Welcome

Welcome to my blog. In here I hope to share with you tips, tricks, hacks and code that will make your life easier as a network administrator or general computer user. I come with a background in computer engineering and have worked for the past 12 years in the Library world as Manager of Library Systems. Even though some of my posts may be Library specific, most will be of use to all computer users.

If you have a tip that you wish to share with the group, please feel free send me your tip via email at my address rkisch@kischtech.com and I will include it here and give credit where credit is do.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New version of Freemake Video Converter!

Freemake has made a program that I love to use even better with its new version 2.3.0. It can now import over 200 different video formats and can convert these videos to AVI, WMV, MP4, MKV, SWF, MPG, 3GP, MP3, DVD and Blue-ray formats as well as rip unprotected DVDs. It can also copy online videos through direct URL copy and paste from YouTube, Facebook, Hulu, MTV, Vimeo, Dailymotion, ComedyCentral, Megavideo, 40+ supported sites and converts them to any format or device available.

For more information please go to : http://www.freemake.com/free_video_converter/  and to download the program go to here: http://download.cnet.com/Freemake-Video-Converter/3000-2194_4-75218346.html?part=dl-10098061&subj=dl&tag=button


A guide to speeding up Windows 7

Windows 7 is so by far the best and the fastest version of Windows that Microsoft has ever produced. But even though Windows 7 is the fastest, doesn't mean that we can't change it to make even faster with these simple tweaks. Remember that with any tweak you make on your system can cause you problems, so do these at your own risk. 


The first thing that you should do is to disable the User Account Control (UAC), otherwise making a lot of these changes will be a pain in the rear to do. To disable the UAC simply open up control panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > User Account. Then click on Change User Account Control Settings and move the bar down to Never Notify and then click OK


Change the Power Plan:
The Power settings in Windows 7 is not automatically set for maximum performance. By default the power plan in Windows 7 is set for a balanced performance. Which means that you may not be getting the optimal performance from windows 7. So we need to change the power plan from the default "Balanced Performance plan" to "High Performance Plan".


To change the power settings in Windows just do the following:

  • Click on Hardware and Sound in Control Panel.
  • Then just double click the Power Options in the Control panel.
  • Now select High Performance as the default plan.

  • Click on the "Change plan settings" beside High Performance to change the "Turn off the display" and "Put the computer to sleep" to never.

  • Then click on "Change Advanced power settings" and then click on the + besides Hard disk and then the + besides Turn off hard disk after and change the plugged in setting to never and then click OK.


Now you have just activated the High Performance plan  set the computer's hard drives to never shutdown and that's it.


Disabling the Search Index:
The windows search index service will index all the files that are found on your computer so that when you search your computer for a particular file it will find it quickly. The downside to this is that Window's search index is a real resource hog and should be disabled if you don't search your computer files that often. To disable the search indexing just follow these steps:

  • Right click on the Computer icon on your desktop and select Manage.
  • Then click on Services and Application in the Computer Management pane.

  • Click on Services and find Windows Search in the list of services.
  • Right click on Windows Search and choose properties.

  • In the Windows Search Properties Window change the startup type to Disabled.
  • Then click Apply and OK and you are done.
Disabling the Windows Aero Theme:

The Windows Aero theme makes Windows 7 look good, but if you don't have a gaming video card, then all of that eye-candy will certainly task your video card and thus slow down Windows. To disable the Windows Aero Theme, just follow these steps:

  • First right click on an open section of your desktop and select Personalize.

  • Then click on Window Colour and then uncheck the box that says Enable Transparency and then click on save changes.
  • Now select the standard or basic theme and your screen will say "please wait" and turn grey. Once Windows has made the change to the theme your colours will return to the screen and you are done.
Speed Up the Windows 7 Boot-up Time:
  • Press [Win] + R or use the RUN option from the start menu.
  • Now type msconfig in there and press the Enter Key to open up the System Configuration Window. 
  • Click on the Boot tab.

  • In there you will see a box called Time out. This is the time (in sec) which the system waits for the user to select the operating system to boot to.
  • You can safely set the value to 0.
  • Tick the No GUI Boot option also which turns off the Windows 7 logo at boot-up.
  • Click Apply and then on OK. And your done.

Remove additional visual effects:
Even with the Aero effects disabled, Windows 7 has plenty of other graphic effects that can be safely turned off to speed up your Windows 7. Just follow this procedure:
  • Right click on Computer and select properties.

  • Then click on Advanced System Settings and then click on the Settings button under Performance.
  • From here you can uncheck all effects except for the last four.

  • Then click on OK to close the windows and you are done.

Disable Unwanted Start-up Programs:

Many programs start when Windows starts and they run in the background. While some of these programs are necessary (such as anti-virus software), there are others may not be necessary (Adobe or QuickTime fast start programs). 
  • Press [Win] + R or take the RUN option from the start menu.
  • Now type msconfig in there and press Enter Key to open up the System Configuration Window.

  • In the System Configuration window, click on the the Startup tab which will show all the programs that are scheduled to start with Windows. Resize the columns so that you have a good view of the name and manufacturer.
  • Go through each item, clearing the check box for programs you don’t want to start with Windows.
  • Click OK, and then restart the computer.
Disable Windows Sidebar (Gadgets):
Yes the sidebar gadgets can be very cool and even useful. But if you don't depend on these gadgets for your weather forecast or system status then just disable them and this will speed up the start-up of Windows 7. To disable the sidebar just right click on the sidebar and select properties. Then untick the box that says Start sidebar when Windows starts. That is it.


Disable the Unwanted Services:
It is more safe to set the following services to manual rather than disabling them. This is because when Windows needs a service to start, windows can start it by itself if and only if it is set to manual. If you set it to disabled Windows 7 cannot start the service by it's own so it is always safer to set the services to manual.

To open up the Services Window:

  • Press [Win] + R or take the RUN option from the start menu.
  • Now type services.msc in there and press Enter Key

To disable the Unwanted Service:

  • Scroll down and highlight the service you want to adjust
  • Right-click on it and choose Properties
  • Click the stop button.
  • Select Manual in the Startup Type scroll bar.
Here is a list of services that you can safely stop:
  • Application Experience
  • Computer Browser (If your PC does not connect to any network)
  • Desktop Window Manager Session Manager (If you don't want the aero effects)
  • Diagnostic Policy Service
  • Disk Defragmenter
  • Distributed Link Tracking Client
  • IP Helper
  • Offline Files
  • Portable Device Enumerator Service
  • Print Spooler (If you do not use Printer)
  • Protected Storage
  • Remote Registry (You can safely disable it for more Security)
  • Secondary Logon
  • Security Center
  • Server (If your computer does not connect with any network)
  • Tablet PC Input Service
  • TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper
  • Windows Defender
  • Windows Error Reporting Service
  • Windows Media Center Service Launcher
  • Windows Search (If you rarely use Windows Search feature)
  • Windows Time (If you do not want to synchronize system time with internet time automatically)

Speed Up the Shut Down Time:
This registry tweak will change the amount of time that Windows will wait for programs to close before Windows shuts down. 

Instructions:

  • Press [Win] + R or take the RUN option from the start menu.
  • Now type regedit and press the Enter Key to open up the Registry Editor Window.
  • In regedit go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control

  • In the right pane, right click on WaitToKillServiceTimeout and click on Modify
  • Type in a number between 1000 to 20000 [1-20 seconds] [12000 is default, I use 3000].


Speed up the Menu Show Delay Time:

This registry tweak will show you how to change the amount of time it takes for a menu in Windows 7 to pop, fade, or slide open when you run the mouse pointer over it.

Instructions:

  • Press [Win] + R or take the RUN option from the start menu.
  • Now type regedit there and press Enter Key to open up the Registry Editor Window.
  • In regedit go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
  • In the right pane, right click on MenuShowDelay and click on Modify


  • Type in a number between 0 to 4000 [400 is default, I use 200] for how many milliseconds you want the Menu to wait before it opens.


  • Log off and log on, or restart the computer to apply the changes.

Note: The lower the number, the faster the response time. I would not recommend that you go below 50 since the menus would be harder to navigate through at that speed.




Friday, July 1, 2011

Use PSI (Personal Software Inspector) to keep your computer safe

PSI is free software (for personal use) that is used by millions of people to keep their computers safe from hackers. It is a security tool that is designed to detect vulnerable and out of date programs and plug-ins which could be vulnerable to attacks. Attacks exploiting vulnerable programs and plug-ins are rarely blocked by traditional anti-virus and are therefore increasingly popular among hackers. 

The best way to protect your computer is to apply security updates, not just for Windows, but for all of your software that is installed on your computer. PSI automates this task for you and alerts you when your programs and plug-ins require updating to stay secure. 


First start by downloading the latest version of Secunia PSI from their website ftp://ftp.secunia.com/PSISetup.exe then install the software and run it. When it first runs you will be shown the main screen (below), click on the "Start Scan" button as indicated in the graphic below.






Once the scan has run you will be presented with a list of software that is installed on your computer that needs to be patched because of updates, or the fact that it is out of date. 






Under the "install solution" column you will see a "install solution" link. Clicking on this will download the patch or latest version of the software to update your old vulnerable version. Run this on a regular basis to keep your system safe and sound from hackers or criminals.  

Enabling Windows 7 GOD mode


In Windows 7 you can create a GOD mode folder that contains nearly everything you can do within the Windows Control Panel and more.To access the special capabilities of the God Mode folder, create a new folder anywhere on your Windows 7 computer (I did mine on the desktop) and name it:

GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}
Once renamed, the icon will change to a control panel looking icon,that will contain all of different tweaking options that can be performed in Windows 7. Sort of a one stop shop of Windows tweaks.