wrote Process Hacker.

Note: You claim that Commit Charge is "Page File" usage, again showing your ignorance (please don't take offense). Commit charge (which you can refer to as pagefile quota) is the total number of committed pages on the system, which has nothing to do with the pagefile usage.

Now, let's get on with my results, which clearly resonate with the theory behind all of this. The top part is a dialog from Process Hacker, showing the real pagefile usage. The middle part is Process Explorer. Pay attention to the Working Set values. The bottom part is again Process Explorer's System Information dialog. (Just explaining so everyone reading this can understand.)

Notice, for example, that winamp.exe's working set is 58,976K. There is 4,894,792K in "available" physical memory.

CleanMem has called EmptyWorkingSet on all of the processes. Notice that winamp.exe's working set has decreased dramatically to 4,476K from 58,976K. Also note that the "available" physical memory has increased to 5,074,592K, which shows the effects of emptying working sets.

As the working sets get emptied, however, the pages go to the standby and modified lists (look at Modified and Standby on the bottom-right, both of which have increased a lot). You can see at the top of the screen that the pagefile usage is 6MB, as the modified page writer thread has begun to write out the pages to the pagefile. This is why you don't normally see a huge performance hit right after you use memory optimizer programs - the kernel writes out the pages slowly enough that you get soft faults (modified/standby list -> working set) more than hard faults (pagefile -> working set).

After, a few seconds later:
Notice how several programs have faulted back in pages to their working sets, causing the working set values to increase (look at firefox.exe, which has risen from 4,700K to 49,160K). This is what happens when you use memory optimizer programs; simply emptying the working sets of programs doesn't improve anything because you don't know what pages are in use. The kernel can handle it better anyway.

Also notice that as the modified page writer thread is working away and pages are moved from the modified list to the standby lists, the Modified list has decreased and the Standby list has increased. Again, notice the corresponding increase in pagefile usage, which is now 92.78MB.

3 years 31 weeks ago Best Free Memory Optimizer wj32

"On the servers and systems I have it on the page file never grows as well and the memory does stay cleaned."

Are you measuring the pagefile usage correctly? The way to get it is by calling NtQuerySystemInformation with SystemPageFileInformation.

"You will also notice with firefox and others that the memory that is freed does climb back up, but not to the level it was. Which any program you use does that."

You're assuming that having less working set is better. That's not true. If a page has not being used recently and another program needs more memory, the OS will go ahead and grab that if necessary. No third party program can manage memory better than the OS can.

"but the memory doesnt get pushed to the page file, other wise it would grow to its max very easily."

Download Process Hacker and use Tools > Pagefile, which shows actual pagefile usage.

"From your first post you said how there is a performance hit and the memory is pushed to the page file."

No, the performance hit wouldn't be major, unless there were some very special circumstances. However, I still don't see any evidence of CleanMem improving things. It's a *good thing* that processes have as many pages in their working sets as possible, to avoid page faults.

"Yet so far anything with the page file has been minor and shows the memory wasn't moved to it."

I already showed that around 90MB of pages were written to the pagefile. You can also see the Page Read and Write deltas have gone up, again indicating that hard faults are occurring.

And lastly... your source of information ( has a few errors in it, such as confusing the standby list with the modified list...

3 years 31 weeks ago Best Free Memory Optimizer wj32

I already stated: it's the top bit. The one that says "C:\pagefile.sys" on the left.

3 years 31 weeks ago Best Free Memory Optimizer wj32

I'm not going to try to argue with your statistics; you can see mine below.

"Page Cache and File Cache - aren't the same thing: system file cache works with files; page cache with applications."

I repeat - there's nothing named "Page Cache" in NT. The generally accepted meaning for "page cache" is a file cache (check Wikipedia). You are then probably referring to the paging lists (modified, standby, etc.) Please try to use the correct terminology.

"When the application is idle, or a low-memory situation causes a demand for memory, the operating system can reduce the application's working set"
"When you increase the working set size of an application, you are taking away physical memory from the rest of the system."

These two quotes are completely irrelevant (as usual, I might add). The first simply re-asserts my statement that the OS can manage memory very well. The second is relevant only when a program sets its minimum working set, and most don't.

3 years 31 weeks ago Best Free Memory Optimizer wj32

I know you're just trying to help out your users by developing CleanMem. But the one thing that you still haven't explained is the mechanism through which a memory optimizer can improve system performance. In a system as deterministic as a computer, the theoretical side of things is stronger than the practical. If something is impossible from a theoretical perspective, then it's simply impossible. I'm generally open-minded. If you can give me a solid, detailed and low-level explanation of how CleanMem would improve system performance, I will believe you.

As for the performance increases/decreases - I doubt any performance hit would be noticeable on modern computers, which are very fast. The main issue here is whether memory optimizers actually work. From a theoretical perspective, the answer is clearly no (unless I have missed something very big). The claimed performance improvements are probably just a result of the placebo effect.

The best way to get rid of all RAM-related issues: buy more RAM. If your commit charge is below the amount of physical memory you have, then there's no need to worry.

3 years 31 weeks ago Best Free Memory Optimizer wj32

I would avoid posting (due to the large number of comments already posted), but...
How is this relevant to my statements at all? The whole point I'm trying to make is that a computer system is deterministic, unlike the real world. Therefore, people should stop thinking of programs as black magic. Zeno's paradoxes are not interpreted by modern physicists as proving motion is theoretically or mathematically impossible. Please read the Wikipedia article for more information.

4 years 4 days ago This Windows Process Manager is Free and Open Source wj32

Yes, I did tick the "I am the author" box in the affiliations section. Don't know what happened there...

4 years 2 days ago This Windows Process Manager is Free and Open Source wj32

"On the other hand I really like the Find feature in Process Explorer"

It's in Process Hacker.

4 years 1 day ago This Windows Process Manager is Free and Open Source wj32

"issues mentioned by Smurf (http requests and crash - #54737)"

Bug reports with crash dumps would be appreciated... I don't know about the network requests, but they seem to be due to the signature verification. I'm working on it.

"IronPlatypus (crash - #54600)"

Same as above. Though I think I've fixed this particular bug (for the next version).

2 years 4 weeks ago How to Repair Corrupt or Damaged Windows System Files with System File Checker wj.ccsi (not verified)

You obviously know very little about what exactly UAC does.
It is not recommended to shut it off. Shutting down UAC simply reverts WIndows 7 back to the XP security model. Bad idea all around.

2 years 28 weeks ago Free, Portable App Encrypts a USB Flash Drive WJ (not verified)

As a matter of fact, TrueCrypt has a *serious* limitation for many: you have to have administrator access on the machine to access your encrypted volume! If you've got the encrypted volume on a USB drive, a valuable application for encryption, you can't mount it on a system where you don't have administrator access.

FreeOTFE offers an explorer that solves this problem, but as of v5.21 FreeOTFE is still buggy as a summer night in the jungle. So Rohos Mini Drive is maybe (I haven't tried it) offering a greatly useful alternative.

2 years 33 weeks ago Best Free Android Apps Wizzball (not verified)

Please review TouchPal Keyboard by Cootek. Seems to be free and supposedly the Global Champion of GSMA Mobile Innovation Award.

3 years 12 weeks ago Best Free Wallpaper Changer Wizzard Dragleonus (not verified)

After the 30 days some features are disabled and it is similar to the free version then.. maybe has a nag screen... not sure... not yet 30 days... lol.. but it has been my favorite wallpaper changer for a long time... (the free version) actually i suggested it to this website and it became the top pic.. :) yay.... lol... tc..

3 years 27 weeks ago Gizmo's Guide to Securing Your PC WizWaz

Good advice, but, I did not purchase my computer to be a limited user.

3 years 42 weeks ago Best Free Web Browser WizWaz

IE9 Beta looks to have cornered them all.

3 years 49 weeks ago Best Free Antivirus Software WizWaz

Avira needs to be reviewed again, the latest version 10 is not as good as 9. This is apparent in cnets' review and many people I have talked to. I have tried it, and it seems much more crippled than before; updates are even more of a major concern {never updated once on my machine], heck, even Hitman Pro dropped it! Imho:
1 Avast
3 Panda Cloud Free
4 Avira Antivir
5 AVG Free

3 years 49 weeks ago Best Free Antivirus Software WizWaz

MSE is one to watch in the few coming months, it keeps getting better.

3 years 46 weeks ago Best Free Antivirus Software WizWaz

MSE Beta is stable enough,just needs a few polishing.

3 years 45 weeks ago Best Free Antivirus Software WizWaz

I would recommend Panda Cloud free antivirus or Avira free.

3 years 44 weeks ago Best Free Antivirus Software WizWaz

Comodo Internet Security 5(Premium) is good, but here are some things to look out for:
Can initially display many complex alerts; average malware detection; resource use occasionally high; no automatic game mode detection; no "scan when PC is idle" option.

3 years 42 weeks ago Best Free Antivirus Software WizWaz

Home users are fine without av (sensible ones),common sense is all thats needed. Although its safe, having av installed just gives extra piece of mind.Its not as scary as av vendors claim, besides most malware isn't targeted at home users anyway. Keeping your pc up to date and using a bit of common sense is the most important.This is just my personal view.

3 years 35 weeks ago Best Free Antivirus Software WizWaz

Looks like Avira pop up nag has gone!

3 years 29 weeks ago Best Free Antivirus Software WizWaz

Microsoft have been in the game of security since the days if windows live one-care, so you cannot say MSE is new.It just got better.

3 years 50 weeks ago Best Free Non-Adobe PDF Reader WizWaz

A new free PDF reader, SlimPDF Reader is out.Check it out!

4 years 3 weeks ago Best Free Registry Cleaner WizWaz

Be very careful with registry cleaners/defrag.Its not necessary to use them at all.

3 years 26 weeks ago Best Free Disk De-fragmenter WizWaz

O&O Defrag ,a FREE version is now available! The free version; I could not find it on the vendors' site BUT its available here
Also available at majorgeeks.

3 years 50 weeks ago Best Free Tune-up Program For Computer WizWaz

MAGIX PC Check & Tuninng Free! Check it out! I am currently using it and my system seems to run smoother and faster! Maybe it might work for you!

[Moderator's note : replaced link with link of original site]

3 years 50 weeks ago Best Free Tune-up Program For Computer WizWaz

Oh , and believe me its totally free. All you have to do is register and they will email you a serial ; thats it! Done, nothing more!

3 years 47 weeks ago Best Free Tune-up Program For Computer WizWaz

Argente Utilities..any thoughts on this programme? I've just recently installed it and it seems to do an impressive job keeping my pc runnning smooth and faster.

3 years 34 weeks ago Best Free Tune-up Program For Computer WizWaz

Its a scaled down version of the original.That's why its free.

3 years 46 weeks ago 250 Best Free Online PC Games In One Place WizWaz

This is what i'm talkin bout fellas!

3 years 46 weeks ago Best Free Internet Safety Check WizWaz

The all new Norton DNS (Beta) will kick WOT off the top. Its FREE aad does not 'flag' Iobits' website.Check it out!

6 years 2 weeks ago Best Free Startup Manager Wizman87

I've been using a program called StartRight for quite some time now, as it easily lets me manage all of my startup items in the exact order (asynchronously) that I choose or in the way that I want them to startup, along with adding custom delays for each program individually, and waiting for Windows related services/tasks/programs, and the CPU, to finish starting up/loading before full execution at login/bootup time (e.g. adding a delay before the full execution of all startup items in the registry and/or in the startmenu's startup folder). The rest can pretty much be handled manually through msconfig, regedit, or services.msc via with the Run box, though I highly doubt you'll have to touch them - however, sometimes programs only like to be run by Windows, but its all very easily managable in the end with all the methods that you have to choose from. Take a look though, it might be what you're looking for. Its been great for me thus far, and I've seen much faster bootup times than what I used to have. Not to mention the fact that now I can actually see (and watch) all of those system tray icons load at the bottom right corner of my taskbar, instead of having everything somewhat frozen or not appearing for 5mins+ at startup. =P

Cheers C|_|


6 years 2 weeks ago Best Free Resource Meter Wizman87

I've been using FreeMeter for quite some time now. I never really found any other system tray functionality from the others suggested here that I've liked so well - thus far anyways. =P

Cheers C|_|


6 years 2 weeks ago Best Free Browser-based File Transfer Software Wizman87

Take a look into XAMPP - it is very user-friendly, but also very advanced (obviously we're talking about programming here, but that's a different story - this should help anyone get started with getting a web server up and running fast and quickly without too much trouble). Its a freeware bundle of everything you need to run a basic web server (e.g. Apache, PHP, MySQL, etc.), and it also includes a very detailed documentation incase you need help or require assistance (not to mention XAMPP's official forums and IRC chat incase of further required guidance). I've used it before and it works and runs smoothly, especially for local hosting, testing, having fun with, or actually hosting a real web server from/for your home and/or business(es). And if you or anyone else can't get it up and working, then you (or the person that you know) might have to try actually renting some web space online. =P

Cheers C|_|


1 year 19 weeks ago Amazing Site Gets You Up To Speed On Any Subject Wizard of Odd

Robert Heinlein's Stranger In A Strange Land

5 years 44 weeks ago Do you like this site's new look? wixsonce

Like one or two others, the content page is far too wide for me to appreciate but other than that I really like it. It's a huge improvement.

24 weeks 8 hours ago Best Free Media Center Software Wity

Can you please tell me which software I can use to stream from my pc to devices around the home and away from it that does not need a dedicated pc and most importantly streams subtitles? (subs being essential for my deaf son.)

3 years 3 weeks ago Best Free PDF Writer Software Wits End (not verified)

I found dave007's review really helpful but possibly lacking in one regard. Googling some free PDF converter programs led me to warning messages on other forums about pop-up ads and, worse, malware i.e. the download introduces unwanted, undisclosed, and partly insidious programs that are then difficult to remove. I have just bought a new PC - it's a virgin using Windows 7! - so I do not wish to give it a venereal disease immediately. My needs are basic - I only wish to convert Word docs of a few pages so that they can be circulated to a membership group.

Therefore can dave007 or others please rate the mentioned free software for its non-polluting qualities, not just functionality.

32 weeks 1 day ago How to Rip to, Play and Split One-Album FLAC Files? witoman

This may have already been asked and answered, but here is the situation. On YouTube, there are many music albums recorded as a single file. You download this large file as an MP4 and then use a converter program to strip the audio from the MP4 into a single FLAC or MP3 file. As there is no CUE file available, one has to then tediously load the one big audio file into an audio processor program and by hand, split the album into individual FLAC or MPs music files.

Is there a free program that can just read the one large audio file, recognize the album, and then automatically chop it up into the individual songs (and even better, generate the song names)?

3 years 49 weeks ago Best Free Notes Organizer Withindale

Congratulations. A major task.

I have tried several over the years like Stickies (Zhorn), Treepad, iDailyDiary, Evernote, AllMyNotes, QuotePad - all very good.

In the end I've found Tomboy Notes plus Deskpins by far the best for me, and I'll stick with it until you come up with the ultimate winner!

Good luck.

3 years 48 weeks ago Best Free Notes Organizer Withindale

For text notes you can do this in Tomboy Notes by creating a note for each category and then linking other notes to it. This is easier to do than describe.

For example you might make a note called "Note Taking Software" and type in "techsupportalert" as a category. The first time you type in "techsupportalert" highlight it and key Ctrl-L to create the category note, and after that Tomboy will link "techsupportalert every time you type it.

You could create a Category notebook for all your category notes.

This may not be the same as Outlook but it works well for text notes.

4 years 2 weeks ago What's That Font? This Site Will Tell You. Withindale (not verified)

It works! Identified Le Monde Courrier.

3 years 48 weeks ago Your Tip has Been Submitted Withindale

Thank you for your reply. May I suggest you add a note to the how-write-hot-find-item page saying the review process can take some time and please be patient, as in the email above. I found myself getting a little hot under the collar last night that there had been no acknowledgment even if the tip was not suitable for publication.

3 years 48 weeks ago Your Tip has Been Submitted Withindale

I should have added we all appreciate the invaluable work you all do to make the site so interesting.

On off-topic passing thought. Have you thought about operating some form of micro-payments contribution portal? By splitting the proceeds fairly this would benefit the freeware authors and be a source of the donations you need. Something like Amazon's one-click ordering system perhaps using a Drupal module.

12 weeks 6 days ago Get Tips On How To Improve Your Writing Withindale

Good for PR stuff. Dumbing down text from > 10 to < 5 does wonders for readability.

5 years 29 weeks ago Pro Version of AVG 8 & Internet Security Suite (blocked) Wistiti

I have installed AVG 8 Internet Security on a clean install of Win XP Pro with the following results.

1. Using the serial no. supplied (8MEH-REDSL-7ETEC-ULA8R-EAOKL-4EMBR-ACED) only the antivirus component is installed. Missing are the Firewall, Anti-spam & System Tools.

2. Using the default serial no. supplied with the download everything is installed but the expiry date is set to 30/1/2009. Updating the serial no. 8MEH-REDSL-7ETEC-ULA8R-EAOKL-4EMBR-ACED after installation gives the extended expiry date but de-activates the Firewall, Anti-spam & System Tools.

3 years 6 weeks ago Best Free Remote Access Software wisefb (not verified)

For years, I had used UltraVNC, and VNCSC (single click) but they are excruciatingly slow on Windows 7. I read this page, and played with a couple of the programs but was still looking for a free/donation ware solution and I found it with ChunkVNC - Download the zip file, extract it, port forward your router to your computer for ports 5500 and 5901 run the complier, insert your external and internal IP addresses and it creates a file that can be run on the client's computer without any other intervention on their part. On the server status it gives you their server number (which changes each time it's run, giving them a sense of security and preventing them from launching their desktop on your computer if they run the file again). You open the viewer and type in the password that is entered when the server is compiled and it connects. I only tested it for a minute, but updates were in less than a second compared to the 10+ seconds of VNCSC. There is a very good step by step instructions page that will guide you through the initial process.
I don't like having to pay monthly or yearly fees, or asking a client to send me numbers/passwords to connect to their system. I don't like having to type in a password, but I haven't tested it to see if you can just leave it blank yet. Anyway, I hope that this has helped others that have been looking for the type of solution that I was looking for.

2 years 37 weeks ago Best Free Video Editing Program Wise Guy (not verified)

Try Windows Live Movie Maker

To find it, you can just type in google or any other searchbox this and it will come up with a link at the top of the results page:

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

Don't miss any key words to get the perfect site. I downloaded and used Windows Live Movie Maker and it's provided with eeverything that you need. I promise you, I used it for I think 2 years, and I know everything about it.

2 years 45 weeks ago Best Free Online Applications and Services Wisdom (not verified)

Thanks for pice of information.

3 years 5 weeks ago How to Quickly Access and Use Windows System Restore or System Protection Wirtzel (not verified)

Are there any good free alternatives to Windows System Restore?

38 weeks 2 days ago Need To Send Someone A Big File? A Really Big File? wirelesslan

I've had a quick look through for Skype being mentioned. Forgive me if it has been but I use Skype for any size file. As long as the recipient is on your contact list then right click the contact and select Send File.

3 years 27 weeks ago Best Free Video Editing Program wire (not verified)

I feel like I've just wasted an hour with this Avid-e-muck software. I've looked through the documentation and have not created an edited video. Oh, I suppose I could write a script. I'm just doing a single edit on an existing file and this one's not working for me.

2 years 9 weeks ago A Superb Text Editor For When Notepad Isn't Good Enough Winter (not verified)

I use Editor2 only 101k and a single .exe file, so you can put it on a USB device. One thing I really love about it is you can search/replace TAB, returns (ENTER),...

2 years 1 week ago Best Free Drive Encryption Utility Winston Smith (not verified)

I'm new to encrypting. I'm not well-versed in technical jargon like double-booting and such, so I hope someone can answer my questions in layman's terms.

1. If a whole drive is encrypted, is it still necessary to encrypt the individual files and folders inside that drive?

2. Does encryption affect folder synchronization software? Will they still be able to synchronize if one folder is encrypted and the other isn't? Or what if they're both encrypted? I mean, in two separately encrypted drives?

3. Is encrypting the C: drive any different than encrypting the D: drive, external hard drive or USB stick? Or is the process exactly the same? No special procedures to follow or extra precautions to take or anything? I'm afraid if I try to encrypt the C: drive, I might make a mistake and never be able to use my laptop again.

2 years 1 week ago Encryption is Not Enough Winston Smith (not verified)

"Taking the hard drive out and examining it with another computer, even one running nominally the same operating system, will completely reveal any files that are not encrypted, even if they were "hidden"."

Hard drives can be password-protected, right? So even if you take them out of one computer and stick them in another, you still won't be able to access it if you don't know the password. I've heard it's virtually impossible to bypass that. But is this alone a great option for protecting files? Or is encryption an absolute must?

2 years 1 week ago How to Protect Your Online Privacy Winston Smith (not verified)

My browser is Firefox and I use Do Not Track Plus, Adblock Plus, & BetterPrivacy all at the same time. I'm thinking of installing HTTPS Everywhere and Peerblock as well. Is there a downside to having so many of these or will they work just fine together? Or is it ideal to pick just one?

3 years 24 weeks ago Best Free Tune-up Program For Computer Winston Payne (not verified)

Ummm... if Ashampoo WinOptimizer 2010 Advanced is only free from, then you might want to update the links above to point to instead of the usual cnet location. It is a bit frustrating to install from cnet and wonder why free isn't free, and then go back and RTFM and realize that I needed to figure out what "V3 Software Store" ment. The link is in other spots on the site, like the best of list.

2 years 25 weeks ago How to add an Additional Layer of Security to Your PC winny_uk (not verified)

Thanks for the article. I'm liking the idea of whitelisting programs with privileges.

The suggestion of "fixing" Windows Update by setting SuRun to always run IE as Administrator looks a big risk of inviting malware onto a PC though.

2 years 44 weeks ago Use this Free Program to Create Great Flowcharts and Diagrams winnyuk (not verified)

Does anyone know the stencil used in the ipv6 example diagram, or can recommend something they use for network diagrams?

1 year 33 weeks ago Find Out Which USB Devices Have Been Used on Your PC winki (not verified)

Yes, you can see the date your last use was. :)

3 years 48 weeks ago A New Website that Will Help You Amuse Young Children Wink wink, nudge nudge (not verified)

Hah! and to think that ILUVSF was afraid that this would be bad for social development ;-) Sorry, couldn't resist!

1 year 41 weeks ago Use This Nifty Utility to Find Out What is Accessing Your Hard Drive wingo (not verified)

The Resource Monitor is PerfMon.exe, so set a shortcut if you like, or type it in the Run box. Appears to be a mix of code/utilities from SysInternals. Speaking of which, their Process Monitor shows you EVERYTHING that's going on in the system. Best to set filters to narrow down what you're looking for..

Thanks for the article!

4 years 19 weeks ago Security Wizard Recommendations winglun

so good!

3 years 39 weeks ago Best Free Instant Messaging Client wingdash (not verified)

Is there any program that can see msn smilies.... other then msn messenger?

6 years 1 week ago Can't remove userinit trojan horse winemkr

I downloaded SAS as suggested, ran it and deleted all of the numerous files it found. Now my system won't boot. When attempting reboot, I get the blue screen with the following message:
stop: C0000135 {Unable to locate Component}
This application has failed to start because baseiobs32 was not found. Re-installing the application may fix the problem.

Have any SAS users had it go too far? What did you do to recover your installation?

6 years 1 week ago Can't remove userinit trojan horse winemkr

The system won't boot in safe mode so that's not an option. I have an early OEM XP disk. System recovery is supposed to be iffy with OEM OS disks. Re-install is painful. I'm thinking to try making a UBCD4win boot disk per an article on this site. I'll need to make the disk on another system. I'm not sure if the disk will be portable.

It may be that the system is infected, but it wasn't any infection that put me in this predicament. It was using SAS. SAS recommended that I eliminate a file or files that caused the system to be unable to boot even in safe mode. I'm going to think twice about using SAS in the future.

3 years 25 weeks ago How to Keep Microsoft Security Essentials from Slowing Down Your System Wineman (not verified)

Sorry for the double post. I had meant to reply instead of doing a new post.

The only problem with just doing a full scan first is the possibility that it misses something. With a freshly formatted system you pretty much know that you're good to go. It would be best to already have the program saved to a thumbdrive or whatever so that you can install it before you connect to the internet the first time.

Does anyone know if it interacts well with Avira AntiVir Personal?

I seem to remember another way of adjusting CPU allowance for programs, but can't remember how exactly. I'm thinking it's through the task manager.

20 weeks 8 hours ago Changing from Windows XP? Free Help with Migrating Files and Settings Winedad

Would this migrating tool be any good if one was simply upgrading an existing computer from XP to Win 7 Professional (clean install) ??
What would be the alternative ?

18 weeks 1 day ago Changing from Windows XP? Free Help with Migrating Files and Settings Winedad

Turns out that Windows Easy Transfer is still the best way to copy over everything on a new "clean install" from XP to Win 7

20 weeks 9 hours ago If You're Using Windows XP You Need To Read This Winedad

I too have, for the past year, trying to wean myself off XP - both personal and business. Installation issues of old (really old!) favorite programs
(late '90's !) had a great breakthrough for me yesterday.
In those days, the only real internet connection program for software developers was Internet Explorer. The key point is that it is embedded in the original windows platform - not deletable - so all of the "updates" etc are "on top" of the original Windows (and Dos) programming.
IE 9, IE 10, and especially IE 11 upgrades have "disabled" many of the earlier IE's abilities to handle old programs when they "upgrade" -- and their "Compatibility Centre" does not address the real issues - like being able to utilize the early 16 bit installers
Solution ? Revert back to (at least) IE 8, by going to Uninstall Programs in Control Panel -- extreme top left is "view installed updates"
Open and uninstall the IE 11 "update" (or lower). Reboot and the complete lower IE is available. Repeat - until you show IE 8 as operational. Now load your "stuff" and after installation, you can upgrade back up to IE 11

1 year 9 weeks ago Best Free Antivirus Software windyctyprog

I have decided to change AV software and leave MSE behind.

I've had on-going Windows Genuine Advantage issues when MSE tries to update - every morning this week when I cranked up, I got the warning that I have to reinstall the WGA plug-in for Firefox or MSE won't work.

Regardless of the issues, it's time to leave...

So, a question:

Is it better to go with a new stand-alone top rated AV, or maybe move to a Zone Alarm suite?

By way of a little background on my schema now:

MSE running in real-time

PrevX 3.0 running in real-time

On Demand: Malwarebytes, EmsiSoft Malaware, Hitman Pro 3.7

I have used PrevX since their introduction and like it, so I would like to keep it going and obviously need something compatible.

Thanks, in advance, for your thoughts and input...

39 weeks 1 day ago Best Free Antivirus Software windyctyprog


I just went through a miserable week with Ad-Aware...

I downloaded V10.5 a week ago Friday, installation went well, light on resources, didn't seem to slow down any application.

On Monday, V11 was released and things went down hill from there.

It was a mess.

On Wednesday they released another version, not an update, but another version.

I had all kinds of issues, I had to start monitoring manually, the tray, a separate .exe file, would never initialize, nothing would work.

I went to the forum, they had me delete services and other components they said were from Version 9 (how could this be, because I never installed anything from Lavasoft before V10.5).

This was supposed to be the root cause of the problems.

After I deleted what they said was a "service" from V9, nothing ever worked again - I couldn't get it to even manually start.

I also don't like the idea of having their browser protection software included, frankly I never understood if it was initialized or not. I know the toolbar was not installed, but as for the software running, I don't know.

It was listed as a separately installed program in both Windows Ad/Remove and in Geek's removal program, and even after I uninstalled Ad-Aware, I had to remove the Browser Protection separately.

I am not going to reinstall it.

2 years 2 weeks ago Best Free Trojan Horse Scanning And Removal Software windyctyprog

Midnight Cowboy,

While we are on the subject of Emsisoft, I recently had my Hotmail account hacked (first time in 20 years), and for a variety of issues surrounding that event, I added Emsisoft just to see what might have gotten through my protection layers, including: MSE (real-time), MBAM, PrevX (real-time), Microsoft Malicious Removal Tool, Hitman Pro, House Call, Panda, the real-time and on-demand programs I run weekly, at least.

Everything is current, including Windows, Office, Firefox, Java, Adobe, Firefox plug-ins.

I use Last Pass, ABL Plus, Better Privacy, etc.

Nothing ever showed up in the interim 3 weeks of deep scans, until I added Emsisoft yesterday and ran what turned into a 6 hour deep scan.

It came up with 7 different hits, 6 of which I can't verify. I searched their forum (this was a "hair-on-fire" exercise), Google, MSE forum, Wilder's, and etc.

I quarantined 6 of them and deleted one which was an old application I didn't use anymore. Emsisoft classified it as high risk.

The rest of them were also classified as medium and high, but I have no clue.

I eliminated A-Squared years ago because of the false positive problems, and sure enough, first time out of the chute, they seem to be an outlier among a dozen different programs.

Is there an independent site that will allow me to verify any identified risks?

2 years 2 weeks ago Best Free Trojan Horse Scanning And Removal Software windyctyprog

Will do...

2 years 2 weeks ago Best Free Trojan Horse Scanning And Removal Software windyctyprog

Where is the ideal spot to post in the forum?


General Computer Support?

Installation and Usage?

2 years 2 weeks ago Best Free Trojan Horse Scanning And Removal Software windyctyprog


48 weeks 4 days ago Best Free Disk De-fragmenter windyctyprog

I have a question about Defraggler...

I have been using Auslogics Disk Defrag for a number of years, but recently uninstalled it because the length of time to run "defrag and optimize" is now over 1.5 hours, when it could be accomplished in 20 minutes or less for years.

So, I tried Defraggler.

I must be incredibly stupid because I simply can't understand why Defraggler keeps telling me that it is going to take ">1 Day" to defrag.

Even quick defrag tell me that it's going to be 5 hours.

What am I doing wrong?

This morning after running the analysis again, there were 319 fragmented files, 603 MB, out of a 250 gig HD, with 65% free space.

I have yet to complete a defrag because this is completely illogical, it simply makes no intuitive sense, when I keep reading in various forums, including the Gizmo's forum, that it is so quick.

Can anyone please explain this before I uninstall this program?

I have been using 3rd. party defrags for a few years, but I am very flummoxed by recent behavior - I can't understand why all of a sudden these programs are now taking so long to get the job done.

Nothing, and I mean nothing has changed on my system from one update to another, no new software, not in a long time.

48 weeks 4 days ago Best Free Disk De-fragmenter windyctyprog

Are you recommending that I schedule Check Disk?

If so, I just ran it after I uninstalled Auslogics and installed Defraggler.

What is a corrupted mft?

What is mitch permission?

I'm sorry, but I simply don't understand the jargon.

It is not logical that, eventhough Auslogics' optimize and defrag times have increased, that Defraggler takes greater than a day to defrag.

If that's normal, than I'll look elsewhere.

48 weeks 4 days ago Best Free Disk De-fragmenter windyctyprog

OK - will let you know what I find.


48 weeks 3 days ago Best Free Disk De-fragmenter windyctyprog

Thanks for the help...

Chkdsk ran all night, didn't find anything.

Everything is OK, which I knew it would be.

I had just run chkdsk a week or so ago when I uninstalled Auslogics - there was nothing then, nothing now.

Not sure where to next...I am still baffled why Defraggler was taking so long in either mode, quick or full on defrag.

1 year 27 weeks ago Two Excellent Free Mind Map Programs windyctyprog

With the Java issues as of late - I uninstalled Java for the time being both on my desktop and in my browser - I need an alternative Mind Mapping program.

I have been using XMind for years - I need to find an alternative that is not written in Java and that can read the XMind files I have.

Is there such an animal out there?

Thanks, in advance...

3 years 16 weeks ago Help Gizmo Solve a Weird Puzzle windyctyprog


Very astute - I was going to make a similar observation. The date of the 21st. oddly coincides with the release dates of IE and FF.

I run FF 3.6.15, nothing odd as of late, no issues, no problems, either direct to the site, or through the daily email/RSS feed I get.

Nothing is wrong from my perspective.

3 years 8 weeks ago Where Did That Scammer Get Your Email Address? windyctyprog

In the Krebs article and subsequent comments, there was some mention about the social networks and their emerging role as a source for scams.

One of the worst I have seen in recent years is LinkedIn, which nobody talks about.

I have been a member of LinkedIn since its inception, but never quite got over the bad vibe I got from them early on.

Their enabling technology, IMHO, is third rate, their processes and functions so poorly defined that I always thought that they were going to be a huge sieve for information - security is not a priority.

As we know, these networks, by definition, are open societies, so you take your chances anyway.

Turns out that I was correct.

LinkedIn is really just Facebook with another skin and slightly different approach to publishing your personal information, frankly, much more dangerous in its scope.

The year ramp up to their IPO has been a nightmare of spam and hacking - they are a huge source of identity theft, as my IT security colleagues tell me. I also have 3 close friends that were hacked and identities stolen within the past year.

I have had an email account through my ISP for 20 years, and never had a single spam email, not one. I use it judiciously for personal business, and manage it to avoid spam, as much as you can these days, but made the mistake of using it as my LinkedIn go-to email.

Within the past 6 months, I have been deluged with crap.

I started to see a pattern when the Groups I joined started to become overrun with spam, and in turn, my personal inbox, as the timing of their IPO solidified.

LinkedIn won't address this, which I believe is a huge issue that will come back to haunt them in their post-IPO world.

The members of LinkedIn, by and large, won't remain if they feel compromised, to say the least, especially in light of the fact that the owners just cashed out in a huge payday, built on people's professional identities.

I have seen many Group members express their outrage, only to fall on deaf ears.

I resigned from all my Groups, and haven't had any spam in over 5 weeks now.

Lesson learned - takes a while, but I get it.

1 year 4 weeks ago How to Harden Your Browser Against Malware and Privacy Concerns windyctyprog

My experience with Traffic Light and FF21 (also 19 and 20) has been problematic, on balance.

Lately there have been too many instances of unresponsive scripts, the latest, which drove me crazy over the past 24 hours, is:
Script: chrome://trafficlight/content/utils.js:117. I had to disable TL to get FF to run - just froze it completely.

Also, as of late, Traffic Light seems to warn me about specific sites that I know are safe, the NY Times just this morning - there was an article I clicked on from another safe site, The Atlantic, and it kept giving me the warning about an unsafe site.

I trust WOT, also installed in my FF, and it works well with my search engines Ixquick and Start Page.

1 year 4 weeks ago How to Harden Your Browser Against Malware and Privacy Concerns windyctyprog

I did remove it after I wrote the original reply yesterday and my system is back to being very responsive - until the script issues came up big time this week, I didn't realize TL could slow my system down (or paralyze it) to that extreme, until you really think about the process TL goes through.

BTW, I found an additional layer from another Gizmo article this week after I removed TL - this is germane to your comment about another layer of protection.

I added Microsoft's EMET to my security mix, based on an Vic Laurie article here at Gizmo's - EMET gave me that additional layer. Since it is engineered for Windows, it runs very efficiently.

Takes a while to understand how it configures, but worth taking a look at the capability.

My hat off to all these folks at Gizmo's...

1 year 3 weeks ago How to Harden Your Browser Against Malware and Privacy Concerns windyctyprog


1. A year or so ago I played around with Netcraft, an anti-phishing extension for Firefox. Not entirely sure why I removed it, but I suspect for performance issues.

2. I have the "Malware Domains" filter preferences list in AdBlock - it includes a number of phishing sites to be blocked, more added every month. The entire Malware Domains project is one I have been duly impressed with for a number of years.

3. I remember a Mozillazine posting specifically addressing an anti-phishing strategy around four (4) layered components: Secure Login or LastPass; Search Status, which displays Google page rank and Alexa page rank (along with a whole lot of other site information like WhoIs); WOT; and, FormFox, which displays the form action, the site to which the information you've entered is being sent.

I use LastPass and WOT, not sure about the other two(2) extensions.

1 year 45 weeks ago Make Mouse Scrolling Really Easy with this Free Utility windyctyprog

Mouse issues seem to be problematic for me, and I could use some guidance about these utilities.

I currently have MS TweakUI software installed, which includes elements, I believe, similar to their Intellimouse software, which I got rid of a long time ago because it seemed to really foul up mouse behavior.

Additionally, I have the SmoothWheel add-on for Firefox, which seems to generally work OK.

Do the programs mentioned here replace either or both of the utilities?

It would be nice to finally find something that works.

Thanks, in advance...

1 year 41 weeks ago Firefox Extension of the Week (The Best Startpage to Make Your Browsing Easier!) windyctyprog

I have a basic question about this extension...

I have been using Netvibes for a while now, Google forcing iGoogle users to find an alternative.

I am intrigued by this extension for Firefox, however, when it installed, it appeared to stop my Netvibes homepage from loading.

Either it is a coincidence that Netvibes was down (never has been in over 6 months of use), or FVD Speed Dial interferes with the existing homepage.

Once I disabled FVD Speed Dial, Netvibes came back.

Has anyone else had this experience?

This might be a very logical homepage alternative, but if I can't even get to a point of organizing Speed Dial to make it my homepage, then it's useless.

Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but I have enabled and disabled FVD now 3 times, each time it won't allow me to load Netvibes.

Thanks for any help on this issue...

1 year 13 weeks ago Want 100GB Of Free Cloud-Based Storage? windyctyprog


Can you explain something to me about the initial installation?

What is the No-Zoolz Zone folder that appeared on my desktop?

Frankly, this entire process has me more than confused and their documentation/help is disjointed.


1 year 12 weeks ago Want 100GB Of Free Cloud-Based Storage? windyctyprog

Yep, I noticed the same thing this morning when I booted up - it seems to eat up resources.

I have also uninstalled...

Thanks for the reply.

44 weeks 6 days ago How to Remove Ads, Wasted Page Space and Annoying Content windyctyprog


Great article.

I like the idea of getting rid of ABP; I have been using Fanboy's Ultimate list for a long time, including the Tracking, Enhanced Tracking and Annoyance lists, which I like.

I do have a question, though...

If you installed Bluehell, kept ABP, removed the main list and just dded the 3 discreet Fanboy lists, above (BTW, I also use the Malware Domains), would this speed up Firefox, maybe not to the extent that it would by removing ADP completely, but would this help performance to some degree while giving me more comfort?

I tried Bluehell (when it was Hellboy), without ABP about a year ago, but I didn't think it blocked things completely or cleanly.

44 weeks 6 days ago How to Remove Ads, Wasted Page Space and Annoying Content windyctyprog

Thanks for the answer...

The approach I was advocating, above, is to use Bluehell in lieu of the "Big Lists", keep ABP and add short lists selectively to ABP like the Fanboy lists mentioned.

I use WOT, I also use EHH, have for a long, also Pop Up Blocker for ABP - when I ran Bluehell last year, I did use EHH to do what you suggested.

I simply don't have the time anymore to develop a manual list.

I'm going to try my approach and see what happens.

Let you know...

35 weeks 6 days ago Powerful Free Microsoft Security Tool EMET has Been Updated windyctyprog


I do have a question about updates.

I am a long time user of EMET and unless I have missed something all this time, is there an automatic update feature of EMET buried somewhere?


35 weeks 6 days ago Powerful Free Microsoft Security Tool EMET has Been Updated windyctyprog

One comment and one question...

I have been using EMET for a long time...

Downloaded and installed 4.1, and it just slowed my system to a crawl, never happened before.

I uninstalled and reinstalled twice this morning and nothing changed.

I have now uninstalled it.

Question: is there an alternative to EMET?

I run FF25 sandboxed (Sandboxie), MSE and Winpatrol in real time, run a number of on-demand scanners weekly; as I said, used to run EMET.

What might I try in lieu of EMET?

35 weeks 6 days ago Powerful Free Microsoft Security Tool EMET has Been Updated windyctyprog

Will do - thanks...