Software http://www.maximumpc.com/taxonomy/term/205/ en Microsoft Tosses 'Windows 9' into Recycle Bin, Announces Windows 10 Instead http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_tosses_windows_9_recycle_bin_announces_windows_10_instead_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_10.jpg" alt="Windows 10 Mock Logo" title="Windows 10 Mock Logo" width="228" height="141" style="float: right;" />"It wouldn't be right to call it Windows 9" - Microsoft</h3> <p>You're probably familiar with the argument, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Well, Juliet may not have cared about the name of things, but Microsoft does, which is why you'll never see a Windows 9. Instead, <strong>Microsoft today skipped a number and announced Windows 10</strong>, the OS formerly known as Threshold and the successor to Windows 8/8.1.</p> <p>"Windows 10 will be our most comprehensive platform ever," Windows head Terry Myerson said during a press event with a small gathering of reporters in San Francisco. "It wouldn't be right to call it Windows 9."</p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/84NI5fjTfpQ" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe><br /> </p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Windows 10 preview video</strong></p> <p><a href="http://recode.net/2014/09/30/microsoft-skips-windows-9-heads-straight-to-windows-10/" target="_blank">According to <em>Recode</em></a>, Windows 10 is designed to run on a wide range of devices with screen sizes running the gamut from four inches all the up to 80 inches. Microsoft will have a single application platform with one integrated Store to deliver Windows experiences across all those devices.</p> <p>In order to serve all those devices, Windows 10 was built from the ground up for a "mobile-first, cloud-first world," Myerson added, <a href="http://www.techradar.com/news/software/operating-systems/windows-10-unveiled-microsoft-ushers-in-the-next-era-of-windows-1267199" target="_blank">according to </a><em><a href="http://www.techradar.com/news/software/operating-systems/windows-10-unveiled-microsoft-ushers-in-the-next-era-of-windows-1267199" target="_blank">TechRadar</a>.</em></p> <p>Reports from around the web say Windows 10 looks a bit like Windows 7. It has a hybrid Start menu that combines Windows 7-era features with Windows 8 style tiles, <a href="http://blogs.seattletimes.com/brierdudley/2014/09/29/microsoft-previews-windows-9/" target="_blank"><em>The Seattle Times </em>reports</a>. However, Microsoft isn't viewing Windows 10 as just a rehash of previous versions. Part of the reason for the Windows 10 name is because it represents the "first step of a whole new generation of Windows," Myerson said.</p> <p>The focus right now is on the enterprise, and towards that end, the first priority of the OS is to make sure it's familiar for business users coming from Windows 7 or Windows 8 so they can hop right in and be productive. Microsoft's second priority is "modern management" of lots of computers.</p> <p>So, what about that Modern UI that caused such a fuss with power users? It's gone in Windows 10, <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2014/09/30/microsoft-windows-10/" target="_blank"><em>Endgadget</em> reports</a>. In place of the Modern UI are Live Tiles integrated into the right side of the Start menu on the Desktop. On the left side are pinned and frequent apps.</p> <p>There's also a refreshed taskbar with a new "task view" that presents all of your running apps. Windows 10 allows you to tile up to four apps on the same screen.</p> <p>Other goodies include a beefed up command prompt that allows you to use keyboard shortcuts, along with copy and paste, and a Charms Bar that may or may not make it into the final cut.</p> <p>Microsoft is planning to issue a Technical Preview of Windows 10 next week, with a launch of the OS by spring 2015. We'll have a more in-depth look once all the information is out, as well as hands-on impressions once we get a copy to play with.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_tosses_windows_9_recycle_bin_announces_windows_10_instead_2014#comments microsoft operating system OS Software threshold windows 10 windows 9 News Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:49:58 +0000 Paul Lilly 28638 at http://www.maximumpc.com Visceral Director Confident Battlefield: Hardline 'Will Work' at Launch http://www.maximumpc.com/visceral_director_confident_battlefield_hardline_will_work_launch_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/bf_hardline.jpg" alt="Battlefield Hardline" title="Battlefield Hardline" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Cross your fingers the launch goes smoother than BF4's did</h3> <p><a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/battlefield_4_review">Battlefield 4's</a> launch went about as smooth as the Andrea Gail's trip out to sea in the nonfiction book-turned-movie The Perfect Storm. Hey, at least BF4 didn't sink -- the developers eventually ironed out most of the <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/lawfirm_may_sue_ea_over_buggy_battlefield_4_rollout2013">bugs and server issues</a>, though it's understandable that some gamers are worried about Battlefield: Hardline going through similar growing pains. There's no need to be, according to <strong>Ian Milham, creative director for Visceral Games, who says that Battlefield: Hardline is in "great shape."</strong></p> <p>Heath Hindman, a journalist for <a href="http://www.gamerevolution.com/news/battlefield-hardline-will-work-at-launch-says-visceral-28643" target="_blank"><em>Game Revolution</em></a>, caught up with Milham at the Tokyo Game Show and had a short chat about the upcoming game. Hindman said he expressed concern over Hardline's ability to fully function at launch considering that BF4 had several issues.</p> <p>"What you're basically asking is, 'Is your gaming going to work?' and the answer is yes, it's gonna work," Milham said, adding that his development team began work more than a year before Battlefield 4 was released. "We've been working with the DICE guys for a long time; some of our engineering work is actually in Battlefield 4 and things they've been doing since then. It's in pretty great shape now and all that work is gonna come into what we're doing doing."</p> <p>That's not to say there won't be some hiccups. In fact, Milham readily admits that bugs are virtually unavoidable when dealing with a game as big as Hardline, especially when planning for five different platforms. However, he doesn't foresee any major issues like there were with BF4.</p> <p>"We taking shipping a working game pretty seriously," Milham said. "So yes, the game will work."</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/visceral_director_confident_battlefield_hardline_will_work_launch_2014#comments battlefield: hardline Electronic Arts games Software visceral News Mon, 29 Sep 2014 21:30:03 +0000 Paul Lilly 28631 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Exec: Windows 9 to be Free for Windows 8 Users http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_exec_windows_9_be_free_windows_8_users000 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/files/windows_9_1_1.jpg" alt="Windows 9 to be free for Windows 8 users" title="Windows 9" width="228" height="173" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>‘Threshold’ will be officially unveiled on September 30, 2014</h3> <p>Microsoft has scheduled a <strong>special invite-only event for Tuesday, September 30, 2014, where it is widely expected to introduce the next version of its popular desktop operating system (codenamed “Threshold” but popularly referred to as Windows 9).</strong> As is usually the case, the event’s imminence hasn’t resulted in a moratorium on Windows 9 rumors and speculation, but instead caused the tech rumor mill to kick into high gear, with the latest juicy Windows 9-related tidbit coming to us all the way from Indonesia — and apparently straight from the horse’s mouth.</p> <p>According to Indonesian news portal <a href="http://inet.detik.com/read/2014/09/25/182535/2701450/317/ceo-microsoft-windows-9-gratis-asalkan?k=ecym&amp;p=ct">Detik</a>, existing Windows 8 users will be able to upgrade to Microsoft’s next operating system <a href="http://bgr.com/2014/09/28/windows-9-upgrade-free-download/?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=pulsenews" target="_blank">absolutely free of cost</a>. And how exactly do they know this, you ask? Well, Microsoft Indonesia president Andreas Diantoro said so in Jakarta Thursday. Actually, rumors to this effect have been doing the rounds for sometime now but this is the first time that someone from Microsoft — someone as powerful as Diantoro at that —&nbsp; has commented on the subject, let alone outright confirmed the rumor.</p> <p>Although this particular report is silent on the upcoming operating system’s likely cost for those who don’t own a Windows 8 copy, Russian Microsoft leaker WZOR last month claimed that Microsoft was readying an <a href="http://www.myce.com/news/windows-9-enterprise-has-no-metro-interface-upgrade-to-windows-9-free-or-20-72511/">“awesome’ upgrade offer for Windows XP users.</a></p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="https://plus.google.com/107395408525066230351?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_exec_windows_9_be_free_windows_8_users000#comments microsoft indonesia operating system report Software windows 9 windows threshold News Mon, 29 Sep 2014 01:26:59 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28621 at http://www.maximumpc.com Amazon App Store Now Serving Dozens of Android Apps Worth Nearly $175 for Free http://www.maximumpc.com/amazon_app_store_now_serving_dozens_android_apps_worth_nearly_175_free_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/amazon_apps.jpg" alt="Amazon Apps" title="Amazon Apps" width="228" height="199" style="float: right;" />Snag a $59 dictionary app for free</h3> <p>Every so often, Amazon offers up a collection of paid apps for free, not including its daily free app. Back in July, Amazon served up 29 apps worth over $100 for free, and this time around, <strong>Amazon is giving away over two dozen Android apps worth almost $175</strong>. The highest priced app of the bunch is Merriam-Webster's Third New International Pro from Paragon Software Group. It normally sells for $59, but can be had for free for a limited time.</p> <p>Interestingly, Amazon advertises the promotion as being worth "over $135," though when we added them up individually, the tally came closer to $175. That qualifies as "over $135," but at the expense of Amazon underselling the deal.</p> <p>In any event, you'll find a wide assortment of apps among the collection of 27 titles, everything from games like Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II (normally $4.99) to productivity apps like OfficeSuite Professional 7 (normally $14.95). Swype Keyboard (normally $4.99) and SketchBook Pro (normally $4.99) are a couple of other notable inclusions.</p> <p>The deal is going on now and runs until Saturday, September 27. You can check them out by <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=amb_link_425170362_2?ie=UTF8&amp;hidden-keywords=B00CT2P6VA%7CB007ZF4GU8%7CB00A7W29BE%7CB00DV2D0JC%7CB008IJT0CE%7CB00JFKEQBK%7CB00701L5XS%7CB00EEL0LGY%7CB007NZ7LIY%7CB00966YLNQ%7CB00GWYAMZ6%7CB006J1P770%7CB00HWWRYC6%7CB00G1YAD42%7CB0096DZKZC%7CB0067Q42BY%7CB0051UP5NQ%7CB008X8RSTM%7CB0055S348W%7CB004GYNPL2%7CB00IIITT08%7CB00FHEP9XM%7CB00ESCJG1U%7CB005J0VPNC%7CB0055PSKE8%7CB0055S348W%7CB00J0HVB7U%7CB00A7Z8KAU&amp;rh=i%3Amobile-apps%2Cn%3A2350149011&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-top-1&amp;pf_rd_r=0RTE7MSZ1TBA3DNGVTA4&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;pf_rd_p=1930242302&amp;pf_rd_i=2350149011" target="_blank">clicking here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/amazon_app_store_now_serving_dozens_android_apps_worth_nearly_175_free_2014#comments amazon android app store apps Software News Thu, 25 Sep 2014 18:21:32 +0000 Paul Lilly 28607 at http://www.maximumpc.com Apple Apologizes for Cellular Killing iOS 8.0.1 Update, Suggests Rolling Back to iOS 8 http://www.maximumpc.com/apple_apologizes_cellular_killing_ios_801_update_suggests_rolling_back_ios_8_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/epic_fail.jpg" alt="Epic Fail" title="Epic Fail" width="228" height="157" style="float: right;" />What else can go wrong with the iPhone 6 launch?</h3> <p>We know you don't come here to read Apple news, but when things are this bad in Cupertino, it's pretty tough to ignore -- it's like watching a train wreck and then trying not to tell anyone about it. The train in this case is Apple and the wreck is its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launch. The latest in the ongoing saga has <strong>Apple apologizing for its problematic iOS 8.0.1 update</strong>, which has caused some users to lose cellular service and Touch ID functionality.</p> <p>The iOS 8.0.1 software is the first update to iOS 8 and was intended to fix a bunch of issues with Apple's mobile OS. However, complaints quickly started rolling in after the update was released with users saying their iPhones would no longer connect to a cellular network and that Touch ID was no longer letting them unlock their handsets with their fingerprints. Apparently the issues only affect iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners.</p> <p>Apple has since pulled the update offline and <a href="http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6487" target="_blank">suggested a workaround</a>, that being a rollback to iOS 8 through iTunes. In the meantime, Apple said it's preparing iOS 8.0.2 with a fix for the issue and plans to release it "in the next few days."</p> <p>"We aplogize for the great inconvenience experienced by users," an Apple spokesperson <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/apple-launch/apple-apologizes-ios-8-0-1-screwup-issues-fix-n211371" target="_blank">told <em>NBCNews</em></a>.</p> <p>Chalk this up as yet another misfire in what's been the most anticipated (and botched) iPhone launch ever. Apple fumbled the launch from the onset with a live stream event plagued with technical issues. The feed kept cutting out, and when it would play, there would sometimes be an audio feed of a Chinese translation overpowering the keynote.</p> <p>The frustration for anxious would-be iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners continued when they stayed up late to place pre-orders at 12:01AM Pacific. Most visitors to Apple's online store had to wait until around 12:30AM Pacific before the site went live, and by then, several iPhone options were unavailable.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/curved_iphone.jpg" alt="Curved iPhone" title="Curved iPhone" width="521" height="260" /></p> <p>Shipping times quickly increased from 7-10 business days to 3-4 weeks, and as iPhone 6 Plus buyers wait at home for their devices to arrive, the Internet became filled with reports of the phablet-sized handset being <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/early_iphone_6_plus_owners_get_bent_out_shape_over_warping_issue_2014" target="_blank">prone to warping</a> just by having it in a pants pocket. It's too early to tell if the issue is being overblown, though at minimum, the iPhone 6 Plus definitely has a bit of uncomfortable flex to it.</p> <p>Throw in the iOS 8.0.1 issue and you have to wonder what else could possibly go wrong.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/apple_apologizes_cellular_killing_ios_801_update_suggests_rolling_back_ios_8_2014#comments apple ios 8 ios 8.0.1 iphone 6 iphone 6 plus operating system Software update News Thu, 25 Sep 2014 16:44:54 +0000 Paul Lilly 28605 at http://www.maximumpc.com Linux Bash Bug Poses Security Threat, Gets Compared to Heartbleed http://www.maximumpc.com/linux_bash_bug_poses_security_threat_gets_compared_heartbleed_2014 <!--paging_filter--><p><strong><img src="/files/u69/linux_bash.jpg" alt="Linux Bash" title="Linux Bash" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Here we go again</strong></p> <p><strong>Security researchers have discovered a major security bug in the Unix shell known as Bash</strong> (Bourne-again shell), one of the most commonly used utilities in Linux and one that could potentially affect a great number of Unix and Linux web servers. By exploiting the newly discovered vulnerability, an attacker can take complete control of the system and/or execute shell commands that could make a server vulnerable to even more threats.</p> <p>The bug is such that an attacker would need a high level of system access to do any real damage, though according to <a href="https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=CVE-2014-6271" target="_blank">Red Hat</a>, remote attacks are possible through "certain services and applications." Patches are needed to fill in the security hole and eradicate the bug, but since it's been present in enterprise Linux software for so long, that's no easy task, <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2014/9/24/6840697/worse-than-heartbleed-todays-bash-bug-could-be-breaking-security-for" target="_blank"><em>The Verge</em> reports</a>. That said, Red Hat, Fedora, Ubuntu, and others have already released patches, and Apple is working on a fix for Mac OS X.</p> <p>Some security experts, including Errata Security's Robert David Graham, have compared the Bash bug to <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/heartbleed_security_flaw_catches_internet_guard_2014" target="_blank">Heartbleed</a>. Graham went so far as to say it's "probably a bigger deal than Heartbleed" because of all the software out there that's vulnerable -- cataloging it all would be a nightmare, if not an impossible task.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/linux_bash_bug_poses_security_threat_gets_compared_heartbleed_2014#comments bash linux Security Software unix News Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:30:48 +0000 Paul Lilly 28604 at http://www.maximumpc.com Nvidia GeForce 344.16 WHQL Drivers Add Support for GTX 980 and 970 Maxwell Cards http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_geforce_34416_whql_drivers_add_support_gtx_980_and_970_maxwell_cards <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gtx_980.jpg" alt="Nvidia GeForce GTX 980" title="Nvidia GeForce GTX 980" width="228" height="174" style="float: right;" />New GeForce drivers now availble to download</h3> <p>So, you've gone out and acquired one or two of Nvidia's new Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 980 or GTX 970 graphics cards, is that right? As <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_geforce_gtx_980_review2014">our benchmarks show</a>, you'll be happy with your purchase, and you may even see better results than we did when applying the latest WHQL-certified drivers. No need to wait -- <strong>Nvidia's GeForce 344.16 WHQL drivers are now to available to download</strong> and install.</p> <p>In addition to adding support for Nvidia's latest Maxwell cards, the new driver release purportedly offers the best gaming experience for a handful of titles, including Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, The Evil Within, F1 2014, and Alien: Isolation, according to the accompanying <a href="http://us.download.nvidia.com/Windows/344.16/344.16-win8-win7-winvista-desktop-release-notes.pdf" target="_blank">release notes (PDF)</a>.</p> <p>You'll also find added or updated application profiles and 3D Vision profiles for a bunch of games, plus 3D compatibility mode support for Assassin's Creed: Freedom City, Halo: Spartan Assault, Murdered Sould Suspect, and Sniper Elite 3.</p> <p>Hit up <a href="http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx?lang=en-us" target="_blank">Nvidia's website</a> when you're ready to grab the new drivers.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_geforce_34416_whql_drivers_add_support_gtx_980_and_970_maxwell_cards#comments Drivers geforce 344.16 graphics card GTX 970 GTX 980 maxwell nvidia Software Video Card whql News Wed, 24 Sep 2014 16:22:07 +0000 Paul Lilly 28601 at http://www.maximumpc.com Blizzard Kills Titan MMO 7 Years Into Development http://www.maximumpc.com/blizzard_kills_titan_mmo_7_years_development_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/blizzard_entertainment.jpg" alt="Blizzard Entertainment" title="Blizzard Entertainment" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Seven years into the project, Titan's developers couldn't find the fun or passion.</h3> <p>Bad news if you were pinning your hopes on Titan being your next MMO after you've grown tired of World of Warcraft. <strong>After spending at least seven years in development, Blizzard has officially cancelled Titan</strong>, putting an end to a project that Blizzard ultimately decided it wasn't something it wanted to do at this time. On the bright side, Blizzard may still make another MMO someday, but for now, that's not the direction it wants to take.</p> <p>Blizzard co-founder and CEO Mike Morhaime revealed the decision in an <a href="http://www.polygon.com/2014/9/23/6833953/blizzard-cancels-titan-next-gen-mmo-pc" target="_blank">interview with <em>Polygon</em></a>, telling the site that it just couldn't get excited about the project. The company knew it could make a successful MMO -- World of Warcraft proved it -- but despite plans to build an ambitious follow-up, the team just couldn't get it to come together.</p> <p>"We didn't find the fun," Morhaime said. "We didn't find the passion. We talked about how we put it through a reevaluation period, and actually, what we reevaluated is whether that's the game we really wanted to be making. The answer is no."</p> <p>So just like that, Blizzard pulled the plug, though after spending that much time on the game, the decision to do so was an "excruciating" one.</p> <p>Reading through the interview, it seems that Blizzard is perhaps overly sensitive to being pegged as an MMORPG company, or any other genre for that matter.</p> <p>"We just want to make great games every time," Morhaime said.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/blizzard_kills_titan_mmo_7_years_development_2014#comments blizzard games mmo Software titan News Tue, 23 Sep 2014 21:35:05 +0000 Paul Lilly 28595 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Makes It Easier for Eligible Students to Claim Office 365 for Free http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_makes_it_easier_eligible_students_claim_office_365_free_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3>A price point students can afford</h3> <p>Are you enrolled in college? If so, you have enough expenses already -- tuition, books, parking, beer, and so forth. The last thing you want to do is spend even more money on software, hence why your PC is filled with open source software. That's one option, though if you'd prefer to roll with Office, it might not cost you a dime. <strong>Microsoft just introduced a self-serve model for students and teachers that lets them claim Office 356 at no cost</strong>.</p> <p>"It was just about a year ago we announced Student Advantage, a benefit that allows eligible students to get Office 365 from their school for free. One drawback to Student Advantage—the onus has been on the school to initiate the service, create an account and order the Office 365 license on behalf of the student," <a href="http://blogs.office.com/2014/09/22/students-teachers-may-eligible-get-office-free/" target="_blank">Microsoft said</a>.</p> <p>Not anymore. If you're a student and at least 13 years old, you can check your eligibility by going to <a href="http://www.office.com/getoffice365" target="_blank">Office 365 for Students</a> and entering in a valid school-provided email address. If you qualify, you'll receive the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access, and Publisher, which you can install on up to five systems.</p> <p>You'll also receive 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage and access to Office Online.</p> <p>So, what makes you eligible? To qualify, you must attend a school that has purchased Office for the entire organization through Microsoft's Volume Licensing program.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_makes_it_easier_eligible_students_claim_office_365_free_2014#comments education microsoft nasdaq:msft office 365 for students productivity Software News Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:08:32 +0000 Paul Lilly 28589 at http://www.maximumpc.com 9 Things We Want in Windows 9 http://www.maximumpc.com/09_things_we_want_see_windows_9 <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/windows_8_scribbled.jpg" alt="Windows 8 Scribbled" title="Windows 8 Scribbled" width="228" height="158" style="float: right;" /></p> <h3>We want better 4K support and more from Windows 9&nbsp;</h3> <p>If we're being totally, completely, 100 percent honest, we settled for Windows 8. That's not easy to admit, especially after applying some well needed Updates (previously known as Service Packs) that zapped some of our original complaints. Don't get us wrong, it never was, nor is it still a terrible operating system -- the comparisons to Windows ME or even Windows Vista's early days are off base -- but certainly Microsoft didn't have our best interests in mind. By "our interests," we're talking about power users, enthusiasts, and generally anyone tech savvy enough to know the difference between RAM and a hard drive. Hell, Windows 8 designer <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/windows_8_designer_offers_candid_explanation_metro_and_why_power_users_hate_it_2014">Jacob Miller admitted as much</a> several months ago (Microsoft's good at <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/exclusive_interview_microsoft_admits_what_went_wrong_with_vista_and_how_they_fixed_it">coming clean after the fact</a>).</p> <p>Truth be told, Microsoft catered to the lowest common denominator -- the ones who call you up every 3-4 weeks because their PC is riddled with pop-up ads again -- and attempted to hold their hands as Redmond walked them through its vision of what would one day become a beautiful walled garden where new and experienced users frolicked happily among the colorful tiles singing songs of praise. Our apologies if you just threw up in your mouth a little bit.</p> <p>Here's the thing -- we've grown accustomed to Windows 8, and having spent copious time with it, we no longer feel the rage we once did every time the Start screen would load. That's partially because we're now able to boot directly into the Desktop, but the bigger reason is the one we stated above. We settled, plain and simple.</p> <p>With that said, <a title="windows 9" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_schedules_windows_9_event_september_30_2014" target="_blank">Windows 9 is on the horizon</a>, and this is Microsoft's chance to atone for Windows 8 and earn back some street cred with power users. It's a do-over, and no, it's not too late. If Windows 9 comes out and blows our minds with levels of awesome we've never seen before, all will be forgiven (just as we've done before). But in order for that to happen, Microsoft has to get it right.</p> <p>That's no easy task, so to help our friends at Microsoft, we came up with a list of 9 things we want to see in Windows 9. Are you reading this, Redmond? Good, because these 9 wishlist items conveniently assembled into a photo gallery collectively represent your golden ticket back into our good graces. Let's begin!</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/09_things_we_want_see_windows_9#comments 4k support features gallery microsoft operating system OS Software threshold Windows windows 9 wishlist News Features Mon, 22 Sep 2014 22:06:08 +0000 Paul Lilly 28547 at http://www.maximumpc.com Humble Bundle is Gifting Tropico 3 for Free Today Only http://www.maximumpc.com/humble_bundle_gifting_tropico_3_free_today_only_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/tropico_3.jpg" alt="Tropico 3" title="Tropico 3" width="228" height="230" style="float: right;" />Can't beat the price!</h3> <p>Why pay for a game when you get it for free? That's not an invitation to go pirate a PC title via BitTorrent or any other method, we're just wondering if you like free stuff. The answer? Of course you do! The reason we ask is because if you act fast, you can <strong>grab Tropico 3 for free from the Humble Bundle Store</strong>. The deal is good for one day only and is set to expire tomorrow at 10AM Pacific / 1PM Eastern.</p> <p>There are no major strings attached to the deal, unless you consider Steam's digital distribution platform a string (you also have to fork over your email for the deal). Simply <a href="https://www.humblebundle.com/store" target="_blank">click on this link</a>, enter your email address, click on the URL that gets emailed to you, and activate the license on Steam. When you're finished, you can go back to the original link and refresh the page, only this time check the "This is a gift" box when entering your email. You'll be emailed a URL to give to your buddy.</p> <p>While you're moseying about the Humble Store, you can check out a bunch of discounted titles as part of the End of Summer Sale encore. Some notable standouts include Far Cry 3 Deluxe Edition ($7.99, down from $39.99), South Park The Stick of Truth ($19.99, down from $39.99), Batman Arkham City GOTY Edition ($4.99, down from $19.99), Batman Arkham Asylum GOTY Edition ($4.99, down from $19.99), and Hitman Absolution ($4.99, down from $19.99), to name just a few.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/humble_bundle_gifting_tropico_3_free_today_only_2014#comments games humble bundle Software tropico 3 News Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:45:46 +0000 Paul Lilly 28584 at http://www.maximumpc.com ARChron Hack Brings Android Apps to Chrome for Linux, OS X and Windows http://www.maximumpc.com/archron_hack_brings_android_apps_chrome_linux_os_x_and_windows <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u46168/chrome-os-android-app.png" alt="ARChron" title="ARChron" width="228" height="151" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Theoretically, almost any app can be ported</h3> <p>When Google first announced Chrome OS in 2009, among the few people who were polite enough to not dismiss it outright, and predict for it either a stillbirth or an early demise, were those who saw a merger with Android as its ultimate fate. Of course, let alone a full-blown merger, we have yet to see substantial interplay between the two platforms. The best we have seen, all these years down the line, is the <strong>ability to run a grand total of four Android apps on Chrome OS</strong> — and that too is a very recent development. Even now, Google is only working with “a select group of Android developers” and is unlikely to bring more than a handful of mobile apps to Chrome OS in the near future. Well, that’s what hacks are for, right?</p> <p>A developer named Vlad Filippov (a.k.a Vladikoff) has not not only figured out a <a href="http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/09/hack-runs-android-apps-on-windows-mac-and-linux-computers/?utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=pulsenews" target="_blank">way to run virtually any Android app on Chrome OS</a>, he has also found a way to do so using the Chrome browser on major desktop OSes like OS X, Linux and Windows. To this end, he has released a custom version of <a href="http://chrome.blogspot.in/2014/09/first-set-of-android-apps-coming-to.html" target="_blank">App Runtime for Chrome (ARC)</a>, the Native Client-based Chrome OS extension that enables Android apps to run on Chrome — the APK needs to be converted into a Chrome extension. Unlike ARC, which is only compatible with Chrome OS,&nbsp; the hacked version called <a href="https://github.com/vladikoff/chromeos-apk/blob/master/archon.md">ARChon</a> can be used to run Android apps inside the Chrome browser. As for converting APKs into Chrome extensions, the Toronto-based developer has released a tool called “<a href="https://github.com/vladikoff/chromeos-apk" target="_blank">chromeos-apk</a>”.</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="https://plus.google.com/107395408525066230351?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/archron_hack_brings_android_apps_chrome_linux_os_x_and_windows#comments app runtime for chrome apps archron chrome chrome os hack linux nacl native client OS OS X Software Windows News Mon, 22 Sep 2014 06:54:08 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28578 at http://www.maximumpc.com Far Cry 4 Trailer Shows Awesome Power of Elephants http://www.maximumpc.com/far_cry_4_trailer_shows_awesome_power_elephants_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><strong><img src="/files/u69/far_cry_4_elephant.jpg" alt="Far Cry 4 Elephtant" title="Far Cry 4 Elephant" width="228" height="147" style="float: right;" /></strong>"Fun Fact: Elephants crave the taste of human blood!"</h3> <p>The <strong>newest trailer for Ubisoft's forthcoming Far Cry 4 game plays out like a horrific documentary on elephants</strong>, one in which you learn the purported "fun fact" that elephants crave the taste of your blood. That probably isn't true in the real world (we certainly hope it isn't!), but in Kyrat, the fictional Himalayan region that serves as the setting in Far Cry 4, you better believe it's true.</p> <p>It's also true (in Far Cry 4) that elephants never forget when it comes to vengeance, or so we're told by the voice-over in the trailer. Don't concern yourself whether that translates into the real world as well, the lesson here is that these 7-ton animals are awesomely powerful and it looks like we're going to have a lot of fun using them against the enemies. Of course, that assumes the elephants are on your side -- if not, you better get out of the way.</p> <p>Far Cry 4 is scheduled to launch on November 18, 2014, for the PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4.</p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/U_3zBLE8Dhk" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/far_cry_4_trailer_shows_awesome_power_elephants_2014#comments elephants far cry 4 game Software News Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:06:21 +0000 Paul Lilly 28544 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Schedules Windows 9 Event for September 30 http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_schedules_windows_9_event_september_30_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_9_screenie.jpg" alt="Windows 9 Screenie" title="Windows 9 Screenie" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Microsoft is finally ready to talk about its next version of Windows</h3> <p>Up to this point, we've mostly had to rely on <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/screenshots_windows_9_technical_preview_leak_online_2014">leaked photos</a> and <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/leaked_videos_show_key_windows_9_features930">videos</a> of Windows 9, codenamed Threshold, to understand what Microsoft has in store for us beyond Windows 8. Well, the wait for official information is almost over. <strong>Microsoft has begun sending out invitations to members of the press for a "Windows event"</strong> it plans to hold on September 30, 2014, in San Francisco.</p> <p>"Join us to hear about what's next for Windows and the enterprise," the invitation reads.</p> <p>This falls in line with previous rumors that had Microsoft pegged to talk about Windows 9 at the end of September. It's also been rumored that Microsoft will release to the public a Windows 9 Technical Preview either at the end of September or in early October. It's not known if Microsoft is planning to do that at its upcoming press event, though we'll soon find out.</p> <p><a href="http://www.theverge.com/2014/9/15/6151417/windows-9-event-september-30th-san-francisco" target="_blank">According to <em>The Verge</em></a>, Joe Belfiore (Corporate Vice President, Operating Systems Group at Microsoft) and Terry Myerson (Executive Vice President of Operating Systems at Microsoft) will lead the discussion around the future of Windows. The event will be geared towards enterprise and Windows power users.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_schedules_windows_9_event_september_30_2014#comments enterprise microsoft operating system OS Software windows 9 News Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:01:08 +0000 Paul Lilly 28542 at http://www.maximumpc.com Restore Your Computer to its Glory Days http://www.maximumpc.com/restore_computer_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3>Give your PC a clean start</h3> <p>If you’re reading this, it’s highly likely that your PC is a fine-tuned piece of 64-bit technology, customized to the hilt and purring like a kitten with a belly full of formula. Yup, she’s a beaut, and attacks your daily tasks like a Belgian Police Dog going after a fleeing perp. All is well in the world, until one day when you sit down, fire it up, and realize something is different. That extra bit of snap when programs open is missing, and encoding video seems to take longer than it used to. Even downloading files seems to require more patience than you’re accustomed to exhibiting. It’s at this very moment that you silently say to yourself, “What the FRACK???”</p> <p>First things first—calm down, power user. Before you smash your rig with a hammer, pound on the keyboard, and decide to just nuke it from orbit, realize it’s just a temporary slowdown and it happens to everyone, even Maximum PC editors. Over time, PCs get slower; it’s just the nature of the beast. Don’t fret, we’re here to help by showing you how to give your PC a clean start. We'll show you how to restore you computer to its glory days, if you will. We’ll walk you step-by-step through the cleaning process, showing you what you need to get ’er done, and if you find you can’t resolve the problem, how to properly nuke it from orbit. We’ll also detail—pun intended—physically cleaning your rig. Once you’re finished, your PC will be noticeably perkier and everything will be right as rain. Now, drop the hammer, and let’s get started.</p> <h3>Back it up and kick the tires</h3> <p><strong>The only person to blame for not having a backup is you</strong></p> <p>There’s only two kinds of storage devices in this world: those that have already died and those that are going to die. If you’ve already identified that your PC is acting wonky, it’s time to back that mother up. It may seem counterintuitive that you would run a backup before you do a PC cleanup, but we highly recommend it: If you break something or something finally gives up the ghost, you’ll kiss your USB ports that you made a backup before it all went sideways. There are numerous aftermarket tools, but Microsoft has been kind enough to give you a fairly powerful backup and imaging tool in the OS itself. If you’re using Windows 7, just search for Backup, or dig into the Control Panel and look under System and Security. If you’re using Windows 8.x, the backup system is the same, although it’s hidden. To find it, go to the Control Panel and search for Windows 7 File Recovery.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/gordon_backup_small_1.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/gordon_backup_small_0.jpg" alt="The Windows backup and restore program works well enough, and should be run regularly." width="620" height="547" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Windows backup and restore program works well enough, and should be run regularly.</strong></p> <p>If you have multiple drives, you can choose how you want the backup to run, and manually select the other drives in the system for the backup set. You should set an automatic backup as well, and create a system restore disc. Ensure that you created a system image, also, should you need to restore the backup to a completely new hard drive.</p> <p>With your backup complete, it’s time to do a basic visual inspection of the internals of the PC for obvious problems, such as fans clogged with so much cat hair and dust that they’re causing the CPU or GPU to overheat and throttle, or data or power cables that have wiggled loose. Typically, loose or unplugged cables result in immediate show-stopping errors and crashes rather than a system slowdown. You’re more likely to find your fans clogged with dust running at low RPMs or fans that have died.</p> <h3>Mash Malware</h3> <p><strong>Don’t always blame malware, except when it’s to blame</strong></p> <p>If there’s a bogeyman of mysterious system slowdowns, it’s malware. In fact, if we had a nickel for every time a relative told us a “virus” was the cause of their slowdown, we’d have 0.08-34 of a Bitcoin. With that said, before you get too hip-deep in trying to speedupify a PC, a sweep for malware should be run. We’d also do a cursory examination of the OS for extraneous toolbars or tray items that have been installed. These aren’t truly malware, but still worthy of eradication.</p> <p>We’d also recommend a full system scan by the system’s real-time AV software (after updating the virus definitions). A secondary sweep using various on-demand tools is also on the to-do list. This would include browser-based file scanners available from all of the popular AV vendors, as well local tools such as Malwarebytes (www.malwarebytes.org) or SuperAntiSpyware (<a href="http://www.superantispyware.com/">www.superantispyware.com</a>). Running specific rootkit removal tools available from companies such as Malwarebytes and Sophos, among others, can’t hurt. Rootkits are a class of malware designed to thwart normal detection means. Before you get crazy about removing any detections, you should research it to make sure it isn’t just a false positive. And be advised that many types of malware can’t be removed with a single-click tool. You’ll typically have to dig deep in a multi-page guide to remove many of today’s specialty infections. Obviously, Binging will lead you to most guides, but a great place to start is Bleepingcomputer.com. The site has loads of removal guides and links to useful tools. But again, a word of warning: don’t just start ripping things out of the OS without knowing what you’re removing.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/gordon_rootkit_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/gordon_rootkit_small.jpg" alt="A thorough check for malware is recommended before any serious system cleanup." title="Mash Malware" width="620" height="516" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>A thorough check for malware is recommended before any serious system cleanup.</strong></p> <h3> <hr />Cruft clearing</h3> <p><strong>Declutter the system files</strong></p> <p>Any PC that you use daily will build up hundreds of gigabytes of file clutter over the months and years that you use it. As most people are rolling large mechanical drives, the clutter has an impact on performance and your ability to pack away even more cute kitten videos downloaded from the Internet.</p> <p>For this step, we’ll start with the low-hanging fruit. Simply open My Computer, right-click your primary drive, and select properties. Click Disk Cleanup and check off the things that are clutter (just about everything is in this panel) and click OK. We did this on a work box and shaved off 5GB in Windows Update files that had been sitting around. While 5GB isn’t much in the day of 4TB drives, many people still run 1TB and smaller drives with every nook, cranny, and sector filled (you know who you are.)</p> <p>The next easy cruft targets are the system restore points automatically created by Windows. Windows typically creates these snapshots of the OS when you install a new driver, OS update, or application. Windows sets a default for these based on the size of the drive it’s installed on, but they typically occupy gigabytes on the drive. To free up space, you can delete all but the latest restore points by clicking the More Options panel from Disk Cleanup, and selecting Clean Up under System Restore and Shadow Copies.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/cruft1_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/cruft1_small.jpg" alt="The built-in disk cleanup does a decent first pass at dumping unneeded system clutter." title="Cruft clearing" width="500" height="612" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The built-in disk cleanup does a decent first pass at dumping unneeded system clutter.</strong></p> <p>Before you do this, though, think about how the recent stability&nbsp; of your system. If it’s been reliable but slow for the last few months, wiping the previous restore points should be fine. But if the system is being wonky, you may just need to rely on those restore points to get the box back to a point where it’s stable, so we’d recommend keeping the old restore points until you’re sure the box is working. You should also be aware that Windows 7 and Windows Vista used System Protection and Restore Points to occasionally make backup copies of your personal data files through the Volume Shadow Copies service. These older versions may be purged when you do this, but it won’t touch your most recent versions.</p> <p>Yeah, we know, many power users will thumb their nose at System Restore and some will outright switch it off because malware can use it as a place to hide, but the feature can truly be a bacon-saver sometimes.</p> <p>Another easy target to clean out is the default downloads folder. Other than documents, the vast majority of downloaded files can usually be dumped overboard.</p> <h3>Clean the Crap</h3> <p><strong>CCleaner is an easy-to-use, one-stop declogger</strong></p> <p>Originally named Crap Cleaner, this handy application has since been renamed to the more palatable CCleaner, but it still works amazingly well at clearing out the junk from the corners of your OS. Available for free from http://bit.ly/MPC_CCleaner, it’s an easy one-stop shop for freeing up space that you might normally miss with the built-in cleaner. As much as we like CCleaner, you shouldn’t expect miracles. We ran it on a three-year-old scungy build of Windows 7 after running the Window’s cleaning routine and CCleaner came up with 18.3GB to clean out—16GB had accumulated in the trash bin. One word of warning: By default, CCleaner will wipe out your browser cookies, which might throw you for a loop when you’re forced to sign into web sites that you may have forgotten the passwords for. It’s probably best to exclude browser history and also Windows Explorer Recent Documents from the CCleaner clean-out, too, because they don’t net you much space but make your system more livable.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/ccleaner_small_2.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/ccleaner_small_1.jpg" alt="CCleaner still does an admirable job of emptying out unneeded files." width="620" height="546" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>CCleaner still does an admirable job of emptying out unneeded files.</strong></p> <h3>Stop Startups</h3> <p><strong>Giddyap quicker</strong></p> <p>Oddly, many people still define their computing experience by how long it takes to cold-boot their PC. First, we just have to ask, have you tried standby or even hibernate? You know, those handy modes that can have you at the desktop five or 10 seconds after touching the mouse button or keyboard? No? You still prefer to boot from cold, anyway?</p> <p>If your OS install is a year or two old, you will have accumulated enough startup programs to significantly impact hard-drive boot times. The easiest way to remove these programs is click on the Start button, and type msconfig. Click on the Startup tab and scroll through the list, looking for things that don’t need to be started at launch. Uncheck them, click apply, then OK, and reboot.</p> <p>One thing to remember, Windows 7 will optimize the boot times automatically. If you reboot, and wait five minutes and reboot four or five times, the boot times should actually get better automatically as Windows 7 decides what it can prioritize.</p> <p>Windows 8.x (yes, haters, step back) actually improves upon boot times, as well. Anyone who has used the new OS can attest to its fast boot times. Win8 moves startup optimization to the Task Manager (ctrl-shift-esc). Click on the Startup tab, and Windows 8 will even tell you what’s slowing things down, and give you an estimate of how long it took to boot after the process was handed over to the OS.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/msconfig_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/msconfig_small.jpg" alt="You can manually deselect programs that start up from msconfig to speedify your boots." width="620" height="414" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>You can manually deselect programs that start up from msconfig to speedify your boots.</strong></p> <p>Those of us who have moved on to the SSD-based western shores of Valinor live lives fairly well untroubled by slow startups. But those poor souls of middle earth still using mechanical-based drives are the ones who need to concern themselves with startup optimization.&nbsp;</p> <h3> <hr />Consider an upgrade</h3> <p><strong>Hardware isn’t always the answer, but it usually is</strong></p> <p>The vast majority of our tips to clean up a slow-running PC can be solved in software, but sometimes software isn’t the answer. How will you know the difference? One of the clearest indicators is age. Old PC components do not age like wine. If you’re at your buddy’s house to “take a look at his computer” and that computer is a Pentium 4 or Athlon XP, it’s a lost cause.</p> <p>So, while most newbs you’re trying to help can still benefit from the cleaning tips in this story, the P4/Athlon XP machines aren’t going to sing no matter how much you tune them. Putting money into a hardware upgrade for these old dogs should be carefully weighed: new parts can be difficult to locate and everything in the box is suspect.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/p4.northwood_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/p4.northwood_small.jpg" alt="Unless you’re in the retro computing club, we’d recommend dumping that Pentium 4 box." title="P4" width="620" height="496" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Unless you’re in the retro computing club, we’d recommend dumping that Pentium 4 box.</strong></p> <p>It’s not so bad for a Phenom II or Core 2 box. In fact, these machines can be quite workable if the user has realistic expectations. Dropping an SSD into a Phenom II or Core 2 rig would be a game-changer for these old platforms, even if the motherboard doesn’t support the full SATA 6Gb/s speeds. Sometimes, a little RAM will even help, if the box was already memory-starved to begin with. With a 64-bit OS, 8GB is standard and 4GB is borderline.</p> <p>If gaming needs a boost, dropping in a newer GPU can certainly help. Even those rigs that are constrained by low-wattage PSUs now have a modern option with Nvidia’s new Maxwell series, which can run on even 300W PSUs.</p> <p>If the machine is also running that now-abandoned OS, Windows XP, an OS upgrade to Windows 7 or even Windows 8 is advised.</p> <p>Obviously, we don’t recommend $400 in upgrades on a $200 PC, but a $100 upgrade on a box that buys the person another 24 months of use can be a godsend for those on tight budgets. As we said, though, everything at or below the P4/Athlon XP line should be abandoned.</p> <h3>Visualize your drive</h3> <p><strong>Think of WinDirStat as Google Maps for your HDDs</strong></p> <p>You’ve cleaned up the extraneous system files on your machine, but the real junk is the gigabytes of nothingness you’ve collected from repeatedly dumping that 32GB memory card onto the hard drive because you were afraid to delete something you might need later. Six months later, those same unkempt files are bogging down your system and freeloading on your dime. When space gets tight, we turn to WinDirStat (<a href="http://www.windirstat.info">www.windirstat.info</a>).</p> <p>In the past, when drives were smaller and your file-hoarding was limited to a mere 500GB or so, you could rely on the good old-fashioned search-and-destroy technique: browsing through Windows Explorer for old photos, games, and files that you simply don’t use anymore. With 3TB and even 4TB drives packed with god knows what, that technique isn’t effective anymore. Instead, use Windows Directory Statistics, or WinDirStat, to help visualize and locate files on our drives that can be slated for termination. WinDirStat is an extremely lightweight (less than a megabyte) open-source program that scans your hard drive to provide you with three sets of information: directory list, tree map, and file extensions list. The tree map—easily the most attractive feature in the program—represents every file on your hard drive as a colored rectangle. Also handy is the extension list, which gives you total percentages calculated by file extensions.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/windirstat_small_2.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/windirstat_small_1.jpg" alt="We dig the simple and effective representation of our hard drives from WinDirStat." width="620" height="349" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>We dig the simple and effective representation of our hard drives from WinDirStat.</strong></p> <p>The tree map is the handiest and helps you easily see where you have bloat on your drives—the bigger the file, the bigger the rectangle. Scrolling over files displays the file name and its location, and you can delete files from within the program by selecting a file and pressing the delete key.</p> <h3>Dedupe it</h3> <p><strong>Duplicate often </strong></p> <p>Most people treat hard drives like the attic or garage. Rather than immediately culling extra files, you simply put it in storage to deal with at a later date (the road to hell, good intentions, etc). No matter that you already put those files in storage just last week—you’ll get around to dumping the duplicate files eventually. While there are many, many deduplication tools available, one good starting place is Auslogic’s free Duplicate File Finder app (<a href="http://www.auslogics.com/en/">www.auslogics.com</a>) It doesn’t have the bells or whistles of apps that analyze audio, photo, and video for duplicates, but it works fairly fast and is a good way to eliminate the obvious duplicate files. On one old Windows 7 box, Duplicate File Finder turned up a good 39GB of dupes that could be tossed. Simply fire up Duplicate File Finder, have it search your drive, and it will give you a list of duplicate files. Under Action, select All Duplicates In Each Group, and it will mark the duplicate files for dumping into a trash can, or moving into the Rescue Center, where you can recover the file if you realize later on you made a mistake.</p> <p>The program works well enough, but we wouldn’t wipe out files willy-nilly without first making a separate backup and making sure that the irreplaceable files going away are actually duplicates. DFF will show you the file name, file size, and creation date, which gives most people enough confidence to delete, but the paranoia in us would want to visually confirm it, too. This same philosophy is probably what brought us to this space issue in the first place. After all, am I sure I really did copy all of the images from the memory card to the computer? Even the ones I took last weekend? I’ll just make another copy... I have plenty of space.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/duplicatefilefinder_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/duplicatefilefinder_small.jpg" alt="Duplicate File Finder can quickly, er, find your duplicate files." title="Duplicate File Finder " width="620" height="484" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Duplicate File Finder can quickly, er, find your duplicate files.</strong></p> <h3>Optimize your storage</h3> <p><strong>Storage is usually the prime suspect in system slowdowns</strong></p> <p>Before we get started discussing problems with your storage system and how to optimize it, make sure you have done two things: First, that you’ve connected your SSD to a SATA 6Gb/s port on your motherboard (consult your manual), and second, that you’ve enabled AHCI on your SATA controller via the motherboard BIOS. If you’ve already installed Windows and your SATA controller is set to IDE instead of AHCI, hit Google to find the registry hack to fix it. And yes, running in IDE mode rather than AHCI on a modern SSD can indeed rob you of performance.</p> <p>With that out of the way, the first thing to do when you sense your system is slowing down and you see your hard-drive activity LED churning constantly, is enlist the trusty three-finger salute. For the uninitiated, that means pressing ctrl-alt-delete to bring up the Task Manager in Windows. Select the Performance tab to see if anything is spiking or is nearing 100 percent utilization. From there, you can go to the Processes tab to see which process is taking up all those resources. In the screenshot below, we see a staff member’s work PC that suffered daily paralyzation at the hands of a virus scan and several associated processes. The resolution was to kill the processes, then make sure to schedule the virus scans during non-work hours.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/ssd_optimize_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/ssd_optimize_small.jpg" alt="Both Samsung and Intel offer free “tuning” software that helps keep your SSD running in tip-top shape. " width="620" height="467" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Both Samsung and Intel offer free “tuning” software that helps keep your SSD running in tip-top shape. </strong></p> <p>If everything looks fine in the Task Manager but the system still feels slow, run a few benchmarks to see if the numbers are up to spec. For sequential read and write tests, we recommend Crystal-DiskMark for SSDs and HDTune for Hard drives. Admittedly, none of us use HDDs for our OS anymore—there’s no reason to with SSD prices falling faster than the value of Bitcoin.</p> <p>If you run the benchmarks and find the performance is lacking on your SSD, you have a few options. Your first is to optimize the drive via the Trim command. What this does is send a command to the drive that tells it to run its garbage-collection routine, which means it will erase all the blocks that have been deleted, clearing the way for them to receive fresh writes. If the drive has not been trimmed in a while, data can become fragmented all over the drive, and since blocks of an SSD have to be erased before they are written to (as opposed to a hard drive, where they can just be overwritten at any time), a simple write command can require the controller to delete blocks, move data around, and then perform the write, which can seriously degrade performance.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/wtf_-_copy_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/wtf_-_copy_small.jpg" alt="If your system feels like it’s stuck in the mud, the Task Manager will reveal what’s causing the problem. " width="620" height="564" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>If your system feels like it’s stuck in the mud, the Task Manager will reveal what’s causing the problem. </strong></p> <p>In general, if you’re running Windows 7 or newer, you should be fine. However, you can Trim a drive manually on Windows 8: right-click the drive in My Computer, and click Properties, Tools, and then Optimize. If you own a Samsung or Intel SSD, you can download the free Samsung Magician or SSD Toolbox software, respectively, which also let you Trim your drive.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>HDD “Optimization”</h3> <p><strong>Fast hard drives aren’t</strong></p> <p>If you are running a hard drive and want to optimize it, there’s not a whole lot you can do beyond keeping it defragmented. To make sure it’s “defragged,” right-click the drive, select Properties, Tools, and then Defragmentation. Ideally, you should do this after you’ve done your cleaning of unused junk from the machine. If it’s your boot device, some people like to disable hibernation before a defrag to get a little extra “boost” out of the defrag by eliminating the multi-gigabyte hiberfil.sys file. Frankly, we don’t think it matters much anymore. In our opinion, the concept of a “fast hard drive” is antiquated now, due to SSDs, as is the concept of “optimizing” them. Any gains you make toward keeping a hard drive optimized will be largely unnoticeable in the real world, beyond dumping the useless cruft and running a basic defrag, which the OS will do on its own.</p> <h3>Let’s Get Physical</h3> <p><strong>Knock, knock, house cleaning</strong></p> <p>Unless you live in a HEPA-filtered cleanroom, a desktop PC will eventually need a physical cleanup as well as a digital one. That means opening up the case, which means turning off your rig and unplugging it from the wall. Don’t want to lose a finger in those fan blades. Most case panels are secured with six-sided Phillips screws, sometimes call a “hex” screw. Or they have thumbscrews, which can usually be removed by hand. Once taken out, keep these together in a small container. An empty coffee mug will do in a pinch.</p> <p>If you’ve had this PC for several months, you should see a coating of dust inside. That has to be removed, because it insulates surfaces and clogs up fans, which can lead to overheating. With a can of compressed air, spray short bursts at the dust. Long sprays can freeze the inner workings of the can. And tilting the can may also cause its liquid to spray, which contains a solvent that can damage the contact surface. Ideally, do this dusting outside, because you don’t want all that dust floating around indoors.</p> <p>Case fan filters can also get gnarly. These days, most of them slide out. Spray them with air, or remove them, run them under the tap, and air dry. Fans themselves also get grody. You may need to temporarily remove the CPU fan from the heatsink to clean both items sufficiently. When spraying fans, hold their blades down to prevent them from spinning, otherwise you may damage the motor.</p> <p>A periodic disinfecting wipe or baby wipe can take care of your mouse, but keyboards usually need you to pull their keycaps to really get at the crustiness underneath. A puller tool is best for this. You can order one online from Newegg or Amazon, and regional computer stores like Fry’s and Microcenter usually sell them. Some people run their boards through the dishwasher. Don’t use detergent or hot water for that, and give them at least a day to fully dry out.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/babywipes_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/babywipes_small.jpg" alt="Gordon agrees, baby wipes work amazingly well for cleaning the surfaces of a dirty desktop or laptop." width="620" height="381" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Gordon agrees, baby wipes work amazingly well for cleaning the surfaces of a dirty desktop or laptop.</strong></p> <p>Last but not least, don’t forget to wipe the dust off your monitor’s screen. But don’t use conventional glass cleaner, because it can permanently damage the panel. You can buy screen-cleaning kits from most office supply stores, or you can use a spare microfiber cloth, like the kind made for camera lenses. Pharmacies also stock these. Just gently wipe the screen with it. If you need some liquid to clean the screen, spray your cloth with plain water from a mister. Never spray the screen itself, because the liquid can drip into the panel housing and corrode the components within.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/kitten_p34_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/kitten_p34_small.jpg" alt="Tuxie the cat, pointing out a spot Josh missed while cleaning." width="620" height="521" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Tuxie the cat, pointing out a spot we missed while cleaning.</strong></p> <h4>An Ounce of Prevention</h4> <p>If you’ve just cleaned out a rig that’s never seen a proper cleaning, you’re probably wondering what you can do to avoid such horrors in the future. Fan filters are obviously one option. If they’re not built into your case, you can get them from sites like Newegg, Amazon, and Frozen CPU. Some have magnets, and you just slap them on; others need to be screwed in. To get the correct sizing, measure your fan diagonally with a ruler. The most common size is 120mm. A filter’s dense mesh will reduce airflow and increase temps in the case, so there’s a trade-off. Even the best filter will not completely eliminate dust, it will only reduce the number of times per year that you need to clean the insides. Smokers and owners of furry pets will also need to clean more often than usual. Periodically brushing those critters will help reduce buildup.</p> <p>And we don’t know if we have to mention this, but washing your hands a few times over the course of the day will also help prevent unsightly crud from building up on your input devices. This is especially important after a meal or after spending time outdoors. And speaking of food, try to keep it away from your keyboard, which is a crumb magnet and said to be dirtier than a toilet. If your mouse pad has an old-style fabric surface, you may want to consider eliminating it altogether (unless your desk is made of glass), or switching to one made of plastic or metal—materials that can be cleaned quickly and easily.</p> <h3>Nuke it from orbit</h3> <p><strong>Nothing can save LV426, so when it’s too mangled or infested, just nuke it</strong></p> <p>We won’t bother telling you to back up your data before you send your OS to meet its maker, because that is too obvious. But before you nuke the OS, make sure you have everything you need.</p> <p>What might not be obvious is that because of piracy, a lot of the more expensive software packages require activation, which also requires you to deactivate any serial numbers before you begin your bombing run. Most professional Adobe packages work this way, so if you’re running Photoshop, Illustrator, or any locally stored creative suite, be sure to open the app, click Help, and then Deactivate. Make sure you’ve done it correctly by firing up the program again to see if it asks you to activate. If it does, you’re good to go; keep in mind you’ll need Internet access to successfully do this. Also keep in mind that if you deactivate a piece of software, then upgrade your system, the software might think it’s a different computer, which can complicate re-activation.</p> <p>The activation process varies on a program-to-program basis, so use Google if you run into any issues. Microsoft’s Office suites react the same as the operating system, and any significant change in hardware will trigger a reactivation. The bottom line: If you have a mission critical application that you absolutely have to have up and running as soon as possible, be sure to know what the re-activation process is before you pull the trigger so there are no surprises. Some apps require you to contact the vendor for a new code before they will run, which is a wonderful thing to learn at midnight Friday before a three-day weekend when you need the app that night.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/adobe_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/adobe_small.jpg" alt="In order to reinstall certain software, such as Adobe products, you must first deactivate the serial key." width="620" height="444" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>In order to reinstall certain software, such as Adobe products, you must first deactivate the serial key.</strong></p> <p>There are other apps you should also pay attention to. First up, browser bookmarks. Chrome will let you sync your bookmarks on other machines, but you need to set it up to do so. If you’re into the old-school method, you can also export your bookmarks file as HTML and then re-import it. You’ll want to make sure you have a copy of your iTunes library handy, too, which is located in C:\Users\Username\My Music. Be sure to deauthorize iTunes while you’re at it. You’ll also want to back up your Steam library so that you don’t have to re-download all your games. To do this in Steam, click Steam in the upper left-hand corner, select Backup and Restore Games, then follow the prompts. Alternatively, you can do it manually by copying the entire Steam directory over. You no longer have to worry about save-game files, since they are now all automatically saved to the “Steam Cloud.”</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/steam_backup_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/steam_backup_small.jpg" alt="Steam includes a built-in Backup and Restore tool, and we recommend using it." width="620" height="362" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Steam includes a built-in Backup and Restore tool, and we recommend using it.</strong></p> <p>Your final stop on this trail of tears is to make sure you have all the drivers you need for anything connected to your PC. At the very minimum, be sure to have your chipset and LAN drivers, as those always go first, and with an Internet connection you can always download anything else you need care of the helpful SlimDrivers utility. Don’t forget your printer drivers, though, and it doesn’t hurt to download Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 either, though Windows Update could also do it for you.</p> <p>Once you’ve deactivated your software, collected all the serial keys you need, made sure your Steam and iTunes libraries are backed up, saved your browser bookmarks, and have all your drivers, you are ready to proceed. Before you reboot your PC to reinstall, be sure to take a moment to consider all the amazing times it’s given you. Once that’s complete, shut her down, and we’ll see you on the other side.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/restore_computer_2014#comments Adobe application malware May issues 2014 restore computer Software Office Applications Software Features Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:49:00 +0000 Maximum PC staff 28340 at http://www.maximumpc.com