• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Finally, you can manage your Google Docs, uploads, and email attachments (plus Dropbox and Slack files) in one convenient place. Claim a free account, and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) can automatically organize your content for you.



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Welcome to Clif Notes Newsletter

October 12, 2008



Hi Everyone.

Thanks for reading my newsletter. Each week, I will have freeware reviews, tips, tricks, news, and lots of cool websites for you to check out.

I hope you enjoy this week's letter. Be sure to write me for advice or yell at me for messing up.

Email me

Click here to chat while

visiting this newsletter!






IE Application Compatibility Images - virtual machines running XP

Posted by ClifNotes, Oct 2008, permalink Virtualization Software


A virtual machine is a live copy of another computer running inside of your computer. I really like playing around with these and there are now more choices than ever to play with them.


One of the better known programs to run a virtual machine on your computer is the Microsoft Virtual PC software. I've used it for a long time and you can read more about it here.


I recently noticed that my copies of XP wouldn't run any more. What happened?


I had gotten the copies of XP from Microsoft and they had a time limit on them. Fortunately, I found that I could download new copies and have them back up and running in no time. I also found I could run a copy of Windows Vista as well.


What do I use them for? I can always use them to test out software that I don't want to install on my real computers. Once I get done testing, I can return the virtual computers back to their original state as if I hadn't done anything to them.


What do other people use them for? Microsoft created these mostly for web developers so that they'd have copies of other versions of Internet Explorer that they could use for testing. It's pretty hard to have more than one legitimate copy of IE running on a PC. In general, virtual machines are becoming more and more common in work places. Instead of running a real PC, an office worker may be using a dumb terminal that's showing him a virtual machine running on a server. This is helpful when things go wrong, such as viruses or other malware. The guys running the server can always restore a new copy of the worker's virtual machine. It's like getting a new PC every time you need it.


There are other possible uses for these virtual machines and I'm sure you can think of a few on your own.


Quote from the website

VPC Hard Disk Image for testing websites with different IE versions on Windows XP SP2, Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista


This download page contains four separate VPC images, depending on what you want to test.

• IE6-XPSP3_VPC.exe contains a Windows XP SP3 with IE6 VHD file

• IE7-XPSP2_VPC.exe contains a Windows XP SP2 with IE7 VHD file

• IE8B2-XPSP3_VPC.exe contains a Windows XP SP3 with IE8 Beta 2 VHD file

• IE7-VIS1.exe+IE7-VIS2.rar+IE7-VIS3.rar contain a Vista Image with IE7 VHD file.




Some of the best free Screensavers

Posted by ClifNotes, Oct 2008, permalink Desktop Tools


I have tried dozens of free screensavers over the years. Most went promptly into the recycle bin. Some weren't really free and popped up nag screens. Even worse, some had hidden malware in them.


Finding free screensavers on the net is very risky if you don't know what you are doing. Even the sponsored results from Google will often point you to screensavers with hidden badware in them. That's why I was very pleased to find that one person had tried a bunch of freebies that are safe and selected what they thought were the best ones.


I've looked them over and I approve. I've used several of the screensavers mentioned, but they came up with a few I hadn't seen before. Have fun!


Quote from the website

What screensaver to choose? Most companies have limited demo- and shareware-versions, but they are almost always rather disturbing than helpful and will only get on your nerves.


In fact, there are only few pearls - amazing screensavers you’d be really ready to pay for once you’ve tested them. We’ve downloaded and installed a hell of a lot of them, we’ve had many problems (mostly adware) with them, but in the end we’ve tested all of them. And we’ve selected the most beautiful, interesting and unusual screensavers for you.




MobaLiveCD - Runs Linux Live CDs Inside Windows

Posted by ClifNotes, Oct 2008, permalink Virtualization Software


I recently tried the MobaLiveCD program. It's pretty great for trying out a live linux CD without having to burn a CD or boot outside of Windows. Surprisingly, it seems to work well, but is a bit slow at times.


It's a simple 1.4mb download and you only need to save it somewhere to use it. No installation is needed.


After you have Moba downloaded, you can go out and download Linux live CDs as ISO files. Normally you'd have to burn the ISOs to a CD in order to try them. Now you can simply run Moba and point it at the ISO file. The ISO will boot the Live CD in a Window for you to try out.


I found that it's not limited to running Linux live CDs. I downloaded a copy of FreeDOS live CD ISO file and it worked fine.


Quote from the website

MobaLiveCD is a freeware that will run your Linux LiveCD on Windows thanks to the excellent emulator called "Qemu".

MobaLiveCD allows you to test your LiveCD with a single click : after downloading the ISO image file of your favorite LiveCD, you just have to start it in MobaLiveCD and here you are, without the need to burn a CD-Rom or to reboot your computer.




WinMD5Sum - checking to make sure you have a good copy

Posted by ClifNotes, Oct 2008, permalink tag20tag|tagtagtag


Recently I read an article in Terry's Computer Tips newsletter that I'd like to pass on. He covers the ideas behind MD5 checksums and offers a review of a nice freeware that helps you use them. I can heartily recommend signing up for Terry's newsletters. They don't take long to read and you'll often learn something new.


I use MD5 at work fairly often. I use it to verify copies of files that I archive using an Excel worksheet. I wrote a macro that moves the files and then calls the md5sums command line tool which gives me a log of the MD5 checksums.


You may not need a tool to give you an MD5 checksum, but at least you'll know what these are if you keep reading.


Review from Terry:

Program: WinMD5Sum

Publisher: Nullriver Software, www.nullriver.com

Category: Utility to verify integrity of download

License: Short, custom user-friendly license

Price: Freeware


First, I need to explain what MD5 is. MD5 is a hashing algorithm (a number-crunching method) that is designed to read every byte of a file and generate a long, unique code based on its contents. md5Sum is a program in the Linux world that is used to generate verification codes for software files.


The most important features of an MD5 sum are that: (1) it is easy to use and (2) if a single character/byte changes in the file, the MD5 sum is dramatically different.


md5sum is often used when Linux programs are made available for downloading. Since most of the programs are open-source and free, and anyone can distribute them, the publisher often uses md5Sum to create the unique identifying sequence of characters for the file. That way, you can download from anywhere, but still use md5sum on your own computer to calculate the MD5 sum verification code, and compare it to the MD5 sum published by the originating site.


Tech Tip

By the way, the MD5 sum for the downloadable proggram Install-winMd5Sum.exe is 7d2b88b560095b9a59576fc75cdb1ef5.


So, what is WinMD5Sum? You guessed it — a Windows program to calculate an MD5 sum.


Sometimes, Windows programs are distributed with MD5Sums, or Linux programs may be downloaded to a Windows computer. By using WinMD5Sum, we can calculate the MD5 sum to make sure that we downloaded an unmodified file and also confirm that there was not a bad download.


What do I use it for? I often will download a Linux distribution in the ISO image format, so I can burn a CD of it. WinMD5Sum allows me to make sure that the file is the same as the original and that the download process did not corrupt the file (which sometimes happens).


What else does WinMD5Sum do? Nothing.


Terry Stockdale



Get WinMD5Sum



Everything - light and fast indexed file search

Posted by ClifNotes, Oct 2008, permalink File Search


Last week, I mentioned a fast file search tool called SnowBird. While it's fast, it may not be nearly as fast as a search tool that indexes your hard drive. I don't like tools that are running constantly to achieve the indexing, but the "EveryThing" tool mentioned below looks like it may be a great compromise. It sounds like it will index the files but it may not have to run in the background non-stop.


Quote from Peter Butler @ download.com:


Too long have we been forced to endure slow and painful Windows Explorer searches or install a resource hog like Google Desktop to make up for what Windows lacks. A simple program called Everything, from small software publisher voidtools, aims to change all that.


With a simple interface and blazing speed, Everything does mostly one thing, and it does it extremely well. It creates a near-instant index of your files and directory names, then provides near-real-time results for any search term. The installer weighs in just under 300K, and RAM usage is minimal.


It's important to note, however, that Everything only works on NTFS file systems, and resource usage will go up quite a bit with large (1 million+) numbers of files.

Read the rest of the blog post


Quote from the website

"Everything" is a search engine for Windows.

"Everything" replaces the windows search with a much faster one.

Unlike Windows search "Everything" initially displays every file and folder on your computer (hence the name "Everything").

You type in a search filter to limit what files and folders are displayed.


"Everything" only uses file and folder names and generally takes a few seconds to build it's database.

1,000,000 files will take about 1 minute.




MediaCoder - free Open Source audio converter and extractor

Notes from ClifNotes • Updated Sep 2008, Feb 2008 • permalinkAudio Encoders and Converters


Mindblower wrote in with a review of MediaCoder. I tried this program briefly. It does way more than I need. Everything I tried seemed to work just fine. It's an Open Source freebie, so I'd never complain if it wasn't perfect.


Many people have complained that it's not user friendly and has too many settings. If you need something simpler, there are many other free options out there.


Review from Mindblower:

I've been looking for such a program (free as well), a video format converter which could convert (a TV series I d/l) with the rmbv extension to avi or divx (so it could be played via DVD player with DivX capabilities). Well this one is the cream of converters. It not only does a conversion (they refer to it as Transcode) but it can do an entire folder. I'm typing this review as I'm putting the program through the paces (so to speak). Tried it out yesterday, and only today did I notice many features which I skipped over yesterday (did just one conversion and to the wrong format - but for everyone reading this is excellent news). Highly recommend this program, and I do urge (strongly suggestion) that those wishing to try out this program, spend some time reading and understanding what all the tab settings can do. Will eliminate possible frustration (been there myself).


click to expand picture

Quote from the website

MediaCoder is a free universal batch media transcoder, which nicely integrates most popular audio/video codecs and tools into an all-in-one solution. With a flexible and extendable architecture, new codecs and tools are added in constantly as well as supports for new devices. MediaCoder intends to be the swiss army knife for media transcoding in all time and at this moment, it already has millions of users from 170+ countries all over the planet.


Features in brief:

• Convert to and from many audio and video compression formats and re-multiplex into various container formats in batches

• Full control over transcoding parameters, you can learn about audio/video encoding and play with various codecs

• Strong decoding capability for partial or corrupted contents

• Simplified UI for popular mobile devices (e.g. PSP, iPhone/iPod)

• Fully standalone, no dependance on system codecs/splitters

• Extension (scripting language) infrastructure to expand user interfaces and improve user experience



For those who don't want to install, there are quite a few free media conversion websites.

Here are three I've tried.









Old Newsletter


I like to look back and see what I was thinking about. Here's another letter from the wayback machine.















What free software do you need?

Notes from ClifNotes, permalink Windows Tips


So what do you need? Write it down below and I'll see if I can find it. If you know the answer to someone else's question, add your answer there.



Previous What Do You Need comments


Search all the comments


How to Install and Configure TrueCrypt Disk Encryption

Posted by ClifNotes, Oct 2008, permalink File Encryption Tools


Do you have sensitive info on your PC or laptop you need to keep private? What about the secret files on your USB flash drive?


Dave at Dave's Computer Tips recently published a nice "How To" on using TrueCrypt to keep your information safe.


Another friend of mine uses TrueCrypt and published a review of it here two years ago. I've never used it but maybe I should.


Quote from Dave's Computer Tips:

I promised to show you how to install and configure TrueCrypt, the free open source on-the-fly encryption program. TrueCrypt is a very powerful program that you use to create virtual encrypted disks (which are basically just files on your hard drive that can be mounted as if they're disks, complete with unique drive letters). You can also encrypt entire partitions or hard drives and encrypt entire USB flash drives.


We'll get into full-drive encryption in Part 2; for now, I'll show you how to install and configure TrueCrypt to create a simple encrypted volume that you can use to store your information securely.


Links to Dave's two-part series on TrueCrypt

Part 1

Part 2



Comments last week

Thanks to everyone who commented on the articles last week. You gave me more ideas and some good advice.





Ewido Antispyware Micro Scanner

Sophos Anti-Rootkit - easy to use scanner •

Download Statusbar - Firefox addon for those who love downloading •

KeyMaker - another fine way to make safer passwords •

Lastpass - you don't have to remember more than one password •

Snowbird Search - finds files very fast •



Windiz Update - the Firefox alternative to Windows Update •

Epidemic of fake anti-malware threatens Internet users



Tag Galaxy - a whole universe of images •

Mohawke's Best of the Best Free and Open Source Software Collection


Internet Fixes Weekend Windup

tips from Gary at InternetFixes, Windows Tips


From Clif:

Gary at Internet Fixes continues to amaze me with hundreds and thousands of tips for your PC. Whatever your operating system, or how you use it, a visit to Gary's site will soon have you saying "So that's how you do this!".


Sign up for Gary's newsletter?

Weekend Windups are now available online



Internet Fixes Weekend Windup

Visit My New FAQ Section Of The Website! This Takes The Place Of The Old Forum And Login Section Of The Website!




The Following are links from the past weeks Newsletter.


PC Problems? Use My Help Form.




Close To 400 General XP Tips.




Readers Questions Along With Some Of My Answers.




The Following are links from the past weeks Newsletter.


1. Bring Off-Screen Window Back Onto Screen.




2. Find Current System Uptime in XP.




3. In Windows XP or Windows Vista, the My Documents folder is missing from the My Computer view.




4. When you open a file in Windows XP that has a corrupted video, image files, HTML pages, or MP3 file, Windows Explorer crashes.




5. Remote Tab Missing From System Properties in XP.




6. When viewing Folder Options in Windows XP, the General and View tabs are missing.




7. XP/Vista Error: STOP: c0000218 {Registry File Failure}








8. Internet Explorer Text is Too Large or Too Small




9. When you try to access an FTP site using Internet Explorer, you get an error.




10. Enable/Disable Sounds on Web Sites in Internet Explorer 7





11. Enable/Disable Content Advisor in Internet Explorer 7




12. Delete My Music, My Documents, My Pictures Folders Forever




13. Disable CTRL+ALT+Delete Unlock Prompt After Wakeup in Vista.




14. Enable/Disable Network Icon in Notification Area in Vista.




15. Enable/Disable Laptop Power Icon in Notification Area in Vista




Kids And Computers




Click The Link Below To Join My News Letter.




Your Continued Donations Keep Internet Fixes Running!






Function Keys, F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6, F7, F8, F9, F10, F11, F12





140 Windows XP Run Commands.




Vista Run Commands.




Hardware And Software Vendor Phone List, A-K




Hardware And Software Vendor Phone List, L-P




Hardware And Software Vendor Phone List, Q-Z





Computer Motherboard And Chipset Drivers.




I try and keep up on the latest Virus Alerts.




Drivers Index.




Click The Link Below To Join My News Letter.




PC Problems? Use My Help Form.















Dreams of flying come true

Posted by ClifNotes, Oct 2008, permalink Cool Video


I think we've all had dreams of flying. I have, but I never imagined cruising past mountain walls at 100 miles per hour. My dreams were pretty mild compared to what you'll see in this video.






LibriVox - making public domain books into audio books

Posted by ClifNotes, Oct 2008, permalink Web Service


Thunder7 wrote me with a link to this site. LibriVox has an awesome objective to make all public books into audio books. They'd like your help if you have the time.


Quote from the website

LibriVox Objective


To make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet.


Our Fundamental Principles


• Librivox is a non-commercial, non-profit and ad-free project

• Librivox donates its recordings to the public domain

• Librivox is powered by volunteers

• Librivox maintains a loose and open structure

• Librivox welcomes all volunteers from across the globe, in all languages




Splicd.com - cutting up YouTube your way

Posted by ClifNotes, Oct 2008, permalink Web Service


I ran into this site recently. I haven't had a chance to try it, but I thought I'd share it with you anyway. It's free and no signup is needed.


Quote from the website

Splicd allows you to isolate an interesting tidbit from a YouTube video and provides you with a link to share it with your family, friends, and colleagues.






CoolSites Newsletter this week


Here are a 6 links (out of dozens) from Mark's CoolSites Newsletter. Be sure to visit his site and see the rest of his links this week.


September 19 2008 COOLSITES Newsletter #183 by Mark Donaldson

• 3000 Free Goodies- Free Samples - Free Software - Free Stuff: http://www.3000freegoodies.com/maxbountygoody_index.shtml

• akapost - A Simple Way to Keep Your Email Address Private: http://www.akapost.com/

• Freeware by Spacejock: http://www.spacejock.com/Software.html

• Freeware by Zhorn: http://www.zhornsoftware.co.uk/

• Freeware. ALTools Free PC Utilities - Free zip-unzip, ftp, movies, pictures, photos, password managment: http://www.altools.com/Default.aspx

• Mac. Frisky Freeware- free software for Mac OS X!: http://www.cornstalker.com/freeware/x.html


Quote from the website

COOLSITES is a list of safe, fun, useful, informative and just plain cool websites and programs that are FREE, FREE and FREE. All of the programs and websites I list are free. If I list anything that is so good but isn't free I will list the price with it.











SnapFiles.com - new and updated freeware

Source - http://snapfiles.com/freeware





News from Sarah in Tampa

Source - http://sarahintampa.com




Security news from Malware Advisor

blog by TeMerc Internet Countermeasures, source

Infected? Go to http://temerc.com for help





A view from CyberNirvana


CyberNirvana: Zia's blog about the web and web technology.




























Frapper - you people live all over the world!

Wow! Over 900 people and still growing! I invite all of you to record your locations on this map. You can include as little or as much information as you wish. I think you'll enjoy seeing yourself there.


Here's a small look at my frapper map.



Get Gmail! and Get Firefox!


You need a free 6 GB Gmail account to access many of the cool features at Google. After more than two years in beta testing Gmail is open to the public. Just go to http://gmail.com and sign up for an account.



I think Gmail works best in the awesome Firefox browser. It's free, easy to use, and it's way more secure than Internet Explorer. My favorite thing to do is to customize Firefox so that it does much more than IE ever could. You can select new button controls for your toolbars, install extensions to add new features, or change the look of your browser with themes - the way Firefox looks and works is under your control.


Get Firefox!


Chatting at FreewareWiki



Now you can chat with anyone visiting a website by using Meebo. To see who's gabbing at this website, click here.





Find out more about Meebo.com







Write your own review


I get many of the reviews in the newsletter from the readers. You don't have to be a genius or computer guru. Just answer a few questions and send me a review. I'll probably put you in the newsletter.


What do you have to say?


Just tell me what article you are talking about and leave me your comment.



Have fun and surf safely.



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