AskAdmin: block program executions on Windows

AskAdmin is a specialized program for Microsoft Windows devices that may block access to certain programs or system functions. It has been designed for situations where you hand over your computer (and user profile) to another user, e.g. a child, and want to prevent that certain applications are run.
The application is free but some features are restricted to a premium version. The main limitations of the free version are that it limits blocked items to a maximum of 10, that you cannot use the export feature, cannot protect the application itself with a password, and cannot block access for specific users of the operating system only.
A scan of the program on Virustotal returned 0 hits. The application is compatible with all supported versions of Windows and Windows XP and Vista. Run the application after download and extraction.
Note: the program does not need to be running in the background for the blocking to be active. It is important that you are careful when selecting programs or folders to block as you may run into issues, e.g. Windows loading issues, if you block the wrong files or folders.

AskAdmin may block the execution of executable files, e.g. exe, bat or reg, on the system it is run on. You have two main options to add executable files to the block list:

Use drag and drop.
Use the built-in file browser.

You may add individual Win32 programs, batch or Registry files, Windows Store applications, certain Windows components, or all files in a folder structure.
Checked items in the listing are blocked while unchecked items are not. You can change the blocking status of each item easily in the interface, and run them from the interface with a double-click even if they are blocked system-wide.
The blocking worked fine for most types during tests. I could not get the folder blocking to work initially; it seems that the program has issues when you select special folders, e.g. Downloads or Documents directly. Selecting these folders manually by following the path on the drive works, however. The program may need to restart Explorer when you select folder blocking for the first time.
Windows displays a message when you attempt to run a blocked executable.

A click on Extras in the program interface displays special block options; there you find options to block Windows Store or built-in Windows apps (if the operating system support these), and the Windows components Task Manager, Registry Editor, and Microsoft Edge. You may also block the Settings page or Network browsing.
Items that you have added to the block list may be deleted at any time or toggled so that they are not blocked. Handy features like the option to block or unblock all, and to delete all, are provided as well.
Closing Words
AskAdmin is an easy to use program that blocks the execution of executable files efficiently. It is easy to set up and the ability to block all executable files in a folder and its subfolders is certainly useful.
It is mostly suitable for home environments where access to certain programs or features needs to be blocked; organizations may prefer to use Software Restriction Policies and other means to block the execution of applications.
AskAdmin is not the first program of its kind. We reviewed AppLocker and Windows Process Blocker in 2009 which offer similar but more limited functionality.
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LibreOffice 6.2 with optional Tabbed Ribbon-like interface

LibreOffice 6.2, a new version of the popular open source Office suite, has been released in February 2019. The new version of the cross-platform program introduces lots of new features, among them the final version of the tabbed user interface that is comparable to the Ribbon user interface that Microsoft Office uses.
The developers of LibreOffice started the integration of the then-called Notebookbar with the release of LibreOffice 5.3 in 2017.
The user interface is not enabled by default; LibreOffice users who dislike the ribbon interface can ignore it and continue using the classic LibreOffice interface.
Tip: check out our review of the major version LibreOffice 6.0 here.

Another user interface has been moved from experimental to final in LibreOffice 6.2 The Goupedbar Compact user interface is available for selection as well in the new version.

Select View > User Interface to select one of the available interfaces in Writer, Calc, Impress, or Draw.
LibreOffice 6.2.0 is available as a direct download for all supported operating systems on the official project website. The download is offered as a web download and torrent download. It can be installed over an existing LibreOffice installation.
The new version introduces changes to Mac and Linux compatibility. The minimum required version of Mac OS X to run LibreOffice 6.2.0 is Mac Os X 10.9; the next release of LibreOffice will require LibreOffice 10.10.
The development team announced that 32-bit binaries for Linux will be demoted. LibreOffice 6.2.0 is the last version with x86 builds produced by The Document Foundation.
Check out the changelog on the official site for a full list of changes. Below is a selection of changes:

Writer: spreadsheet data can be copied and pasted natively in Writer (Word) now. The new functionality allows you to paste directly into tables (opposed to creating a new table whenever you paste spreadsheet data as was the case in previous versions).
Writer: documents with many tracked changes don’t suffer from major performance issues anymore thanks to the ability to hide tracked changes.
Calc: Support for signature lines.
Calc: Support for custom formulas for data validation.
Calc: Regression tool supports multivariate regression analysis.
Calc: Regex support to match text against a regular expression and optionally replace.
Core: Sign signature lines with an image of your handwritten signature.
Core: Source Serif Pro font added and Liberation font updated.
Filters: EMF+ vector image import support improved (used in Microsoft Office formats)
Filters: OOXML, PPTX import/export, PPT import/export filter improvements.
Personalization: Personalization dialog is “much faster, efficient and stable”.
Performance: improvements across the board, e.g. latency reduction, unnecessary animations have been removed.

Closing Words
LibreOffice 6.2 is a good upgrade to the popular Office application. The integration of new user interface layouts won’t impact users who prefer to use the classic interface; those who like ribbon UIs can switch to the new interfaces easily using the View menu.
Now You: which Office application do you use, and why?
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NVCleanstall: customize the Nvidia driver installation

NVCleanstall is a free program for Microsoft Windows devices to customize the installation of Nvidia video card drivers on the device.
Nvidia’s driver package for its video cards seems to grow larger with every release. What started as an option to install specially optimized video card drivers has turned into several hundred Megabytes large installers that install all sorts of needed and unnecessary things on systems.
It is highly recommended that administrators install only the parts of the Nvidia driver that are needed; it is necessary to customize the installation for that and while Nvidia’s installer offers some customization options, it is not nearly as fine grained as third-party programs that you can use for the same task.
Third-party tools like NVSlimmer ensure that you install only the parts of the driver that you require. You save hard drive space, speed up the start of the system, and remove telemetry that gets installed usually.

NVCleanstall is such a tool. It is released as an alpha development version currently. You should not run it in production environments because of that even though it worked fine on two machines, one Windows 7, the other Windows 10, I tested the application on.
It is recommended that you remove the current Nvidia driver installation completely before using NVCleanstall to install an optimized driver package.
Just start the program after you have downloaded it to your system. The application displays three main options in its interface. Some of these depend on the correct detection of Nvidia hardware. They are:

Install best driver for the detected Nvidia hardware.
Manually select a driver version.
Use driver file on disk.

Once you have selected an option you are taken to the next screen. There you may select the components to install and the driver components that you don’t want installed.
Descriptions and dependencies are displayed for each component that is detected by the program. The application separates GeForce Experience related tools and options from the rest. The only component that needs to be installed is the display driver; any other component is optional and does not need to be installed but you can enable it for installation easily by checking its box in front of the component listing.

You can go through the components one by one and select only those that you want installed. NVCleanstall offers three sets of configuration — all, recommended and minimum — that you may activate to speed up the process or start using a preset.
It is recommended that you install only those components that you require. One option that you have in this regard is to install the minimum number of components and verify whether everything works as intended. Just run the program again to install components that you require if you run into issues.
Closing Words and verdict
NVCleanstall is a promising program that gives you full control over the Nvidia driver installation process. It is a tool for advanced users who know which components they require and which they don’t require.
One to look out for to see if it reaches a stable release eventually.
Now You: do you install drivers separately?
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Cleanmgr+ is a Disk Cleanup alternative

Cleanmgr+ is a new software program for Windows by the maker of CloneApp and CloneApp UA. Microsoft revealed during the release of Windows 10 version 1809, the October 2018 Update, that it deprecated the Windows’ Disk Cleanup program.
The company started to move functionality from the Win32 program Disk Cleanup — also known as cleanmgr — to the Settings application in Windows 10 version 1803. While Disk Cleanup is still included in Windows 10 version 1809, deprecation means that it won’t receive new features anymore and will be removed from the operating system eventually.
Microsoft did included the ability to clear the downloads folder recently indicating that Disk Cleanup is not dead.

Cleanmgr is an attempt to replicate Disk Cleanup functionality. It is offered as a beta version at the time of writing and you may run into issues downloading or executing it.
Chrome, the browser I used to download the program, blocked the download initially and I had to allow it manually to complete.
The application displays its options in two tabs in the main interface. Veteran Windows users who use Disk Cleanup regularly will notice that it replicates many but not all of the cleanup options that Disk Cleanup offers currently, and that it offers some options that Disk Cleanup does not offer.
The Windows section lists 21 different cleaning options; that’s four more than Disk Cleanup offers. Important options — Windows Update Cleanup, the deletion of previous Windows installations, clearing of temporary files, or the emptying of the Recycle Bin — are available.
Some options, the cleaning of Language Resource Files or Device Driver Packages, are not supported in the beta version that I ran.
A click on More displays additional cleanup options including those not supported by Disk Cleanup. Cleanmgr+ supports the cleaning of browser caches — Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Vivaldi and Opera at the time of writing — and some extra cleaning options such as clearing the Windows Icon Cache or MUICache.
Just check individual items that you want to clean and hit the preview button to make a dry run. The application displays information about the cleanup if you would run it on the device.
The selection of clean-up starts the process; the program displays a log of events and highlights what is being cleaned and the gain in space on the device.

The Settings display some options that you may find interesting. You may use them to enable the display of descriptions to better understand the cleaning options. You may also enable the inclusion of Windows Disk Cleanup which will load Disk Cleanup for as long as it is still there so that you may run the cleanup using it as well (even with automation), and may include a custom cleaner next to that,
MajorGeeks produced a quick overview video of the application. Go check it out below:

Closing Words
Cleanmgr+ is offered as a beta version currently. The program is promising already as it replicates most of the functionality of Disk Cleanup.
Some areas need to be improved to make it a true successor though: increase the size of the sidebar that lists the items so that they show up fully. Maybe add an option to compact the left sidebar with the options to make more room for the other sidebars.
The main thing that it is missing right now is information about the storage space that each of the data sets occupies on disk currently.
Now You: Do you use a disk cleaner?
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Different audio playback volumes annoy you? Wale for Windows fixes that

Wale, which stands for Windows Audio Loudness Equalizer, is a free open source software program for Windows to normalize Windows audio levels.
Did you ever run into audio playback issues that caused the volume of audio to be too loud in application and not nearly loud enough in another? Or audio issues on the same site when you play different videos?
While you can use the volume slider on websites, the native volume controls for applications that Windows provides to change the audio level or speaker volume controls, having to do so regularly is not overly comfortable.
Windows Audio Loudness Equalizer attempts to fix the issue by adjusting audio playback while it is active on the Windows PC.
Windows Audio Loudness Equalizer

The program interface looks intimidating at first, and even more so if you are not familiar with certain audio-related terms.
Note: Windows may throw a smartscreen warning when you try to install the program on the Windows PC. A scan on Virustotal came up negative except for one antivirus engine that reported a hit (Qihoo-360). A portable version is also available.
Wale adds an icon to the system tray area that you need to interact with to configure it. A double-click opens the main interface which is divided into the three tabs View, Config, and Log.
View displays information about running processes that play audio for the most part and some general audio related information.

You may want to switch to Config on first start to configure base parameters; some of these may intimidate you even further but it is just a matter of trial and error to get the configuration right. The program has a “return to default” button to restore the program defaults.
What you may want to do is verify that the base level is set correct. Volume will be louder if you increase the base level and quieter if you decrease it.
You will notice that Wale adjusts the volume of application’s that play audio automatically. The volume slider may adjust itself multiple times or even all the time to find the right playback level for audio.
Wale supports a handful of additional configuration options: you may use them to set the process priority, update intervals and other variables.
Closing Words and verdict
Windows Audio Loudness Equalizer attempts to keep the volume of any audio playing on the Windows device it runs on in user defined levels. If you encounter too loud or too quiet audio often, even while using a single application, you may want to give it a try to improve your experience.
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TreeSize Free 4.3: usability improvements and PDF exports

TreeSize Free 4.3 was released on January 23, 2019. We have followed development of the program since 2010 when we reviewed an initial version of it here on this site.
TreeSize Free analyzes disk space usage of a structure, e.g. a drive or folder, and displays information about the number of files, total size of files on the storage device, and more, in its interface.
The program serves several purposes but the main purpose is to detect large or lots of files that take up disk space to delete them to free up disk space.
Our last review dates back to 2017 when TreeSize Free 4.0 was released.
TreeSize Free 4.3

TreeSize Free 4.3 is available as a portable version and a version that needs to be installed before it can be run. Both versions offer the same functionality.
One of the main changes in the new version is that resources with at least 15% of the location’s size are displayed in bold.
The screenshot above shows that USers, Windows and Program Files (x86) are highlighted in bold. You can disable the new option unider Options > Options > Show large elements in bold.
Another new option integrated in the new version of TreeSize Free is the ability to export data. Select File > Export > PDF File to save the data in a PDF document on the local system. The option may be useful to create a snapshot of the status quo for documentation purposes before deleting files to free up disk space on a device.
The third and final new option displays custom folder icons in the tree hierarchy.
TreeSize Free 4.3 includes several bug fixes and supports for Czech and Swedish interfaces. The shortcuts Shift-Delete and Ctrl-X to delete the selection by bypassing the Recycle Bin and to cut files works as expected again in the new version.
Closing Words
TreeSize Free is a useful program to find large files and folders on any drive or folder structure. I prefer WizTree for that which offers similar functionality but has a couple of features that TreeSize Free does not offer such as highlighting deleted files or indicators for NTFS hardlinks.
Now You: Do you use a program to find large files on your PCs?
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Migrate Windows users with User Profile Wizard

User Profile Wizard is a software for Microsoft Windows devices to migrate user accounts from one machine to another.
The program is offered as a free for personal-use version, and the paid professional edition and Enterprise edition.
The free edition supports the migration of user profiles, deleting or disabling local accounts, network migration, joining computers to all Windows domains, or joining a workgroup.
Professional and Enterprise editions support additional features; the professional version options to save migration configurations, adding computers to Active Directory Containers, or options to rename the profile folder or computer.
The Enterprise edition supports migration of all profiles in one operations, support for VPN connections, full automation with custom script support, and the renaming or copying of profiles.
In this review, I’ll be looking at the free version of User Profile Wizard.
Migrate Windows users

User Profile Wizard is compatible with all versions of Windows starting with Windows XP. The program needs to be installed on the target machine before it can be used.
The main feature of the free version is to migrate a user profile to another account to keep data and preferences.
It displays the list of user profiles on start; each user profile is listed with its name and profile path. Options to show unassigned user profiles, and to disable or delete the selected account are provided. Unassigned profiles are profiles created by Windows when there are issues with existing profiles.
Note: The data is migrated to existing accounts only. If you want to start with a new profile, you need to create it first on the device to select it later.
You are asked to select an account name for the migration and need to select a domain or the local computer name. The program does not list existing account names on the system; you need to look them up elsewhere to pick the right account for the migration

You may set the new profile as the default logon on the system.
The migration starts directly afterward. User Profile Wizard displays the progress in a log in the program interface; it may take some time to migrate Registry keys, user data, and other data to the selected profile.

Attention: the program initiates a restart of the system after successful migration of a user profile. I did not find an option to prevent the restart from happening (after ten seconds). Make sure that you closed programs and saved data before you end the application.
Closing words
User Profile Wizard is a useful administrative Windows tool to migrate one user profile to another. Home users may use it to migrate data from an old profile to a new one among other things.
Now You: How would you migrate a user profile?
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Password Manager KeePass 2.41 released

Dominik Reichl, the developer of the password manager KeePass Password Safe, released KeePass 2.41 on January 10, 2019. The new version of the password manager introduces a new security feature that prevents data from being stored in the Windows Clipboard history and cloud clipboard.
KeePass 2.41 is available as a download on the developer site. The KeePass program does not support automatic updates; users may be informed about the update, however, when they run the application.

KeePass 2.41 is available as a portable version and installer; users who have installed KeePass on Windows PCs can run the installer to upgrade the existing installation to the latest version. All data is preserved during the process.
Select Help > About KeePass to verify that the new version installed correctly.
Tip: Find out How to improve KeePass security, and how to use the global login shortcut correctly.
KeePass 2.41
KeePass 2.41 includes a new security option that deals with Windows 10’s new clipboard history and cloud clipboard functionality. KeePass prevents that copied data is stored in the Windows clipboard history or the cloud clipboard; the option is enabled by default. KeePass users who want the functionality can disable the protection under Tools > Options > Security > Do not store data in the Windows clipboard history and the cloud clipboard.

Another new option gives users control over the ESC-key. A tap on the ESC-key while KeePass is active closes the application by default; users may change this to another default action, e.g. the locking of the application, minimizing, or doing nothing.
Go to Tools > Options > Interface > Esc keypress in main window.

Other new features include an option to “ignore search settings of groups” when using the find option, support for zooming images when the internal data viewer is used, and workarounds for a Windows RTF character encoding bug and Mono input focus restoration problem on form activation.
The list of improvements that made it into KeePass 2.41 is equally large. To name just a few:

Auto-complete does not append suggestions anymore but shows a list of suggestions only which the user may select.
Improved text rendering and code optimizations.
During imports and sync operations, a status dialog is displayed only if the main window is not constructed completely. Otherwise, the status of the operation is shown in the main window.
The commands “Find Similar Passwords (Pairs)”, “Find Similar Passwords (Cluster)” and “Password Quality Report” ignore TAN entries.
Plugin dialog displays plugins alphabetically. Satellite assemblies are not attempted to be loaded as plugins anymore.
Reading of KDBM XML files with unknown elements.

You can check out the full changelog on the official KeePass website.
Now You: Which password manager do you use?
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Keep track of important events with Date Time Counter for Windows

How many days until..? Date Time Counter is a free software program for Microsoft Windows devices that keeps track of important (and even unimportant) events for you.
Basically, what the application does is list the years, days and seconds until events happen or have happened.
Here are some examples: use it to find out how many years, days and seconds have passed since your birth or the birth of your children. Display the time until your next birthday or marriage in seconds or days.
Keep track of events
Date Time Counter is compatible with all recent versions of the Windows operating system.
The application is very flexible and does not limit you in regards to events. It displays events in a two-sided interface: one side displays future events, the other events of the past.

A click on the plus icon in the middle of the interface opens the “add event” dialog. Add a name, date & time and colors to the new event, and customize how it is displayed in the interface.
You may keep the default Years, Days, and Seconds format or configure a custom format that may include months, weeks, hours, and minutes.
Date Time Counter displays a preview of the widget so that you know right away how it will look like in the interface when added.

If you are just interested in days, check that option and uncheck any time-related option that is checked.
Click on the save & add button once you are done to add it to the events listing. It is played in the top or bottom panel depending on its type (future or past).
Some users may dislike the format in which time is displayed as some values are displayed with decimal separators, e.g. 6.58 months instead of just 6 months.
The options include settings to display time values with less precision; all that is needed for that is to set the precision to 0 for the time variable. The program rounds the number then, however, and that may result in less precise numbers. A month value of 6.6 is rounded to 7 for instance when you set the precision to 0. An option to disable the rounding of numbers is not provided.

A click on the menu icon of an event widget displays omitted time values and lists edit, duplicate and copy options.
Date Time Counter supports backup and import options. The program uses XML files to save and import information.
An option to create new event sets is provided as well; these are loaded in tabs in the interface.
Closing Words
Date Time Counter is a useful program for Windows to keep track of future events and remember past events. The program supports an unlimited number of events, and may display the time until an event or the time passed in years, months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds.
I’d like to see an option to display values without decimal points and without them being rounded. Another useful feature would be the addition of notifications, e.g. for each passing day, month or year.
Now You: Do you keep track of certain events?
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DonationCoder NANY 2019 Software releases

Donationcoder, one of my favorite tech sites, published the list of NANY 2019 applications that programmers released for the event.
NANY, or New Apps for the New Year, is an annual event held by Donationcoder. Programmers may pledge to create applications or games for the event and release them for free to the public.
You may check out the programs released in 2018 and 2017 and use the search to find programs dating back to as early as 2007.
Donationcoder NANY 2019
This year, I’m going to highlight my favorites at the top before I list the remaining programs. The majority of programs are available for Windows only, but you find Android applications as well.
You can check out the overview on the Donationcoder website as well.
Process Watcher

Process Watcher monitors processes on the system and writes information about processes to a log file. The program runs in the background once executed and writes to the log whenever new processes are recognized by it.
While there are other programs for the task, Process Watcher’s main advantage over most of them is its simplicity.
Each process is listed with timestamps, names, path information, and other information that you may find useful.

SCURLed by skwire is a batch editor for .LNK and .URL files. You may load any number of .LNK or .URL files in the program and edit them individually or in bulk.
The application displays information about each loaded file, and activation of any file displays its properties in editable fields.
You could use the program to modify URL links, e.g. when a website moved to a new domain or switched to HTTPS, or modify LNK files after changing paths on the device, e.g. moving programs to a new destination.
Other NANY 2019 Programs
AHK Script Center — A script management program for AutoHotKey scripts. It features an impressive set of features that includes editing, running, and stopping scripts.
Assignments Warlock — Create class assignments for the week.
AudioMarker — A helper application for anyone who learns languages. Designed specifically for audio courses, it assists users in a variety of ways. Supports translate functionality, note taking, and more.
Color Mixer — Select two colors to generate a mixed color.
cpg.exe — A tool for C# programmers. It is a Console Program Generator to create a C# console source code file at the specified location  and compile it.
Cryptogram — Solve substitution cypher puzzles using this local HTML application.
cStatus — A network scanner and monitor for Windows. It requires the Microsoft .NET 4 Framework and supports a good range of features such as ping and port monitoring, alarms, IP scanning, and more.
CurrentPrinter — The application displays the default printer in the System Tray menu and lets you change the default printer with a click.
DblEscClose — Adds a new function to the Esc key. Press it twice in rapid succession to close the active window / program.
DiskDrive — Small tool that displays all drives and all partitions.
DisplayOff — Turn the monitor on or off manually using the application.
Explorer List — Quickly switch between different Explorer directories.
Fasting Schedule (Android) — A simple application that keeps track of eating and fasting times.
FFFilterGUI -Improves complex FFMpeg operations and includes options to save them for reuse.
GDPR Blocking (PHP Edition) — Blocks all visitors from EU IP addresses.
impd — Play music using mpd.
libvldmail — A library to validate email addresses.
logpad — Write a journal using VIM and GNU Emacs.
Mass JSON Viewer — View JSON files in bulk, and combine files into a single JSON file.
Point Motivator (Android) — Create a list of activities, e.g. reading, running, or coding, and assign points to each activity.
Process Lister — Displays all loaded processes in list form.
Process Started — Displays started processes in list form.
Rating List DC (Android) — Keep track of items and rate them, e.g. movies, books, websites.
Reader — A text/log file reader that supports “files of almost unlimited size”.
reddit whisky exposĂ© — A program to rate whiskey reviews posted on Reddit.
RegexCaptor — The application extracts strings from any number of files, e.g. email addresses from files loaded in the interface. Comes with regular expression patterns for email addresses, numbers, and subscription IDs.
remv — Use it to rename files and folders.
ScrabbleScore — Calculates scores for words in Scrabble (English).
Shiloh Feeding Metrics Panel — May be used to keep track of food intake.
Shorthand 3_2 — A wrapper application for the search tool Everything that adds features such as result scores, encryption, plugins, and more to it.
startHERE — A portable application launcher for Windows.
Streak Tracker (Android) — Another simple application for Android to keep track of streaks to keep track of activities and add that extra bit of motivation to activities (e.g. making sure you read each day or continue to learn languages).
StringSimilarity — Compares two strings and displays a similarity score.
TextWorx — A text manipulation program that runs in the background. It is compatible with text editors and can modify words or entire lines using a variety of options, e.g. adding or removing strings (double quotes), inserting snippets, and more.
The Decision Sieve — Helps you pick items from a list to make decisions.
Now You: Which program would you give a try (or did)?
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