Freebies Galore

vbimport

#262

Sunday again, this time I thought I would take you on a trip to the realm of security :slight_smile:

[B]VeraCrypt[/B]

In the news section, there was a little story a few days back about BitLocker, the built in system encryption for Windows breaking due to applying the anniversary update. Like I mentioned it has been hacked as far back as 2010 and even if it wasn’t it can not be trusted. This is so because any company doing system wide encryption has to value the privacy of the user. Microsoft has lost any and all credibility in this respect with their privacy trespassing telemetry collection and so simply can not be trusted with the task. I mean, what are the odds your encryption password is sent to Microsoft? Many of your other passwords (web, wi-fi a.s.o.) are sent and so Microsoft can not be trusted with your security and privacy.

Mr. Belvedere made a note of VeraCrypt and since I really like the open source, cross platform tool and use it on my work laptop, I thought I should do a freebies galore tutorial on it.
For a computer in your home, encrypting the system drive may not be interesting, but for a laptop used on the road which may be stolen, this is a great extra protection. Since I bring my work laptop with me on the road and it may contain traces of confidential information related to customers, I have chosen to encrypt the entire system.

The site has a very good beginners tutorial using it for encrypting a data drive or use an encrypted container. However, for encrypting the system drive, the information is not as thorough and so I’ll do a step by step on it using a virtual machine with Windows 10 installed to better be able to grab screenshots.

A word of warning before you commence:
[B]Make a complete image backup of your system. If anything should go wrong during the process, you can expect it to have devastating effect.[/B]
While I have never experienced anything going wrong, a backup is a great precaution in this case.

Download, install and start VeraCrypt. This is so straight forward I will not bore you including it here…


What you will note once it is started and in the screenshot above is that your system drive [B]C:[/B] is nowhere to be found in the window (no simple encryption can be done on the volume). In the ‘System’ menu the top choice is ‘Encrypt System Partition/Drive’ which is the choice needed.


As shown above, you have two inistial choices for encrypting the operating system. Personally, I do not fear extortion or anything else and so do not need to hide the existence of an operating system and so I choose ‘Normal’.


And then we get on to the second set of choices. When doing system wide encryption, I have always encrypted the entire drive. You have the possibility to encrypt only the system partition though.


If you have doubt about the ‘Host Protected Area’ being used before Windows loads, choose ‘No’ above. For a VM, it is not used and so I’ll simply choose ‘Yes’.


Here the obvious choice is ‘Single-boot’ unless you have several operating systems installed. Most have only one operating system installed on their computer (i.e. Windows 10).


Here you set your encryption option. The default is AES but you can choose to have additional encryption as well. I think I will leave that up to you with a remark of the fact that a properly seeded Rijndael encryption has not been cracked so far as the password is not included and so it is extremely resistant to brute force and cracking generally. There are links to more information both on AES and the SHA-256 hashing algorithm for those interested in knowing more on the subject.


Finally we’re at where you can set your password and other security meassures like keyfiles and PIM. Personally, my main objective is to stop people stealing my laptop from getting any information and so I settle for only a password albeit an advanced one. To be secure, VeraCrypt recommends you use a password of 20 or more characters including special characters. It will all depend on the level of security you need, but it will accept any password length.


If your password does not match the recommended length, you will have to click yes on the above requester to acknowledge that you accept using a short password.


As a side note, if you try to change the keyboard layout to your native prior to entering your password you will be greeted by the above requester telling you of the fact that only the US keyboard is available on the boot screen.


Now this is important - move your mouse in random directions over the window as much as possible until the red bar gets to the end, then click Next. This is the random seed used to hash your password and so is VERY important. The algorithm used is the same as for the RandGen program mentioned here.


Then you get a confirmation of the fact that the keys are generated and the possibility to display the generated keys in clear text if interesting, you do not need to view them though.


The ‘Rescue Disk’ step is another of the VERY important steps as there will be nothing else to aid you should you need to access the encrypted disk if something happens to the loader or other critical parts of the disk.
On the VM I had to check ‘Skip Rescue Disk verification’ as it didn’t recognize that the disk had been created. This can be safely checked anyway, I’ll get back to it.


just click OK, there are imo a few unnecessary steps here :wink:


You will have to have a CD or other optical media ready to be burned in the next step…


Here I have checked ‘Verify disc after burning’. This really should make ‘Skip Rescue Disk verification’ above safe to check as the burn will be verified after completion.


Now this was what met me on the VM after burning and so I had no option but to cancel the encryption and do all steps over, making sure I ticked ‘Skip Rescue Disk verification’ in the above step. This has never happened on my laptop, but it may be because the optical drive is shared between all VMs.


Here you have the option to choose how you want to wipe the drive you’re encrypting. For me the encryption is always done after install of the OS and so I always go with ‘None’, but you have the option to do it any way you see fit. A simple one pass would probably be enough for most…


VeraCrypt is all about security, even before encryption taking place. This step ensures the bootloader works before encrypting the drive. Just click ‘Test’.


Some information on what to do if Windows fails to start during the test, Print it and click ‘OK’


Man, there are a few unnecessary steps, click ‘Yes’


After rebooting, you get the first encounter with boot screen you will become very familiar with in the future. I used a password only and so I enter it tap [Enter] and simply tap [Enter] again at the PIM: as it is not in use


Back in Windows, you are greeted by the continuing installer telling you that the pretest successfully completed. Click ‘Encrypt’.


Here you get information how to boot using the resque disc, I recommend you print it and keep it with the rescue disc. Click ‘OK’


The encryption has started, you can as you see if you read the installer continue working and do pretty much anything as it will continue even if you shut down your PC in the middle of the process.


Once all done, you will be informed that the process has completed.


If you start the VeraCrypt application after encryption, you will see your system drive without any letter and what encryption was used to encrypt it.

While it seems overly many steps, the whole process takes only minutes while the encryption process could take several hours. Now whenever you start your laptop, you will be greeted with the boot screen before being allowed to start windows. This will leave anyone stealing your laptop with no other option than a reinstall…


Unless you get the password right here, no Windows or in other words no OS to start. Secondly none knows if you have used PIM or not and so you should be pretty safe :iagree:

In day to day use, VeraCrypt is absolute transparent and should not slow down your laptop :flower:


#263

:clap: :flower:


#264

Since BSPlayer loves to crash in the middle of a video and the only thing that is useful for me is the option to download subtitles, i decided to find an alternative.
The name is SMPlayer, the way its looks its something that I dont like, but i can still get the subtitles, and most importantly it does not crash.


#265

Display Driver Uninstaller

“Display Driver Uninstaller is a driver removal utility that can help you completely uninstall AMD/NVIDIA graphics card drivers and packages from your system, without leaving leftovers behind (including registry keys, folders and files, driver store).”


#266

Just wanted to let everybody know that I can now personally vouch for the AOMEI Backupper Standard (free) backup and restore. It definitely works and it ain’t slow.


#267

I had a program that I have used for years, it made the jump from XP to Vista to Windows 7 to Windows 10 and worked. Per the post above, some programs did not stick, so I went online to see if there was a newer version and lo and behold there was. So I installed this version and it would not work even in compatibility mode, but it would not uninstall. I tried a few things including going into safe mode and going into the registry, plus some pretty high profile programs that are supposed to help to no avail. So I went back online and decided to give this program a shot.

IObit Uninstaller 6 Free

http://www.iobit.com/en/advanceduninstaller.php

While it worked when others didn’t, it did not get rid of all remnants of the program, which I ended up having to use Unlocker to do that.


#268

Had to go looking for a new image resizer, enough said. Now I might have chosen this program because of the name, who knows. Tried it out in Windows 10 and it does the job.

Icecream Image Resizer

http://icecreamapps.com/Image-Resizer/

They have some more freebies:

http://icecreamapps.com/Image-Resizer/thankyou.html


#269

[QUOTE=beef barley;2781399]
IObit Uninstaller 6 Free

http://www.iobit.com/en/advanceduninstaller.php

[/QUOTE] IObit is the only freeware maker that ever turned malicious on me. I used their Smart Defrag for years with automatic updates turned off. One day it updated itself automatically anyway and hijacked browser settings and other things it took me a while to clean up. I then immediately also uninstalled it from other computers under my care.

I’m never ever installing anything by IObit again. Ever.


#270

[QUOTE=DrageMester;2781430]IObit is the only freeware maker that ever turned malicious on me. I used their Smart Defrag for years with automatic updates turned off. One day it updated itself automatically anyway and hijacked browser settings and other things it took me a while to clean up. I then immediately also uninstalled it from other computers under my care.

I’m never ever installing anything by IObit again. Ever.[/QUOTE]

I don’t blame you after that. It’s kind of strange how we use programs for a while and they turn on us. Do you think they in turn get hijacked?


#271

[QUOTE=beef barley;2781431]Do you think they in turn get hijacked?[/QUOTE] I dunno but my guess is that a**holes got in charge at their company.


#272

[QUOTE=DrageMester;2781430]IObit is the only freeware maker that ever turned malicious on me. I used their Smart Defrag for years with automatic updates turned off. One day it updated itself automatically anyway and hijacked browser settings and other things it took me a while to clean up. I then immediately also uninstalled it from other computers under my care.

I’m never ever installing anything by IObit again. Ever.[/QUOTE]

While I never had any trouble myself since my outbound default is ‘Block’ in my firewall, the various installers leaves little doubt of their main objective which is to install any other shit they got as well in addition to the program… and then some :stuck_out_tongue:


#273

I have used a driver update program for years that I paid for unlimited and it has done the job for years, but recently I came across a free program.that I thought I would try out. Tried it out on our laptop and our server where it worked flawlessly. The thing I like most is because My paid program being a Microsoft partner, the last thing it does is check for Windows Updates, which if your operating system is not updating for any reason, the scan does not complete therefore no drivers updated.

Driver Booster 4 Free
Easily Identify & Fix over 400,000 Outdated, Missing & Incorrect PC Drivers
Update PC Drivers Safely & Enjoy Stable PC Performance

http://www.iobit.com/en/driver-booster.php


#274

I have been having issues with the audio volume of files that I convert through the program I use. Great program, but the audio volume just seems to be low. So I went on the hunt for the solution and came across Free Video Volume Booster.

Free Video Volume Booster is a free software used to quickly increase the sound volume of any video file. It supports almost any video format, including AVI, DIVX, XVID, MPEG, MPG, MKV, RM, RMVB, FLV, MOV, MP4, ASF, WEBM, etc. Due to its simplicity, Free Video Volume Booster can be used by everyone, just select the video files, increase the audio volume of N decibels (we recommend a value between 10 and 20) and then click the button “Optimize”.
http://www.dvdavitools.com/products/

BTW it works.

@Xercus. As you have more of a musical ear than I do, I was wondering if you would like to test some of the audio programs? Only if you have the time and desire to do so.


#275

I found this site through a site that I have started to use a couple of their free programs. Just a heads up, I have not used any of these products so far, therefore I cannot give any information or guarantees so user beware.

http://www.novirusthanks.org/


#276

Well I was looking for something as I’m want to do and I stumbled upon these. They don’t seem to fit my needs or I just can’t configure one of them, (see post in General Software, DB level.) Anyway they are free, so I thought I would post them here.

http://www.darkwooddesigns.co.uk/index.html


#277

[QUOTE=beef barley;2782966]Well I was looking for something as I’m want to do and I stumbled upon these. They don’t seem to fit my needs or I just can’t configure one of them, (see post in General Software, DB level.) Anyway they are free, so I thought I would post them here.

http://www.darkwooddesigns.co.uk/index.html[/QUOTE]

Cool, thanks :flower: I was unaware of the site.

[QUOTE=beef barley;2782269]I have been having issues with the audio volume of files that I convert through the program I use. Great program, but the audio volume just seems to be low. So I went on the hunt for the solution and came across Free Video Volume Booster.

BTW it works.

@Xercus. As you have more of a musical ear than I do, I was wondering if you would like to test some of the audio programs? Only if you have the time and desire to do so.[/QUOTE]

I am so little video my experience would be down to a few youtube offlines which does not qualify for HQ testing. What I can add is a a note or two from the audio world:

[ul]
[li]Adjusting levels in db is generally not a good Idea. The file needs to be analyzed for maximum volume and then the file should be peak maximized to 100% or 0db based of the maximum level found. This is so because if the level reaches more than 100%, it would appear as sounding louder, but in reality, clipping occurs which kills the dynamics of the sound.[/li][li]While not entirely related to your scenario, but to read a little about the theory for musical recordings and remasters in this respect (the effect would be somewhat the same), Read this on Page 3 of this thread and for an even deeper insight, go to the MasVis webpage. Even the GIF animation on the first page shows you examples of where the sound is off the chart and will cause clipping. To avoid that, in audio, they compress the sound and destroy the dynamics which is why I stay clear of remaster from after the millennium.[/li][li]What you should be aware of is that MP4 (to my knowledge) is a lossy format for both video and audio and so you do not want to re-encode the audio as it would cause further harm to the sound quality (search for ‘lossy to lossy transcoding’ or read this for more information). In other words, if it can’t be done by setting the level in the header only, you would be better off converting the original once more, this time using a program which is able to encode the sound without lowering the volume (actually have never heard of that before).[/li][/ul]
I am sorry I can’t be of any additional help, but if I watch one movie in a year, well that’s a good year… I am strictly music as I need my eyes for reading and learning :slight_smile:


#278

Cool, thanks I was unaware of the site.
You are more than welcome.

I am sorry I can’t be of any additional help, but if I watch one movie in a year, well that’s a good year… I am strictly music as I need my eyes for reading and learning
Absolutely no problem.

I am actually quite shocked, I knew what clipping referred to as I came across it during my research. Thank you for the added info. I think I should add here that everything I listen to now is in stereo. I know longer feel the need to have aircraft and bullets passing through my ears which gets louder as I turn the volume up trying to listen to the talking audio. I went through a period of adjustments and fine tuning to get it just right only to have to change it again on the next movie, but now stereo is my choice. We have 4 tvs as well as computers in the house and I will use the main one, (42" Sony Bravia) as an example. Normal listening level of an MP4 is around 40, I can get this down to 10-15 with the add 20db setting on this program although I think the add 10 or add 15 dbs would be sufficient. This is not a big test or anything like that, it’s just what happens and I’m only talking about files I convert through the program I use which seems to churn files out at the same volume, (low as far as I am concerned.) I have tried different adjustments, but always seem to end up back at the default settings, which is my problem because this is the program of my choice. This is just FYI and I’m not looking to keep this going, choppy as this explanation is. I will continue to manually check the files and add what I think is necessary. Thank you all again. I think I should mention that I’m talking about the volume adjustment on the tv remote not 0-100%


#279

Another couple of older programs that I used to use, stopped and now looking at using again, you can use them together.

Tired of reaching for your volume knob every time your mp3 player changes to a new song? MP3Gain analyzes and adjusts mp3 files so that they have the same volume.

http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/

http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/download.php

AACGain support: You will also need to download AACGain, rename it to “mp3gain.exe”, and put it in the MP3Gain folder after installation.
http://www.digital-digest.com/software/AACGain.html


#280

[QUOTE=beef barley;2781978]I have used a driver update program for years that I paid for unlimited and it has done the job for years, but recently I came across a free program.that I thought I would try out. Tried it out on our laptop and our server where it worked flawlessly. The thing I like most is because My paid program being a Microsoft partner, the last thing it does is check for Windows Updates, which if your operating system is not updating for any reason, the scan does not complete therefore no drivers updated.

http://www.iobit.com/en/driver-booster.php[/QUOTE]
I would suggest that after you run Driver Booster 4 that you then run Junkware Removal Tool to remove the “extras” that iobit puts on your computer.


#281

These guys are worth subscribing to for the Audio/Video conversion and burning software giveaways that sometimes come around. http://softwaregiveaways.net