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Article title Time posted Postersort descending Comment Link
Free Windows 10 for Mac and Linux Users? 5 years 10 months ago v.laurie

In this post, Greg Keizer comments:

Still, the lack of clarity about many questions related to Windows 10 at this late date is disturbing, although not rare for Microsoft. At times the company seems entirely unable to come clean about its policies.
Computerworld, for example, installed the 10130 build from a disk image onto a new VM on a Mac -- not as an upgrade from one equipped with Windows 7 or 8.1 -- and although it was marked as "Windows is activated," that may not last.
Free Windows 10 for Mac and Linux Users? 5 years 10 months ago v.laurie Personally, I would not upgrade immediately. There is no rush. When Windows RTM comes out at the end of July, I suspect it will still have bugs. Let the dust settle for a couple of months and see what people are experiencing. If you are happy enough with Windows 7, you might even want to wait until it is time for you to buy a new computer. Then you can get Windows 10 already installed. Upgrades can be a hassle. view
Free Windows 10 for Mac and Linux Users? 5 years 10 months ago v.laurie Yes, I saw that and updated the article a little while ago. Thanks. view
Free Windows 10 for Mac and Linux Users? 5 years 10 months ago v.laurie You are right, of course. Thanks once more. view
Free Windows 10 for Mac and Linux Users? 5 years 9 months ago v.laurie Microsoft has recently stopped new enrollments in the insider program. Whether they will re-open the program is unknown at this time. view
How to Get a Windows 7 Start Menu in Windows 10 5 years 9 months ago v.laurie Windows 10 will bring back some features of AeroGlass built in. view
This Gem Of A Freebie From Microsoft Creates Panoramas From Video Or Stills 5 years 9 months ago v.laurie

There was an article about this program a few months ago:

How to Make Your PC Safer by Uninstalling Flash Player 5 years 9 months ago v.laurie The article is clear that removing or keeping Flash is up to the individual user. It says, "It is time to assess whether you should keep it." If you need it, that's your choice. It's clear that systems without Flash are more secure and the article gives ways to uninstall Flash for those PC owners who decide that they do not need Flash. If you want to keep Flash, that's your decision. view
How to Make Your PC Safer by Uninstalling Flash Player 5 years 9 months ago v.laurie

Several of the comments ask questions about HTML5. HTML5 is the current standard markup language for web sites. Among other improvements, it contains support for multimedia. All modern browsers support it although Internet Explorer is not fully compliant. That means, for example, that video can be displayed seamlessly on web pages without any need for plug-ins or special APIs. The browser does the work of display. The PC user does not have to install anything extra. Many sites, including YouTube, are using HTML5. For more information, there is a Wikipedia article here:

How to Make Your PC Safer by Uninstalling Flash Player 5 years 9 months ago v.laurie Usage patterns vary. I know many people who almost never need Flash. Your figure of 60% Flash reflects your particular interests. Also, anyone who uses mobile platforms will see far less Flash. Almost any web site that is designed these days is using HTML5. It is the current standard. view
How to Make Your PC Safer by Uninstalling Flash Player 5 years 9 months ago v.laurie

If you need to use sites with Flash, then you might want to use a browser that has a plug-in or extension that lets you selectively enable and disable Flash. For example, NoScript for Firefox will let you block Flash except for the specific sites you want to use. There are also a number of general security suggestions in this article that are worth looking at. Also, be sure to update your Flash player every time Adobe releases another security patch.

Added later: Flashblock is another Firefox add-on. 

Who Should Upgrade to Windows 10? 5 years 9 months ago v.laurie

As I understand it, you don't have to install the upgrade as soon as it is downloaded to your system but can install later. Others are asking similar questions and some answers are at this Microsoft site

How to Get Your Previous System Back After You Have Upgraded to Windows 10 5 years 8 months ago v.laurie I haven't actually done it but I think you should be able to go back to Windows 7 with your system image. You probably have to do it with a bootable USB key or DVD since I suspect the image won't work directly from Windows 10 but I could be wrong. Be sure your PC will recognize whatever medium you are using. Another thing I don't know is how activation will work when you try to downgrade after the 30-day period. Your Windows 7 license is converted to a Windows 10 license when you upgrade. Microsoft licensing is always murky so it is conceivable that you might have to do a telephone activation. view
How to Defer Installing Updates in Windows 10 5 years 8 months ago v.laurie

You are right, Joe. This tool is of limited use but I thought it should be pointed out. Microsoft needs to come up with something better. Although (as you pointed out in the forum) those who have the Pro version of Windows 10 can use the Group Policy Editor to block updates, owners of the home version are up the creek if Microsoft botches an update.

Free Windows 10 Training Videos 5 years 8 months ago v.laurie

Rob, I confess I am puzzled by your request. I have recently written a number of tips about Windows 10. They cover a variety of topics and also include a list of articles to get more information.

Are Recent Patches to Windows 7/8 Letting Microsoft Spy on You? 5 years 7 months ago v.laurie What is the source of your "understanding"? Do you work for Microsoft? Could you please document the exact purpose of the updates? Can you tell us what the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) actually does? How does the "experience' of a customer get "improved"? Wouldn't monitoring what the customer does be necessary in order to "improve" their experience? Labeling concerns as FUD without explanation is not helpful. Instead you could do the PC community a service by making it clear for average users what these updates are for. And no - vague terms like CEIP are not an explanation. view
What to do if you Reserved a Windows 10 Upgrade but Changed Your Mind 5 years 7 months ago v.laurie The upgrade is certainly optional. As the title says, this article applies only to those who reserved a copy of Windows 10 back in earlier days. If you reserved a copy, Microsoft assumes you want it. If you didn't specifically reserve a copy, you may be nagged to upgrade but nothing will be downloaded unless you agree to it. view
What to do if you Reserved a Windows 10 Upgrade but Changed Your Mind 5 years 7 months ago v.laurie

Well. it seems I was wrong to assume that Microsoft would not download Windows 10 unless you indicated you want it. It has been reported that anyone who gets Windows updates automatically may get Windows 10 downloaded to their system whether they asked for it or not. It doesn't get installed but it takes up a lot of space.

Increase Your Privacy by Turning off the Diagnostics Tracking Service in Windows 7 5 years 6 months ago v.laurie I should have mentioned that not everybody installed the Windows updates that created the service. They seem to have been KB 3075249, KB 3080149, and KB 3068708. You may have avoided them. Thanks for reminding me that not everybody will have the service. view
Increase Your Privacy by Turning off the Diagnostics Tracking Service in Windows 7 5 years 6 months ago v.laurie This sort of thing always requires administrative privileges but I have added a note to the article as you suggest. view
Five Useful Tips and Tweaks to Make Windows 10 Run Better 5 years 6 months ago v.laurie The build shown here is the stable build that everyone on the regular track has. If you are an insider you got build 10565 today. It does have a somewhat different start menu. view
Use This Free Spybot Utility to Block Microsoft Monitoring in Windows 5 years 5 months ago v.laurie

The home page for the program says, "Spybot Anti-Beacon comes in two flavours; as a standard installation or as a Portable Edition compatible with PortableApps." Can you give us a link to the stand-alone version 1.5?

Added later: OK, someone has pointed out the section on the home page called "Safer-Networking Download Section", which I overlooked.

Use This Free Spybot Utility to Block Microsoft Monitoring in Windows 5 years 5 months ago v.laurie Yes, it's done. view
Optimizing Bittorrent Clients for Speed 8 years 1 day ago v.v

I changed internet service recently..Now I have 512 kbps connection.
My previous connection was 256 kbps. and in torrent it used to give down speed of 60 kbps.
However for new connection I am not even getting down speed of 60 kbps.. :(
Is it a problem of my connection or do I need to delete cookies or something. If that is the case does anyone know how to do that?
I always make sure that seeds to peer ratio is high..
on download speed is . 0.51 Mbps upload speed is 0.21 Mbps.

Can anyone help?

The last time upgraded my connection from 128kbps to 256kbps my torrent speed incresed from 30kbps to 60kbps.

Best Free File-Based Backup Program 4 years 11 months ago V12RR

Downloaded the Comodo software but the website is degenerate. You cannot create a User Account - just loops back to the Sign In Page... contacting Comodo is also difficult and when you do they just say there nothing we can do?

Does not deserve 5 stars!

How To Change The Windows 8 Background Colour 6 years 5 months ago v85michele

I Changed the color as indicated on both
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\Colors.
But every time I hibernate the PC (Win 8.1) the windows go back to white background, only the log-off log-on actually works.
I tried changing the color even in all the HKEY_USERS but nothing changed.
Any idea?

How To Change The Windows 8 Background Colour 6 years 5 months ago v85michele

I did find a way to keep the colors, have no image at all as desktop background, pretty soon we'll go back to dos, sure pc would be faster.
Thanks Microsoft..

How To Change The Windows 8 Background Colour 6 years 5 months ago v85michele

No, again every windows goes back to white after a screen lock or PC hibernate, only the logon gets the wanted color.
Any idea how to make the system reconsider the colors in the registry without having to close every program and logoff?

Windows 10 Editions and Upgrades Announced 5 years 11 months ago valcoff

Do they know what the W10 will cost after the year has come and gone?

Best Free Remote Access Software 7 years 2 months ago VAM

Like many on here I used teh free version of LogMeIn for many years and now find myself looking for another provider. Can anyone make a suitable recommendation please? My requirements are:

1 Simple remote access of my home pc, from my laptop and/or ipad when I'm away from home
2 Unattended access of my home pc
3 Just need simple access to my documents etc on my home pc. Don't need options to print to local printer, file share etc
4 Speed and smooth operation is important. I don't want to wait several seconds for a responce after clicking mouse
5 Free
6 Easy set up

There seems to be so much on the market and as I'm not the most IT literate, any help would be appreciated.

Best Free Antivirus Software 5 years 2 weeks ago vandamme

Your "download" button for Comodo is actually the link to Avira.
Also, there's a separate page for Linux antivirus.
I'm not so sure there's really any point because Linux is so virus-resistant anyhow. But it's good to see Tux getting some love.

Best Free Income Tax Filing Software and Service 6 years 3 months ago vandamme

If you need to file a state tax e.g., New York, TaxAct's "free" suddenly jumps to $18 because you need the "Ultimate" bundle, fees, addons, yadda yadda.

Best Free HTML Editor 6 years 4 months ago vandamme

I tried Quanta Plus; I'm sure it's very powerful but it sure isn't user friendly.

So I've gone back to SeaMonkey. It doesn't look like it's changed in ten years. Whether that's good or bad you decide. It makes better code than LibreOffice.

Best Free Audio Editing Software 7 years 4 months ago vandamme

I still think OcenAudio beats Audacity, most of the time. Better set of tools, and smaller download. I just installed the latest version on LinuxMint, piece of cake.

Best Free Audio Editing Software 6 years 10 months ago vandamme

I just did this with a cassette tape of our choir. I connected my cassette player into the line in of my pc, and recorded it to one file (didn't need to babysit it, just let it run). I opened the file and by zooming in I can see where songs begin and end. I highlight what looks to be one song with the mouse and copy and paste that one song (and a little extra) to a new file. I trim it to just the right length, apply any filters etc. then save as a mp3 and wav file (for CD).

I used OcenAudio on LinuxMint, but Audacity should work the same way.

Best Free Audio Editing Software 3 years 10 months ago vandamme

I have a bunch of old PZM mics, and they pick up everything. Their main claim is they don't pick up reflections from nearby floors or table tops, so there is no strange comb-filtering effect that puts nulls in your frequency response. (That Media College blurb misstates this effect as "reverberation", which is way different.)

What you want to reduce extraneous sound is a directional mic. Cardioid is usually the best you can get in a cheap mic, but unidirectional ones have tighter patterns. A paraboloid reflector is better yet, for faraway sounds (think bird calls). But usually you will get the best sound by putting your mic as close to the source as possible. Use a clip-on mic or headset-mounted.

Best Free Video Editing Program 4 years 3 months ago vandamme

The free version of DaVinci doesn't run on Linux.

Best Free Disk Space Analyzer 6 years 4 months ago vandamme

You forgot the Linux versions!

KDirStat is the program that WinDirStat was cloned from. And, naturally, you don't have to worry about trojans in that.

Baobab is a Gnome app that comes with some distros, like Mint. It's also called "Disk Usage Analyzer". After searching around Gismo's in vain, I discovered I already had it.

Best Free Genealogy or Family Tree Software 6 years 4 months ago vandamme

You have to watch where you get software when you run Windows. Get it right from the Gramps Project, not a "freeware site". And antivirus programs have a lot of false positives.
I run Linux, and usually get apps right from the distro repositories so I know they're clean.

Gramps is probably the only open source genealogy program, so deserves support. It runs great in openSUSE (KDE based) and Mint (Debian/Ubuntu/Gnome3 based). No fooling around with Wine or VM.

Best Free Genealogy or Family Tree Software 6 years 4 months ago vandamme

Gramps is up to version 4.1.1. I found some bugs in ver.3 and I see they've been fixed.It's in the repositories of openSUSE and Ubuntu so install is quick & EZ in Linux.

Best Free Genealogy or Family Tree Software 6 years 3 weeks ago vandamme

Every genealogy propgram will import and export to a GEDCOM file. I imported my dad's Roots Magic GEDCOM file into Gramps and it worked great.

You will run into trouble if you start saving data that isn't included in the GEDCOM scheme. Proprietary formats could include sources, images, recordings. Those are fine as long as the company stays in business and you want to pay what they ask, but if you share the data with someone else they probably won't have the same program. If you use Excel (or the open source LibreOffice Calc) you will have your own format to sort out.

Gramps seems to be the only real open source genealogy program. It is better than the old PAF from the Mormons, and has a ton of capabilities. I back it up in their format, but also back up occasionally in GEDCOM.

Best Free Genealogy or Family Tree Software 6 years 3 weeks ago vandamme

I sent in a minor bug report to Gramps and they came right back replying that they fixed that bug in the latest version. So they are moving quick and actively developing and polishing.

And it runs natively on Linux for when you outgrow Windows... ;-)

Best Free Genealogy or Family Tree Software 6 years 3 weeks ago vandamme

I went to the Orba Design site and opened up their template with LibreOffice Calc, and it worked fine. But I didn't try their converter.

I found out that GEDCOM was started by the LDS and just kind of grew from there, with some companies making extensions to it for various things.GEDCOM is text based, but others like Excel and LO spreadsheets and Gramps's are XML. There's no standard, or official sanctioning entity to evaluate new formats or features and make them standard. Us engineers have the IEEE, which is why your wireless card works with your router.

Best Free Genealogy or Family Tree Software 5 years 1 week ago vandamme

"I tried to use Gramps but this can only show the parents for every individual, that is definitely not what I want."

Not sure what you're trying to do here, but if you go into the View-->Configure menu, you can set up Gramps to show all kinds of weird stuff, like vertical up/down (like or a descendent fan chart (which can show hundreds of people in a small area). It just has tons of capability.

Best Free Genealogy or Family Tree Software 5 years 1 week ago vandamme

Interestingly, Gramps uses Graphviz to show charts. Scribus also has a plug in. Haven't tried.

Gimp works on images, not vectors or databases.

Graphviz isn't in my Mint repository, so haven't tried that either. Getting late anyhow....zzzzz

Best Free Genealogy or Family Tree Software 5 years 1 week ago vandamme

You can change the chart to vertical, different direction, fan chart, etc. by going to View-->Configure. The fan chart is pretty cool, you can see hundreds of people at once.

The Reports menu has lots of different things that are produced with a Graphwiz plugin. It should be installed, so you just hit a button and it makes a chart in SVG format that you can manipulate using a vector graphics program.

You can install plugins pretty easily, and there's a bunch of them at . Maybe some of them will do what you want. Like this?

The wiki has support for new users. Probably the place to go for help.

Best Free CAD Computer Aided Design Program 5 years 8 months ago vandamme

How about FreeCAD?

Best Free Software for Linux 8 years 1 week ago vandamme

XnView is a great photo editor. Fast, easy, yet powerful.

Best Free Software for Linux 7 years 6 months ago vandamme

Flowblade video editor deserves a look. An updated version came out recently. It looks slicker than OpenShot but easier than AviDemux.

Best Free Software for Linux 7 years 1 month ago vandamme

Video editors: PiTiVi is improving quickly and deserves a look. KDenLive has always been reliable for me. OpenShot is easy and quick, kind of like Windows Movie Maker (except it works).

Best Free Software for Linux 6 years 9 months ago vandamme

Haroopad, an interesting HTML editor. It was reviewed favorably on last Sunday's Linux Action Show from Jupiter Broadcasting. I haven't tried because I usually use a WYSIWYG editor, but it looks useful.

"... Haroopad is a markdown enabled document processor for creating
web-friendly documents. You can author professional-looking documents of various formats: blog posts,
slides, presentations, reports, email and more ...":

Best Free Software for Linux 6 years 9 months ago vandamme

Ooops. One of these days I'll figure out how to find stuff here.

Best Free Software for Linux 6 years 8 months ago vandamme

Variety is a newer wallpaper changer that I like better than Wally, Wallch and others. It also can show quotes, clock, and is highly configurable and tweakable. It wasn't in the Mint repository (the non-functioning Wallch was, though); you have to search for it, add the ppa, then install. Three lines in the terminal, but worth it. Runs on all Linuxes. Written by Peter Levi, so find his page.

Best Free Software for Linux 6 years 3 months ago vandamme

LIOS (Linux Intelligent OCR Solution) is a one-stop OCR solution. It interfaces with a scanner, camera, PDF or image file, runs an OCR using the Tesseract or Cuneiform OCR engines, and saves the text in multiple formats, including reading it aloud in a robot voice. It sounded good, and there's a .deb package (there's also rpm packages), so I installed easily it in my Mint 17.1 by clicking on the downloaded package.

The OCR engine worked fine on whatever I threw at it with few errors, except for a 30 year old dot matrix print. Unfortunately, the program itself tends to be a "work in progress"; I haven't been able to export to PDF or text, except by highlighting text and cut-and-paste. Some of the other buttons will simply crash it.

The version I tried, 1.9.2, was released December 8, 2014, and version 2 will be releaased "soon", so this bears watching because it shows promise.

Best Free Software for Linux 6 years 3 months ago vandamme

Variety wallpaper changer has been updated to 0.5.0 beta (works pretty good though). It has a ton of features, but the new version features collaboration between users at . I haven't figured out how that's supposed to work, though. There doesn't seem to be a lot of "variety" among the wallpapers so far. I guess I'm a different kind of geek.

Best Free Software for Linux 6 years 2 months ago vandamme

i-nex gives an impressive amount of hardware information displayed in an easy to read format.
I couldn't install the stable version on Mint 17.1 because of dependencies, but the daily version installed and ran well.

Best Free Software for Linux 6 years 3 weeks ago vandamme

pulseaudio-equalizer is a multiband audio frequency equalizer; a super tone control. It needs to be on your multimedia page because it took me 2 hours to find it. You can install it in Debian variants (I have Mint 17.1) by cuttin' and pastin' this into a terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pulseaudio-equalizer

The whole sad story of why it's missing from distros is here:

Best Free Software for Linux 4 years 5 months ago vandamme

Unfortunately FileZilla Secure is "under development" for Linux. The question I have is, is the original FileZilla in Linux susceptible to hacking?

Best Free Software for Linux 11 months 4 weeks ago vandamme

This looks like a GREAT app. You can easily multiboot any ISO, just copy them to a flash drive. The install looked much easier than easy2boot (which I never could get to work). Unfortunately it needs Linux kernel 5.4 to read the exFAT format where you put the ISOs. Sigh. So I guess I have to download the new Ubuntu just to do that!

Best Free Online Applications 4 years 6 months ago vandamme

Maybe I missed it, but how about listing some good WebRTC sites for video chat? Maybe a whole article on replacing Skype or other video teleconferencing software? The only ones I know off the top of my head are and sylaps, but there are scads of others.

Best Free Media Center Software 5 years 5 months ago vandamme

I don't see any discussion of Universal Media Server.

Security Software That Will Wow You. I Guarantee. 7 years 10 months ago vandamme

"Nobody is listening to your phone conversations" says President Hopey-Changey. True, but they have computers that can recognize your words and sort them into key phrases for further analysis.

What Else Have You Just Downloaded? 4 years 12 months ago vandamme

The best solution is an operating system that maintains a repository of clean software, and is itself malware resistant. Microsoft Windows is not it.

Try Ubuntu MATE. You get an "app store" with descriptions and ratings, one click install, and regular updating (when and how you want it). Not to say the other 200 Linux distributions are not good, but Ubuntu MATE is probably the best place to start for a new user, right now.

Best Free Specialised Web Browser 6 years 6 months ago vandamme

Kidzui looks like a plugin for Firefox; at least that's what it tells me (I'm running FF on LinuxMint).

Want 100GB Of Free Cloud-Based Storage? 8 years 2 weeks ago vandamme

Their "Sign Up" button has no link...?

Want 100GB Of Free Cloud-Based Storage? 8 years 2 weeks ago vandamme is a new Dropbox-like cloud that gives away 5 GB. You can also get an additional 5 GB per friend who signs up. Or enemy, doesn't matter; they get the 5 GB too.

I'm up to 25 GB. Here's my link, so you can get your extra 5 GB:
[edited out. referral links not allowed]

Want 100GB Of Free Cloud-Based Storage? 7 years 11 months ago vandamme

I went to Zoolz and tried to sign up, and these are the lies Zoolz told me:

"Linux Soon

Oops! We've noticed that you are on a Mac, we are working 24/7 to release it. It will be out April 30, 2013"

...along with a frowning "Mac" icon. I question if they are truly working 24/7.

Well, I went to a SugarSync features request forum where crowds of Linux users gather to complain fruitlessly about no support, and posted my referral link to (where I get 5 GB for each referral). So, I'm up to 125 GB on I uploaded two hours of home movies and due to the slow upload speeds of our cable, it took all night. But at least it works great on Linux, like UbuntuOne and Dropbox.

Want 100GB Of Free Cloud-Based Storage? 7 years 10 months ago vandamme

Zoolz must have gotten their million free users, because now they're pay-only, and aimed at business users. And no mention of Linux client. Maybe they're still "working on it 24/7".

How To Choose A Strong Password 7 years 11 months ago vandamme

I wonder how a dictionary attack would work against a password that's a combination of Flemish, Malagasy, Latin and Hawaiian words?

Eight PDF Files You Don’t Want to Open 7 years 11 months ago vandamme

Moral of the story: don't run Windows.

How to Keep Google from Putting Your Name and Picture in Their Ads 7 years 6 months ago vandamme

This is why I use DuckDuckGo for search.

Five Things that Every Windows PC Owner Must Do 7 years 3 months ago vandamme

If you get hit with the CryptoLocker trojan, all your attached storage (network, extra HDD or flash drive) will be locked. But you can backup to an ext4 formatted drive which Windows can't see, and so it will be safe. Any Linux OS can read or write it it.

So why not just use Linux instead of Windows? You don't have to do any of the things in the list above, except backup your data. You keep your OS backup on the disk you loaded it from, and you can reinstall it in 15 minutes with no keys or licenses needed.

Five Things that Every Windows PC Owner Must Do 7 years 3 months ago vandamme

You have the original Linux OS on a CD, DVD or flash drive, right? Slap that sucker in, hit "Install on the entire disk", and you'll format the whole disk to (probably) Ext4 format and install Linux. Your data, your malware, your Windows, and your worries will be toast.

If you don't have experience loading Linux or don't have the original disks, download Ubuntu, Mint, or Zorin and follow the instructions for burning to a disk.

Then, load your backups and get back to work. But scan files before you email or transfer anything to a Windows PC, because it might have malware on it, even though it won't run on Linux.

If you install Windows after Linux, your Linux OS won't work anymore, because Windows is too stupid to recognize it.

Five Things that Every Windows PC Owner Must Do 7 years 3 months ago vandamme

Most of the big antivirus companies have an online scan that Linux users can use to scan a file before we send it to a windows user (one we haven't converted yet). I guess it would be improbable unless you copied a whole directory or one file you got off an email from a Nigerian prince or Russian p0rn site.

Keep This Bootable CD Handy For Troubleshooting 7 years 2 months ago vandamme

I like Rescatux because it's a small download, yet contains a complete operating system. I use it to restore bootloaders and erase windows passwords.

A Free Screen Recorder That's Unbelievably Small 7 years 1 month ago vandamme

Simple Screen Recorder works pretty well.
You can record the whole screen, a window, or an openGL object, plus audio.
It's in most Linux distro repositories, so it's clean.

Changing from Windows XP? Free Help with Migrating Files and Settings 7 years 1 month ago vandamme

Plan B (not mentioned by Microsoft):

Copy your data files onto a flash drive or portable hard drive (which you should do anyway).

Install Linux.

Copy files back to your /home directory.

Get back to work. Elapsed time: half an hour or so, plus backup time. Cost: whatever the backup cost you.

If You're Using Windows XP You Need To Read This 7 years 1 month ago vandamme

I've successfully converted machines to Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Bodhi, openSuSE, and Puppy. At work I collaborate with guys still stuck on Windows 7 or XP, no problems. My 7 year old machine with Mint Cinnamon does all I need to do (presentations, movie editing, Gimp).

So don't complain about buying new PCs or how terrible Windows 8 is. Pay up or convert to Linux. You have a choice.

Hasta la Vista, Microsoft!

Still Got An XP Machine? Turn It On Now. 6 years 11 months ago vandamme

"Buy Windows 7 or buy a new PC" is what Microsoft wants you to do. Well, I took off their handcuffs a couple years ago and haven't looked back. Zorin, Linux Lite, or Mint will look most familiar to XP users and are easy to install.

Compose Music Directly On Your PC. No Paper Required 7 years 4 days ago vandamme

MuseScore is a blast. I used Finale for many years, but I finally converted to Linux.

In other news, LMMS has finally reached version 1.0.0. So I can write scores, and render them.

Create Reminders On Your Desktop. No Software Required. 6 years 11 months ago vandamme

Clever (works in Linux too, of course). But I'm addicted to Tomboy Notes.

The Best Photo Viewer I've Seen In Years. And It's Free. 6 years 10 months ago vandamme

I like digiKam and showFoto, which does about the same thing. They came with my openSUSE but there are versions for those who haven't converted to Linux yet.

Another Program To Check For Software That Needs Updating 6 years 10 months ago vandamme

Thanks for reminding me why I use Linux. It updates all my apps safely and easily.

Control Two PCs From One Mouse With This Freebie From Microsoft 6 years 10 months ago vandamme

What's the latest Linux equivalent? x2x was first developed in 1996. I wonder what happened to it.

Is Your PC Updating Correctly? Are You Sure? 6 years 9 months ago vandamme

My operating system updates itself PLUS all my installed apps, does it on my schedule, asks politely, and tells me what each one does (if I really want to know). And that's why I switched from Windows to Linux.

If You're Using Windows Remote Desktop You Need To Read This 6 years 9 months ago vandamme

I use Remmina on Linux to RDP into Windows or Linux PCs.

How to Replace Windows XP with Linux for Free 6 years 9 months ago vandamme

Does clonezilla do what you want to do? I just used it for my dad to copy a failing hard drive contents to a new HDD, Windows 7 and all. And I put Zorin on the extra space hoping he'd try it out!

How to Replace Windows XP with Linux for Free 4 years 5 months ago vandamme

If they're 32 bit machines, I usually put Lubuntu on them. Some had 256MB RAM, and those need to have the "alternate" installer, because the fancy "new" installer of Ubuntu won't run in that, even though Lubuntu will. Xubuntu is another good choice.

I find that using Windows is painful, because of all the menus full of useless garbage. That's why people ended up putting lots of shortcuts all over their desktop, so they can find them! I use Mint mostly, and the menus are a couple nested steps to get the app you want, or just type in the name if you know it. Ubuntu MATE is another easy to use one.

CDRoms are getting rare, so I usually put ISOs on a flash drive (1-2 GB if you can find them forgotten in a drawer). Bodhi and Puppy should fit on a CD. If you go to Distrowatch's Search page and search on "old computer" you'll find a few choices. Flash drives are easily reused when a new version comes out.

Everybody has their favorite distro, or several. I usually suggest a Debian variant to the noobs. Elementary, Zorin, Mint, Lite. Put it on a stick, have your victim boot off it and try it. Money back guarantee. Make SURE their favorite card game is on it, and their favorite wallpaper, and they'll be happy.

Don't throw away all those peripherals that won't run on newer Windows. They'll probably run on Linux!

I looked at React, but it's so last century. Ugh. I occasionally run Wine but almost everything I need is already in most distros, or easily installed from their repos.

My first PC at work was a 8086. Leading Edge D, with a full 640K RAM and a COLOR screen, I was hot stuff.

Tips and Tricks for Linux Mint after Installation [Mint 17 to 17.2 - Cinnamon Edition] 5 years 6 months ago vandamme

That's too many versions to upgrade. Better off saving all your data (you do that anyhow, right?) and nuke it. I just keep a list of apps and install new versions after upgrading. Download the latest Mint, install in the partition that had the old Mint. If you have a separate /home partition you won't even have to reload your data. This avoids a lot of problems, in fact Mint used to insist on reloading for every new version, but now you can upgrade one level at a time.

Deeper into the Windows Registry 6 years 9 months ago vandamme

Great article. I wish you had written this ten years ago. The registry is one of the reasons I converted to Linux.

Deeper into the Windows Registry 6 years 9 months ago vandamme

That would really be painful.

Four Ways to Make Windows XP Systems More Secure 6 years 8 months ago vandamme

5. Unplug from the internet. Use XP for the rest of your or your PC's lives, whichever comes first. Good alternative for stand-alone machines; let's face it, you're not getting any more updates.

6. Run XP in a virtual machine with a safe OS such as Linux as host. Bonus: start using more and more cross-platform apps, and soon you will not need XP. If you install Zorin, Mint, LinuxLite, or ElementaryOS, you will soon wonder why you loved XP so much.

7. Use another PC to log into the XP machine over a secure net, using a remote desktop app like Remmina or Teamviewer.

Try This Alternative File Manager And Explorer For Windows. It's Free. 6 years 6 months ago vandamme

Multiple panes is a feature that, after you get to use it, you wonder how you got along without it. I used XYPlorer in my Windows days and it's great. (Now I use Nemo on Linux Mint, or Dolphin on openSuSE.)

How to Join the Microsoft Insider Program and Get a Trial Copy of Windows 10 Preview 6 years 6 months ago vandamme

Why be an unpaid beta tester for Microsoft? I'm open source now.

Forget Windows 10. Try Out Windows 1.01 Instead! 6 years 6 months ago vandamme

No caps lock, so you can't get the : to work. That's OK, I've seen enough! (shudder)

Your first advice is good though: "Forget Windows Ten"! I'm on Linux and I'm not looking back.

Two Amazing, Yet Different, Examples Of Computer Graphics 6 years 6 months ago vandamme

Don't miss the "making of" Animator IV, link at the end of it.

...And Relax 6 years 5 months ago vandamme

I need uplifting, not calming. Our local radio station ( is presently playing Mozart's Coronation Mass ....

Revisit all those Games of the Past at the Internet Arcade 6 years 5 months ago vandamme

My wife just found a Simon game in the cellar, and now the grandkids want to play with it! You get to move your hands instead of just your thumbs. And the colors on the top look like the new Microsoft logo, isn't that a throwback?

How to Get a Free Installation Disk for Windows 8.1 6 years 5 months ago vandamme

The way I partition my machines is by using one partition just for my data. I keep each operating system and its programs (and its potential troubles) in its own partition. when upgrade time comes along (or I just want to try something new), I put the new OS in its own partition. 60-80 GB is plenty, leaving me 300 or more for data. I have 4 OS's on my laptop and choose between them at bootup, and access my data from any. (Well, except windows, which I rarely use; the data is formatted ext4 which Windows can't read, but I could have formatted it so it could.) If I have a problem or want to upgrade, I just write over that OS with a new live disk. Almost all Linux OS disks are free to download, so there's no reason not to burn one and try it out. Zorin, Mint, or Ubuntu are great for beginners.

This Superb Online Photo Editor Is Free To Use 6 years 5 months ago vandamme

It has some interesting tweaks, but they don't explain what some of them do so you just have to play with them. The integration with Dropbox and other cloud services is interesting. It would be handy if I used a Chromebook but I'll stick with DigiKam and Gimp.