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  1. New Windows exploit lets you instantly become admin. Have you patched? Zerologon lets anyone with a network toehold obtain domain-controller password. Enlarge VGrigas (WMF) 34 with 26 posters participating Researchers have developed and published a proof-of-concept exploit for a recently patched Windows vulnerability that can allow access to an organization’s crown jewels—the Active Directory domain controllers that act as an all-powerful gatekeeper for all machines connected to a network. CVE-2020-1472, as the vulnerability is tracked, carries a critical severity rating from Microsoft as well as a maximum of 10 under the Common Vulnerability Scoring System. Exploits require that an attacker already have a foothold inside a targeted network, either as an unprivileged insider or through the compromise of a connected device. An “insane” bug with “huge impact” Such post-compromise exploits have become increasingly valuable to attackers pushing ransomware or espionage spyware. Tricking employees to click on malicious links and attachments in email is relatively easy. Using those compromised computers to pivot to more valuable resources can be much harder. It can sometimes take weeks or months to escalate low-level privileges to those needed to install malware or execute commands. Enter Zerologon, an exploit developed by researchers from security firm Secura. It allows attackers to instantly gain control of the Active Directory. From there, they will have free rein to do just about anything they want, from adding new computers to the network to infecting each one with malware of their choice. “This attack has a huge impact,” researchers with Secura wrote in a white paper published on Friday. “It basically allows any attacker on the local network (such as a malicious insider or someone who simply plugged in a device to an on-premise network port) to completely compromise the Windows domain. The attack is completely unauthenticated: the attacker does not need any user credentials.” The Secura researchers, who discovered the vulnerability and reported it to Microsoft, said they developed an exploit that works reliably, but given the risk, they aren’t releasing it until they’re confident Microsoft’s patch has been widely installed on vulnerable servers. The researchers, however, warned that it’s not hard to use Microsoft’s patch to work backwards and develop an exploit. Meanwhile, separate researchers other security firms have published their own proofs-of-concept attack code here, here, and here. The release and description of exploit code quickly caught the attention of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which works to improve cybersecurity across all levels of government. Twitter on Monday was also blowing up with comments remarking on the threat posed by the vulnerability. “Zerologon (CVE-2020-1472), the most insane vulnerability ever!” one Windows user wrote. “Domain Admin privileges immediately from unauthenticated network access to DC.” “Remember something about least privileged access and that it doesn’t matter if few boxes gets pwned?” Zuk Avraham, a researcher who is founder and CEO of security firm ZecOps, wrote. “Oh well... CVE-2020-1472 / #Zerologon is basically going to change your mind.” Keys to the kingdom Zerologon works by sending a string of zeros in a series of messages that use the Netlogon protocol, which Windows servers rely on for a variety of tasks, including allowing end users to log in to a network. People with no authentication can use the exploit to gain domain administrative credentials, as long as the attackers have the ability to establish TCP connections with a vulnerable domain controller. The vulnerability stems from the Windows implementation of AES-CFB8, or the use of the AES cryptography protocol with cipher feedback to encrypt and validate authentication messages as they traverse the internal network. For AES-CFB8 to work properly, so-called initialization vectors must be unique and randomly generated with each message. Windows failed to observe this requirement. Zerologon exploits this omission by sending Netlogon messages that include zeros in various carefully chosen fields. The Secura writeup gives a deep dive on the cause of the vulnerability and the five-step approach to exploiting it. In a statement, Microsoft wrote: “A security update was released in August 2020. Customers who apply the update, or have automatic updates enabled, will be protected.” As alluded in some of the Twitter remarks, some naysayers are likely to downplay the severity by saying that, any time attackers gain a toehold in a network, it’s already game over. That argument is at odds with the defense-in-depth principle, which advocates for creating multiple layers of defense that anticipate successful breaches and create redundancies to mitigate them. Administrators are understandably cautious about installing updates that affect network components as sensitive as domain controllers. In the case here, there may be more risk in not installing than installing sooner than one might like. Organizations with vulnerable servers should muster whatever resources they need to make sure this patch is installed sooner rather than later. New Windows exploit lets you instantly become admin. Have you patched?
  2. Rainclip is a clipboard manager that can store snippets, templates and sync to your Google Drive While I test many clipboard managers from time to time, I usually fall back to Ditto. Recently, I've been testing a new program called Rainclip which has some impressive features. The application isn't portable. When you run it, Rainclip sits in the system tray. It captures the content that you copy to the clipboard, and lets you reuse them anytime you want. To view the program's interface left-click on the tray icon, or use the hotkey Ctrl + Shift + V. Hit the pin icon at the top of the window to make Rainclip stay above other programs. The clipboard manager has a tabbed interface. The first tab is History, this is where content from the clipboard is saved to. It stores a total of 20 items including text and images. So when it reaches 21, the oldest clip is deleted automatically. You can modify the settings to store more items in the history. By default, the program does not store data that is less than 3 letters, or text that is less than 4kB. These settings can also be adjusted. Double-click on a clip to insert it at the cursor location. Every clip has a three-dot button next to it, clicking on which presents a list of options. Use it to paste the clip as plain text (discards formatting), or to type the text (sort of like KeePass' autotype). Add a clip to the snippet section or perform an action (explained below) from the context menu. The Info tab is used to store text snippets, basically these are sort of like additional clipboard slots. You can use it to store anything you want, for e.g. your address, phone number, etc which you don't want to type over and over. Rainclip has a few default snippets for Email replies, emoji, messaging replies, and some other templates. To add your own template, click on the Settings button at the top. Switch to the Snippets tab. It has three boxes. Click the + button below the box on the left and type the name of the snippet category. Now, click the + button on the right to give the new snippet a title under the selected category. Finally, enter the content of the snippet in the box at the bottom. Head back to Rainclip's interface and you will see a new tab representing the category you created, click on it and it displays the snippet you stored in it. Place the cursor in a text field of a program and double-click on the snippet to add it. Tip: Each tab has a number next to it. Hit the corresponding key to switch to the tab. Search tool Click on the Search icon at the top of Rainclip's UI, and it changes to search mode. Type something in it and the pane displays the clips that had the keyword in it. Settings The program has a dark theme can be toggled from the Settings > General tab. You may want to disable the Debugging option that is marked "Send crash dump files for analysis". Manage your snippets, Email, Messaging and Templates from the Settings > Snippet section. It also has an option to Import and Export the snippets from a JSON file. Sync Rainclip supports syncing your history to your Google Drive. This is an optional feature. To sync your history to the cloud, hit the authenticate button from the Synchronization tab in the program. This opens your default browser. The clipboard manager requires the following permission: View and manage its own configuration data in your Google Drive. You may choose to allow it, after which the program will begin synchronizing the data to your Drive. By default, Rainclip syncs the clipboard history, snippets, and actions. You can choose to disable one or more of these options. To further secure your data, you can check the box next to "Encrypt data" and assign a password to encrypt your data. The Sync tab lists the connected devices that have been authorized to sync with your Drive account. Click on the revoke authentication button to log out of the account in the program, you may also do this from your Google Settings page. Applications Lists the applications from which Rainclip captured the content. Every program in this tab has three icons next to it. The first one tells the clipboard manager to stop storing clips from the selected application (for e.g. your password manager) Don't want to save images from a program? Click on the second icon to prevent that. The last option forces Rainclip to copy content from a specific application in plain text format, i.e., any formatting will be discarded. Actions Rainclip has some built-in commands, called Actions. Use these to convert text to lowercase or uppercase, add the current date and time, generate a random password, convert date and time to value or vice-versa. It also has some advanced options such as creating GUIDs. Hex Dumps, remove HTML tags, format JSON code. Rainclip is currently free for Windows and macOS. This review was based on Rainclip 0.5.87 for the most part. The program was updated to version 0.6.87 recently, and the website carried a message that read "free while in beta". I contacted the developer, Kimmo Pekkola (also the developer of Rainlendar), to get more information about this. He informed me that he hasn't decided on whether Rainclip will be freemium or a premium software yet. It may end up with a different model (than Rainlendar). The beta period doesn't have an end date as of now, so you can use it for free until the application goes commercial. For an application that's still in beta, Rainclip looks promising. I'd like to see support for hotkeys, clip previews. Since it already supports snippets, an option to expand text like Espanso or BeefText would be a welcome addition. Rainclip is a clipboard manager that can store snippets, templates and sync to your Google Drive
  3. WinCustom is a freeware tool that can be used to disable various options in Windows There are many programs that can improve your Windows user experience. Usually this is done by giving you more options to choose from. WinCustom is a freeware tool that lets you disable many features that are available in Windows, but it is not one of those privacy programs that you may run to disable certain privacy-related features. The program is portable. It displays a splash screen for a couple of seconds when you run it. The interface displays four tabs: Start Menu, Taskbar & System Tray, Windows Explorer & Desktop, Miscellaneous. Start Menu This tab allows you to Hide or unhide the following options: My Documents, Recent Documents, Music, Videos, Downloads, Pictures, Favorites, Recorded TV, Games, Run Command, Control Panel, Default Programs, All Programs, Administrative Tools, Devices & Printers, Help & Support, Connect To, Network, Homegroup, User Profile Folder and My Computer. It's fairly easy to use. When you click on an option in WinCustom's interface, it will process the command and after a few seconds restart Explorer automatically to apply the changes. The issue here is that you can't select multiple options at the same time, as the program processes the change immediately after you click the box next to a setting. So it takes a while to make a lot of changes. Some options in WinCustom will only be activated after the computer has been restarted. The CTF Loader process remained open when I tried to disable the Language Bar, I couldn't close it. A restart fixed the issue. The Start Menu tab allows you to disable App Launch Tracking, Pinning of Programs to the Start Menu, the Context Menu and the Drag-and-Drop behavior.You may choose to disable right-click entirely across the Start Menu, Taskbar and System Tray. The option below it helps prevent users from accessing the settings for the three elements. Hide the Power menu options including "Shutdown, Restart, Sleep, Hibernate and Log Off options. This doesn't disable the functionality of the options, it just hides them from the menu. Clicking on the Power button just says "there are currently no power options available". Taskbar and System Tray Worried that someone may alter your taskbar settings? Disable access to it from the second tab in WinCustom. Prevent the taskbar from being resized or moved, while also disabling button grouping, adding new shortcuts or toolbars. The Hide Language Bar icon disables the "Keyboard/Input language selection" button. Toggle the elements that are displayed on the system tray like the Action Center, Network, Battery, Volume and the Clock icons. Note: The toggle for the Action Center doesn't seem to work Windows Explorer & Desktop Settings Explorer has a ton of visual elements on the screen. WinCustom can be used to declutter the file manager considerably. Disable the Explorer Menu Bar, Library Pane, Preview Pane, Details Pane, etc. Trim down the Navigation Pane by disabling the Library, My Computer, Network icons. Hide the options to Show File Extensions, Hidden Files & Folders. Prevent system icons for the Control Panel, Recycle Bin from being placed on the desktop. The program can be used to remove items from the Explorer context menu, so if you don't use Share, Map Network Drive, Disconnect Drive, Restore Previous Versions, you can remove them from the menu. Miscellaneous The Miscellaneous tab in WinCustom can be used to disable the Task Manager, Windows Error Reporting, Windows Update (and Auto Update), and legacy applications such as Mail, Messenger, Media Center, Marketplace, Games Info & Updates or Limit the preservable bandwidth for QOS to 0. The program works with Windows 7 and above. WinCustom is an unusual tool for customizing your Windows, but it is definitely not for the average user. I'd advise caution while using such programs, especially since this one doesn't have a "reset to default" option. Create a backup before you use it. Landing Page: https://www.g-software.ma/wincustom/en/ WinCustom is a freeware tool that can be used to disable various options in Windows [ Software Updates post here... WinCustom 2.0.0.0 ]
  4. ppInk is a fork of gInk but with more annotation options including a text tool, arrows, numbered chips and more Back in December 2019, Martin wrote about a nice annotation tool called gInk. PpInk is a fork of gInk and it brings some additional features to polish the program further. Note: ppInk is set to use French as it's default language. So, unless you prefer using it as such, you may want to change it to one of the other options. Right-click on the tray icon, and select "Options. Use the Language drop-down menu and change the language, for e.g. English. Click on the button at the bottom of the window to save the changes. PpInk uses gInk's icon. But the difference between the two tools is instantly noticeable, as the fork adds many new useful options in the bar. These are the options available in gInk: Pen, Eraser, Pan, Mouse Pointer, Ink Visible, Snapshot, Undo and Delete (Pen Width is hidden by default). Unlike the original which relies heavily on freehand drawing, ppInk has tools for quickly adding various elements (refer to the 1st image). These include a hands-free drawing tool with fill options, Ellipse and Rectangle tools. All three of these have color options that can be accessed by clicking on their icon multiple times. The default mode is standard/blank filled, a second click toggles color-filled, the 3rd time switches to white-filled, while the final click enables black-filled mode. PpInk comes with options to add Lines and Arrows, and the latter has an option to switch the direction of the arrowhead. If you're marking various areas on the screen, you may find the Numbered Chip to be a valuable tool. Select it and click anywhere to add a chip with the number 1 in it, subsequent clicks increment the number by +1. GInk has one flaw (in my opinion), it doesn't have a text tool. Freehand drawing is acceptable for drawing custom shapes. But try scrawling some text using the freehand pen. You'll probably be spending more time undoing the changes, and re-drawing it, until you find it to be acceptable. ppInk addresses this problem with the inclusion of a text tool. It's a simple yet really important feature, at least for me. You can align the text right/left, and also edit the contents of the text tool and the numbered chips. Magnetic Effect is best explained on the program's official GitHub page. But, let me give you a quick example. Draw a box using the built-in rectangle shape tool. Disable the "Magnetic Effect" option. Move your mouse cursor next to a side of the rectangle, but not too close. Draw another box from the pointer's location, notice the gap between the 2 boxes? Now try the same but with the Magnetic Effect enabled. There will be no gap between the boxes, i.e. the tool attaches the 2nd rectangle to the first one, kind of like how two magnets stick together when they're too close, hence the name. (An example annotation made with ppInk) The Options in the program also differs compared to the original. Toggle any tool that's available from the General tab. In addition to the options available in gInk, PpInk also has options to start a screenshot capture when the toolbar is opened. Unlike the original software, the floating icon (near the tray), can be moved when you right-click and drag it. You may choose to disable the floating window, save its position from the Options. The other settings that you can tweak include selecting the default font type, size, arrowhead's aperture, magnetic radius. PpInk has 9 pens enabled by default, and while this may seem like it has more options than gInk (has 5 pens), it's not the case. The latter has the same number of pens, but only 5 are pre-enabled. Likewise, the Pen Width tool is not enabled in gInk, but enabled in ppInk, they are functionally identical. The Hotkeys page in ppInk has more settings, but that's because it has more tools. GInk is a good program, but ppInk makes it more user-friendly. If you are terrible at freehand drawing, I think you'll like the latter over the former. Existing gInk users can switch over to the fork without missing out on any features, while gaining the advantages of the new tools. Landing Page: https://pubpub-zz.github.io/ppInk/ ppInk is a fork of gInk but with more annotation options including a text tool, arrows, numbered chips and more
  5. Photo Resizer Expert is a freeware tool that can batch resize, convert, watermark images Converting or resize multiple images takes a lot of time if you're using an image editor. As a workaround you should try a batch image processing software. We have reviewed our fair share of batch processing applications for Windows, including ImBatch, ImagesMixer, XnResize or Pictor. Photo Resizer Expert is a freeware tool that can batch resize, convert, watermark, crop images and a lot more. The installer has an option to add the program to the Windows Explorer context menu, you can uncheck the box to prevent it from being added. A splash screen is displayed when you run the program, click on the continue button after 5 seconds to access the software. It tells you that it is a free trial and that you can use it for 100,000 days. That's over 273 years in case you were wondering. Jokes aside, that's Photo Resizer Expert's way of saying that it is free for noncommercial use. Click on the Add files button on the toolbar to add some images for editing. You may drag and drop files onto the UI. If you allowed the Explorer shell integration, you can use the context menu to open the selected files in Photo Resizer Expert. Want to batch edit all images in a directory? That's what the add folder button is for. The program can open virtually all image formats including raster, RAW, PSD (Photoshop) formats. The program lists the images in the top pane, and the columns indicate the filename, size (in KB), date and the full path of each file. Save the list of files to a text document from the file menu, in case you want to come back later, the Import List option can be used to add the files from the saved list. Select an image and it is displayed in the preview pane on the right-hand side. The picture's original size (resolution in pixels) is mentioned below the preview, and this helps in determining the output size. The preview also tells you the total size of the selected images. Hit the "Show Resize Preview" button and a new window opens, it allows you to view what the output file will look like. Use it to decide whether the image is alright, or make adjustments as required. The pane at the bottom of Photo Resizer Expert's interface has several tabs. You may choose the image editing profile to use preset options, or customize the settings and save it as a custom profile. Define the resolution of the output images using the Image size tab. It lets you set the width and height in Pixels, Percentage, Inches, Centimeters, Millimeters and Points. The aspect ratio setting when enabled preserves the ratio of the original picture. Next is the Image Format tab, and you can use it to select the output format that the pictures should be saved in. Photo Resizer Expert can save images in the following formats: PNG, JPG, JPEG, BMP, GIF and TIFF. Saving the image in JPEG? The JPEG quality slider lets you restrict the file size as required. Choose the Output Folder where the processed images should be stored in. If you added folders and sub-folders, the program preserves the folder structure of the source directories. The Image Editing tab has the following options: Adjust the RGB, Brightness, Contrast, Hue, Saturation, Lightness, replace color. It has an option to crop the image, resize the canvas, flip the images or rotate them, Swap colors, show color channels. You can also use Photo Resizer Expert to batch watermark your photos with an image or text. Customize the watermark's opacity, position, offset for the stamp. Want to add a border around the pictures, you can do that. The program has filter effects such as grayscale, negative, sepia that you can apply to give the images a unique look. There are plenty of blur modes to choose from including Gaussian, Soften, Smooth, Fuzzy Blur, Motion Blur, Median, Mean, Sharpen, Emboss, Edge Detection, Laplacian, Sobel, Scharr, Kirsch, Isotropic, Prewitt, Swirl, Sphere and Timewarp antialias, Water, Moire, Stained Glass, Pixelate. To use one of the Editing options, click on its name in the lower pane, and a new window will open with advanced settings for each feature. Rotate images using the EXIF information, preserve EXIF data such as the creation date, modification date, etc, from the Options tab. While you're there, you can optionally restrict the number of CPU threads to be used by the process. Photo Resizer Expert has a batch rename tool that can be accessed from the Filename Pattern tab. Enter the name pattern in the text box, choose a variable (extension, date, image height, width, etc), add the date pattern, that should be used for the renaming process. For more advanced options, switch to the Find/Replace Filenames tab. It offers ways to replace names using wildcards and RegEx (regular expressions). Save to Archive helps you reduce storage space by placing the edited images in a ZIP or RAR archive. You can choose a custom program like WinRAR or 7-zip if you have them installed. That's a lot of options, isn't it? When you're done making your selections, hit the Resize button on the toolbar to start processing the images. The program adds a desktop shortcut that links to the developer's homepage, you may want to delete that. Photo Resizer Expert has more options than the average freeware batch image editor, and that's a good thing. Landing Page: https://www.4dots-software.com/photo-resizer-expert/ Photo Resizer Expert is a freeware tool that can batch resize, convert, watermark images
  6. Mute the microphone system-wide with a global hotkey on Windows MicSwitch is a free program for Microsoft Windows devices to mute the microphone on the device it is run on using a global hotkey. Instead of having to rely on the functionality provided by voice chat and audio chat applications, which often works only in the program that provides the shortcut, it ensures that the microphone is mute when the key is activated. The developers main intention with MicSwitch was to create a system-wide solution that is superior to the options provided by programs such as Discord, Skype, or Ventrilo. MicSwitch allows you to mute/unmute your system microphone using a predefined system-wide hotkey which will affect any program that uses microphone (no more heavy breathing during Skype conferences, hooray!) MicSwitch supports additional features such as an overlay, audio notifications and more. Microsoft introduced video conferencing hotkeys in its PowerToys application recently as well which does include a toggle for the microphone that works globally. The program needs to be installed on the target system before it can be used and requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.6.1. It starts automatically after installation and will run a check for updates. Note that it is not configured to run at system start by default, but you can toggle the "run at start" setting to make sure it is. As far as options are concerned, you can change settings for each microphone individually. MicSwitch supports multi-microphone setups, which may be useful for streamers predominantly. There is no default hotkey set on first run, you need to set one or two hotkeys that work as global shortcuts to toggle the microphone state. It supports two audio modes, push to talk and toggle, which can be configured in the preferences window as well. Another option that is provided in the preferences window is the ability to change the audio notifications that play when you mute or unmute the microphone. A quick test done on a Surface Go device confirmed the functionality of MicSwitch. The muting worked when using the hotkey regardless of forefront application. MicSwitch displays a small always-on-top indicator on the screen at all times that reveals the state of the microphone. There is no option to disable it but it can be moved and its opacity can be changed. Closing Words MicSwitch is a useful program for Microsoft Windows systems as it adds a reliable global shortcut to mute and unmute the microphone. Some users may dislike the always visible microphone indicator that cannot be hidden; an option to hide it would improve the application further. Landing Page: https://github.com/iXab3r/MicSwitch Mute the microphone system-wide with a global hotkey on Windows
  7. Microsoft Windows Security Updates September 2020 overview Welcome to the Microsoft Windows Patch Day overview for September 2020. Microsoft released security updates and non-security updates for all supported client and server operating systems. Other company products have received security updates as well on this Patch Day. The Windows updates that Microsoft releases on the second Tuesday of a month are cumulative in nature. Administrators may get them via Windows Update, WSUS, as direct downloads, or via other update management systems. Our monthly overview provides you with details on the released patches. It includes an overview of all security patches that Microsoft released, an Excel spreadsheet with all the patches, an overview of the operating system distribution and severeness, direct download links, links to support pages, security advisories, known issues, and more. Microsoft Windows Security Updates September 2020 You may download an Excel spreadsheet with detailed information about the September 2020 Patch Day. Click on the following link to download the archive to your system. All that is left to do is to extract the zip file and open it in a spreadsheet application such as Excel or LibreOffice Calc: windows-security-updates-september-2020 Executive Summary Microsoft released security updates for all supported client and server versions of Windows. Security updates were also released for other company products including Microsoft Edge (old and new), Internet Explorer, Visual Studio, Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneDrive, SQL Server, and Azure DevOps. Operating System Distribution Windows 7 (extended support only): 33 vulnerabilities: 4 critical and 48 important CVE-2020-0922 | Microsoft COM for Windows Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-1252 | Windows Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-1285 | GDI+ Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-1319 | Microsoft Windows Codecs Library Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-1508 | Windows Media Audio Decoder Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-1593 | Windows Media Audio Decoder Remote Code Execution Vulnerability Windows 8.1: 41 vulnerabilities: 5 rated critical and 51 rated important same as Windows 7 Windows 10 version 1803: 63 vulnerabilities: 9 critical and 54 important CVE-2020-0908 | Windows Text Service Module Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-0922 | Microsoft COM for Windows Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-0997 | Windows Camera Codec Pack Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-1129 | Microsoft Windows Codecs Library Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-1252 | Windows Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-1285 | GDI+ Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-1319 | Microsoft Windows Codecs Library Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-1508 | Windows Media Audio Decoder Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-1593 | Windows Media Audio Decoder Remote Code Execution Vulnerability Windows 10 version 1809: 70 vulnerabilities: 9 critical and 56 important same as Windows 10 version 1803 Windows 10 version 1903: 70 vulnerabilities: 9 critical and 61 important same as Windows 10 version 1803 Windows 10 version 1909: same as Windows 10 version 1803 Windows 10 version 2004: Windows Server products Windows Server 2008 R2 (extended support only): 39 vulnerabilities: 6 critical and 33 important CVE-2020-0922 | Microsoft COM for Windows Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-1252 | Windows Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-1285 | GDI+ Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-1319 | Microsoft Windows Codecs Library Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-1508 | Windows Media Audio Decoder Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-1593 | Windows Media Audio Decoder Remote Code Execution Vulnerability Windows Server 2012 R2: 47 vulnerabilities: 6 critical and 41 important. same as Windows Server 2008 R2 Windows Server 2016: 62 vulnerabilities: 9 critical and 56 important. same as Windows Server 2008 R2, plus CVE-2020-0908 | Windows Text Service Module Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-1129 | Microsoft Windows Codecs Library Remote Code Execution Vulnerability CVE-2020-0997 | Windows Camera Codec Pack Remote Code Execution Vulnerability Windows Server 2019: 73 vulnerabilities: 9 critical and 64 are important same as Windows Server 2016. Other Microsoft Products Internet Explorer 11: 3 vulnerability: 1 critical, 2 important CVE-2020-0878 | Microsoft Browser Memory Corruption Vulnerability Microsoft Edge: 4 vulnerabilities: 3 critical, 1 important CVE-2020-0878 | Microsoft Browser Memory Corruption Vulnerability CVE-2020-1057 | Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability CVE-2020-1172 | Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability Microsoft Edge on Chromium: see here (latest security patches from the Chromium project) Windows Security Updates Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Monthly Rollup: KB4577051 Security-only Update: KB4577053 Fixes and improvements: Yukon, Canada time zone information update (monthly rollup). Fixes a security vulnerability issue with user proxies and HTTP-based Intranet servers. HTTP-based Intranet servers cannot leverage user proxies to detect updates by default anymore. Check this support page for additional information (monthly rollup). Security Updates Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 Monthly Rollup: KB4577066 Security-only Update: KB4577071 Fixes and improvements: Yukon, Canada time zone information update (monthly rollup). Fixes a security vulnerability issue with user proxies and HTTP-based Intranet servers. HTTP-based Intranet servers cannot leverage user proxies to detect updates by default anymore. Check this support page for additional information (monthly rollup). Fixed an unnamed issue when evaluating the compatibility status of the Windows system (monthly rollup). Security updates. Windows 10 version 1803 Support page: KB4577032 Fixes and improvements: Ability to sync Microsoft Edge IE Mode unidirectional session cookies when configured by an admin. Fixed an issue related to unexpected notifications. Updated Yukon, Canada time zone information. Fixed an Ever Viewer issue that prevented it from saving filtered events correctly. Fixed a delayed shutdown issue caused by Microsoft Keyboard Filter Service. Fixes a security vulnerability issue with user proxies and HTTP-based Intranet servers. HTTP-based Intranet servers cannot leverage user proxies to detect updates by default anymore. Check this support page for additional information (monthly rollup). Security Updates Windows 10 version 1809 Support page: KB4570333 Fixes and improvements: Fixes a security vulnerability issue with user proxies and HTTP-based Intranet servers. HTTP-based Intranet servers cannot leverage user proxies to detect updates by default anymore. Check this support page for additional information (monthly rollup). Security Updates Windows 10 version 1903 and 1909 Support page: KB4574727 Fixes and improvements: Fixes a security vulnerability issue with user proxies and HTTP-based Intranet servers. HTTP-based Intranet servers cannot leverage user proxies to detect updates by default anymore. Check this support page for additional information (monthly rollup). Security Updates Windows 10 version 2004 Support page: KB4571756 Fixes and improvements: Addressed a potential elevation of privilege issue in windowmanagement.dll. Fixes a security vulnerability issue with user proxies and HTTP-based Intranet servers. HTTP-based Intranet servers cannot leverage user proxies to detect updates by default anymore. Check this support page for additional information (monthly rollup). Security Updates Other security updates KB4577010 -- Cumulative security update for Internet Explorer: September 8, 2020 KB4577038 -- 2020-09 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012 KB4577048 -- 2020-09 Security Only Quality Update for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012 KB4577064 -- 2020-09 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows Server 2008 KB4577070 -- 2020-09 Security Only Quality Update for Windows Server 2008 KB4577015 -- 2020-09 Cumulative Update for Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 Version 1607 KB4577021 -- 2020-09 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1703 KB4577041 -- 2020-09 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1709 KB4577049 -- 2020-09 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1507 Microsoft .NET Framework updates: KB4576485 -- 2020-09 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012 KB4576486 -- 2020-09 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 KB4576487 -- 2020-09 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2 KB4576488 -- 2020-09 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012 KB4576489 -- 2020-09 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 KB4576490 -- 2020-09 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2 KB4576612 -- 2020-09 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2 for Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2008 KB4576613 -- 2020-09 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2 for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012 KB4576614 -- 2020-09 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 KB4576628 -- 2020-09 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 3.5.1, 4.5.2, 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2, 4.8 for Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2 KB4576629 -- 2020-09 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 3.5, 4.5.2, 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2, 4.8 for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012 KB4576630 -- 2020-09 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 3.5, 4.5.2, 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2, 4.8 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 KB4576631 -- 2020-09 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 2.0, 3.0, 4.5.2, 4.6 for Windows Server 2008 KB4576478 -- 2020-09 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.8 for Windows Server, version 2004 and Windows 10 Version 2004 KB4576479 --2020-09 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 Version 1607 KB4576480 -- 2020-09 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows 10 Version 1703 KB4576481 -- 2020-09 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows 10 Version 1709 KB4576482 -- 2020-09 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows 10 Version 1803 and Windows Server 2016 (1803) KB4576483 -- 2020-09 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.8 for Windows Server 2019 and Windows 10 Version 1809 KB4576484 -- 2020-09 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.8 for Windows Server, version 1909, Windows 10 Version 1909, Windows Server 2019 (1903), and Windows 10 Version 1903 KB4576627 -- 2020-09 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.7.2 for Windows Server 2019 and Windows 10 Version 1809 Servicing Stack updates: KB4577266 -- 2020-09 Servicing Stack Update for Windows Server, version 2004 and Windows 10 Version 2004 KB4570332 -- 2020-09 Servicing Stack Update for Windows Server 2019 and Windows 10 Version 1809 KB4576750 -- 2020-09 Servicing Stack Update for Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 Version 1607 KB4576751 -- 2020-09 Servicing Stack Update for Windows Server 2019 (1903), and Windows 10 Version 1903 Known Issues Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Updates may fail to install if the system is not supported by ESU. Certain operations may fail on cluster shared volumes. See workarounds on the support page. Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 Certain operations may fail on cluster shared volumes. See workarounds on the support page. Windows 10 version 1809 Error "0x800f0982 - PSFX_E_MATCHING_COMPONENT_NOT_FOUND." on systems with certain Asian language packs. Microsoft suggests to uninstall and reinstall the language packs, or to reset the PC. Microsoft Edge legacy error "0x80704006. Hmmmm…can’t reach this page" when trying to access sites on non-standard ports. Suggestions include using the new Edge or IE 11. Windows 10 version 2004 Users of the Microsoft Input Method Editor for Chinese and Japanese may experience various issues. Check this support page for additional details. Security advisories and updates Non-security related updates KB4566371 -- 2020-09 Update for Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Embedded 8 Standard, Windows Server 2012, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2008 KB4574726 -- 2020-09 Dynamic Update for Dynamic Update for Windows 10 Version 1903, and Windows 10 Version 1909 KB4578847 -- 2020-09 Update for Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems KB890830 -- Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool KB4574728 -- 2020-09 Dynamic Update for Windows 10 Version 2004 Microsoft Office Updates You find Office update information here. How to download and install the September 2020 security updates Security updates are released via Microsoft's Windows Update service and update management services such as WSUS. The main cumulative updates may also be downloaded from the company's Microsoft Update Catalog website. It is recommended to back up the system before updates are installed as the installation of updates may cause numerous issues including boot issues, data loss or loss of functionality. Windows administrators may run a manual update check at any time on home devices. Here are the instructions on how to do that: Select Start and select Settings. Select Update & Security in the Settings application. Click on the "check for updates" button to run a manual check for updates. Windows checks if important updates are available to download and install these on the device. Direct update downloads Below are resource pages with direct download links, if you prefer to download the updates to install them manually. Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 KB4577051 -- 2020-09 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7 KB4577053 -- 2020-09 Security Only Quality Update for Windows 7 Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 KB4577066 -- 2020-09 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 8.1 KB4577071 -- 2020-09 Security Only Quality Update for Windows 8.1 Windows 10 (version 1803) KB4577032 -- 2020-09 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1803 Windows 10 (version 1809) KB4570333 -- 2020-09 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1809 Windows 10 (version 1903) KB4574727 -- 2020-09 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1903 Windows 10 (version 1909) KB4574727 -- 2020-09 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1909 Windows 10 (version 2004) KB4571756 -- 2020-09 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 2004 Microsoft Windows Security Updates September 2020 overview
  8. PicView is an open source image viewer that can view pictures inside archives A good way to save some storage space is to compress the files that you don't need immediately, into archives. If you did the same for high resolution images and photos, but want to view them without extracting them first, you can do it with PicView. If you don't, you may want to check out popular image viewers such as FastStone Image Viewer, ImageGlass, or IrfanView. It is an open source image viewer that can view pictures inside archives, supports comic book formats, RAW image formats, and more. The program has a compact interface with a dark theme, and a toolbar at the bottom. Click on the folder icon on the toolbar to open an image, or drag and drop a picture onto the PicView interface. The window resizes dynamically to fit the image's resolution. The filename, resolution, and file size of the selected picture is displayed on the image viewer's title bar. Use the arrow buttons on the toolbar or the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate between all images in the folder. The gallery icon can be used to view the images in a full screen gallery, contained (windowed) gallery with thumbnails. PicView's built-in slideshow tool can be accessed from the pop-up interface of the icon. It also has options to rotate and flip the image. PicView has a right-click menu that can be used to open or save images, open an image in a different program. View the recently accessed files from the menu, sort the files by name, size, date, format, last accessed/written time. Show or hide the interface from the Settings menu, as well as toggle the looping, auto-scrolling mode (middle mouse button). Other options in the context menu include setting the image as wallpaper/lock screen background, view the folder where it's located, Copy, cut, paste or delete the image, and view the image's properties. The Gear cog button on PicView's toolbar lets you toggle the autofit window, enable fill image height view mode. The buttons in the menu has shortcuts to access the "show info" window, adjust the zoom level, change the background color. Head to the PicView's primary options window by clicking on the hammer icon. Tweak the zooming speed, the slideshow timer, wallpaper mode, search tool's behavior from the General Settings tab. The UI settings tab lets you switch between the dark/light theme, and change the accent color. PicView's Magic Wand icon on the toolbar has a few editing options. The Optimize and Resize section is not available yet, but the other options are ready. Choose from 26 available image filters from the Shader Effects window. It includes Negative Colors, Old Movie effect, Monochrome, Banded Swirl, Blur, Pixelate, Pivot, Sketch, Bands, Black & White, Bloom, Wave Warper, Ripple, Directional Blur, Embossed, Paper Fold, ToneMapping, Glass Tile, Color Tone, Gloom, Underwater, Ripple Alt, Telescopic Blur, Smooth Magnify, Pencil Sketch and Frosty Outline. To add an effect click on it and then on the save button. The application has a built-in cropping tool which is handy for editing images, the color picker tool is a nice addition as well. PicView can be used to view images inside archives (7z, 7Zip, ZIP, TAR, ISO, CAB, WIM, BZip2, RAR) if you have 7-Zip or WinRAR installed. These are the image formats that are supported by the program. JPG, JPEG, JPE, PNG, BMP, TIF, TIFF, GIF, ICO, WDP, JFIF, KTX, WEBP, WBMP, PSD, PSB, SVG, 3FR, ARW, CR2, CRW, DCR, DNG, ERF, KDC, MDC, MEF, MOS, MRW, NEF, NRW, ORF, PEF, PGM, PPM, RAF, RAW, RW2, SRF, X3F, BPG, CUR, CUT, DIB, EMF, EXIF, EXR, PCX, TGA, WMF, WPG, XBM, XPM, HDR, HEIC It can also be used to view the following comic book formats: CBR, CB7, CBZ, CBT and XZ. The program is open source. PicView is available in 3 versions: an installer and a portable archive, both of which come with the dependencies required to run the program (.NET Core). The third version which weighs less than 15MB is also portable, but requires .NET core 3.1 to run. Landing Page: https://github.com/Ruben2776/PicView/ PicView is an open source image viewer that can view pictures inside archives
  9. OSD Note is a portable text editor that supports rich text formatting, has a transparent GUI and always on top mode We have reviewed text editors that support syntax highlighting, allows you to attach images, and even support auto save. Check out some of the programs that we reviewed in the recent past: Notepad3. HandyPad. or Jane. OSD Note stands apart from them with a transparent interface, always on top mode, while managing to pack in support for rich text formatting. The OSD in the name stands for on-screen display, as in it always stays on top of other windows. This can be useful for taking notes, multitasking, etc. It is a portable software that is less than 1MB when extracted. The program's icon resembles that of AutoHotKey, and that's because it is indeed a script written in AHK. It places a tray icon for controlling the script, but it can be ignored as it does not offer anything to the user experience. Note that some antivirus solutions may flag the program as malicious, but that is because of the use of AHK. Run the OSD_note.exe to start using the program. The application's GUI is opaque, and the window is compact. Click and drag on the edges to resize the window. OSD Note has a toolbar at the top, while the editor pane takes up the rest of the interface. The icons on the toolbar icons have letters representing their function, instead of a name. They don't display a tooltip when you mouse over them, so it maybe a little difficult to use it initially. The S icon is used to save the document, it's actually "Save as" and the only way to save your file. OSD Note can save your notes in three formats: RTF (Rich Text), TXT (Plain Text) and AHK AutoHotKey). Click on O to open an existing document. The rtf and txt buttons in OSD Note allow you to paste the clipboard's contents in rich text format and unformatted text, respectively. The second option discards the formatting from the clipboard, so use it carefully. OSD Note, by default is set to be always on top of other programs. Hit the AoT button to disable this behavior. The program's opacity can make it difficult to use when the background also contains a lot of text or other elements. This is especially noticeable when you're using it with the always on top setting enabled. That's when you may want to adjust the transparency level by clicking the T+ icon, or decrease it with T-. The T icon with the drop-down menu displays a color palette, that can be used to change the color of the text. OSD Note also supports text highlighting, and you may choose the color from the H drop-down menu. The font size can be modified by using the two A buttons. The larger icon increases the size of the text, while the smaller one obviously decreases the size. Use the B, I, U, S icons on OSD Note's toolbar to toggle the selected text to bold, italic, underline and strike-through styling. Want to remove rich formatting from a text? Click on the N button and it instantly discards bold, italic, etc that is found in the selected text. The R button at the end of the toolbar resets all formatting from the text, including the font size, color, etc. OSD Note supports multilevel undo and redo. The lack of a right-click menu in the text editor can be a hindrance for some, but it supports keyboard shortcuts for every icon on the toolbar (except the N and R buttons). The only way to modify OSD Note's settings is by using the Settings.INI file located in its folder. It is quite simple to understand and lets you set the default font type, size, background color, toggle word wrapping, etc. OSD Note is a decent text editor that relies on keyboard shortcuts for basic editing. The program's settings file while offering some customization, slightly deviates from the user-friendliness of the ediotr. Landing Page: https://sourceforge.net/projects/osd-note/ OSD Note is a portable text editor that supports rich text formatting, has a transparent GUI and always on top mode
  10. Redesigned Office app for Windows reportedly rolling out to some Insiders Back in July, a redesigned Office.com homepage began rolling out to business users. The revamped UI brought a vertical pane on which the Office 365 apps were pinned, along with more screen real estate for viewing recent files and documents. Now, it looks like the redesign is being made available to more users running the Office app on Windows. A Microsoft 365 Roadmap listing suggests that the redesign is expected to be rolled out to all users, both for Office.com and the Office app on Windows in September. Considering that the targeted release is this month, it is likely that the update will begin to make its way to more insiders sooner than later. Additionally, the update is supposedly enabled via a server-side switch, meaning that the change is not tied to any specific app updates from the Microsoft Store. Image credit: WindowsBlogItalia The new design comes with a few new elements such as a vertical list of icons for launching apps, the ability to create a new document and view a list of recent Office and OneDrive files in the Recents view. While business users can also view SharePoint pages and files from their organization, it is not clear what other features are making it to the app and web portal for consumers, other than the list of recently accessed documents. Source: WindowsBlogItalia Redesigned Office app for Windows reportedly rolling out to some Insiders
  11. Free Batch Photo Resizer is a user-friendly tool for quickly resizing multiple images Resizing a lot of images at the same time can be easily accomplished with the help of a batch tool. But, which one should you use? There are dozens of programs that you could use for the task. To name just a few that we reviewed here on the site: sPhoto, ImagesMixer, XnResize, or Flexxi. If user-friendliness is an important factor for you, Free Batch Photo Resizer may be something that you want to check out when it comes to batch processing images. The program's interface has a large pane on the left where the images that you add for processing will be displayed. Use the first button on the sidebar to the right edge of the window to add the files. The Add Folder button is handy for including a directory that contains several images. Oddly, unlike most batch tools this one does not support drag-and-drop for adding multiple files. The application supports the following image formats: BMP, JPEG and PNG. There is no option to preview the images that you have added in Free Batch Photo Resizer. The only way to check if you have got it correct, is by reading the names from the list pane. Added the wrong pictures? The Remove All button lets you clear the list of photos in a single click. Or, if you want to exclude a few pictures, select a photo and then click on "Remove Selected". This also works with multiple file selection using the Shift and Control keys. Before resizing the photos, you should specify the dimensions of the output pictures, aka the new size that they will be saved as. Enter the width and height (in pixels or percentage) to make your choice. Free Batch Photo Resizer can maintain the aspect ratio of the images, if you toggle the "Keep original aspect ratio" under the resize options. Once you've enabled it, three more settings become available. Choose the width or height (radio button) option, and the program disables the other option because it will automatically compute the value with respect to the one you have entered to ensure the aspect ratio isn't modified. Enter a custom value, for e.g. 1920 width or 1080 height. You can choose the bounds option to customize the height and the width based on your requirements like Full HD or 720p, and the program will use the closest possible resolution with the original aspect ratio. Select the output folder that the program should save the pictures in. There is no option to customize the renaming pattern in Free Batch Photo Resizer. The filename will be retained when the destination directory differs from the original folder. If you use the source folder as the output directory, the files will be renamed using Windows' new file rules. When you have configured the resizing options, click on the Resize button on the sidebar. A new window opens to indicate the progress of the task, and lists each file that has been resized. Click on the done button when the window says "Task completed". Exit the program and open the output folder that you chose, and the resized photos will be ready. Free Batch Photo Resizer is not a portable program. It is made by Sunlit Green Software, the developer of the BatchBlitz. Free Batch Photo Resizer is a simple application, but in many ways it is too simple. It lacks essential options such as setting the output format (for e.g. convert PNG to JPG), output quality (for JPEGs). But it can suffice for basic editing purposes and help reduce the file size of images, making them ready for sharing online. Landing Page: http://www.sunlitgreen.com/free-batch-photo-resizer.html Free Batch Photo Resizer is a user-friendly tool for quickly resizing multiple images
  12. Microsoft is bringing DirectStorage from its Xbox Velocity Architecture to Windows Back in July, Microsoft announced that its upcoming Series X console sports the "Xbox Velocity Architecture". Simply put, this is an umbrella term consisting of four components: the custom NVMe SSD, hardware accelerated decompression, the DirectStorage API, and finally, Sampler Feedback Streaming or SFS. Now, the company has announced that it is bringing one of these components, namely DirectStorage APIs, to Windows PCs as well. DirectStorage is an API in the DirectX family that is designed to enable developers to establish multiple I/O queues, that will drastically improve load times, latency, and rendering abilities in games. Microsoft has explained that with the recent advancements in storage technology such as NVMe, games now load chunks of data at a time only relevant to the scenes that are being shown on screen. While this is a memory-efficient technique and results in considerably detailed rendering of environments, it requires more I/O requests as new chunks have to be loaded with transition in scenes. Meanwhile, current APIs are not designed for these solutions and become a bottleneck even in super-fast NVMe drives. This is where the DirectStorage API comes in to play as it allows parallelization of I/O requests which can theoretically eliminate load times altogether. Microsoft states that: The DirectStorage API is architected in a way that takes all this into account and maximizes performance throughout the entire pipeline from NVMe drive all the way to the GPU. It does this in several ways: by reducing per-request NVMe overhead, enabling batched many-at-a-time parallel IO requests which can be efficiently fed to the GPU, and giving games finer grain control over when they get notified of IO request completion instead of having to react to every tiny IO completion. In this way, developers are given an extremely efficient way to submit/handle many orders of magnitude more IO requests than ever before ultimately minimizing the time you wait to get in game, and bringing you larger, more detailed virtual worlds that load in as fast as your game character can move through it. The company has also stated that given high-speed requirements from demanding games, NVMe is the "storage technology of choice" for next-generation gaming. Moving forward, Microsoft is already working with its partners to finish building the DirectStorage API and its supported components. It expects to roll out a development preview for game developers sometime next year. Microsoft is bringing DirectStorage from its Xbox Velocity Architecture to Windows
  13. Control the volume with the mouse scroll wheel when the cursor is over the taskbar There are three common ways that most users use to adjust the volume level on a Windows machine. The most popular option is by using the volume slider that's available on the system tray. If you have a keyboard with multimedia keys, you can use the volume up or volume down keys. The third way is to use the volume wheel or keys on your external speakers. Not everyone has a keyboard or speaker with dedicated volume control options. Besides, if you're using a multi-monitor setup, you may be aware that Windows does not display the system tray on all screens. So sliding the mouse all the way across to the volume slider can quickly become tiring. TbVolScroll is a portable software that allows you to control the volume directly from the Windows taskbar. Run the program's executable and an icon appears on the system tray. Ignore it for now. Instead, mouse over the taskbar. Move the scroll wheel up or down, and a volume bar pops-up at the cursor location. It indicates the current audio level in percentage. Since this is a taskbar program, naturally it will not work in full-screen mode (for e.g. games, video players, etc). The length of TbVolScroll's bar varies depending on the current volume level. If you have the sound maxed out at 100%, the bar will be long. The length reduces as you lower the volume. The color of the bar will change as the volume reaches certain thresholds. The application modifies the system volume by 5% per scroll. For e.g. If the sound is at 50% and you scroll up once, it will be set to 55%. If you want better control over this, hold the alt key while adjusting the sound. This makes TbVolScroll shift the volume by 1% instead. Right-click on the TbVolScroll tray icon to access the program's options. Use the Reset Volume option to mute the audio (sets it to 0). The Restart sub-menu has two options, restart will close and reopen the program while the 2nd option restarts it with administrator privileges. The application does not require administrator privileges to run, but using the option may help fix any issues that can prevent it from working. I didn't face a problem with using it normally. The "Set volume scroll step" option allows you to edit the scroll behavior of TbVolScroll. As I mentioned earlier, it is set to 5% by default, but you can set it to something higher or lower. Customize the toolbar's visuals with the "Set volume bar appearance" option. This opens a new window where you can configure the width and height of the bar. In addition to this, you may choose a different color for the bar from the color palette. Prefer a transparent volume bar? Drag the slider at the bottom of the window to modify the volume bar's opacity. Don't forget to hit the save button after you have edited the settings. TbVolScroll will automatically switch to the precise volume control (reduces volume by 1% per scroll), when the volume level is lower than 10%. If you would rather have it all the time, use the "Set precise scroll threshold" to 100 and you don't have to use the Alt key while adjusting the volume step, or pick a custom level. Exit the program from the tray menu when you don't need it. I almost gave up on the program because it wasn't responding. But then I noticed that the project's page mentioned that the application does not recognize the scrolling behavior when the Windows Task Manager is in focus. I had the window opened (in the background), and though it was not in focus it was causing the issue. TbVolScroll began to work normally when I closed the Task Manager. TbVolScroll is an open source program. Until Microsoft decides to implement the system tray to be accessed from all monitors, I don't think we aren't going to find a better on-screen option to control the volume. Landing Page: https://github.com/dvingerh/TbVolScroll Control the volume with the mouse scroll wheel when the cursor is over the taskbar
  14. BrokenURL prevents URLs from being opened in the default browser automatically BrokenURL is a free software program for Microsoft Windows devices designed to give users a choice when it comes to the opening of URLs opened externally (outside the browser). If you are a Windows user, you may have noticed that certain events, the installation or uninstallation of programs, a click on an URL in a messenger app or email client, open the target URL in the default system browser by default. While that is the desired action at times, it may not be all the time. Windows comes without any option to change the behavior, e.g. by displaying a browser choice dialog. BrokenURL implements such a dialog on the system. Whenever you activate a link manually outside of the browser, or when a program does so automatically, its dialog is displayed. The program display the installed browsers and you may select one for that particular link. It has built-in functionality to unshorten shortened links according to the settings, but it may not work with all link shorteners. It did not work with Twitter links during tests. Besides regular browser instances, it may also be used to open these links in private windows and in new browser windows. The private windows option may be useful in certain situations, e.g. to limit or eliminate some forms of tracking. Downside to using BrokenURL is that you get the dialog for manually opened links as well. Good news is that the developer thought of that. The "save this choice" option provides the functionality. Check it before selecting a browser to display a second configuration dialog. You may configure automatic behavior based on the process the link was opened from or based on the hostname. The screenshot that you see above highlights the choice. A click on a link on the desktop or in any folder on the system provides the option to make all Windows Explorer links open in the selected browser, or only URLs that match the hostname. Once done, links will get automatically in the selected browser; this takes care of shortcuts and links that you want to open in a specific browser all the time. URLs that come from different sources, e.g. a different application, will still prompt the browser choice dialog. BrokenURL comes with settings and options to modify actions that you have saved in the past. You need to open the program from the Start Menu as it does not place an icon in the taskbar or system tray area. The two actions displayed at the bottom are used to manage saved choices and to manage the list of browsers. Manage Browsers displays the list of detected browsers on the system. There is no option to add browsers that have not been detected, e.g. portable ones, but you can disable certain browsers to reduce the size of the menu. Managed Saved Choices displays all automatic actions that you set up in the past. You may delete those again from the menu. Other options provided in the settings include disabling the automatic check for updates and showing a program window in the taskbar for easier management of the settings, Closing Words BrokenURL is a handy program for Windows that acts as a proxy for URLs opened outside of browsers. You can set up default actions for some programs or link targets to speed things up and bypass the dialog, or handle URLs on a case by case basis instead. Landing Page: http://brokenevent.com/projects/brokenurl BrokenURL prevents URLs from being opened in the default browser automatically
  15. Access Windows 10 God Mode, toggle a Transparent Taskbar, Color Start Menu and more with Win10 All Settings Windows 10 has a lot of hidden shortcuts that you can use for various purposes. Accessing these options can be a bit complicated for the average user. Win10 All Settings is a freeware tool that simplifies the task greatly. The program is available as an EXE, but the 426KB file is in fact portable. Run it and left click on the system tray icon that appears. It opens a window with over 200 options in it, that is Windows 10 God Mode. This is how the settings are categorized: Administrative Tools AutoPlay Backup and Restore Color Management Credential Manager Date and Time Devices and Printers Ease of Access Center File Explorer Options File History Fonts Indexing Options Internet Options Keyboard Mouse Network and Sharing Center Phone and Modem Power Options Programs and Features Region RemoteApp and Desktop Connections Security and Maintenance Sound Speech Recognition Storage Spaces Sync Center System Taskbar and Navigation Troubleshooting User Accounts Windows Defender Firewall Windows Mobility Center and Work Folders. Right-click on the Win10 All Settings icon to access a context menu. There are plenty of other options here which you can tinker with. The first option is Classic Personalization. It opens a new window with various settings to customize the appearance of Windows. Use the toggles to enable/disable Light and Dark mode for Windows apps, switch between the Light and Dark Theme, Colored Title Bar for programs, make the Taskbar Transparent, and or Colorize the Start Menu. The last option also affects the taskbar. Back to the Win10 All Settings menu, there is a shortcut for God Mode which is functionally the same as the tray icon's left-click behavior. Moving on to the next element, Control Panel. The options in this menu are identical to the one in Windows' legacy Control Panel. The Admin Tools menu has shortcuts for the following system programs: Component Services Computer Management Defragment and Optimise Drives Disk Cleanup Event Viewer iSCSI Initiator ODBC Data Sources Performance Monitor Registry Drive Registry Editor Resource Monitor Services System Configuration System Information Task Scheduler Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security on Local Computer, and Windows Memory Diagnostic Access all options from the Windows 10 Settings app quickly from the program' Windows Settings menu: Accounts, Apps, Devices, Ease of Access, Gaming, Network and Internet, Personalization, Privacy, System, Time and Language, Update and Security. The Recent Items and Most Used menus in the application, contain the shortcuts which were opened recently and the ones that you used often. Win10 All Settings has a few options that allows you to modify its appearance and functionality. The "clicked item" setting changes the left-click behavior, you can choose from the following shortcuts: God Mode, Control Panel, Windows Settings and Classic Personalisation. I changed it to the Control Panel, since there is already a menu item for God Mode. The other options in the page can be used to adjust the menu height, set the Control Panel View, the program's theme, toggle the classic font style, color icons, panel position, delete history items. The menu style is customizable and has the following options: Simple Windows Settings menu, Simple Control Panel Menu. Don't want the admin tools menu or history menu? Disable them with a click. The application can optionally be enabled to start with Windows. The Tools menu in Win10 All Settings has handy shortcuts for the Classic Color Panel, Command Prompt, Powershell, Windows Explorer, Classic Power Off (shutdown menu). One option that stands out is the "Create God Mode icon", it places a shortcut on your desktop that allows you to open the God Mode options with a single-click. This is great, because you don't need to run the program to access God Mode. Though Win10 All Settings is a Windows 10 program, the developer says that it works on Windows 7 and 8 with limited options. Even if you're not interested in the advanced options of God Mode, you may find the Windows Settings and Control Panel menus to be particularly useful for quickly opening specific tools. Landing Page: https://www.wintools.info/index.php/win10-all-settings Access Windows 10 God Mode, toggle a Transparent Taskbar, Color Start Menu and more with Win10 All Settings [ Software Updates post here... Win10 All Settings 1.4.0.8 ]
  16. PhotoDemon is a powerful open-source photo editor for Windows PhotoDemon is an open source photo editor for Microsoft's Windows operating system. The developer released PhotoDemon 8.0 recently, and I took the opportunity to take a closer look at what it has to offer. The latest version of PhotoDemon is available on the project's GitHub website. Adventurous folks can also grab the Nightly version instead which provides a glimpse of things to come. One of the first things that you may notice is that the program does not need to be installed. Just download the archive, extract it to the system, and run the PhotoDemon application right away. The developer promises that the program leaves no traces on the system it is executed on, apart from files being put into the system's temporary folder -- which you can change under Tools > Options -- and other system mechanics that are outside of the scope of the application (e.g. recent files). You may change the interface language, theme, and color scheme on first run. To get started, drag and drop a photo into the interface or use the provided load options. Apart from working with individual images, one of PhotoDemons greatest strengths is the ability to process photos in batches and to use the integrated macro recorder to speed up often-used processes. The loading is quick and format support is excellent. It includes common image file formats, RAW camera formats, and Adobe Photoshop PSD files among others. Version 8.0 of the program added support for a number of formats such as animated gifs and pngs, and full Windows ICO support. PhotoDemon supports embedded ICC profiles and you can manage color profiles per display under Tools > Options > Color Management. The software supports a wide range of features, including: multi-layer support. unlimited undo/redos. on-canvas tools support. lots of filters and effects to choose from. support for adjustment tools such as HDR, curves, or levels. basic paint tools such as paintbrushes or stamps. A search tool to find tools, adjustments, effects, and other program features quickly. Aspect-ratio locking. Edit boxes support simple math expressions. One of the main new features of PhotoDemon 8.0 is support for a new "state-of-the-art Surface Blur tool" according to the other. The tool can be used from the Effects > Blur menu and the developer claims that it outperforms other photo editors by "1000% or more". You can check out the entire PhotoDemon 8.0 release notes here. Closing Words PhotoDemon is a well-designed photo editor for Microsoft Windows devices. It is lightweight (weights just 12 Megabytes) and portable, and very fast when it comes to opening photos, applying effects, or processing and saving them. Well worth checking out in my opinion if you edit photos regularly on your Windows devices. Landing Page: https://github.com/tannerhelland/PhotoDemon/releases PhotoDemon is a powerful open-source photo editor for Windows
  17. Change the brightness and contrast of your monitor quickly with MyMonic Recently I began searching for a software that would help me control my monitor's brightness. That's when I came across Dimmer, but it used an overlay based method to reduce the brightness. I wanted a program that could help adjust the actual brightness of the display. This time, I tested an application called MyMonic. This freeware tool isn't portable. It runs from the system tray, and has a compact interface that can be accessed by clicking on the icon. It has three sliders that you use to control various monitor related settings. Each of these elements has a name next to it, indicating the monitor that the setting affects. The first one is used to set the brightness level of the monitor, while the second one adjusts the contrast level. The third slider in MyMonic lets you modify the brightness of the built-in screen in laptops. Drag the slider upwards to increase the brightness or the contrast. The program displays a counter on the slider, that tells you the current percentage level of the setting. For e.g. 100% brightness, 75% contrast. Use it as a reference while changing the levels. When you tweak the brightness or contrast using MyMonic, the program makes the change in your monitor's settings. MyMonic has some issues with multi-monitor setups, or at least it was in my case (Laptop + monitor). The program would not start when the screens were in Duplicate mode, the tray icon would appear but closes when you mouse over it. As a workaround, you can run the application when your monitor is in "second screen only" mode, and then switch to duplicate mode. There are some caveats in doing so. The first and second sliders work as intended, i.e., you can change the brightness and contrast of the compliant monitor, the third slider however controls the brightness of both screens at the same time. The counter on the slider, which is at 0, drops in the negative range when you drag it downwards, and it reduces the brightness of both screens at the same time. The real problem here is that when you drag it upwards, it goes beyond 100% and makes the colors appear washed out. MyMonic uses a single slider to control the brightness of both monitors when you start the program when extend mode is enabled. The downside is that it does not allow you to change the contrast level. So, you may want to start the program in "second screen only", and switch to extend mode. This workaround has a con as well, as the third slider does not work. But this should not be an issue for laptop users, since most of these devices come with keys for modifying the brightness of the built-in screen. MyMonic isn't perfect by any means, but if the buttons on your monitor don't work or you just dislike using the display's OSD controls, the software can help you change the brightness and contrast of your monitor easily. The developer claims that it works with all monitors. I tested it with my Dell 2216H monitor which uses DDC/CI and it works well. You can use it with single monitor systems as well as dual screen environments. Landing Page: https://incod.ru/win/mymonic/ Change the brightness and contrast of your monitor quickly with MyMonic
  18. Search inside text documents quickly with Grepy Forgot which document you saved something important in? If you remember its content partially, even just a few words, you can use a tool to search for text inside several documents to find the file quickly. Grepy is a program that does that. The program is also called Grepy2, because it is currently in version 2.x. This isn't a portable application, it integrates to the Windows Explorer context menu, though you can toggle an option to prevent this in the program's installer. The setting is also available from the Options page, should you want to enable/disable it later. There are two ways to start Grepy; from its shortcut, or by using the File Explorer menu. Right-click on a folder (or inside a folder) and select Grepy. The menu item is not displayed when you select files, it only appears in the folder menu. This opens the Grepy's GUI with the Search window in view. If you run the program from its shortcut, you'll need to click on the "Search" button from the menu bar or use the hotkey, Ctrl + F. There are three Search options that you can choose from: Regular Expression, Match Case and Recursive Folder Search. Enter the keyword that Grepy should look for inside documents, in the field that is labeled "Search for". Next, define the file specifications. For e.g. a filename with its extension (document.txt), or specific file types (.txt). Use *.* to perform a search inside all documents in the selected directory. Set the directory that Grepy should find the content in from the "Folder to Search" field. You can paste a path or use the browse button to pick a folder. Click on the OK button to begin the search. Grepy displays the search result on its main screen. The interface comprises two panes. The list of files in which the search phrase was present, is displayed in the pane at the top, with the full path, file type, size, and date that the document was modified. The matches column indicates the number of times the search term was found in a file. Double-click on a file to open it in its default editor. Right-click anywhere in the pane to copy the names of all the files in the list to the clipboard or export them to a CSV file. Grepy does not search for files that aren't a document format. The lower half of Grepy's interface is the preview pane, i.e., it displays the lines where the matched keywords appear. The program also places the line number where the search string was found in the document. There are 2 sliders in the bottom right corner, which can be adjusted to view the lines before and after the sentence in which the match was found, for additional context. The text in the preview pane is selectable, so you can use it to copy the phrase Switch the panes from Horizontal Split to Vertical Split mode from the View menu. Customize the font size, type of the search results from the options. It also lets you set a custom text editor for opening the files. Grepy is compatible with the Everything search engine application (not required to use Grepy), and uses its database for finding the files. Sadly, this doesn't seem to work with the portable version of Everything. Landing Page: https://github.com/botman99/Grepy2 Tip: you may also use other free tools for the purpose. Check out dnGrep, SearchMyFiles and Textfinder if you want standalone search tools, or the built-in search functionality of Notepad++. Search inside text documents quickly with Grepy
  19. Set long term countdowns, one time alarms, recurring alarms with yTimer Using a countdown timer can be helpful to know how many days are left for special occasions to occur. yTimer (also called yTimer2) is a freeware tool that can be used to set long term countdowns, one time alarms, or recurring alarms. Click on the New button on the sidebar to add a new alarm. Type a name for the reminder in the field labeled "Description". There are two types of alarms you can set: Countdown and Specific Time. You can use the Countdown Timer for long term reminders, for e.g. birthdays, anniversaries, and other important occasions. The four boxes next to it allow you to set the number of days, hours, minutes and seconds after which the alarm will be triggered. For e.g. if you want the program to remind you after 15 days and 12 hours, type 15 in the box next to the d field, and 12 in the h field. yTimer's "Specific time" option is useful for daily reminders. It has three boxes for the hours, minutes and seconds that you can use to run an alarm at a specific time of your choice. The program uses the 24-hour format for its timers. When you have set the alarm type, you can customize its settings. Enable the "make a noise" option to get an audio notification when the alarm is triggered. The program uses an old-school alarm bell sound, you can test it from the Tools menu. Set recurring reminders by toggling the "Repeat timer" option. Want to execute a program when the timer ends? Paste the file's path or a web URL in the field next to the "Run a file" option. The browse button at the right edge doesn't seem to work, but pasting the path or URL works perfectly. Hit the apply button to save the alarm. Once a reminder is saved, it appears in the large pane in yTimer's window. The State column tells you whether the alarm is active or inactive. View the remaining time left for the reminder to be triggered in the time left column. The name that you assigned for the alarm is displayed in the event column. When the alarm is triggered, yTimer displays a pop-up notification to indicate it, and if you enabled the noise option, the bell sound will be played to alert you. Make yTimer's pop appear above other windows by enabling the "Display alert on top of running programs" option. The application can run another timer when the current alarm is triggered, you'll need to use the drop-down menu to select the timer from your created alarms. Select an alarm in the pane to edit its settings. Modify its options and hit apply to save the changes. If you're in a hurry and want to set a timer with a single-click, use one of the options at the bottom of the sidebar. Choose from the following: 10 or 30 seconds, 1 or 5 minutes, or set a custom timer to run after a number of seconds or minutes. The new event will be added with the label "Instant Timer" to the list of alarms. When you run the program, it warns you that it is "not intended for vital, life-saving reminders". Basically it's disclaimer that you says shouldn't rely on it for medical, critical alerts. There is no way to disable this warning, so you'll have to deal with it every time you start the program. I was able to open multiple instances of the program, each with its own tray icon. This could be a bug. A portable version of yTimer is available. The program is written in .NET, and is free for home users. Landing Page: http://www.spacejock.com/yTimer2.html Tip: check out similar programs such as Date Reminder or Remind Me Please for Windows, and Notable for Android. Set long term countdowns, one time alarms, recurring alarms with yTimer
  20. KeyzPal is an open source tool that displays tray icon indicators for Caps Lock, Num Lock and Scroll Lock Have a keyboard that doesn't have LED lights for Caps Lock? It is quite common, especially with compact keyboards and laptops. I usually use a program to display on-screen indicators to know when the lock keys are enabled. KeyzPal is an open source tool that belongs to this genre, and we'll be discussing it today. Check out previously reviewed apps like Keyboard Lights, addLeds, or 7Caps. Extract the program's archive to any folder you want, run the executable and KeyzPal will place two icons on the system tray. The icon with the number "1" represents Num Lock, and the A is for Caps Lock. The Scroll Lock indicator is disabled by default, probably because not many people use the key. If you want to enable it, double-click on the tray icons to open the program's interface. Click on Edit > Settings and Tick the box next to Scroll Lock. Hit the OK button and a downwards arrow icon appears on the system tray to indicate the Scroll Lock Status. How it works The program does not play a sound or display an OSD (on-screen display) to indicate the status change of a lock. The only way to see the status is by looking at the tray icons. Use the Caps Lock key and the KeyzPal icon for it changes between a lowercase "a" and an Uppercase "A", to indicate whether Caps Lock is off or on. The Num Lock indicator is slightly different, if you see the number 1 in the icon it means the key is enabled. But if you see a - that tells you Num Lock is off. Scroll Lock displays a line across the arrow icon to indicate it is off, if the line's missing it is on. KeyzPal has 4 themes to choose from for the tray icons. Open the interface and click on the arrows next to the number field. The window displays a live preview of the selected theme. Use it to see how the indicators look like when their corresponding key is enabled. The first theme which is the default icon set, has dark backgrounds with contrasting light colors for the symbols in the icons. The combination plays well with most Windows themes. The second icon set has a lighter background, making it dark theme friendly. The Caps Lock icon is different in this theme with an upwards arrow (like the Shift key). The theme changes the icon's background color to indicate a status change. The background is filled (light color) to indicate the Caps Lock and the other keys are enabled, while it stays dark when they are off. The third set of icons in KeyzPal has darker backgrounds, which looks good if you have the Light Theme enabled on Windows. And like with the previous set, if the keys are on the background is filled, the off status is shown with a blank background. The final icon set can be used with any Windows theme, because it displays a light colored border around a key indicator to show that the lock is enabled. If the icon's border isn't lit up, the key is not on. The Scroll Lock indicator changes between a downwards arrow and a box (like a pause button symbol) in this theme. KeyzPal is an open source program. It is written in Visual Basic .NET. You may have to fiddle with the 4 themes to find the one that best suits your desktop/taskbar background. Remember you can disable the icons for any of the three keys, so if you don't use Num Lock or Caps Lock often, you can turn them off from the application's settings. Landing Page: https://github.com/limbo666/KeyzPal KeyzPal is an open source tool that displays tray icon indicators for Caps Lock, Num Lock and Scroll Lock
  21. View the CPU, RAM and network usage on the Taskbar with Perfmonbar What do you do when you feel that your computer is lagging? If you're like me, you will probably open the Task Manager to see what's wrong. Usually, most users observe the CPU or RAM usage, and close any programs that maybe bogging down the system. But sometimes your computer can experience a micro stutter when a program opens, or if your antivirus decides to run a scan randomly, and so on. It may be useful to know the resource usage at a glance, without running the Task Manager. Perfmonbar is a tool can help you do that. Install the application, and right-click on the Taskbar. Navigate to the Toolbars menu and enable the Performance Monitor Toolbar. (refer to the image above) The toolbar will appear next to the system tray. It only has a couple of letters on it by default, which is not how it is supposed to look like. Mouse over the lines to the left of the toolbar, click and drag it to expand the deskband. Perfmonbar displays 4 performance counters. One of these is for the CPU Usage, which is shown in percentage. The RAM usage is reported in Gigabytes. The issue here is that the memory usage shown by the toolbar is not just your physical memory, instead it is the Committed memory (that you can view from Task Manager > Performance > Memory). You can change this to show the available memory and more, we'll get back to this later. The program tells you how many processes are running, both in the foreground and the background. The 4th counter is for the network, and displays the Download and Upload stats, in terms of KB/s (Kilobytes). By default, it is set to display the Ethernet adapter's usage. There is a fifth counter in Perfmonbar, and it is hidden. To view it, click on the toolbar and you will see the amount of storage space that is free on your computer's hard drive. Perfmonbar uses Window's built-in Performance Monitoring Counters to display the stats in real-time. You can find all available counters supported by Windows with a simple command. Open CMD and enter the following typeperf -q>counters.txt. This will save the list of available counters in a text file in your Users folder. The settings of Perfmonbar are stored in a Config.XML file. It is very customizable, and you can use it to modify the display font type, size, color, and also the counters that are displayed on the toolbar. Let's make a couple of changes. I want the toolbar to show the available memory (instead of the commited memory). Open Perfmonbar's Config.XML in any text editor, you can do so by right-clicking on the toolbar and selecting "Edit configuration" and look for the line that says, <counter name="mem" value="\Memory\Committed Bytes"/> Change the value to \Memory\Available MBytes, so it should read, <counter name="mem" value="\Memory\Available Bytes"/> Hit the save button. If the toolbar is running, use the "Reload Configuration" from its menu. The toolbar will now display the amount of free RAM that is available. Let's change the network counter to display the current Wi-Fi usage instead of LAN. Open Windows' Device Manager, navigate to Network Adapters. Select your Wi-Fi adapter > Properties > Details. Right-click on the adapter's name in the value pane and select copy. Paste it in the XML file, look for the counters that are named "netin" and "netout". There is one change that you will need to make to get it working. If your network adapter has parentheses (), replace them with square brackets []. For e.g my adapter's name is an Intel(R) Wi-Fi 6 AX200 160MHz. I'll have to edit it, so the counter will look like <counter name="netin" value="\Network Interface(Intel[R] Wi-Fi 6 AX200 160MHz)\Bytes Received/sec"/> You can add and remove counters as you like by editing the Configuration file. Take a backup of the file before editing it. Perfmonbar is an open source project. It is not portable. Landing Page: https://xhmikosr.github.io/perfmonbar/ View the CPU, RAM and network usage on the Taskbar with Perfmonbar
  22. Dimmer is a freeware tool that puts an overlay on the screen to reduce the brightness level If there's one thing I don't like about most monitors, it is the way we can control them. They have either have one or multiple buttons on the front side of the panel, or one multi-purpose button on the back. Trying to do something as simple as adjusting the monitor's brightness shouldn't require you to fiddle with a clunky menu. Dimmer is a freeware tool that solves this problem in a subtle way. How does it work? Dimmer does not reduce the actual brightness of the screen, instead it adds a virtual overlay on top of it. Imagine how your monitor would look like if you're wearing sunglasses, it's like that. But it does help reduce eye strain, which is sort of the point anyway. Programs like F.lux or Lightbulb do the same. Take a screenshot while running Dimmer, it will include the "dull look" of the overlay. If your screen's brightness had really been modified, a screenshot will not show such a difference. The portable software's executable is about 90KB. Run it and it places an icon on the system tray. It also opens a small window that has 4 tabs. The "screens" tab displays each monitor (including the laptop screen), connected to the computer. Every screen has a number assigned to it, and has its own slider. Speaking of which, the slider is a bit odd. Drag it upwards to reduce the brightness, or drag it down to increase the brightness. You'd expect it to be the other way around, and quite frankly, I would have preferred a horizontal slider to this. The box below the slider indicates the brightness level of the slider. Remember, 0 is maximum brightness while the minimum is 90. Be careful while dimming the display, I could barely see anything at the minimum level. Here's what my screens look like normally (max brightness) And here is the lower brightness version, courtesy Dimmer (on the laptop) Dimmer can be used with single monitors, as well as dual or multi-monitor setups, though it is intended to be more useful for the latter. There are a few things that you need to keep in mind while using the program. If you've a dual-monitor setup and are using the second monitor to duplicate the primary display, only one slider is displayed and adjusting it modifies the brightness of both screens at the same time. If you've enabled "extend" mode" you'll be able to control the brightness of each screen individually. There is a check box above each screen's slider, toggle the box to disable Dimmer for the corresponding screen. This way, when you adjust the slider, only the screen that has a checkbox enabled will be dimmed. Dimmer is in beta and it shows, occasionally it tends to bug out. Sometimes it displayed two sliders when the screens were in "duplicate" mode. Dragging one of the sliders affected the brightness of both screens. As a workaround, delete the JSON settings file that the program creates, when you switch display modes to make it work correctly. The most annoying bug I ran into with Dimmer, was when a third of my monitor's screen was set to a different brightness level, it was covered by the overlay while the rest of the screen wasn't. Exiting the program and restarting it fixed the issue. This issue was random and only happened once or twice. The Options tab lets you set Dimmer to auto run when Windows boots. You may toggle the option to start the program minimized instead of the window being displayed. If you hit the X in the window's title bar, it closes the program instead of minimizing it. The application's interface can be set to non-dimmable, this is possible because it uses an overlay and the option is handy if you've set the brightness too low and can't see the slider. Landing Page: https://www.nelsonpires.com/software/dimmer Dimmer is a freeware tool that puts an overlay on the screen to reduce the brightness level
  23. Create encrypted documents with Crypto Notepad, an open source text editor for Windows Storing sensitive data in plain text documents is never a good idea. You never know what could happen if it falls in the wrong hands. Crypto Notepad is a text editor that can encrypt your documents, and protect them from unauthorized access. The program is portable, and its executable is about 3.75MB in size. It creates a settings file in its parent folder. Crypto Notepad has a simple interface, that resembles Windows' default text editor for the most part, except it has a toolbar. The program can save the documents in two formats: Plain Text File (TXT), and its own format CNP (Crypto Notepad). When you save a document,, the application prompts you to enter a password to secure the file. Each document that you create with Crypto Notepad can have a different password. Files that were encrypted using the program, cannot be read by other programs. Here's what the document which I encrypted with the program looks like in Notepad++. It contains a string of random characters because it is encrypted. The length of the text reported by the program was also incorrect. Besides, the latter did not prompt me to enter the decryption password, so it's not possible to decode the contents of the document. I sent a document that was encrypted using Crypto Notepad along its password to a friend, and he was able to decrypt it with his copy of the program. Crypto Notepad can be used as a document-viewer, if you toggle the "read-only" mode from the Edit menu. It also has options to enable Word Wrap, and clear the clipboard contents. Use the "Always On Top" option in the Tools menu to make Crypto Notepad's interface stay on top of other program windows. Crypto Notepad comes with a built-in password generator. It can generate random passwords that can contain capital and small letters, numbers, special characters, etc. You may choose the length of the password and the number of strings used for generating the password. The Change Password option can be used to edit the document's password, you will of course need to enter the old passphrase when choosing a new one. Stepping away from the computer? Hit the Lock option to prevent other users from viewing/editing the document, you will need to re-enter the password when you want to view the file. These options are also available on the toolbar, along with the basic file editing buttons. Minimize Crypto Notepad to the tray, prevent multiple instances from opening, lock the file when minimizing, or set it to clear the clipboard when exiting the program, from the Settings > General tab. Though the program is portable, you may optionally set it to integrate with Explorer's context menu. Crypto Notepad is quite customizable. The interface tab allows you to disable the main menu, icons, shortcut keys. You can set a custom color, font for the toolbar, search panel, status panel, etc. The Editor tab has options to set the primary font color, style, background color, etc. Define the encryption algorithm to be used by the program: MD5, SHA1, SHA256, SHA384, SH512, set the key size (128, 192, 256) and password iterations, from the Encryption tab. Crypto Notepad is an open source software, The program can only open 1 document per instance, i.e. it does not support tabs. Similar applications are Hekapad and Criptext which we reviewed earlier. Landing Page: https://github.com/Crypto-Notepad/Crypto-Notepad Create encrypted documents with Crypto Notepad, an open source text editor for Windows
  24. Microsoft Put Off Fixing Zero Day for 2 Years A security flaw in the way Microsoft Windows guards users against malicious files was actively exploited in malware attacks for two years before last week, when Microsoft finally issued a software update to correct the problem. One of the 120 security holes Microsoft fixed on Aug. 11’s Patch Tuesday was CVE-2020-1464, a problem with the way every supported version of Windows validates digital signatures for computer programs. Code signing is the method of using a certificate-based digital signature to sign executable files and scripts in order to verify the author’s identity and ensure that the code has not been changed or corrupted since it was signed by the author. Microsoft said an attacker could use this “spoofing vulnerability” to bypass security features intended to prevent improperly signed files from being loaded. Microsoft’s advisory makes no mention of security researchers having told the company about the flaw, which Microsoft acknowledged was actively being exploited. In fact, CVE-2020-1464 was first spotted in attacks used in the wild back in August 2018. And several researchers informed Microsoft about the weakness over the past 18 months. Bernardo Quintero is the manager at VirusTotal, a service owned by Google that scans any submitted files against dozens of antivirus services and displays the results. On Jan. 15, 2019, Quintero published a blog post outlining how Windows keeps the Authenticode signature valid after appending any content to the end of Windows Installer files (those ending in .MSI) signed by any software developer. Quintero said this weakness would particularly acute if an attacker were to use it to hide a malicious Java file (.jar). And, he said, this exact attack vector was indeed detected in a malware sample sent to VirusTotal. “In short, an attacker can append a malicious JAR to a MSI file signed by a trusted software developer (like Microsoft Corporation, Google Inc. or any other well-known developer), and the resulting file can be renamed with the .jar extension and will have a valid signature according Microsoft Windows,” Quintero wrote. But according to Quintero, while Microsoft’s security team validated his findings, the company chose not to address the problem at the time. “Microsoft has decided that it will not be fixing this issue in the current versions of Windows and agreed we are able to blog about this case and our findings publicly,” his blog post concluded. Tal Be’ery, founder of Zengo, and Peleg Hadar, senior security researcher at SafeBreach Labs, penned a blog post on Sunday that pointed to a file uploaded to VirusTotal in August 2018 that abused the spoofing weakness, which has been dubbed GlueBall. The last time that August 2018 file was scanned at VirusTotal (Aug 14, 2020), it was detected as a malicious Java trojan by 28 of 59 antivirus programs. More recently, others would likewise call attention to malware that abused the security weakness, including this post in June 2020 from the Security-in-bits blog. Image: Securityinbits.com Be’ery said the way Microsoft has handled the vulnerability report seems rather strange. “It was very clear to everyone involved, Microsoft included, that GlueBall is indeed a valid vulnerability exploited in the wild,” he wrote. “Therefore, it is not clear why it was only patched now and not two years ago.” Asked to comment on why it waited two years to patch a flaw that was actively being exploited to compromise the security of Windows computers, Microsoft dodged the question, saying Windows users who have applied the latest security updates are protected from this attack. “A security update was released in August,” Microsoft said in a written statement sent to KrebsOnSecurity. “Customers who apply the update, or have automatic updates enabled, will be protected. We continue to encourage customers to turn on automatic updates to help ensure they are protected.” Update, 12:45 a.m. ET: Corrected attribution on the June 2020 blog article about GlueBall exploits in the wild. Microsoft Put Off Fixing Zero Day for 2 Years
  25. GtkHash is a cross-platform and open source file hashing utility that supports 23 algorithms Whenever a download gets interrupted but supports resuming, I usually give it a chance, especially if it is several gigabytes in size. But sometimes the files can get corrupted, in which case it maybe useful to check the hash value provided by the file's owner to ensure that you have an unbroken file. While you will notice this usually when you try to execute or open the file, it sometimes may not be apparent right away or not possible to run it at that point in time. The best way to do this is to use a hashing program. GtkHash is a cross-platform and open source file hashing utility that supports 23 algorithms. Run the portable version's executable and the program opens a command prompt window to install some files required for MinGW (a framework). You'll need to open the EXE once again to begin using GtkHash. The application has a minimalistic interface with a menu bar and some fields. GtkHash can calculate the following hash values: MD5, SHA1, SHA256 and CRC32. Those are the algorithms which are enabled by default, and there are many more that you can enable if you head to Edit > Preferences. The option in the pop-up window includes MD4, MD6-224, MD6-256, MD6-384, MD6-512, SHA224, SHA384, SHA512, SHA3-224, SHA3-256, SHA3-384, SHA3-512, BLAKE2b, BLAKE2s, RIPEMD160, TIGER192, WHIRLPOOL, GOST and ADLER 32. In addition to these, the program also supports HMAC hash-based message authentication code. The preferences window also has an option to customize the message digest format, you can choose among Lowercase or Uppercase Hexadecimal or Base64 formats. Let's hash a file. Click on the button towards the right edge of the File field. It opens a browse window in Explorer, which you can use to select the file. Or, drag and drop a file onto the program's interface. Use the Hash button in the bottom right-hand corner to calculate the hash values of the selected file. The results appear in the corresponding fields in the program's interface. Have a hash value that you want to verify? Paste it in the "Check" field. If the values match, a green dot appears inside the box of the hash value and the check field. If the dot's missing, the values don't match. You may use the Save Digest option from the File menu to save a report of the generated hash values. Go to the View menu to switch the hashing mode. There are three modes available for selection: File, Text and File list. GtkHash runs in File mode by default. Toggle the text mode and type something (or paste text) in the text field. The program hashes the text in real-time. In File List mode, you can add several files at the same time using the add button. It doesn't support selecting an entire folder, so you either have to navigate to the directory and select all files in it, or drag and drop them to GtkHash's window. You can use the add and remove buttons to manage the list of files to be hashed. Selected the files from the wrong folder? Hit the clear button and start over. You may have noticed that instead of individual fields for the hash values, the program uses columns for the hashes in File List mode. GtkHash is an open source program. It is available in 32-bit and 64-bit installers and portable version. The application is also available for Linux. Landing Page: https://github.com/tristanheaven/gtkhash Tip: check out other hashing tools that we reviewed recently here on the site such as Hasher Lite, OpenHashTab, HashTools. You may also use PowerShell to compute hashes. GtkHash is a cross-platform and open source file hashing utility that supports 23 algorithms
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