Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Using Ninite To Install Multiple Apps Simultaneously on Windows & Ubuntu

In an earlier blog post, Freeware Maintenance and Antimalware Software for Windows, I recommended freeware maintenance and antimalware software for Windows that I am using on my Windows systems.

It can be a hassle to install these software easily.

Enter Ninite Easy PC Setup for Windows, which allows you to install multiple apps at once without junkware (e.g., toolbars that you have to deselect) and multiple "Click Yes to Continue" screens. Pick the software or app you want from the list of 80+ that is conveniently sorted by category for your easy reference. Then click the "Get Installer" button and you are on your way.

If you are running Ubuntu, Ninite for Linux installs useful apps and software in the same manner as the Windows version. Just select the app(s) you want and click "Get Installer."

To update your Flash player (Windows or Ubuntu) in the same easy manner, visit Ninite's UpdateFlash.org site.


Using Diskpart on your Windows CD to Zero Out Your Hard Drive

One easy way to zero out your hard drive, i.e., writing zeros to your hard drive to wipe out any data (e.g., before you sell your old computer on EBay, donate it to Goodwill, etc) is to use Diskpart.exe, a utility that is shipped on every Microsoft Windows Installation CD.

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to use Diskpart:
  1. Insert your Windows CD into the optical drive and boot into a command prompt.

  2. Type diskpart to load the utility.

  3. Type list disk. Diskpart will list all the hard drive(s) on your computer.

  4. Type select disk x (where x=the number of the disk you want to zero out). Diskpart will return "Disk x is now the selected disk."

  5. Type clean all and Diskpart will completely zero out the entire disk.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Freeware Maintenance & Antimalware Software for Windows

I am often asked by family members and friends to recommend freeware maintenance and antimalware software for Windows. Here's a listing of what I use on my own Windows computers:
  • Firewall: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall
    Very user friendly and easy to configure, monitors both inbound and outbound traffic, free version is good enough for home use (and certainly much better than the basic firewall that Microsoft bundles with Windows).

  • Antivirus: Avast Free Antivirus
    The free version is roboust enough to detect antivirus and trojan attacks.

  • Maintenance Software:
    Here is a list of what I use in my own Windows systems:
    • CCleaner: No-nonsense scrubbing and cleaning of your system, hard drive & registry.
    • Recuva: what I use to recover deleted files.
    • Eraser Portable: what I use when I want to securely delete files.
    • Defraggler: I prefer this to the built-in Windows defragmentation app.
    • Revo Uninstaller: The free version is able to uninstall most of the residue left behind by the built-in Windows uninstaller.

  • System Information: Speccy - a powerful and advanced system information tool that tells you everything you ever wanted to know about your hardware, OS and software configuration settings.

  • Antimalware Sofware (for use if your system is infected with malware):
    • Malwarebytes - this is what I use to zap malware infection in round #1
    • SuperAntiSpyware - in round #2, I use this to tackle the leftover infections
    • ComboFix - finally, I use this to scan the system to ensure that all infections are removed.