We are back with this week’s top PC utilities. This week we are giving more emphasis on making your life trouble-free. At the beginning you will see an app which will exterminate the need of finding correct drivers every time you switch to a different OS; an app that will help you create virtual optical driver; and an app that will make the installation of OS faster. As usual, we have listed the best browser extensions that came out this week, and the important software update you should know about.
DriverPack Solution 13 build for DVD (Type: Free, OS: Windows – all versions, Size: 4.4 GB)
Many OEMs these days bundle the driver software of video, audio, Wifi and other components with the OS disc (or image file, or partition) itself. The problem is when you are moving to some other OS, or other CPU architecture (32bit/64bit) those drivers won’t work. Then of course you can download the driver software for your current system configuration from your manufacturer’s website, but again, those files will be OS dependent, if you ever want to try out any other OS, you will have to repeat the whole download cycle again.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have one disc which regardless of your computer’s manufacturer (HP, Dell, LG, Sony, Lenovo etc), or the OS you are running on it works every time? That’s DriverPack Solution for you. Download the file and burn it to a disc. Insert it in a computer, run the disc, give it a minute to analyze your system, and it will automatically install all the drivers.
Daemon Tools Lite (Type: Free, OS: Windows – all versions, Size: 13 MB)
Speaking of drivers and not talking about this awesome app would be completely unfair. Daemon Tools Lite is a minimalistic tool that lets you mount the image files (ISO, NRG) to virtually created optical drives. Some apps and games require you to have the disc inserted and kept in the drive the entire time you are running it, with such cases this app can come real handy. A lesser known feature of DAEMON Tools is that it lets you convert the file format of the image file from one format to another.
Note: The app is free of use, but if you want the technical support you will have to buy the license. Also, at the time of installation, the setup will prompt you to install many other programs that you don’t really need, so make sure to un-tick and skip those tools and plugins. All in all, the app is a must have for all PC users.
Wise Care 365 (Type: Free/Commercial, OS: Windows – all versions, Size: 8 MB)
Wise Care 365 is an all-in-one utility that offers system tuning, hardware check-up and tools that help you keep the privacy geared up. The suite helps you in cleaning your registry and hard-drive. It also offers to clean and hide all your personal data and tracks from your computer. In addition, Wise Care also allows you to recover deleted files.
The Professional version in addition to the aforementioned features lets you choose the skin for your software, auto updates itself in the background and brings technical support.
FlashBoot (Type: Shareware, OS: Windows – all versions, Size: 18 MB)
FlashBoot is a nifty utility to make bootable USB flash drives, as well as USB Hard-drives (a feature that is quite rare to spot). This tool can come handy if your laptop doesn’t have an optical driver. The app supports all the versions of Windows operating system as well as many Linux distributions. In addition, the app can also be used to create partitions in the USB drive or USB Hard-drive.
Another benefit of using bootable USB drives is since the data transfer from a USB drive is faster than optical discs, it takes significantly lesser time to install the OS from a USB source. The bootable media will work for only 30 days if you are using the demo version.
We all know that cleaning the cache and cookies will probably solve most of our browsing troubles. But it is a jarring task to having to go to the settings and doing it manually. OneClick for Chrome as the name suggests does all cleaning in one click. You don’t have to go anywhere, just click on the icon from the extension bar (right next to address bar) and the extension will do all the job for you. Besides cache, cookies and history, this tiny little tool will also clean indexed database, server bounded certificates, plugin data, webSQL and appcache.
BeeLine Reader is a Chrome app that is designed to radically speed up your reading. Click on its icon and the app will apply different colors to the text of the web page you have kept open in the browser. Besides that, the app also clips out all the distracting elements – adverts and other page layouts from the page.
One of the frontrunners to replace the now-extinct Google Reader, Digg has released a Chrome extension this week. And sadly though, it isn’t full-fledged. There are a few things it has done right, for instance the new extension do tell you how many unread articles you have in your inbox. Also, you can subscribe the website you are currently viewing to your subscription list with the help of this extension, but that is it, this is all the extension does for now.
Reddit Hover Text is a Chrome extension that lets you see the description of Reddit posts when you hover over their link. The extension will help you gather more information about a link without actually visiting them – saving your time and bandwidth.
At last, somebody created an add-on that lets you manage your open tabs with ease. Do you want to open the same tab in a different browser? Just copy the tab, and go to any browser and into the address bad press CTRL + V. The app lets you copy, cut and paste the URL addresses of tabs.
We all love flipping pages in Flipboard app (and books and magazines, of course), wouldn’t it be nice if you could give the same treatment to the browser tabs? That is what TabFlip lets you do on Firefox. For flipping, all you got to do is drag your mouse (or through mouse pad) and the next tab will appear.
The web browser has lined itself with the Chromium release version 30. The browser now allows you to pin tabs, helping you not close the tabs accidentally. The app also lets you add custom search engine to your existing Opera’s default search.
The popular desktop email client Thunderbird fixed many of the bugs its previous major release has had left behind. The inconsistent inline spell check in the compose windows have been fixed. The crash while subscribing to a dialog for newsgroups has been well taken care of as well. Other than that, the color contrasting issue has reportedly been fixed.
The backup utility tool Alcohol 120% laced itself on the premise of Windows 8.1 release which is happening this upcoming week. Apart from the compatibility for the new OS, the app has introduced a new feature called Smart File Advisor. Besides many bug fixes, the app has expanded its device support list.
Tip of the week: Don’t flash your laptop’s BIOS
Flashing the BIOS means updating its software. This isn’t applicable to all. And it may come as a surprise, but if you own a Dell, HP, Lenovo, Sony or laptop by any other popular manufacturer, you may want to double check with the customer care if it is in your best interest to make the update. Flashing the BIOS usually resets the information your manufacturer had set, and the one which assorts your original licensed copy with your motherboard.