We’re right on time with this week’s supplement of software and services. This week we’ll use a tool to turn our laptops into routers. We’ll see how to fix all the software issues of a computer without anyone’s help, and also find tools to compress the PDF files; as always there are extensions that you shouldn’t miss.
Internet Explorer 11 (Type: Free, OS: Windows 7 SP1, Size: 55 MB)
As promised, the default web browser of Windows 8.1, Internet Explorer 11 is now available for Windows 7 users. If Microsoft claims are to be believed, IE 11 is 30 times faster than any competitive browser available for Windows 7. The browser packs everything that you would find in its counterpart, except Google’s SPDY protocol, which have been clipped out.
Virtual WiFi Router (Type: Free, OS: Windows – all versions, Size: 2 MB)
Internet sharing is always a very handy feature. Most smartphones and tablets are well equipped with it. But things are little complicated when it comes to computers. There is no built-in button, or any dedicated app to do that. This is where Virtual WiFi Router comes in handy. If you are using a USB modem, or a wired connection, Virtual WiFi Router will turn your laptop to a router for other WiFi enabled devices. Unlike its competitors, it is completely free, light on system resources, and boasts a simple interface.
Bookviser (Type: Free, OS: Windows 8 and 8.1, Size: 4 MB)
We have talked about Calibre, the best app to run epub, mobi and other ebook file formats on Windows. While it is compatible with Windows 8.1 as well, but if you really want to utilize the touch interface of your device, Bookviser is what you should be using. It lets you side-load books from your existing library (hard drive), and offers various fonts and color schemes to please your reading experience.
Windows Repair 2 (Type: Free, OS: Windows – all versions, Size: 5 MB)
If your computer has started running slow or displaying error dialog boxes, Windows Repair 2 is your first-place-to go. Whether it is the DVD drive which is causing you trouble, or messed up system files, Windows Repair 2 knows how to take care of all of them. Using this software you can also make backups and restore your computer to a previous working configuration.
Sandra 2013 Lite SP6 (Type: Free, OS: Windows – all versions, Size: 59 MB)
Sandra is an all-in-one utility to check the performance of all your components and other computing aspects. Sandra detects if there is anything peculiar going on with your processor, hard drive, memory or even the network. You can also use it to run benchmarks on your components to know if they are good enough to meet your computing requirements. Its updated version supports Windows 8.1 and has added information about the latest Intel Haswell and AMD processors.
Free PDF Compressor (Type: Free, OS: Windows – all versions, Size: 8 MB)
The PDF files of scanned documents and books, or just files with too many images in it can hop large chunk of your hard drive space. If you don’t mind compromising on the clarity of the images, then Free PDF compressor can do wonders for you. In my brief testing I was able to compress a 153 MB PDF into 40 odd Megabyte file. If it is a text document, or its size is already very less, the software won’t be able to do anything.
SimpleFill is a simple extension for Firefox users which helps to fill up very quickly. Using this you won’t have to type the same thing again and again, as the extension will suggest you once you click inside any box.
Case Change (Firefox)
It can be a jarring experience to rewrite a sentence because the first time you used the wrong case. Case Change will help you avoid such situations. Besides changing upper case to lower case and the other way around, you can also use sentence case, title case, and alternate case. As of now the add-on is available for Firefox, but you can anticipate similar extensions on Chrome as well.
Ghostery 5.04 (Firefox)
We talked about Lightbeam, an extension that visualizes your online trackers a few weeks ago, another useful extension to do a similar job is Ghostery 5. In addition to the tracking, it also helps you to take measures to keep those trackers and other adverts away.
Fit to Width (Chrome)
When you resize the Chrome window, many a times you are required to, in addition to the vertical scrolling which is usual, set the horizontal scrolling as well. Fit to Width can automatically resolves those issues for you.
The popular download manager received an update this week. In addition to the compatibility with Windows 8.1 and IE 11, the update provides many critical bug fixes as well. It can now also recognize videos from many new web players.
Other than IDM, Foobar2000, PowerArchiver and iTunes too received minor updates this week.
Tip of the week: Update your anti-virus and take backup
There is a computer malware which have been all over the news these days, it is called “Cryptolocker” and it is really hazardous. The ransomware finds a way to your Windows running system and encrypts all the data it can find on it as well as all the storage devices that are connected to it. Once it has encrypted the files, there is nothing you can do, except pay them $300 (or equivalent of it in Bitcoins) within 72 hours (Update: They have extended the time slot). If you are using a decent Anti-Virus, there is a good chance they have everything it needs to detect Cryptolocker. The problem however is, once your files are encrypted, there is no other way to restore the data. Hence it is very necessary that you make a backup copy of all your important files and documents, and update your Anti-virus.