Mouse gestures can automate tedious tasks. With the click of a button and a flick of the wrist, you can fill in your shipping address, insert a long string of text you have to type over and over again, display the weather, or launch any program. StrokesPlus is a free mouse gestures application that's easy to configure and use but also highly flexible. It's available in separate downloads for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the Windows operating system. It's also available in fully portable versions of each. While most users will probably benefit from the fully installed … Read more
It's easy to change your Windows log-on screen to match your desktop wallpaper or display any image you like with InstantLogonChanger from ArturDev. Designed to display corporate logos on a company's computers, this simple freeware lets you apply your own image as your Windows log-on background. It can handle JPEGs, BMPs, PNGs, GIFs, and TIFFs. But it does more than simply change the log-on screen's background image: It can also fit images to your screen or your taste using the familiar Fit, Fill, Stretch, Center, and Tile controls, as well as change the background color to enhance … Read more
MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which we answer questions e-mailed in by our readers.
This week readers wrote in with questions about switching between 32- and 64-bit mode in OS X, using Target Disk Mode via Thunderbolt connections, how long Snow Leopard will be supported now that Mountain Lion is released, the best route to take for upgrading to Mountain Lion, and options for adding RAM to an older iMac system. We welcome views from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, post them in the comments!
Question: Switching between 32- and 64-bit … Read more
A new procedure has surfaced that may allow owners of the older and unsupported Mac Pro 1,1 and 2,1 machines to run Mountain Lion natively on their systems.
When Apple initially released OS X Mountain Lion developer previews to testers and its development community, word spread that the OS would leave out some of Apple's earlier Intel-based Macs, including the first Mac Pro systems that still pack a decent amount of computing power. Apple made these requirements official more recently on its OS X up-to-date Web page for Mountain Lion.
The reason for these limitations revolved around … Read more
Waterfox is a 64-bit version of Firefox. The browser's developers modified the Firefox source code specifically for machines running 64-bit versions of Windows. Software designed for 64-bit Windows editions can take advantage of faster RAM and processing speeds and greater stability in 64-bit systems. Just converting Mozilla's source code for 64-bit Windows doesn't do enough to make Waterfox stand apart from Firefox and other Firefox-based Web browsers; other unique tweaks help it exploit the speed of 64-bit systems. As the Waterfox Web site states, speed is its mission.
When we first opened Waterfox, it displayed our bookmarks … Read more
What happens in Windows stays in Windows, and the tool that logs and displays it is called the Event Viewer. NirSoft's MyEventViewer is a useful alternative to the built-in Windows tool. For example, it's less confusing, with a simpler layout. You can view multiple logs in one list. It displays the event description and data in the same list, too, instead of opening a new window. And it's available in separate versions for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows operating systems, for maximum compatibility and stability. We sampled the 64-bit version in Windows 7.
As with many of NirSoft'… Read more
NirSoft's DriverView displays your system's drivers in an informative list view. This free tool is invaluable for troubleshooting system problems, updating drivers, installing and uninstalling hardware, and all the other issues that always seem to show up just when you think you've got your machine running on all cylinders. Better yet, DriverView is available in separate downloads for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows.
Why does that matter? For starters, 64-bit Windows has performance advantages, such as handling more RAM. Most 32-bit apps will run in 64-bit Windows, but not vice versa. Also, drivers designed for 32-bit Windows won'… Read more
It's easy to know which USB devices are plugged into your system. Just look, right? But what if they're connected on the back panel, and it's a royal pain to access them? Suppose one or more device has stopped working, and you're not even sure if they're still plugged in? Maybe you suspect one of your USB ports is malfunctioning, or you're trying to resolve a device conflict. NirSoft's USBDeview is a free system tool that can help with all those issues and more. It does something simple: display the USB devices connected … Read more
Shell extensions add useful capabilities to context menus in Windows. For instance, when you right-click a file, you might see icons for your anti-virus program, or graphics app, or Zip tool on the context menu. Those are created by adding shell extensions to your system. As more and more programs take advantage of this useful capability in Windows, it becomes harder and harder to keep tabs on them. NirSoft's ShellExView displays the details of all the shell extensions installed in your computer. It also lets you enable and disable shell extensions. This free tool is available in specific downloads … Read more
Since Windows is meant to be all things to most people, it leaves room for improvement on many fronts, such as copying files. Copying speed in Windows is mostly determined by your system's resources, but that's the point: by maximizing the copying according to your system's capabilities, it's possible to copy even very large files faster than Windows can. How much faster? Up to eight times faster, according to Easersoft, makers of ExtremeCopy Free, which optimizes copying speed based on your machine's resources. The standard version is free for personal and home use, though a … Read more