Sunday, April 27, 2014

Must have softwares for Windows


*UPDATED - July 8 2015*

I am going to tell you the softwares that you must have with you. Have them with you always because once your Windows crashes, you are doomed. You are going to waste your time downloading all softwares. And this is going to cost you money in the form of data. In all, these amount to about 1500 MBs!!! Keep these in two forms:
  • Setups
  • Portable form
None of them require you to be online (except Kaspersky or Avira or some other software while updating).
The names you see seperately need to be downloaded collectively, and not all the listed softwares.


DRIVERS AND PLUGINS


Adobe Flash Player 18 (http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/flashplayer.html) (16.5 MB)

Adobe Shockwave Player 12.1 (http://www.filehippo.com/download_shockwave) (13 MB)

Java 8 Update 45 (http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/jre8-downloads-2133155.html) (28.4 MB)

Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 (https://www.microsoft.com/en-in/download/details.aspx?id=25150) (231.5 MB)

Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.2 (http://www.microsoft.com/en-in/download/details.aspx?id=42642) (66.8 MB)

 

What should you do?


These need to be downloaded anyways in order to increase stability of all the softwares, and your computer.



PROTECTION


Check this article for totally free solution: http://hctechbyte.blogspot.in/2014/10/the-best-security-for-windows.html

OR

Kaspersky PURE 3.0 (900 INR)

OR

BitDefender Total Security 2014 (750 INR)

 

What should you do?


The free solution requires you to download about 270 MB of utility setups. But still leaves you with hassles to worry about. This solution is pretty secure in most cases, but if you want a sound sleep then buy Kaspersky PURE 3.0. BitDefender lags behind a bit in tackling zero-day threats. Zero-day threats are dangerous threats for which not many ways have been found by security labs to tackle, thus providing an easy way to destroy your data, and system files. Kaspersky is the best.



TUNE-UP


Check this article, totally free solution: http://hctechbyte.blogspot.in/2014/08/the-best-system-tuning-suite-for-windows.html

 

What should you do?


Use my free solution. Better than any paid tuning suite like TuneUp or System Mechanic.



PHYSICAL PC CARE


SpeedFan 4.51 (http://www.almico.com/sfdownload.php) (2 MB)

 

What should you do?


It is free and helps you control the speed of fans which are placed inside the CPU or beneath the laptop to not let the processor overheat, especially in summers. Though you won’t care much about it, you would surely get annoyed when you are working on a document or waiting desperately for the climax in a movie when your computer suddenly restarts.



PHOTO EDITORS


Picasa 3.9 (http://picasa.google.co.in/) (16.7 MB)

OR

PhotoScape 3.7 (http://www.photoscape.org/ps/main/download.php) (20.3 MB)

 

What should you do?


If you want easy to use photo editor that does the job for you at one click, go for Picasa. But if you want something not as difficult to use Adobe Photoshop, but want to be able to make major changes in your photo, go for PhotoScape.



PDF READERS


Adobe Reader 11.0.10 (http://filehippo.com/download_adobe_reader/) (72.3 MB)

OR

FoxIt Reader 7.1.5 (http://filehippo.com/download_foxit/) (34.9 MB)

OR

SumatraPDF 3.0 (http://www.sumatrapdfreader.org/download-free-pdf-viewer.html) (4.3 MB)

 

What should you do?


While Adobe supports all the latest PDF standards and opens all PDF documents, FoxIt is very slightly less stable but is much faster in loading times and gives you more options to directly edit a PDF document. If you want a blazing fast reader for PDF files with nothing else, go for SumatraPDF.



OFFICE SUITE


Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 (5,499 INR)

OR

LibreOffice 4.4.4 (https://www.libreoffice.org/download/) (214 MB)

Kingsoft Office 9.1.0.4759 (SEE AT BOTTOM OF ARTICLE: http://hctechbyte.blogspot.in/2015/07/the-best-office-suite-for-windows.html) (60 MB)

 

What should you do?


Go for Kingsoft Office. It is free forever. For compatibility, PPTX saving feature and more features, use LibreOffice as a sidekick. MS Office only gives you legacy document compatibility. Use free Office Web Apps from a free Outlook mail account for that.



FILE ARCHIVERS


WinRAR 5.21 (http://rarlab.com/download.htm) (1.8 MB)

Universal Extractor 1.61 (http://legroom.net/software/uniextract) (5.3 MB)

OR

7-Zip 15.05 beta (http://sourceforge.net/p/sevenzip/discussion/45797/thread/967f51bb/) (1.3 MB)

Universal Extractor 1.61 (http://legroom.net/software/uniextract) (5.3 MB)

 

What should you do?


WinRAR is slightly better than 7-Zip. As of 7Z compression standards, RAR5 is the much improvised version of the RAR format and has better compression and security. It costs $29 only once and all future updates are free. Use Universal Extractor as a sidekick.

 

What is Universal Extractor?


The name itself suggests its job. It actually unpacks any archive file in the universe. And it’s free. Does not support new RAR5 standard since it has not been updated for a long time.



AUDIO-VIDEO CONVERTERS


Check my article for that: http://hctechbyte.blogspot.in/2014/09/the-best-av-converter-for-windows-linux.html

 

What should you do?


Freemake has adopted latest standards but unfortunately doesn't support .DAT conversion which was common in the olden days, especially if you have old video songs. Wondershare comes at a price but is the Swiss Army knife of video converters. It is pretty good but most functionality is same as free combination anyway.



DATA RECOVERY


Check this article: http://hctechbyte.blogspot.in/2014/11/the-best-data-recovery-tool.html

 

What should you do?


R-Studio is undoubtedly the last resort for all your Shift+Delete files and days old deleted documents. But Recuva and TestDisk work in most cases.



DOCUMENT CONVERTERS


PrimoPDF 5.1.0.2 (http://filehippo.com/download_primopdf) (7.11 MB)

UniPDF 1.2 (http://unipdf.com/) (4.2 MB)

Free Document To Image Converter 5.8 (http://www.softpedia.com/get/Office-tools/Other-Office-
Tools/Free-Word-Doc-Txt-to-Image-Jpg-Jpeg-Bmp-Tiff-Png-Converter.shtml) (3.5 MB)

Free OCR To Word Converter 7.6.5 (http://www.ocrtoword.com/download.html) (6.7 MB)

Weeny HTML To PDF Converter 1.4 (http://www.weenysoft.com/free-html-to-pdf-converter.html) (9.3 MB)

XnConvert 1.66 (http://www.xnview.com/en/xnconvert/) (8.9 MB)

 

What should you do?


The paid converters are an amalgamation of these tools, if you can understand. This solution works equally good as any paid document converter with "100% accuracy". So please use the free solution and remove the pirate tag on you. ;)



FILE SHREDDERS


Eraser 6 (http://eraser.heidi.ie/download.php) (8.7 MB)

OR

File Shredder 2.5 (http://www.fileshredder.org/) (2.3 MB)

 

What should you do?


File Shredder is really fast, is free and has a simple interface. It is really easy to use with the right-click option that appears after being installed. Upon right-clicking and erasing some file/folder, its interface will appear very small and fast. Eraser is free, open-source but not the best. It has almost all the standards used for shredding data, which ensures unrecoverable documents. It also has the right-click erase feature but is not fast enough to load and close. The importance of this loading time will be realised at the right time by you if you can understand.



DISK SPACE PARTITIONER


EASEUS Partition Master 10.5 FREE (http://www.easeus.com/partition-manager/epm-free.html) (27.9 MB)

OR

EASEUS Parition Master 10.5 PROFESSIONAL ($32)

 

What should you do?


Go for the free one. It is easiest to use and offers a plethora of options for all your jobs. It is useful in cases when you fall short of space in the system drive yet have unused empty space in other drives. You can actually adjust this empty space to your system drive. But the professional version gives you the option to resize dynamic volumes, and some more options.



INTERNET BROWSERS


Light 38.0 (http://sourceforge.net/projects/lightfirefox/) (19.5 MB)

OR

Google Chrome 43 (http://filehippo.com/download_google_chrome/61859/) (40.1 MB)

What to choose?

Light is a forked version of Firefox minus the bloatedness Firefox officially has now. It is lightning fast, and has same add-on compatibility. Just ensure you DO NOT DOWNLOAD LIGHT 39.0. RATHER DOWNLOAD version 38.0. If Google Chrome is your choice, which apparently should not be due to Google’s spy nature and less security, then... Your way. Your doom.



DOWNLOAD MANAGER


Xtreme Download Manager 5.1.17 beta (http://xdman.sourceforge.net/download.html) (0.6 MB)

OR

Internet Download Manager 6.19 b 3 ($25)

 

What should you do?


Try the free XDM. It downloads files faster than IDM but its integration is weak. For that use FlashGot addon in Firefox and Video Download Helper addon for videos.
The free ones lack in something or the other but can be overcome this way. All future updates are free for IDM, if you choose to pay when you can do the same job in a better way for free.



TORRENT CLIENT


ĀµTorrent 3.4 (http://filehippo.com/download_utorrent/9859/) (1.6 MB)

OR

qBitTorrent 3.2 (http://sourceforge.net/projects/qbittorrent/files/) (12 MB)

 

What should you do?


ĀµTorrent is better as it uses less RAM and processing power, thus letting you do any other heavy task while your torrent gets downloaded. It is also better because its size after installation is about 1 MB only as compared to other clients taking up 30 -40 MB or more, as LimeWire does. Though qBitTorrent takes about 20 MB of space, it eventually is not good for low-specced computers.



DISC BURNING TOOL


CDBurnerXP 4.5.5 (https://cdburnerxp.se/en/download) (5.9 MB)

Bootable Disc Maker 0.1.2 RC3 (http://wiki.gbatemp.net/wiki/GC_Bootable_Disc_GUI) (0.4 MB)

OR

Nero 2014 Platinum ($90)

 

What should you do?


In daily life a user only needs a burning utility that can properly burn data onto your CD/DVD disc. As we know, Nero was into this space before anyone else. But it has become too bloated to use. And in course of time, CDBurnerXP improved. But Nero 2014 Platinum gives you the option to make menu-driven video discs and almost anything you can do with a disc. It even offers editing 4K HD videos.



DISC IMAGE TOOL


UltraISO 9.6.2 Premium ($30)

OR

UltraISO 9.3 PC User FREE Edition (https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B_bJiBJZwr4rVTF6TmQyRkM1RUk) (3.6 MB)

 

What should you do?


UltraISO is the best solution for extracting files out of CDs and DVDs to create image files. Others are not so good. It will not make you feel scouring for more features. The company of this software holds the possession of the standard ISO 9660 format used all over the world.

Use the FREE version. Remember that the following key and name will not work on any other setup other than the one I am telling you here:

Name: PC User readers
Serial: 4BF9-8D1E-1786-30A8

This is COMPLETELY LEGAL NAME AND SERIAL KEY. This was a giveaway by PC User magazine back in June 2009. Get the “uiso93pes.exe” file from this Google Drive page.



DISC IMAGE MOUNT TOOLS


DAEMON Tools Lite 4.49.1 (http://www.daemon-tools.cc/downloads/dtlite) (12.8 MB)

OR

DAEMON Tools Ultra 2.2 (2700 INR)

 

What should you do?


DAEMON is a big name in the industry of image mounting utilities. It works perfectly, easily handles large ISO files and many formats without crashes or bugs. Others fail at being able to handle large files, which is often the case. The free version offers basic features which you would be using in your lifetime, if you are a novice user. The paid version offers creating bootable USB drives, support for VHDs and many more extra features.


MEDIA PLAYERS


VLC 2.2.1 (http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html) (28 MB)

OR

KM Player 3.9 (http://www.kmplayer.com/) (31.3 MB)

 

What should you do?


It is free, supports almost any video format and gives you some professional-level options, like the large zooming, film grain, AtmoLight, rotating video by as less as 1 degree and many more features. No other video player does so much. But KM Player can play any format in the world, even the most redundant formats which were used in the olden times. But that won’t matter except in the extreme cases.

 

CONCLUSION


Download the required software combinations and store them, so that you won’t be searching for anything while reinstalling Windows. And why my opinion is important is because I have tested them for about 7 years by now.

Most reviewers promote their country made products, especially the USA and the UK reviewers. And some established reviewers are paid by the software companies to write good stuff about them.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Repair your computer concise guide

Has your desktop become useless? Are you going to call the engineer? Wait. This post might help you repair your computer.
Problems are often segmented in this way:
·         If computer is not able to power up, problem is with the power supply (or as engineers might say, SMPS).
·         If computer powers up but is not reaching the boot screen load-up, problem is with either the hard disk or motherboard or with loose connections.
·         If boot screen load-up is observed by the user, but is not able to load the operating system (Windows), problem is with the operating system files or the "explorer.exe" or "shell32.dll".

Case 1

You will need to buy an SMPS. So, how to set up this box in your CPU? Let's see in this video. Credits to Vysakh Kodavana.


Case 2

I am going to relate different BIOS chipsets to their respective beep codes.

AMI BIOS

Beep Code
Descriptions
1 short
DRAM refresh failure
2 short
Parity circuit failure
3 short
Base 64K RAM failure
4 short
System timer failure
5 short
Process failure
6 short
Keyboard controller Gate A20 error
7 short
Virtual mode exception error
8 short
Display memory Read/Write test failure
9 short
ROM BIOS checksum failure
10 short
CMOS shutdown Read/Write error
11 short
Cache Memory error
1 long, 3 short
Conventional/Extended memory failure
1 long, 8 short
Display/Retrace test failed

AWARD BIOS
Beep Code
Description
1 long, 2 short
Indicates a video error has occurred and the BIOS cannot initialize the video screen to display any additional information
Any other beep(s)
RAM problem.

Note: If any other correctable hardware issues is found the BIOS displays a message.

IBM BIOS
Beep Code
Description
No Beeps
No Power, Loose Card, or Short.
1 Short Beep
Normal POST, computer is ok.
2 Short Beep
POST error, review screen for error code.
Continuous Beep
No Power, Loose Card, or Short.
Repeating Short Beep
No Power, Loose Card, or Short.
One Long and one Short Beep
Motherboard issue.
One Long and Two Short Beeps
Video (Mono/CGA Display Circuitry) issue.
One Long and Three Short Beeps.
Video (EGA) Display Circuitry.
Three Long Beeps
Keyboard or Keyboard card error.
One Beep, Blank or Incorrect Display
Video Display Circuitry.

MACINTOSH

Tones
Error
Error Tone. (two sets of different tones)
Problem with logic board or SCSI bus.
Startup tone, drive spins, no video
Problem with video controller.
Powers on, no tone.
Logic board problem.
High Tone, four higher tones.
Problem with SIMM.

PHOENIX BIOS 4.X or Q3.07

Beep Code
Description and what to check
1-1-1-3
Verify Real Mode.
1-1-2-1
Get CPU Type.
1-1-2-3
Initialize system hardware.
1-1-3-1
Initialize chipset registers with initial POST values.
1-1-3-2
Set in POST flag.
1-1-3-3
Initialize CPU registers.
1-1-4-1
Initialize cache to initial POST values.
1-1-4-3
Initialize I/O.
1-2-1-1
Initialize Power Management.
1-2-1-2
Load alternate registers with initial POST values.
1-2-1-3
Jump to UserPatch0.
1-2-2-1
Initialize keyboard controller.
1-2-2-3
BIOS ROM checksum.
1-2-3-1
8254 timer initialization.
1-2-3-3
8237 DMA controller initialization.
1-2-4-1
Reset Programmable Interrupt Controller.
1-3-1-1
Test DRAM refresh.
1-3-1-3
Test 8742 Keyboard Controller.
1-3-2-1
Set ES segment to register to 4 GB.
1-3-3-1
28 Autosize DRAM.
1-3-3-3
Clear 512K base RAM.
1-3-4-1
Test 512 base address lines.
1-3-4-3
Test 512K base memory.
1-4-1-3
Test CPU bus-clock frequency.
1-4-2-4
Reinitialize the chipset.
1-4-3-1
Shadow system BIOS ROM.
1-4-3-2
Reinitialize the cache.
1-4-3-3
Autosize cache.
1-4-4-1
Configure advanced chipset registers.
1-4-4-2
Load alternate registers with CMOS values.
2-1-1-1
Set Initial CPU speed.
2-1-1-3
Initialize interrupt vectors.
2-1-2-1
Initialize BIOS interrupts.
2-1-2-3
Check ROM copyright notice.
2-1-2-4
Initialize manager for PCI Options ROMs.
2-1-3-1
Check video configuration against CMOS.
2-1-3-2
Initialize PCI bus and devices.
2-1-3-3
Initialize all video adapters in system.
2-1-4-1
Shadow video BIOS ROM.
2-1-4-3
Display copyright notice.
2-2-1-1
Display CPU Type and speed.
2-2-1-3
Test keyboard.
2-2-2-1
Set key click if enabled.
2-2-2-3
56 Enable keyboard.
2-2-3-1
Test for unexpected interrupts.
2-2-3-3
Display prompt Press F2 to enter SETUP.
2-2-4-1
Test RAM between 512 and 640k.
2-3-1-1
Test expanded memory.
2-3-1-3
Test extended memory address lines.
2-3-2-1
Jump to UserPatch1.
2-3-2-3
Configure advanced cache registers.
2-3-3-1
Enable external and CPU caches.
2-3-3-3
Display external cache size.
2-3-4-1
Display shadow message.
2-3-4-3
Display non-disposable segments.
2-4-1-1
Display error messages.
2-4-1-3
Check for configuration errors.
2-4-2-1
Test real-time clock.
2-4-2-3
Check for keyboard errors
2-4-4-1
Set up hardware interrupts vectors.
2-4-4-3
Test coprocessor if present.
3-1-1-1
Disable onboard I/O ports.
3-1-1-3
Detect and install external RS232 ports.
3-1-2-1
Detect and install external parallel ports.
3-1-2-3
Re-initialize onboard I/O ports.
3-1-3-1
Initialize BIOS Data Area.
3-1-3-3
Initialize Extended BIOS Data Area.
3-1-4-1
Initialize floppy controller.
3-2-1-1
Initialize hard disk controller.
3-2-1-2
Initialize local bus hard disk controller.
3-2-1-3
Jump to UserPatch2.
3-2-2-1
Disable A20 address line.
3-2-2-3
Clear huge ES segment register.
3-2-3-1
Search for option ROMs.
3-2-3-3
Shadow option ROMs.
3-2-4-1
Set up Power Management.
3-2-4-3
Enable hardware interrupts.
3-3-1-1
Set time of day.
3-3-1-3
Check key lock.
3-3-3-1
Erase F2 prompt.
3-3-3-3
Scan for F2 key stroke.
3-3-4-1
Enter SETUP.
3-3-4-3
Clear in POST flag.
3-4-1-1
Check for errors
3-4-1-3
POST done - prepare to boot operating system.
3-4-2-1
One beep.
3-4-2-3
Check password (optional).
3-4-3-1
Clear global descriptor table.
3-4-4-1
Clear parity checkers.
3-4-4-3
Clear screen (optional).
3-4-4-4
Check virus and backup reminders.
4-1-1-1
Try to boot with INT 19.
4-2-1-1
Interrupt handler error.
4-2-1-3
Unknown interrupt error.
4-2-2-1
Pending interrupt error.
4-2-2-3
Initialize option ROM error.
4-2-3-1
Shutdown error.
4-2-3-3
Extended Block Move.
4-2-4-1
Shutdown 10 error.
4-3-1-3
Initialize the chipset.
4-3-1-4
Initialize refresh counter.
4-3-2-1
Check for Forced Flash.
4-3-2-2
Check HW status of ROM.
4-3-2-3
BIOS ROM is OK.
4-3-2-4
Do a complete RAM test.
4-3-3-1
Do OEM initialization.
4-3-3-2
Initialize interrupt controller.
4-3-3-3
Read in bootstrap code.
4-3-3-4
Initialize all vectors.
4-3-4-1
Boot the Flash program.
4-3-4-2
Initialize the boot device.
4-3-4-3
Boot code was read OK.

NOTE: In case of IBM, AWARD or AMI BIOS, beep codes can mean different problems. See their respective documentations.

NOTE: For different AMI, AWARD and IBM chipsets, these beep codes can mean different things. Refer to their respective documentations.

Case 3

Use "System Restore" utility by Windows to recover from this damage. Or reload a new Windows from scratch. How to do it? Let's see in this video. Credits to CorzaVids.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyvUQP86tp0

Use this guide to save bucks for a small party on, for example, success of repairing your computer.