MySecretFolder 20.8 released

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August 3, 2020.

A new version 20.8 of MySecretFolder utility is available now for download and purchase!

This is a maintenance update that improves the existing functionality in some situations. If you have a previous version of MySecretFolder that does not experience problems, you don't need to update to this version. (As the old saying goes, no need to fix something that is not broken.)

Note: This update is not compatible with Windows Vista 64-bit, due to the Microsoft software support policy.

As usual, the trial version of MySecretFolder 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 MySecretFolder 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.)

AB Commander 20.8 released

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User rating: User rating 4.8/5
This software is compatible with Windows 10

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August 1, 2020.

A new version 20.8 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.)

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AB Commander 20.6 released

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User rating: User rating 4.8/5
This software is compatible with Windows 10

Try AB Commander:
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June 1, 2020.

A new version 20.6 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.)

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Solved: How to add Group Policy and Local Security Policy to Windows 10 Home

If you like to tweak various hidden settings of Windows 10, you've undoubtedly encountered many methods that mentioned the use of Group Policy editor (GPEdit.msc) or Local Security Policy editor (secpol.msc). However, such tools are only available for the Windows 10 Pro users and if your edition is Windows 10 Home you are out of luck: if you tried to use nay of these tools, you have probably encountered an error message saying they were unavailable. If this situation was frustrating to you, you would be glad to know that both Group Policy and Local Security Policy editors are actually available in Windows 10 Home, they are just not configured for use. (Those Microsoft marketing people can sure find sneaky ways to nudge you toward upgrading to the Pro edition of Windows, don't they?)

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In any case, this article is intended to show how to create a simple batch file (using Windows Notepad) that would perform the necessary configuration to enable Group Policy and Local Security Policy editors for use in Windows 10 Home edition.

Before you continue, though, a word of CAUTION: the instructions below worked for us in out test lab at the time they were being prepared, but they MAY NOT WORK for your specific computer configuration. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS PROVIDED "AS-IS" WITHOUT A WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. BY CHOOSING TO USE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION, YOU ASSUME THE ENTIRE RISK OF SELECTION, APPLICATION, AND USE OF THE INFORMATION. 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.

IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO FULLY ACCEPT THE RISK OF USING THIS INFORMATION, STOP HERE. If you do agree, BACKUP YOUR ENTIRE WINDOWS SYSTEM INSTALLATION before continuing.

Let's create a simple batch file that would perform the tasks needed. With File Explorer, navigate to the folder where you want to store the batch file. It could be almost any folder, for example the Downloads folder should work just fine. Now select all text in the box below (by clicking it with the mouse and pressing Ctrl+A), then press Ctrl+C to copy the text.

Now use Windows Start menu to run Notepad and press Ctrl+V to paste the text you've just copied into an empty Notepad window. Finally, use File - Save As on the Notepad menu to save the file to the Downloads folder. Give the file an appropriate name, such as Install-GPEdit.bat (make sure that the name ends in .bat) and, before pressing the Save button, make sure to select All files in the Save as type list:

Saving Install-GPEdit.bat file

Now back to File Explorer, right-click on the file you've just saved and choose Run as Administrator. You should be prompted to enter any key to continue, or you can press Ctrl and C at the same time to abort the procedure if you've changed your mind. If you do want it to proceed, press any key (the Enter key should work just fine), and after a few seconds the Group Policy and Local Security Policy editors should be installed and available for use with your Windows 10 Home computer:

Running Install-GPEdit.bat file

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To verify the success, press the WIN+R keys and enter gpedit.msc as the command to run. If it opens the Group Policy editor window, it worked. Now try the same WIN+R keys but this time enter secpol.msc as the command. Congratulations, you can now tweak your Windows settings and policies just like Windows 10 Professional users do!

Happy settings tweaking!

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File too large for USB drive? Here is how to fix it.

If you've encountered an error while copying a large file (4 GB or larger) to a USB drive that has plenty of free space, reporting that the file is too large, it's probably because the USB drive has been formatted with the FAT32 file system that has a limit on how large a file it can have.

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There is an relatively easy fix for the problem of a file being too large for the USB drive: you need to change the file system of the removable drive from FAT32 to a more modern system, such as exFAT of NTFS.

Before you proceed, check the USB drive you are about to modify for any important files of yours, and if it has some, copy them out of the drive to some other location (such as the PC or a different removable drive). This is necessary because changing the file system of a drive will automatically erase its contents.

After double-checking to make sure it's OK to erase the removable drive, while it's still attached to the PC, open the This PC folder, right-click on the USB drive in question (make sure it's the correct one!) and choose Format from the right-click menu. When the Format screen appears, select exFAT or NTFS from the File system list:

Changing the file system of a USB drive by formatting it

If you are not sure which one to choose, select exFAT: it has more support from non-windows device manufacturers, so if for example, you would want to use the USB drive with a Mac or Linux computer, chances are they will be able to open the files from the drive without any additional tweaking. If, however, you intend on using the drives with older Windows computers, such as Windows XP, then select NFTS, because exFAT is a relatively new format that may not be recognized by the old computer.

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While you are deciding on which file system to select, you may also want to enter a Volume Label for the drive, such as Photos, or Movies, or some other short text to remind yourself what this drive you are going to use for. This label will be displayed in the This PC folder next to the USB drive letter.

Another option to select is Quick Format: if it's on, the file system of the drive will be replaced with the new one without erasing the whole drive, which would be much faster then performing a complete erase.

Press Start to begin the formatting, and when it's done, press Close to dismiss the Format screen. Now you should be able to copy large files to the USB drive even if they are larger than 4GB without encountering errors.

Happy file managing!

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Forget your WI-FI password? Find it in Windows 10 settings

If you need to connect a new device to your WI-FI network, but you can't remember the WI-FI password, because your Windows laptop connects to it automatically, and it's been too long since you had to enter the password, you can easily find out the stored password using the Windows Settings app.

Click on the Windows Start buttons, choose Settings, and click on Network & Internet. When that screen opens, select Status in the left pane, and scroll down to the Network and Sharing Center link:

Network and sharing center link

Click on Network and Sharing Center, and on the next screen click the link to your wi-fi connection:

WI-FI connection properties link

On the WI-FI Status screen, press the Wireless properties button:

WI-FI Status wireless properties button

Finally, on the next screen select the Security tab, click on Show characters, and the wi-fi password should become visible in the Network security key box:

WI-FI password is displayed in the Network security key box

Now you can use this password to connect another device to your WI-FI network.

Happy web surfing!

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What is FAT32 maximum file size limit?

If you'd tried to copy files to a flash drive formatted with the FAT32 file system, you had probably discovered that while the drive worked perfectly for smaller files, it would give an error for large files (such as videos):

The file is too large for the destination file system

If you were wondering why an otherwise perfectly good drive would refuse to accept large files, it's most probably because it was formatted with the FAT32 file system, which has a rather low limit for how large a file it can have. This limit is 4GB-1, or exactly 4,294,967,295 bytes. If a file is larger than that, the FAT32 file system can't store it, and an attempt to copy such a file to a FAT32 formatted drive gives an error.

How to work around the FAT 32 max file size limit

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One way to solve the FAT32 file size limit is not to use the FAT32 file system at all: there are more recent systems to replace it, such as exFAT or NTFS. If you only intend to use the drive with your PC, then either of these systems should work just fine. If you plan to use the drive with non-microsoft devices, then exFAT would probably be a better choice, because exFAT system is supported by a wider range of third-party manufacturers. For example, if you format a micro-SD card with exFAT, chances are your Android phone would be able to recognize it, too.

It's quite easy to change the file system using your PC: you just need to use the format command on the drive. The most important thing to remember is that changing the file system destroyes any existing files on the drive, so before you begin, attach the drive to the PC and make sure it contains no important files of yours. If it does, save them for later by copying them out of the drive to some other folder on the PC.

To actually change the file system, open the This PC folder, right-click on the drive in question, choose Format... from the menu, and finally select the desired file system on the Format screen:

Formatting a FAT32 drive with a different file system

After the formatting is finished, your drive should be ready to accept files larger than 4GB limit with no problems.

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What if formatting the drive is not an option for some reason? In such a case you could still use a FAT32 formatted drive, for example, to transfer a large file between two PCs, but you need to split such a file into several chunks, smaller than the 4GB limit. Unfortunately, Windows does not have a built-in command to split a file into parts. However, you should be able to do that with a third-party tool such as our AB Commander, that offers, among many other tools, the Split and Merge commands designed specifically for such a task. (A free 30-day trial is available, no credit card required.)

Happy file managing!

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AB Commander 20.5 released

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User rating: User rating 4.8/5
This software is compatible with Windows 10

Try AB Commander:
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May 8, 2020.

A new version 20.5 of AB Commander is available now for download and purchase!

This version offers several minor improvements.

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.)

More information

How to create a secret folder with Folder Guard for Windows 10

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Folder Guard makes it easy to create a secret folder on your Windows computer and use that folder to keep the files you don't want other users to see. For example, you might be writing a diary on your Windows computer and of course you don't want someone else to read it. Or, you are writing a screenplay that for sure is going to be a blockbuster, and you don't want someone else to steal your brilliant idea. Or maybe you don't want the kids playing games on your PC to mess with the bank statements you keep on your computer. Whatever the reason you have for creating a secret folder to store the private files, Folder Guard is the tool for that.

Step 0. Download and install Folder Guard

The first thing to do, of course, is to download and install Folder Guard, if you have not done so yet. Don't worry, the download if free and it comes with a free 30-day license of full use, no credit card required to try it. If you find it not useful, you can remove it from the computer just like any other software, using Windows Control Panel.

Step 1. Run Folder Guard application

If this is the first time time you are running Folder Guard, you should see the prompt to set up the folder protection when you launch Folder Guard using the desktop icon or Windows Start menu:

Set up folder protection with Folder Guard

If you've used Folder Guard before, you should see a bit different screen with the link to change folder protection settings at the bottom:

Change folder protection settings of Folder Guard

Step 2. Set up restrictions for the secret folder

Folder Guard offers several methods of protecting your private folder, each having it's own advantages. For our case, we want to create a secret folder that would be invisible to the casual user. In other words, we want to make the folder hidden. The way to set up the visibility restrictions of a folder with Folder Guard is to use the Restricted view of the main Folder Guard window:

Configuring settings for the secret folder with Folder Guard application

If you have not set up any restrictions yet, the list should contain just one link, Restrict a file or a folder. Click on it, and a wizard should appear that will help us set up the proper restrictions.

Step 3. Select the folder that you want to be secret

If you are just testing Folder Guard, you may want to create a test folder on the desktop or under the Documents folder, or somewhere else on your computer. Press the Browse for folder button and select the folder that you want to become secret:

Select the folder that you want to make secret folder

Step 4. Choose to hide folder

We want the folder we've chosen to be secret, so we use the next screen to select the option to make the secret folder hidden:

Hide folder to make it a secret folder

Step 5. Prevent access to the secret folder

Press Next, and another screen should appear giving you options for restricting access to the secret folder. We select the No access option, to make sure that if someone were to guess the name of our secret folder and attempt to open files in it without actually seeing the folder, such attempts would be stopped by Folder Guard:

Restricting user access to the private folder

Step 6. Enable the Folder Guard protection of folders

The restrictions of our secret folder are all set at this point. The last step is to tell Folder Guard to start protecting the computer using the settings we've just created. To do that, press the Protect button on the toolbar, or press Apply if the protection is already on. You can also exit Folder Guard application and reply Yes when it prompts you to continue to protect the computer:

Enabling protection of the secret folder with Folder Guard

At this point, if you try to use Windows File Explorer to browse your computer, you should not see the secret folder (we told Folder Guard to keep our secret folder hidden, remember?) So if someone else is using your computer, they would not see the secret folder either. However, what if you want to see the secret folder and add something to your diary or edit that screenplay of yours? Run Folder Guard using the desktop icon or Start menu, and choose Pause the folder protection:

Pause protection of the secret folder

Enter the Folder Guard password that you've set up when you've installed Folder Guard, and the protection will pause: your secret folder should become visible and accessible again. You can open the files from the secret folder, edit them, save the files back, as usual. When done making changes to your secret files, run Folder Guard again and choose to resume the protection:

Resume protection of the secret folder

The secret folder should become invisible again.

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As you can see, Folder Guard is making it easy to create and maintain the secret Windows folder. If you have not tried it yet, please feel free to download Folder Guard free of charge. It comes with a free 30-day license of full use, no credit card required to try it.

Happy computing! And good luck with the screenplay.

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How to easily password-protect Windows 10 Linux folders with Folder Guard

As you probably know, the newest versions of Windows 10 allow one to add a separate Linux operating system to be used directly from Windows. It was possible to access such systems with the command shell for quite a while, but the newest releases of Windows 10 make it possible to browse the Linux files with Windows Explorer, too:

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) can be browsed with File Explorer

(As of this writing, this feature is only available for the Windows Insider users, but it's expected to become available for all users in the next major Windows 10 update.)

While this is a very handy feature, you probably don't want someone getting hold of your PC to mess around with your Linux files that easily. Wouldn't it be nice to protect access to the Linux file system with a password? As usual in such a situation, Folder Guard is to the rescue!

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How to protect a Windows Linux folder with password

The easiest way to set up a password for the Linux folder is to drag that folder with the mouse and drop it over the Folder Guard application window. Don't do it for the very top level item named Linux, because that's a virtual folder that cannot be protected, but you should be able to do it for the folder representing the Linux distribution (Ubuntu-18.04 in our example below.) If you want to protect a specific subfolder deeper within the Linux file system, you can drag such a folder, too, instead of the root folder of the distribution. Also make sure that the Locked view (the one that contains the list of the password-protected folders) is active within the Folder Guard application. After you've dropped a Linux distribution folder over the Folder Guard window, it should start the usual password protection wizard automatically:

Folder Guard wizard for protecting a Linux folder with a password

Don't be alarmed when you see that the path of the folder to protect starts with \\wsl$: this is the name of the internal virtual network server that Windows creates specifically to offer access to the Linux files via the Windows file system. Press Next to specify the password, and then to select the desired properties for the password (you can find more information about the password options in the User's Guide.) :

Properties for the password to protect a Linux folder

As you can see, setting up a password for a Linux folder is not different from password protecting any other Windows folder. After you've finished the wizard, the Linux folder you've just protected should appear in the Locked view of Folder Guard:

Password protected Linux folder is now listed in Folder Guard application

Press Protect (or Apply) button in Folder Guard toolbar and the protection of the folder should take place after that. Try opening the Linux folder with File Explorer and you should see the familiar Unlock button:

The Linux folder is password protected with Folder Guard

Press the Unlock button, enter the password, and the access to the Linux file system should be granted:

The Linux folder after it has been unlocked with the password protected with Folder Guard

Notice the Lock button that appears in the title bar of File Explorer: just like with other Folder Guard protected folders, you can use this button to lock the folder back after you are done working with the files it contains.

That's all it takes to set up a password for a Linux folder. Keep in mind that such password protection works only when you are trying to access the Linux folders with File Explorer. If you were to use the command shell window, you would NOT see the password prompt:

The Linux folder can be accessed with command shell

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The technical reason for such a behavior is that, unlike File Explorer, the command shell does not use the \\wsl$ server to work with the Linux files, it uses a different mechanism for that. There is a way to protect access for such a method with Folder Guard, too, we plan to discuss it in a separate article.

Happy computing!

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