USBCrypt 15.4 released

Buy USBCrypt:
Personal license $49.95
Business license $99.95

Try USBCrypt free:
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April 12, 2015.

A new version 15.4 of USBCrypt software is available now for download and purchase!

This update includes several improvements and fixes, such as:

  • Full support for the exFAT file system, on those versions of Windows that offer exFAT support.
  • A new command, PANIC, has been added to the USBCrypt notification icon menu that you could use to quickly stop all encrypted drives, even if they have open files on them.
  • When creating a new Virtual Encrypted Disk, the name you have chosen for the disk is now used as the drive label of the Virtual Encrypted Disk.
  • A new Group Policy has been added to the Administrator's Kit that enables the administrator to hide the license key information on the About USBCrypt window.
  • The look of the main window of USBCrypt has been changed to give the 'flat' appearance.
  • Several other minor improvements have been made.

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

Audiobit Music Player for Windows Phone 8.1 released

We've recently released Audiobit Music Player for Windows Phone 8.1 and it's getting great ratings from the users! Audiobit is a folder player that you can use to browse your phone and/or the SD card inserted into the phone and play the music files they contain directly from the app.

Audiobit does not use the MP3 tags or other information that the music files may contain. Instead, it uses the folder names and the file names of the music tracks to display the music on your phone. This way, you have the full control of how your music is organized and shown. You can connect the phone to your PC and use Windows Explorer (or better yet, our AB Commander) to move or rename the folders and the music files on your phone and the SD card it has. For example, you may want to move several folders containing albums from the same artist into a single artist folder, to keep them separate from other artists. If you don't like the way the tracks are displayed, just rename their files! And so on. Audiobit will show the folders and the tracks exactly as you have arranged them.

How to get Audiobit? From your Windows 8.1 phone, open Windows Store and search for Audiobit, then press the Install button after it's been displayed.

Happy listening!

AB Commander v.9.5 released

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

Try AB Commander free:
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November 10, 2014.

A new version 9.5 of AB Commander is available now for download and purchase!

In this update, we've added more support for the virtual folders: you can now view the text files in the virtual folders with the built-in Quick Editor of AB Commander.

If you are not sure what a virtual folder is, it's a folder that appears folder-like in Windows Explorer (and in AB Commander), while it does not actually exist in the file system. For example, if you open a Zip file, you can navigate inside of it just like a real folder, but all the files and subfolders you see there are actually stored within the Zip file, not as separate file system entities.

Another example: some devices, such as Windows Phone, when connected to the PC, expose their internal storage as the virtual folders.

The problem with the virtual folders is, they require a different approach to work with their files than the real folders. A bigger problem is, the software vendors that design the software that handles the virtual folders of their devices, often cut corners and do not implement the virtual folder support completely. Even Microsoft, for the virtual folders of the Windows Phone, decided not to implement the software interface that would allow other software companies like ours to write to the files to the phone storage directly. The only way to do it at this time is via the drag-and-drop operation with Windows Explorer or AB Commander.

Regardless, in this update to AB Commander we've added to Quick Editor the capability that should allow it to view the files located in the virtual folders in about the same way as the ones in the real folders. For example, if you navigate inside of a Zip file, and see a text file in it, you no longer need to extract that file first before viewing it. Now you can just select the file and press Ctrl+Q to open it with the Quick Editor, just like a regular file.

If you've modified the text and wanted to save it back, it's a bit tricky. Some virtual folders allow to save the modified file back to the original, but not if you choose a new name for the file. Other virtual folders (such as the Zip files) do not allow even that: you need to save the modified file as a temporary file on your hard drive, and then drag-and-drop it to the Zip file to save it there. It's sort of like going from LA to San Francisco via Kansas, but there is no better way at this time, sorry.

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.)

StartFinity Pro v.2.1 released

StartFinity Start Menu for Windows 8. (Click to enlarge) StartFinity Pro Start Menu (Click to enlarge)

We've received a great feedback from the users who downloaded StartFinity Pro. The number one question we heard was: why have a separate Apps menu, when you already have the Start Screen command? Why not combine them into a single item, and make more room for other useful commands on the Start Menu?

Well, dear faithful StartFinity users, your wild dream has come through: we have just released a new version and in this version the Apps menu has been merged into the Start Screen menu, just as you asked!

To update your existing StartFinity installation, right-click on the StartFinity start button, choose Check for updates from the shortcut menu, and it will guide you through the update.

Or, go to the Download StartFinity page to download and install StartFinity 2.1 manually.

Happy computing!

USBCrypt updated to v.14.6

Buy USBCrypt:
Personal license $49.95
Business license $99.95

Try USBCrypt free:
Download free trial

June 5, 2014.

A new version 14.6 of USBCrypt software is available now for download and purchase!

This is a maintenance release that includes several improvements and fixes, such as:

  • A problem has been corrected that caused Windows to display an error message when using the System Image backup program of Windows even though no Virtual Encrypted Disks have been started.
  • Several other minor improvements have been made.

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

Migrating encrypted data from TrueCrypt to USBCrypt

If you've been using the popular encryption software TrueCrypt, you are probably aware that its anonymous development team had announced recently that they are discontinuing the development of TrueCrypt, and advising its users to migrate their encrypted files to other software solutions. While it's not entirely clear which "unfixed security issues" the developers refer to in their announcement, it's probably a good idea to start looking for an alternative to TrueCrypt.

Encrypt and password-protect external drives with USBCrypt software for Windows 10,8,7, and XP.
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If you've used TrueCrypt to encrypt an external drive, then our USBCrypt is an obvious choice: we've designed it specifically to make the encryption of the external drives easy and straightforward. (And yes, it's as secure as it can be.)

Special offer for the TrueCrypt users migrating to USBCrypt:

SAVE 50% NOW

If you've got a new external drive where you want to move your data from a TrueCrypt volume, the procedure is quite simple: all you need to do is use USBCrypt software to create a new empty Virtual Encrypted Disk on the external drive, then mount the TrueCrypt volume and use Windows Explorer (or any other file manager you like) to copy the files from the TrueCrypt volume to the Virtual Encrypted Disk created with USBCrypt. After the copying is all done, the data have been migrated! You can now delete the TrueCrypt volume and use that external drive for other purposes.

What if you don't have another external drive and want to convert the same drive from TrueCrypt to USBCrypt? That's not a problem, too: you surely have a backup of the data in some other place, right? Or, if this is a backup drive, then you have the master copy of the files on your computer, correct? So in such a case, first make sure the second copy (the master or the backup) of the data is in good condition and up-to-date, and then just format the external drive, use USBCrypt to create a fresh new Virtual Encrypted Disk on it, and then copy the files from the master or from the backup onto the encrypted disk using Windows Explorer or another file manager.

Happy computing!

Special offer for the TrueCrypt users migrating to USBCrypt: SAVE 50% NOW

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Enhancing a photo CD collection with PhotoLauncher

There are so many ways to share photos online these days, but wouldn't it be nice to save a collection of images on a recordable CD, to be able to use the CD on a moment's notice to showcase your latest vacation photos when your friends stop by for a visit? Ideally, you probably want the CD to start a slide show of the photos automatically when you insert it into the computer, because who has time to fiddle with the computer controls while you are discussing your last vacation with the friends, right?

OK, let's try to create such a disc. Open File Explorer, navigate to the folder where the photos are stored, select the ones you want to include in the collection (you want only the best ones, right?), and use the Burn to disc command:

Use Windows Explorer to burn the photos to a recordable disc.

That was easy, wasn't it? Now let's try to insert the freshly created disc in the PC and check the result, will it start displaying the photos on its own? Unfortunately, not. If you have Windows XP and the auto-play of the CDs is not disabled on your computer, you will probably see a prompt asking you to start a slide show, but Microsoft has disabled this function in the later versions of Windows (you can thank the bad guys for making us all paranoid about letting things run automatically on our computers.)

If you have a more recent version of Windows, such as Windows 8, then Windows should offer you to browse the CD with File Explorer, which you can use to start a slide show with a few mouse clicks:

Use Windows Explorer to start a slide show.

Still, even a few mouse clicks feels like so much trouble when the friends are eager to see your photos right away! Is there a way to automate the process? Let's try to design a file named autorun.inf to burn along with the photos, to make it start the photo show right away. Run Windows Notepad (or if you use AB Commander, open its Quick Editor) and enter the following text:

[autorun]
label=My Photos
icon=Fish.jpg
action=Show Photos
open=Fish.jpg
shellexecute=Fish.jpg

The label directive lets us specify the text that Windows should use when prompting you what to do with the disc. The action directive lets us provide the text of the action on the Windows prompt. Finally, the open and shellexecute directives specify the file we want to open: Windows will launch the default application to open the file, which most probably display the image on the screen. In this example we decided to start with Fish.jpg, but you can specify another file, of course.

Save the file as autorun.inf somewhere on your hard disk (make sure the actual file name is autorun.inf and not autorun.inf.txt which may happen in some situations if you save the file with Windows Notepad.) Add this file to the set of the image files to burn, and make another disc, this time with the autorun.inf included with the images. Insert the disc into the computer and observe what Windows does with the disc now:

This should work well enough if the default application associated with the JPG files on your computer is the photo viewing application: if you select Show Photos from this menu (it could be another text, depending on the action directive in the autorun.inf file), it should launch the photo viewer and open the Fish.jpg file. However, what if you have another application set up to open the JPG files by default, such as PhotoShop? Or, if your friend is too busy to watch the photos right now, but offers to borrow the CD to watch it at home, who knows what kind of software is set up on your friend's computer to open the JPG files?

Password-protect and hide personal files and folders with Folder Guard for Windows 10,8,7, and XP.
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Is there a way to make sure that the Photo viewer is launched to view the image on the CD, and not some other graphics application? That's where our freeware utility PhotoLauncher comes in. We've designed it so that when it starts, it launches the built-in Windows photo viewer to display an image file from the CD. Moreover, after launching the photo viewer, it also automatically turns on the slide show mode. Think how many mouse clicks and other trouble this can save!

To use PhotoLauncher, download it using the button below, save the Zip file to your hard drive, unpack it, review the license file included there, and if you agree to the terms of the license, add the file PhotoLauncher.exe to the set of the image files to be burned to the CD. Also, modify the autorun.inf file as follows:

[autorun]
label=My Photos
icon=PhotoLauncher.exe
action=Show My Photos
open=PhotoLauncher.exe
shellexecute=PhotoLauncher.exe
firstimage=Fish.jpg
autoplay=on

Let's see what's changed: we've used the open and shellexecute to specify the file PhotoLauncher.exe, because that's the file we want to run by default when the CD is inserted in the computer. We've also added two more directives, firstimage and autoplay. The first one is used to tell PhotoLancher which image file it should display first, and the second one lets you control whether the slide show mode should or should not be enabled automatically. (It's on by default, but if for some reason you don't want the slide show to start on its own, you can specify autoplay=off in the autorun.inf file.)

Burn the image files together with the updated autorun.inf file and the PhotoLauncher.exe file , and see what happens when you insert the CD into the computer:

If you select Show My Photos from this menu, PhotoLauncher will start and it in turn will locate and launch the default Windows Photo Viewer to display the first image you've specified, and also switch the slide show mode on (unless you have disabled it, of course). Exactly what we wanted!

OK, this works with Windows PCs, but what about Macs, Linux, and other computers? Sorry, PhotoLauncher will not work with them. However, you should be able to launch the photo viewer manually and make it display the photos from the CD that way.

Happy computing!

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Using DiffMerge as the external tool of AB Commander


Take control of your files and folders with AB Commander file manager for Windows 10,8,7,Vista, and XP.
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AB Commander includes a basic file comparing tool that you can use to compare two files and see the differences between them. To use it, first make sure that only two files are selected in AB Commander. (They could be in the same panel or in the opposite panels.) Press Shift+E or choose Compare Files from the Tools menu of AB Commander, and the results of the comparison should appear in a separate window:

This tool is fine for a quick glance at the differences, but what if you want to see what exactly has changed between the two files, line by line? To see such information, you need to install an external diff viewer application. There are quite a few of such applications available on the web, and the basic way of using them is the same: you need to specify the two files to compare, and the diff viewer would display them side by side and show the differences in some way.

One of such tools is DiffMerge published by SourceGear, LLC. It's a free download, no payment is required to use this tool (at least that was the case at the time of this writing.) To download DiffMerge, first determine whether your Windows version is 32- or 64-bit. Then, go to the DiffMerge download page and select the appropriate version, 32- or 64-bit, to match your version of Windows. Download and save the file to your hard drive. Finally, run the setup file to install DiffMerge on your computer.

Next step is to integrate DiffMerge software with AB Commander, to be able to quickly use it to display the differences between the two selected files, without the need to specify them separately using the DiffMerge file selection interface. To do that, we need to set up DiffMerge as the external file comparer within AB Commander. Choose View - Options from the menu of AB Commander, select the Tools tab, select File Comparer in the dropdown box, and press the Options button next to External. When the Options for External File Comparer window opens, specify the path to the DiffMerge application in the Path area, such as:

"C:\Program Files\SourceGear\Common\DiffMerge\sgdm.exe"

(You can determine this path by, for example, looking into the properties of the shortcut that DiffMerge installs on your Windows desktop.)

Also, enter the following text in the Command line area:

"%1" "%2"

Why such a command line? It will be used by AB Commander to pass the information about the selected files to DiffMerge when you launch it from within AB Commander: %1 will be replaced with the path of the first selected file, %2 with the path of the second selected file, and they both will be enclosed in the double quotes, to account for the possibility of the presence of the space characters in their file names:

That's all that it takes to integrate DiffMerge with AB Commander. From now on, when you want to examine the differences between two text files in detail, select them in AB Commander, and choose Ctrl+Shift+E (or choose Tools - Compare Files - Alternative File Comparer from the menu) and DiffMerge will be launched for you:

The differences between two files  displayed by DiffMerge.
The differences between two files displayed by DiffMerge (click to enlarge).

One final note: such file comparison only works with the plain text files, such as the files created with Windows Notepad, or with the Quick Editor of AB Commander. If you want to compare, say, two Microsoft Word files, you should use the built-in revision history viewer that Microsoft Word provides and that's specifically designed for the Word files.

Happy file managing!

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Useful Windows utilities and security software