Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Image your hard drive with DriveImage XML.

I remember a time when a new computer purchase included the OS disks.  That's becoming a thing of the past.  So what do you do if you want a really good image of your current system in case it crashes?  I recommend creating a drive image using DriveImage XML.

Here's a scenerio of how it works.  Last week I decided to replace the 40 GB HDD in my kid's computer with a   80 GB HDD.  The issue was that I didn't want to start the install process from scratch mainly because I no longer have the original Windows XP cds.  I have no idea where they went to.  So I installed the new 80 GB HDD and simply imaged the 40 GB HDD to it using the Drive to Drive option in DriveImage XML.  Once it completed I removed the main 40 GB HDD and made sure the 80 GB HDD was set to be the main drive.  Worked perfectly.

Another way to use DriveImage XML would be to create an image and put that image on a separate hard drive for back up.  That way if my hard drive crashes I can simple put in a new one and re-image from the back up.  Of course in order to do that you may need to create a bootable cd with DriveImage XML on it.  I recommend Ultimate Boot CD for Windows.

DriveImage XML comes in two flavors.  Free for home and persona use and Pro for commercial use.  I could see where DriveImage XML would be incredibly handy at work where I maintain over 30 computers and 5 servers.  I could create pc images as backups to a central server in case a hard drive goes out.  It's also a great way to get a computer back to it's original "new" state.

Another great feature of DriveImage XML is that you can browse the image just like it's a folder.  Very handy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Remove programs with Revo Uninstaller

When you install software on your computer you may, or may not, realize that a lot goes on in the background.  Folders are created, registries are made or updated, DLLs are put in hiding places and much more.  That's all ok because that stuff is needed for the program to run.  The issue is what happens to all that stuff if you ever need to uninstall the software?

Well, not everything gets removed during an uninstall with normal uninstallers or even the uninstaller that came with the software.  Sometimes a lot of it gets left behind on your system.  Most of the time that's ok too.  The left overs may never do any damage to your system at all.  However, for me it's a mind game.

After being in the programing field and in computer technology I know what's going on inside my computer better than the average user.  I know there are crumbs and junk left under the sofa cushion...if you know what I mean.  And even though those crumbs aren't doing anything it still bugs me knowing they're there.

That's what I really like about Revo Uninstaller.
With its advanced and fast algorithms, Revo Uninstaller Pro analyzes an application's data before uninstall and scans for remnants after the uninstall of a program. After the program's regular uninstaller runs, you can remove additional unnecessary files, folders and registry keys that are usually left over on your computer.
Incomplete or corrupted uninstalls?  I've had those before too.
Revo Uninstaller Pro has a very powerful feature called Forced Uninstall. This feature allows you to remove leftovers of programs that are already uninstalled, incomplete installations and uninstall remnants of programs! It does not matter if the program, you want to remove, is not listed in Revo Uninstaller Pro or in Windows Add/Remove Programs Control Panel applet. Forced Uninstall gives power to the user but still keeps the safety and the accuracy of the results. It is very useful when the installation is corrupted and cannot continue further. 
Once I've ran the first portion of the uninstall I can get much deeper and see what leftovers are there to get rid of.  Does it REALLY matter that every last remnant of a software be removed?  Perhaps not in 99.9% of the  cases. But if you're having trouble uninstalling something it's worth giving Revo Uninstaller a try.  There is a free version available.

Friday, July 16, 2010

LIberkey: 165 free programs.

I love the portable apps movement that's popular right now.  As an IT guy in charge of over 20 computers at work it's nice to have some good software that can be used where you need it.  Yeah, I know it's easier to just create a network drive and access it from each computer. I do that too but for those of you who don't have that kind of access this is a very good solution.

There three flavors of Liberkey.
Basic: 12programs using 120 MB
Standard: 90 programs using 442 MB
Ultimate: 168 programs using 587 MB

I've been using Liberkey Ultimate for a few months now.  It easily fits on a 1 GB flash drive which means I don't have to break the bank to get it portable.  I saw 1 GB drives at Target over the weekend for $5.  I've installed it on a 4 GB drive that I got at Best Buy for $13 so I have room to have additional documents and installations.

Liberkey allows for customized additional software and has it's own "My Documents" where you can store files accessible through Liberkey.  Here's what the default tree looks like. I've added an autorun.inf file which can be created within Liberkey.

 Here is what the Liberkey Tools section contains.

This what the main program window looks like.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ninite.com is a huge time saver!

I recently received two new computers at work. Dell, Intel Core i7 920  @ 2.67GHz running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit with 8 GB RAM.  Yeah.  Beasts and I've got one of them now.

So last night I stayed at work late to get my machine all set up and ready to use.  Well, if you've ever had to reinstall more than 30 programs you know what a huge time suck it is.  This is where Ninite.com comes in very handy.  All you have to do is select the software you want installed and click the "Get Installer" button.  Then all you do is sit back and either watch it work or do other things while it runs.

I had 21 programs downloaded and installed without ANY intervention by me.  I was able to install other programs like Office 2007, Adobe Pro 9, Visual Studio 2010 Express and a host of other things while Ninite did it's thing.  Easily saved me 30 minutes to an hour of my time.

Ninite is free and no registration is required.  There is a Pro version for $20 US which may come in really handy if you need to set up more than 2 new computers at once.

Here are some great features of Ninite.com
    No Toolbars
    Ninite says "No" to toolbars
    and other junk.
    No Clicking
    Ninite automates installers offscreen.
    32 and 64-bit
    Ninite installs the best version of an app for your PC.
    Ninite installs apps in your PC's language.
    No manual labor means
    installs finish quickly.
    And More
    Ninite Pro has even more features. Learn more

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New template.

I've just changed the design of this blog.  Hope you all like it.