Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Four (Software) Freebies

Folks, I recently became aware of some software titles you may want to check out, as they are (currently) free, and they seem useful.

I do not know anything about these companies or these titles. I have not tried them out, nor even bothered researching reviews (I don’t review software any more), except to see if the websites are safe (they seem to be) and if there’s major scam complaints (I didn’t see any).

So here you go:

* Protect System & Data in Windows PC and Server with FREE Backup Software
AOMEI Backupper 1.6

  • One-click backup your system drive to ensure system security
  • Backup disk & partition, create disk images and clone hard drive
  • Support Windows 8/7/Vista/XP and Server 2003/2008/2012 (32/64-bit)

Also from AOMEI, Partition Assistant Standard (formerly Home Edition)

Completely FREE for Private and Commercial Use

Hunting for an easy-to-use software to fix hard disk partition problems for Windows OS? AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is the right one for your PC, guaranteeing you get the full features for creating, resizing, deleting, merging, splitting partition and more… “

Next up are two PDF tools from, that are being given away in a “social media” promotion (aka the “buying Facebook ‘Likes'” game). They are available for Windows, Mac and Linux

Users who enter can get not one, but TWO PDF software programs for free: Able2Doc PDF to Word Converter 7.0 and Sonic PDF Creator 3.0.

Able2Doc accurately converts PDF images and text to Word and Open Source formats, while Sonic PDF Creator offers advanced PDF creation and editing options. Put together, they form a full featured package of PDF conversion and creation software.

Each PDF tool is valued at $49.95 retail price, but to get both for free users will only need a Facebook and Twitter account. Here’s how it works:

· By Liking our Facebook page, users will get an Able2Doc download code to unlock a full version of the software.

· When they Like the page, users will also get a timed pop-up dialog with directions for getting Sonic PDF Creator via Twitter” You can check out the details here.

So .. there you go.

And, I’m curious..

Today’s quote:For a gallant spirit there can never be defeat.” ~ Wallis Simpson

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

September 30, 2013 Posted by | computers, file system, free software, PC, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A couple of software reco’s

It’s kind of odd.. but since I went into semi-Retirement, I’ve been busier than ever.

I have been reminded recently that a couple of free software utilities I use, well, I cannot recall if I’ve ever mentioned them to you guys… as they are rather Geeky (aka not “for everyone”).

* First up is a file copy/transfer utility. TeraCopy isn’t anything fancy, it just makes Windows work like it should, when working with big copy/transfer jobs. It’s free for personal use.

One of the most common complaints about newer versions of Windows is the slow copying speed, especially when transferring lots of files over the network. If you want to speed up your copying or if you regularly transfer large amounts of data and have to stop the process to perform some other disk-intensive task, this program may be just what you need.” Check it out here.

* Next up is a “boot disc”. Now, most of you will not ever have call for a boot disc, or need to know how to use one, but if you know what they are, and don’t know about UBCD4Win, well I suggest you take a look.

UBCD4Win is a bootable recovery CD that contains software used for repairing, restoring, or diagnosing almost any computer problem. Our goal is to be the most complete and easy to use free computer diagnostic tool.” Check it out here.

One of the things I use the UBCD4Win most often is to make “images” (backups/”clones”) of a hard drive using DriveImageXML, but you do not need to use a boot disc to take advantage of this free disk imaging/archiving tool. (It is a ‘standalone’ app that’s been bundled onto UBCD.)

DriveImage XML is an easy to use and reliable program for imaging and backing up partitions and logical drives. Image creation uses Microsoft’s Volume Shadow Services (VSS), allowing you to create safe “hot images” even from drives currently in use. Images are stored in XML files, allowing you to process them with 3rd party tools. Never again be stuck with a useless backup! Restore images to drives without having to reboot. DriveImage XML is now faster than ever, offering two different compression levels. ” Check it out here.

Today’s quote:Everybody ought to do at least two things each day that he hates to do, just for practice.” ~ William James

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

June 4, 2013 Posted by | advice, computers, file system, free software, Microsoft, networking, PC, performance, software, tech, Vista, Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Changes Coming To SkyDrive – Act Now.

Those of you who are using the Microsoft “Live” online file storage service (called “SkyDrive”) should be aware that important changes are being made due to general service improvements — changes that will effect you, unless you act soon.

Up to now, SkyDrive gave you 25 Gigabytes of free storage — but that is being cut down to 7 GB’s, unless you “claim” more. You can keep getting 25 GB’s for free, or purchase even more space. Here’s what you need to do:

First, sign into your “Live” account (such as, Hotmail), and go to your SkyDrive (or, click here and sign in).

Click on the blue “claim your free 25GB”..

And click one of the “upgrade” option buttons. The top button “upgrades” you back to the free 25GB level.

(I believe you want to click these things soon.. like, now. Particularly if you are going to be “sharing” movies and/or music files.)

I like SkyDrive, and the recent improvements, and coming improvements, make this a hard service to beat for easy file sharing, syncing, and online access across devices.

“Think about all of the different devices you use every day. Wouldn’t it be nice if your files came with you, whether you’re on your phone, Mac, or PC?

When you use SkyDrive, you’ll never be without the documents, notes, photos, and videos that matter to you. Store anything on your SkyDrive and it’s automatically available from your trusted devices—no syncing or cables needed.” Read more..

*     *     *

Related: I hope you didn’t think Google was going to sit still …

* Free storage for you! Google Drive to arrive today

Google’s new cloud-storage service has arrived. It comes with 5GBs of free storage and up to 1 Terabyte of storage for paying customers. Read more..

*     *     *

Today’s quote:The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

April 24, 2012 Posted by | file system, Google, Internet, Microsoft, News | , , , | 15 Comments

How To Customize Your Save/Open Shortcuts Sidebar

Whenever you Open or Save a file in Windows, a standard ‘dialog box’ appears, which has shortcut locations on the left “sidebar”. You can easily customize these locations to add or remove folders/places to best suit your personal usage habits.

For example, I never use the “Public” folder, nor do I do music on my PC (other than listen to Spotify), and I cannot recall ever, in decades of using a computer, wanting to Save As something to my recent searches list — why have those in my sidebar?
I do however, have certain ‘go to’ locations I would like see listed..

Here is the how-to tutorial for customizing the shortcuts:

1. Open a dialog box (either a Save As or Open dialog will work).
2. Right click on some white space in the locations on the left pane and select Open Favorite Links Folder. (or navigate to: “C:\Users\your User name\Links”.)

You will now see the “default” shortcuts listed (these are ‘shortcuts to’ and not the actual locations, and so it is safe to delete them).

3. Add or remove shortcuts as desired. (A quick way to access your folders, so you can ‘drag and drop’ them, is to ‘expand’ the folders list.)

To continue my example, I will delete (or, drag to the Recycle bin) the shortcuts in the main pane: Music, Public, and Searches (as I don’t use ’em ever).

For some reason.. Public tried to re-appear, so I ‘deleted’ it a second time.. to make it ‘stick’..
I then located the two folders I most use (Desktop and Downloads)

4. Right-click on the folder you wish to add, and drag it into the main ‘pane’, let go (release the click) and choose Add shortcut here.

Your changes should take effect immediately, as you can see by the new icons in my sidebar.

(Yes, Desktop is there twice now.. but my change is the icon on top, which means it will always show, even if my dialog box is scrunched down to tiny size)

If you make mistakes, or just want to go back to the standard (aka ‘default’) list, repeat Step 1, but choose Restore Default Favorite Links.

Today’s quote:Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” ~ John Muir

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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January 9, 2012 Posted by | advice, computers, file system, how to, Microsoft, PC, software, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows 7 | , , , | Leave a comment

Where Did That File Go?

How To Find Your Misplaced Downloads and Files

Recent conversations have me believing that some of you are still occasionally “losing” documents, and wondering where that download you just downloaded went to. You are sure you “Saved” your work.. but now that work is “gone”.
I won’t comment on that (it is almost 2012) … but the following can help you “find” your stuff.

Downloads/”Online”: First thing to know is that your computer, when dealing with “online” material (like webpages and email) by default puts the various elements into several “temp” folders¹ (as it doesn’t know if you are just visiting, or trying to copy).

  • If you – chose “Open” (or, Run) at the download prompt, the file remains in that “temp” folder¹.
  • If you – chose “Save“, by default the file will go to your Downloads folder – which in XP is in your My Documents folder; and in Vista/Win7, is in your User folder.

So start by looking in those places¹.

Where your browser saves downloads to is a Setting you can adjust (if you should like someplace other than the Downloads folder). Go to the Tools menu and click Options (or Internet Options).

I have set my browser (Firefox) to always put my downloads on my Desktop. There I can easily find them, and then “drag ‘n drop” them to where I want them to permanently reside. You can “browse” to a folder of your own choosing; or set it to always ask you where the download should go. (Click OK to make your changes ‘stick’.)

¹ Yes. But which “temp” folder? Read on..

Files on your hard drive: It is a little different when you know the file you are looking for has been Save-ed to your computer, but now – when you need it again – you find it is not where you expected it to be.
perhaps you weren’t paying careful attention.. or just clicked Save, instead of Save as.. or, a lot of time has passed.. or..

The tool for locating files on your computer is a “Search tool” (sometimes called a “desktop search”) — which comes built-in with Windows. Or you can download and install a more powerful “desktop search”.. but start with what you have.

If you remember the name, or part of the name of the file, enter it in the Search pane, and press Enter. This should produce a list of all the files on your hard drive that contain the same letters as what you entered, and hopefully locate your ‘missing’ file. If not, you will need to apply some ‘more advanced’ Search tricks (um, er, I mean, techniques). My How To for that is here: Where Did My File Go?

Bonus: If you are unsure of the difference between Save and Save as please read this.image

Today’s reco: WOW! Free Software for Video Editing, Audio Converting, eBook Converting, Burning Discs, Archiving and to Keep You From Getting Pregnant

“What do you get when you take a hamster and mix it with FREE software?  You get HAMSTERsoft : ) ” Read more..

Today’s quote:Failure seems to be regarded as the one unpardonable crime, success as the all-redeeming virtue, the acquisition of wealth as the single worthy aim of life. The hair-raising revelations of skullduggery and grand-scale thievery merely incite others to surpass by yet bolder outrages and more corrupt combinations.” ~ Charles Francis Adams

(Love that word.. “skulduggery“.)

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

October 27, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, file system, how to, Microsoft, PC, tech, Vista, Windows, Windows 7, XP | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tip of the day (really a “reminder”) for your Friday

There’s just something about Fridays that you gotta love.  :-)

We humans simply must have some light at the end of the tunnel, or we will flag, sag, and eventually quit trying. Friday (for most of us) is that light — the end of the work week is not only in sight, it’s mere hours away!

And Friday for a lot of us (me too… when I was younger) means that we will “go out”; we will “celebrate”; we will eat, drink, and (maybe) dance with friends, co-workers, and complete strangers. We will make merry. A joyous break in the routine.

Friday means the weekend is here. Isn’t that a magical word? “Weekend”. (I smile just thinking it.)
Sure, the weekend isn’t all fun-and-games.. there’s lawns to mow, and cars to wash-and-vacuum, and a “Honey-Do list” a mile long, and grocery shopping.. there’s church, weddings to attend, children’s birthday parties, friends-who-need-help-moving-to-a-new-apartment and,.. have you cleaned out your gutters yet?
Weekends are never long enough.

So today is Friday and it feels like Spring is here.

Here where I live, we’ve had several warm sunny days in a row. So.. the other day I gave my car a bath. Washed all the grime away. Guess what? It rained hours later.
Is that cliche, or what?

OK, this is a “tech” site..
Tip of the day: Springtime means Spring Cleaning (and pruning.. and planting.. and gutter-cleaning..) and so I am going to remind you that your computer needs an occasional cleaning too. (Nice transition, eh?)

1) Get rid of the dust and lint: Dust and lint can reduce your computer’s performance, cooling efficiency, and even cause fatal short-circuits.
* For desktop PCs, unplug your computer’s powercord from the wall and open your computer’s case so you can see all the neato circuitry inside. How, exactly your case opens will vary with make/model, but it is usually a side panel, and the side panel is held in place with two thumb-screws (the manufacturer’s website will have instructions, also).
Once the case is open, use the techniques I described in my recent printer maintenance article to remove the built-up dust bunnies. Pay special attention to air venting areas (and screens), such as by the power supply. (And, be careful and be gentle.)

* For notebooks, your cleaning is going to be a little different: you will want to get all the debris from out from under your keyboard keys, as I describe in this article. And you’ll want to wipe down your screen with an anti-static cloth (which may may require the slightest [just a drop or two.. in one corner..] moistening with plain water.

2) Get rid of disk clutter: Empty the trash that accumulates on your hard drive for a leaner, meaner file system. Fortunately there’s a one-button tool for that in Windows,

So let’s get busy and do some “Spring Cleaning”.. and don’t forget to notice the flowers.

Source post: 3/14/08

A little “preventative” care and maintenance goes a long way. I hope you will follow through (especially you folks whose PC sit on a carpeted floor) and make your machine happy. Happy machines run better!

Today’s free download: A great CD/DVD/Blu-ray authoring tool, Ashampoo Burning Studio 6, allows you to create easily installable backup archives (across multiple disks), handles most music formats, copies DVDs, and works with .iso files. Possibly the best free alternative to Nero.

Today’s quote:Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.” ~ Samuel Ullman

Bonus (for reading this far): The 20 most useful Android smartphone apps of 2011

Jason Hiner provides his list of the top 20 tried-and-true Android smartphone apps that are worth your time to download. Read more..

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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September 16, 2011 Posted by | advice, Android, computers, file system, free software, how to, mobile, PC, performance | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments