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1  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Top 3 programs you use on: April 04, 2009, 03:51:24 PM
None of the above:

Free Commander

A bit surprised that no-one mentioned VideoLAN (a media player)
2  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Re: Paragon Drive Backup 9 Special Edition For Free! on: April 04, 2009, 03:22:00 PM
There is a new offer to beta test Paragon System Backup 9 with the following benefits offered:

What are the benefits for me?

•       The best report holders will receive FREE registration of Paragon Drive Backup 9 Professional, which includes most Paragon backup and recovery features, also beta testers receive the upgrade assurance to our 10th version soon to be released.                                                 
•       Every beta tester will receive 50% discount on Paragon Software products (e-shop)
•       A great opportunity to be involved in discussions with Paragon Product Managers
•       Our great thankfulness!

The one thing that prevents me from doing this is that they want you to have one partition (FAT or NTFS) on your hard drive.  I wonder how many people who are knowledgeable enough to beta test a drive backup program would have only one partition?  Forgot to post the link: Paragon
3  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: What's your preferred File Manager on: March 28, 2009, 06:55:38 PM
If you like AC Browser plus, you might be interested in the option to alter the menu entries to suit your habits/taste better.  You can go to the subfolder: International\English\translation.ini.  Open that file in a text editor and you can change the menu entry text.  There are still a couple of items that cannot be edited in this way, but I found the odd English of the original menus a bit annoying.  This is where you would create a translation file for an unsupported language if you were so inclined - some details are in the file header.  I like some of the tools for file management, but the shortage of ways to invoke external editing software is a drag.  I found the lack of hotkey customizability not to my taste, so I was taken with the ability of Free Commander to make whatever hotkey you like work for the operation of your choice.  Free Commander also allows you to use the built-in viewers or invoke an external viewer like Universal Viewer (a Total Commander connected program - uses several TC plugins).  You can also specify programs to open a user-defined list of file types for editing (F4 key - or whatever hotkey you want to use).  Free Commander also has a portable version, but one warning, the .ini file is not the same as the non-portable format, so you have to enter your customizations separately for each - you cannot just copy the .ini file to transfer settings.  I am a keyboard fan and with the navigation keys definable to keys that make sense to me, I am in 7th heaven!
4  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Best Free Software - PC Mag on: March 28, 2009, 05:35:50 PM
For those interested in PC Mag's take on good free software, see: PC Mag Review
5  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: What makes software 'good'? on: May 17, 2008, 12:11:07 AM
The one thing that I appreciate is the ability to customize the interface.  Arrange the menus/hot keys/toolbars to suit my own peculiar logic.  Failing that, visual cues and meaningful descriptions that prompt the user in the use of the software are good.  Then too, following common usage for common functions is only natural. (I'm still pissed at M$ for not using Ctrl+Q for the exit shortcut when it introduced Win 3.0 - I mean have you tried to do Alt+F4 without looking, and that combo is just so obvious a choice for that function it leaves me gaping!)
6  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Best free firewall for Windows? on: March 11, 2008, 12:08:41 AM
It's not that NOD32 and firewalls don't co-operate, it's just that you have to choose between firewall control of your outbound connections and NOD32 filtering of the source programs.  The proxy setup for NOD32 means that you only see NOD32 as the source for connection requests in your firewall.  That makes it impossible to write firewall rules restricting connections.  You may want to have NOD32 in control of the connection, but you lose the firewall's filtering ability.  You can also choose to restrict NOD32 filtering to certain types of connections - email and browser say - but you then do not inspect the other connections for bad guys sneaking in or out.
7  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Best free firewall for Windows? on: March 07, 2008, 05:52:24 PM
I've been spending time getting to know Comodo Firewall, and I like it a lot, but it does have its drawbacks.  What's to like?  Well it is probably the best firewall for dealing with malware.  Leak test results are better than almost any other firewall - free or not.  The HIPS means that the firewall will survive shutdown attempts from any source.  It is also configurable.  That is also one of its drawbacks.  You have to get friendly with writing application rules for both the firewall and the HIPS component to get the most out of it.  There are a number of applications that have to be hand-configured to work - like games, xBox units, VPN's, torrent clients, and a bunch of others.  It also has fairly light resource usage by comparison to others.  That said, it still has a lot of rough edges.  There are still a couple of applications that don't work well with Comodo's firewall.  NOD32 in its current incarnation uses a proxy to filter all the web pages email through its on-access scanner.  That means that all the connections appear as originating from NOD32, so there is no firewall filtering of connections as a result.  There is also a problem with a MS VPN connection involving Outlook - something that is more due to the way Outlook handles the connection (proprietary bonding protocol - trust MS to do it their own way) than anything else.  The thing to bear in mind is that their firewall is only 3 months out of beta on a complete version change (2.4 to 3.0).  I would advise anyone interested in trying it to install the HIPS.  It does take a few days of training to reduce the alerts to a reasonable level, but the extra security makes me feel more secure.  You can always put the HIPS into training mode for a few days if you are happy that you are not infected.  That keeps it quiet while it learns your normal usage patterns.
8  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: program to kill established tcp connections: suggestion? on: December 04, 2007, 03:40:03 PM
If you know the process name, you can kill the process using pskill from sysinternals: http://www.microsoft.com/...als/Utilities/PsKill.mspx - but I can't promise that the TCP connection is dropped as well.  The post above for curports does offer a close command line.  See: http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/cports.html
9  DonationCoder.com Software / Post New Requests Here / Re: IDEA: File lister on: November 14, 2007, 12:04:21 AM
Looks like a winner!  I have determined that it was a false alarm, but a tool for comparing file listings (I'll let excel find the differences) is a great way to discover hidden rootkit files.  Thanks again!
10  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Does reliable PC security have to cost money? on: November 07, 2007, 10:46:30 PM
Hi y'all - There is a new tool that looks really powerful as well as being free.  Comodo Firewall is in the process of beta testing a new version.  It has one of the best Firewalls available already (the XP firewall has really dismal test results) and they are adding a Host Intrusion Protection System (HIPS) to it.  It can configure itself for programs that Comodo has on record as signed applications (10,000+ according to them) and you can define programs as safe yourself for stuff you run that isn't signed.  You can control an application's rights for internet access, disk writes, keyboard control, monitor, control, process modification and more.  The charming part about it is that it prevents unknown applications from even starting a process in memory without your approval.  This means that you have to know enough to recognize when a rogue process is trying to do something odd, so that you don't just automatically approve it.  It also means that there is a time when you have to put up with queries about your software as you run programs that CFP has not encountered before, but I have been beta testing the newest version for about a week and the pop-ups are rare except when I install new software.  There is an "installation mode" that allows you to do an install without a dozen pop-ups and a messed up install, but you have to tell it that the installer is actually an installer and permitted to make a bunch of changes.  It also has a series of configurations that promise to make it usable for novices, but that takes all the fun out of it!!  It is still a beta, but getting nearly ready for release candidate status.   I think that this warrants keeping an eye on.  The firewall forum is at: http://forums.comodo.com/comodo_firewall-b50.0/ and the front door is: http://www.comodo.com/  There are a few other goodies there, but the only ones I can suggest are V-engine (web site verification) and BOclean.  They also offer free personal email security certificates.
11  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Do I need another anti-virus/malware program or am I paranoid? on: November 05, 2007, 12:05:15 PM
There is a new Comodo firewall in the pipeline - v3.0.10.238 beta 4 and likely to be a release candidate by early next year.  In addition to one of the best firewalls, it has a component that monitors processes that attempt to start and prevents unrecognized processes from running without your permission.  The program learns your software and the normal processes in a short time (well a week or two), but you have to clear a list of "questionable" processes - most of which result from your using unrecognized software.  You can assign it to the Safe list, quarantine it or just remove it from the list.  I have found that it picks up a fairly large number of temporary files that I never knew were being created before.  You can also grant or deny permissions to individual programs (to connect to the internet, write to the HD, alter other processes, control the keyboard or monitor etc.)  It is a really powerful and customizable program for the advanced user and it has automatic modes that would suit less savvy users.  It is fairly light in resource use but it is known to be incompatible with Spyware Doctor, and possibly other process monitoring AV type programs.  As a free offering, it is a real treat.
12  DonationCoder.com Software / Post New Requests Here / Re: IDEA: File lister on: November 03, 2007, 01:26:21 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions.  I had the idea that there was a problem due to three things:  a new piece of software reported .dll's that were supposedly in the C:\documents and settings\Admin\Local Settings\Temp folder that I did not find when I looked using Explorer - so I thought it might be stealthed .dll's.  I ran Ice Sword and did a log and reboot but that program failed to start up after that due to an initialization error, so I was starting to worry.  I found nothing with Process Explorer, but a well-stealthed root kit might not show with that.  I then ran Rootkit Revealer and found two keys with embedded nulls and a key that Revealer could not access.  I booted with a PE disk and looked at the \Temp folder again and saw a .dll file, but with a different name than the ones reported before.  I  tried using the Regdelnull (Sysinternals) file on the registry and used the remote registry editor to look at the result.  Well, the inaccessible key turned out to be a SCSI driver key, with an owner name that was a long string of numbers.  I could not delete the key, but I was able to edit the key's values and I renamed the .sys file that it pointed to (no SCSI connections on my system, so I was not worried).  The owner string probably refers to a system ID for SCSI devices, but I didn't need to take the chance that it was dangerous, so I nuked it.  Turns out the file was harmless according to Virustotal's scan.  The keys with embedded nulls are apparently legitimate??!!!  If you see a Rootkit Revealer report that shows:
as keys with embedded nulls, they are probably not a problem (although a rootkit that used those keys would be a real problem, because Regdelnulls doesn't touch it).  After a few more checks, I think that it was a false alarm, But I was beginning to think that I had an unknown rootkit, especially when I had crash problems with Sysinternals' Autoruns when I referred listed items to Process Explorer.  Anyway, thanks again, especially for your suggestion jgpaiva.
13  DonationCoder.com Software / Post New Requests Here / IDEA: File lister on: November 02, 2007, 12:46:45 AM
I know that this is fairly trivial - boring even - but let me explain the purpose.  With a list of files on the hard drive, you can discover RootKits.  First, run the lister under your normal boot O/S.  Then boot to a C/D or key drive and run it again.  RootKits stealth their files so that they are not seen by normal scans by AV programs, but that means that they do not show up on a normal file list.  But, if the same list is created using an O/S that is not infected from a CD or key drive, the files will be on that list.  Ideally, the list would be in the form Drive:\Directory\\FileName.Ext and the list would be saved as a text file.  In a perfect world, the utility would have the ability to compare the lists and generate a difference list.  I seem to have picked up a fairly mean rootkit somewhere - it has crashed IceSword and prevented the new Comodo Firewall from completely installing.  I have also had trouble running Sysinternals' Autoruns, so I will have to do this in a fairly elementary fashion.
14  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: XP or Vista user — take the poll! on: October 31, 2007, 01:51:17 PM
XP for me!!  I bought my first new computer in six years in 2006 just to be sure that I would not have to be saddled with Vista.  I had been happily using Win98 but the threat of built-in DRM and the enormous overhead that it requires spurred me into action.  The video drivers for video cards have become gigantic - one set of drivers for an nVidia board was as large as the NT 4.0 o/s.  It is no wonder that the Vista systems are slow with that kind of overhead.  The Vista components are now written in "modules".  There are 6 (I think) video modules, of which 4 are concerned with security.  The size of the o/s is another problem.  There is no way that the o/s code can be grown by a factor of eight without a performance hit.  As for the security of the o/s, it is a bit different from XP, so it will take a few months for the hackers to catch up.  From my recent reading, all that it means is that rootkits will be written in User mode rather than Kernel mode to circumvent the User Account Management feature.  All this wonderfulness is costing us money.  When there is a huge coding overhead for Vista drivers, hardware manufacturers will add that to the price of new hardware.  In addition, because of the performance hits, we will have to buy better hardware to enjoy the same performance.  Add this to the generally user-unfriendly approach of Microsoft - limited installs of the software you have actually paid good money for - activation on only one machine, ever, meaning that if you upgrade your hardware, your o/s may no longer work - and you can count me as a no for Vista, and a vote for XP only because there is not a better choice without having to learn Linux.  Every time I think about Vista, I come back to Linux.  I may go there yet.
15  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: New version of Process Explorer available (11.03) on: October 28, 2007, 12:00:46 AM
When you download the Process Observer file, you will see a few video links at the side of the page.  There is a seminar by Mark Russinovitch on Advanced Malware Cleaning using this software.  You need a file player download called Silverlight to view it (looks like MS is after Flash Player), but it is really an interesting (I really need to get out more) tutorial on the capabilities of Process Observer.  It is an hour and twenty-some minutes long, so be forewarned.  The link to the clip's page is:
I don't know if clicking on this page will invoke the option to download Silverlight, so you may have to search for that if it does not offer itself when you go there.  Knowing MS, the page will automatically scan your HD and KNOW that you don't have it installed.
16  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Re: Paragon Hard Disk Manager 8 Free! (exp Nov 4) on: October 27, 2007, 09:58:32 PM
To quote their "download" page: A plugin so you can use this tool in UBCD4Win is in our download.
This would be the download of UBCD4WIN on http://www.ubcd4win.com/downloads.htm
I don't know if this plug-in is a recent addition to their package, but you can always download it fresh from the page listed.
17  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Paragon Hard Disk Manager 8 Free! (exp Nov 4) on: October 27, 2007, 05:03:21 PM
Go to: http://www.computeractive.co.uk/hdmanager8/index
Ignore the first line and click on "Click here to register your product".  Then download the file (23 Mb on disk).  This is an older version but a great deal for the price.  It also can be built into UBCD4WIN with a supplied plug-in.
18  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / GiveAwayoftheDay on: October 03, 2007, 05:06:12 PM
StarBurn - a CD/DVD burning suite that includes Blu-ray and HD-DVD and a number of authoring and copying tools is today's GAOTD.  It looks pretty good from the quick perusal of the reviews, and you can always uninstall it - it doesn't cost anything if you don't like it. smiley
19  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Microsoft patches applied - EVEN WHEN AUTOUPDATE IS OFF on: September 27, 2007, 12:10:29 AM
The stealth updates work because the update program is a "trusted" program.  I am having second thoughts about that.  Also, I recently noticed a web site that was being contacted at bootup that appears to be some web content provider called Akamai (the dotted web addresses are hardly logged at all in google, so I had to do a whois to find any reference to them).  I still don't know who has contracted out their services to Akamai, because the initiator only showed as scvhost.  Trustworthy they may be, but I don't like strangers accessing my system - and possibly different ones from time to time - these guys are doing this work on contract from someone.  I have some questions about how secure their systems, software and personnel are.  If I had to guess, it might be M$, just because they have a history of unloading anything to do with servicing customers.  It seems a bit high-handed when they "loan" you the software, and then give any service company access to your computer.  I begin to wonder if I want to have software on my computer that makes my security system look like a seive (I am making a bit of a leap here, but whoever is giving this kind of access without my permission is looking for trouble).
20  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: A new technology for optical discs on: September 23, 2007, 03:37:34 PM
I once saw an estimate (admittedly about 10 years back) that the entire library of Congress could be stored in about 3 Terabytes.  The only problem is getting the data onto the disk.  Optical scanning is still far from 100% reliable and entry by hand would take decades or even centuries for proper data verification.  Then there is the question of retrieving information hidden in such a vast haystack.  Hopefully, the creators of disks with such capacities would index the information somehow.  You've heard of RoboHelp?  Well we need a RoboIndex function.  Google Desktop Search?  Maybe an index based on GDS could be included with the disk?  I recall seeing an announcement that a prototype of the terabyte disks would be available by early next year.  Unfortunately, it can only hold 300 Gb! 
21  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Is the Windows start menu dead? on: September 23, 2007, 12:36:11 PM
For me the Start Menu is a bit like a catalogue.  There are programs in there that I use so infrequently that I don't remember their names.  Being able to look at the icons and file names lets me visually sort through the stuff I have in storage.  I have made a bunch of categories that help finding programs and I have extracted the useful executable onto the category's top level, with the program's install folder given a number for the rare occasions when it is useful (so as not to conflict with initial key navigation of the menus).  I also have a number of commonly used programs that are accessed via the initial keys.  (winkey), p, o, e launches Excel.  I don't use Excel every day, but often enough that I remember the shortcut.  Likewise there are a bunch of top-level entries that are there right away: (winkey), 1 opens my browser; (winkey) 2 opens Nero; (winkey) 4 opens my password manager and so on.  If for some reason, I want to open my video editing software (I haven't used it other than to explore the interface a couple of times) I can open programs and video and see what's in there.  Look at the attachment for my setup.  Please ignore the first image.  For some reason the screen capture utility didn't see the Start Menu, so I had to do it the hard way (printscreen and paste etc)
22  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: AHK Help anyone? on: September 23, 2007, 12:10:46 PM
Does anyone have a basic reference for ahk scripting concepts.  The help file is nice, but I have trouble doing anything more complex than creating hotkeys mainly because I really don't know basic concepts.  The wiki on ahk is really incomplete and I have a few really basic projects that I can't make happen despite trying several plausible approaches.  I don't want to have you all writing trivial scripts for me, so if you know of a useful resource - even a different language that shares concepts with ahk - I would be grateful.
23  News and Reviews / Official Announcements / Re: September 2007 Software Discounts and Giveaways on: September 22, 2007, 10:02:06 PM
Buffer Zone @ 30% off???

     Welcome to Trustware online store!
Special Limited Time Offer - Save Up to $19.95 Per Unit!
Following the release of our new website, we offer our visitors up to 50% discount on any BufferZone Pro unit including 1 year of free maintenance and Support:

Is that on the half-price offer, or are we supposed to pay more than visitors to their web site??? Grin
24  DonationCoder.com Software / Post New Requests Here / Re: Idea: Multiple Start menus on: July 31, 2007, 04:38:58 PM
VistaStartMenu looks promising.  So does the True Launch Bar, but I have currently eliminated the Quick Launch bar to allow more room for the Taskbar to show open windows.  VistaStartMenu looks like it can be configured to open menus and have enough sections to accommodate about 260 entries.  In combination with the regular Start Menu, that should make life freer of the layers of sub-menus that you get with the regular Start Menu.  I have not used it yet, so there may be hidden treasures to be found!  Thanks for your input - searching on Google was not doing it for me. cheesy
25  DonationCoder.com Software / Post New Requests Here / Re: Idea: Multiple Start menus on: July 30, 2007, 04:33:52 PM
Sorry, but my tray is messy enough without another icon and possibly a few menu icons as well.  More important, for me, is that it does not work with key strokes yet - especially for invoking the different menus.  My desktop is occupied with current projects and reminders of recent discoveries, so having the menus stay open after use would be a nuisance.  I am somewhat more at home with the keyboard, so I would be much happier using keys to open and navigate the launch menus than using the mouse to find and open the menus.  Keyboard invocation of the menus would also avoid having another tray icon - or four.  My current Start Menu has about 500 entries in it.  It is fairly well set up now, but you can see that there is room for better sorting of the entries, especially since I have not yet implemented web address access via the Start Menu.
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