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  1. #1
    iNET Interactive
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    TOP STORY

    Four free programs to help control Windows 7


    By Lincoln Spector

    Windows 7, like all powerful operating systems, can seem a bit overwhelming and give you the feeling you've lost control..

    Fortunately, there are some great utilities for taming Windows 7.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2011/01/06/02 (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by andyfboyd; 2011-01-18 at 15:02.

  2. #2
    New Lounger
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    Hi,
    Thanks for a great article!

    Don't know if anybody else has experienced trouble with the WinMend Auto Shutdown download page link given in the article, but my current version of Trend Micro Internet Security has blocked that site as being dangerous! url: http://www.winmend.com/auto-shutdown/

    Thought it unusal to be referred to a suspect website or it is just that Trend is being overly protective?

    Anyway thanks again for all the great info.

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Great article. I intend to try a couple of these programs that I hadn't heard about before.

    I have tried Fences and I loved what it did for my desktop ... But ... I quit using it because it interfered with my Bigfish games. I worked with Bigfish tech support at great length to come up with a work-around. We were able to come up with a partial solution (worked with some games but not all) but in the end it was too much hassle.

    Regards,

    Dan

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    The Fences utility sounds terrific. But the Stardock web site says "Impulse must be installed in order to download and update software". I gather there is some controversy about Impulse. Has anyone had trouble (or success) with this?

    (I am not a game player, so I am not worried about that aspect.)

  5. #5
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    In your article about Soluto you say it "is the easiest solution I've yet found for controlling autoloaders". I use "AnVir Task Manager Free" to control ALL of the programs that load during startup. With it you can specify when you want the program or autoloader to start (any number of minutes after bootup). It also provides a description for each program being loaded and the location of it. You can also stop it from loading at all. This program also monitors your system's cpu and disk utilization with simple system tray icons. There are many other useful uses for it - far too many to describe here. Check it out here (http://www.anvir.com/documentation.htm).
    Gary Erdman

  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    Re: Conrol Of Startup Programs:
    I've had good luck with WinPatrol - which is also Free.

  7. #7
    5 Star Lounger
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    I'm glad to see Fences mentioned. I've been using it for a while now and the best feature is the ability to hide all your desktop icons. I have the Dell Dock, which was also made by Stardock, using that (or Stardock's ObjectDock) with Fences has really made using Windows much easier.

    One correction that should be made in the article, Fences Pro is $19.95. The full package of all of Stardock's desktop products is what costs $50.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Swain View Post
    The Fences utility sounds terrific. But the Stardock web site says "Impulse must be installed in order to download and update software". I gather there is some controversy about Impulse. Has anyone had trouble (or success) with this?

    (I am not a game player, so I am not worried about that aspect.)
    You do not need Impulse to run Fences, at least for the free version. The link takes you to Download.com. Maybe they are referring to the Pro version?
    Chuck

  8. #8
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Swain View Post
    The Fences utility sounds terrific. But the Stardock web site says "Impulse must be installed in order to download and update software". I gather there is some controversy about Impulse. Has anyone had trouble (or success) with this?

    (I am not a game player, so I am not worried about that aspect.)
    Good catch! I have read and heard by word of mouth countless recommendations of Stardock Fences, and this is the first time anyone has alerted me to the Impulse requirement.

    On the Stardock web site and in their Support Forums, it is clearly stated that Impulse is required for updates and installation or uninstallation of Fences. That's the story -- straight from the Vendor's own website.

    Impulse is a system scanner and adware push-sell type of "Helper". I would not do any business with Stardock (free or paid) until they remove this requirement from all their free offerings. There is a very real possibility that this Impulse "helper" has been or can easily be used by hackers to silently download malicious software. I would not trust this Impulse software any more than I would trust the Adobe Download Manager (required to get Flash Player directly from Adobe), which has a proven track record of being used by hackers as a Trojan Horse, to download malicious software without the user's knowledge.

    Neither Stardock nor Adobe intends anything malicious by including these Download Managers with their free offerings. But neither company has been responsible in limiting how these Download Managers can be misused by even the least-sophisticated hackers to do damage to users' computers. If the Stardock Impulse "helper" is removed, the user cannot get updates nor uninstall Fences.

    This Impulse requirement may be why Trend Micro does not like Stardock's site.
    -- Bob Primak --

  9. #9
    New Lounger
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    With regard to Fences: I like a pristine desktop so I hide the icons. I do however hhave a folder that I call Applications that resides in my Quick Launch bar where I have shortcuts to all the aps I use on a regular basis. It's just as easy to get at as the desktop and the desktop is clean.

    I am going to give Soluto a shot though.

  10. #10
    New Lounger
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    Thanks for the great tips. I'm glad that I wanted to reply since there was some additional info about Fences. I personally don't have a desktop real estate problem so I won't follow up on it, but I am looking forward to trying the other suggestions. I am currently using Autoruns, but I would like some more information regarding the programs and sequences. I will give more feedback after trying the other apps.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob-El View Post
    I tried downloading System Information for Windows but Windows Essentials claims it contains a virus or other threat. I tried both the exe and zip downloads with the same result. Its probably false but I'm not taking any chances until I know better. Don't you guys check these programs you recommend before you recommend them?
    Did you download from SIW | Download?

    Joe
    Joe

  12. #12
    5 Star Lounger ibe98765's Avatar
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    I have tried Fences in the past but had problems with it, so gave it up.

    Here is a free program similar to Fences that I have been using for a little while called Toolbox. I have been using the beta version on WinXP, which has been stable for me. The author has been lax in updating the beta but in communicating with him, he promises to get back to it (so the program is not dead).

    http://www.cylog.org/utilities/toolbox.jsp

  13. #13
    2 Star Lounger NTLS's Avatar
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    Lincoln Spector,

    I to have had this problem of Windows MSE alerting on an attempt to install a Trojan on my system when downloading those last two suggestions, "System Information for Windows" and "WinMend Auto Shutdown" both after clicking the (download page) link for each. MSE did do it's job and reported a successful removal of those Trojans. The programs appeared to be free of this threat it looked to be something that was added to their site maybe piggy backed so it would be downloaded and installed before the program was downloaded.

    I have been running Microsoft Security Essentials along with Avast, Spybot Search and Destroy, Super ANTI SPYWARE Free Edition with some other programs without any conflict.
    TIA, CU L8R,
    NTxLS Win7 Pro 64bit SP1; FireFox v49.x, all with the latest updates

  14. #14
    New Lounger
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    Soluto does have an easy to use interface, but added 11 seconds to my boot time - about as much as it saved.

  15. #15
    New Lounger
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    Soluto does not work with XP64 caused pc hang had to resort to safe mode to remove

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