When computers run short of memory, the best solution is to add more RAM. But if your PC is already maxed out on memory modules, you can use software to free up resources and improve your system's performance. There are several ways to free up system memory. Rizone Memory Booster uses the simple but effective technique of making regular Windows API calls to tell the operating system to clean up running processes, freeing up system memory in the process. Its automatic mode cleans your system memory at regular intervals determined by the software, but you can configure the program'… Read more
Best Buy is on the same track that two former train wrecks were on, CompUSA and Circuit City.
Today, Best Buy reported a fiscal fourth-quarter net loss of $1.7 billion and announced it is closing 50 stores.
The basic pattern that CompUSA (closed brick-and-mortar stores in 2007) and Circuit City (closed stores in 2008) followed was: first select stores were closed, then more were closed, then all stores were shuttered or sold off.
Is this Best Buy's fate? And why? Below I try to offer some reasons for Best Buy's troubles based on my own experience and … Read more
Over time, the Windows Registry becomes fragmented. It can slow down your PC if it becomes bad enough. Defragmenting the Registry makes it more compact, much like your hard drives. Of course, it's not as easy as that when you're dealing with the Registry, since errors can damage your system. You need a tool specifically designed for the job. Ainvo Registry Defrag is a free utility that automatically defragments your Registry on startup, either once or every time, depending on how you set it up.
Ainvo Registry Defrag opened with a simple dialog page explaining the next step, … Read more
Comma Separated Value (CSV) files pack lots of information into an easy-to-handle text format that uses commas to separate individual fields. CSV files make it easy to transfer large volumes of data between programs, such as transferring e-mail addresses between clients. CSVStar is a free tool that can create, edit, and manage CSV files.
CSVStar's interface uses colors to delineate functional sections, but it's unintuitive and uninformative in its layout and labeling, and we quickly turned to the PDF-based Help file to figure out how to get started. Using CSVStar involves creating templates, but the program doesn't … Read more
Okozo Desktop manages and installs free animated Flash and DirectX wallpaper apps on your desktop. The apps are simple and compact yet lively and entertaining. New wallpapers are being added all the time, but you can even create and share your own animations via Okozo's Web site.
There is quite a lot of downloading and installing to get to Okozo: First the download assistant, then the actual download, then installing Microsoft DirectX and Visual C++ as well as Flash player (ours was out of date) before installing the actual program. Of course, if you have some of that stuff … Read more
Axantum's AxCrypt (64-bit) is a powerful encryption utility for 64-bit editions of Windows. It not only encrypts and decrypts files but also adds file renaming, password protection, key-file generation, and secure delete. AxCrypt integrates with Explorer, so you only need to right-click a file and select AxCrypt from the file's context menu. Better still, it's freeware.
Since AxCrypt runs automatically with Windows and integrates with Explorer, there's no separate program interface, though a Start Menu folder offers links to documentation and registration pages as well as an uninstallation utility. We right-clicked a random folder and selected … Read more
Flixster is a popular Web site that combines movie reviews and listings with social networking. Flixster Movies is a Chrome extension that makes selected Flixster content easily accessible from within your browser. Although the full range of Flixster's features isn't represented, it's still a good way to integrate movie showtimes into your browser.
Like most Chrome extensions, Flixster installs easily, appearing as an icon to the right of Chrome's address bar. Click on the icon and a menu appears with tabs for popular movies, movies that are coming soon, and movies that are now on DVD. … Read more
Graphics editors need an angle to compete with Photoshop. Many hit Adobe's pricey program where it's most vulnerable by taking the freeware route. Others offer portability, or an emphasis on photographs, or different methods. Hornil StylePix Portable does a little bit of all of that. It's a full-featured desktop graphics application in the Photoshop mode, with layers, highly customizable tools, multiple undo, browsing, batch processing, histogram, slideshows, filters, and effects. It's also totally portable and compact enough to run from a USB drive or portable PC; in fact, it's designed to be light and speedy … Read more
Ever wish you could get a visual representation of what's in a folder on your computer? Now you can quickly and easily assign images to be displayed on folders in Explorer's thumbnail view with Fast Folder.JPG. This tiny app lets you customize your folders with a simple drag-and-drop process.
There are several ways to use Fast Folder.JPG, and all of them are easy. You can open the program, launching a small square interface. Onto this interface you can drag the folder you want to customize and, if there's only one image in it, the program … Read more
CleanMem is a free tool that clears up your system's memory on a scheduled basis, thus preventing your system from running out of memory, turning to the hard drive for help, and slowing your system down. It calls a Window API, using built-in processes to do the work for it, which means fewer conflicts. While users whose systems are a bit short on memory will get the best out of CleanMem, even those with massive amounts of RAM can use it to good advantage by keeping their hard drives free of junk. It can keep SSD boot drives free … Read more