Posts Tagged ‘windows’

Unlocking Your Problems With Unlocker

December 13th, 2009 No comments
Name: Unlocker
Version Reviewed: 1.8.8
Operating System: Windows XP, Vista, 7
Price: Completely free.
Site: (download)
Good: Helps solve one of the great mysteries of Windows – what the @!&$!!% is locking my file!?!
Easy enough to use for non-geeks (Yes mom – even you…)
Bad: Very simple for a utility, takes a smidgen of knowledge about Windows process to be used for anything more than unlocking files.
Verdict: Get it. Install it. Loose some stress.

Unlocker LogoA Small Utility For A Big Annoyance

You’re working on some files – say some dlls or .class files if you are a geek, or Word and Excel files if you’re mortal, and you need to move them.  No problem since you’ve moved files before – heck, anyone can move a file!  You right-click on the file to get the context menu, left-click on “cut”, right-click in the destination file, left-click on “paste”…

(Play music clip to get full experience of horror and rage)

Read more…

Cleaning Up: CCleaner

December 1st, 2009 No comments
Name: CCleaner
Version Reviewed: 2.26.1050
Operating System: Windows XP, Vista
Price: Completely free.
Good: Cleans just about everything out of your computer.
Registry cleaning function actually seems to work.
Bad: Tries to install Yahoo toolbar if you don’t look at all the options when installing

CCleaner Logo

A nice little app…

CCleaner is always – always one of the first things I install on a computer I’m working on. This is one of those base utilities you use because it does what it says it does and it does it extremely well.  And it does it for free.  CCleaner is also constantly being updated – always a good sign for a free utility.

What does it do?

First and foremost, CCleaner will search the deepest darkest recesses of your harddrive and clean out the cruft you didn’t even know existed taking up your precious space that could be better spent on pr0n family photos.  I’ve had a sixth-month-old PC recover over a gig of hard-disk space, and if you are a power user like me, you could see upwards of ten gigs  of space get cleaned if you run this every few months.  If you are not a power user (like my mom), this will save you a call to your support center/teenager/geek acquaintance when you start getting those “Out Of Space” messages.

The cleaning function of CCleaner covers most of the normal Windows areas, and then goes further to add support for specific applications.  Internet Explorer is covered, of course.  In addition, I’ve seen it cover Microsoft Office 2007, Firefox, assorted Adobe applications, antivirus suites, Java installations, and more.  For the browsers, you get options for cleaning out the caches, browsing histories, etc… CCleaner is extremely thorough.  You will see options for whatever applications that are installed on your machine which CCleaner covers.

A while ago, CCleaner started branching out and cleaning other aspects of your computer.  The biggest button on the interface besides “Cleaner” is “Registry”.  If you are any higher on the geek scale than “end user”, you cringe and cross yourself when you hear that word.  The Windows Registry is half the reason why the Windows operation system (any version) has so many problems. (The other half is gremlins.  I’ve seen them!).  Performing any operation that could be construed as “cleaning” on the registry has historically been a craps shoot – if the craps shoot involved dice, a semi-automatic, and the broad side of a barn.  One wrong move in the registry can destroy your operating system and make it unbootable – or worse, make it act normal until you’ve just hit the period key on the novella you spent all night typing in at which point the screen freezes up so the dying operating system can mock you with your unrecoverable verbiage and force you to hit the reset button yourself.

Dire predictions and past problems aside, CCleaner has never given me a problem with its tidying up of the registry.  In fact, I’ve actually had problems fixed by this, like explorer locking up every once in a while.  I have to say that most of the registry cleaners I’ve used over the years have been dubious in what benefit they gave in that they sometimes wound up causing more problems than they solved – if they solved any at all.  For cleaning the registry and not killing your computer while at the same time actually providing some benefit, CCleaner gets a gold star.

Special Note

When you install CCleaner, pay special attention to the “Install Options” page that comes up.  The bottom option on that page has historically been “Add CCleaner Yahoo! Toolbar and use CCleaner from your browser”.  If you want the Yahoo toolbar, then leave it checked.  Otherwise, make sure you uncheck that option before you hit the final “Install” button.  There’s a plethora of little apps that try to helpfully install unrelated crap when you don’t pay attention.  In this case, it’s excusable because I’m thinking the advertising dollars CCleaner gets from Yahoo for adding the toolbar to the install is helping to fuel continuing development of such a great utility.  That being said, you don’t want your browser to look like this…

Browser Toolbar Overload

In Closing…

Get it.  Install it. Use it every few months if you are not a geek, and every few weeks if you are. CCleaner is one of the few utilities that even my mom could use, and will patently save you time and money – not to mention a lot of space on your hard drive.