About CCleaner's Easy Clean Mode

Piriform released www.ccleaner.com/ on May 15, 2019. The new version of the popular cleaning software introduces a new simplified cleaning mode called Easy Clean. We followed development of the program for a long time, you can still read our 2007 “second look” of CCleaner.
Piriform calls it one of the “biggest changes in CCleaner history” as it makes the program more accessible to a non-tech savvy audience. CCleaner’s new mode helps non-technical users clean their devices through an easier to follow and understand workflow.
We started looking at CCleaner and its interface through the eyes of a non-technical CCleaner user and decided to design an alternative cleaning flow. We wanted to simplify cleaning, guide users through it, and serve up information in a way they understand (so they know what they’re cleaning and the benefits of doing so).
Easy Clean

The new Easy Clean mode is placed at the top of the sidebar, the place of the original cleaning mode; that mode is still there, but it has been renamed to Custom Clean. Experienced users and those who want more control over the cleaning process need to select Custom Clean. The mode offers the same options as before.
Easy Clean displays a single button in its interface. Analyze works similarly to CCleaner’s original mode but it gives users no customization options.
Analyze checks if web browsers run and prompts you to close them, just like CCleaner’s regular mode does. You can skip that and continue but data won’t be deleted in that case. CCleaner focuses on Trackers and Junk in that case.

The scan displays the number of trackers and the total size of the identified junk after the scan completes. You can click on review links to display additional information but you can’t make a case by case decision as Piriform moved the decision making steps up a level.
You can decide to clean certain browsers for instance but not which trackers, and the same is true for identified junk. A click on “clean all” removes the data from the device.
Closing Words
Easy ‘Mode makes the cleaning simpler and more straightforward. Technical users won’t find much use in the new mode, but it may help inexperienced users who feel overwhelmed by the program’s cleaning options.
While I think that it is better that these users put in an hour or so of work to understand the cleaning options of custom clean, some might prefer an easy option to clean some of the data that CCleaner supports.
Piriform learned from the past. The company made Easy Clean the default but added an option to CCleaner’s Settings to change that to Custom Clean mode instead. Just select Options > Settings > CCleaner Home Screen > Custom Clean to make it the start mode of the program.
Now You: What is your take on the program’s new Easy Clean mode?
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NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher: remove resolution and refresh rate limits

NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher is a free program for Microsoft Windows devices that removes certain resolution and refresh rate limits.
The program detects limits and may patch the values to allow higher resolutions and refresh rates. It checks for certain limits and displays those that it finds in the interface. In the case of our test machine, DL-DVI, SL-DVI/HDMI, HDMI-DVI, SL-DVI on DL-DVI, TMDS.
You may download the latest version of the NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher from the developer’s website. The program is updated regularly to address changes in newer drivers that Nvidia releases regularly.
NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher modifies the NVIDIA video driver to allow higher resolutions and refresh rates by removing the 165 MHz pixel clock limit for single-link DVI and HDMI, the 330 MHz limit for dual-link DVI, and the 400 MHz limit for SLI and 400/500-series GPUs.
NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher
NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher requires a Nvidia 400-series or newer graphics processing unit and Windows Vista or newer.

The archive that you download comes with two executable files:

nvlddmkm-patcher.exe — the regular patcher
nvlddmkm-patcher-full.exe — the patcher for Catleap/QNIX/Tempest/X-Star users with with 400/500-series GPUs.

The application detects existing limits on start. You may select “yes” to patch the limits or “no” to cancel the entire process. Nvidia Pixel Clock Patcher displays a notification after the patching. Note that you may need to reboot the system before the new options become available.
We suggest that you create a backup of the system before you run the patch. Note that new driver installations will undo the changes made by the patch. You need to run the application again to patch the values after new driver installations.
The application creates a backup and when you run it again includes an option to restore the defaults.
Patched drivers allow higher refresh rates which you may set using the Nvidia Control Panel or third-party applications such as Custom Resolution Utility. New resolutions or refresh rates may not be presented directly unless you use a program like Custom Resolution Utility.
The current version has three known issues that users need to be aware of before running the patcher.
The full patch breaks HDCP support. It is only needed if the pixel clock is greater than 400 MHz with 400/500-series GPUs or SLI with 600/700-series GPUs until 391.35.
NVIDIA cards will not reduce clock speeds when idle if the vertical blanking/total is too low.
400/500-series cards will not reduce clock speeds if the pixel clock is greater than 404 MHz.
Closing Words
NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher is a specialized programs for Nvidia graphics processing units; most Windows users may have no desire to run this but some may find it useful to remove certain limitations.
Now You: What is your preferred resolution and refresh rate?
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Sound Editor Audacity 2.3.2 update integrates MP3 Encoder

A new update for the sound editor Audacity to version 2.3.2 resolves a long-standing inconvenience: the editor comes with integrated MP3 encoder for the first time.
The version bump from Audacity 2.3.1 to 2.3.2 suggests that it is a minor update. If you followed Audacity updates over the years, you know that updates for the audio editor are released two or three times a year only.
The new update comes just two months after the upgrade to Audacity 2.3.1 in March 2019. The last update before that, version 2.3.0, was released in September 2018.
Audacity is a powerful editor that you may use for all kinds of audio editing and creating tasks. You may use it to merge mp3 or wav files, create white noise audio files of any length, or use it to create ringtones (does anyone do that anymore these days?)
Audacity 2.3.2

Audacity 2.3.2 is a cross-platform update for Windows, Mac OS and Linux devices. Downloads are provided on the official Audacity website; Windows users may select a portable version or installer. Updates install fine over existing installations, portable users need to overwrite program files to update.
The new version improves the user experience, especially that of new users, significantly. It includes the LAME MP3 encoder so that it is no longer necessary to download it separately to integrate MP3 functionality in the program.

You can load any mp3 audio file in Audacity right on first run and it will work just fine in the new release.
Patents expired, according to the release notes, so that it is now possible to integrate the MP3 encoder directly.
The remaining changes are not all that exciting. The team fixed over 20 bugs that affected version 2.3.1 including a crash, and added a new select button to select the entire track in the Audacity interface.
The mod-script-pipe to control Audacity using Python has been integrated in the new version. It is not enabled by default but you may enable the functionality in the preferences according to the release notes.
Closing Words
The integration of a native MP3 encoder improves the experience of first time users significantly. Mp3 is one of the most popular audio formats and most users who use audio editors probably need it supported.
Audacity 2.3.2 takes care of that.
Now You: do you use an audio editor?
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Simplewall 3.0 Beta First Look

Simplewall 3.0 is the next major release of the free open source firewall and security software for Microsoft’s Windows operating system. We reviewed Simplewall back in 2017 for the first time.
A beta version was released on May 7, 2019 for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. While it is possible that things may change until the final release, it is more or less ready for release already.
Simplewall 3.0 is fully compatible with previous versions. It is not suggested to install the beta version on a production system, but if you do, all settings and preferences should remain available in the new version. The same will be true for the final release.
The new version drops support for Windows Vista. Simplewall 3.0 is compatible with Windows 7 or newer versions of the Windows operating system only.
Simplewall 3.0

Simplewall 3.0 works for the most part just like previous versions. Enable filtering to block applications from making outbound connections unless you permit it. First enabling filtering leads to a large number of prompts but once those are dealt with, e.g. by blocking some and allowing others, it becomes less of an annoyance to deal with new prompts as the number decreases significantly.
The Simplewall interface features new options: you find new services and UWP application tabs, access to the rules list in the main window, and a new network connections monitor.
The Network Connections monitor is labeled as beta right now. It displays all open connections of the system when you access it or hit the refresh button.

It is not a real-time monitor as the listing is not updated automatically but only on user request. Just hit the refresh button to refresh the listing.
The monitor lists all application names, ports, destinations, protocols, and other information in its interface.
From there, it is relatively easy to create new rules for individual processes. Just right-click a process and select “create rule” to get started. Doing so opens the rules creation wizard to allow or block connections based on selected parameters. You may also open the folder the file is stored in to investigate the process further.
The Services tab lists Windows Services and you may create rules for individual services there. UWP apps are only available on Windows 10, but the apps listing displays these applications again with options to allow or deny them access to the Internet or network.
Windows users who use high DPI monitors benefit from improved DPI support next to all that. Simplewall 3.0 includes several fixes, listview resizing and sorting improvements, and some cosmetic fixes. Blacklist mode is removed in the new version.
Closing Words
My verdict from 2017 still stands: Simplewall is a great free firewall program for Windows. It still has some rough edges and requires a bit of knowledge when it comes to the creation of rules.
The future of my favorite Windows firewall app Windows Firewall Control is unclear as the program has been acquired by Malwarebytes in 2018. The program is free and version 6.0 of Windows Firewall Control was released in early 2019.
Simplewall is a great alternative, some say it is even better.
Now You: do you use a firewall app?
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A look at the archiver Explzh

Explzh is a free software for Microsoft’s Windows operating system to manage — create, extract, change — archives using an Explorer-like interface.
There is certainly no shortage when it comes to software programs for archive file formats such as ZIP, RAR, or ISO.
A strong commercial selection — WinZip or WinRar — and an even better selection of free solutions — Bandizip, 7-Zip, PeaZip — compete in the niche.
Explzh falls right in line with other free offerings: it is available as a 32-bit and 64-bit version for Windows, and supports all features that you expect to see in an archive software.
You can download and install the application from the developer website. A portable version is not offered, but you may download add-ons to extend the functionality (FTP, SFX, and Decoder add-ons available).

The installer displays important options such as assigning file types to the archiver or adding options to the Windows Explorer context menu. It is probably a good idea to spend the extra two or so minutes to configure the behavior during setup as it may save you time later on.
The Explzh interface looks pretty much like that of any other archiving software for Windows. It features a toolbar at the top, a sidebar on the left that displays folders, and the actual archive contents on the right.
You may interact with any file directly in the interface, or extract the content to the local system instead. The program uses tabs so that you may load or create multiple archives and display them side by side in the interface.
Explzh supports Explorer Shell integration so that you may create or extract archives from Explorer’s right-click menu.
As far as support is concerned, Explzh supports major archive formats such as ZIP, RAR, CAB, ISO, or LHA, but not as many as other archive software programs support. The most common formats are supported, and that is certainly sufficient for most users.
Explzh supports all major features: view, create, edit, and extract archives, split files, create self-extracting archives, or encrypt them.
The application supports a number of features that extend the core functionality and may not be found in other popular (free) programs of its kind. It supports adding digital signatures to files, powerful “find in archive” search options, and repair and verification tools.
If you installed the optional FTP add-on, you may also upload archives to an FTP server directly from Explzh.
Closing Words
Explzh is a well designed archive software for Windows that supports all the major features that you’d expect from a program of its kind. It features a streamlined interface, support for Shell integration, and more.  It offers some features that may make it attractive to some users, e.g. the option to add digital signatures to files in an archive.
Users who run into exotic archive formats occasionally may find it less useful, as it lacks support for those.
Now You: Which archive software do you use?
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KeePass 2.42 Password Manager is out

KeePass 2.42, a new version of the KeePass password manager for Windows (and other operating systems) was released on May 1, 2019.
The new KeePass version is a major update; it introduces new features, makes improvements across the board, and fixes several crashes as well.
KeePass may notify you about new updates but the password manager comes without auto-updating functionality. You need to head over to the official project website to download the new version to your system. A portable version and installer is provided. You find links to KeePass ports for various operating systems, mobile and desktop, on the same page.
KeePass 2.42

KeePass 2.42 comes after KeePass 2.41, released in January 2019. It is the second KeePass 2.x release of the year.
First thing that veteran KeePass users will notice is that the Edit menu is no longer available. KeePass features Group, Entry, and Find menus now and these contain all the options that were placed under Edit previously.

Another new feature is the introduction of a new system-wide hotkey. The hotkey auto-types the password of the matching entry only; use Ctrl-Alt-Shift-A for that.
KeePass supports a system-wide shortcut already mapped to Ctrl-Alt-A by default; that shortcut types the username and password whereas the new shortcut only the password.

You may change the shortcut under Tools > Options > Integration.
Another shortcut was added in KeePass 2.42. Hit Ctrl-Shift-P to print the currently selected group. You may also hold down the Shift-key when double-clicking on URLs to copy them to the Clipboard. Just a double-click opens the URL in the default web browser as usually.
Several new commands and options become available in the new KeePass version. You find two new quick edit commands, “expires:now” and “expires:never” which you find listed in the context menu when you right-click an entry and select Edit Entry (quick) from the context menu.
Two new commands are found under Entry > Data Exchange to copy an entire entry encrypted or unencrypted. Encrypted uses the Windows DPAPI.
What else? Support for importing password sets from various clients, Steganos Password Manager, Bitwarden, and Enpass are specified improved and the Mozilla Bookmarks JSON importer supports tags and keywords.
KeePass 2.42 features several new command line parameters:

-cancel forces all other KeePass instances to abort opening or saving databases.
-auto-type-password which forces other running KeePass instances to only type the password of matching entries when using auto-type.
-e1 does the same as -e but for just one instance. It appears to be used by plugins only to deal with Events.

The new password manager version features several improvements next to that. Among the many improvements are better compatibility with VirtualBox 6 and VMWare Player, improved JSON parser, or improved sending of auto-type characters with AltGr characters.
You can check out the entire changelog on the KeePass website.
Now You: Which password manager do you use currently?
Related articles:

Check all KeePass passwords against the Have I Been Pwned database locally
How to change the default KeePass password options
How to improve KeePass security

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Control Windows Updates with Sledgehammer (formerly WUMT Wrapper Script)

Windows Update, or more precisely maintaining full control over the update behavior of the Windows operating system, was the topic of many articles here on this site.
On the one hand, there have been numerous update related issues, e.g. the Windows 10 version 1809 release debacle or the more recent issues with Windows 7 or 8.1 updates.
Things escalated with Microsoft’s switch to cumulative updates and removing controls; while cumulative updates have advantages, they limit users to an all or nothing approach. If an update causes issues, it is often only possible to remove the entire update to address the issue.
Windows Update Mini Tool Wrapper Script restored control over the update behavior. The tool’s successor, Sledgehammer, is now available.
Note: if you don’t have a My Digital Life account, download the latest version of the tool from MajorGeeks instead.
A look at Sledgehammer

Sledgehammer improves the WUMT Wrapper Script tool significantly in many regards. The tool comes as a zip archive that you need to extract to the local system. A portable and installer version is provided; run the cmd script afterward — it needs Internet connectivity — to regain control of Windows Update.
Basically, what Sledgehammer does is disable Windows Updates on the device by default. It includes tools to check for updates and install update selectively at any time. Windows Update is disabled after those operations automatically.
The very first thing that the script does is retrieve the current Defcon rating from askwoody.com; Woody Leonard uses the rating to provide administrators and users with a warning level that ranges from “patches are causing havoc, don’t install” to “all’s clear”.
The script runs several tasks one after the other:

Creates a Windows Defender Update task if Windows Defender is active to make sure Windows Defender signature updates are downloaded and used.
Removes Windows Update Assistant if found.
Disables Windows Update tools such as remsh, osrss, or waasmedic.
Disables the Windows Update Service.

You may then exit the script, or use it to run a check for updates. Sledgehammer displays an info screen if you select to check for updates and a prompt afterward.

The prompt displays three main options:

Select E to enable the Windows Update Service if you want to use the Microsoft Store.
Select 1 to run Windows Update Manager (WuMgr) and run a check for updates.
Select 2 to run Windows Update Minitool (WUMT) and run a check for updates.

The selection of (1) or (2) loads the tools and lists all available updates in them. Both tools offer similar functionality: you may use them to install selected updates, hide updates to block them from installation,

Sledgehammer disables the Windows Update service automatically on exit so that Windows itself cannot use it to download and install updates automatically.Recovery scripts and update uninstall options are provided as well.
Closing Words
Sledgehammer improves its predecessor WUMT Wrapper Script in several meaningful ways. It displays the Defcon rating on start which may be helpful in determining right away whether it is save to install updates. Other improvements include an Internet connectivity check, better organization of files, multi-user environment support, and more.
Now You: how do you manage Windows Updates?
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MoviePrint: create video thumbnail summaries

MoviePrint is a free open source program for Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh systems that creates thumbnail summaries of any number of video files.
The program is not the first of its kind; we reviewed Video Thumbnail Maker in 2008, ImageGrab in 2010,  Auto Movie Thumbnailer in 2010, and the Macintosh exclusive Thumber in 2008.
The first thing that you may notice is that MoviePrint is a huge application. The application has a zipped download size of 117 Megabytes (Windows) and 132 Megabytes (Mac) respectively. Large file sizes usually indicate the use of Electron, and that is the case here as well.
The Windows version is provided as a zip archive that you need to extract. Run the program afterward. It will add a shortcut to the Start menu of Windows but opens without installation dialog.

MoviePrint is simple to use, at least in its base configuration. Drag and drop one or multiple video files into the program interface to get started. The application parses the video, creates thumbnails automatically that depict scenes, and displays all thumbnails that it created in the end in the interface.
The sidebar displays all loaded video files if you added more than one. You can add more videos at any time and switch between each using the sidebar menu.
You can save any video summary creation with a click on the save button. MoviePrint saves the selection in the png format to the desktop by default; there is no confirmation or prompt. Individual thumbnails may also be saved.
You may change the output format, size, and path in the program settings. Note that the file path gets embedded in the png file by default; you may change that in the settings as well and change the default save directory to the folder the video is stored in.
The settings list customization options for the output. The program uses a 4×4 grid by default to display 16 thumbnails of the video. You may change that to any number between 1 and 20 for columns and rows. While it makes little sense to create a 1×1 grid, you may want to experiment a bit to find the perfect setting for your use cases.
Other options provided include adding a header to the output image to display file path, file details or timeline information (all individually selectable), and to show frames or the timecode for each individual thumbnail.
You can switch the default view to timeline view for each individual video. Timeline view displays each thumbnail next to each other which results in a display style that may work well for certain video files and not so well for others.

Other customization options include defining custom ranges for the thumbnail creation and to select frames individually.
Closing Words
MoviePrint is a well designed open source application to create video summaries from any type of video file. The program supports a good range of input formats, and works well even if you drop large movies into the interface. Customization options are available in abundance and should satisfy most users.
The huge size is a minus in my opinion but that is the only thing that I find problematic. The developers promise that they don’t collect any data. Since it is open source, you may verify that claim by going through the source code.
Now You: Do you use multimedia programs?
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Comet is an open source Windows Disk Cleanup clone

Comet is a new open source program for Windows that replicates functionality of the trusted Disk Cleanup tool of Windows.
Microsoft revealed some time ago the decision to deprecate Disk Cleanup and to integrate the tools functionality into the Settings application on Windows 10.
The Disk Cleanup tool is still available but it is probably only a matter of time before it is removed from the operating system.
Fundamental changes like these often encourage third-party developers to restore functionality or create tools that bring back removed functionality. While it is too early to say if the deprecation of Disk Cleanup will lead to a huge list of third-party solutions, like it has been the case for Start Menu replacements, it is clear that there is some interest on the developer and on the user side.
We reviewed CleanMgr+ some time ago and it received favorable user ratings and reviews.

Comet is an open source program that aims to replicates the classic Disk Cleanup tool, at least in its initial version. You can download the application from the developer website on GitHub and give it a go; note that functionality is limited on Windows 7 due to API restrictions.
The program is portable, and you can run it from any location after the download. The interface looks just like the Disk Cleanup interface and users who are used to it will feel right at home.
You may click on “clean up system files” to unlock the cleaning of additional restricted locations. Each item is listed with its name, e.g. Delivery Optimization Files, and the disk space that is used by it.
Just check the locations that you want cleaned and hit the okay button to start the process. Comet displays a verification prompt that you need to accept before data is deleted.
A progress window is displayed if the deleting takes longer than a split-second and the program closes after the operation automatically; this is identical to how Disk Cleanup handles the cleaning.
The developer has plans to add command line options to the program so that it can be run from the command line directly. For now, it seems limited to the user interface version but that is probably what most Windows admins have used over the years.
Closing Words
Comet is a promising program especially if its developer implements functionality that Microsoft’s Disk Cleanup tool or Settings application don’t offer. There is really no reason why Disk Cleanup could not support more locations to clean up or even support custom cleanup locations that the program remembers.
Certainly a program to keep an eye on, especially if you are on Windows 10.
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GIMP 2.10.10 Image Editor released

The development team of the free and open source image editor GIMP released GIMP 2.10.10 yesterday to the public. GIMP 2.10.10 is the first stable release of the program in 2019; the last release dates back to November 2018.
GIMP is a cross-platform open source image editor that is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. We have followed the development of GIMP since our initial review of the application in 2005 on Windows and on Linux. Ghacks writer Jack Wallen published several GIMP tutorials here on this site in the past that offered tips on using layers, adding brushes, or changing the perspective of images.
The last major version of GIMP, version 2.10, was released in 2018. You can download the latest version of GIMP from the official project website. Note that the release is still in the process of being added and that it may not be available for all supported operating systems yet.
GIMP 2.10.10 — What is new

More than 770 commits went into GIMP 2.10.10 that improve the program in many ways. Several of the built-in tools were improved in the new release.

Bucket Fill tool is now easier to use and supports a new smart colorization mode called “fill by line art detection”. Designed to make sure that all pixels get filled, it may improve how GIMP users use fill operations in the software.
GIMP users may now use the Ctrl-key modifier to pick surrounding colors on canvas without having to use the Color Picker tool.
Option to fill “more areas” by keeping the mouse button pressed while using “fill similar colors” and “fill by line art detection”.
Transformational tools received various improvements including the following:

Unified Transform keeps the aspect ratio when scaling up or down.
Scale scales from the Center.
Perspective Transform got new “constrain handles” and “around center” options.
Option to “readjust” added to several transformation tools designed to readjust transform handles based on the zoom level.
Transform directions forward and backward can be linked.

The Heal tool got the new “Sample merged” option to make changes on a separate layer to preserve the original data.
Improvements to 32-bit parametric brushes.
Brush and pattern creating from the clipboard supports duplication now to save these so that they can be available permanently.
Quick option to open brush as image under Brushes.
Support for on-canvas layer selection.
Save and export improvements, especially for XCF files.
Faster rendering of layer groups.
Improvements to the Mac OS X build that include improved HiDPI/Retina support.
DDS plugin is now a core plugin.
Spyrogimp plug-in has been rewritten.
Circular, Linear, and Zoom Motion blurs got new on-canvas interactions.

You can check out the full changelog on the GIMP website.
Now You: which image editor do you use, and why?
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