Windows

LiveEdge adds Expose-like hotspots to Windows desktop edges

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Microsoft, Windows | Tags: , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

livedge-svawe

Its author refers to LiveEdge as “a radically simple approach to mouse gestures,” and that’s pretty well bang-on. Install and launch LiveEdge and it adds eight hotspots to the edges of your desktop, each one capable of executing a custom action. To execute, just move your mouse to the appropriate spot and pause for a moment.

I’d like to be able to use the Windows key in the settings, but it’s not an option just yet. Just about every other key on your keyboard is, however. The included help file provides a full listing of the possibilities.

In some apps I run full-screen like Photoshop accidentally triggering a command can be a nuisance. You can toggle LiveEdge on and off with a simple left-click on the taskbar icon if you’re working in a program where you need the entire screen. You can also create as many settings files as you like and roll custom configurations for different scenarios.

Unlike the previous app – Hot Corners – you shouldn’t have to worry about a false positive from your AV software. NoVirusThanks gives LiveEdge a clean bill of health. The .Net 3.5 framework is required, and you need to be running Vista or Windows 7.

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Latest Google Chrome dev build adds Windows 7 jumplist support

Posted on August 10, 2009. Filed under: Google, Windows | Tags: , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

chrome-pin

Though the recent release of Firefox 3.6 alpha 1 didn’t prioritize support for Windows 7’s jumplists, Google has flicked the switch in the latest developer channel build of Chrome.

As you can see in the screenshot above, Chrome’s jumplist works just like any other in Windows 7. Recently browsed sites are listed below those you pin to the list. Space is also reserved for quick access to recently closed tabs and opening new windows – both normal and incognito.

Quick access to (I might as well say it) porn mode is a welcome change. Sure, you could set up it yourself by adding a command line argument to your Chrome shortcut, but this is a much more elegant solution. That’s assuming, of course, you’re on Windows 7 and can take advantage of the feature.

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Customize your Windows desktop using Rainmeter 1.0

Posted on August 10, 2009. Filed under: Windows | Tags: , |

  
 enigmarainmeter
Rainmeter, a Windows desktop modification app, has entered version 1.0, and now comes with the popular Enigma theme as its default skin. Setting up all of Enigma’s various widgets on Rainmeter is extremely simple. In fact, Rainmeter is basically code-free. You can enter all of your settings once using the GUI Configuration tool, and they’ll be applied to any theme you want to use. It’s also now possible to save and load your favorite setups.

Enigma itself has improved by partnering with Rainmeter. There’s now a quickstart wizard so you can set up the theme without editing text files, and Enigma can take advantage of some of the new features in Rainmeter, including iTunes and wifi plugins. Also, the new Rainmeter is fully compatible with Windows Vista and Windows 7. Now anybody can set up a well-designed desktop mod without having to edit a single file in a text editor.

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Windows Media Center is set to thrill at CEDIA 2009 next month

Posted on August 10, 2009. Filed under: Windows | Tags: |

By Ben Drawbaugh, Engadget

windows media center

Everyone likes to try and predict the future and with the Custom Electronic Design & Installation (CEDIA) show only a month away, the crew at Engadget HD threw all of their crazy ideas out there for your reading pleasure. For the most part all of the predictions are around Windows Media Center and how it will integrate with other products like the Zune HD, Digital Cable and HD satellite services, but there are some other fun things throw in. We really believe that this is going to be the year that Redmond brings everything together, so if you’re the type who doesn’t think it’ll ever happen, then click through to find out why we think you’re wrong. Either way, you can expect we’ll be on the scene in Atlanta to check out what’s new first hand.

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Windows 7 activation crackers undeterred by Microsoft’s muscle-flexing

Posted on August 6, 2009. Filed under: Microsoft, Windows | Tags: , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad.com

windows7activated-vagfew435

Last week Microsoft and Lenovo went tag-team on the first activation workaround, which utilized a leaked OEM product key. “Nice try, pirates!” said Microsoft. “Your key has been blacklisted and will never see again the light of day! Ha HA!” The also touted the fact that Windows 7 has improved methods of detection of hacks like these.

If you listened very, very closely, you could hear a collective yawn from the cracking community.

A week later, and torrent trackers everywhere are awash with…er…alternative activation methods, and they’re being used with varying degrees of success. The bottom line: Microsoft can try, but they’re going to face an uphill battle against pirates yet again.

It might take a little longer with Windows 7 for a really solid workaround to appear, but it’s bound to happen. And once Microsoft figures out how to thwart that method? There will no doubt be another one waiting in the wings.

No post like this would be complete without the usual disclaimer. As you friends in Redmond will tell you, you should never, never download anything that activates Windows by illegitimate means. Doing so puts you at serious risk – the files could be infected and terrorize your system, increase your car’s carbon footprint, make your mattress lumpy and uncomfortable, and cause your all your toilet paper to turn really, really rough.

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Google’s got a new Chrome beta

Posted on March 18, 2009. Filed under: Google, Internet, Windows | Tags: , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

On the official Google Chrome blog a few hours ago, Google announced the release of a new beta version that falls somewhere in between the stable and developer branches.

Apart from the speed improvements in Google’s V8 javascript engine, several new features have been added. In addition to the drag-to-split side-by-side browsing feature demoed in the clip above, the new Webkit core includes autoscrolling, full page zoom, and form filling.

If you’re trying to get your hands on it, you may need to be patient. A number of Twitterers are having the same problem I encountered: The downloader application looks like it’s working, but the actual setup process never begins. The announcement only came a few hours ago and Chrome devotees are likely hammering the download servers, which may be partly responsible.

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Amnesty Generator puts iGoogle gadgets on your Windows 7 desktop

Posted on March 15, 2009. Filed under: Gadget News, Windows | Tags: , , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

amnesty-generator

You may have read about Amnesty Generator before on Download Squad – it’s a free application that converts thousands of web gadgets and widgets – from dozens of sources – for use right on your Windows desktop.

While it was designed for Vista, it’s not too surprising to find that it also works well on Windows 7. Apart from iGoogle, other major widget providers like The New York Times, SpringWidgets, Widgetbox, and a slew of others are supported. The conversion process is extremely fast and requires only a few simple steps: copy and paste the HTML embed code, enter a title (or use the one Amnesty automatically grabs), select an image, and click generate.

There are a couple minor issues to note. First, your image probably won’t appear in the Widget gallery. Second, the title links added to the widgets can be a bit unsightly, primarily when they’re long. Still, for the benefit of being able to add so many useful gadgets, it’s a small price to pay.

Hopefully we’ll see some more quality gadgets in the Windows Live Gallery as Windows 7 nears completion. Until then, Amnesty Generator provides a nice alternative. The program works with 32 and 64-bit versions of Vista and Windows 7, and there’s also a Mac version available.

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How to fix the Windows 7 7057 desktop.ini startup bug

Posted on March 15, 2009. Filed under: Windows | Tags: , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

desktop-in

Based on some of the things you’ve read about Windows 7, it’s sometimes not so apparent that we’re still talking about a work in progress. Not so with build 7057 – there’s a little reminder right in the middle of the desktop when Windows starts up. Notepad will be there, unabashedly displaying the contents of desktop.ini.

It’s easy enough to remedy – here’s one simple method.

1. Open the run dialog ( windows + r ) and type shell:startup and press enter.

2. Set your Explorer options to display protected operating system files – pressing alt then T then O will get you to the screen quickly. Click the view tab then uncheck hide protected operating system files.

3. Delete desktop.ini from the folder. [edit] As posted by Chris123nt, you’ll also need to navigate to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup and delete desktop.ini there as well.

4. Log off and then log back on, or reboot to verify that it’s fixed.

5. Repeat step 2, but this time put the check mark back in hide protected operating system files (to prevent accidentally deleting something important later).

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Microsoft reveals more changes from Windows 7 beta to RC

Posted on March 14, 2009. Filed under: Microsoft, Windows | Tags: , , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

win7-beta-rc

With the recent leaks of builds 7048 and 7057, some of you may have already gotten a taste of what’s been tweaked as Microsoft continues working toward an official WIndows 7 release candidate. Today, the E7 blog released another list of changes – some subtle, some not so much.

Surprisingly, one of my favorite changes – being able to add the download folder to your start menu – wasn’t metioned. Some noteworthy changes include:

The parent folder’s button always appears in explorer. Remember how we complained about the missing up arrow in Vista, then again in 7? It hasn’t been put back, but backing up one level is now just as easy since the parent’s breadcrumb always shows up.

Invert selection is back in the Explorer edit menu. I don’t use it often, but sometimes I want to select all but two or three files in a massive directory. It’s much easier to pick the two I don’t want and then invert, and now that’s possible again.

New folder is always visible. Another small thing that could be extremely annoying. Feedback noted, fix applied. Now you’re never without access to the new folder button.

Eject! Eject! USB device removal has been addressed, and now requires less steps and is referred to as ejecting rather than safe removal.

USB devices function on resume. An annoying bug caused some devices like flash drive, keyboards, and mice (mine has done this) to sometimes malfunction after a system resumed. There’s a workaround for beta users, but this has now been fixed in the RC branch.

Search re-index after an application install. When you install an app to handle a new file type, Windows 7 will now automatically re-index your drive for any related metadata.• The 200mb system partition has been slimmed. Cut in half, to be exact – collected user data told Microsoft that 100MB is more than enough.• Multi-boot and drive letter assignments. When installing Windows 7 beta in a multi-boot setup, the old OS didn’t receive a drive letter (and therefore didn’t show up in explorer).

Smaller default pagefile. Rather than allocating 300 additional megabytes above your total amount of physical ram, Windows 7 now sets the default size to 100% of ram.

Remote desktop user? Pin the program to your taskbar, and your connections can be pinned to its jumplist.

There are several others mentioned in the official Engineering 7 blog post, including improvements to device stage, the add printer wizard, network drivers, and more.

What’s perhaps most encouraging about the post is the number of changes that have been implemented following feedback from users. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Microsoft is listening this time.

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Windows 7 build 7057 torrent appears on Mininova

Posted on March 13, 2009. Filed under: Windows | Tags: , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

windows7

Some of you are likely still catching up on reports about the changes in Windows 7 build 7048, which only surfaced on torrent trackers last week. However, the leaks just keep on coming.

The most recent appearance is from build 7057, which bears a March 5th timestamp. This time it’s the 32-bit version that appeared first, though the 64-bit version will likely follow close behind.

More visual changes have been made in the new build, including more new wallpapers, several new user account icons and a new logon/shutdown background. Send feedback links have been completely removed and the version watermark on the desktop now reads “Evaluation copy” instead of “For testing purposes only.” The taskbar will now resize when switching to small icons, and the recent UAC problem has been addressed.

One other important note is that the expiration date of build 7057 is March 2, 2010 – nearly seven months after the official beta expires.

A NeoWin user has posted some fresh screenshots, and they certainly look legitimate. As with the last leak (or any leak, for that matter) exercise caution if you decide to download it

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Microsoft’s Windows Marketplace Gets Detailed

Posted on March 11, 2009. Filed under: Microsoft, Windows | Tags: , , |

Chris

windows-marketplace

Microsoft is just about ready to launch its own app store. And we have hot details for all those developers interested in the future Windows Marketplace. Microsoft will charge developers $99 to be accepted and $99 extra for every application they submit after 2009. This year devs will have the chance to submit five apps for free. Microsoft will charge that fees in order to “run a rigorous certification process to ensure that the end user’s experience is optimal, and that the device and network resources aren’t used in a malicious way.”

After your apps get approve, Microsoft will get 30% off any revenue generated by them. That’s the same percentage Apple and Google also charge. Windows Marketplace will arrive once Windows Mobile 6.5 gets launched in Q4 2009 but you’ll be able to register as a developer in Spring and start submitting your apps this Summer. What do you think? Anxious?

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Use PicoNote for dead-simple note taking anywhere

Posted on March 11, 2009. Filed under: Tech News, Windows | Tags: , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

piconote

Like to keep things as simple as possible? Looking for a way to create notes for yourself?

Take a look at PicoNote. It’s available in three forms: a free Windows application, a web-based app, and a mobile-friendly web app (http://m.piconote.com). From the moment you sign up, you’ll enjoy its simplicity – the registration form only asks for a username and password.

Once you’ve created an account, adding notes is easy to do: create, add title and body text, and save your note. If it contains a URL, Piconote will automatically turn it into a clickable link. Private notes are hidden from prying eyes, but you can also create public notes to share with anyone. There are no formatting options, but you shouldn’t really expect those from a “pico” application anyway, right?

The desktop application is just as easy to use. Its interface defaults to Polish, so to switch to English just click notatnik -> language. Once you’ve created a local notepad, Piconote will sync it to your web account and automatically sync it every time you open or close the file.

If that’s not enough, you can also create notes via Twitter. Just follow @piconote and send a direct message.

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Microsoft unveils Windows Mobile App store details

Posted on March 11, 2009. Filed under: Microsoft, Windows | Tags: , , , , |

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad

windows-marketplace-mobile

Microsoft plans to launch an App Store that lets Windows Mobile users find, purchase, and download programs directly from the phones. It’ll work much like the iPhone App Store and the upcoming BlackBerry App World.

Today Microsoft revealed that developers will have to pay $99 per year to list their items in the store, plus another $99 for each program listed in the Windows Marketplace store. Developers can save some money by submitting up to five apps before the end of the year.

Microsoft will take a 30% cut on the sales of any paid applications. That’s the same fee that Apple charges, although Research in Motion keeps just 20%.

The Marketplace is scheduled to go live later this year. In the meantime, you can still download and install thousands of Windows Mobile apps from third party stores like PocketGear, Handango and MobiHand. Pocketgear even has an App Store for Windows Mobile that runs from your device, much like the upcoming Microsoft store.

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Five sandboxing apps to protect your Windows computer

Posted on March 11, 2009. Filed under: Windows | Tags: , , , , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

sandbox

System admins and technicians deal with a number of frustrations in our daily work. One of the biggest: desktops that keep getting misused, abused, and trashed as a result of carelessness, malice, or a lack of common sense.

Sandboxing programs are a great way to prevent these kinds of headaches. What do they do? In simple terms, they prevent applications from making changes to your system. It’s kind of like having an imaginary hard drive where programs think they’re operating like normal, but their actions never make an impact on your real filesystem.

Here are five options available for Windows systems to get the job done. These apps are great not only for the workplace or situations where you’re looking after public or shared computers, they’re also a fantastic way to protect your home computer from unwanted changes due to accidental misuse and malware.

deepfreeze

DeepFreeze
Faronics’ flagship product has long been the nemesis of would-be high school hooligans for years, and with good reason. Once a system has been frozen, it’s just about impossible for it to be monkeyed with (unless you know the admin password). User profiles can be left in a “thawed” area so as to allow changes to persist. Attempted changes is a frozen area? They’re gone as soon as the system reboots.

There’s no detectable performance hit with DeepFreeze, and it’s also available for Mac and Linux systems. A 30-day trial is free and $45 for a license with 1-year maintenance.

returnil

Returnil Virtual System
In addition to providing full system protection, Returnil offers a wide array of useful features. It integrates tightly with the real operating system and provides a good set of tools for working in both the real and virtual filesystem. Users can whitelist or blacklist individual files and all virtualized changes can be completely undone with a reboot.

The current version is free for personal use, and the Premium Edition goes for 20 Euros. There’s a feature comparison on the Returnil site if you’d like to see how they stack up. They’re also seeking beta testers for version 3.0. If you’re interested, apply here.

sanboxie

Sandboxie
Sandboxie is one of the most talked about and widely used free applications in this group. It’s not so much designed as a “total desktop” solution, but as a way to isolate certain programs that pose a risk – like web browsers.

The paid version allows simultaneous use of multiple sandboxes, enables forcing programs and folders into sandboxes, and removes the post-30-day nag screen. For personal use, a lifetime license will set you back a paltry $22 Euros and it can be installed on every computer you own.

bufferzone

Trustware Bufferzone
Similar to Sandboxie, Bufferzone is more about isolating threats from the internet than completely locking down your system. It’s designed to isolate apps like your web browser, email, and peer-to-peer programs. Downloaded files inherit Bufferzone’s protection, so if you install something that was downloaded from a protected app, it becomes protected as well.

BufferZone is free to try for 30 days. After that, it’s $39.95 to register for home use. Trustware also offers various enterprise-grade solutions. Vista users can sign up for a beta version tryout.

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Windows SteadyState
Microsoft’s offering was one of the first apps I wrote about after joining DS, and it’s seen some nice improvements since then. SteadyState offers some additional functions, like locking down access to Windows functions like control panel and the command prompt, limiting access to specific websites, and maintaining Windows and antivirus program updates.

It’s worth noting that this functionality is baked in to the Windows 7 pie as PC Safeguard.

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Microsoft unveils Windows Marketplace fees, splits, hopes, and dreams

Posted on March 11, 2009. Filed under: Microsoft, Windows | Tags: , , , |

By Joshua Topolsky, Engadget

msft_bag

Microsoft has begun laying out plans for its version of the App Store — dubbed the Windows Marketplace — with some familiar numbers, and a few unfamiliar tweaks. According to Ina Fried, the company will charge developers an annual fee of $99 to become part of the ecosystem, and an additional $99 for every app they submit (though throughout 2009, they’ll have a chance to submit five apps at no cost). A rep from the big M states that the fee is “an acceptable cost of doing business for [software developers] looking to get in front of millions of customers,” and justifies the charge on the grounds that Microsoft will “run a rigorous certification process to ensure that the end user’s experience is optimal, and that the device and network resources aren’t used in a malicious way.”

Additionally, the company maintains that the process will offer “complete transparency throughout the application submission process,” which indicates the folks in Redmond wouldn’t mind courting devs who’ve been burned by Apple’s opaque, confusing, and sometimes unfair system of approval. Besides the flat rates, Microsoft will take 30 percent of earnings from sales just as Apple and Google do — the lone standout being RIM, who’s generously offering 80 percent to devs (though hasn’t exactly been blowing doors off hinges with its movement on fostering development). Microsoft’s Marketplace will debut with the launch of Windows Mobile 6.5 in Q4 2009, though developers can apparently register come Spring, and start submitting this Summer.

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Super Finder XT offers flexible, index-free search for Windows

Posted on March 11, 2009. Filed under: Tech News, Windows | Tags: , , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad.com

super-finder-xt

Windows Search has come a long way from the XP days, and it’s now a very capable desktop search application. If you’d prefer an index-free alternative (with a fancy ribbon interface, no less), have a look at Super Finder XT.

Since it’s searching your drives without first compiling an index of their contents there is a bit of a speed trade-off, but Super Finder still returns results quickly. Advanced options allow you to specify a date range, minimum and maximum files size, and an extensive list of attributes (from read only and hidden to encrypted and compressed). Your search specifications can then be saved to a configuration file to re-use later.

Results can be copied to the clipboard and exported to Excel, HTML, and plain text, but printing support is only available to users who donate via PayPal. The app is also extensible with plugins, though I wasn’t able to find any for download. If you have better luck, feel free to share them in the comments.

Super Finder XT is a free download and works on 32 and 64-bit Windows versions, XP and newer.

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Windows Mobile 6.5 to support web apps

Posted on March 10, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World, Windows | Tags: , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

03-10-2009

The original iPhone could do it. The Palm Pre, with its WebOS will do it. And it looks like Windows Mobile 6.5 will be able to do it, too. “It” is the ability to run web applications, and it’s coming to Microsoft’s newest mobile operating system as widgets.

A .widget is basically compressed assemblage of HTML, javascript, and image files. Reports indicate that the current build of WM 6.5 includes the two examples shown above – MSN Money and MSN Weather – as well as a Live Search widget.

It’s an intelligent move by Microsoft, though likely to draw some criticism for copycatting. Still, with millions of web developers out there .widgets give them a simple way to deploy applications on Windows Mobile devices with their existing coding knowledge.

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PortableApps.com suite 1.5 released

Posted on March 10, 2009. Filed under: Tech News, Windows | Tags: , , , |

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad.com

portable-appsThe PortableApps.com application suite is a package of Windows programs that you can run from a USB flash drive. The platform comes with a program menu that pops up when you insert your USB stick, or when you launch the program, and a suite of apps including a web browser, instant messenger, and office suite.

The latest version of the PortableApps.com suite comes with a new theme that adds a few visual effects. It also allows you to rename application icons and hide icons for programs you don’t want to show up in the menu. Platform 1.5 also allows you to run application as an administrator and includes support for 37 languages.

The PortableApps.com suite comes in comes in three flavors. You can download the platform which basically gives you the app launcher and a few other utilities, allowing you to install just the applications you want from the PortableApps web site. Or you can choose the full sutie which includes the full version of OpenOffice.org Portable and weighs in at 355MB once installed. The Light suite takes up just 150MB of disk space, and comes with the AbiWord Portable word processor instead of OpenOffice.org Portable.

If you already have an earlier build of the application platform on your removable storage, the installer should recognize your existing data and perform an upgrade instead of a fresh install.

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Windows 7 RC build 7048

Posted on March 10, 2009. Filed under: Windows | Tags: , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad.com

win7

Apart from implementing some of the previously announced changes in post-beta Windows 7 builds, Microsoft has clearly set their sites on providing a desktop environment that users can customize six ways from Sunday.

Don’t take the title too literally: build 7048 has definitely received plenty of attention under the hood. In my normal computing tasks, build 7048 feels more stable even more usable as an everyday OS. However, most of the updates aren’t very obvious. Subtle changes appear here and there, for example:

•  the glow on your taskbar button staying put when you mouse onto a taskbar thumbnail
• the increased number of items you can pin to your taskbar
• the start orb is slightly clearer and its glow is brighter
• Send Feedback links no longer appear in window title bars
• a slightly cleaned up Control Panel

One small but very welcome addition is that your Downloads folder can now be added to your panel via start menu customization. Prior to making this change, getting the folder on your list was far too cumbersome and required editing the registry.

dls

More visible additions include a bevy of new wallpapers, new sound schemes, and a number of retouched icons. Apart from the Windows defaults, there are now 13 sound schemes to choose from and the wallpaper count is up to 31 from 14.

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Of course, new wallpaper and new sound schemes mean new pre-built themes. There are two new choices – Architecture and Characters. True to its name, Architecture features images of houses and other structures, but Characters isn’t quite as accurately named. Its wallpapers are fairly abstract, with the exception of a pile of pink teddy bears. As with previous themes, both feature six wallpapers and default to displaying them as a slideshow.

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And let’s not overlook all the features that can be turned off, as Brad mentioned in hist post last week. Couple that with the increased number of interface options that have appeared, and it’s obvious that Microsoft wants to ensure that Windows 7 will provide a comfortable and highly customizable desktop environment for its users.

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Windows 7 will let you turn most apps on or off

Posted on March 8, 2009. Filed under: Windows | Tags: , , |

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad.com

win7-on-off

The other day we saw a leaked screenshot of a build of Windows 7 that lets you turn off Internet Explorer. Now Microsoft is not only confirming that Windows 7 will be the first version of Windows in years to let you disable the built in web browser — but you’ll be able to turn most major components on or off. That list includes, but is not limited to:

• Windows Media Player

•Windows Media Center

•Windows DVD Maker

•Internet Explorer 8

•Windows Search

•Handwriting Recognition

•Windows Gadgets

In other words, if you’d rather use VLC, Firefox, and Media Portal as your primary media, web browser, and media center apps, you’ll be able to do that without dedicating any system resources for the Windows versions of those apps.

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LiveSlices showcases useful web slices for IE8

Posted on March 8, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Windows | Tags: , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad.com

liveslices

One things I would have liked to include in Pimp Your IE8 was bigger list of webslices, but the collection at the Microsoft addon site isn’t all that impressive. The crew at LiveSlices, on the other hand, has put together several that are well worth installing.

Among their listings are slices for CNN headlines, Google News, new Flickr uploads, a slice for viewing Twitter updates, and one for unread GMail messages. The Twitter update slice is perhaps the best executed, though it only updates every 15 minutes – likely not often enough for hardcore users, but you’re probably 1) using a Twitter client and 2) not running IE8 as your primary browser anyway. The Flickr slices work nicely as well, and provide instant eye candy right in your bookmarks bar.

Create an account on the site, and your settings can be stored for speedy re-install if you have to reformat your machine or remove and reinstall IE8.

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Nvidia releases GeForce 182.08 WHQL drivers

Posted on March 7, 2009. Filed under: Windows | Tags: , , |

By Justin Mann, TechSpot.com

nvidiaIf you’re an Nvidia GPU owner and use Windows, then you might want to go download the now WHQL-certified 182.08 GeForce driver package. For those using up to date non-WHQL drivers there is really no reason to update at this time, but if you are using an older driver package there’s no need to worry about compatibility issues now. Nothing has changed between the last two releases other than the certification, but as usual the package contains bug fixes and performance boosts from earlier revisions.

The most notable change in 182.08 was SLI support for a handful of newer games, support for the newest GeForce GTS 250 card and full OpenGL 3.0 support for GeForce 8, 9 and 200 series cards. This version also introduced PhysX acceleration on GeForce 8, 9 and 200 series, provided you have at least 256MB of GPU memory. You can get the drivers here.

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X-Mouse Button Control gives your mouse super powers

Posted on March 7, 2009. Filed under: Tech News, Windows | Tags: , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad.com

xmouse

If you’re using a mouse with a slew of buttons, X-Mouse Button control provides a way to better utilize them in your favorite applications. Those of you with a crazy 38-button Razer, no, it won’t support them all, but it can handle five buttons and a tilt wheel.

You’re not locked in to one configuration – add as many apps as you like, and tweak settings for each as you see fit. A large list of commands are available, including cut/copy/paste, media controls, simulated keyboard input, print screen, browser commands, and a host of others. Vista users can assign Flip3d and show/hide sidebar to buttons.

X-Mouse’s keyboard input setting is an excellent way to quickly execute an application’s macros, scripts, or actions – I found it extremely handy in Photoshop.

Apart from the mouse button power-up it provides, X-Mouse can also save and restore your desktop icon layout with two quick clicks on its tray icon.

The developer offers X-Mouse as a free download for both 32 and 64-bit Windows.

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Microsoft releases Windows Vista SP2 RC to the public

Posted on March 6, 2009. Filed under: Microsoft, Windows | Tags: , , |

By Jose Vilches, TechSpot.com

ms-vistadesktopAs expected, Microsoft has put the release candidates for Windows Vista and Server 2008 SP2 up on its website for public consumption. The service pack brings with it a number of changes and bug fixes, including support for Blu-ray disc burning and Bluetooth 2.1 as well as simpler Wi-Fi setup and Windows Search 4.0. For the server version, on the other hand, it offers the Hyper-V virtualization environment as a free fully integrated feature along with improved management options and various fixes.

Anybody hoping to tinker with the almost final version of Service Pack 2 can download it today from Microsoft’s website in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors – note that you will need to uninstall any beta versions first and have SP1 running. Microsoft has not confirmed a shipping date for the final version of SP2, though some speculate it will arrive as soon as next month.

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EU! Internet Explorer now uninstallable in Windows 7

Posted on March 5, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News, Windows | Tags: , , |

By Lee Mathews – Downloadsquad.com

windows-7While it’s not likely to placate those who are out for browser blood, Microsoft has taken steps toward pacifying the European Union in the latest RC builds of Windows 7.

As you can see in the updated Windows Features screen captured by AeroXperience, Internet Explorer 8 can now be removed just like Tablet PC support or Chess Titans. Unlike older versions of Windows where stripping IE with a tool like NLite usually caused some kind of headache down the road, Windows 7 appears to plug along just fine after removing the executable.
What the ultimate solution will look like remains to be seen. Some outlets still like to suggest that Microsoft would actually have to ship Windows with other browsers pre-installed, though a more likely solution would be to offer alternatives for download – for example, through links on the welcome screen.

It’s also good news for Google, who have been sweet talking OEMs since late last year in attempts to bundle their browser on new laptop and desktop PCs.

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