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PC System Utilities Software – Software Testing Weekly #1

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Introduction

We design and test PC System Utilities for more than 18 years. However, we never showed our customers much of our thought process, except for rare occasions on our pc system utilities forum.

With a new build of jv16 PowerTools in our test lab, while getting ready to release the next product update, we decided to start sharing some of the details about “how the sausage gets made”.

By reading this post, you will learn more about how jv16 PowerTools is being tested for some specific test cases.

Simple, but sinister!

Test cases

In order to ensure compatibility of our release candidate software version with the most popular 3rd party software products, we usually conduct tests that answer questions similar to the ones described below:

Test Case #01: Do most popular software still start correctly after using jv16 PowerTools > Clean and SpeedUp My Computer?

This test case is designed to identify any false positives that may result from our recent development work on the latest version of the Clean and SpeedUp My Computer tool, part of jv16 PowerTools.

Test Case #02: What is the improvement in system startup time after using jv16 PowerTools > Startup Optimizer?

This test case is designed to measure the effectiveness of the Startup Optimizer tool on an operating system with  lots of bloatware installed, some of which automatically start with the operating system.

Test Environment

The current test cases were performed using an Oracle VirtualBox – Version 5.1.22 r115126 (Qt5.7.1) virtual environment running Windows 10 with 4 CPU cores and 8 GB of RAM assigned.

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

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 #01: Passed!

During the first test case, the following steps were taken:

Step 1) On a freshly installed Windows 10, some of the most popular 3rd party software were installed. To ease this process, a free mass software installer automation by Ninite was used.

pc system utilities software testing

Step 2) To make sure that there is some cleaning work to do for our PC System Utilities software, we wanted each of the 3rd party installed software to get a chance at setting their own settings and initial configuration data in the system’s registry.

Also, we wanted to make sure that each of them actually starts correctly and without errors, before touching the system with jv16 PowerTools.

pc system utilities software testing

Step 3) In order to ensure that all 3rd party software have been properly installed, a system reboot was carried out. After which, crap.reg was imported into the system’s registry.

This Windows registry key samples database contains intentionally orphaned leftover traces of random 3rd party software. Meaning, registry keys that are disconnected from their local files.

This test file was obtained during previous benchmark test reports and is currently used in our software testing lab as a high quality source of unwanted registry keys.

We use such data to test the effectiveness of our registry cleaner tool as well as our competitors.

pc system utilities software testing

Step 4) After the unwanted registry key samples were imported, each software previously installed on Windows was once again run in order to ensure that it still starts correctly.

Conclusion: 100% of the installed 3rd party software still started correctly after the software leftover traces were imported.

Step 5) jv16 PowerTools 2017 version 4.1.0.1724 (release candidate) was installed and the initial setup performed (mapping and diagnosing the system’s registry and file system in order to determine initial system health scores).

pc system utilities software testing

Step 6) Before running Clean and SpeedUp My Computer using its default settings, we took note of the Registry Information tool, Home > System Startup Times and Startup Timer > Startups list.

This should help us to evaluate the effectiveness of jv16 PowerTools for this use case scenario as we will be comparing the same information after cleaning and optimizing the system.

Step 7) jv16 PowerTools 2017 > Clean and SpeedUp My Computer was used in order to identify as many system errors as possible.

Using its default scanner settings, the registry cleaner component was able to identify the following software leftovers. Some of them have been imported via the crap.reg file described earlier and some of them are the result of improper software package management by Windows.

pc system utilities software testing

Step 8) After the Clean and SpeedUp My Computer tool was used, the system was rebooted once in order to ensure that all settings take effect.

After the system was restarted, each software previously installed from Ninite was once again opened in order to ensure that it is still starting correctly (no false positive symptoms after using jv16 PowerTools).

Test Case #1 conclusion: Test passed! 100% of the installed 3rd party software still started correctly after the imported software leftover (for testing purposes) were cleaned by the Clean and SpeedUp My Computer tool.

pc system utilities software testing

Test Case #02: Passed!

During the second test case, the following steps were taken:

Step 9) After cleaning and optimizing the system using the Clean and SpeedUp My Computer tool, we recorded the information provided by the Registry Information tool as well as the Startup Timer which shows the effectiveness of the Startup Optimizer.

Before doing so, we rebooted the system at least five times in order to make sure that the Startup Timer tool has sufficient data to calculate the percent in startup time improvement based on data from before and after using the Clean and SpeedUp My Computer tool.

Step 10) Took a screenshot of the Startup Timer – Startups logging panel, a screenshot of Home > System Startup Times as well as a screenshot of the Registry Information > Details (full registry) panel. You can see all of them below.

Test Case #2 conclusion: Test passed! An average startup time improvement of more than 5% was achieved after using the Startup Optimizer tool.

Test Cases Summary:

Test Case #1 (summary) answers the following question for jv16 PowerTools – release candidate 4.1.0.1723:

Question: Are any of the most popular software affected by the normal operation of the Clean and SpeedUp My Computer tool?

Answer: None of the most popular software installed using Ninite’s automatic software installed seemed to manifest any false positives with jv16 PowerTools 2017 – version 4.1.0.1723.

Test Case #2 (summary) answers the following question for jv16 PowerTools – release candidate 4.1.0.1723:

Question: What is the improvement in system startup time after using jv16 PowerTools > Startup Optimizer?

Answer: On average, the test system configuration started 6.94% faster. The result was measured 5 reboots after using the Clean and SpeedUp My Computer tool.

pc system utilities software testing

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:

Is there such a thing as the best antivirus software or “it depends”?

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When looking to find the best antivirus software, everything certainly depends on your personal needs!

Computers are an important part of our lives nowadays. Whether it is your mobile, tablet, laptop or home PC you are using an electronic device to read this content. Most people do not think about computers as entities that require being in a healthy state in order to perform optimally.

Instead, we see them as devices that sometimes slow down, and other times speed up until something affects its system. And because we have heard of “computer viruses”, we simply click on the first antivirus software we find on the Google search page, investing very little effort in making a proper research. It is time to change that line of thinking!

Windows is a magnificent operating system that does lots of wonders for your productivity and overall experience. You have to remember that on any given day your PC is under siege by spyware, ransomware, viruses, adware, trojans and a whole plethora of other malware.

All this vicious data-stealing malware is always evolving and looking for a way to circumvent your security. You could opt to unplug your computer from the internet in order to keep it safe… however… if you download something from the internet from another computer and then install it on your internet-isolated computer, your computer is still at risk.

Moreover, it is important to note that there is no such thing as a perfect anti-virus. Also, your needs for security vary between home and business. It is up to you, dear reader, to define what your optimal budget is and then see which antivirus is the best antivirus for Windows, in your particular case (not just what advertisements tell you to think).

Be self-aware when looking to find the best antivirus for Windows

Before you go spend your day searching the internet for information about the best antivirus for Windows, you should first keep reading. Up next is a list of different antiviruses at different price points. All the information that will be displayed here was published by AV-Test and AV-Comparatives on their public websites.

The first one, AV-Test, is a German institute that has been in operation for the past 15 years, and whose goal is to provide unbiased data regarding IT security.

The later, AV-Comparatives, is an Austrian institute that performs one of the most complex and thorough tests available to resemble real-life protection capabilities of any given anti-malware. The way they conduct tests is by assigning a star rating system to each product, depending on their performance.

1 star is Good, 2 stars is Standard, and 3 stars is Advanced+. Therefore, every time you read that an antivirus brand got a ranking of Advanced+ it means that it got the highest possible ranking that it can be given.

Additionally, whatever vendors appear on this list are here because they got a vote from these institutes, and you should double check this statement, depending on the time when you read this report.

Tests are performed by independent security institutes periodically so results may vary over time. Your security is important, and articles like this one should never be used to promote a specific firm.

With all those details out of the way, here is the list in no particular order:

Avira

best antivirus software avira

Avira is the winner of 2016 product AV-Comparative product of the year.

It received Advanced+ recognition on all of the 7 test made by AV-Comparative. It also obtained a joint gold award for file detection and performance. It gained the silver award for malware removal.

The pro version (priced at $19.95 at Amazon), offers advanced antivirus technology that is not found in the free version. Furthermore, the menu panel is very user-friendly.

The downside is that it can destroy infected systems beyond any possibility of repair.

The program also has some issues with phishing attempts. All and all, the pro version and the free version are not that widely separated, so you can use either one.

Avast

best antivirus software avast

This anti-malware software obtained 3 Advanced+ recognitions.

It also obtained a joint silver award in the performance test. Digging a little deeper, the Wi-Fi inspector is quite an amazing feature. Furthermore, if you want to upgrade to the pro-version (39.99 at Avast web page), you will get several options that will make it worth your time.

The downside is that the pro version does not guarantee that all options will be opened. You will have to pay for some extra features. Nevertheless, the free and pro versions are quite handy and worth of your consideration.

Bitdefender

best antivirus software bitdefender

This product won 2016 Outstanding Product of the Year by AV-Comparatives.

It has several joint scores overall. It won the gold award for Real World Protection and a joint silver award for File Detection, False Positives, and Performance.

It also earned the bronze award for malware removal. The ransomware protection is also outstanding.

The downside is that their scanning takes far longer than any of the other programs and the price. Starting at $39.99 a year for 1 device, you have to be ready to spend a pretty penny for this anti-malware software.

Emisoft

best antivirus software emsisoft

Winner of 2016 Top Rated Product of the year, Emsisoft earned 4 Advanced+ recognitions.

It also has a joint silver award for file detection and a joint bronze award for performance. It has a very friendly and clean modern interface.

Its malware blocking and malicious URL blocking ability are remarkable. And lastly, it has a behavior-based detection system that improves over time at spotting ransomware.

Unfortunately, its anti-phishing abilities are average, and it will take a while before the behavior program understands the difference between normal programs and malware.

At $39.95 this software is useful if you have the disposable income to invest in it.

ESET NOD32

best antivirus software eset

This anti-malware company received 4 Advanced+ awards in 2016, and it still ranks as a top rated product to date.

It won a joint gold award for false positives and performance. The global safety scores and firewall capabilities rival the capabilities of more well-known companies.

Furthermore, the interface is clean and easily accessible. On the negative side, it did average on malware control, which is quite relevant to keep a PC safe. Overall, ESET NOD32 is an upgrade from its previous version, at $39.99 it makes for a high cost for a company that is still trying to find its balance.

McAfee

best antivirus software mcafee

This is one of the most well-known antivirus and anti-malware companies in the world.

It received only 2 Advanced+ awards. It also won a joint bronze award for false positives. It offers unlimited protection for all devices and platforms.

It also has a very friendly user interface and several bonus features. The downside is that the company is living more out of its name than its performance. It has superb anti-phishing scores. As a result, it has proper protection for malicious URL blocking and malware blocking. Therefore, it is not a bad antivirus.

There are higher rated companies by AV-Comparative and AV-Test. However, the option to protect a big range of devices is quite alluring and interesting.

Bullguard

best antivirus software bullguard

BullGuard performed slightly better than its better-known competitor McAfee.

It received 3 Advanced+ awards and took a joint silver award in false positives and file detection. It gave good scores on malicious URL blocking test. The malware alerts are informative and persistent, with an easy access menu.

The anti-phishing leaves a lot to be desired, and the spam filter is only for supported email clients. Bullguard malware blocking is not bad, but not great either.

At the end of the day, the price point is much lower than McAfee ($23.96 compared to almost $60 for McAfee). Therefore it might be a good choice if you are limited on your funds, but want a security software solution that still offers a good protection.

Kaspersky Lab

best antivirus software kaspersky

This company also won Outstanding Product of the Year by AV-Comparatives.

It received Advanced+ in the entire test performed. It won a joint award in file detection and malware removal. It obtained joint silver aware in real-world protection. And, lastly, a joint bronze award in false positives and performance test.

Kaspersky Lab has a great software updater, and the virtual keyboard allows for secure data entry. However, performance comes at a price! It starts at $60 per year, per device.

It also had some issues with its malicious URL blocking test. But overall, it is a secure option if your only concern is your home PC.

F-Secure

best antivirus software f-secure

This company is less known than the other companies that appear on this list.

It obtained 3 Advanced+ in the test conducted. It also gained a joint silver award for file detection.

Furthermore, it has a very quick scan and its behavior-based malware detector is quite advanced. F-Secure possesses a very clean and simple interface. Unfortunately, there is not enough anti-phishing or malicious URL blocking to aware them higher rewards in these areas of protection interest.

The rest of the tests performed by the two security institutes on this software were good, but not great. Overall, F-Secure has the potential to become a powerhouse against malware.

Is jv16 PowerTools PC System Utilities compatible with all these 9 antivirus software?

Short answer: yes!

Long answer: We have worked hard to ensure compatibility between jv16 PowerTools and these 9 anti-malware companies. All antivirus products should be considered when thinking about which firm to use to protect your computer.

They were rated the best antivirus for home-user Windows at the time of writing this research summary. Keep in mind that most of these companies offer protection for businesses as well. However, it is still important to review each company before deciding to place your money in any of them.

Your PC is one of your most valuable non-monetary assets. Therefore, always take your time to review what each company offers before buying anti-malware software.

Hidden Windows 10 features that you may not know about

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Hidden Windows 10 features that you may not know about have been recently gaining popularity especially in the ranks of content writers, students and gamers. Windows 10 has proven to be leaps and bounds better than its predecessor, Windows 8.

The latest Microsoft OS has shown to have an organic and fluid dynamic to it. Being able to personalize your OS in order to make it your own has never been easier.

That said, some people are not too keen on playing with its settings; they might be afraid or unaware of the endless possibilities they have. Others cannot wait to play with the settings and learn about what the system can do.

However, chances are that the vast majority of our users are unaware of these amazing hidden Windows 10 features. To clarify, this guide will not show you the grand features that have been overly reported and easy to find. Furthermore, it will also avoid talking about the most prominent features released under the Windows 10 Creators Update, which have been already covered on our blog.

That is because all these updates are already wildly known. Game Mode is a useful feature, but it was constantly announced and promoted by Microsoft. In fact, it could be argued it was the centerpiece of the Creators Update.

This article is only for those features that were implemented without a massive fanfare, the ones that you can only know if you tinker with your PC too much. So with that in mind, up next are the hidden Windows 10 features you may not know about.

Background scrolling of inactive windows

You will think this feature was already a Windows standard. In fact, you can swear you have used it before. However, that cannot be further from the truth, and this is what makes this feature the most important hidden Windows 10 features implemented. Until Windows 10, you could only scroll in a particular window or application if it was active.

Furthermore, if your mouse was hovering on an inactive window or app and tried to scroll, the scrolling would have had occurred, unintentionally, in the windows that remained active. Thus, what you might be remembering is clicking your way around the different opened windows in order to scroll through them.

But like as said, that all changed with Microsoft’s latest OS. In Windows 10 you have the option to scroll up or down on inactive windows. All you have to do is go to Settings > Devices and then turn on the option: “Scroll inactive windows when I hover above them”.

Turning this option makes a lot of sense for plenty of people. For example, students or writers that want to check their different sources without having to flip between windows.

Moreover, it is also useful for gamers that are reviewing their stats or game plan while playing. So if you are part of one of those tribes or simply someone that tends to have many different windows open at the same time, turn this option on and you will never regret it!

hidden windows 10 features

Per-monitor display scaling

Over the past several years we have seen monitors jump at a surprisingly fast rate regarding their resolution. And while this jump in resolution comes at a hefty price, lately, those prices have been dropping considerably. A 4k monitor that used to cost just as much as high-range PC is now affordable enough for people to buy without breaking the bank. However, the affordability of 4k does not mean that your 1080p screen is any less useful.

Ergo, you may want to keep both screens and run a dual-screen rig. The problem with that is that Windows did not allow you to have both screens configured at the proper scale. So your 4k screen was scaled at 1080p, which made the icons and content look blurry and out of shape.

Microsoft realized that this scenario was going to become more common as monitor prices kept lowering. Thus, they introduced their display scaling. If you go to Settings> Display you will be faced with the monitors that you currently have connected, labeled from “1” to “n”, where n is the number of monitors.

Number “1” represents your main monitor. If you click there you will have the chance to set your preferred size for text, app and other items. You can also choose your resolution and orientation.

Numbers “2 to n” are your attached screens, and here is where this feature becomes useful: you can elect to have these screens as an extension of your desktop, while also choosing their resolution and orientation.

You can also choose to not have them as an extension of your desktop and still select different resolutions and orientations for each one. This scaling ability does not stop at monitors. If you have a high-resolution laptop but a standard resolution monitor, Windows 10 allows you to keep the same scales and resolutions between both displays.

By making use of these hidden Windows 10 features, you will never have to suffer from watching things get distorted by colliding monitor resolutions.

Hidden Windows 10 features that are automated: Storage Sense

Most Windows users are used to knowing the location of most of their files. Sadly, they do not know the size of all the files that are on their computer at any given time.

This is where Storage Sense comes in. Borrowing a page from the mobile operating software, Storage Sense lets users known how much space is occupied by different types of content. Want to know how much space are all your movies taking? Storage Sense tells you which portion of the disk is being taken by multimedia files. Furthermore, this system works with multiple HDD or SDD even if it is an external drive that is connected by USB.

To learn more about your current storage capacity on Windows 10, after installing the Creators Update, go to Settings> this PC and you will be presented with a detailed breakdown of what is currently taking space on your disk(s). This feature will even tell you how large are your hibernation files and your system restore files.

hidden windows 10 features

Native FLAC, MKV, and HEVC support

Windows Media Player may not be a new feature. From all the things we are listing today, this is the oldest feature we are showcasing. It is a staple of Windows, and if you are using Windows 10 than you should start using it more often. That is because with Windows 10 the Media Player got updated to support the latest and widely-used formats.

The most popular of the formats that Windows Media Player now supports is, of course, Matroska (MKV) native support. MKV is a widely used container for H.264 videos. That is because it can hold multiple audio, video and subtitle streams.

The second format that got native support was FLAC audio. This is good news for those audiophiles out there that are that enjoy high-quality sound. Lastly, the up-and-coming HEVC/H.265 video compression standard also got native support.

Having HEVC with native support will become incredibly important in the upcoming years as 4k videos and stream become the standard resolution for users. So feel free to close VLC for a moment and give your Windows Media Player a try.

These new codecs will enable Windows 10 users to play different types of multimedia content without the need to install third party software that may or may not be legitimate. Such things are almost guaranteed to make your experience far more enjoyable than ever before.

Connect the Windows key to your Microsoft account

The last hidden Windows 10 feature that will be mentioned here is probably the one that you never thought about until just now.

Cloud technology has become a driving force and companies are paying attention to that fact. Microsoft did not shy away from this notion and introduced the option to connect your Windows key to your Microsoft account. That means that next time you buy a new computer, you do not need to worry about whether or not you need to buy a new Windows key. If your HDD crashed and you need a new disk, just get a new HDD and download Windows 10 with no worries.

Microsoft made it easy to activate this option even when they did not put much emphasis in mentioning this marvelous feature. All you have to do is go to Settings > Update & Security > Activation. Once that is done, you will never have to worry about upgrading your PC again.

hidden windows 10 features

If you see the Windows 10 error code: 0x800704CF, then it means that your network location cannot be reached by the activation servers. Make sure that your computer is connected to the Internet and try again.

Can jv16 PowerTools clean software leftovers that Windows 10 Storage Sense misses?

Short answer: yes!

Long answer: First, make sure that you have enablee Storage Sense automatic cleaning (see our blog post on the topic of Windows 10 Storage Sense). When Storage Sense is enabled, Windows periodically deletes any files in your temp folders that aren’t currently being used by applications and any files in your Recycle Bin that are more than 30 days old.

After using Storage Sense, do a test scan using Clean and SpeedUp My Computer. This tool is part of the jv16 PowerTools PC System Utilities software. You can download jv16 PowerTools from our website and enjoy a free, fully functional, 60 days trial.

Windows 10 gaming optimization and GPU performance

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If you enjoy Windows 10 gaming then there is something to be said about the latest update: it was made with gamers in mind. However, just having Windows 10 Creators Update installed does not guarantee that your computer will be ready to run your favorite, GPU-intensive game with zero drops in performance. Thus, you can configure Windows 10 gaming to match your desired level of experience.

Now, for the sake of everyone some assumptions have to be made. Firstly, this article will approach this optimization with the notion that you are running a fresh, stable build of Windows 10. The reason for this is to ensure that all the changes we are suggesting have not yet been implemented.

If by any chance, you spot something here that you have already done, you can just skip it to the next step. That said the most likely outcome is that all the changes that will be suggested had not occurred.

Some of the things learned you might be already doing, and that is fantastic. However, we want everyone to get a chance to optimize their Windows 10 gaming experience. Therefore, it is beneficial for everyone to know all the tweaks and steps taken to increase performance.

Windows 10 peer-to-peer update model

Let us start with a simple task: disabling peer-to-peer updates. Go to “Settings”, and then click on the “Windows Update” tab. Once you are there, look for “Advance Options” that is below the “Update Settings”. Once you click there, you will see the option to choose how auto updates are delivered. Click there and you will see 2 options:

  • PCs on my local network
  • PCs on my local network, and PCs on the Internet

Like the old saying goes, sharing is caring as long as you are not very zealous about privacy.

If you are concerned about prying eyes from getting into your computer, then it would be wise to turn the entire auto-update off. This will give you full control of when your Windows will update. If you are less concerned about a security breach, it would still be beneficial for you to prevent your computer from interacting with another random computer on the Internet.

Ergo if you want to leave the option on, then make sure to share updates only with your home network. That way all your local computers will benefit from any update that might be available.

Configuring active hours on Windows 10 for gaming

Now your computer will no longer interact with random strangers, which could, potentially, slow your performance by engaging in resource-consuming background processes as well as precious bandwidth. But we can take this a little further. Imagine you are in the middle of a heated game.

The outcome of the game could be decided in the next following minutes, and everyone is displaying their top game. This is when Murphy’s Law kicks in and Windows 10 will begin a forced update and reboot. You might want to take an axe to your computer and later set it on fire. This unfortunate scenario can be easily prevented by changing the settings in “Active Hours.”

What this setting does is tell windows that it is not OK to automatically restart your computer whenever it feels that is time for a reset. In order to change this option, all you have to do is go to “Settings” (by pressing the Windows key + i) and then choose update and security. From there, you will see the options to “Change Active Hours” (if you want to set your computer to restart a certain time), and “Restart Options” to simply turn it off.

Online Windows 10 gaming and Nagle’s algorithm

Nagle’s algorithm is a means of improving the efficiency of TCP/IP networks by reducing the number of packets that need to be sent over the network. Everything has been pretty easy so far. But you are not reading this just to know how to simply turn off Windows 10 settings.

You are here to optimize your Windows 10 gaming experience. So let us move to more technical stuff. This next step involves disabling Nagle’s Algorithm. What Nagle’s Algorithm does is to create bundles of data packets at the cost of a more stable and smoother Internet connection.

Having this algorithm enabled on your computer could be part of the reason why you are having latency problems when playing online games.

How to disable Nagle’s algorithm when using Windows 10 for online games

To disable this algorithm you need to open your “Registry Settings” under Start> type regedit> Regedit. This will open the Registry Editor. Now, you will have to click on “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\Interface” that can be found by scrolling down the drop menu. Once you click there, you will be sent to the interface menu. Under that menu, you will notice that some files are comprised of letters and numbers.

For you to know which file is the correct one, you have to match your IP Address with the listed “DhcpIPAddress” that can be found in one of the files. In case you have forgotten how to find your IP address, all you have to do is press “Win+X” and do the following:

Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Connections > Details > IPv4 Address.

You have your IP and tracked down your folder with the proper IP Address of your Internet connection, you have to right-click on the folder and select “New> DWORD (32-bit) Value.” You will have to create 2 of those. One of the DWORD Values has to be named “TcpAckFrequency” and the other needs to be named “TCPNoDelay”.

After that is done, double click on each one and set their parameters to 1. If you followed every step precisely, then these new parameters will disable Nagle’s Algorithm. Bear in mind that if you run into any problems, you can always set the parameter values to 0 and they will be disabled.

Temporarily exit OneDrive for optimal online Windows 10 gaming

Since we are still on the topic of saving bandwidth, let’s talk about OneDrive. The OneDrive app for Windows 10 is more active than its previous incarnation during Windows 8.1. Therefore the consumption of bandwidth seems to be higher, at least based on preliminary benchmark tests regarding this app.

If you really need to upload all your new files to a cloud server so you can use them on your mobile or another computer at any time, as long as you have Internet connectivity, this application is useful for not good enough to motivate its resource intensive processes. And since we are here to optimize our rig for gaming, we can turn this app off. Turning the app off is quite easy.

How to disable OneDrive when using Windows 10 for online gaming

All that needs to be done is right click on the OneDrive app, which is located on your taskbar, and click “Exit”. Done! You have gained more bandwidth and further improved your latency when using Windows 10 for online gaming.

Windows 10 gaming with pre-installed software

Windows 10, just like its predecessors, comes with pre-installed apps that tend to be referred to as Bloatware. That does not mean these apps are bad, they are simply useless for our purposes. That is because they are useful when using a tablet or even a working laptop. But for a gaming PC, these apps are just taking valuable resources and bandwidth.

Furthermore, eliminating these apps will free some storage space that might give you extra room to install one more game if you do not have a dedicated SSD to run your OS.

To eliminate these apps what you need to do is run an elevated Power Shell, and enter the one of the following commands (you can eliminate them all or just the apps of your choice):

  • Remove-AppxPackage –package Microsoft.BingFinance_10004.3.193.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe
  • Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingNews_10004.3.193.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe
  • Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingSports_10004.3.193.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe
  • Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingWeather_10004.3.193.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe
  • Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.Getstarted_2015.622.1108.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe
  • Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.MicrosoftOfficeHub_2015.4218.23751.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe
  • Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.MicrosoftSolitaireCollection_3.1.6103.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe
  • Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.Office.OneNote_2015.4201.10091.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe
  • Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.People_2015.627.626.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe
  • Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.SkypeApp_3.2.1.0_neutral_~_kzf8qxf38zg5c
  • Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.WindowsMaps_2015.619.213.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe
  • Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.WindowsPhone_2015.620.10.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe
  • Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.WindowsSoundRecorder_2015.615.1606.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe
  • Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.XboxApp_2015.617.130.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe
  • Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.ZuneMusic_2019.6.10841.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe
  • Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.ZuneVideo_2019.6.10811.0_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe
  • Remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.3DBuilder_10.0.0.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe

Windows 10 gaming drivers and incompatible software

Drivers are the pieces of software we keep forgetting about until we reach a compatibility issue. However, this is not the purpose of a driver. What a driver does is allow your operating system to properly communicate with your hardware. So if you want yours to have a Windows 10 for gaming, this is an important thing to check. A majority of your drivers will hover around enabling proper motherboard functions (like USB support, audio, networking, etc.).

Moreover, drivers also help GPU functionality. Therefore, it is paramount that all your drivers are up to date. If they are not, then you will experience frame rate drops, even games not willing to open or even crashing after a short period of time.

To find out what drivers are missing from your computer, you can quickly go Control Panel> Device Manager. Any device that is missing a driver will have a yellow question mark on it.

Once you are done there, go to Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features. From there you can take a quick look for old software that may no longer compatible with Windows 10. Deleting these software may be something that you can take into consideration for optimizing Windows 10 gaming to the maximum of your computer’s available resources. That is due to the fact that they will interfere with the overall performance and stability of your machine, and that will translate into a drop of frames.

Ultimately, the best way to improve your Windows 10 gaming performance is by getting better hardware, although that can be expensive. An experienced gamer knows that the best way improve your computer is to maximize your investment. Thusly, by following these steps you can improve your Windows 10 for gaming at a, relatively, no cost.

Can jv16 PowerTools clean and speedup my computer for Windows 10 gaming?

Short answer: yes!

Long answer: we are working to ensure compatibility of our PC System Utilities software with various versions of Windows on an ongoing basis. If you notice any incompatibility issues, please open a support ticket with us and we will be glad to investigate it in the lab.

Windows 10 Storage Sense Keeps Disks Clean Automatically

By | blog

Windows 10 Storage Sense becomes useful as with the regular use of your operating system on a day to day basis, hard drives store temporary junk and unnecessary files. These files ultimately may impair the performance of your computer.

In addition to existing applications that help maintaining computers in good condition, when your disks start to run out of space, Windows usually shows a notice and offers the chance to clean. However, both options require your interaction to be carried out.

Once Windows 10 Creators Update was released, Microsoft wanted hard disks to stay clean automatically. For this reason it has included a new feature called “Storage Sense”. Thanks to this new feature, Windows will automatically delete temporary files of applications that you do not frequently use and will erase files found in the Recycle Bin that have more than 30 days since they have been deleted.

Continue reading this research summary to discover what’s new in the Windows 10 Creators Update (released: April 11, 2017) in what concerns automatic hard disk cleaning and why it is still a good idea to use specialized software such as jv16 PowerTools to deeply check for software leftovers and remove bloatware.

Windows 10 Storage Sense saves you time

By accessing the “Settings” application (PC Settings in the last versions) you can see a new section in the left side column. Storage Sense comes precisely to avoid the step of having to go to “My PC” or “Control Panel” to know exactly how our internal memory is distributed, what internal partitions data are located in, and how to change the default folders of certain type of content.

The space occupied by desktop applications, Windows Store applications, images, videos or even the system itself, will be available now all together in this simple but complete application of the system. In this way, Microsoft has integrated a good series of options and configurations to manage most aspects of your computer.

If you do not yet wish to proceed, once the Windows 10 Creators Update notice appears, you still get the chance to snooze this update and continue with it at a later time.

Storage Sense saves you worries

One of the issues that most concern users, whether at the level of home or business, is the protection of sensitive information while maintaining availability. It is known that not always everyone has the good habit of backing up data and at some point the operating system may fail.

At the hardware level, for example the hard drive disks or the memory may fail; or at the software level, for example errors in the boot or some virus, which forces to restore all the equipment and in some situations may cause the loss of very difficult to recover information.

There is no doubt another issue associated with computers having little disk space available for different reasons such as: small hard disks, excessive installation of applications or programs, little preventive maintenance or the use of backups in partitions, etc.

The problem with this is that the operating system may fail when space is limited and this will make the experience of using Windows 10 less than desired.

Many users use the default tool in the Windows operating systems called Free Space or they start using various tools that we found online and tested. In many cases, this type of PC System Utilities  have a greater leftover finding accuracy than the software included with Windows.

Setting Windows 10 Storage Sense on your computer

Windows 10 Storage Sense allows you to configure the two options to let the operating system clean temporary files that the applications no longer use, in addition to cleaning the recycle bin every 30 days.

It automatically analyzes the computer and handles the removal of temporary files, which can often weigh more than 5 GB, and the files in the trash can drastically increase its size. In this way you will be constantly cleaning the computer freeing up space on the hard drive and getting the most out of the system.

To access this function, all you have to do is open the Settings menu and go to System> Storage. Underneath the hard drives you will see the new option called “Storage Sense”. By default it is disabled, so, to activate it, you must activate the switch that appears below the description of the function. In this way, the new function will start to work automatically, although, if desired, there is the option to customize it for a cleaning much more in line with the customers’ needs.

Data protection mechanisms

There are some files that the Windows 10 Storage Sensor does not delete as they are dedicated to the system and must be manually deleted by each user. These files are:

  • Windows Update Logs
  • Windows Updates (Windows.old)
  • Installation files

These should be removed from the clean system files option with the Free Space utility.

Now the Storage Sensor in Windows 10 is enabled. Once active it is possible to make some adjustments in the configuration of the same. To do this, access the path mentioned above and there select the option “change the free space mode” and a window will be displayed with the following options:

  • Enable removal of temporary files that are not active
  • Automatically delete files in the trash that are for a period of time greater than 30 days
  • Clean the system immediately by pressing the clean now option

By clicking on the option “clean now” the sensor will immediately indicate the amount of space to be released for Windows 10. For this reason, Storage Sense may become a vital utility to preserve the optimal performance of the operating system.

Using Windows 10 Storage Sense on your computer

When you open the Windows 10 Storage Sense you will see a bar graph that shows how much space you have occupied and how much is left. It displays all the drives connected to your system and if you click on “This PC” a detailed view of each location and the space they are using will deploy.

This view contains another bar graph at the top. This one has a color code to identify the different categories and the space each one is using. These categories are:

  • System
  • Desktop apps
  • Apps & games
  • Pictures, Music & Videos
  • Mail
  • Documents
  • OneDrive offline files
  • Downloads
  • Temporary Files
  • Other

Now, by clicking each category, the complete information and controls are displayed. This allows you turn additional features on or off. Also, there is a button called Uninstall Programs that takes you to Programs and Features, the utility that lets you uninstall different programs.

If you need to see the apps installed on your computer and the amount of space each one takes, go to Apps and Games and in case you decide to uninstall one, you can do so by clicking the app button and selecting the Uninstall option.

You can also view your Pictures, Music & Videos, as well as the Documents. One of the downsides is that the Mail option is not currently working properly, but hopefully this will be fixed soon.

Particularities and possible improvements for Windows 10 Storage Sense

The OneDrive offline files button takes you to the OneDrive app and the Downloads button shows you all the files downloaded to your computer. The Temporary files button is a bit more complex, though, you can use it to manage your temporary files or to view your recycling bin and use the Disk Cleanup.

A downside that users have complained a few times about is that the “Other” button seems to show all the uncategorized content and does not offer much more information, which means that you can’t tell which files are there and if you want to delete them or not. This is where system utilities software with 18+ years of experience in cleaning the Windows operating system may still come in handy.

The main page doesn’t only display the “Storage Overview” but also the “Save Locations” tab. This option lets the user change the location where Pictures, Music, Videos, and Documents will be saved.

Using Windows 10 Storage Sense on your mobile

windows 10 storage sense mobile

As a feature for Windows Phone, Storage Sense system allows managing the place where new applications, documents, and other equipment go to. Thanks to it, users with terminals that have a more limited internal storage capacity but do have a microSD card can easily configure where each type of file goes automatically.

It will no longer be a problem or inconvenience to store a great variety of music, videos, photos and applications. To do this, all that has to be done is go to Windows 10 Storage Sensor and set a series of settings.

Storing music, videos and podcast files is the first option that it offers. There, the user can select if the storing will always be saved in the internal memory or the micro SD card. Then there is the same option but only for photographs.

Users can also determine where the default applications are installed. Here, if you are not using many apps then it is more recommended to store everything in the internal memory. And to finish, in order to configure “Downloads”, undoubtedly the micro SD card is the ideal location.

Stopping a couple of minutes and adjusting these options will get Windows Phone users to enjoy these devices more as this helps save the trouble of having to do a manual cleanup from time to time, passing the data to the micro SD card and deleting all the trash that causes the phone to slow down.

Our take on the latest Windows 10 Storage Sense

It seems like Microsoft is taking Windows 10 Storage Sense very seriously, but there are still some improvements that need to be made.

Is jv16 PowerTools conflicting with Windows 10 Storage Sense?

Short answer: no!

Long answer: we are working to ensure compatibility of our PC System Utilities software with various versions of Windows on an ongoing basis. If you notice any incompatibility issues, please open a support ticket with us and we will be glad to investigate it in the lab.

Windows 10 Creators Update brings ideas to life in 3D with Paint

By | blog

Windows 10 Creators Update has become a large success for Microsoft. The OS is no longer monolithic software that slowly evolves and lags behind the needs of its users. Windows 10 is now an ever evolving platform which updates add valuable features.

The latest update, dubbed “Build 1703”, but more commonly known as “Windows 10 Creators Update” is no exception. The Windows 10 Creators Update brings to the OS a series of new features, along with some security updates that can change the way their user base will interact with the OS.

Continue reading this research summary to discover what’s new in the Windows 10 Creators Update (released: April 11, 2017).

Windows 10 Creators Update is mainly focused on end-users

That said there is still something for everyone, including small businesses. However, it is better to start with the update that is more of a new app than an update: Paint 3D.

This new app allows a user to recolor, retexture, or modify 3D models, including models from Minecraft and Sketchup, and also create new 3D objects from scratch.

Furthermore, it also permits users to create 2D objects and turn them into 3D with a simple click of the mouse.

windows 10 creators update

That said there is still something for everyone, including small businesses. However, it is better to start with the update that is more of a new app than an update: Paint 3D.

This new app allows a user to recolor, retexture, or modify 3D models, including models from Minecraft and Sketchup, and also create new 3D objects from scratch. Furthermore, it also permits users to create 2D objects and turn them into 3D with a simple click of the mouse.

Once the image is ready it can be shared through social media as well as Remix 3D, which is a community website created by Microsoft. These two updates cater to the user that cannot, or will not afford high-end design tools, like Adobe Photoshop. Moreover Remix3D.com, at first sight, looks like it caters to users that are willing to explore the vast online catalog of models.

At first sight, this update seems of little use for the average people outside of the highly creative population and Minecraft users. However, the introduction of Paint 3D made the Edge browser 3D compatible. This means that 3D models can now be uploaded and downloaded using Edge. Furthermore, if any user has a 3D printer, they can also print the models made in Paint 3D.

More updates brought by Creators Update

Microsoft PowerPoint now gained the ability to incorporate 3D models and 3D transitions on its presentations. Microsoft has promised to expand this 3D application to Microsoft Word in the upcoming year. But for now, Paint 3d has transformed even how school presentations can be made. So it will be interesting to see how Microsoft expands this 3D usage in the near future.

The next update that the Windows 10 Creators Update brought also seems just a bit bland.

This update is the Windows Mixed Reality. The reason this update is already a bit disappointing is the absence of the peripherals needed to enjoy the experience. The purpose of the “HoloLense headset,” the peripheral being developed by Microsoft, is to allow users see the real world as well as digital images that will be superimposed on the real world.

There is a lot of backend program that supports the use of virtual reality headsets, but nothing more beyond that. Hopefully, Microsoft will add more in the next update that is programmed for later this year.

Windows 10 Creators Update for gamers

Gamers will see several improvements in their experience after this update. The first major feature that will greatly benefit gamers especially in this age of live streaming is the use of Beam. By pressing the Windows key + g the Beam window will be brought up, and no additional software will be required. Beam will use the Microsoft DVR service that already allows users to save clips of their games and upload them to XBOX Live.

The way to use this system is pretty simple. All that is needed is a Beam account and an XBOX Live ID to start using this option. As well as streaming the game, the service also offers a webcam and microphone option, which is all that is needed to start streaming. If this addition sounds too good to be true and has everyone racing to start streaming, it is important to mention that it comes with some caveats.

This service will only work for XBOX Live. Players will be able to stream content into that platform live, and it will only inform XBOX Live friends that a live broadcast is happening. That means that more popular services that YouTube and Twitch will still require an additional software to be broadcast. Furthermore, this service cannot be used with Skype or Skype Business. Microsoft has stated that the reason behind this is because it will prevent private conversation to be accidentally streamed

Windows 10 Game Mode

Game Mode is another major update created with the gaming community in mind. This one is a little more technical, because it is an option that, allegedly, improves the PC performance when playing games. The idea is pretty simple; when using Game Mode, the PC will thread dedicated processor cores for games, move background tasks to other cores. And even though games already get priority regarding GPU and CPU usage, this mode tilts that priority further in their favor.

This mode is supposed to work best with UWP (Window Store) applications, but Microsoft has stated that it will also help Win32, or desktop games. It is hard to tell the veracity in which this system will truly improve the performance once activated. Preliminary reviews have been mixed with some claiming some improvement while others pointing out no improvement at all. Overall, it will be better to wait until enough benchmark tests are being performed before a proper assessment of this feature is given.

The biggest surprises of Windows 10 Creators Update

There is another important update that was given to a browser that still gets little appreciation by the Internet. Edge doubled down on its Windows 8 immersive functions for the Windows 10 Creators Update. The new Edge offers a tab previews bar that gives you a preview of every tab you have opened. Users also have the option to set tabs aside for later viewing, declustering your tab bar. There is a further addition given to the tabs where users have the option to share their tabs with other apps on the PC. All these buttons are located at the left side of the tab bar.

Here are the less flashy improvements that were given to Edge. The first of them is the fact that the browser will now prioritize HTML5 content over Flash whenever possible. User will be able to decide whether or not to use Flash over HTML. This decision to block Flash will improve battery life on laptops, and overall security. It is a move that follows a decision already made by Google, Apple, and Mozilla. Another technical update that was given to Edge was a redesigned architecture to make it more stable and responsive.

Lastly, Edge now supports Brotli compression. This type of compression promises to make loading times faster by having better compression ratios and decompression speeds. It is a compression used by Google and Mozilla, so the more websites that use Brotli compression, the better Internet experience.

Microsoft Edge and the Payment Request API

The Creators Update also brought to Edge web payment support to pages that use Payment Request API. This was designed to make online payments faster and easier by providing credit card information as well as shipping information through the usage of Microsoft Wallet. This feature will not always be available. For now, it only works on websites that support it.

The last major update that was made by the Windows 10 Creators Update was Security and Cortana. Microsoft has added Cortana support to the installer process, so that means most of the initial installation process can be done by voice command. Cortana can also turn off, restart, lock, and put asleep the PC with just voice a command. Cortana can also work while the PC is locked by simply saying “hey, Cortana.” and while this additions are quite helpful, the security aspect of potentially having Cortana storing information could cause some concern.

Windows 10 Security

This is where the security changes are greatly appreciated. Firstly, there is a new privacy page for your Microsoft account. This page will allow users to see any information stored and delete it if needed. Secondly, this new page provides more information about what Microsoft is collecting and why. Lastly, the telemetry levels are also being simplified to “basic” and “full.” Basic will share less information than it previously did, and “enhanced” level is being removed altogether.

This latest update brings some major changes that look promising. However, most of the rewards regarding 3D implementation won’t be seen until later this year or maybe next year when the peripherals will be available. The improvements in gaming, while at first sight they look like quite beneficial for the gaming community, put in question if it will be used as heavily as Microsoft intents it to be used.

Our take on the latest Windows 10 Creators Update

Overall, this update is quite promising, but it fails slightly short in its delivery. It will be interesting to see what Microsoft does with its following update that should come later this year. For now you can go to the Microsoft page and download it or it will automatically download if you have Windows 10 set to auto update.

Is jv16 PowerTools compatible with Windows 10 Creators Update?

Short answer: yes!

Long answer: we are working to ensure compatibility of our PC System Utilities software with various versions of Windows on an ongoing basis. If you notice any incompatibility issues, please open a support ticket with us and we will be glad to investigate it in the lab.

Best DNS Servers To Replace Your ISP DNS

By | blog

If you’re like most home or business “Cable Internet” users, you’ve probably never heard of such a thing as the best DNS servers and you are totally unaware of the default DNS settings configured by your ISP. This is perfectly OK, we did not trust 3rd party DNS servers for a long time either (until recently).

Having a basic understanding of DNS can improve online browsing speed and security and put you in control.

In order to save our readers and customers time and effort, we took a close look at the top DNS servers in the industry and ranked them according to user satisfaction and overall reputation. Although all DNS services ultimately function the same way, they do not necessarily serve the same purpose. The key is to determine which DNS server is right for you and how to apply it. This article will be updated as we gather new information so bookmark this page and check back regularly.

This is what you gain: In many countries, local ISPs are known to filter connections. There are situations when you may want to have an uncensored Internet connection. This article is for you if you want to find out which DNS servers are available for free public access as of September, 2016, who owns them and what security and privacy features are built into the most reputable ones.

  • Estimated reading time: less than 5 minutes.
  • Required technical experience: beginner

Best DNS Servers Offering Free Public Access

In certain situations, it may be more beneficial to utilize a free public DNS server offered by a reputable company than one provided by a local ISP network. Local providers do not always value privacy or security for their users. The list of servers below, however, offer relevant features such as phishing protection, site blocking (i.e., porn), and malicious traffic filtering.

Below you can find more details about each of the following free DNS suggestions:

  • Best DNS servers: Google Public DNS
  • Secure DNS servers: Level3 DNS
  • Protection against phishing attacks: OpenDNS
  • Protection against malware: Norton ConnectSafe DNS

Hire us to test and configure your PC remotely so you can use the best DNS server.

  • Anonymous DNS servers: OpenNIC DNS
  • Other public DNS servers with links to their websites

1. Best DNS servers: Google Public DNS

Here you can find more details published by Google on the advantages of using their DNS servers and how they address various related domain name resolution issues:

  • How to speed up your browsing experience
  • How to improve your browsing security
  • How does Google public DNS handle non-existent domains?

2. Secure DNS server: Level3 DNS

3. DNS protection against phishing attacks: OpenDNS

OpenDNS DNS Settings

4. DNS protection against malware: Norton ConnectSafe DNS

Norton ConnetSafe DNS Settings

Hire us to test and configure your PC remotely so you can use the best DNS servers for YOUR location.

Why? We are curious to find out how much you value the security of your internet connection and the valuable service we provide.

You can pay us $1 You can pay us $1,000! There’s no better deal! We perform all testing and research on a first come, first serve basis. This allows us to give each client personalized attention.

Want us to assess your entire network? We can handle large scale jobs that include several computers for your home or business. Each computer is evaluated and assigned the right DNS server.

Want help from us? Simply fill out a simple report and give us the details of your current issue. You can open a new support ticket with our help desk and we will get back to you in a timely manner with all details regarding scheduling of your remote computer repair session.

5. Anonymous DNS servers: OpenNIC DNS

OpenNIC DNS Settings

6. Other public DNS servers with links to their websites

Comodo Secure DNS Settings

Changing DNS Servers on Windows Computers

This related help content is not yet published. Once published, the following links will be updated: