VLC Media Player is the most popular and robust multi format, free media player available. The open source media player was publically released in 2001 by non-profit organization VideoLAN Project. VLC Media Player quickly became very popular thanks to its versatile multi-format playback capabilities.
It was aided by compatibility and codec issues which rendered competitor media players like QuickTime, Windows and Real Media Player useless to many popular video and music file formats. The easy, basic UI and huge array of customization options have enforced VLC Media Player’s position at the top of the free media players.
It is a standard warning that the Internet is full of unsafe links from phishers and malware artists and that you should be very wary about clicking on links in messages, websites, or other Internet places. But obviously many links are legitimate and you need to know the difference. If you see a link you want to use but are not sure if it is safe, here are some easy ways you can check it.
How to safely display the actual content of a hyperlink
Malware writers and phishers often disguise links. The text that is displayed on a web page can say anything. To check that a link is really related to what you see on a web page, hover the mouse pointer over the link. The actual hypertext for the link will be displayed in the lower left corner of the screen on major web browsers. Try it on this link: FreePrograms-from-BillGates.com
Read the hyperlink very carefully
Once you see what the hyperlink is, you need to decide if it is safe. If it is a well-known web site that you recognize, then you can proceed. However, the hyperlink must be read carefully. Malware writers and spammers often use web addresses that contain the names of well-known sites or software. For example, they might try to fool you with something likewww.microsoft-com.bigspammer.com/windows-xp-antivirus.html. There are also a number of ways to obfuscate a web address so that the real address is hidden. This link has a discussion of ways that web addresses can be obscured or made misleading.
Check the target page of a hyperlink
There are various ways to check the target of a link. One way is to copy the link to the clipboard and then paste it into some test feature. To copy a link, right-click it (not left-click) to open a context menu, then select “Copy link address” (in Chrome), “Copy Link Location” (in Firefox), or “Copy shortcut” (in Internet Explorer). This copies the URL to the clipboard so that you can paste it into any search field for testing. This article at Gizmo’s discusses a number of security sites where a link can be tested.
Sometimes the URL may be in one of the shortened formats from services like bit.ly, goo.gl, or tinyurl.com. This article gives sites that will reveal the actual URL behind a shortened link. There is also a website to enter and unshorten short URLs at http://www.unshorten.it/
Browser add-ons and link scanners
Of course, there are also any number of browser add-ons that can help you check out an URL so another approach is to skip copying the URL and instead rely on a browser feature or add-on to warn about potential bad web pages before you actually go there. This article lists a number of browser plug-ins and extensions that will provide safety checks for URLs. One favorite at Gizmo’s is Web of Trust (WOT).
And there you have it – how to avoid those phishing and malware links.
Now that we all know the upcoming version of Windows, i.e. Windows 10, will be free for anyone, it gives us even more reason to upgrade. Time and again, I have always mentioned the fact that flashing an Android OS is way easier than formatting/upgrading a Windows operating system. Data backup of photos, music, and other important files can be easily performed on both the operating systems, but Android gives the ability to take backups of app settings to be restored after an upgrade.
Saved app data on Android, when restored, takes away the hassle of going to every nook and cranny of the settings in order to make them just like you had it before flashing.
Well, till just a few months back, there was no software available that could pull that stunt on Windows. But not anymore. Just in time for most of us to upgrade to Windows 10, there’s a tool that can back up your installed application settings.
The CloneApp for Windows
CloneApp is a nifty tool that can easily back up and restore application-based settings of some popular Windows applications. The app is portable in nature, so you can extract it to a folder when you download it – Although it’s advisable not to extract the app in the system directory.
After you download and run the application, the very first thing you will notice is that the interface resembles CCleaner.
Creating Backups on CloneApp
Under the Clone settings, you will find a list of all the apps supported by CloneApp. The complete list can be found at this link, but some of the most useful are Google Chrome, Microsoft Office, iTunes, uTorrent. Now all you need to do is select the apps you have installed on the system and click on the button Start CloneApp. The Select Installed option automatically selects the apps that you have installed on the system and makes sure you don’t miss out on anything.
The app makes a backup of all the files and registry settings it has on your computer. The backup doesn’t include the installed files, but related files used by the app or any profile data it has on your system. Like in the case of iTunes, the app backs up the entire library along with user settings from the registry. The backup is saved to the same folder where you extracted the app.
To restore the settings after all the apps have been installed, click on the Restore button.
Officially, the app supports around 138 applications, but additional apps can be added in the future using simple plugins. If you know the backup path of a particular app, click on custom and create a manual backup. Select the files, folders, and registry keys and add it into the list of backups.
Another interesting feature of the app is the ability to create a list of all the apps that are currently installed on your system. This list can then be used to keep track of every app you require after your system is upgraded. The list can be created by hitting the Windows button and clicking on the option Export Apps to Test File.
Let’s Collaborate to Upgrade to Windows 10 Effortlessly
Ninite, DriverMagic, and now CloneApp. The combo of these three free utilities can really take away the pain of initial configuration after installing a fresh version of Windows. Make a cloud backup of the data from these apps and you are covered for years to come. Additionally, if you would like to recommend a tool that would help in the Windows 10 migration, please drop a comment. It would help me and our readers to have a smooth transition.