AgaueEye is a free hardware monitoring tool that displays an overlay when gaming

If you have watched gaming benchmark videos on YouTube, you may have noticed that there is usually an overlay at the top left corner to display the system’s performance. AgaueEye is a free hardware monitoring tool that displays a similar overlay when you play games.

AgaueEye is a free hardware monitoring tool that displays an overlay when gaming

The program tries to download a database when you run it; this requires an active Internet connection. The database s is required to identify the components (such as your processor, graphics card) of your computer. The interface looks nice with a light theme and well-designed icons. There are three sections in the main pane; these are for the CPU, GPU and HDD.

The CPU monitor displays the name of your processor along with circular visual indicators for CPU usage and temperature, both of which are updated in real-time. You can also see the frequency the processor is running at along with the amount of RAM being used currently.

The monitor for the graphics card is quite similar, but also displays the values for core clock speed, memory clock and the graphics memory load. See the arrow below the RAM usage? Click on it to display a real-time graph of all the usage values.

AgaueEye interface

The HDD arrow expands the section to list all the harddrives that are available. A pie diagram is displayed for each drive representing the used and free disk space. The latter is also displayed as a value for each drive.

You can switch to the mini-dashboard view of AgaueEye by clicking the double-arrow icon at the top of the window. This displays the following values in a widget: CPU load and temperature, memory usage, GPU load and temperature. Revert to the full interface by clicking the maximize icon to the left of the window. Hit the i button to view your computer’s hardware information which opens up in a floating window. The anchor icon can be used to make AgaueEye stay on top of other windows.

Game overlay

There are 2 game overlay types that you can choose from: Text and Graphics. Both of these display the same information and the only difference is the style.

The graphical overlay has a background banner which makes it easier to read the values. Speaking of which, the text style is not very legible even at the highest font setting. You may want to tinker with the settings a bit to change the color, font style or background. You can customize nearly every aspect of the overlay including the graphics overlay’s background size and position. You can use the Shift + F7 key combo to toggle the overlay.

AgaueEye in-game
AgaueEye game overlay - graphics
AgaueEye game overlay - text

The following elements are displayed in the overlay: framerate (in fps) along with the minimum, average and max fps, CPU usage, GPU usage, Effects (graphics settings), Memory usage but you can enable some more options from the Settings.

A frame graph is displayed in the bottom right corner, I found this to be distracting, but this can be disabled. The application has an FPS limiter which you can use to cap the frame rate of certain games. For e.g. to make a game run in 30FPS or 60FPS.

AgaueEye settings

The main interface’s theme can be changed along with an option to switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit from the Settings > System screen. Sadly, there is no portable version of AgaueEye.

Maybe I’m nitpicking here, but in its current state it’s good, not great. Here’s why. The RAM usage counter was inaccurate and at one point got stuck even when I restarted the program many times. Some changes took a few seconds to reflect, and others required the application to be restarted manually. It’d be better if the program restarted on its own. I also felt that the program was a bit slow to start (and display the readings). I’d rate it 3.5/5 but the widget doesn’t let me do so.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the customization that the program offers, but if these issues are addressed it could make it better. AgaueEye can be a useful tool for both gamers and regular users, but I think Thilmera7 would be a better choice for non-gamers and MSI Afterburner for gamers.

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WinRAR 5.80 Final has been released

RARLAB released a new version of the company’s popular file archiver WinRAR. WinRAR 5.80 is available for all supported operating systems including Windows, Linux, Mac Os X and Android.

Existing and new users may download the latest version of the file archiver from the official company website.

WinRAR 5.80

winrar 5.80

WinRAR 5.80 includes numerous changes. The changelog list a total of 20 changes/improvements, and several bug fixes as well.

RAR is the default archive format but WinRAR supports other formats such as zip or 7z as well. The latter benefits from a oath increase to 2048 characters from the previous 260 characters.

Another useful change is that the file extension remains visible if archive or file names are too long to be displayed in the archiving or extraction progress window. Previously, WinRAR cut the name at the end which often meant that the file extension was not displayed.

This version truncates them removing the path component and symbols in the middle, but preserving beginning of file name and file extension.

WinRAR users who create an archive from multiple files that are named the same (but differ when it comes to the file extension) may notice that WinRAR proposes the filename as the archive name by default. If readme.text and readme.css are added, WinRAR proposes to use readme.rar as the archive filename. The software suggested the name based on the parent folder name for several selected files previously.

Another change allows WinRAR to read default values for command line switches from rar.ini files.

Other improvements:

  • Archiving speed has been improved for large NTFS alternate data streams on multi-core CPU systems.
  • Password prompt is displayed only once for encrypted search results if the files are found in the same archive. CTRL-A selects all files of the search results now.
  • Copy and paste operations from large archives no longer fails under certain circumstances.
  • RAR4 format recovery volumes use “the same width of volume number field as corresponding RAR volumes” in the new version.
  • File and progress bar is displayed when unpacking tar.bz2, tar.gz, tar.lz, tar.xz, tar.z archives (only total progress was displayed previously).
  • Lots of command line changes.
  • Several bug fixes, e.g. fix for extraction errors when valid .gz archives are extracted.

You can check out the entire changelog here.

Now You: which file archiver do you use, and why?

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Windows Update Blocker is a portable freeware tool which can disable updates with a single click

While Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise users can defer upgrades (to a certain extent), Windows 10 Home users cannot, at least not officially.

Microsoft never revealed why Home customers don’t get the same functionality as Pro or Enterprise customers in this regard.

Windows Update Blocker is a portable freeware tool which can disable updates with a single click

There are some tools which allow you to disable Windows Updates. Here’s a portable freeware program which does the same, Windows Update Blocker.

Windows Update Blocker.

You will, of course, need to allow administrator rights for the program to work.  Anyone can use the application as the interface is really simple. There are just three options in the window: Enable Updates, Disable Updates, Protect Services Settings.

Regardless of which version of Windows you have, you should see that the “Enable Updates” option is enabled by default. That’s because it’s the way the operating system is set to work (to annoy us with random updates even when you set Active Hours to a different time).

Click on the second option in Windows Update Blocker — Disable Updates — and hit the “Apply Now” button to disable the Windows Update service. You don’t have to reboot the computer for the change to reflect. Please be aware that this one doesn’t just defer updates, it stops them altogether. Selecting this option will make the “Protect Services Settings” usable (it’s grayed out when Updates are enabled).

Note: It is not advisable to disable Windows Updates permanently, as it is possible that an update could patch security vulnerabilities, or ship with critical fixes. So, you may want to re-enable the Update settings from time to time and keep an eye on updates, for instance by following our coverage here on Ghacks or by downloading updates for Windows manually.

This setting is the one which stands out. Why? Open Services.msc and you can disable the service manually, but it can get enabled again (by some program or even by you). But when you “protect” the setting, nothing can force the service from being enabled.

Try checking for Windows Updates once you have disabled it, and you’ll see it throws an error code at you saying “There were some problems….”. That means the program worked.

Windows Update Blocker green icon

The icon on the right side of the UI, the Service Status, indicates whether Windows Updates are enabled or disabled. If you see a green shield with a check mark, it means the service is enabled and running, a red shield and an X indicates that the service is disabled and protected (from being started by Windows). If it has a yellow shield icon with an exclamation mark, that tells you that the service is enabled but not running.

Windows Update Blocker yellow icon

Block any other service

Another interesting feature in Windows Update Blocker is that it lets you block other services of your choice too. You’ll need to edit the program’s INI to include the one you want to block. Once you have done that, get back to the program and click on the “Menu” button to select the “Service List Options”, which should open up like so.

Windows Update Blocker - other services

Here you are able to manage the service that you added. Honestly, this is not recommended for most users. Unless you know what you’re doing, never mess around with Services, Registry, or System folders as lots of things can get broken.

Windows Update Blocker works with Windows XP and above, not that you may need it on such older operating systems. But it’s always nice to have the choice.

I’ve always felt that the biggest problem with Windows Updates aren’t the patches themselves, but the way the operating system installs them. Why force updates to be installed when you are trying to shut down the computer? What if the laptop runs out of battery right in the middle of it? Or if you have a sudden blackout (power outage) which turns off your PC?

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HTTP Downloader is an open source download manager for Windows

HTTP Downloader is an open source download manager for Windows. It works with FTPS and HTTPS protocols as well.

The program’s interface is quite basic and yet modern at the same time. I like the clean look of the pane and the menu bar. If you want to, you can enable the toolbar from the View menu for quick access to some options. The file menu can be used to add a URL to download, or to save, export and import the download history. Drag and drop is supported to start new downloads.

The main pane displays the number of the download (queue item number), file type (icon), file name, downloaded and completed file sizes and a progress bar to serve as a visual indicator for the download’s status.

You can Start, Pause, Stop, Restart, Pause active or Stop all downloads from the edit menu. Resuming a broken download is as simple as using the Update download option and manually adding a different URL. If the download that you requested requires to login to a server, you can enter your user credentials to authenticate it. Also available in this menu are options to copy the URL, remove, delete and rename the downloads.

The Search option in the Tools menu can be a time saver when you want to find a download by its URL or name. There is a dedicated Login Manager that you can access from Options  > Connection, for adding your username and passwords for servers. Other important options in HTTP Downloader include setting the default download folder, global speed limit, selecting the number of active downloads, FTP, Proxy and Server settings.

HTTP Downloader right-click menu

The program’s right-click menu offers the same options as the edit menu. HTTP Downloader is smart in that it checks if a file already exists in the download folder, and if it does, the program skips the download. If the file isn’t present, the download starts as normal.

The system tray icon of the program is a quick way to access the downloads list and to add URLs or to get to the options panel. Refer to the official website of the project for a list of supported command-line switches that you can use with the program.

HTTP Downloader extension for Firefox and Chrome

The official extensions for Firefox and Chrome are available from the GitHub page, and are used to capture URLs from the browser and send them to HTTP Downloader. These didn’t work very well for me at first, but that was because I hadn’t configured the desktop application. The server addresses must be the same in the extension and the program. Don’t worry about what you have to set. All you have to do is open the Options menu, navigate to the Server tab and check the box next to “Enable server”. Also, make sure you have enabled the “Override browser’s download manager” option for the add-on to obtain the URL.

If you don’t want to enable server functionality, use manual copy and paste to add downloads to the program.

The “Show add URL(s) window before download” option is useful, as it will display a pop-up window where you can see the URL and the download folder, before the download is sent to the program. This window also lets you use the RegEX filter, and set the login credentials (if required by the server).

HTTP Downloader extension for Firefox

Note: When the extension is enabled and you click on download, you’ll see Firefox’s usual download dialog pop-up. It may look like it isn’t working correctly. Just click on the “Save File” button as usual, and the add-on will send the URL to the program to download.

HTTP Downloader is a portable program. It’s user-friendly and gets the job done, that’s pretty good in my book.

Xtreme Download Manager is another good open source download manager if you’re looking for something like IDM.

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Necromancer's Dos Navigator is a freeware clone of Norton Commander

Necromancer’s Dos Navigator is a freeware clone of Norton Commander. That’s not actually a bad thing, as Norton Commander is still quite popular when it comes to file managers.

Necromancer's Dos Navigator is a freeware clone of Norton Commander for Windows

Let’s find out how this one fares.

The main screen of NDN is called the File Panel and has a dual-pane interface which makes it easy to move files and folders from one directory to another. The program supports mouse and keyboard shortcuts, so it’s quite user-friendly in that regard.

A clock is displayed at the top-right corner, and it kind of overlaps the “Import” menu if the window is too small. You might want to drag on the edges of the window to resize it, or use the program in maximized mode.

The file and folder listings display information in columns. Five are listed for each: name, size, date, time and description. Hit the TAB key to jump between the tabs. The menu bar up top can be accessed by pressing alt + the first letter of the menu’s name. Alt + F for File, Alt + D for Disk and so on. You can configure QuickDir shortcuts using the number keys, which sort of acts like a speed dial for opening folders (Alt + 1, Alt + 2, etc). Use the function keys (F1,F2….F9) to access the options available on the toolbar at the bottom of the window.

You can use the arrow keys or left-click to select, double-click or enter to open, drag to resize the columns. NDN also supports drag and drop which is extremely useful for any dual-pane file manager.

Command console

You can type commands like dir or cls and hit enter. To view the program’s command console hit escape and to switch back to the NDN view use escape again. The cd command will take you back to the Windows user folder, but you can change to other directories and drives by typing the full syntax (like cd d:downloads or cd e:).

File Viewing, Editing and more

Selecting a file displays its full name and size below the tab. You may have noticed that the file name column also displays the file type (extension). You can manage directories, compare them, count the folder length, search for content using RegEx or use macros.

The program can be used to browse ZIP and RAR archives natively (preview), and supports about 28 other formats.

Necromancer's Dos Navigator text viewer

NDN has a built-in text editor/viewer that you can access by  selecting a text document and using the F4 key. You can open text files in their respective default handler programs with a double-click.

Enabling quick-view switches the right directory pane to a preview pane, which can be used to view text documents.

Necromancer's Dos Navigator calculator

The program also comes with a calendar, ASCII Chart, Task Manager, a calculator (also available in a bigger view) that supports basic arithmetic as well as scientific expressions. You can also work with Spreadsheet functions using NDN, and export the result to a text file.  The File Extension utility displays a list of all file types in the current directory along with the number of files per type, their size and the total folder disk space they add up to.  This is much more than a regular file manager has to offer.

You can customize NDN to a great extent, from changing colors, reordering or enabling columns, swapping panes and more. The program runs in the system tray, but that can be disabled by right-clicking the icon and unchecking the option.

Screen-saver mode and Games

NDN has a few screen-savers that you can enable when it’s idle in the background. This is quite the stroll down memory lane. There are a few built-in games that you can access from the = menu. Don’t blame me if you end up playing Tetris while you should be working.

Necromancer's Dos Navigator screensaver
Necromancer's Dos Navigator screensaver
Necromancer's Dos Navigator game tetris

Help, my Mouse isn’t working in NDN?

If you are unable to select anything with the mouse or click on item or scroll, don’t worry. There is a simple fix (experienced command prompt users may know this already), right click on the title-bar of the window and select properties. While under the Options tab, disable the Quick Edit option. And it should enable you to click on items instead of selecting them.

NDN is a portable application, and runs on 32-bit and 64-bit Windows systems. An official Linux port is available at the developer’s website. The application is based on the Dos Navigator shell made by Ritlabs.

Necromancer’s Dos Navigator does manage to resurrect some nostalgic memories from the past. If you’re looking for an alternative FAR Manager is a good choice.

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MPV-Easy Player is another front-end for mpv with a menu full of quick options and a proper settings panel

We taught you how to configure mpv manually. And if you weren’t comfortable with it, you could use the Glow settings generator to set up the player or make use of frontends such as Celluloid or mpv.net.

MPV-Easy Player main screen

Didn’t like either of those methods and want a simpler way? MPV-Easy Player is an open source front-end for mpv, that packs a lot of user-friendly options.

Though the GitHub page only has an EXE to download, it is a self-extracting archive. So, the application is portable. During the extraction process, you’ll be prompted to select between the 32-bit and 64-bit version of the program.

MPV-Easy borderless GUI mode

The main screen of MPV-Easy Player is quite different compared to the original program. MPV just has a seek-bar and some buttons to control the volume, toggle the subtitle and audio track. MPV-Easy borderless GUI mode, as the name suggests, uses a custom interface which is borderless with a bar at the top which places the minimize, maximize, close buttons inside the window, along with buttons for the menu and a lock mode.

Tip: Right-click to toggle the lock mode (disable controls in windowed mode).

The bottom of the player’s interface has a seek-bar and playback controls. You can see the name of the video that’s being played, its resolution, audio channel and frame rate (fps). The volume slider and toggles for hardware encoding, subtitle, audio track are available in the bottom right corner. There is an option to make the video fit the screen which removes any black bars on the sides or the top and bottom. Drag and resize works well too, in case you want to play videos in a window (works best with stay-on-top as a floating video player).

Tip: Left-click to play or pause the video.

Menu button (player interface)

MPV-Easy Player menu

Clicking the menu button offers a lot of options that you will find useful when watching a video. You can open a file (browse using Explorer), view recently played files, access the play list or file information. The menu has options to modify the video size, aspect ratio, panscan and rotate, subtitle size, playback speed, toggle the loop mode per your requirements.

MPV- Easy Settings

The program has a standalone executable for managing the settings of the video player. You can access it from the menu button, and this is where it makes a real difference. You can use it to  customize the colors of the borderless mode, enable Gaussian blur, or even switch to the MPV native GUI. MPV-Easy can be set to remember the playback position and the history from the General tab. Playlists are supported and you can set it to loop an individual file or the entire playlist or use the shuffle mode.

MPV-Easy Player settings

You can increase the maximum volume, change the shortcut keys, change the hardware decoder, customize the subtitle settings and On-screen display (OSD) and more from the settings window.

Note: MPV-Easy Player stays on top by default, which could be annoying for a few users. Open the settings screen and click the “Do not stay on top” option in the top left corner. You’ll need to restart the program to apply the changes.

MPV-Easy Player video

MPV-Easy Player is written in Qt5. The GitHub page is in Chinese, but the author’s domain is available in English, in case you want to learn more about it.

The program isn’t intended to be a replacement for mpv, so if you’re already an mpv user, it’s probably not for you. But if you ever wanted to try mpv player but wanted easy access to various options, this is a good choice to go with.

You can also try the mpv.net front-end for Windows or the Celluloid player for Linux.

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Ashampoo ZIP Free review

Ashampoo ZIP Free is a free file archiver tool which offers some interesting options. A professional version is also available that offers more functionality. Let’s take an in-depth tour of the free version, its interface and features.

Note: Windows users may choose from a good selection of file archivers. From classics such as 7-Zip or WinRar to PeaZip and Bandizip.

Ashampoo ZIP Free review - startscreen

You will need to click on the get free activation key button during the installation process to proceed. The Startscreen interface of Ashampoo ZIP Free is colorful, and perhaps a bit too flashy. However, the categorized layout makes it user-friendly.

Ashampoo ZIP Free review - installation

Some parts of the GUI are not visible if you’re running it in windowed-mode. But, that’s not really a big deal because most of the options here are exclusive to the PRO version. So, we’ll only discuss what’s available for free users here.

Main GUI

Click on New Archive or Open Archive to access Ashampoo ZIP Free’s archiver interface. It has a much better design that resembles other file archivers. The GUI has a large main pane, a preview pane to the right, and three tabs at the top: Home, Preview, Options.

Ashampoo ZIP Free review - main GUI

The Home tab is obviously the primary one, and can be used to create new archives and open existing ones. When you’re working with an archive, its content is displayed in the pane.

Archiving/Extraction options

Ashampoo ZIP Free lets you create archives in the following formats: ZIP, ZIPX, 7z (7-ZIP), CAB, TAR, TAR.BZ, TAR.BZ2, TBZ, TGZ, TAR.GZ, TAZ, TAR.Z, TAR.XZ, TXZ, LZH and LHA. While it does not support creating RAR archives, it can open and extract them. The application supports 30 archive formats that it can open and extract including the ones mentioned above, RAR, DMG, UDF, ISO, IMG, and more.

The add button lets you select the files and folders that you wish to add to an archive. Either use the Explorer to browse to the directory or simply drag and drop the content to the program’s interface.

Tip: When you switch to windowed mode, the interface switches the icons to a smaller size. This is a nice touch, but only works with the Home tab.

Ashampoo ZIP Free review - maximized with large icons
Ashampoo ZIP Free review - windowed with small icons

The Select Files/Folders screen allows you to choose the method for archiving (Deflate, Store). You can choose the compression level here, along with options to preserve the folder paths. The compression level (from Super Fast, Fast, Normal, Maximum and up to Ultra) determines the output size of the archive. The lower the level, the bigger the archive size will be. If you want to save space, choose Maximum or Ultra, but these use a lot of memory, so you should ensure you aren’t running memory-heavy programs in the background for an optimal experience. The resultant file’s size also depends on the content that you’re trying to compress.

Note: The program will open a page in your web browser, when you try to access the PRO version’s features.

Ashampoo ZIP Free supports encryption of archives using the AES 256 bit standard. You can password-protect individual files in an archive, and leave the rest as they are or use a password for the entire archive.

To retrieve content from an archive, mark the files and folders that you want, hit the Extract button and choose a folder to extract them to. Alternatively, Right-click in the main pane to extract, delete files from the archive. It can also be used to access the sorting options, and to change the view style. Click on the email button in the Home tab to attach the selected archive to a new mail (opens in your default mail client).

Preview Pane

Ashampoo ZIP Free’s Preview pane can be used to view the contents of files. Select a text file or RTF, or an image, media (audio or video), Hex, Binary, Unicode, and you’ll see a preview of it right within the program’s GUI. This is really handy as you don’t have to open the file in a third-party app, when you’re creating or browsing an archive. The Preview pane is resizable.

Ashampoo ZIP Free review - Preview Window

You can disable the preview window from the Preview tab if you don’t want to use it, or display it only when you need it.

Note: While testing the program, the preview pane got minimized, but I don’t remember how it happened. Then I noticed there were four vertical dots in the right-edge of the screen and the cursor changed to a re-size arrow. That’s how I restored it.

Context Menu

Like most compression tools, Ashampoo ZIP Free comes with a context menu for Windows Explorer. But, I didn’t like the huge list it added to the menu.

Ashampoo ZIP Free review - cluttered context menu

Fortunately, you can customize it from the program’s Options > Shell Extensions screen. You don’t have to restart Explorer, but you’ll need to close the Configuration window for the changes to take effect.

Ashampoo ZIP Free review - context menu editor

That looks better, right?

Ashampoo ZIP Free review - edited context menu

There’s one other thing which I thought was worth mentioning. Ashampoo ZIP adds its own icons (if you associate it to be the default file handler for archive formats), and uses different icons for different formats. It looks nice. Another feature that I liked was that the Startscreen remembered the archives that I had opened in the previous sessions.

Ashampoo ZIP Free review - Explorer icons

Tools

There are three tools available in Ashampoo ZIP Free: Repair Archive,  SFX Archive and Multi-Volume Zip. The Repair tool can be used to obtain content from broken/corrupted archives. The SFX Archive option creates a self-extracting archive, that you can send to your contact and they’ll be able to extract it without using any archiver tool. The Multi-Volume Zip is especially useful if you want to split a large file into smaller file sizes, for e.g. to send as an attachment via email or maybe to store across several optical discs.

Note: The configuration window has many themes for the interface, but none of those are available for the free version.

Closing Words

Ashampoo ZIP Free runs on Windows 7 and above. Don’t be put-off by the Startscreen, the program’s archiver interface has a lot more functions than the average one, and is worth a try.

Ashampoo ZIP Free is a well-designed file archiver for Windows. Some users may dislike the requirement to create an account to use the software though.

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Access desktop shortcuts, URLs, Files and Folders quickly with Biniware Run

No one likes a messy desktop. But sometimes, you end up with shortcuts all over the desktop, which not only ruins the look of the background wallpaper, but also sort of makes it harder to spot the icons you really need to access.

Plenty of tools exist to make the desktop an organized place, from the commercial Fences to the free Nimi Places.

Biniware Run minimal desktop

Biniware Run is a universal bookmark tool for desktop shortcuts, URLs, Files and Folders. The program offers a convenient way to access shortcuts and delivers a clutter-free desktop as a consequence.

Open Biniware Run and you should see a circle at the center top of the screen. You can move it around the screen if you want; personally I like it on the left side of the screen where it wouldn’t interfere with the tab bar, toolbar or scroll bar of other applications. Try clicking on the icon and it shouldn’t work. That’s because it has no shortcuts yet. So, let’s add some.

Adding shortcuts and using them

Drag and drop any shortcut that you want quick access to over the Biniware icon (the b icon). After adding it, click on the B icon and you’ll be able to access the newly added shortcut. This also works with website addresses (URLs), and even with Files or Folders that you have on the computer. Folders open in new a window in Explorer, while desktop shortcuts run the program directly. Files and URLs open in their respective handlers, i.e., your images open in the photo viewer and URLs open in your default browser.

Access desktop shortcuts, URLs, Files and Folders quickly with Biniware Run

Note: The program downloads the title and favicon (website’s icon) when a URL is added. This can be disabled from the settings.

Biniware Run settings

To create a shortcut folder, you can drag a new shortcut over an existing one in Biniware Run’s context menu. But, doing it this way can get a bit messy. A better way to do this is to use the configuration window.

Global keyboard shortcuts for Biniware Run

  • Ctrl + ` opens the context menu (at the mouse cursor position).
  • Ctrl + 1 opens the config window.
  • Ctrl + 2 toggles always on top.

Configuration Window

To configure the context menu, use a right-click (or use the shortcut listed above). This is where you can set up Biniware Run and organize the shortcuts. The toolbar in the left pane has 4 options at the top which are used to sort the icons by name, import and export the current list of shortcuts, add a new shortcut and remove one.

Biniware Run config window

Shortcuts are customizable. Clicking on an icon on the left displays its name, path, parameters, StartIn location on the right pane. You can optionally set programs to run with elevated rights if required.

Click the + button to add a new shortcut, but if you leave it empty it turns into  a folder. To create shortcuts in a folder, just make sure you select the folder and then the + button to add the shortcut as a sub-folder item. You can rename shortcuts, folders, URLs, and files using the name field.  For some reason, any shortcut that I added to a folder ended up without an icon. To fix this, I had to add a shortcut to the top-level (outside the folder) and then move it to the folder.

Biniware Run’s icon can be customized, you change the color, size, border and opacity of it from the config window.

Tip: Don’t forget to use the right-click context menu in the Configuration Window, it’s helpful in organizing the shortcuts.

Biniware Run is a free (donationware) program. The application is portable, and doesn’t need administrator rights to function. It requires .NET Framework 4.5 or newer, and works on Windows Vista and above.

Biniware appears to be a new venture of Alexandru Dicu, who created Binisoft and Windows Firewall Control (which was then acquired by Malwarebytes). That might explain why the two websites and the program interfaces look very similar.

I have used Fences in the past (still have a premium version) for organizing my desktop. Biniware Run takes minimalization to a different level though.

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HashTools is a freeware file hashing tool for Windows

Previously, we reviewed the open source QuickHash GUI tool on our blog. Now, we’re going to take a look at another freeware hashing application called HashTools.

HashTools is a free software program for Microsoft Windows devices that is compatible with all support client and server versions of the operating system. It is provided as an installer and a portable version.

HashTools

HashTools is a freeware file hashing tool for Windows

The program’s UI is simple as it gets. There are three buttons at the top: Add Files, Add Folders and Remove. The first two options are the main ways to add the files and folders that you want to calculate the hash values of.

You can also drag and drop files and folders instead if you prefer it. Use the remove button to delete any added files or folders. You can optionally set the program to automatically save the hashes when they are calculated.

Once the files/folders have been added for hashing, you will see them in the main area of the interface.

Three columns are displayed in the interface:

  • File which displays the file’s full path including the filename
  • Hash displays the calculated hash value of a file.
  • The compare hash column displays the value that you want to compare it with (explained below).

HashTools context menu

Right-click on any file on the large pane to access HashTools’ context menu. You can use this to copy the hash value, or the file names, or the full path + name to the clipboard. When you download a file from a website which displays its hash value, copy it to the clipboard. This value can be used in the HashTools’ “Set Compare Hash” menu. You can manually enter the value if you want to. The program allows you to directly search for the hash value on Virus Total from the context menu which is a very powerful feature.

Hashing files and folders

There are 5 hash types you can choose to use in HashTools: CRC32, MD5, SHA1, SHA256, SHA384 and SHA512. When you add the files and folders to be hashed, click on the hash method that you wish to use, and the program will begin calculating the value. When it’s done, the values are displayed in the Hash column.

Note: Make sure you copy the correct hash values for comparison. Don’t mix and match MD5, SHA1, and the other values. This is just for your convenience, and to avoid some confusion of course. To illustrate this, I deliberately used a SHA1 value and two MD5 values, and that resulted in matching errors because of the different algorithms used to compute the hash values.

HashTools example 1
HashTools example 2

If you have set the Compare hash values, and it matches with the hash value calculated by the program, you’ll see a check mark to the left of the file column. When the values don’t match, you’ll see an X icon instead. You can save the Hash results to an SFV file.

Windows Explorer Context Menu

You can add HashTools to the Windows Explorer Context menu from the program’s settings screen. This will let you run hash operations quickly from Explorer.

Warning: HashTools recently added anonymous Crash Reporting and Telemetry to the program, and it’s pre-enabled. You can disable it from Settings > Advanced Settings. While you are on the Advanced settings screen, you can optionally disable the loading screens and free license reminder notifications too.

HashTools disable telemetry
HashTools advanced options

HashTools is available in a portable version, and works on Windows 7 SP1 and above. The program is made by Binary Fortress, who are also the developers of the DisplayFusion multi-monitor software.

The program has a few uses besides verifying the integrity of downloaded programs. It may be used for backup verification by computing hashes on the device and the backup location among other things.

HashTools

For Windows

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Archive Manager PeaZip 7.0 is out

The developers of the archive manager PeaZip for Microsoft’s Windows operating system have released PeaZip 7.0.0 to the public. The new version of the file archiver is already available; new users can download the latest version of PeaZip from the developer website, existing users can run an update check by selecting Help > Check for Updates in the interface.

PeaZip 7.0.0 is available as a portable version and an installer. Both versions support the same set of features and are compatible with all recent and several not to recent versions of the Windows operating system (as well as Wine and ReactOS).

The last major release, PeaZip 6.0, was released in 2016. PeaZip 6.5 was released in 2017.

PeaZip 7.0.0

peazip 7.0

If you run PeaZip 7.0.0 on a high DPI display you may notice that it looks better than previous versions. The developers have improved scaling in the new version; graphics and UI elements are scaled during runtime in the new version of PeaZip to ensure that the interfaces of the main PeaZip program as well as Pea executables looks better on high DPI devices. The used theme, specifically designed for PeaZip 7.0.0, takes this into account as well.

As far as new features are concerned, there are some that users may find useful. Tar archives inside tar.* compressed files are opened automatically in the new version. Users who don’t want that to happen can disable that under Options > Settings > Archive Manager by removing the checkmark from “Auto open singe tar archive inside tar.* files”.

The developers improved PeaZip’s drag & drop behavior, duplicate file finding algorithm, and folder content analyzer in the new version.

A right-click on the column header in the interface displays a new option to scan files and folders. PeaZip analyzes the data and displays information in the interface; new is the labeling of empty folders with an E in the info column and that the number of directories, files and total size of folders is listed in the checksum/hash column.

peazip analysis info

Extraction and archiving operations have been improved as well. Users of previous PeaZip versions may notice that the progress bar accuracy has improved in PeaZip 7.0.0. The new versionn applies the “delete input files after task completion” option to all archiving and extraction functions in the new version.

Windows users who use the installer will notice that shortcuts are added to the Start menu that launch add and extract operations (besides opening the program). These are found in the Start Menu and program folder.

Closing words

PeaZip is a well designed file archiver for Windows that supports over 180 archive formats including all major ones. It is a good alternative to Bandizip which will introduce advertisement in the upcoming Bandizip 7.0.

Now Read: What is the best free archiver to extract archives and compress files?

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