AB Commander 9.8 released

Buy AB Commander:
Personal license $39.95
Business license $79.95

Try AB Commander free:
Download free trial

August 10, 2016.

A new version 9.8 of AB Commander is available now for download and purchase!

This version offers several improvements and corrections.

As usual, the trial version of AB Commander comes with a free license for 30 days of full use. If you have not tried it yet, please feel free to download it and give it a try.

And, of course, if you have purchased your AB Commander within the last 12 months, you can upgrade to this version free of charge (for the earlier purchasers the 50% upgrade discount is also available.)

Windows 10 fails to upgrade? Here is how to fix it.

Password-protect and hide personal files and folders with Folder Guard for Windows 10,8,7, and XP.
User rating: 4.7/5
Purchase or download a free trial. Read more...

There are many possible reasons for Widows 10 upgrade to fail. Whether you are upgrading from an older version of Windows, such as Windows 7 or Windows 8, or from a previous build of Windows 10 itself, if the upgrade is failing, the first things to check are the obvious ones: search the web for the error message displayed and see what others might have done about it, check your C: drive for errors, remove any old software that might be incompatible with Windows 10, etc.

If you tried such things, but Windows 10 still fails to upgrade without giving an obvious explanation, for example, if the upgrade reaches a certain percentage point and then stalls there for hours, and when you try the upgrade again, it stalls again, perhaps at a different percentage point, one of the possibilities is that the BCD on your computer is corrupted and that's stopping Windows 10 from upgrading properly.

What is BCD, you might be wondering? It stands for Boot Configuration Data, and it's a set of files that Windows is using internally when it starts your computer. It is used by Windows upgrade procedure, too, and if something is wrong with it, Windows upgrade fails. This article explains how to repair the BCD.

However, first things first:

DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION DISCUSSED HERE CAN CAUSE HARM TO YOUR COMPUTER, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: THE IRREPAIRABLE DAMAGE TO THE FILES, MAKING THE COMPUTER INOPERABLE, AND/OR VOIDING THE COMPUTER MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY. YOUR COMPUTER MAY BE INCOMPATIBLE WITH THE INFORMATION DISCUSSED HERE. THE INFORMATION DISCUSSED HERE INVOLVES THIRD-PARTY TOOLS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN TESTED BY WINABILITY SOFTWARE CORPORATION. THE USE OF THE TOOLS AND INFORMATION DISCUSSED HERE MAY BE ILLEGAL IN YOUR JURISDICTION. THE INFORMATION DISCUSSED HERE IS PROVIDED "AS-IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. THE INFORMATION AND TOOLS DISCUSSED HERE MAY BE INCORRECT, OUTDATED, INVALID, OR HARMFUL. BY USING THE INFORMATION AND TOOLS DISCUSSED HERE YOU AGREE WITHOUT EXCEPTION THAT YOU WILL BE THE SOLE RESPONSIBLE PARTY FOR DETERMINING WHETHER THIS INFORMATION AND TOOLS ARE SUITABLE FOR USE BY YOU, AND YOU AGREE THAT ALL RISK ARISING FROM ANY USE OR MISUSE OF THE INFORMATION AND TOOLS WILL REMAIN WITH YOU. THE INFORMATION AND TOOLS DISCUSSED HERE ARE NOT SUPPORTED BY WINABILITY SOFTWARE CORPORATION. SHOULD YOU HAVE ANY FURTHER QUESTIONS OR ASSISTANCE WITH REGARD TO THE INFORMATION AND TOOLS DISCUSSED HERE YOU SHOULD SEEK COMPETENT LEGAL AND/OR TECHNICAL ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED PROFESSIONALS.

WINABILITY SOFTWARE CORPORATION PROVIDES THIS INFORMATION "AS-IS." NEITHER WINABILITY SOFTWARE CORPORATION NOR ANY OF ITS SUPPLIERS OR RESELLERS MAKES ANY WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED. WINABILITY SOFTWARE CORPORATION AND ITS SUPPLIERS SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIM THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF TITLE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, SYSTEM INTEGRATION, AND DATA ACCURACY. THERE IS NO WARRANTY OR GUARANTEE THAT THE OPERATION OF THE SOFTWARE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED, ERROR-FREE, OR VIRUS-FREE, OR THAT THE SOFTWARE WILL MEET ANY PARTICULAR CRITERIA OF PERFORMANCE, QUALITY, ACCURACY, PURPOSE, OR NEED. YOU ASSUME THE ENTIRE RISK OF SELECTION, INSTALLATION, AND USE OF THE SOFTWARE. THIS DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY CONSTITUTES AN ESSENTIAL PART OF THIS AGREEMENT. NO USE OF THE SOFTWARE IS AUTHORIZED HEREUNDER EXCEPT UNDER THIS DISCLAIMER. To the extent that this Warranty Statement is inconsistent with the jurisdiction where You use the Software, the Warranty Statement shall be deemed to be modified consistent with such local law. Under such local law, certain limitations may not apply, and you may have additional rights which vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, some states in the United States and some jurisdictions outside the United States may: (i) preclude the disclaimers and limitations of this Warranty Statement from limiting the rights of a consumer; (ii) otherwise restrict the ability of a manufacturer to make such disclaimers or to impose such limitations; or (iii) grant the consumer additional legal rights, specify the duration of implied warranties which the manufacturer cannot disclaim, or prohibit limitations on how long an implied warranty lasts.

INDEPENDENT OF THE FORGOING PROVISIONS, IN NO EVENT AND UNDER NO LEGAL THEORY, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, TORT, CONTRACT, OR STRICT PRODUCTS LIABILITY, SHALL WINABILITY SOFTWARE CORPORATION OR ANY OF ITS SUPPLIERS BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF GOODWILL, WORK STOPPAGE, COMPUTER MALFUNCTION, OR ANY OTHER KIND OF COMMERCIAL DAMAGE, EVEN IF WINABILITY SOFTWARE CORPORATION HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. THIS LIMITATION SHALL NOT APPLY TO LIABILITY FOR DEATH OR PERSONAL INJURY TO THE EXTENT PROHIBITED BY APPLICABLE LAW.

IN NO EVENT SHALL WINABILITY SOFTWARE CORPORATION'S LIABILITY FOR ACTUAL DAMAGES FOR ANY CAUSE WHATSOEVER, AND REGARDLESS OF THE FORM OF ACTION, EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF THE PURCHASE PRICE PAID FOR THE SOFTWARE LICENSE OR ONE UNITED STATES DOLLAR, WHICHEVER IS THE GREATER.

1. Boot in the Safe mode with Command Prompt

The procedure depends on the version of Windows that you already have. If you have trouble rebooting your computer in the safe mode, another option is to boot the computer from Windows 10 DVD (if you have it, of course), and choose Repair your computer option:

On the next screen, choose Troubleshooting, and then finally choose the Command prompt option:

2. Rebuild the BCD

Type the following command in the command prompt:

  bootrec.exe /RebuildBCD

Windows should start searching for the existing installations of Windows you might have on your hard drives. If it reports that 0 installations are found, try the following two commands, one after another:

  bcdedit /CreateStore BCD
  bcdedit /Import BCD

Now try the bootrec.exe /RebuildBCD command again. This time, Windows should find its existing installation and ask you to add it to the BCD information, reply Y for Yes:

Encrypt and password-protect external drives with USBCrypt software for Windows 10,8,7, and XP.
User rating: 4.7/5
Purchase or download a free trial. Read more...

Now close the Command prompt, restart the computer as usual, and try to upgrade to Windows 10 again. Chances are, the upgrade will now succeed! It not, then sorry, the problem on your computer was something else.

Good luck!

Read more

How to stop Microsoft Edge from hijacking PDF files

Windows 10 comes with the new web browser, Edge, that is also set up as the default application for handling several other popular files, such as PDF. If you prefer another program to open the PDF files, you can set up that program using the Default Programs tool of Control Panel. You could also use the Open With... command that appears on the right-click menu for the PDF files.

However, in some situations, changing the default application for handling the PDF files does not stick: it may work once or twice, and then Microsoft Edge takes over, reverting the file association of the PDF files to itself. You can try to change the default application once more, but soon Windows "forgets" about your decision and starts opening them with Edge again. If you experience such a problem, the following solution might help.

First things first: the following steps involve changing values in Windows Registry. Please be extra careful with it, because if you do something wrong, you can damage your Windows installation and even make your computer disabled. If you are not familiar with the Registry Editor, you may want to ask a more experienced friend or a colleague for help.

To solve the problem of Microsoft Edge hijacking the PDF files, run Registry Editor, and navigate to the following key:

  HKEY_CURRENT_USER
    SOFTWARE
      Classes
        Local Settings
          Software
            Microsoft
              Windows
                CurrentVersion
                  AppModel
                    Repository
                      Packages

Under this key, look for a key that starts with Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge. At the time of this writing, such a key is named:

Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_38.14393.0.0_neutral__8wekyb3d8bbwe

However, it could be changed in the later versions of Windows. Expand this key and also expand the following keys under it:

  Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_38.14393.0.0_neutral__8wekyb3d8bbwe
    MicrosoftEdge
      Capabilities
        FileAssociations

Select FileAssociations and look at the list in the right-hand part of the screen:

Take a note of the Data string displayed for the .pdf name. At the time of this writing, the string is AppXd4nrz8ff68srnhf9t5a8sbjyar1cr723, but it may change in the future versions of Windows.

Now, while still in Registry Editor, navigate to the key:

  HKEY_CURRENT_USER
    SOFTWARE
      Classes
        AppXd4nrz8ff68srnhf9t5a8sbjyar1cr723

Right-click on AppXd4nrz8ff68srnhf9t5a8sbjyar1cr723, and choose Rename from the menu. Add the underscore character to the end of the name and press Enter to save the new name:

Now use the Default Applications tool of Windows Control Panel one last time to set up a default application for the PDF files (other than Edge). From now on, Edge should not reinstall itself as the default application.

If you decide later on that you want to return to the previous behavior, simply remove the underscore character from the name of the AppXd4nrz8ff68srnhf9t5a8sbjyar1cr723 key (thus restoring its original name).

Read more

Preventing installations of specific programs with Folder Guard

Buy Folder Guard:
Personal license $49.95 $39.95
Business license $99.95 $79.95

Try Folder Guard free:
Download free trial

So you've got a program that causes problems on your computer, or you have some other reason for not wanting a specific program to be installed on your computer. For example, Google is very pushy about its Google Chrome web browser: it's very easy for other users to click the button to install it, but you don't want that to happen (because, for example, you have already installed another web browser and you don't want to clutter your hard drive with software that no one is going to use anyway?) Wouldn't it be nice to remove the ability of the users to install that specific program, without getting in the way of other programs to work on your computer?

It's pretty easy to achieve with Folder Guard. All you need to do is restrict access to the folder in which the program is usually installed. If the program cannot create files into its program folder, it would not be able to install!

Let us show the steps involved using Google Chrome as an example. This web browser installs its files into the folder named Google, inside the C:/Program Files folder on your hard drive. (For other programs, you may want to try to install them first, to see which folders they install into.) Run Windows Explorer and navigate to the C:/Program Files folder. Is there a folder named Google there? If yes, continue to the next step. If not, create an empty folder and name it Google there:

Preparing to restrict the installation folder

Now run Folder Guard and use it to set up the read-only access to the Google folder. Such a restriction prevents modifications to the folder, including creating new files in it, which is exactly what we need.

The procedure is described in detail in the User's Guide of Folder Guard. The easiest way to proceed is to drag the Google folder from Windows Explorer window with the mouse and drop it over the Folder Guard window. When you drop a folder in such a way, the Folder Guard Wizard should start automatically:

Folder Guard wizard guides you through the configuration process

Continue using the wizard to set up the protection we need. Select the option to restrict the folder without a password:

Folder Guard wizard guides you through the configuration process

We don't need to restrict the visibility of the folder, so we leave it Default:

Folder Guard wizard guides you through the configuration process

This is the step where we select the desired access restriction; for our purposes the read-only choice is just what we need here:

Folder Guard wizard guides you through the configuration process

After the wizard is finished, an entry like this one should appear in the list of the restrictions of Folder Guard:

Folder Guard wizard guides you through the configuration process

Now enable the protection (or, if the protection is already in effect, press the Apply button for the new restrictions to take effect) and try to install Google Chrome. If everything is well, it should display an error message like this one and stop installing:

Folder Guard restricts the ability of Google Chrome to install its program files

Password-protect and hide personal files and folders with Folder Guard for Windows 10,8,7, and XP.
User rating: 4.7/5
Purchase or download a free trial. Read more...

The same steps can be used to prevent installing other programs, as well, as long as they don't allow the user to change the installation folder. If you want to prevent installing a program that does allows that, a different approach should be used.

Happy computing!

Read more

USBCrypt 16.6 released

Buy USBCrypt:
Personal license $49.95
Business license $99.95

Try USBCrypt free:
Download free trial

June 15, 2016.

A new version 16.6 of USBCrypt software is available now for download and purchase!

This update offers several improvements and fixes.

As usual, the trial version of USBCrypt comes with a free license for 30 days of full use. If you have not tried it yet, please feel free to download it and give it a try.

And, of course, if you have purchased your USBCrypt within the last 12 months, you can upgrade to this version free of charge (for the earlier purchasers the 50% upgrade discount is also available.)

More information

AB Commander 9.7 released

Buy AB Commander:
Personal license $39.95
Business license $79.95

Try AB Commander free:
Download free trial

June 15, 2016.

A new version 9.7 of AB Commander is available now for download and purchase!

This version offers several improvements and corrections.

As usual, the trial version of AB Commander comes with a free license for 30 days of full use. If you have not tried it yet, please feel free to download it and give it a try.

And, of course, if you have purchased your AB Commander within the last 12 months, you can upgrade to this version free of charge (for the earlier purchasers the 50% upgrade discount is also available.)

Folder Guard 10 certified for Windows 10

Buy Folder Guard:
Personal license $49.95 $39.95
Business license $99.95 $79.95

Try Folder Guard free:
Download free trial

May 15, 2016.

A new version 10.0 of Folder Guard software is available now for download and purchase!

This is a major update that adds many new features and capabilities to Folder Guard, such as:

This version of Folder Guard passed the Microsoft tests and is now officially certified as compatible with Windows 10.

As usual, the trial version of Folder Guard 10 comes with a free license for 30 days of full use. If you have not tried it yet, please feel free to download it and give it a try.

And, of course, if you have purchased your Folder Guard within the last 12 months, you can upgrade to this version free of charge (for the earlier purchasers the 50% upgrade discount is also available.)

More information

Folder Guard licensing explained

Password-protect and hide personal files and folders with Folder Guard for Windows 10,8,7, and XP.
User rating: 4.7/5
Purchase or download a free trial. Read more...

Our Folder Guard software offers many different ways of protecting files, folders, and programs, including some advanced methods that are useful mostly in the business environments and have little practical use at home. We thought it would be unfair to expect the home users of Folder Guard to pay the full price of the software for the features they would not use anyway, so we created a less expensive option specifically designed for the home users. If you have registered Folder Guard with a Home license that was described as for the home, personal use only, the following limitations apply:

  • The filters are not available for use with the Home licenses. You can still see the list of filters in the Filters view, but you would not be able to enable them for actual use. To use the filters, purchase one of the business licenses, such as the Professional or Office license.
  • If you have purchased a Home, personal license, the shared folders cannot be protected with passwords for use by the network users. You should still be able to set up folder passwords for the local users.
  • Even if you are a business user who doesn't need the filters or the network passwords, you are still not authorized to use the Home license on a business computer. The Home license can be used only on a personal computer that is not used for any business or employment-related tasks.
  • To install Folder Guard on a Windows Server, an office license for 10 computers or more must be purchased. Without such a license, you can install Folder Guard on a server in the trial mode only. Remember that even if you are going to install Folder Guard on the server computer only, you must still count all other computers on the network that may connect to the server to include in your license.

Read more

Speed up the updates of the network folders

Suppose you have two computers, A and B, on the same network. Computer A has a shared folder, which is accessed from the computer B. You change something in the shared folder on the computer A, for example, add or remove a file, or rename it, but the computer B does not see the change right away. It may take 30 seconds (or more) before the computer B shows the updated listing of the files in the shared folder located on the computer A. If this is happening on your network, we bet you would want to make the updates happen across the network much faster, wouldn't you?

Password-protect and hide personal files and folders with Folder Guard for Windows 10,8,7, and XP.
User rating: 4.7/5
Purchase or download a free trial. Read more...

The reason for the delay in the first place is that the Windows network browser uses a cache to store the file information it receives over the network from other computers. The purpose of such a cache is to minimize the network traffic: if the computer B requests the same information from the computer A too often, then instead of contacting the computer A every time, Windows just uses the information it stored in the cache last time. Theoretically, this is supposed to speed up the network browsing, but only if the cache is kept in sync with the actual information and is updated promptly. If it gets stalled for 30 seconds or more, you can hardly call it an improvement in speed.

Anyway, the solution to the slow network updates described above is to disable the cache, and the following registry tweak should do just that.

Before you begin: The following information is provided AS-IS, WITHOUT GUARANTEE OF ANY KIND. Use the following information at your own risk. Please be very careful with Registry Editor, because it's very easy to use it to damage your system, if you are not careful. If you are not sure, ask someone who is more experienced with computers for help. We do not provide any support regarding any issues that may arise out of your use or misuse of the following information.

To disable the network browsing cache, run Registry Editor on the computer that you use to browse the shared folders (in our example, it's the computer B), and select the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE / SYSTEM / CurrentControlSet /services / LanmanWorkstation / Parameters

Under this key, create a new DWORD entry with the name DirectoryCacheLifetime and the value of 0.

Exit Registry Editor. The change should take effect right away, but if not, restart the computer. After that, the changes you make to the shared folders on other computers should be seen on this computer much faster than before.

If you decide to reverse the change and re-enable the network browser cache, use Registry Editor again to delete the entry DirectoryCacheLifetime you've created above.

Happy computing!

Read more

Make your Windows laptop work as a Wi-Fi access point

When you travel, you encounter all kinds of Internet access arrangements. Some hotels make it easy, allowing you to use their Wi-Fi networks without restrictions. More often than not, however, connecting to Wi-Fi on the go is not simple. For example, some hotels limit connections to their Wi-Fi networks to one device only. Or, one device at a time. Or, some places offer the wired (Ethernet) lines only. Sure, you can connect your laptop to the Internet this way, but what about your tablet or the smart phone, wouldn't it be nice to connect them, too?

Turns out, it may be possible to set up your laptop to share its Internet connection with other devices via its Wi-Fi adapter. The following steps should work well if you have a laptop with Windows 7 or later. If you have Windows Vista or XP, a different procedure may work instead. (A hint: search the web for how to create an ad-hoc connection for the specific version of Windows that you have.)

The first thing to do is to check that your Wi-Fi network adapter suports the so called Hosted Network mode. To do that, open Windows command prompt and enter the following command:

netsh wlan show drivers

Look for the line that reads Hosted network supported: Yes.

If you see it, you are good to go. If not, then your Wi-Fi network adapter does not support this feature, sorry.

Now, let's configure your laptop to offer its own Wi-Fi access point, to which you could connect your other Wi-Fi devices. First, decide on the name of the wireless network your laptop would create. It could be nearly anything. In the example below, we chose the name MyLaptopWiFi. Second, decide on the password that you would need to enter to connect your other devices to this access point. We chose Orange6725 as the password; you can obviously choose something else.

To actually create the access point, open the command prompt in the Administrator mode. To do that on Windows 10, you could press the Win-X keys and select Command prompt (Admin) from the menu. Then, enter the following two commands into the command prompt:

netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=MyLaptopWiFi key=Orange6725
netsh wlan start hostednetwork

Of course, replace MyLaptopWiFi and Orange6725 with your own name and password that you have chosen.

This creates the access point, but it's not fully operational yet: you need to tell Windows that you want to share your actual Internet connection with the access point you've just created. To do that, use Windows Control Panel to open the Network and Sharing Center window. There, click on the connection that provides the actual connection to the Internet (which could be your Wi-Fi connection or the Ethernet line, depending how you have connected to the Internet.), press Properties for that connection, and finally select the Sharing tab:

Check the Allow other users to connect through this computer's Internet connection box, and also select Local area connection in the Home networking connection list.

This should make your laptop to work as a Wi-Fi access point. If you open another device, you should now see MyLaptopWiFi in the list of the Wi-Fi networks offered. Connect to it, as usual, entering the password you have set up, and your device should now be connected to the Internet via the laptop. Pretty neat, huh?

Take control of your files and folders with AB Commander file manager for Windows 10,8,7,Vista, and XP.
User rating: 4.8/5
Purchase or download a free trial. Read more...

Well, it all should work well in theory. In practice, though, we discovered that not all is smooth. If you connected a device to MyLaptopWiFi, but there is no connection to the Internet on that device, try to restart the laptop, and repeat the steps above again, it may work better the second time. Or, it appears that enabling the access point may not work well with the power transitions of your laptop. That is, if you try to put the laptop to sleep, it may not work and the laptop may stay awake while the access point is enabled. We also experienced a few blue screen crashes, although not that frequently to make it a real concern. It may depend on the model of your laptop or the Wi-Fi card that your laptop has; some combinations may work better than others.

Keep in mind, that if you put your laptop to sleep or restart it, the access point disappears and you would need to set it up again each time you wake up the laptop. If you do this frequently and don't want to go through the same steps every time, you may want to use Windows Task Scheduler to do it for you. For example, put the two commands shown above in a batch file, and then create a new task that would run that batch file, and set the trigger for that task On workstation unlock. This way, every time you wake up the laptop and unlock it, the batch file would run for you automatically. When you no longer need it, disable the task in Task Scheduler.

We also found that sometimes an attempt to create the access point fails with Windows displaying the following message:

The hosted network couldn't be started. The group or resource is not in the correct state to perform the requested operation.

Take control of your files and folders with AB Commander file manager for Windows 10,8,7,Vista, and XP.
User rating: 4.8/5
Purchase or download a free trial. Read more...

If this happens, it could be because the hosted network adapter got disabled for some reason. To solve this problem, open Device Manager, navigate to Network adapters, right-click Microsoft Hosted Network device, and choose to enable it. (If you don't see it in Device Manager, restart the laptop.) Check also that the real Internet connection is still shared.

Finally, what if you've created the access point, used it for awhile, and no longer need it, how to turn it off? Easy: open Windows command prompt and enter the following commands:

netsh wlan stop hostednetwork
netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=disallow

Happy travels!

Read more

Useful Windows utilities and security software