Snappy Drivers Installer Origin is a free open source and portable program for Microsoft’s Windows operating system to update device drivers.
The application is a fork of Snappy Drivers Installer, a program that we reviewed back in 2015. Both programs are in active development and it is quite difficult to find out how they differ from each other.
Driver update programs have a bad reputation on Windows; mostly because of shady programs that use scare tactics to get users to pay for updates, and reliability issues.
Snappy Drivers Installer Origin is one of the few good programs in the niche. You can download a small version that comes without any drivers or the whole package using torrents. Note that the torrent download includes all drivers supported which results in a size of more than 14 Gigabytes.
It is recommended to create a System Restore Point or system backup before you install any of the drivers.
Snappy Drivers Installer Origin
The program interface looks a bit dated. You can change the theme on the left, I suggest you pick Metallic as I find it the most eye pleasing themes.
The driver-less version of Snappy Drivers Installer Origin requires an Internet connection. It can download driver metadata or drivers, and will run a scan afterward to match system hardware and installed drivers for that hardware with the most recent versions.
It displays the total number of driver updates that it found at the top; you may click on the link to download the drivers to the local system.
Snappy Drivers Installer Origin checks whether System Restore is enabled in the program; check the box in front of the warning to enable the creation of system restore points prior to driver installations.
All devices and drivers found are listed in the main pane. Information is kept to a minimum on this screen by default. You may press the Ctrl-key however when you hover over a device to compare the currently installed driver with the driver Snappy Drivers Installer Origin found for the device.
The program lists the driver version and release date for the installed and available driver. You have multiple options to proceed:
Shift-click on any device listed to download (if necessary) and install the driver).
Check multiple devices and select “install” in the sidebar to install drivers for all selected devices.
Click on the “updates are available” entry at the top to open the drivers download interface.
Some driver installations require a restart. Snappy Driver Installer Origin hides all drivers that were not installed until the system is restarted to complete the installation of the driver.
The drivers download window displays all available drivers and information such as the size of the driver. You may check some or all to download them to the local system.
Options are provided to hide missing driver packs and to “continue seeding after the download is finished”. Seeding seems to indicate that drivers get downloaded using torrents and that is verified in the options when you enable Expert Mode.
Check the “Expert Mode” box to displays additional options; doing so unlocks the options menu to change the configuration. Use the options to change torrent settings, e.g. max upload speed or the port that is used, the download path, or add commands that you want executed after installation of drivers.
Expert Mode enables filter options so that you may display only drivers that are newer or better than the installed one among other things.
Snappy Driver Installer Origins is a useful program for Windows administrators and users. You may want to download the full driver package if you use the program regularly to update drivers on client, family, or friend systems.
The application is easy to use and includes an option to create system restore points. The interface needs a refresh though; I’d like to see options to display installed and new drivers directly side by side to compare them directly.
Now You: do you use driver updaters?
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BleachBit is a long standing free alternative to CCleaner and other commercial system cleaners. The open source program was updated to version 2.2 recently. That, and the fact that some people don’t like the direction that CCleaner development has taken since the Avast acquisition of Piriform, justifies another look at the program.
First the basics: we followed BleachBit’s development ever since our first two reviews here on Ghacks in 2010. Jack Wallen reviewed BleachBit for Linux, and I took a look at the Windows version of the application in the same year. The developer released BleachBit 2.0 in 2018, the last major update of the software application.
BleachBit is a system cleaner that supports Winapp2.ini files to improve its cleaning, and also CCEnhancer which does the same thing basically.
You can download a portable version or installer from the BleachBit website to get started. The application itself is easy to use but requires some level of expertise when it comes to the choices that it presents to you.
BleachBit displays the available clean locations sorted into groups for easier access. Each has a checkmark associated with it to either check individual items or entire groups. BleachBit displays descriptions for each item when you select it. While it does not provide a detailed description or information, it should give a rough understanding.
A click on preview starts a dry run that scans all selected areas without making any changes to the application. The process adds information to the size column so that you know how much space you will free up when you run the clean operation.
The log on the right side of the interface displays all items that will get deleted or cleaned when you run the clean-up operation.
BleachBit supports other options: you can add custom locations to clean, add folders to the whitelist, or shred files or free space to remove traces.
BleachBit 2.2 comes with major improvements and features:
Additional programs to clean added, e.g. Waterfox, SmartFTP or aMule.
Cleaning improvements for Chrome, Firefox, and Chromium.
Support for Opera based on Chromium.
New -wipe-free-space command line option to remove traces from unused disk space.
Startup time improved.
Option to shred paths from Clipboard.
I like BleachBit: it is portable, open source, and does not nag you or try to sell you upgrades to professional versions. The program needs an interface update in my opinion to take it closer to CCleaner and make it more attractive to users who prefer that.
Now You: Which cleaner program, if any, do you use?
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Paint.net 4.1.6 was released earlier today. The new version of the image editor for Windows comes with performance improvements, new features, and several fixes.
Paint.net is my image editor of choice. I use different image editors, e.g. GIMP as well, but Paint.net offers the right functionality and performance for my use cases (mostly editing of screenshots or images before they are uploaded to the Internet).
The new version of the image editor was released on March 18, 2019 officially and is the first release of 2019. We reviewed the major release Paint.net 4.1 last year.
Users who run Paint.net already on their devices may select Preferences > Updates > Check Now to run a manual check for updates to get the update automatically.
New users and those who prefer manual updates can download it from the official project website. Microsoft Store versions of Paint.net get updated automatically as well.
Paint.net 4.1.6 comes with several new features; some focus on improving the application’s compatibility in high-res environments, another improves the save functionality significantly.
High-res icons were redone completely according to the changelog to support up to 400% scaling and to match the Microsoft Office style guidelines. Plugins get a new option to use a new class to make decisions “about DPI and scaling” easier.
Users who open and edit multiple images and photos in Paint.net regularly find a new useful Save All option under File to save changes of all images in one operation. You may also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Alt-S to invoke the command if you prefer that.
Open Recent, an option that displays recently opened images in Paint.net displays ten entries now instead of eight. The menu won’t change its size if you move between monitors with different DPI settings.
Users who close Paint.net with many images open should notice that the application closes much faster in those scenarios thanks to improvements done to speed up the termination of the application.
What else is new or changed?
Image thumbnails react to horizontal mouse wheel or trackpad swiping.
Ctrl-Shift-F6 and Ctrl-Shift-F8 reset the floating window sizes for History and Layers.
Settings > Plugin Errors shows up even if there are no errors to distinguish between “all plugins loaded without errors” and “plugins still loading” states.
Prevented problematic plugins from affecting the “undo” system.
Fixed a crash issue.
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The next version of Rufus, a small portable tool to create bootable USB Flash drives, includes an option to download the Windows versions Windows 10 or Windows 8.1.
Rufus is a popular lightweight tool to create bootable Flash drives, e.g. to install Windows or Linux on another computer system.
The process is very simple and straightforward: start Rufus, select an ISO disk image that you want to use to create the bootable Flash drive, connect the Flash drive, and hit the start button to begin the process.
Rufus offers a selection of configuration options, e.g. to select the partition scheme GPT or MBR, or file system on the Flash drive.
Check out our review of Rufus 3.0, an updated review of the 2018 release.
Rufus 3.5, available as a Beta right now, adds a download option to the program. You had to download the ISO image manually previously before you could make use of Rufus; this process changes with the release of Rufus 3.5, at least for Windows installations.
The Select button in the program interface features a small down arrow icon that you may activate to switch between “select” and “download” when “Disk or Iso image (Please select)” is selected under “Boot selection”.
Rufus downloads a PowerShell script when you select the download option (you have to click on the download button after selecting it to start the process) and starts it.
The script displays the available ISO images that you may download. Rufus supports official versions from Microsoft only, and displays the available operating system versions after you select Windows 8.1 or Windows 10.
Selections are quite good: you may download Windows 10 version 1809, 1803, 1707, and even earlier versions of Windows using the new download options.
You are then asked to select the edition that you want to download. For Windows 10, Windows 10 Home/Pro, or Windows 10 Education were offered. For Windows 8.1, regular and Professional were offered (plus special versions such as Windows 8.1 N).
You need to select the interface language in the last step.
Tip: The Fido script is available as a standalone PowerShell script as well. If you just want to grab that, you can do so here on GitHub.
The script downloads the selected ISO image from Microsoft. Make sure that you have enough free disk space to store it on the device. Once downloaded, you may create a bootable USB drive using the downloaded ISO image.
The selection menu was displayed only on one device that I ran Rufus on while it was not displayed on another. Rufus 3.5 is available as a beta currently and bugs like this are to be expected. If you run into the same issue you may download the PowerShell script manually and run it to get a Windows ISO image that way.
The integration of download options for Windows ISO images is a welcome addition to Rufus. It should make the program more useful even though it is not too hard to visit the official Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 download pages on the Microsoft website to download the images manually.
All in all a welcome change. The developers should consider adding options to download certain Linux distribution ISOs as well in upcoming releases.
Now You: Do you use Rufus or similar programs? (via Deskmodder)
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The most recent update for the temporary file cleaning and system maintenance software CCleaner, CCleaner 5.5.5, introduced a new Software Updater tool.
Software Updater scans installed programs on Windows PCs to make sure that they are up to date. The program checks for new versions and informs the user about these new versions.
CCleaner’s Software Update tool is available in free and professional versions of the desktop application but it is fully functional only in the Professional version of the application.
The free version of CCleaner features the Software Updater entry in the Tools menu but it is feature limited as it reports outdated versions only but gives users no option to update the programs using the tool’s functionality.
The selection of “update” or “update all” displays the “you’ll need to upgrade to use Software Updater” popup.
All of that would not be much of a problem; it is not uncommon for companies to highlight features of a paid version of a program in the free version. In this particular case, however, it is.
Piriform decided to bind a popup notification to the Software Updater tools menu. The popup is displayed if Software Updater is selected. Problem is, the company decided to make Software Updater the default tool in the Tools category.
Means: if you select Tools, you get the popup that advertises the upgrade to CCleaner Professional. There is no option to make another tool the default tool or to block the popup from being displayed.
The popup is displayed only once per session but it is displayed in every session, at least for now. If you use the Tools menu regularly, you will get the popup once in each session.
Piriform introduced advertising popups in CCleaner 5.44 and has been using them ever since to push CCleaner Professional versions. The company ran software bundling experiments previously as well to increase revenue.
I’m not a fan of nag screens. While I understand the need to sell professional licenses, I’d very much appreciate it if Piriform would display these popups less frequently or introduce an option to disable them entirely.
These popups may annoy some users enough to switch to a different program such as Bleachbit or use one of these methods to free up space which come without these annoyances.
Now You: Do you use CCleaner?
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The most recent version of CCleaner Professional comes with a new Software Updater tool designed to inform the user about outdated program installations.
Software updates are a complicated thing on Windows as there is no central repository available. Some programs come with custom build updating routines, others come without them.
Keeping software up to date is essential (most of the time) as updates may patch security vulnerabilities, incompatibilities, and other issues.
Programs that scan for outdated programs on Windows are anything but new. Programs like SUMO or UpdateStar have been around for over a decade. Developers of security solutions, for example Avira and Kaspersky, introduced options to check for software updates as well.
CCleaner Software Updater
Piriform, an Avast company, introduced the Software Updater in version 5.55 of the application released in March 2019. The tool is included in the Professional version of CCleaner only at this point in time.
You may access it with a click on Tools > Software Updater after you have made sure that you run at least CCleaner Professional 5.55.
The application lists outdated programs in its interface when you select the tool. It lists the program name, size, the installed version and the new version that is available.
The Software Updater detected fewer out of date programs than comparable software updaters such as Sumo. CCleaner Professional detected 18 programs with updates, Sumo 35.
Note: The tool may hang if you hit the “update all” button without selecting at least one program first.
What you can do currently
The only options provided at the time are to select programs and to update the selection. There is no option to visit the developer website to find out more about an update, nor are there options to ignore updates or minor updates, include beta versions, or uninstall a program.
The updating happens in CCleaner; that is comfortable and probably preferred by the majority of users (Sumo redirects to its own website from where you may download the updates).
CCleaner Professional does not indicate from where the updates are downloaded, however. It would be great if the program would indicate that to the user.
CCleaner downloads the installer and runs it automatically. It is still necessary to complete the installation manually at this point; silent installations don’t seem to be supported.
The application displays a “completed” message in the end and buttons to restart the PC or ignore the restart option for the moment.
CCleaner Professional’s software updater is a useful but limited tool. The Software Updater makes it easy to update software that CCleaner has in its database. The database of supported applications could be larger though, and it would certainly benefit from improved functionality on top of that.
No false positives were detected during tests; this worked properly.
Now You: Do you use Software Updaters? If so which? If not, why not?
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Malwarebytes, new owner of Windows Firewall Control, released Windows Firewall Control 188.8.131.52 to the public on February 26, 2019.
The new version is not the first release under the Malwarebytes umbrella, but it is the first major release as indicated by the version bump to 6.0.
The new version introduces the Malwarebytes branding to the application and makes other interface changes for the most part.
Existing users may receive an update notification in the version of Windows Firewall Control that is installed on their device.
The selection of “yes” when prompted to download and update to the new version results in a notification prompt shortly thereafter that highlights that it is not possible to perform an in-place upgrade to the new version.
Malwarebytes asks users to uninstall the current version of Windows Firewall Control manually before they run the installer again.
Users may need to download Windows Firewall Control 184.108.40.206 from the official website to do so.
Note: You may want to export firewall rules and user settings first before you remove the old version to install the new. Select Options > Export user settings to a file and Rules > Export Windows Firewall rules to a file to do so. You may lose existing rules or settings otherwise.
I have uploaded the last release version of Windows Firewall Control, version 5.4.1, as a mirror just in case. Download it with a click on the following link:
Malwarebytes Windows Firewall Control
The first thing that existing users will notice after the upgrade is that the interface changed significantly. It looks similar to the interface of other Malwarebytes products and carries the Malwarebytes branding.
Tip: Select Rules > Import Windows Firewall rules from a file and Options > Import user settings from a file to import settings and rules from the previous version.
The new dashboard highlights the state of the firewall, inbound and outbound connections, and the location. You cannot interact with these there, however. It would be nice if you could click on a status to change it.
A click on profiles shows that filtering is set to low by default and not medium; Notifications are set to disabled for outbound connections. You may want to change those to “display notifications” instead or “learning mode”.
You will notice that the configuration options look identical to those of previous versions. The shell, the menu on the left side, changed in the new version but the actual options appear to be the same.
The changelog on the official Binisoft website highlights two additional changes.
Users may change the language of the interface under Options now directly.
The user manual was converted to PDF from CHM. You can load it with a tap on the F1 key or the selection of the question mark icon.
Malwarebytes made a change to profile switching next to that which improves the handling of inbound connections. Inbound connections are blocked automatically if the user switches profiles if they are allowed by default.
The requirement to remove the old installation before installing the new version is problematic. It will certainly leave some users behind; those who don’t or can’t go through the process, and those who prefer to stick with the old version to avoid the new version.
Memory usage increased a bit in the new version but not nearly as much as it did when Malwarebytes released version 3.0 of the company’s main security program.
Now You: What is your take on the new version?
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O&O AppBuster is a new program in the ever increasing category of programs for Windows 10 that try to increase user control over the operating system.
Next to privacy tools for Windows 10 — an uncountable number of programs exist in that category — it is programs like 10AppsManager that let administrators remove installed apps the operating system comes with.
Not all apps that Windows 10 comes with natively are bad. In fact, there are some that users of the operating system might use regularly. Windows Calculator, Snip & Sketch, or Microsoft Photos may fall into that category.
It is undeniable, however, that Windows 10 comes with an ever growing list of apps installed that most users likely don’t use at all. Apps like 3D Builder, Mixed Reality Viewer, or Print3D may fall into the category.
All of these applications take up space on the hard drive, and they show up in the Start Menu and in searches.
O&O AppBuster is free for everyone. You can run it after download to get a list of all installed Windows apps (Microsoft Store apps, Universal apps).
Apps are sorted into the normal and hidden category. AppBuster highlights an application’s status, e.g. whether it is installed or available, the availability, and how much storage it uses on the device.
Tip: Select Actions > Create a System Restore Point before you remove anything from the system.
You can remove any application that is listed as installed; just click on the box in front of it and select the remove button afterward.The option is available for regularly installed apps and hidden apps.
Hidden apps include Microsoft Edge extensions as well as some apps that Microsoft may not list under Apps in the Settings or the Start menu.
The View menu displays additional application types that you may display in the listing. You may add System apps and Framework apps to the listing but cannot remove them.
A click on an application’s name displays additional information such as its installation path, version, or installation date
Any application that is not listed as installed may be installed using AppBuster; just select the application and hit the install button to do so.
You may select multiple apps at once to install or remove them.
The program offers built-in search functionality to find applications quickly which is handy if lots of applications are installed on the device or by the user.
O&O AppBuster is an easy to use application to uninstall installed Windows 10 apps in bulk, and to re-install apps that you may have removed accidentally (e.g. by using PowerShell scripts).
Now You: how do you handle apps on Windows that come with the system?
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7-Zip 19.00 was released as a stable version on February 21, 2019. The new version of the open source program to manage archives is the first stable release of 2019. It comes a day after the disclosure of a critical vulnerability in WinRAR and several other programs that rely on an old library file.
The program is offered as a 32-bit or 64-bit version for Microsoft Windows devices. 7-Zip supports all major client and server versions of Windows, including those that are no longer supported by Microsoft.
You can run 7-Zip on Windows NT or Windows 2000 devices and it should run fine on those. Existing users may download the new installer from the 7-Zip website to install the new version over the current installation.
The changelog published by Igor Pavlov, the developer of 7-Zip, has two entries only. The main improvement in the new version is an increase in the encryption strength of 7z archives.
The developer increased the random initialization vector size from 64-bit to 128-bit and improved the pseudo-random number generator next to that.
Encryption strength for 7z archives was increased:
the size of random initialization vector was increased from 64-bit to 128-bit, and the pseudo-random number generator was improved.
The 7z archive format is the native format of 7-Zip. 7-Zip users may type a password in the creation dialog to encrypt archives. Just select the 7z archive format as the compression format and type a password to create an archive with improved encryption strength. You may also encrypt file names to obfuscate those.
Several — unnamed — bugs were fixed in the new version next to that.
Previous versions, three in total were released in 2018 — 7-Zip 18.01, 18.05 and 18.06 — improved performance and memory utilization among other things.
7-Zip is a popular open source software to manage — create and extract — archives. It supports all popular formats and many lesser popular formats, encryption, multiple volumes, different compression options and a lot more.
Now You: Which archive software do you use, and why? My favorite program is Bandizip.
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Chrome Download Unblocker is a free program for Microsoft Windows devices — all from Windows XP to the very latest Windows 10 version — that you may use to configure Chrome to allow any download to go through.
Google Chrome uses Safe Browsing functionality as a safeguard against potentially problematic or outright malicious file downloads. Google introduced Safe Browsing in 2011 in Google Chrome.
While the browser does block malicious files from landing on the system if Google knows about them (if they are on the Safe Browsing list), it may also block legitimate files.
While users may be able to allow certain downloads to complete by interfering manually, it is not possible for all files.
Chrome Download Unblocker steps in. It is a simple to use program that toggles the functionality. A VirusTotal scan returned no hits.
All you do is download the archive to the local system, extract it, and run the setup file afterward. The interface has just one option: to unblock or block downloads in Chrome.
The initial state is blocked and a click on “unblock downloads” lifts the restriction. Chrome cannot run during the operation and you will get a prompt to close the browser to continue.
The program should display the unblocked status in its interface after the operation. You can exit it at this point in time; in fact, you only need it again if you want to toggle the status again or when Google changed something in Chrome that reverted the status.
All downloads are allowed without blocking of any kind in Chrome when the download status is set to unblocked in Chrome Download Unblocker.
How useful is the program?
If you run into blocked downloads regularly in Chrome, you may benefit the most as it speeds up the process as you don’t need to interact with Safe Browsing manually anymore.
The downside to using the program is that it will also allow downloads of malicious program that Safe Browsing would have blocked; this may be mitigated by installed antivirus applications if they support the functionality.
I run into blocked file downloads regularly in Chrome, usually when I download a program that is not very popular, e.g. a new program. It is not that difficult to allow the download manually and to verify the claim that Chrome makes using services like VirusTotal.
I could see this becoming a huge nuisance if you download dozens of files per day or even more that are blocked, or simply don’t want the hassle.
Now You: How do you handle browsers that block downloads?
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