Posts Tagged 'Windows'



Vivaldi – A New Browser – FreeFile Review

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vivaldi-logo

 

Vivaldi is a new browser, from the people who were responsible for the Opera browser. It is currently a technical preview, not a finished product. It can run on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

What Vivaldi does well –
Render pages – Vivaldi does an excellent job in rendering web pages. I found no issues on how pages were displayed. The user interface is customisable with some innovative features – some good (a Tools Panel that can be displayed on either side) – some not so good (History is a trash can icon near the minimize/maximize/close buttons). A Notes app with a Screen Capture tool is included in the Tools Panel.

Now, the bad news –
Most of the issues I had were mostly minor annoyances, however, when one spends so much time in the browser, little problems become major issues. The browser will not open to the home page; it opens to the last page viewed. The Bookmarks Panel does not remember settings (scroll down the bookmarks, go to another panel, and when you return to the bookmarks, it is back at the top of the list). Inconsistency – some items require a double-click to activate, others activate with a single click. The Screen Capture tool can only be activated by creating a new note; Screen Capture should be a stand-alone tool in the Tools Panel. Support for extensions is promised, but it is not available now.

– – – – The Bottom Line – – – –
Vivaldi shows promise, but it is not ready yet. With security being so important, I cannot recommend an unfinished browser. Perhaps someday, Vivaldi will be a top-notch browser, but today is not that day.

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com

PhotoDemon – FreeFile Review

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PhotoDemon-logo

 

 

PhotoDemon is yet another simple photo editor. It is, in a word, basic; in my opinion, too basic. It is for Windows only.
What I like about PhotoDemon –
It’s portable – no installation needed – just unzip and launch. The Quick Fix bar has Clarity and Vibrance adjustments along with the basic color adjustments. Very nice. It comes with a large collection of high quality filters. Most of the filters have relevant adjustments. Layers are enabled, but with few features. All of the standard color and lighting adjustments are available. All adjustments are on sliders.
Now, the bad news –
As with most free photo editors, the selection tools are basic and lacking. There is no Healing Brush or Clone Tool, so spot corrections and spot adjustments are not practical. There is no Text Tool.
– – – – The Bottom Line – – – –
To make simple adjustments to photos, or if you are really into filters, PhotoDemon is a good choice. The nice selection of filters is the only reason to consider this program.
Download PhotoDemon HERE

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com

Understanding the Blue Screen of Death (Infographic)

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ReviverSoft.com produced an infographic that gives basic information about the dreaded BSoD, the screen that completely baffles most Windows users. Now, it can be somewhat less mysterious.

Read the infographic HERE.

 

Easy Context Menu – FreeFile Review

FFR-WP-logoEConMenuEasy Context Menu adds several useful options to Windows context (right-click) menus. Basically, it puts some of Windows most useful tools just a right-click away. It may not be for the casual Windows user, but it is simple enough that anyone can use it. It is Windows only.

Easy Context Menu requires no installation; just unzip and run. Its simple interface is has seven sections – five for the various context menu types and two for additional sub menus. Adding menu items is very easy. Simply select the check box for an item and click the ‘Apply Changes’ button (green plus sign/mouse icon), and the item is added to the context menu. Options for each item include show/hide an icon for the item, enable shift-click, and to position the item top/middle/bottom on the context menu. Right click the item (in Easy Context Menu’s window) to edit these options. The two sub menus are very useful. One, has the shut down options from the start menu. The other sub menu, System Tools, allow you to select up to 14 tools to be on one sub menu. Tool options include : MSconfig, Control Panel, Sticky Notes, Clipping Tool, RegEdit and more. A favorite tweak of mine is hidden under the Tools menu. It allows the removal of arrows and “Shortcut to” from all shortcuts.

– – – – The Bottom Line – – – –

Easy Context Menu performed flawlessly on Windows 7. If you enjoy tweaking Windows, Easy Context Menu is an excellent tool.

Download HERE – scroll down, look for white “Download” button<br />
or direct download from SnapFiles.

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com

 

FastStone Image Viewer – FreeFile Review

FFR-WP-logofaststoneFastStone Image Viewer does what is expected (browse for images, edit and convert them) plus some things not expected. Standout tools include a screen capture tool, batch rename and convert, a slideshow builder, and a very nice clone/heal brush. It is Windows only. A portable version, that needs no installation, is available.

FastStone Image Viewer offers two distinctly different user interfaces. One is a traditional windowed layout. The other one is Full Screen, which displays images full screen, with menus and toolbars available as pop-outs that only appear when your mouse is moved to the edges of the screen. I found the Full Screen mode too distracting and switched to the windowed interface. Switching back and forth is easy through toolbar buttons or Settings menu. I was most impressed with the image editing tools. There are all the standard image and color adjustments as well as curves and levels. My favorite tool is the clone/heal brush, which works very well in removing blemishes from photos. Surprisingly few filters are included. A simple set of drawing tools is available (the text tool is found there). Each adjustment appears in its own window and includes a very handy button to temporarily show the image before any adjustments were made. All major graphic formats are supported. Slideshows with music and transitions can be created and saved as .exe.

– – – –  The Bottom Line – – – –

I was very impressed with the image editing tools. Someone needing to make quick, simple edits will be pleased with this program. Everything works well. I give it two thumbs up.

Download FastStone Image Viewer HERE.

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com

Where Can I Safely Download Free Software? FreeFile Review

FFR-WP-logoFWsites2014Downloading free software gets riskier everyday. Some sites intentional try to confuse people into downloading garbage by way of ads with large “Download” buttons. However, if you are careful, you can download the free programs that you want. This review is a comparison of the four best freeware download sites for Windows software, that I regularly visit. All four are quite similar, with only minor differences. Generally, these sites all have clean navigation (a minimum of ads with ‘Download’ buttons), are updated daily, offer a large catalog of software with reviews, ratings, and screenshots, and most importantly – a direct link to program that you want. Below are quick reviews of my four favorite sites.

SnapFiles is the best site for the occasional downloader. With very few ads and a clean lay-out, it is hard to go astray. Very good search function.

MajorGeeks has a clean, simple homepage, with the bulk of the page for the most recent software. The download pages for individual programs have ads with big green ‘Download Now’ buttons – so be careful. This site’s outstanding feature is mirror sites for downloads; frequently there are several sources for downloads. Use the links under “Download Locations”.

FileHorse, like MajorGeeks, junks up its download pages with ads. Use the green ‘Download Now’ button on the right side, labelled “(xx.xx MB) Safe & Secure”. Outstanding feature is old versions of most programs are available on the program’s download page.

Download Crew has the busiest, most ad-filled site. The download buttons are located directly under the program name on the download page. Best search function of the four sites.

– – – – The Bottom Line – – – –

All four of these sites offer only direct links to downloads, feature many new programs every day, and are relatively easy to navigate, so all of them are excellent. SnapFiles is the winner, by a nose.

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com

 

FreeFile Review – PDF-XChange Viewer

FFR-WP-logopdfxcPDF-XChange Viewer is much more than a PDF viewer; it allows editing of PDFs and performs OCR (optical character recognition). These features in a free program are unique. PDF-XChange Viewer is Windows only. A paid version, with additional features, is also available. Most users will be very happy with the free version .
Pluses include – lightning fast performance when opening and viewing PDFs, ability to add comments, text highlighting, a full set of drawing tools, and OCR. It integrated seamlessly as the default PDF viewer for Firefox. The Preferences Panel offers an incredible selection of options for tweaking the program’s appearance and operation. The program’s interface is attractive. All the basic controls are similar to other PDF viewer programs, so there are no surprises for the basic operations. An extensive help file is available for the more advanced operations.
The only negative that I could find was that saving is limited to PDF or export as image.
– – – – The Bottom Line – – – –
It performed flawlessly for the past two months on my Windows 7 PC as the default PDF viewer. I enthusiastically recommend PDF-XChange Viewer as a replacement for Adobe Acrobat Reader or for whatever PDF viewer that you are currently using. Get PDF-XChange Viewer today and be rid of Adobe Acrobat Reader forever.
Homepage of PDF-XChange Viewer
Direct link to download the free version of PDF-XChange Viewer

Read more FreeFile Reviews at DanKostecki.com


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