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    Favorite reader utilities for security and play




    BEST SOFTWARE

    Favorite reader utilities for security and play

    By Michael Lasky

    Windows Secrets readers often send in recommendations for utilities they find particularly useful. In some cases, "useful" is in the eye of the beholder; here's a professional reviewer's take.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/best-software/favorite-reader-utilities-for-security-and-play/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    Hi! Have you looked at the Daum PotPlayer? It was rated as the best free player by one web site in which the VLC was included. Would love to know your opinion. Thanks.

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    In terms of solid productivity backup & imaging software, I found it odd that Macrium Reflect wasn't mentioned. Just curious...

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    There is a critical issue that virtually every story I've read about backup software misses. That is, what happens if you are using Windows' built-in encryption, EFS (encrypted file system)? This is much more complicated than one might think. If you crash your computer and have to restore to a different machine, you will need to have previously exported the EFS key (correctly) and know how to use it (correctly) on the new machine. This subject could take an article of its own to explain. Even reading MS's explanations, I don't think I fully understand it.

    I bought TrueImage from Acronis several years ago because it claimed to be able to remove EFS on the fly when doing image backups. I wanted this feature because I encrypt my data files with EFS, but not my whole drives. I'm not worried about security because my backups are on hardware encrypted usb drives. Alternatively, I could have used TrueImage's built-in encryption for my backups.

    Some might say simply that we should all stop using EFS. But really, it is the simplest encryption to use. You can put it on a machine for a total non-techie and they won't even notice. This isn't true for other encryption methods.

    Incidentally, what I do myself now is Ghost images plus a duplicate copy of all my data files in a TrueCrypt container. Worst case if I can't pull the data out of the image, I can still get it from the TC container.

    Unfortunately, I discovered that TrueImage did not decrypt EFS one the fly. The Acronis forums shows many others with the same complaint. Acronis promised a fix. I gave up waiting after a year or so and moved back to Ghost. I think Ghost is a better backup imagining program. The only reason I had bought TrueImage was because Ghost does not even claim to decrypt EFS in the image.

    There is a similar issue when simply copying EFS files to a backup hard drive or dvd. Some copy programs will decrypt automatically. Ex: freeware FastCopy FastCopy Some will simply transfer the encrypted file as is. Ex: Windows built-in Xcopy and freeware Allway Sync.

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    Re VLC player. I agree with most of the comments and have used it effectively for almost a year now.
    I do however have one gripe. It doesn't seem to,like *mov files. I have a Y cam camera for home security which produces *.mov files when triggered by motion detection.
    I fine that the VLC player will not generate any sound with these files. The only way I can get sound is to use Quicktime player which does give me sound.
    In all other aspects I do like VLC and I find it very good with DVDs as you comment.

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    I like VLC but have been using Daum Potplayer longer and like it better. Its the newer version of the well known KMPlayer.
    Like KM, the menus are mostly r-click based and sometimes a little fiddly to find things in. I've also had to look up a few things online to know how to set it properly. Pot has much improved skin changes over KM. And it will play everything I've tried on it, including some pretty obscure formats - unless the file was corrupted.

    Peter re: mov files. Media files are containers that may contain various kinds of video and audio compression. You run into this if you want to convert to devices that are fussy about format. I suspect your security system uses an obscure audio compression type. I you don't mind a little geek, when you open a file in Super (free), it will tell you the details about the file. You can use it to convert to something standard as well.

    For myself, I refuse to have Real and Quicktime players on my system as they're intrusive and can be trouble. Thats how I discovered KM in the first place.

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    Just another reason for backup - I used TrueCrypt for awhile. Then one day, it refused to open. Said there was a problem. As the folder held some key files, this was very bad news. I did manage to recover the contents but won't touch it now.

    As a related bit, I found one piece of unique software, useful for hiding files you don't want easy access to but not securing them, the Free Hide Folder. With a password it sets folders to hidden. You can't see them to browse the files. But if you know the filename, you can search and find the files, then open and use them. Certainly not security but hides them from casual looks. If you need something lighter.

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    bobprimak (2013-08-23)

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    Quote Originally Posted by randun View Post
    In terms of solid productivity backup & imaging software, I found it odd that Macrium Reflect wasn't mentioned. Just curious...
    Reflect has been included in other Windows Secrets articles, and it's a favorite here in the Lounge. But it does have its limitations.

    The free edition doesn't do the features Shadow Protect can do. But you are onto something, as the paid version of Macrium Reflect , which rivals Shadow Protect's feature set, is more affordable. I only do simply backup and restore operations, but to be able to boot a Rescue CD and explore an archive, then restore individual files from that archive (as Macrium's paid edition lets one do) could be useful to me.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2013-08-23 at 17:27.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    @RandySea-- "People at NSA will have no trouble cracking EFS." http://www.sevenforums.com/system-se...fs-secure.html This was posted in a forum in 2009. So, it is not as secure as one would hope to find now in an encryption scheme.

    Fast-forward a few years, and even the public can access software which can crack EFS easily. http://www.elcomsoft.com/aefsdr.html

    So no, EFS is no longer considered secure enough for anything except hiding files from casual snooping. At least, this is what I find in online resources.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    I love VLC for all the reasons mentioned. But yesterday, I ran into a .m4i file which VLC could not open and gave an error message. Is this another container file? And if so, what do I do with it.

    There are so many different utilities mpw, I'm getting overloaded trying to remember what does what. Guess decades of PC use and experimenting from MSDOS through non-standard machines (Olivetti M24) up to WinXP are now useless.

    Haven't discovered the new substitute terminology and location of commands for even Win7, nor the increasing non-customizable, sorry, personalization, of things like the Ribbon excremation bring MS to a new low in my world. Not that iOS is any better in that respect even though you have to buy their technology to legally use it. I have the Missing Manual to find stuff but I'm stuck trying to find the appropriate paragraphs and terminology.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chichak View Post
    I love VLC for all the reasons mentioned. But yesterday, I ran into a .m4i file which VLC could not open and gave an error message. Is this another container file? And if so, what do I do with it.

    There are so many different utilities mpw, I'm getting overloaded trying to remember what does what. Guess decades of PC use and experimenting from MSDOS through non-standard machines (Olivetti M24) up to WinXP are now useless.

    Haven't discovered the new substitute terminology and location of commands for even Win7, nor the increasing non-customizable, sorry, personalization, of things like the Ribbon excremation bring MS to a new low in my world. Not that iOS is any better in that respect even though you have to buy their technology to legally use it. I have the Missing Manual to find stuff but I'm stuck trying to find the appropriate paragraphs and terminology.
    .m4i is not a media file. VLC Player does not deal with non-media files. .m4i is a "IBM Voice Type Language Newuser File". (source) I don't know what the actual file is which you think VLC Player should be able to open, but if it really is a media file, then I sincerely doubt that the file type is really .m4i. Michael Lasky's article says nothing about .m4i as a media file type.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chichak View Post
    excremation
    Is that a word? (even in Canada? )

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceR View Post
    Is that a word? (even in Canada? )
    The explanation in Urban Dictionary is not repeatable under Lounge Rules. http://www.urbandictionary.com/defin...emation%20mark
    -- Bob Primak --

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