A couple of weeks ago I downloaded and installed a free disk defragmentation utility. I learned about Auslogics DiskDefrag courtesy the LangaList Plus edition. The interface is very simple. Select the drive to defragment. The i9nterface refresh with drive data: file system (my drives are all NTFS for better space usage and lower fragmentation). Total disk space, user space (in red) and free space (in green).
You click the Next button to begin the defragmentation. The resulting drive map interface is quite basic. And overall quite similar to the ChkDsk GUI that debuted in Windows 95. DiskDefrag defragments files. Without moving around system files like the Page (pagefile.sys) or hibernate (hiber.sys) files. Unlike the scaled down DiskKeeper Lite version integrated into Windows XP/Server 2003. But then again using DiskDefrag doesn’t slow down computer operations. Once the defragmentation is complete, you can see the view the summary. Or choose to display a full report in your browser. You can then close the app or go back to defragment another drive.
Now comes my eating crow time. A while ago I rather offhandedly dismissed Maxthon 2. Citing that IE7 supported most features that one earlier needed browser wrappers like Maxthon for. Well, I downloaded and installed the non-subscription version of Maxthon (Preview ) 2.0.1 Build 460. And was pleasantly surprised by the lack of bugs. And how usable the applications was. Especially when mated with the improved IE7 rendering engine.
What I liked about this build was its ability to import my Maxthon 1.x settings (Favorites, Feeds, Groups, Plugins, Proxies, Ad Hunter, Simple Collector, External Tools0. As well as URL Alias/Key configurations. New to this build is an advanced automatic proxy function that allows different proxies to be configured for different web sites. You can also choose if new tabs are opened in the same or a new thread (be careful if you computer has less than 512 MB of RAM available). The build has been recoded so that only selected features a loaded so as to streamline resource use. The skin function has been enhanced. And the improved filtering doesn’t just block ads. It’s also prevents unpatched IE and windows vulnerabilities from harming your computer.
Maxthon 2 Preview scores over IE7 with mouse gestures, and ability to paste and go quite like Opera. And you can also define the number of open Tabs before the QuickTabs button is displayed. But unlike IE7 none of the thumbnails are hyperlinked to the actual tab! Oddly this preview is also missing a link to the browsing History. I had to open IE7 to access the feature because according to the Maxthon 2 Preview forum thread this function has still not been added! So if you can’t make up your mind about upgrading from Maxthon 1.5.x to the new Preview 2, do visit the developers feature comparison.
Microsoft has released the final Windows Defender. New in this release is support for Windows XP & Windows Windows Server 2003 32- & 64-Bit versions. As well as an
improved scanning engine and a more streamlined interface. However I couldn’t really see any differences between the Beta and final releases! I’m also not absolutely sure that Defender is silently defending my computer against spyware. Because a routine Trend Micro PC-Cillin 2007 spyware scan turned up 3 suspicious objects: all cookies. In hindsight perhaps I shouldn’t have bothered installing Defender, because when I attempted on first-run to update its signatures, I got an error! Best to trust in SpyBot Search & Destroy.
Courtesy Digg I learned about Royale Noir, a hidden fork of the Windows Media Center Royale theme. OK, lets back up a bit first. You need to first install the Royale theme on Windows XP. So if you don’t (already) have Royale installed, mosey over to SoftPedia’s download link for Windows XP Royale Theme. The Microsoft New Zealand web site also offers several wonderful desktop backgrounds that compliment the Royale Theme. Once Royale’s installed, download the Royale Noir update. Once downloaded extract the RAR’s contents to c:%windowsresourcesthemesRoyale Noir. Then click luna.msstyles to apply the theme update. Now right-click the Desktop and select Properties > Appearance > Color Scheme and select Royale Noir.
A couple of years ago I’d looked at the ultimate networking tool for road warriors: Net Profiles. This free, and easy to configure network connection settings utility lets you set the IP address and subnet mask, along with the default gateway and DNS Servers. You can also set the WINS Server address (if needed). Along with custom mapped drives and the default (network) printer to use with each profile. Within the NetProfiles configuration screen you can also define the Internet Explorer proxy settings and even change the default home page. I extensively use this at work where I have a choice of 4 separate Internet connections. And at home to change between two cable providers. Get a copy for yourself. It’s an act you won’t regret.
That’s it for another week. Stay Safe & Secure. And we’ll meet again soon.