Driver Booster 2 – Utilities & Operating Systems

Driver Booster 2 – Utilities & Operating Systems

IObit’s Driver Booster 2 scans your PC for out-of-date drivers and updates them for you. It can scan automatically when you launch a program or when you connect a device. Or you can set fixed intervals for scans and update drivers one by one or all at once with a single click. Updates to Driver Booster 2 include faster downloads and an all-new user interface with skins.

Pros

Safe: Driver Booster 2 can back up drivers, create restore points before installing updates, and show only WHQL-tested drivers. The Ignored list comes in handy when older PCs and components can’t use the latest drivers.

Fast and easy: In our tests, Driver Booster 2 downloaded and installed drivers much faster than we could — assuming we would even have been aware of all the updates our system needed.

Reboot: Not sure if or when to reboot when updating drivers? Driver Booster 2 will tell you and do it automatically, if you tell it to in the program’s settings.

Game-centric: Driver Booster 2 can identify gaming components and tweak drivers for improved gaming performance.

Cons

Alarming: Warnings about the risks posed by some out-of-date drivers seemed a bit dramatic.

Double-check: Some drivers that had downloaded and installed as a package required updating individually, even after rebooting. Fortunately, rescanning is fast and easy.

Bottom Line

Less-experienced users may get the greatest benefit from IObit Driver Booster 2, but even advanced users will appreciate its ability to update system drivers with the greatest of ease.

Categorys:Windows Software,Utilities & Operating Systems,Operating Systems & Updates

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PhotoScape – Digital Photo Software

PhotoScape – Digital Photo Software

PhotoScape provides a full suite of tools that you can use for editing and enhancing your photos to create the perfect memories. Then, put them together into a slideshow to enjoy with friends.

Pros

Tons of features: No matter what photo editing program you’re used to, you’ll find the tools you’re looking for in this app. Crop your photos with straight or circular borders, apply multiple filters, and even edit your photos in batches to save time. And when you’re ready, you can string them together into animated GIFs with customized transition effects.

Effects preview: To ensure that you’re satisfied with the effects you choose for each photo, this program lets you preview each change before you make it. And because each effect, itself, is adjustable, you can make all of the adjustments you want on a sliding scale in the preview window before you finalize the changes on the photo, itself.

Cons

Redundant interface: The home screen for PhotoScape features icons for various tools arranged in a circle on one side, with links to tutorials and other special pages on the other. But most of the tools found on the home screen can also be accessed through the tabs at the top of the interface. While this doesn’t prevent you from accessing all of the features you want, it can be a bit confusing at first, and is redundant at the very least.

Bottom Line

PhotoScape is a convenient and versatile photo editing program. It delivers on all promised features, works smoothly, and costs nothing. So if you’re looking for a new photo app, this is a good one to take for a test drive.

Categorys:Windows Software,Digital Photo Software,Photo Editors

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YTD Video Downloader – Internet Software

YTD Video Downloader – Internet Software

YTD Video Downloader downloads YouTube videos onto your hard drive. This is a very useful feature if you ever want to view a video offline or convert it into a format that can be stored on a mobile device.

Pros

Quick conversions: In our tests, YTD Video Downloader’s free version took no time to convert our videos.

Mobile format conversion: If you want to take your files with you after you’ve downloaded them, this program also converts files to a variety of formats that work well with mobile devices, such as iPads.

Intuitive interface: The YTD Video Downloader interface is very easy to navigate.

Cons

Overselling: The app is riddled with ads and buttons that sing the praises of the paid version. This is slightly annoying, especially considering the free version works so well that it’s unlikely many people would want to upgrade.

Bottom Line

If you want to store your favorite YouTube videos for offline viewing, YTD Video Downloader is an excellent choice. Even if you’re new to this type of activity, you should have no problem understanding how to use this app.

Categorys:Windows Software,Internet Software,Download Managers

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VirtualDJ 8 – MP3 & Audio Software

VirtualDJ 8 – MP3 & Audio Software

VirtualDJ 8 records, edits, and mixes digital audio and video from a wide range of sources for free. V8 is no mere upgrade but a significant new release of a robust and refined suite. Atomix Productions entirely re-coded its flagship software, giving it an all-new sound engine and improving sampling, browser, and effects, as well as adding important new capabilities, like video.

Pros

Console: VirtualDJ 8’s dark-toned layout resembles a studio mixing console with twin turntable pads and control panels, but it’s easier to manage than others we’ve tried. Bright icon colors are particularly legible in low-light environments.

Sandbox: The new Sandbox lets you prepare your next mix while the audience is still dancing to your current beats.

Sampler: An all-new sampler can play an unlimited number of samples. Samples are now on the sideView, which also quickly opens music, videos, filters, Cloud Lists, and just about anything else in VirtualDJ 8.

Cons

Account required: It’s not a big deal to most users, but you’ll need an account to access some of VirtualDJ 8’s online features. Accounts are free, and you can log in via Google or your Microsoft account via openID or create a new account.

Bottom Line

VirtualDJ 8 is a completely new tool that builds on the rugged, reliable performance of its predecessors with across-the-board upgrades and significant new features, starting with video. That it still does so much, so well, and for free isn’t so much a mystery as a tribute.

Categorys:Windows Software,MP3 & Audio Software,DJ Software

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Driver Easy – Utilities & Operating Systems

Driver Easy – Utilities & Operating Systems

DriverEasy Professional updates and maintains your Windows PC’s drivers automatically with a few easy steps. It scans your PC for out-of-date, missing, and mismatched drivers and downloads and installs up-to-date versions safely, thanks to automatic restore points and driver backups. You can schedule scans, install drivers one by one or all at once, remove drivers, and more.

Pros

Cheaper than service: For technophobes, DriverEasy is cheaper than a computer technician’s hourly rate, and maybe less intimidating, too!

Unplugged devices: DriverEasy can update drivers for devices that may be part of your system but aren’t plugged in at the time, like phones and removable drives.

Driver Backup and Driver Restore: The Driver Backup tool creates custom driver backup files that can be saved in folders or ZIP files. The Driver Restore tool uses them to roll back changes, if necessary.

Cons

Out-of-date drivers: A common complaint about driver update utilities is the occasional out-of-date driver, which can happen with a database of more than 3 million drivers (and for reasons beyond the software’s scope or control). We recommend always creating restore points and backing up existing drivers in any case.

Bottom Line

Users who don’t want to do their own PC maintenance still want to keep their systems clean, safe, and up-to-date. DriverEasy Professional can contribute to that mission for a lot less than a computer tech would charge, simply to look at your PC.

Categorys:Windows Software,Utilities & Operating Systems,Operating Systems & Updates

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3DP Chip – Utilities & Operating Systems

3DP Chip – Utilities & Operating Systems

3DP Chip is an app designed to help you in the event that you ever need to reinstall all of the drivers to your computer. The app quickly scans your machine and provides a readout of your exact hardware, so that you can get the drivers needed to get your system up and running. This is a useful utility for anyone having hardware difficulties on a Windows machine.

Pros

Effective and quick: From the minute the app fires up, it only takes a minute to display the information that it is designed to provide. The readouts we tested were universally accurate.

Clipboard copy feature: You can easily copy all of your machine’s hardware specs to your clipboard. This is useful for posting to forums or sharing the information with an IT professional if you need help working on your computer.

Cons

Difficult to read: The program prints the information on the screen in very small text in a difficult to read font. It was extremely difficult to read the information.

Confusing interface: The interface has several buttons which are completely unmarked. There are no hover explanations or any indication as to what any of these buttons may do. You just have to test them through trial and error to figure out how the program works.

Installation issues: The program tries to force a default installation on you that includes defaulting your search to a specific search engine.

Bottom Line

If you need an app to tell you what hardware you’re running and to help you install the correct drivers for your system, this will get the job done. However, it is a confusing and dated-looking app that is difficult to use easily. Overall, there are other ways to get the same information from better programs.

Categorys:Windows Software,Utilities & Operating Systems,System Utilities

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Advanced SystemCare Free – Utilities & Operating Systems

Advanced SystemCare Free – Utilities & Operating Systems

Advanced SystemCare Free is a popular system cleaner and optimizer. For version 8, IObit has added Uninstaller 4 and the boot-boosting and browser-protecting Startup Manager. The Toolbox, Turbo Boost, Performance Monitor widget, and other SystemCare stalwarts have been upgraded, and new Classic and Readable skin options enhance the app-like layout.

Pros

System security: Advanced SystemCare 8 Free includes interesting security features like Homepage Protection, System Reinforce, and Surfing Protection, in addition to malware, spyware, and junk file cleaners.

One-click scans: Fast scans, deep cleaning, single-click performance, and Internet and security boosting make this software a joy to use, especially once you’ve configured each one-click tool’s options to suit your needs.

Toolbar/Plug-In cleaner: Advanced SystemCare 8 integrates IObit Uninstaller’s Toolbar/Plug-In cleaner, which not only removes browser barnacles but also helps protect against them.

PC Health and Performance Monitor: Emoticons communicate your PC’s performance and security status when you mouse over the PC Health icon. Expand the desktop Performance Monitor for details.

Cons

Pro features: Some tools and features in Advanced SystemCare 8’s menus aren’t available in the free version.

Multiple uninstall: We’re pleased that this software includes IObit Uninstaller and other extras, but these should also uninstall as they were installed — all at once instead of piecemeal.

Bottom Line

Advanced SystemCare 8 Free bundles various security- and performance-boosting tools. The Pro upgrade adds some coveted features, but the Free tool will meet your essential needs.

Categorys:Windows Software,Utilities & Operating Systems,Diagnostic Software

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CCleaner – Utilities & Operating Systems

CCleaner – Utilities & Operating Systems

CCleaner is a free Registry and junk-clearing utility for keeping your system clean and optimized.

Pros

Basic UI: CCleaner’s four main features — Cleaner, Registry, Tools, and Options — are clearly marked on a vertical tab menu. Initiating a scan and clean is straightforward.

Powerful: CCleaner includes most of the essentials for PC maintenance. It provides tools for clearing your temporary files, cleaning the Registry, and removing unused cookies from your browser. CCleaner also supports 64-bit systems, as well as updated support for popular applications.

Freeware: Upselling and bundling are minimal; CCleaner only offers the option to install Google Chrome, which users can easily opt out of. Compared to many other free programs, CCleaner is the least ad-heavy.

Cons

Registry cleaning: If used incorrectly, CCleaner is capable of doing more harm than good. Always exercise caution when cleaning your Registry — create a backup before starting cleanup.

Bottom Line

CCleaner is effective at removing junk files and unnecessary temporary Internet files. While using it won’t dramatically improve your system performance, it’s nevertheless a fine addition to your utility collection.

Categorys:Windows Software,Utilities & Operating Systems,Maintenance & Optimization,CCleaner

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AVG AntiVirus Free 2015 – Security Software

AVG AntiVirus Free 2015 – Security Software

AVG AntiVirus comes in three models: Free, Pro, and Internet Security. AntiVirus Free includes AVG’s antivirus engine, Link Protection, and File Shredder. Pro adds protection like Online Shield and Data Safe. Internet Security offers Pro features as well as Anti-Spam and Enhanced Firewall. AVG AntiVirus Free 2015 has moved away from Windows 8 Modern’s flat appearance to a more button-centric, streamlined interface, and the app is paired with AVG’s Zen for managing scans remotely.

Pros

A basic security kit with a bonus: AVG AntiVirus Free can fulfill your everyday security needs with its powerful antivirus scanning engine, software behavior tracking tool, and link and email scanner. In addition, the suite is compatible with the new AVG Zen, which allows you to check your Windows, Mac, and Android devices. You can log in on your PC or via Android app to schedule scans, view malware reports, and troubleshoot from anywhere.

Intuitive design: Large overlay buttons separate tool categories, and quick toggle buttons are easily accessible for both touch navigation and traditional mouse and keyboard.

Commendable protection: AVG scored 96.5 percent in real-world protection for malware blocked in AV-Comparative’s September 2014 report. That puts AVG well above the industry average, though not at the top of the list. The antivirus detection engine has been improved, as shown in the reduced number of false positives in AV-Comparative’s tests.

Cons

Busy menu: AVG placed large submenu icons over the more functional buttons — Antivirus Scans, Performance Fix, and Definition Update. Removing extraneous icons for tools that require a license upgrade would improve the UI.

Aggressive selling model: In our tests, we were turned off by aggressive advertising to upgrade to the paid version. Also, with many features and tools displayed but grayed out, AntiVirus Free felt like it was missing pieces, even with so many tools available.

Bottom Line

AVG AntiVirus Free 2015 has improved upon a well-designed security tool kit. While the busy layout takes some getting used to, the underlying antivirus engine continues to show improvement, outperforming previous years’ results and many competitors, and AVG’s Zen is a great boon if you’re managing multiple devices.

Categorys:Windows Software,Security Software,Antivirus Software

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Avast Free Antivirus 2015 – Security Software

Avast Free Antivirus 2015 – Security Software

Avast Free Antivirus 2015 has added utilities to an already comprehensive set of security tools. The new Smart Scan detects vulnerabilities in your home network, checks for program updates, and fixes PC performance issues with just one click. Avast continues to improve its anti-malware protection, as well as making it easier to manage security for multiple devices via the Web client.

Pros

Prevention is the best medicine: Avast Free Antivirus’ new Smart Scan scours your system looking for viruses and exploits. It also finds software updates for installed programs, checks the security of your connected network, and determines whether you can change anything to improve your PC’s performance. This one convenient scan checks all the places where contemporary malware lurks, like unpatched exploits found in out-of-date applications and lax in-home network security.

Security that goes with you: The My Avast online console has been improved, allowing you to easily install Avast from any computer, without having to dig around for the license key. Secure HTTPS Scan prevents cunning phishing attacks that redirect your browser from trusted websites to compromised ones. Secure Line VPN is a built-in VPN client that is easy to set up, with reliable service and speed to ensure you’re safe online, even when connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, hotels, or airports.

Effortless installation: This year’s Avast Free Antivirus features the same speedy installation as the last edition. You can customize your protection and program options, but the express setup — including the initial scan — took less than a couple minutes in our tests.

Cons

Improvement is still the goal: In tests by independent security lab AV-Comparatives, Avast has drifted down the ranks in terms of detection compared to last year. That is not to say its antivirus protection is unreliable — Avast’s antivirus engine still beats most competitors — but this year a few competitors score more highly.

Short VPN trial: Most users won’t know if the VPN service is suitable for them after just a three-day trial period.

Free but not entirely: Avast touts some impressive tools in its free antivirus app, but unfortunately most of these utilities have their full functionality locked behind a paywall. AccessAnywhere, a remote-access client that could help IT-savvy users troubleshoot problems remotely, requires an Avast Premier license. Grimefighter, an optimization tool, scans for performance-impacting issues and prompts you for a subscription payment without disclosing the exact details of its findings.

Bottom Line

Avast Free Antivirus’ 2015 updates continue to set the app apart — it’s not just an antivirus program; it’s a complete security kit with prevention tools and an all-encompassing scan engine. While Smart Scan will go a long way to prevent problems and the antivirus engine is solid, Avast could stand to refocus its efforts on virus detection. And with most of its features locked behind a subscription, Avast Free Antivirus will identify troubles in your system for free but will fix only some of them.

Categorys:Windows Software,Security Software,Antivirus Software

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