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Searching for the best free video editing software to run on Windows 10

By | blog

Searching for the best free video editing software to run on Windows 10 may be time consuming and fill up your computer with software leftovers.

Video editing has become increasingly popular due to the availability of video cameras and the trend of sharing videos on social networks. To save money, you can use completely free tools for video editing. However, it can be difficult to find good video editing software, especially if it is for Windows.

Which could be the best option?

Whether you want to make basic video editions or trying to become a Youtuber, you can probably not achieve what you want because of the high costs of some of the most professional editing tools.

That’s why it’s important to have a good list of free alternatives nearby, and that’s what we bring you in this post.

Best free video editing software compatible with Windows 10

Filmora is simple to use and has an intuitive interface that facilitates video editing even for beginners. This specific video editing software offers features such as green screen, slow camera, split screen and much more.

Including a full range of transitions, filters, texts, music settings, and animated elements, this video editor makes it easy for you to share your videos on an iPad, iPhone or directly to Facebook, YouTube and other social networks.

Official website: https://filmora.wondershare.com/

Windows Movie Maker is a free video editing tool for Windows with which users can create home movies with a simple drag and drop operation.

This program has functions that allow you to add video effects, video transitions, titles/credits, audio tracks and timeline narration. In addition, new effects and transitions can be added and existing ones can be modified using XML code.

Official website: http://www.windows-movie-maker.org/

VirtualDub is one of the best free video editing software for Windows 10; it has compression capacity, video split, and the possibility to add video tracks.

It also has batch processing capability, which allows the manipulation of a large number of files at the same time. The program can be improved and have it functionality extended by using third party video filters.

Official website: http://www.virtualdub.org/

Wax is a flexible and high-performance video editing program, useful for private and professional users. It can be used as a stand-alone application or as an add-on to other video editors.

Official website: http://www.debugmode.com/wax/

Avidemux is a free video editor for Windows. It is designed for simple video editing tasks such as cropping, filtering, encoding. This free video editor supports various file types, including AVI and MPEG files. Avidemux is compatible with DVD, MP4, and ASF thanks to a variety of codecs.

Official website: http://fixounet.free.fr/avidemux/

Blender is a free, open source 3D content creation program which is compatible with all major operating systems.

This free editing editing software is distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Blender has many advanced features, such as modifier-based modeling tools, powerful character animation tools and nodes-based material.

Blender seems to be one of the best video editors for both Windows and MacOS, recommendable even for professional use.

Official website: https://www.blender.org/

How to ultimately choose?

While any of the above options may be a good fit for your particular purpose of use, it is always recommended to try two or three different software products before you decide to learn the deep methods of working with a particular tool.

Once you get to install and uninstall even some of the best free video editing software for Windows 10, leftover files and registry keys may clutter your PC.

To completely uninstall software and remove leftovers, use jv16 PowerTools instead of the normal Windows Remove/Uninstall software features (which may not clean traces related to software that does not register with the Windows software management system).

CCleaner malware puts over 2 billion machines at risk

By | blog, news

Update for customers asking about CCleaner malware: it seems that malicious software has been discovered as being distributed alongside CCleaner between August 15th, 2017 – September 13th, 2017.

While editing this blog post, I aim to provide an as unbiased point of view as possible, considering that this website also serves a PC System Utilities software product to its audience. For this reason, we should look at this event with humbleness and regard it as a good motivation to increase our awareness regarding the security of the software that we use.

Why was CCleaner used to distribute malware?

One way to distribute malware to different organisations is through software supply chains. This is usually very effective as it is based on the trust created between the software developer and the end-user.

An example of this is the worm Nyetya, that recently re-coined the term ‘ransomware’ using proof of concept network level spreading behavior.

According to the developers of CCleaner, more than 2 billion downloads had been registered by November 2016 and a growth rate of approximately 5 million downloads per week for its flagship product.

ccleaner growth rateFigure 1: CCleaner growth statistics

CCleaner malware – a ‘numbers game’

As recent events show, these look like just the numbers needed for a motivated malware developer / advanced attacker to step in and take control of the software distribution network.

Sadly, Cisco’s Talos Intelligence Group recently discovered that CCleaner version 5.33 contained malware attached to it. More specifically, a backdoor that allows the receiving and processing of remote command & control commands.

 

Figure 2: Screenshot of the Cisco’s notification date for Avast

 

As a result, the CCleaner version released on August 15th, 2017 presented risks of infection for an unprecedented number of computers (including those that run on critical infrastructures) and enormous potential damage to software users across the world.

Since then, it is now estimated that over 700,000 machines were infected and may still be receiving command & control remote tasks from the owners of what now seems to be the fastest growing botnet of 2017.

ccleaner malwareFigure 3: Screenshot of CCleaner – Version History

 

Few weeks later, on September 13th, 2017, Cisco’s Talos informed Avast (the antivirus company that had recently acquired Piriform) of the attack and to initiate relevant action on the matter.

According to Talos, “over 700,000 machines reported to the malicious software command & control server over this time period, and more than 20 machines have received the second-stage payload”.

During the installation of CCleaner 5.33, the 32-bit CCleaner binary was also contained in a malicious payload that featured Domain Generation Algorithm (DGA) as well as hardcoded Command and Control (C2) functionality. We have confirmed that this malicious version of CCleaner was hosted directly on CCleaner’s download server as of September 11, 2017.

 

It remains a mystery if the CCleaner version update released on September 12th, 2017 was related to the necessity of removing malware or if removing the backdoor from the distribution repository happened only after the notification by Cisco on September 13th, 2017.

Getting to understand the CCleaner malware incident

The infected CCleaner version 5.33 was distributed through the official CCleaner download site, using a software installer that could trick most security solutions. The malicious installer was signed using a certificate issued to Piriform Ltd by Symantec, with validity date until 10/2018.

In its analysis, Talos found the following compilation artefact in the CCleaner binary:

  • S:\workspace\ccleaner\branches\v5.33\bin\CCleaner\Release\CCleaner.pdb

With the fact that the software installer was validly signed, along with the presence of this malicious compilation artefact attached, several hypotheses have been thought about the malware and how it became part of the system. None has been confirmed so far.

What is certain is that the version containing the infected loads has been removed and is no longer available for download.

CCleaner malware indicators of compromise: registry keys

Talos also identified what is believed to be a software bug in malicious code related to the C2 function. A DGA computed IP address was found at the following location in the registry:

  • HKLM\SOFTWARE\Piriform\Agomo: NID

This IP address apparently does nothing and its purpose is unknown because the malware does not use it. Once the malware transmits the system profile information to the C2 server it can use an HTTPS POST request. Then, it stores the current system time value plus two days at the following registry location:

  • HKLM\SOFTWARE\Piriform\Agomo: TCID

CCleaner malware indicators of compromise: files

Any file names that own the following SHA-256 unique signatures are supposed to be part of the first phase infection:

According to VirusTotal, a multi-antivirus web scanner that is now owned by Google, the CCleaner malware has received the detection verdict of ‘Trojan.PRForm.A’ from Ad-Aware and ‘Backdoor.Win32.InfeCleaner.a’ from Kaspersky.

Avast, the antivirus company that currently owns CCleaner, is now detecting its own infected software, CCleaner version 5.3, under the verdict ‘Win32:TlsHack-A [Trj]’. Avast recently acquired Piriform, the makers of CCleaner, only few weeks before the incident occurred.

What to do in order to be 100% sure that the CCleaner malware is no longer in my system?

In order to be 100% sure, it is recommended that users who downloaded CCleaner v5.3 should restore their systems to a state before August 15, 2017, or the full reinstallation of the operating system.

What if restoring the operating system is not an option?

There are naturally multiple inconveniences that can jump to mind when it comes to restoring your operating system to an older state. Luckily, there are ways in which you could maybe get a 96% chance of have gotten rid of the CCleaner malware without a system restore.

Here are the steps that you need to follow:

  1. Make sure that your system does not still have the CCleaner – version 5.3 installed. If it is still installed, you can use the Software Uninstaller tool in an attempt to completely remove it.
  2. Scan your computer using a reputable antivirus product. If in doubt which one to choose, please consider the results of these independent antivirus tests.
  3. Install a second opinion antivirus solution in order to have an extra point of view. If you need our help, let us know. We will be glad to assist!

Unfortunately, security events that are not completely understood are often downplayed in severity. This can work counter to a victim’s best interests.

Therefore, companies should remain conservative with their advice before all of the details of the attack have been determined.

Security patches for Windows XP – what they mean and what to do

By | blog

Security patches for Windows XP have been released earlier this year in an unusual and unprecedented step in the history of Microsoft.

The US company has decided to publish security patches for Windows XP in an effort to counteract and protect users and businesses from the dangerous ransomware known as Wannacrypt, which has put thousands of computers and hundreds of companies around the world in check.

For this reason alone, the current security patches for Windows XP are amazing!

security patches for Windows XP

There is no doubt that the ransomware attack which occurred earlier this year was one of the biggest in our history. While in passing, it has demonstrated how vulnerable our systems are to this type of robbery.

The truth is that, although technology has progressed in a stellar way in recent times, many money dispensers continue to operate based on tremendously old software. This is one of the many probable reasons why Microsoft decided to launch security patches for Windows XP.

Considering that the final public infection count was 200,000 computers in more than a hundred countries, the metric comes just like a “thumbs-up” to those that thought their bank accounts couldn’t be compromised with this computer attack.

The truth is that only some very specific business organizations were affected by the attack, as the attack did not primarily target consumers (who have already mostly upgraded to newer operating systems).

security patches for Windows 10

It is not surprising that the release of this patch is extremely unusual since the base program has not had security support for quite some time already.

In this case, we could perfectly see the maximum “desperate situations require desperate measures” being applied for the truth is that no one really saw this tremendous attack coming.

Security patches for Windows XP should be maintained

It becomes extremely urgent to modernize our security and computer systems, especially in the case of ATMs, devices that even in 2017 are still operating under unsupported operating systems, thus requiring in many cases security patches for Windows XP.

This vulnerability came to light with the leak of National Security Agency (NSA) spy tools, since Microsoft has already released a malware security patch for newer operating systems, but ignored those who were no longer part of the security update guarantee.

Now after the scope of the Wannacrypt attack, the company most likely decided to publish primarily security patches for Windows XP that protect against this vulnerability in computers using Windows XP, Windows 98 and Windows Server 2013.

The scope of the WannaCrypt ransomware has already caught thousands of computers from more than 100 different countries like UK, Spain, Italy, Russia, Egypt or China, and part of the United States.

This massive hacking affected the computers of hundreds of companies such as Telefonica, Vodafone, Gas Natural or the British public health service.

The attack affected almost half of the world and it has been discovered that the code used contains parts that had already been used in the code of “Contopee”, developed by Lazarus Group in 2015.

This type of malicious software “hijacks” the data on infected PCs, encrypts them and then requests a rescue from the affected party so that they can retrieve them.

As we saw, this ransomware exploited a vulnerability that was already solved in the most current operating systems; however, there are still millions of computers on the planet with old systems and, worse, without any support. Most of them work with Windows XP.

Perhaps what has made this ransomware with network worm features built-in is that although it follows the classic mechanism of infection, once it sneaks into the host computer, it also takes advantage of the network connectivity and vulnerability mentioned, transmitting itself across to networked computers very quickly.

Microsoft highlights that if you are a Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 user and you have automatic updates enabled, you do not have to worry about anything because these patches are automatically applied.

Windows XP has been one of the most popular and beloved operating system versions of all time. However, Microsoft had declared it obsolete a long time ago.

It should be noted that users of XP with versions without extended support should manually download and install the security patches for Windows XP from the official website.

Although Windows XP stopped receiving support in 2014, it seems that in the wake of the serious problems caused by the Wannacry ransomware, something has changed.

In the same way as in May, Windows XP has again received patches in the June release. As Microsoft itself cites, this is due to the imminent risk of cyber-attacks by government organizations that could exploit vulnerabilities corrected in supported operating systems but were left open in others such as Windows XP.

List of security patches for Windows XP

Microsoft has released updates to fix up to 96 vulnerabilities for Windows, Internet Explorer, Edge, Microsoft Office and Skype. The following are especially critical:

CVE-2017-8543 – This vulnerability in the Windows search engine, sends modified messages which allow an elevation of privileges remotely through SMB to take control of the machine

CVE-2017-8464 – A vulnerability in Windows through which a malicious .LNK file would allow an attacker to gain user privileges on the machine. Remember not to work with admin users!

CVE-2017-0176 – Vulnerability in RDP servers with Smart Card functionality enabled. It allows an attacker to execute code remotely.

CVE-2017-0222 – Internet Explorer memory management vulnerability that allows an attacker through a malicious web to execute remote code in the context of the current user of the system; again, do not work with admin users.

CVE-2017-0267 – This time it is the SMB server that through a special package could reveal information about the server to an attacker

CVE-2017-7269 – Another remote code execution due to a vulnerability in Webdav memory object management

CVE-2017-8461 – Vulnerability in RPC servers with remote access and routing enabled that allows a remote code execution attack

CVE-2017-8487 – Vulnerability in the Windows OLE component when validating user input that allows a remote code execution attack

CVE-2017-8552 – Vulnerability in the Windows kernel that allows elevation of privileges

Researchers and security experts have expressed concern about Microsoft’s strategy to patch the discontinued Windows XP.

Experts have many time said that every time there is a new vulnerability in newer versions of Windows, this vulnerability probably exists in Windows XP as well.

This combined with the situation that a significant part of users is using Windows XP does not speak well about the support of this operating system and its security in the future.

Basically, the theory is that if you are going to update a defect, this does not have XP safe against all other defects that have been updated for newer versions of Windows.

Must have Windows 10 Store games for PC that you need to try

By | blog

Before we start, there is something that needs to be clarified. This list is not a historical examination of the most groundbreaking PC games that exist.

It is well-known that Final Fantasy 7 defined an entire generation with its storytelling. Metroid is one of the best action games ever created. Forza Horizon 3 is the ultimate open-world race games.

Everyone knows these facts and agrees on them. This list is simply a collection of excellent games that are being offered by Windows 10 Store.

Creating this list was hard.

Windows 10 store provides a lot of options, which is something not a lot of people know. The reason why Windows Store does not get enough attention is due to Steam. Valve’s Steam Store is still one of the biggest online game providers in the world.

Hence, what this list will do is showcase several major games that are available on the Windows 10 Store from each genre. Each game listed here is available, right now, at the Windows Store.

Without any further ado, here is the list of must-have games available in the Windows Store.

Action Games

Batman: Arkham Knight

The Batman series is Rocksteady Studios’ crown jewel. The only way to describe this game is by saying: You are Batman. The controls are easy to use. The storyline is superbly written, and the graphics are what you expect from a big-budget game. Rocksteady Studios borrowed everything that worked in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City to the third instalment of the series. Packed with enough goon-busting fun to satisfy any action addict, Batman: Arkham Knight will not disappoint anyone.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider sees young Lara Croft face a group of fanatical zealots who pursue immortality. The game features magnificent set pieces with jaw-dropping views. It also contains an excellent combat mechanic and challenging puzzles. Overall, the game lives to the outstanding reputation that the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot created. Rise Tom Raider provides non-stop action that will leave you exhausted.

Adventure Games

Game of Thrones

Telltale’s Game of Thrones follows the exploits and adventures of the characters on the HBO show with the same name. Now, some bookworms might wish the game focused more on the book narrative instead of the TV show. Regardless, Telltale’s Game of Thrones is phenomenal representation Westeros’ cruel and harsh realm. So get ready to play the game of thrones, but remember: All men must die.

The Walking Dead

Another amazing gem created by Telltale, The Walking Dead combines the horrors of the zombie apocalypse with fantastic storytelling. Get ready to play as Lee, an ex-convict who finds himself in charge of Clementine, an orphaned kid. The game is filled with memorable characters and emotional moments that will make you fear the living more than the dead.

Fighting Games

Mortal Kombat XL

There is a soft spot in all of us for this game. Mortal Kombat has kept generations horrified and addicted to the gore and violence it displays. Unfortunately, when Mortal Kombat X came out for PC, it did not receive the support its console version counterpart got. In comes Mortal Kombat XL. This update offers PC gamers with all the new fighters, stages, costumes, and gore that we have come to love and appreciated from the MK franchise.

Killer Instinct: Definitive Edition

From one classic franchise to another, Rare’s Killer Instinct is back for console user after being available exclusively for consoles. The Definitive Edition includes all 26 characters and all the content featured in the Supreme Edition bundle. Additionally, the game contains a story line and arcade mode that allows you to learn more about the characters or simply challenge your friends and perform a c-c-c-combo breaker.

Horror Games

Alien: Isolation

Alien: Isolation is the game all Alien fans deserve. Creative Assembly drew inspiration from Ridley Scott’s original 1979 film instead of Jame Cameron’s action-filled movie. And this new take on an Alien game completely works. Alien: Isolation is all about subterfuge and evasion. The lack of weapons to defend yourself or a companion to help you, makes you feel vulnerable and isolated. You have beat the game and avoid the alien threat by using your wits, environment, and tools crafted. Alien: Isolation is the dark, oppressive, and smart world we deserve.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

It could be argued the Resident Evil series lost its ways after a while. The game became a 3rd person shooting game instead of terrifying and nightmare-inducing. All that changed with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Capcom chose to go back to its roots by slowing down the action and changing character’s motivation. The dread and horror this decision generates, rivals the fear gamers felt when the original Resident Evil came out in 1996. So grab a copy of this game and get ready to explore one of the best horror games to come out in a while.

Racing & Sports Games

Forza Horizon 3

The debut of Forza Horizon on PC is also the best time for Playground Games to create a racing masterpiece. Forza Horizon 3 is an incredibly addictive racing game set in Australia. There are some frame-rate hiccups, but otherwise, the fast cars and open-world exploration will make you want to drive forever. The rugged landscape is the perfect setting to create a game that celebrates car culture as well as the festival energy that surrounds racing. Forza Horizon 3 is a game not racing enthusiast will regret purchasing. But it is a game people will regret not having played.

Rocket League

Staying with the racing genre, Rocket League is a game that is straightforward about its premise. The game blends the joy of RC racing with the confrontational nature of soccer or football, for those not living in North America. Rocket League is a fun game regardless of how many times you play it. Every match is completely different, and that makes its simplicity so brilliant. If you ever want to play a simple game, with over-the-top spectacle, then Rocket League is for you.

RPG & Roguelike Games

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Mass Effect is one of those series that changed the way players interact and react with their digital environment. Every decision you made carried over to the next instalment of the franchise, adding gravitas and consequences to your decisions. It was BioWare’s masterpiece, and it redefined the RPG genre. Mass Effect: Andromeda builds upon what made Mass Effect so strong. This time you are not Commander Shepard. Instead, you are part of an initiative to colonise Andromeda. Mass Effect: Andromeda is an exciting game that will keep you immersed in the Mass Effect universe.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The good news is that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt lives up to the standard set the previous The Witcher games. The bad news is that this is the last game of the series. CD Projekt Red’s action-RPG is as fun and engaging as the previous games. Do not expect The Witcher 3 to be just like the other two games. CD Projekt Red changed the formula by intruding an open world filled with monsters and quest. The game also improved in the alchemy and fighting system. However, it is the story that still drives the game.

Shooter Games

Far Cry 4

There are very few shooters that are as fun as Far Cry. The sandbox game allows players to explore freely while finding missions and collectables. Far Cry 4 does not add much new to the franchise, but it still an incredibly fun, enjoyable, and beautiful game to play. You will spend dozens of hours running through the jungle and having never-ending fun.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

There is nothing to say about Halo. It is the game that brought Bungie to the forefront. Halo: The Master Chief Collection combines all the Halo games for you to play again. It also offers all the multiplayer options that made Halo so much fun. So replay the story of John-117, as he fights the Covenant with the help of Cortana. Find the truth behind those who constructed Halo, and repel the Flood. Halo: The Master Chief Collection is the ultimate Halo collection.

Sim & World-Building Games

Minecraft

Microsoft’s biggest game outside of Halo, Minecraft is a blocky sandbox game that lets you explore the limits of your imagination. Minecraft revolves around exploring the world and surviving the monsters that attack you at night. But the game is so much more than that. Players can enjoy creating anything they want, and push the boundaries of what can be possible. The integration with VR shortly will serve to increase the game’s enjoyment.

Cities: Skyline

SimCity 4 left a lot of player with a sour taste in their mouth. Luckily, Cities: Skyline come out soon after to the delight of city planners across the globe. Skyline is a stunning game with an AI that makes you feel the struggles of sustaining a metropolis as it keeps devouring resources. And with the latest expansion pack, you have now the ability handle disasters as well as dealing with tourism, pollution, weather, crime, and traffic. It is the city simulation game to buy, and the size of the maps allows you to create towns in the same play area.

Stealth Games

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Law enforcer Adam Jensen returns to the stealth-based shooting game, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, which is the latest entry in the cyberpunk series. Square Enix’s creation tells the story of a world where augmented people are treated as second-class citizens. The game contains several side quests, while also providing the same level of stealth, with, cunning, and hacking expected from Deus Ex.

Dishonored

Dishonored is a fantastic FPS that sets you in a universe packed with murder, stealth, and intrigued. Arkane Studio managed to create an extraordinary fantasy world filled with a rich background and supernatural happenings. It is not as quite open-world as Deus Ex, but it makes up for it in storytelling and drama. The stealth mechanics also make it extra challenging and adds replayability.

Strategy Games

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

You cannot talk about strategy games without mentioning XCOM. 2K Games and Firaxis brought back the classic franchise with XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The turn-based game is reminiscent of the 1994 X-COM: UFO Defense. Enemy Unknown feels like the successor X-COM: Enforcer should have been. XCOM: Enemy Unknown contains streamlined gameplay, challenging combat, and an original story. It is a must have.

Best Windows 10 Apps for September 2017 – Back to Basics!

By | blog

Not everyone knows that Windows has an app store! The latest Windows OS lets you install apps that can run across the entire Microsoft ecosystem.

Everyone is more familiar with Apple’s iTunes Store. However, this Win Store is one of the best features that Window 10 inherited from its predecessor, Windows 8.

Furthermore, the apps in the Windows 10 store are lightweight, touch-friendly, and can run full-screen on windowed. Moreover, the apps are automatically updated and installed in multiple devices once purchased.

However, not all apps are equal. Some apps take more advantage of Windows 10 than others. Universal apps are especially better to use than even some traditional PC programs. That is because these type of apps have the ability to communicate with Windows 10 built-in notification system.

Universal apps present live information in the start menu. That is important for things like weather forecast, sport event scores, or even social media messages. Additionally, because these universal apps have to interact with OS, they are vetted to provide quality, security, and software stability.

Best Windows 10 Apps

 

This following list will not include PC games. Games are increasing in numbers in the Windows Store. The range of games extends from casual games like Crossy Road to more graphic demanding games, like Forza, Gears of War, and Quantum Break.

There is also Microsoft-owned Minecraft is available. Moreover, that is because the Windows Store is scheduled to merge with the XBOX Store. Ergo, games deserve a list of their own. The quality content that is being distributed in gaming is too large to put it on this list.

Lastly, this top best Windows 10 apps list will also avoid mentioning apps like OneNote, Skype, Outlook Mail, Calendars and many other Windows native apps. This list is to showcase the best of the rest.

The third-party apps that will change how you interact with your operating system. With all that said, here are the best Windows 10 apps of 2017.

Dropbox – Free or a subscription fee for extra storage

Even though OneDrive is Windows native, Dropbox is still a useful app to have. You can use the universal app across all Windows devices. Moreover, this cloud storage system still excels at synchronization when updating or modifying files stored.

Additionally, Dropbox allows you to view photos and archives in-app, as well as mark your favorites. Lastly, the app brings an auto-uploader option that allows you to upload any photos shot on any device that has Dropbox installed.

Duolingo – Free

The best free language-learning app, according to PCMag, is available at the Windows Store as a universal app. The app produces the same exercises you are accustomed seeing on the browser version.

Moreover, the app comes with 16 languages to chose from for English speakers. The same challenging but rewarding difficulty is still there along with the fun progression system. From just connecting an image to a word in a foreign language to pronouncing a foreign language, Duolingo will help you learn while keeping you engaged.

eBay – Free

The most recognisable online auction site offers a universal app that allows you to keep track of your bids in real time. You can also search, sell or buy items through its filtering option. The interface is pretty simple and inviting.

Any requests or notifications come through the Windows Action Center, which means that this is the app to have if you are an avid eBay user.

FourSquare – Free

Yelp’s rival, FourSquare became the first to release a universal app that takes advantage of the Win10 system. The app allows you to use it without an account, but you could benefit from having one anyway.

The system will learn your taste as you use it so that it can make positive recommendations. Moreover, it allows you to save your favourite places, leave commentaries about them, and like or dislike the different shops you visit.

Lastly, the app is incredibly easy to use and integrated with Bing Maps, which guarantees that you’ll never have any trouble finding the latest “it” place in town.

Facebook Messenger – Free

If you are an FB user and want to have your FB messages on all your devices, it is hard to do better than Facebook Messenger. The app is available for iOS, Android, Web, and Windows.

The Windows app features a stable platform with easy navigation. Furthermore, the app offers you to share photos, voice notes, and GIFs.

As with all the other apps integrated with Windows 10, it contains notification option that will guarantee you never miss a conversation. However, the app still lacks to option to video-call or voice-call.

Fresh Paint – Free, with in-app purchases

Paint may be the most recognised Windows OS app, but if you want to take your skills to the next level, Fresh Paint is the option for you. This app supports multi touch function, as well as realistic paint, watercolour, and pencil textures.

The basic Fun Pack is completely free. But if you want a bit more variety, the Variety Pack cost $1.49 as an in-app purchase. Fresh Paint also offers the Adventure Pack and Friends Pack for $1.99 each. This app will not replace Adobe Photoshop’s power.

But if you are looking for a simple, highly polished app with dozen canvas, paper textures, and multiple brushes this is the app for you. Once you are done creating a masterpiece, you can save it as a PNG file and send it to all your friends and art critics.

Netflix – Free

What can be said about Netflix that has not been said already? Netflix recognition is unrivalled.

The app released by the company can be used in all devices and allows you to flip between devices seamlessly as you move screens. Search for your favourite titles or just browse through genres with the easy to use interface. The app is free, but the subscription starts at $7.99 per month.

PicsArt -Free, with in-app purchases

PicsArt offers a photoshop-style selection of option regarding the editing of digital images.

You can work on pictures from your camera roll or even from an online account. The app contains a, virtually, endless effects for photos and it also allows you to create a drawing from scratch. One PicsArt strength is the collage option. But if you are more into filters and noise reduction, the app will please you beyond your imagination.

PicsArt is the app to use to change and edit photos as you wish.

Polarr – Free; Pro version $19.99

Staying in the realm of photography, Polarr is another photography-related app to consider. This app offers a raw camera file that allows you to adjust lighting and colour. Polarr also comes with a clear and touch friendly interface that boasts with effect filters.

The app contains a guide mode that will help you show how to use the app and improve photos. The free version will satisfy most users. But if you want to upgrade to the pro version, you can create your filters on top of multiple other options.

The Weather Channel -Free

The native Windows Weather App is good enough if all you care is glancing at the weather. But if you want a more precise knowledge of what might happen during the day, the Weather Channel app is the one for you.

The app can notify you if there is a severe weather watch, tornado alert, rain, or breaking news that might be relevant for your weekend plans.

Lastly, the Weather Channel app takes full advantage of Cortana voice control.That means you can ask the app to show you the forecast or how the weather will be at the place you are planning to visit.

Twitter – Free

Twitter is the place where conversation flows freely between thousands of users at a time.

The Windows 10 app supports everything you may want from the microblogging service. That includes access to multiple accounts, video uploads, pictures uploads (and you can tag people on them), and location share.

Moreover, you can save drafts, edit your profile, and switch between the light and dark themes. The app will notify you according to your notification settings.

Telegram – Free

A somewhat underrated app service in the western world, Telegram is quite popular in Eastern Europe and multiple other places across the planet. The biggest advantage of the app relies on its end-to-end encryption, which is something Whatsapp is still struggling to offer.

The app provides the ability to share images, GIFs, videos, files, and watch links in-app. The mobile version also permits users to send video messages and do encrypted phone calls, so you know a third party is not hearing your conversations.

Lastly, Telegram offers the option of creating self-destruct conversations, IFTT integration, and create groups of 1,000 people or more.

WolframAlpha – $2.99

The best investment you can do if you are in the fields of mathematics, geology, astronomy, or biology. The app allows you to compare areas, masses, and dimensions using its vast databank.

There is also information about music, health, nutrition, transportation, and multiple other topics that might interest you. Moreover, that massive number of statistics and quotable sources found in this app makes it perfect for students looking to simplify their workload.

Wunderlist – Free. Pro version $4.99/month or $49.99/year

Wunderlist is the app for those who want to keep track of their task across all devices. Wunderlist is easy to use.

You can enter all the items you need to complete and prioritise them as you see fit. The interface is customizable, allowing you to switch between 16 different backgrounds. The app also allows you to create Smart List, which showcases the tasks that need to be done this week, today, or that have started already.

Because Wunderlist is a universal app, everything you add in the app will be synchronised to the calendar. Never lose track of what you have to do with Wunderlist.

Scan Speed Benchmark – Software Testing Weekly #5

By | blog, pc optimization expert

Scan speed benchmark of the latest versions

This scan speed benchmark test case came to mind after the latest version of jv16 PowerTools 2017 has been released. We then decided to test the actual scan speed versus number of errors found for the latest three public versions of the Clean and SpeedUp My Computer tool.

Why this test now?

On the occasion of releasing jv16 PowerTools 2017 version 4.1.0.1728 it seemed like the perfect opportunity to fill a Windows 10 virtual machine with residual registry and file system data, then compare the performance of our latest three publicly released scanner versions.

Using this scan speed benchmark, we hope to show the differences in terms of scanner speed (the latest version of jv16 PowerTools 2017 is very fast) and how we managed to obtain it (faster speed most of the times means lower accuracy).

The “crap.reg” registry file imported to the test system contains over 10000 unique registry and file system orphaned entries and other errors of various severity levels.

We use such test data to ensure the fact that the latest version of our scanner does not have any false positives. This will be the subject of an upcoming quality testing report as part of the weekly test routines.

Tested jv16 PowerTools versions

The following jv16 PowerTools 2017 versions have been tested:

  • jv16 PowerTools 2017 version 4.10.1689
  • jv16 PowerTools 2017 version 4.10.1703
  • jv16 PowerTools 2017 version 4.10.1728

To download the latest version of jv16 PowerTools, always go to: https://www.macecraft.com/download/

Test Cases

The objective of this one-off test case was set to:

  • Test Case #1: Compare the volume of Registry Errors, Temp Files and History Data found versus the overall Clean and SpeedUp My Computer scanner speed between latest three publicly released versions.

The information on which this test case relies is provided by the ML_CSMC_Scan log file, which can be found in the ‘Backups’ folder of your jv16 PowerTools 2017 installation path.

Test Environment

The current benchmark test was performed using an Oracle VirtualBox (version: 5.1.22 r115126) virtual environment running Windows 10 with 4 CPU cores and 8 GB of RAM assigned.

Said virtual machine was run on a host computer running Ubuntu Linux 17.04 LTS (64 bit) with an Intel-i5 processor, 20 GB of DDR3 virtual memory and a SSD system disk.

Such an ordinary test environment was created and used in order to simulate the easiest conditions that can be reproduced by any software consumer to verify the validity of these tests.

Verifiability

All of the past and current test results are accompanied by screenshots and/or video recordings which have been saved during various testing phases in order to address some of the most common test result credibility concerns for this type of studies.

Test Case #1: Summary

→ scan speed for the latest versions of jv16 PowerTools

Below you can find the actual scan speed benchmark scores recorded by each of the tested jv16 PowerTools versions:

  • jv16 PowerTools 2017 build 1689 completed scanning using Clean and SpeedUp My Computer in 160 seconds
  • jv16 PowerTools 2017 build 1703 completed scanning using Clean and SpeedUp My Computer in 244 seconds
  • jv16 PowerTools 2017 build 1728 completed scanning using Clean and SpeedUp My Computer in 95 seconds

The latest version of jv16 PowerTools 2017 (version 4.1.0.1728) completed scan of the entire system much faster than any of the other two latest public versions.

→ number of errors found using the latest versions of jv16 PowerTools

Below you can find the total number of errors found by each of the tested jv16 PowerTools versions:

  • jv16 PowerTools 2017 build 1689 found a total of 12235 system issues
  • jv16 PowerTools 2017 build 1703 found a total of 12281 system issues
  • jv16 PowerTools 2017 build 1728 found a total of 12174 system issues

Scan Speed Benchmark: conclusions

The latest version of jv16 PowerTools 2017 – build 1728 found only 0.87% less system issues than the previous public version while it is more than twice as fast.

Related weekly benchmark test reports:

Wider benchmark test reports:

Since February of 2009 (when the first test of this kind was done in our lab), Macecraft Software has published a total of seven registry cleaner product comparison studies:

Anti-Exploit Kit Benchmark – Software Testing Weekly #4

By | blog, pc optimization expert

Anti-Exploit Kit Benchmark

The current anti-exploit kit benchmark is the expression of following our customers closely and taking their recommendations seriously, no matter how out-of-the-box they might be at first sight!

Why this test now?

The idea is based on a message received from one of our existing customers:

“Because jv16PT is not a spyware/malware product it would not fare well – Indeed, it is an unfair comparison; however, I have seen dramatic performance improvements once these products have been run.”

As our customers are usually power users, this gut feeling was taken to the testing lab in an attempt to determine the effects that these software products may have on the overall system performance after used to perform their primary scope.

Anti-Exploit Kit Benchmark: Tested Products

This week, we took into consideration the suggestion of one of our customers and started on a test case journey to determine PCMark 10 benchmark scores (while ignoring GPU requirements) for a Windows 10 system, before and after using the following products:

  • SuperAntiSypware Professional Trial v.6.0.1244
  • Malwarebytes Premium Trial v.3.1.2
  • jv16 PowerTools 2017 v.4.1.0.1728

Test Cases involving PCMark 10 Benchmark

The objective of this test was set to record the PCMark 10 benchmark scores of a virtual Windows 10 computer, under the following test case scenarios:

  • Test Case #1: Before installing and using any of the third party common software (Windows 10 fresh)
  • Test Case #2: Before installing and using any of the tested PC system utilities (Windows 10 fresh + common software installed)
  • Test Case #3: With third party software installed, after installing and using SuperAntiSpyware
  • Test Case #4: With third party software installed, after installing and using MalwareBytes
  • Test Case #5: With third party software installed, after installing and using jv16 PowerTools 2017

PCMark 10 Benchmark: Test Environment

The current benchmark test was performed using an Oracle VirtualBox (version: 5.1.22 r115126) virtual environment running Windows 10 with 4 CPU cores and 8 GB of RAM assigned. Said virtual machine was run on a host computer running Ubuntu Linux 17.04 LTS (64 bit) with an Intel-i5 processor, 20 GB of DDR3 virtual memory and a SSD system disk.

Such an ordinary test environment was created and used in order to simulate the easiest conditions that can be reproduced by any software consumer to verify the validity of these tests.

PC System Benchmarks: Verifiability

All of the past and current test results are accompanied by screenshots and/or video recordings which have been saved during various testing phases in order to address some of the most common test result credibility concerns for this type of studies.

Test Case #1: Summary

→ freshly installed Windows 10 with no third party software

In the first test case we measured the PCMark 10 score for a virtual Windows 10 system that was freshly installed and updated for this purpose.

We did not yet install any of the most common software used today. The reason for this extra benchmark score (before installing any other third party software products) is to determine a baseline benchmark score for a freshly installed Windows 10, according to the PCMark 10 Benchmark software.

PC System Benchmark Results: Test Case #1

On a freshly installed and updated Windows 10, PCMark 10 has calculated the following PC system benchmark scores:

  • PCMark 10 Essentials Benchmark score: 4020
  • PCMark 10 Productivity Benchmark score: 3718

Test Case #2: Summary

→ freshly installed Windows 10 with popular software installed

In the first test case we measured the PCMark 10 score for a virtual Windows 10 system that was freshly installed and updated for this purpose. In the second test case of this week, we recorded the PCMark 10 score for a Windows 10 system with some of the most popular software installed.

The system in this test case was neither cleaned or optimized using any of the tested software (SuperAntiSpyware, Malwarebytes, jv16 PowerTools).

PC System Benchmark Results: Test Case #2

On a Windows 10 operating system with most common software installedPCMark 10 has calculated the following PC system benchmark scores:

  • PCMark 10 Essentials Benchmark score: 3369
  • PCMark 10 Productivity Benchmark score: 3674

Test Case #3: Summary

→ after using SuperAntiSpyware

The system in this test case was cleaned using SuperAntiSpyware Professional Trial v.6.0.1244.

PC System Benchmark Results: Test Case #3

On a Windows 10 operating system with most common software installed, after the system was cleaned using SuperAntiSpywarePCMark 10 has calculated the following PC system benchmark scores:

  • PCMark 10 Essentials Benchmark score: 2878
  • PCMark 10 Productivity Benchmark score: 3615

Test Case #4: Summary

→ after using Malwarebytes

The system in this test case was cleaned using Malwarebytes Premium Trial 3.1.2.

PC System Benchmark Results: Test Case #4

On a Windows 10 operating system with most common software installed, after the system was cleaned using MalwarebytesPCMark 10 has calculated the following PC system benchmark scores:

  • PCMark 10 Essentials Benchmark score: 3118
  • PCMark 10 Productivity Benchmark score: 3482

Test Case #5: Summary

→ after using jv16 PowerTools

The system in this test case was cleaned and optimized using jv16 PowerTools 2017 v.4.1.0.1728.

PC System Benchmark Results: Test Case #5

On a Windows 10 operating system with most common software installed, after the system was cleaned and optimized using jv16 PowerToolsPCMark 10 has calculated the following PC system benchmark scores:

  • PCMark 10 Essentials Benchmark score: 3383
  • PCMark 10 Productivity Benchmark score: 3858

PCMark 10 Benchmark: conclusions

After using jv16 PowerTools, Windows 10 (with popular software installed) obtains a PCMark 10 Productivity Benchmark score which is slightly higher than the score obtained on a fresh Windows 10 system (with no third party software installed).

Even if this comparison is not necessarily fair, as our customer also mentioned during the recommendation of such a test, it is still interesting to see the effects that popular software have on computing performance.

Related weekly benchmark test reports:

Other benchmark test reports:

Since February of 2009 (when the first test of this kind was done in our lab), Macecraft Software has published a total of seven registry cleaner product comparison studies:

PCMark 10 Benchmark Alternatives – Software Testing Weekly #3

By | blog, pc optimization expert

Introducing PCMark 10 Benchmark

The new PCMark 10 benchmark software was released only few days ago by Futuremark Corporation.  On this occasion, we wanted to compare scores obtained by a Windows 10 system, before and after cleaning with CCleaner and jv16 PowerTools.

Why this test now?

Last week we tested the PCMark 8 benchmark score obtained by a Windows 10 system before and after cleaning and optimizing it with CCleaner and then with jv16 PowerTools.

While PCMark 8 was never advertised by Futuremark Corporation as a fully compatible benchmarking solution for Windows 10, we wanted to take the new PCMark 10 for a spin. The results of the PCMark 10 benchmark have been compared with last week’s PCMark 8 benchmark score results for the same test case scenarios.

Tested Products

In ‘Software Testing Weekly #2‘ we looked at the top competitor (according to Google.com search results for “registry cleaner”) and decided to see the PC system benchmarks score impact (if any) before and after using the said product: CCleaner.

In last week’s tests, we used CCleaner Professional. For this week, we decided to visit the ‘Builds’ page of CCleaner and choose a different, lighter version, in order to offer CCleaner all the advantages possible in terms of fairness for these tests.

The reason for choosing a different version of CCleaner was mostly driven by the fact that there seems to be a version of the said product which does not include advertisement toolbars attached.

Since jv16 PowerTools is all about no bloatware, no adware and no spyware attached to its installer ever in its history of being a PC System Utilities suite, we decided to test a similar version of CCleaner, that is supposed to not contain ads or any toolbars attached.

For the above reasons, we choose to take a closer look at this product and included CCleaner – Slim instead of CCleaner – Professional in this weekly test report.

Test Cases involving PCMark 10 Benchmark

The objective of this test was set to record the PCMark 10 benchmark scores of a virtual Windows 10 computer with some of the most common 3rd party applications installed, under the following test case scenarios:

  • Test Case #1: Before installing an using any of the third party common software (Windows 10 fresh)
  • Test Case #2: Before installing and using any of the tested PC system utilities (Windows 10 fresh + common software installed)
  • Test Case #3: With third party software installed, after installing and using CCleaner – Slim
  • Test Case #4: With third party software installed, after installing and using jv16 PowerTools 2017
pcmark10 benchmark windows 10

PCMark 10 Benchmark: Test Environment

The current benchmark test was performed using an Oracle VirtualBox (version: 5.1.22 r115126) virtual environment running Windows 10 with 4 CPU cores and 8 GB of RAM assigned. Said virtual machine was run on a host computer running Ubuntu Linux 17.04 LTS (64 bit) with an Intel-i5 processor, 20 GB of DDR3 virtual memory and a SSD system disk.

Such an ordinary test environment was created and used in order to simulate the easiest conditions that can be reproduced by any consumer to verify the validity of these tests.

Using high-end hardware or complex distributed system may result in more professional test methods but may also return test results that are only applicable in an uncommon environment (test lab which does not reflect a real world use case).

For the future, we will also approach this from the ISO point of view. For now, trying to keep it simple while educating consumers about their options is our primary objective.

It seems that on a freshly installed Windows 10 virtual machine, with all of the Oracle VirtualBox Guest Additions installed (for DirectX compatibility and other simulated operating system features), PCMark 10 does not have any compatible benchmark in store.

The reason for this issue is that our virtual test environment is based on hardware that does not have an OpenGL 4.3 compatible GPU.

Alternatives for PCMark 10 benchmark software

As the latest version of PCMark 10 Benchmark software has proven to be unavailable to benchmark a Windows 10 appliance that does not have an OpenGL 4.3 compatible GPU installed, we started looking for alternatives. Using a simple Google search, we stumbled upon the following PCMark 10 alternatives:

PassMark PerformanceTest benchmarks the speed of your PC computer hardware, then compares the result to other machines. Includes disk, 3D and CPU tests.

Phoronix Test Suite is a free, open-source benchmark software for Linux and other operating systems developed by Phoronix Media.

UserBenchmark is a free all-in-one benchmarking application. Benchmark your CPU, GPU, SSD, HDD and USB Drives then compare results with other users and see which parts you can upgrade together with the expected performance improvements.

Having at our disposal the above alternatives to PCMark 10, we decided to use the benchmark software that promises on their official website (at first sight) to deliver results in the fastest time possible.

For this reason, due to its slogan (“Speed test your PC in less than a minute”), we decided to use UserBenchmark as an alternative to PCMark 10’s requirement for an OpenGL 4.3 compatible GPU to be mounted on the tested system.

PC System Benchmarks: Verifiability

All of the past and current test results are accompanied by screenshots and/or video recordings which have been saved during various testing phases in order to address some of the most common test result credibility concerns for this type of studies.

Test Case #1: Summary

→ on a freshly installed Windows 10 with no third party software

In the first test case we measured the UserBenchMark score for a virtual Windows 10 system that was freshly installed and updated for this purpose.

We did not yet install any of the most common software used today. The reason for this extra benchmark score (before installing any other third party software products) is to determine a baseline benchmark score for a freshly installed Windows 10, according to the UserBenchMark testing software.

As mentioned before, UserBenchMark was used as an alternative to the PCMark 10 benchmark due to lack of support on our test machine for an OpenGL 4.3 compatible GPU.

A complete PCMark 10 benchmark will be done later for the same purposes, in a similar environment, this time with an OpenGL 4.3 compatible graphics card installed (in order to obtain the best results).

PC System Benchmark Results: Test Case #1

On a freshly installed and updated Windows 10, UserBenchMark has calculated the following PC system benchmark scores:

  • CPU Benchmark score: 58.8
  • SSD Bechmark score: 121.1
pcmark 10 benchmark alternative

Test Case #2: Summary

→ on a freshly installed Windows 10 with common software and antivirus monitoring enabled

In the first test case we measured the UserBenchMark score for a virtual Windows 10 system that was freshly installed and updated for this purpose.

In the second test case of this week, we recorded the UserBenchMark score for a Windows 10 system with some of the most common and/or popular software installed.

This week, we also included Avast Free Antivirus in the installed popular software. The purpose of this antivirus live monitor being installed and enabled is to see how much of an influence it will have on the CPU benchmark score calculated by UserBenchMark.

The system in this test case was neither cleaned or optimized using any of the tested PC System Utilities (CCleaner, jv16 PowerTools 2017).

PC System Benchmark Results: Test Case #2

On a Windows 10 operating system with most common software installed and an antivirus live monitoring engine enabled, UserBenchMark has calculated the following PC system benchmark scores:

  • CPU Benchmark score: 42.5
  • SSD Bechmark score: 118

Test Case #3: Summary

→ after cleaning and optimizing using CCleaner – Slim (without browser advertisements toolbar)

In the first test and second test cases, we measured the UserBenchMark score for a virtual Windows 10 system that was freshly installed and updated for this purpose, with and without third party common software installed.

In the third test case of this week, we recorded the UserBenchMark score for a Windows 10 system with some of the most common and/or popular software installed, after being cleaned with CCleaner.

The system in this test case was cleaned and optimized using CCleaner – Slim for the reason that we learned that this version may not include browser toolbars and other advertisement components that may be rather resource consuming and user annoying, as possibly do other versions of CCleaner, as advertised by its publisher.

Unfortunately, we have been unable to properly run CCleaner – Slim after it has been installed due to the fact that the application crashed. This issue seemed to go away only after the system was rebooted. Possibly, the live monitoring engine of CCleaner had some trouble starting the first time.

Once the test system was hard rebooted, CCleaner – Slim run successfully and was able to clean some temporary files off the hard-disk. The total volume of data removed equaled 329 MB. Its registry cleaner component also found 53 registry issues that needed fixing.

PC System Benchmark Results: Test Case #3

On a Windows 10 operating system with most common software installed and an antivirus live monitoring engine enabled, after the system was cleaned and optimized using CCleaner – Slim, UserBenchMark has calculated the following PC system benchmark scores:

  • CPU Benchmark score: 61
  • SSD Bechmark score: 34.6

Test Case #4: Summary

→ after cleaning and optimizing using jv16 PowerTools 2017 (no adware, no spyware, no toolbars)

In the first test and second test cases, we measured the UserBenchMark score for a virtual Windows 10 system that was freshly installed and updated for this purpose, with and without third party common software installed.

In the fourth test case of this week, we recorded the UserBenchMark score for a Windows 10 system with some of the most common and/or popular software installed, after being cleaned with jv16 PowerTools 2017.

The system in this test case was cleaned and optimized using jv16 PowerTools 2017 version 4.1.0.1728.

Based on instructions displayed by jv16 PowerTools, the system was rebooted. This allows registry keys that could not be fixed during normal operating system operation to be addressed. Also, during the first reboot after using Clean and SpeedUp My Computer tool, if you have run it using its default settings, the Registry Compactor tool will also be executed.

This should provide faster access to common registry keys after jv16 PowerTools has completed compressing all of the registry hives.

PC System Benchmark Results: Test Case #4

On a Windows 10 operating system with most common software installed and an antivirus live monitoring engine enabled, after the system was cleaned and optimized using jv16 PowerTools 2017 v.4.1.0.1728, UserBenchMark has calculated the following PC system benchmark scores:

  • CPU Benchmark score: 62
  • SSD Bechmark score: 28.6

PCMark 10 Benchmark: conclusions

The first thing that struck us is the big difference in UserBenchMark score for the SSD disk before and after using either CCleaner or jv16 PowerTools.

According to UserBenchMark’s algorithm to calculate this type of score, the system ranked 60% poorer in terms of file system access speed after using either CCleaner or jv16 PowerTools. This could be a side effect of the live monitoring agents of both products (to be determined in later test cases).

A test will be carried out in the future to determine the benchmark score of a Windows 10 system with and without live monitoring agents enabled by the PC System Utilities tested in order to address this concern.

CPU Benchmark SSD Benchmark
Windows 10 fresh 58.8 121.1
Windows 10 fresh + common software 42.5 118
Windows 10 cleaned with Ccleaner 61 34.6
Windows 10 cleaned with jv16 PowerTools 62 28.6

For one of the next weekly testing routines, we will get an OpenGL 4.3 compatible GPU in order to be able to run the complete battery of tests included with the latest PCMark 10 benchmark.

As past results alone are not necessarily the best way to guarantee future events, we do plan to correlate results from previous weekly benchmark tests and find a reasonable way to average them for a more clear impression on the effect that popular PC system utilities have on the operating system.

Related weekly benchmark test reports:

Other historical benchmark test reports:

Since February of 2009 (when the first test of this kind was done in our lab), Macecraft Software has published a total of seven registry cleaner product comparison studies:

PC System Benchmarks – Software Testing Weekly #2

By | blog, pc optimization expert

Introducing PC System Benchmarks

PC system benchmarks are a good method to identify potential bottlenecks in your computing performance and choose effective system upgrades. As there are several types of different PC system benchmarks, our focus has always been on those that provide scripted test scenarios inspired from real world use cases.

In March of 2015 we set off to test what various software products were doing to our computers. In this study, 133 products were tested. The inclusion process was simple and straightforward: few software download sites were manually scanned for any products claiming to make your computer faster by cleaning it or by fixing system errors.

In October of 2016 we tested the top ten registry cleaners. The products tested were chosen simply with a Google search of Windows registry cleaners and the top ten results were picked.

In January of 2017 PC system benchmarks were performed to determine the best registry cleaner from a selection of the top three which previously ranked best.

This week, as we have just released jv16 PowerTools 2017 version 4.1.0.1728, our interest for PC system benchmarks was reborn.

registry cleaner

Why this test now?

Today is supposed that PCMark 10 will be released for public use.

As it has been quite a while since PCMark 8 has been the standard in PC system benchmarking, we wish to celebrate the upcoming public release of PCMark 10 this week with a Windows 10 benchmarking test report done using PCMark 8, before and after using popular PC system utilities.

Since PCMark 8 is not necessarily fully compatible with Windows 10 benchmarking methods, we expect surprising results and some enticing conclusions that may lead us to further test cases for next week’s lab report.

Once PCMark 10 will be released, the conclusions of this micro test will be used to compose the test cases for a much wider study involving more software products that promise to clean and speed-up your computer.

If at the time of reading this report PCMark 10 has been already released, then you can freely benchmark your computer using this software for free in the same way that we did in our lab with PCMark 8.

To download PCMark 10, visit: https://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/pcmark10/. We would love to know your results, so don’t hesitate to join the discussion about this topic on the forum.

Tested Products

To start, we looked at the top competitor (according to Google.com search results for “registry cleaner”) and decided to see the PC system benchmarks score impact (if any) before and after using the said product: CCleaner.

In order to learn the most from this experience, we downloaded the free, professional trial of CCleaner in order to evaluate this software from the best angle possible.

As far as we know, this version is supposed to be fully featured, including an active background system monitoring service – which may or may not have an impact on the overall PC system benchmarks score given by PCMark 8 – to be determined.

Test Cases involving PC System Benchmarks

The objective of this test was set to record the virtual PC system benchmarks score given by PCMark 8 on Windows 10 with some of the most common 3rd party applications installed:

  • Before installing and using any of the tested PC system utilities
  • After installing and using CCleaner – Professional
  • After installing and using jv16 PowerTools 2017
pcmark8 windows 10

PC System Benchmarks Test Environment

The current benchmark test was performed using an Oracle VirtualBox (version: 5.1.22 r115126) virtual environment running Windows 10 with 4 CPU cores and 8 GB of RAM assigned.

In order to ensure that no system updates or other updates are downloaded during the testing procedure, the system was disconnected from the Internet before starting each PC system benchmarks test set.

The virtual machine was run on a host computer running Ubuntu Linux 17.04 LTS (64 bit) with an Intel-i5 processor, 20 GB of DDR3 virtual memory and a SSD system disk.

Such an ordinary test environment was created and used in order to simulate the easiest conditions that can be reproduced by any consumer to verify the validity of these tests.

Using high-end hardware or complex distributed system may result in more professional test methods but may also return test results that are only applicable in an uncommon environment (test lab which does not reflect a real world use case).

For the future, we will also approach this from the ISO point of view. For now, trying to keep it simple while educating consumers about their options is our primary objective.

PC System Benchmarks: Verifiability

All of the past and current test results are accompanied by screenshots and video recordings which have been saved during various testing phases in order to address some of the most common test result credibility concerns for this type of studies.

ninite software installer

Test Case #1: Summary

In the first test case we measured the PCMark 8 PC system benchmarks score for a virtual Windows 10 system that was freshly installed and updated for this purpose.

In this environment, we installed the most common software used today, according to ninite.com. This wonderful tool allows you to quickly install or update multiple commonly used software at the same time, either on a local end-point or even across the network.

Once all the software has been installed, the virtual machine state was saved and we used this state of the operating system as a benchmark point of comparison (without any PC system utilities installed or used on the machine before measuring its baseline PC Mark 8 score).

pcmark 8 windows 10

In order to measure baseline performance, we run the free, conventional test offered by PCMark 8. This test is advertised as being the standard for common home computing tests.

The first of a total of six tests that PCMark 8 does is a scripted scenario in which the PC system benchmark score is measured while simulated social networks are automatically browsed by the benchmarking software.

During this automated test, no user interaction is needed as it is not recommended to use the system which is being benchmarked at the same time that tests are running.

In the second test system performance is measured while browsing for items to buy from an online retailer.

The third test addresses the common use case scenario of editing content using a word processor.

In the following test PCMark 8 measures overall system performance during a simulated video conferencing session.

Finally PCMark 8 helps to determine the PC system benchmark score while the computer is being used for photo editing.

PC System Benchmark Results: Test Case #1

On Windows 10, without cleaning or optimizing the system with any PC system utilities, PCMark 8 has calculated a PC system benchmark score of 1060.

Here are the individual score values allocated to each of the tests:

  • Writing 5.51557 s
  • Video Chat encoding v2 Conventional 237.00000 ms
  • Web Browsing – JunglePin 0.44450 s
  • Casual Gaming 0.70 fps
  • Advanced Photo Editing1 Conventional 0.98143 s
  • Web Browsing – Amazonia 0.16620 s
  • Video Chat playback 1 v2 Conventional 20.01 fps

The total PCMark 8 Home Conventional Score for this test case was 1060.

Video recording of the PC system benchmarks done on Windows 10.

Test Case #2: Summary

In the second test case, the previously saved Windows 10 snapshot (with most common 3rd party software installed) has been cleaned and optimized using this week’s tested PC system utilities.

pc system benchmarks

PC System Benchmark Results: Test Case #2.1 (CCleaner – Professional Edition v.5.31.6105)

After cleaning the Windows 10 test system with CCleaner – Professional Edition (Registry Cleaner) a total of 53 registry problems were fixed.

After cleaning the Windows 10 test system with CCleaner – Professional Edition (File Cleaner) a total of 400 megabytes of disk space were cleaned.

On Windows 10, after cleaning and optimizing the operating system using CCleaner – Professional EditionPCMark 8 has calculated a PC system benchmark score of 1016.

Here are the individual score values allocated to each of the tests:

  • Writing 5.72957 s
  • Video Chat encoding v2 Conventional 284.00000 ms
  • Web Browsing – JunglePin 0.45689 s
  • Casual Gaming 0.69 fps
  • Advanced Photo Editing1 Conventional 1.02341 s
  • Web Browsing – Amazonia 0.17674 s
  • Video Chat playback 1 v2 Conventional 18.03 fps

The total PCMark 8 Home Conventional Score for this test case was 1016.

Video recording saved while measuring the PCMark 8 PC system benchmark score after cleaning and optimizing Windows 10 with CCleaner – Professional Edition.

PC System Benchmark Results: Test Case #2.2 (jv16 PowerTools 2017 v.4.1.0.1728)

After cleaning the Windows 10 test system with jv16 PowerTools 2017 a total of 83 file and registry related problems were fixed. More detailed statistics are available when using the software’s dedicated tools. For the purpose of this test, we used the Clean and SpeedUp My Computer tool.

This tool was designed to automatically use multiple other tools packed into jv16 PowerTools (such as the Startup Optimizer and Registry Compactor) in order to both clean and optimize a system’s performance.

On Windows 10, after cleaning and optimizing the operating system using jv16 PowerToolsPCMark 8 has calculated a PC system benchmark score of 1030.

Here are the individual score values allocated to each of the tests:

  • Writing 5.57387 s
  • Video Chat encoding v2 Conventional 277.33333 ms
  • Web Browsing – JunglePin 0.46557 s
  • Casual Gaming 0.70 fps
  • Advanced Photo Editing1 Conventional 0.97845 s
  • Web Browsing – Amazonia 0.17018 s
  • Video Chat playback 1 v2 Conventional 17.01 fps

The total PCMark 8 Home Conventional Score for this test case was 1030.

Video recording saved while measuring the PCMark 8 PC system benchmark score after cleaning and optimizing Windows 10 with jv16 PowerTools 2017.

PC System Benchmarks (micro testing): conclusions lead to wider tests

After cleaning the Windows 10 operating system with either CCleaner – Professional Edition or jv16 PowerTools 2017, the PCMark 8 PC system benchmark score was lower than before using any PC system utilities to clean the operating system in the first place.

This result is not surprising for us at all, considering that both of the tested registry cleaners attach a resident process to the system in order to monitor the operating system’s health and overall performance.

How can the operating system get a lower PCMark 8 benchmark score after it has been cleaned?

Most likely, the reason for the lower score obtained by the operating system after being cleaned with each of the tested products in comparison to the baseline test score is because of an extra running background process in both cases, however, this is just an assumption at this level.

In order to clarify this assumption, more extensive tests will be carried out in the near future, with and without background monitoring services enabled for either jv16 PowerTools and any other similar interest software product that we can easily find using a simple search on Google.com

With PCMark 10 pending release later today, we wish to do a similar test case scenario next week and hopefully compare the results between PCMark 8 and PCMark 10.

Results should vary as PCMark 10 has been specifically designed to become the industry standard for benchmarking Windows 10 operating systems, as PCMark 8 has been for a long time in regards to Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

What do we expect to see in the next PC system benchmarks done on Windows 10 with PCMark 10?

First of all, we expect PCMark 10 to be far more compatible and capable to measure small differences of Windows 10 performance before and after certain actions have been performed in the test environment.

As PCMark 8 was not necessarily designed to manage Windows 10 after its latest updates, we expect this to improve with the latest release of PCMark later today.

For the start of the next week, our weekly software testing report will most likely include a preview of PCMark 10 and the scores obtained by a Windows 10 virtual environment before and after cleaning it with popular pc system utilities.

Related weekly benchmark test reports:

Other historical benchmark test reports:

Since February of 2009 (when the first test of this kind was done in our lab), Macecraft Software has published a total of seven registry cleaner product comparison studies:

Few things to do immediately after upgrading to Windows 10

By | blog

Now that you have reached a point after upgrading to Windows 10, it might feel that things are far different from what they used to be. That is because they are different.

Windows 10 is the biggest change Microsoft has done to its platform ever. From integrating Cortana, the digital assistant, to being able to stream your games from the OS itself, Windows 10 packs a lot of new features.

This post gives you tips and tricks that all new users need to have in mind after upgrading to Windows 10.

After upgrading to Windows 10 it all looks fine

And at first everything is indeed fine. Only after a couple of minutes, you notice that your anti-malware application is no longer compatible.

Furthermore, several drivers are also presenting problems with your new operating system. So you uninstall your anti-malware and update your drivers, and everything is sunshine and happiness again, except, it might not be.

Windows 10 might have some security breaches because some of the built-in Windows Defender is not fully up to date. Do not worry. That is why you are checking Windows Update again.

More updates waiting for you to restart after upgrading to Windows 10

In order to check the update, simply click the search box next to the Windows 10 logo. Once you do that, omit the invitation to set up Cortana.

Remember that your top priority is to make sure your PC is secure while you download a new anti-malware. Once you have rejected the option to set up Cortana, type on the search box “Windows Update”.

Once Windows Update opens, click “Search for Updates” and wait. Windows will check if anything else needs to be downloaded and make sure that everything is up-to-date.

Windows 10 makes sure your OS is always updated without you having to check. While this sounds like a good feature, it might be cumbersome at times. That is because the computer might decide to restart at a moment when you do not need it to restart.

Luckily, there is a way to change that option before you regret upgrading to Windows 10. The first step is to access the settings panel (you can do this by pressing windows key+i). Then, choose “Update and Security.” The tab will open and you will see the option “Change Active Hours” and “Restart Options.”

Most often than not, after upgrading to Windows 10, you would want to “Update and Restart”. This feature is available in the Windows start menu and is often made available once pending updates require a system reboot for their installation to complete.

Privacy settings after upgrading to Windows 10

When it comes to your personal data’s privacy, you can never be too careful.

Otherwise, manipulative ads may further guide your online experience as a result of pattern matching with your preferences and behavior patterns. Some may call this a feature, others a privacy concern.

Regardless of your purpose of PC usage, it is always good to be aware of your operating system’s privacy settings. You have secured your computer, and decide when or if it will force restart once a new update has downloaded. Now it is time to adjust your privacy settings.

Be advised that switching some of your privacy options ON or OFF will affect how your Windows 10 behaves in terms of personalizing your experience.

Conversely, you might not want Windows 10 to limit some options that you know are completely safe for your daily computing (that you consider a “feature” and not a potential privacy concern).

There are 2 ways to access the ‘Privacy Settings’ menu:

  1. The first way is to simply click Start > Settings > Privacy.
  2. The second way is to press Win+i, which will automatically open the settings windows. Then, just click on ‘Privacy’ and check the multiple tabs that are there.

Once again, it is important to stress the necessity to read every option on every tab before you turn them off. If you feel a little intimidate on where to start but want to have some control of how much access your apps and programs have, start with the camera.

The ‘Camera’ tab will give you the necessary confidence to move on to the other tabs afterwards.

Peer to peer updates settings after upgrading to Windows 10

And since you are already reviewing your security, here is another privacy setting that you need to review after upgrading to Windows 10.

The security setting that we are talking about is peer-to-peer updates. Windows 10 has now the option to share any new download among your local network (computers that are connected to your network) or among your local network and a nearby unknown computer.

Sharing among peers is always a good thing. But on the internet, it could also be a dangerous business. And while Microsoft has said that this peer-to-peer sharing with random and unknown nearby PCs will not put your own PC at risk, it will advisable for you to turn off this option.

Turning this option OFF is quite simple. Go to settings (Win+i), and then click on the “Windows Update” tab. Once you are there, look for “Advance Options” that is below the “Update Settings”.

There you will see the option to choose how auto updates are delivered. Click there and you will see the option “PCs on my local network” and “PCs on my local network, and PCs on the internet”.

Make sure that the setting is set only for the updates to be shared with your local network, and you will be done. Now your PC is much safer than before.

jv16 PowerTools has connections to some Windows 10 privacy settings that you can tweak straight from its user interface.

In this way, in case you don’t yet know your way around the newly designed Windows 10 Settings panels, you can still access all the essential privacy settings directly from jv16 PowerTools. The tool that centralizes all these features is the Windows AntiSpy.

To conclude, these key steps should be taken after upgrading to Windows 10 in order to guarantee that your computer does not drive you mad.

It is recommended to also sign up for a Microsoft account. You do not need internet access for this to work, and you can use a pre-existent email account.

It will help you increase your security, and it will save certain security measures once you are online. To create it simply go to Settings > Accounts > Your account > Sign in with a Microsoft account instead. Follow the steps and you are ready.

Windows 10 is a remarkable tool and, hopefully, this article will help you get you ready to use the latest Microsoft OS.

Is jv16 PowerTools recommended to be used after upgrading to Windows 10?

Short answer: yes!

Long answer: We have seen excellent results delivered by jv16 PowerTools even when run on a freshly installed Windows 10, as can be seen on our blog. Also, a screenshot from Windows 10, after running jv16 PowerTools has been included below in order to show the number of system problems that may be fixed by jv16 PowerTools after upgrading to Windows 10.

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