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March 2016

CloudHole: make CloudFlare’s I’m not a robot captchas appear less often

One of the disadvantages of connecting to a VPN or Tor is the dreaded "I'm not a robot" message that you get on every site you visit that uses CloudFlare.

An intermediary page is displayed to you that notifies you that there is "one more step" to complete before you can access the site you want to load in your browser of choice.

You need to check the I'm not a robot" box, and complete one or multiple captchas first before you are allowed to access the site you want to visit.

Analyze and clean the WinSXS folder

We have talked in length about the WinSXS folder back in 2010 and how it comes up regularly as one of the largest folder on the computer when storage is analyzed using tools like WizTree.

Windows Explorer and third-party programs report a size of several Gigabyte at the very least, but the count can go up to ten and more Gigabyte depending on the system it is analyzed on.

WinSXS, the full path is c:\Windows\WinSXS\, contains files that are required for servicing operations such as the installation of updates, service packs or hotfixes.

WinToHDD: install Windows without DVD or USB

WinToHDD is a new program by the guys who created WinToUSB and EasyUEFI which lets you install or clone Windows without DVD or USB access.

Modern versions of Windows come with options to reset the PC, and while that may help at times, sometimes they may not resolve issues that you are experiencing.

While it is possible to install Windows anew without using a DVD or USB drive, by mounting the installation ISO image on the system and running it from there, you may prefer a simpler method.

New Information about Microsoft Edge Extensions

A leaked Store entry of the first Microsoft Edge extension revealed interesting information about upcoming extensions support of Windows 10's default browser.

The store entry of the extension Page Analyzer is hidden from the Store application on Windows 10, the Microsoft Store website, and search engines currently which means that it cannot be opened unless you have the direct link.

If you don’t want Windows 10, do this!

Reports are coming in by users from around the world on sites like Reddit that machines running Windows 7 or Windows 8 have been updated -- once again -- to Windows 10 automatically.

They report that the update was automated, and that they did not receive any prompt or option to stop the process once it was in motion.

SnailDriver: update drivers on Windows

SnailDriver is a new program to check for, download, and install device drivers on all supported versions of the Windows operating system.

Driver updates may introduce new features or improvements to installed hardware. A common example are upgrades to the video card driver which improves support for certain video games or performance in general.

While that is the case, unless you are a gamer or require other up to date drivers, you may have no need to install driver updates as soon as they become available, or ever.

Skype Co-Founder’s Wire app gets end-to-end encryption

The communication application Wire, produced by former Skype, Apple and Microsoft employees and funded by Skype's co-founder Janus Friis, has received an update that introduces full end-to end encryption to the application.

Wire was one of the many communication applications that came to live after the Snowden revelations of global surveillance programs, but did not support end-to-end encryption back then.

The new version promises to encrypt chat, audio and video messages, the latter setting it apart from most comparable services.

Windows 10: Make better use of “best match” search results

Windows 10 ships with an improved search interface which I like for the most part. While I don't have any use for web searches that Microsoft added to search -- web search can be turned off easily in Windows 10 -- I like the clearer layout of the interface.

Software Annoyances that need to go away

I install hundreds of programs each year and while most of those installations work just fine and without issues, some come with annoyances that most users would probably like to live without.

While many of the following annoyances are found in installers, some of them are experienced while the program is running, upgraded or removed from the operating system.

The majority of annoyances perform operations without giving the user a choice in the matter, or hide the choice so that most users won't prevent its execution.

Ten software trends that are (or should be) dying

Let’s pretend that you’re a tech savvy individual who’s always been interested and followed software, and that you had gone into a coma about ten years ago and just woken up.

You’d probably be surprised by the way the tech scene has changed in the interim (e.g. the pervasiveness of smartphones, the ubiquitousness of social media, the explosion in wearable tech and the ‘internet of things’, ever cheaper 3D printing, the success of crowdfunding, dumb apps like Instagram and Snapchat valued at more than a billion dollars, etc).

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