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  1. Guidemaster: How to buy a Chromebook, plus our best picks The Chrome OS landscape is vast—Ars is here to help you navigate it. Enlarge / There's now a pretty wide range of Chromebooks available—and we've tested a lot of 'em. Valentina Palladino We've tested many new Chromebooks since our guide came out earlier this year, and we've updated our top pick for Fall 2019. Chromebooks dominated the affordable laptop scene in 2018. The same wasn't true just a few years ago, when most were unclear what to do with Google's browser-based operating system. But now, after Chromebooks have successfully infiltrated the education market, users both young and old are familiar with Chrome OS. Chrome OS runs exclusively on Chromebooks, the name for the laptops, two-in-ones, and now tablets that run Google's operating system. If you've used the Chrome Web browser before, you know how to use Chrome OS—the browser is the portal to nearly everything you can do on Chrome OS. Google created an operating system that's simple to use, efficient, and low maintenance in the sense that it doesn't take a ton of power to run a Chromebook well. All of those factors, plus the recent introduction of Android apps into the ecosystem, have made Chromebooks popular with younger users, teachers, and anyone who works and plays primarily within the confines of the Chrome Web browser. As people gravitate to Chromebooks, OEMs have been producing more and more of them. There is a plethora of Chromebooks available now, some at dirt cheap prices and others at premium prices, making it hard to know which you should buy. Luckily, Ars has tested some of the most popular Chromebooks, and we can offer some insight as to which ones are worth your money. Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs. What Chrome OS can do for you, and what it can't do Chromebooks can be solid devices for people who spend most of their computing time in a browser. Chrome OS is ideal for doing things like managing email, writing and sharing documents in Google Drive, streaming video and music, and general Web browsing. Chrome OS' suitability for these types of tasks also means that those who have never used a Chromebook will find it easy to use without much of a learning curve. Android apps add another layer to Chrome OS, allowing you to run your favorite mobile programs, including Spotify, Snapchat, Instagram, Netflix, Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, and more. The rollout of Android apps on Chromebooks has been slow, and not all Android apps are optimized for the large screens and full keyboards of Chromebooks yet. However, Chrome OS has been made more versatile thanks to the inclusion of Android apps. Affordability makes Chromebooks stand out among most of their competitors. You can get a Chromebook for as little as $199, whereas the cheapest Windows machines run at least a couple hundred dollars more, and similar macOS machines don't even come close in price. Affordability has been a blessing for Chromebook users, but it has been somewhat of a curse for Chromebooks as a whole since many people have the false assumption that all Chromebooks are cheap. Time has proven that presumption untrue as more OEMs have come out with Chromebooks that feature premium materials and better specs. Those devices are more expensive than your average Chromebook, and rightly so. The most expensive Chromebooks run anywhere from $699 to more than $1,000—though not all Chrome OS lovers need a Chromebook with the powerful specs and premium build that those expensive devices have. However, those who know that Chrome OS will fulfill their personal and professional needs may want to shell out more money for a luxury device. But aside from better build quality and more powerful internals, those pricey Chromebooks still run Chrome OS and are not exempt from the operating system's limitations. Unlike on Windows and macOS machines, you can't download and install programs like Photoshop CC or Final Cut Pro. Chrome OS only supports Web-based extensions and Android apps—that's one of the reasons it takes much less power for a machine to run Chrome OS well. Also, most Chrome OS programs require an Internet connection and will not work when the device isn't connected to Wi-Fi. If you don't take the necessary precautions before leaving a reliable Wi-Fi network—like making pertinent Google Docs available offline—your Chromebook will essentially become a useless brick when unconnected. Things to consider when buying a Chromebook Design Chromebooks come primarily as laptops or two-in-ones, so you'll need to decide if you want the versatility of a 360-degree hinge. If you want to use a lot of Android apps on your Chromebook, getting a two-in-one with a touchscreen will be the best option, since you can switch it into tablet mode and use it like an Android mobile device. The same advice goes for those who plan to use a Chromebook as a multimedia device—streaming videos on YouTube and Netflix can be more comfortable when using a convertible in tent or show modes. Chromebook OEMs tend to cut costs by using cheaper materials when making these devices. Most affordable Chromebooks are made out of plastic, but that's not always bad. While they won't have the look or feel of an XPS 13 or a MacBook, Chromebooks made out of plastic or other materials can be just what one needs in an affordable, portable device. Be sure to check the tech specs of the Chromebook you want before you buy it to make sure it has basic features, such as a backlit keyboard, an HD or FHD screen, a non-touch or touch panel, and an included stylus. Depending on the type of device and its price, not all of the features we consider "standard" will come standard on every Chromebook. The same idea goes for ports—you should check to see if your preferred Chromebook has the ports you need. While most come with at least one USB-A port, a few of the newest models forgo USB-A and opt for all USB Type-C ports instead. Some Chromebooks come with additional connectivity options like HDMI ports and DisplayPorts, so consider how you'll use the Chromebook and decide which ports you'll require. RAM RAM, or the amount of memory in a Chromebook, helps the device run quickly when you have many tabs open. Most Chromebooks come with 4GB of RAM, and that will be sufficient for those who use the Chromebook for leisurely Web browsing, YouTube watching, and light Android app use. Those who plan to push Chrome OS further—users with more than 20 browser tabs open at once, Android apps running in the background, all while streaming YouTube—should get a machine with at least 8GB of RAM. Doing so will ensure that the machine doesn't lag as you open more tabs and programs and use them simultaneously. Some Chromebook models can be specced out to have 16GB of RAM, and those typically have optional processor upgrades as well (a base model may have an Intel Celeron processor, but you can upgrade to a Core i3 or i5 CPU if you wish). More RAM never hurts, but only developers or experimental users who want to run Ubuntu, Linux, or Windows on their Chromebooks really need such high volumes of memory. Storage Storage isn't the most important spec in a Chromebook, but it should not be overlooked. Chrome OS works as well as it does because Google expects users to rely (at least partially) on cloud-based services for storage—things like Google Drive, DropBox, and others. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can access all of the files you need through those various services. Google Drive even lets you save some documents for offline access now, ensuring you'll be able to work on that paper or proposal even in a dead zone. But every Chromebook needs some onboard storage—those who go Google's recommended route can get by with just 16GB or 32GB of storage. Keep in mind that those levels are similar to those in low- to mid-range smartphones, so your Chromebook will have the same storage capacity as one of those handheld devices. If you prefer being able to save some documents locally, or if you plan to download many apps and programs, you should get a Chromebook with at least 64GB to 128GB of storage. While Chromebooks aren't built for serious photo or video editing, it is possible to do such things with these devices. If you dabble in that at all, you'll need more onboard storage than the rest if you're working off of locally saved files. Price Some choose Chromebooks over other PCs because they are so affordable. Most Chrome OS laptops and convertibles are priced anywhere between $199 to $499, which is a couple hundred dollars less than the most affordable Windows devices (save for the new Surface Go tablet). All of the factors we previously outlined contribute to the price of a Chromebook: design, materials, screen quality, processor, RAM, and storage. A Chromebook that works well enough for most customers can be found at $299-$499, but there will be some who want a device that comes in either above or below that price range. Only recently have OEMs experimented with more expensive Chromebooks. Google owned (and mostly still owns) the luxury Chromebook market with its $1,000 Pixelbook. While it has the slickest design of nearly any Chromebook and specs that beat most other Chrome OS devices, it's overkill for most customers. Nevertheless, we considered the Pixelbook and the newest expensive Chromebooks in this guide. How we tested Real-world work testing: We used each Chromebook for at least one full day as our primary work and play device. This includes working a standard eight-hour work day running multiple Chrome tabs while occasionally streaming video, listening to music, and using Android apps. We made note of any performance hiccups, lag when opening new Chrome tabs, and slowness when loading Android apps and particularly laborious webpages. Ars benchmarks: We ran all of our regular benchmark tests on each Chromebook to measure performance, including Geekbench 4, Google Octane, Kraken, and Jetstream. Ars battery tests: We ran both our Wi-Fi and WebGL battery tests on each Chromebook three times and averaged those scores to come up with an average battery-life estimate. A note on education Chromebooks: Affordability, efficiency, and ease of use have made Chrome OS devices popular in schools and with students. OEMs make education-specific Chromebooks that go directly to schools and are priced to be bought in bulk. Since many of those education-based Chromebooks aren't available for regular consumers to buy, we won't be covering them in this guide. However, don't be surprised if your child comes home with a Chromebook model you're not familiar with, as it's probably an education device. Best overall Asus Chromebook Flip C434 First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. Specs at a glance: Asus Chromebook Flip C434 (as tested) Screen 14-inch FHD touchscreen (1920×1080) CPU Intel Core m3-8100Y RAM 4GB HDD 64GB eMMC GPU Integrated Intel GPU Networking 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 Ports 2 x USB-C 3.1 Gen 1, 1 x USB-A 3.1, 1 x microSD card slot, 1 x audio combo jack Size 12.64×7.95×0.62 inches Weight 3.19 pounds Battery 48Wh 3-cell Warranty 1 year Starting price $569 Price as reviewed $569 Asus takes the top spot once again with its updated Chromebook Flip C434. We still like our original pick, the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA, but the new model is worth paying $569 if you want the Chrome OS device with the best combination of features and style at a decent price. There are a lot of noticeable differences between the Chromebook Flip C434 and the C302CA—the former has an updated design that makes it look and feel more like one of Asus' more expensive Zenbooks. It has a matte-silver finish with shiny accents on its edges and a new hinge that lifts the machine slightly when in laptop mode. Its full-sized silver keyboard is now backlit and it has a larger, 14-inch display with thin bezels surrounding it. There was nothing wrong with the C302CA's design, but the C434 is up there with the most attractive Chromebooks we've seen. Asus also added a USB-A port onto the side of the C434, which is a much welcomed addition that complements the USB-C ports on both sides of the device. Along with this added connectivity, you also get more power options. Asus ditched the Pentium processor so the C434 starts out with a Core m3 CPU. We originally recommended getting the Core m3 model of the C302CA, and we still believe the a Core m3 processor provides just enough power to get most things done efficiently on a Chromebook. Unsurprisingly, the new Chromebook Flip served me well as my primary work computer for the few weeks I tested it. It's just as speedy and smooth, if not more so, than the C302CA and it can handle multiple open Chrome tabs easily. There's also less lag overall when opening new tabs and programs. Asus also managed to improve upon the Chromebook Flip's battery life, too. Our review unit lasted an average of 11.25 hours on our Wi-Fi test on a single charge, and nearly 6 hours on our WebGL test. That's roughly one hour more than the C302CA lasted on both tests. We also appreciate that the new C434 lasted more than 1.5 hours longer on our default battery test than the C302CA. We know that $569 seems like a lot of money for a Chromebook, and it is on the higher end of the price spectrum. However, all of the useful updates that Asus made to an already stellar Chromebook make it worth the higher price tag for anyone that wants a Chrome OS device that can be their primary laptop. It's price also isn't as hefty when you consider the price of a modern Windows laptop, most of which start between $600 and $800. That being said, the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA is still available for $499, making it an even more affordable option for those that want a similar and just as stellar device. The Good Well-designed Chromebook with above-average performance for the price. The Bad Might be slightly too expensive for those used to dirt-cheap Chromebooks. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. Best Chrome OS tablet HP Chromebook x2 First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. Specs at a glance: HP Chromebook x2 (as tested) Screen 12.3-inch QHD IPS touchscreen (235 ppi) CPU Intel Core m3-7Y30 RAM 4GB HDD 32GB GPU Intel HD Graphics 615 Networking 802.11b/g/n/ac (2x2) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 Ports 2×USB-C, 1×microSD card slot, 1×headphone/mic combo Size 11.5×8.32×0.33 inches Weight 1.6 pounds (tablet only), about 3 pounds (with keyboard attached) Battery 48Whr Warranty 1 year Starting price $465 Price as reviewed $465 Other perks Included keyboard and stylus Chrome OS tablets remain novel, but the $465 HP Chromebook x2 already managed to set itself apart from the few other slabs available. HP took its expertise in making Windows notebooks and translated it for Chrome OS, bringing Spectre-level elegance to the tablet's design and just the right internals to make it a more-than-capable Chrome OS device. The slab itself features that special white finish found on Spectre laptops that brings durability and an extra level of scratch-resistance to the device. The 12.3-inch QHD touchscreen is higher quality than most people need on a Chromebook, but it adds to the premium nature of the device. The Core m3 CPU inside the tablet, as well as the 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of storage, support work and play well. After reviewing it, I was convinced that anyone who plans to use a Chromebook for anything more than occasional Web browsing should get a device with Core m3-level power or a comparable CPU. Included in its $599 price tag are its keyboard attachment and an active pen, so you get all the accessories you need to use the Chromebook x2 to the fullest. The thick metal hinge bar on the edge of the keyboard holds the tablet securely in place, making it one of the sturdiest detachables I've ever used. With no kickstand to worry about, you can angle the Chromebook x2 freely in laptop mode and swiftly move into tablet mode without trepidation. There are a few minor bones to pick with the Chromebook x2, like the fact that its stylus takes AAAA batteries and that it came out just before Chrome OS supported fingerprint authentication. But if you can overlook those minor indiscretions, the HP Chromebook x2 is both a solid detachable and one of the best-value Chrome OS tablets available now. The Good Solid detachable with accessories included in price. The Bad No fingerprint sensor. Best budget Chromebook Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C330 First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. Specs at a glance: Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C330 (as tested) Screen 12.6-inch HD (1366×768) touchscreen CPU MediaTek MTK8173C (1.7GHz) RAM 4GB HDD 64GB eMMC GPU Integrated MediaTek GPU Networking Lenovo Wireless AC (2×2), Bluetooth 4.1 Ports 1×USB-C, 1×USB-A 3.0, 1×HDMI, 1×SD card slot, 1×audio combo jack Size 11.4×8.48×0.77 inches Weight 2.64 pounds Battery three-cell 45Whr Warranty 1 year Starting price $279 Price as reviewed $299 The world is full of low-cost Chromebooks because that's how the landscape began: OEMs made laptops that ran Google's stripped-down OS only as well as they needed to, resulting in many affordable devices. As the category expanded, the differences between good and bad budget Chromebooks became more apparent. Lenovo's Yoga Chromebook C330 has the most important attributes of a great Chromebook at an equally great $279 starting price. The Yoga Chromebook C330 sports a design that's utilitarian but not ugly. While it's not the thinnest Chromebook, it's not very heavy at 2.64 pounds, and it's a convertible, so you can use it in laptop, tablet, tent, and other modes. Its 11.6-inch HD touchscreen complements this design, as do the chunky bezels surrounding it, as they make for good gripping spots when in tablet mode. Available in a "blizzard" white colour, the Yoga Chromebook C330 has a comfortable, full-sized chiclet keyboard with gray keys that pair nicely with the machine's light aesthetic. Its wider edges allowed Lenovo to include an array of ports on the device: one HDMI port, one USB-A port, an SD card slot, one USB-C port for charging, and a headphone jack. That mix ensures a wide variety of possible connections, and those who are already embracing USB-C can make use of their cables or chargers with these devices as well. Aside from the choice of 32GB or 64GB of onboard storage, the Yoga Chromebook C330's specs remain the same across its two available models. It performed as well as you could expect on our benchmarks with its MediaTek MTK8173C processor. It handled my daily Web-based work fairly well, although it was a tad slow in loading webpages in new tabs. It also lasted 11 hours on our Wi-Fi battery test, so it should support you throughout an entire work day. In testing numerous Chromebooks, most of those that fit in the "budget" category of $350 or less had boring, uninspired designs, with lackluster performance to boot. The Yoga Chromebook C330 won't be winning any design awards, but it combines a clean, practical design with decent performance and battery life, all at a price that's hard to beat. Are there even cheaper Chromebooks? Yes. But if you want to spend a couple hundred bucks on a device that will work well enough in most situations, the Yoga Chromebook C330 is a solid choice. The Good Good performance and solid battery life for the price. The Bad A bit chunky. Best for students Dell Chromebook 11 First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. Specs at a glance: Dell Chromebook 11 (as tested) Screen 11-inch HD non-touch display (1366×768) CPU Intel Celeron N3350 RAM 4GB HDD 32GB eMMC GPU Integrated Intel GPU Networking 802.11ac 2×2Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 Ports 2×USB-A, 1×HDMI, 1×microSD card slot, 1×lock slot, 1×audio combo jack Size 11.96×8.19×0.82 inches Weight 2.82 pounds Battery Three-cell 32Whr Warranty 1 year Starting price $195 Price as reviewed $249 Parents looking for a Chromebook for their kids need look no further than the $249 Dell Chromebook 11. We tested the consumer version of this notebook, but one of the benefits of it is that Dell makes many versions of the Chromebook 11. The slightly pricier education models have a few extra features geared toward teachers and administrators, but all have the same design, spec variants, and core features. Devices primarily used for school work should be durable, decently powerful, not too distracting, and not too expensive. The Dell Chromebook 11 fits that bill, sporting a simple black chassis that's built to withstand bumps and drops. It doesn't employ the same tricks as other consumer notebooks (ultra-thin bezels, fancier materials, and the like), but that's because it's made for those who want quick, easy, and affordable access to Chrome OS. The 11-inch, 1366×768 screen and full-sized keyboard aren't anything to write home about, but students can complete Web-based assignments and write in Google Docs easily with them. I found the keyboard comfortable despite the keys being just a hair smaller than traditional keys, and the trackpad is responsive and smooth. While it doesn't come standard with a touchscreen, you can customize it with a touch panel if you wish. The hinge on the Chromebook 11 tilts back 180 degrees, allowing students to collaborate more easily with their peers or their parents and teachers. Whether your student leaves this Chromebook at home or takes it to school, it has a good port selection that should suit most environments: two USB-A ports, one HDMI port, a microSD card slot, and a lock slot. All models come with an Intel Celeron processor, but you can customize the Chromebook 11 with up to 4GB of RAM and up to 32GB of storage. The highest configuration, which includes a touchscreen, costs $309—still within the originally acceptable price range for a Chromebook. But if you can live without the touchscreen, our review unit costs just $249 and should serve students of all ages well. The Good Affordable, even when specced out to the max. The Bad On the small side. Best for families Acer Chromebook 14 First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. Specs at a glance: Acer Chromebook 14 (as tested) Screen 14-inch 1920×1080 IPS non-touch display (16:9) CPU Intel Celeron N3160 (1.6-2.24GHz) RAM 4GB HDD 32GB eMMC GPU Integrated Intel HD GPU Networking Wireless 802.11 ac MIMO (dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.2 Ports 2×USB-A 3.0, 1×HDMI, 1×audio combo jack, 1×power port Size 13.43×9.31×0.67 inches Weight 3.42 pounds Battery 3950mAh Warranty 1 year Starting price $279 Price as reviewed $299 A device that serves an entire family needs to have universal appeal, and the $299 Acer Chromebook 14 has that. We liked this device for multi-person use primarily because of its size—14-inch devices hit a sweet spot that most people enjoy. It's not so small that grandma will have trouble seeing things on its screen, but it's not so big that it becomes cumbersome to tote around the house. The device's all-metal design is quite sturdy: its palm rests don't feel flimsy, and its lid and chassis don't bend or give when force is applied. While it's not a convertible, its lid tilts back 180 degrees to give you more flexibility than other laptops. Its edges taper, getting wider as you move farther back on the device and providing space for two USB-A ports, one HDMI port, an audio combo jack, a power port, and a lock slot. We also like its 14-inch 1920×1080 IPS display—it's just the right size for multi-person use, allowing a few people to gather around the laptop and watch a video or work on a project together. The display has a low-reflective, anti-glare coating on it as well, so it won't be marred by environments with a lot of harsh light. Family members can also video chat with relatives and friends using the 720p Webcam that sits atop the display. With the latest Chrome OS update and Google Duo, the Chromebook 14 makes for a convenient video chat device as well as an impromptu photo booth. The device has a full-sized chiclet keyboard that is spacious and comfortable to type on. The right Backspace key is a tad shorter than usual, but otherwise there's nothing abnormal about this keyboard. Both kids doing their homework and parents sending after-hours emails will find it to be a good typing companion. The Chromebook 14's internals are what you'd expect in a low- to mid-range device: an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, and either 16GB or 32GB of storage. Performance matched these specs, running Chrome OS well but slowing down a bit when faced with multiple open apps or tens of open Chrome tabs. It's a solid machine that won't break the bank and has the right design, size, and specs to serve parents and kids alike. The Good Sold chassis with 14-inch screen that's ideal for multi-person use. The Bad No USB-C. Best premium Chromebook Acer Chromebook Spin 13 First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. Specs at a glance: Acer Chromebook Spin 13 (as tested) Screen 13.5-inch FHD+ (2256×1504) IPS touchscreen CPU Intel Core i5-8250U (1.6-3.6GHz) RAM 8GB HDD 64GB GPU Intel UHD Graphics 620 Networking Intel Dual Band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac W-Fi, Acer Nplify 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 Ports 2×USB-C 3.1 Gen 1, 1×USB-A 3.0, 1×microSD card slot, 1×audio combo jack Size 12.19×9.68×0.67 inches Weight 3.5 pounds Battery 54Whr Warranty 1 year Starting price $699 Price as reviewed $899 Out of the few high-end Chromebooks available now, Acer's $899 Chromebook Spin 13 stood out for combining premium build quality and powerful specs at a relatively good price point. The all-metal convertible looks handsome with its steel-gray finish and shiny, silver metallic accents. It's complemented by a 2256×1504 IPS touchscreen that has a 3:2 aspect ratio, making you scroll less to see more on its high-quality display. Acer sacrificed thinness and lightness to make the Chromebook Spin 13 more powerful. Even so, it's not particularly heavy at 3.5 pounds, making it easy to bring with you when you're traveling to and from meeting places. Its edges are just wide enough to include two USB-C ports, one USB-A port, a microSD card slot, and a headphone jack, and Acer hid an EMR stylus in a housing that sits at the bottom-right corner of the chassis. A Chromebook two-in-one with an all-metal design, FHD+ touchscreen, comfortable keyboard and trackpad, and included active pen is enough to make many take notice, but Acer sweetened the deal by making the Spin 13 one of its most powerful Chromebooks. It can be powered by Core i3 and i5 processors, giving it strong performance that bested almost all others on our benchmark tests. Our review unit had a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 64GB of onboard storage, which is more than enough for even Chrome OS power users. Needless to say, it handled my daily Web work without any hiccups, loading tabs and Android apps swiftly and rarely lagging even when I pushed it to its limits. It also lasted more than 11.5 hours on our Wi-Fi battery test, so it should support you throughout an entire work day easily. Along with Chrome OS tablets, premium Chromebooks are the new "it" thing. Google's Pixelbook isn't the only high-end Chromebook anymore, and users should expect to see a number of pricier Chromebooks debut in the coming years. Out of the few currently available, Acer's Chromebook Spin 13 has the best mix of luxury design, high-end specs with solid performance, port selection, and extra perks like the included active pen. Its price range truly seals the deal: while you could spend up to $999 on this Chromebook, you don't have to. The most affordable Spin 13 gives you a Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage for $699—a reasonable price for a device like this with specs that will be suitable for most Chromebook users' needs. The Good High-powered Chromebook with many models at reasonable prices. The Bad Slightly heavy. Best for on-the-go professionals Google Pixelbook First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. Unsurprisingly, the $999 Pixelbook is the most Googly Chromebook available (aside from its tablet sibling, the Pixel Slate), and professionals will love it for its uncompromising power and modern design. While it starts off more expensive than most Chromebooks, at $999, that base model gets you a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. Those specs are more than enough to support those who push Chrome OS to its limits, so they will support all professionals even during the busiest times. Specs at a glance: Google Pixelbook (as tested) Screen 12.3-inch 2400×1600 (235 ppi) QHD LCD touchscreen OS Chrome OS CPU Intel Core i5-7Y57 RAM 8GB HDD 256GB SSD GPU Intel HD Graphics 615 Networking 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2x2 (MIMO), dual-band (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz), Bluetooth 4.2 Ports two USB Type C ports (charging 4K display out, data transfer), headphone jack Size 11.4-in×8.7-in×0.4-in Weight 2.4 lbs Battery 41Whr Warranty 1 year Starting price $999 Price as reviewed $1,199 Other perks Pixelbook Pen (not included, extra $99) The Pixelbook's recognizable design also helps it stand out in the sea of relatively bland Chromebooks. Google spared no expense with this two-in-one, outfitting it with a metal chassis, clean white palm rests, and a glass portion on the lid, and silver and gray accents throughout. At just 10.3mm thick and weighing 2.4 pounds, the Pixelbook is also thin and light enough to slide unassumingly into your bag or under your arm when you tote it from meeting to meeting. Its hinges allow it to bend back 360 degrees so you can use it in multiple modes and make use of its 2400×1600 touchscreen comfortably. If you don't want to spare any expense yourself, you can spring for the $99 Pixelbook Pen to use with the convertible. It's a solid stylus that makes sketching, note-taking, and general handwriting input on the device easier, and you can use its side button to search with the Google Assistant's help. Just press and hold the side button while circling text, photos, and more on the screen to have the Assistant look up more information about that content. But you will have to keep an eye on that Pen, as there's no way to secure it to the chassis of the Pixelbook. OEMs may be trying to make their own versions of the Pixelbook, but it's doubtful that any of them will make a Chrome OS device with a style as distinct as that of the Pixelbook. The device is made better by Google's most recent Chrome OS updates, which make all Chromebooks significantly more intuitive to use in tablet mode thanks to more tappable elements, the new launcher tablet home screen, and other new features. Google's partnerships with numerous Android app developers have produced better experiences for those programs on Chrome OS, and other developers continue to optimize their apps for Chrome OS. While the transition certainly hasn't been fast, it points to a promising future for Chrome OS ahead of its already popular existence. The Good Sleek design with powerful base specs. The Bad Stylus costs $99 extra. Source: Guidemaster: How to buy a Chromebook, plus our best picks (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image galleries, please visit the above link)
  2. Brian12

    Malware Removal Guide

    "This guide will help you remove malicious software from your computer. If you think your computer might be infected with a virus or trojan, you may want to use this guide. It provides step-by-step instructions on how to remove malware from Windows operating system. It highlights free malware removal tools and resources that are necessary to clean your computer. You will quickly learn how to remove a virus, a rootkit, spyware, and other malware." Guide: http://www.selectrealsecurity.com/malware-removal-guide I'll be posting updates. :)
  3. malakai1911

    Comprehensive Security Guide

    Comprehensive Security Guide NOTE: As of 1/1/2019 this guide is out of date. Until parts are rewritten, consider the below for historical reference only. i. Foreword The primary purpose of this guide is to offer a concise list of best-of-breed software and advice on selected areas of computer security. The secondary purpose of this guide is to offer limited advice on other areas of security. The target audience is an intermediately skilled user of home computers. Computer software listed are the freeware versions when possible or have free versions available. If there are no free versions available for a particular product, it is noted with the "$" symbol. The guide is as well formatted as I could make it, within the confines of a message board post. ii. Table of Contents i. Foreword ii. Table of Contents 1. Physical Security a. Home b. Computer c. Personal 2. Network Security a. Hardware Firewall b. Software Firewall 3. Hardening Windows a. Pre-install Hardening b. Post-install Hardening c. Alternative Software d. Keep Windows Up-To-Date 4. Anti-Malware a. Anti-Virus b. HIPS / Proactive Defense c. Malware Removal 5. Information and Data Security a. Privacy / Anonymity b. Encryption c. Backup, Erasure and Recovery d. Access Control (Passwords, Security Tokens) 6. Conclusion 1. Physical Security I just wanted to touch on a few things in the realm of physical security, and you should investigate physical and personal security in places other than here. a. Home How would you break in to your own home? Take a close look at your perimeter security and work inwards. Make sure fences or gates aren't easy to climb over or bypass. The areas outside your home should be well lit, and motion sensor lights and walkway lights make nice additions to poorly lit areas. If possible, your home should have a security system featuring hardwired door and window sensors, motion detectors, and audible sirens (indoor and outdoor). Consider integrated smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for safety. Don't overlook monitoring services, so the police or fire department can be automatically called during an emergency. Invest in good locks for your home, I recommend Medeco and Schlage Primus locks highly. Both Medeco and Schlage Primus locks are pick-resistant, bump-proof, and have key control (restricted copying systems). Exterior doors should be made of steel or solid-core wood and each should have locking hardware (locking doorknob or handle), an auxiliary lock (mortise deadbolt) with a reinforced strike plate, and a chain. Consider a fireproof (and waterproof) safe for the storage of important documents and valuables. A small safe can be carried away during a robbery, and simply opened at another location later, so be sure and get a safe you can secure to a physical structure (in-wall, in-floor, or secured to something reasonably considered immovable). You may be able to hide or obscure the location of your safe in order to obtain some additional security, but don't make it cumbersome for yourself to access. b. Computer Computers are easy to just pick up and take away, so the only goal you should have is to deter crimes of opportunity. For desktop computers, you may bring your desktop somewhere and an attacker may not be interested in the entire computer, but perhaps just an expensive component (video card) or your data (hard drive), and for that I suggest a well-built case with a locking side and locking front panel. There are a variety of case security screws available (I like the ones from Enermax (UC-SST8) as they use a special tool), or you can use screws with less common bits (such as tamper resistant Torx screws) to secure side panels and computer components. There are also cable lock systems available for desktop computers to secure them to another object. For laptop computers, you are going to be primarily concerned about a grab-and-go type robbery. There are a variety of security cables available from Kensington, which lock into the Kensington lock slot found on nearly all laptops, which you can use to secure it to another object (a desk or table, for example). Remember though, even if it's locked to something with a cable, it doesn't make it theft-proof, so keep an eye on your belongings. c. Personal Always be aware of your surroundings. Use your judgment, if you feel an area or situation is unsafe, avoid it altogether or get away as quickly and safely as possible. Regarding hand to hand combat, consider a self-defense course. Don't screw around with traditional martial arts (Karate, Aikido, Kung-Fu), and stay away from a McDojo. You should consider self-defense techniques like Krav Maga if you are serious about self defense in a real life context. I generally don't advocate carrying a weapon on your person (besides the legal mess that may be involved with use of a weapon, even for self-defense, an attacker could wrestle away a weapon and use it against you). If you choose to carry any type of weapon on your person for self-defense, I advise you to take a training course (if applicable) and to check with and follow the laws within the jurisdiction you decide to possess or carry such weapons. Dealing with the Police Be sure to read Know Your Rights: What to Do If You're Stopped by the Police a guide by the ACLU, and apply it. Its advice is for within the jurisdiction of the US but may apply generally elsewhere, consult with a lawyer for legal advice. You should a;so watch the popular video "Don't talk to the police!" by Prof. James Duane of the Regent University Law School for helpful instructions on what to do and say when questioned by the police: (Mirror: regent.edu) Travelling Abroad Be sure and visit the State Department or Travel Office for your home country before embarking on a trip abroad. Read any travel warnings or advisories, and they are a wealth of information for travelers (offering guides, checklists, and travel advice): (US, UK, CA). 2. Network Security As this is a guide geared towards a home or home office network, the central theme of network security is going to be focused around having a hardware firewall behind your broadband modem, along with a software firewall installed on each client. Since broadband is a 24/7 connection to the internet, you are constantly at risk of attack, making both a hardware and software firewall absolutely essential. a. Hardware Firewall A hardware firewall (router) is very important. Consider the hardware firewall as your first line of defense. Unfortunately, routers (usually) aren't designed to block outbound attempts from trojans and viruses, which is why it is important to use a hardware firewall in conjunction with a software firewall. Be sure that the firewall you choose features SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection). Highly Recommended I recommend Wireless AC (802.11ac) equipment, as it is robust and widely available. Wireless AC is backwards compatible with the earlier Wireless N (802.11n) G (802.11g) and B (802.11b) standards. 802.11ac supports higher speeds and longer distances than the previous standards, making it highly attractive. I generally recommend wireless networking equipment from Ubiquiti or Asus. Use WPA2/WPA with AES if possible, and a passphrase with a minimum of 12 characters. If you are really paranoid, use a strong random password and remember to change it every so often. Alternatives A spare PC running SmoothWall or IPCop, with a pair of NIC's and a switch can be used to turn a PC into a fully functional firewall. b. Software Firewall A software firewall nicely compliments a hardware firewall such as those listed above. In addition to protecting you from inbound intrusion attempts, it also gives you a level of outbound security by acting as a gateway for applications looking to access the internet. Programs you want can access the internet, while ones you don't are blocked. Do not use multiple software firewalls simultaneously. You can actually make yourself less secure by running two or more software firewall products at once, as they can conflict with one another. Check out Matousec Firewall Challenge for a comparison of leak tests among top firewall vendors. Leaktests are an important way of testing outbound filtering effectiveness. Highly Recommended Comodo Internet Security Comodo is an easy to use, free firewall that provides top-notch security. I highly recommend this as a first choice firewall. While it includes Antivirus protection, I advise to install it as firewall-only and use an alternate Antivirus. Alternatives Agnitum Outpost Firewall Free A free personal firewall that is very secure. Be sure to check out the Outpost Firewall Forums, to search, and ask questions if you have any problems. Online Armor Personal Firewall Free Online Armor Personal Firewall makes another great choice for those who refuse to run Comodo or Outpost. Online Armor 3. Hardening Windows Windows can be made much more secure by updating its components, and changing security and privacy related settings. a. Pre-install Hardening Pre-install hardening has its primary focus on integrating the latest available service packs and security patches. Its secondary focus is applying whatever security setting tweaks you can integrate. By integrating patches and tweaks, you will be safer from the first boot. Step 1 - Take an original Windows disc (Windows 7 or later) and copy it to a folder on your hard drive so you can work with the install files. Step 2 - Slipstream the latest available service pack. Slipstreaming is a term for integrating the latest service pack into your copy of windows. Step 3 - Integrate the latest available post-service pack updates. This can be done with a utility such as nLite or vLite, and post-service pack updates may be available in an unofficial collection (such as the RyanVM Update Pack for XP). Step 4 - Use nLite (Windows 2000/XP) or vLite (Windows Vista/7) to customize your install. Remove unwanted components and services, and use the tweaks section of nLite/vLite to apply some security and cosmetic tweaks. Step 5 - Burn your newly customized CD, and install Windows. Do not connect the computer to a network until you install a software firewall and anti-virus. b. Post-Install Hardening If you have followed the pre-install hardening section, then your aim will be to tweak settings to further lock down windows. If you hadn't installed from a custom CD, you will need to first update to the latest service pack, then install incremental security patches to become current. After updating, you'll then disable unneeded Windows services, perform some security tweaks, and use software such as xpy to tweak privacy options. Disable Services Start by disabling unneeded or unnecessary services. By disabling services you will minimize potential security risks, and use fewer resources (which may make your system slightly faster). Some good guides on disabling unnecessary services are available at Smallvoid: Windows 2000 / Windows XP / Windows Vista. Some commonly disabled services: Alerter, Indexing, Messenger, Remote Registry, TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper, and Telnet. Security Tweaks I highly recommend using a strong Local Security Policy template as an easy way to tweak windows security options, followed by the registry. Use my template (security.inf) to easily tweak your install for enhanced security (Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7): 1. Save the following attachment: (Download Link Soon!) 2. Extract the files. 3. Apply the Security Policy automatically by running the included "install.bat" file. 4. (Optional) Apply your policy manually using the following command: [ secedit /configure /db secedit.sdb /cfg "C:\<Path To Security.inf>\<template>.inf" ] then refresh your policy using the following the command:[ secedit /refreshpolicy machine_policy ] (Windows 2000), [ gpupdate ] (Windows XP/Vista/7) This template will disable automatic ("administrative") windows shares, prevent anonymous log on access to system resources, disable (weak) LM Password Hashes and enable NTLMv2, disable DCOM, harden the Windows TCP/IP Stack, and much more. Unfortunately my template can't do everything, you will still need to disable NetBIOS over TCP (NetBT), enable Data Execution Prevention (AlwaysOn), and perform other manual tweaks that you may use. Privacy Tweaks xpy (Windows 2000/XP) and vispa (Windows Vista/7) These utilities are great for modifying privacy settings. They supersede XP AntiSpy because they include all of XP Anti-Spy's features and more. You should use them in conjunction with the security tweaks I've listed above. c. Alternative Software Another simple way of mitigating possible attack vectors is to use software that is engineered with better or open security processes. These products are generally more secure and offer more features then their Microsoft counterparts. Highly Recommended Google Chrome (Web Browser) Mozilla Thunderbird (Email Client) OpenOffice.org (Office Suite) Alternatives Mozilla Firefox (Web Browser) Google Docs (Online) (Office Suite) Firefox Additions Mozilla has a Privacy & Security add-on section. There are a variety of add-ons that may appeal to you (such as NoScript). And although these aren't strictly privacy related, I highly recommend the AdBlock Plus add-on, with the EasyList and EasyPrivacy filtersets. d. Keep Windows Up-To-Date Speaking of keeping up-to-date, do yourself a favor and upgrade to at least Windows XP (for older PC's) and Windows 7 (or later) for newer PC's. Be sure to keep up-to-date on your service packs, they're a comprehensive collection of security patches and updates, and some may add minor features. Microsoft Windows Service Packs Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 with Unofficial Security Rollup Package Windows XP Service Pack 3 with Unofficial Security Rollup Package Windows XP x64 Service Pack 2 with Unofficial Security Rollup Package Windows Vista Service Pack 2 Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Microsoft Office Service Packs Office 2000 Service Pack 3 with the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack (SP3). Office XP (2002) Service Pack 3 with the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack (SP3). Office 2003 Service Pack 3 with the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack (SP3) and Office File Validation add-in. Office 2007 Service Pack 3 with the Office File Validation add-in. Office 2010 Service Pack 1 After the service pack, you still need to keep up-to-date on incremental security patches. Windows supports Automatic Updates to automatically update itself. However, if you don't like Automatic Updates: You can use WindowsUpdate to update windows periodically (Must use IE5 or greater, must have BITS service enabled), or you can use MS Technet Security to search for and download patches individually, or you can use Autopatcher, an unofficial updating utility. In addition to security patches, remember to keep virus definitions up-to-date (modern virus scanners support automatic updates so this should not be a problem), and stay current with latest program versions and updates, including your replacement internet browser and mail clients. 4. Anti-Malware There are many dangers lurking on the internet. Trojans, viruses, spyware. If you are a veteran user of the internet, you've probably developed a sixth-sense when it comes to avoiding malware, but I advocate backing up common sense with reliable anti-malware software. a. Anti-Virus Picking a virus scanner is important, I highly recommend Nod32, but there are good alternatives these days. Check out AV Comparatives for a comparison of scanning effectiveness and speed among top AV vendors. Highly Recommended Nod32 Antivirus $ I recommend Nod32 as a non-free Antivirus. Features excellent detection rates and fast scanning speed. Nod32 has a great heuristic engine that is good at spotting unknown threats. Very resource-friendly and historically known for using less memory than other AV's. There is a 30 day free trial available. Alternatives Avira AntiVir Personal I recommend Avira as a free Antivirus. Avira is a free AV with excellent detection rates and fast scanning speed. (Kaspersky no longer recommended, due to espionage concerns.) Online-Scanners Single File Scanning Jotti Online Malware Scan or VirusTotal These scanners can run a single file through a large number of different Antivirus/Antimalware suites in order to improve detection rates. Highly recommended. Whole PC Scanning ESET Online Scanner Nod32 Online Antivirus is pretty good, ActiveX though, so IE only. There is a beta version available that works with Firefox and Opera. b. HIPS / Proactive Defense Host-based intrusion prevention systems (HIPS) work by disallowing malware from modifying critical parts of the Operating System without permission. Classic (behavioral) HIPS software will prompt the user for interaction before allowing certain system modifications, allowing you stop malware in its tracks, whereas Virtualization-based HIPS works primarily by sandboxing executables. Although HIPS is very effective, the additional setup and prompts are not worth the headache for novice users (which may take to just clicking 'allow' to everything and defeating the purpose altogether). I only recommend HIPS for intermediate or advanced users that require a high level of security. Highly Recommended I highly recommend firewall-integrated HIPS solutions. Comodo Defense+ is a classic HIPS built into Comodo Internet Security, and provides a very good level of protection. Outpost and Online Armor provide their own HIPS solutions, and the component control features of the firewalls are powerful enough to keep unwanted applications from bypassing or terminating the firewall. If you want to use a different HIPS, you can disable the firewall HIPS module and use an alternative below. Alternatives Stand-alone HIPS solutions are good for users who either don't like the firewall built-in HIPS (and disable the firewall HIPS), or use a firewall without HIPS features. HIPS based on Behavior (Classic) ThreatFire ThreatFire provides a strong, free behavioral HIPS that works well in conjunction with Antivirus and Firewall suites to provide additional protection. HIPS based on Virtualization DefenseWall HIPS $ DefenseWall is a strong and easy-to-use HIPS solution that uses sandboxing for applications that access the internet. GeSWall Freeware GeSWall makes a nice free addition to the HIPS category, like DefenseWall it also uses sandboxing for applications that access the internet. Dealing with Suspicious Executables You can run suspicious executables in a full featured Virtual Machine (such as VMware) or using a standalone sandbox utility (such as Sandboxie) if you are in doubt of what it may do (though, you may argue that you shouldn't be running executables you don't trust anyway). A more advanced approach to examining a suspicious executable is to run it through Anubis, a tool for analyzing the behavior of Windows executables. It displays a useful report with things the executable does (files read, registry modifications performed, etc.), which will give you insight as to how it works. c. Malware Removal I recommend running all malware removal utilities on-demand (not resident). With a firewall, virus scanner, HIPS, and some common sense, you won't usually get to the point of needing to remove malware... but sometimes things happen, perhaps unavoidably, and you'll need to remove some pretty nasty stuff from a computer. Highly Recommended Anti-Spyware Spybot Search & Destroy Spybot S&D has been around a long time, and is very effective in removing spyware and adware. I personally install and use both Spybot & Ad-Aware, but I believe that Spybot S&D has the current edge in overall detection and usability. Anti-Trojan Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware Malwarebytes has a good trojan detector here, and scans fast. Anti-Rootkit Rootkit Unhooker RKU is a very advanced rootkit detection utility. Alternatives Anti-Spyware Ad-Aware Free Edition Ad-Aware is a fine alternative to Spybot S&D, its scanning engine is slower but it is both effective and popular. Anti-Trojan a-squared (a2) Free a-squared is a highly reputable (and free) trojan scanner. Anti-Rootkit IceSword (Mirror) IceSword is one of the most capable and advanced rootkit detectors available. 5. Information and Data Security Data can be reasonably protected using encryption and a strong password, but you will never have complete and absolute anonymity on the internet as long as you have an IP address. a. Privacy / Anonymity Anonymity is elusive. Some of the following software can help you achieve a more anonymous internet experience, but you also must be vigilant in protecting your own personal information. If you use social networking sites, use privacy settings to restrict public access to your profile, and only 'friend' people you know in real life. Don't use (or make any references to) any of your aliases or anonymous handles on any websites that have any of your personal information (Facebook, Amazon, etc..). You should opt-out from information sharing individually for all banks and financial institutions you do business with using their privacy policy choices. You should opt-out of preapproved credit offers (US), unsolicited commercial mail and email (US, UK, CA), and put your phone numbers on the "Do Not Call" list (US, UK, CA). Highly Recommended Simply install and use Tor with Vidalia to surf the internet anonymously. It's free, only downside is it's not terribly fast, but has fairly good anonymity, so it's a tradeoff. Keep in mind its for anonymity not for security, so make sure sites you put passwords in are SSL encrypted (and have valid SSL certificates), and remember that all end point traffic can be sniffed. You can use the Torbutton extension for Firefox to easily toggle on/off anonymous browsing. POP3/IMAP and P2P software won't work through Tor, so keep that in mind. Portable Anonymous Browsing The Tor Project now has a "Zero-Install Bundle" which includes Portable Firefox and Tor with Vidalia to surf anonymously from a USB memory stick pretty much anywhere with the internet. It also includes Pidgin with OTR for encrypted IM communications. Note: These won't protect you from Trojans/Keyloggers/Viruses on insecure public terminals. Never type important passwords or login to important accounts on a public computer unless it is absolutely necessary! Alternatives I2P functions similar to Tor, allowing you to surf the general internet with anonymity. IPREDator $ is a VPN that can be used to anonymize P2P/BitTorrent downloads. Freenet is notable, but not for surfing the general internet, it's its own network with its own content. b. Encryption For most people, encryption may be unnecessary. But if you have a laptop, or any sort of sensitive data (whether it be trade secrets, corporate documents, legal or medical documents) then you can't beat the kind of protection that encryption will offer. There are a variety of options available today, including a lot of software not listed here. A word to the wise, please, please don't fall for snake oil, use well established applications that use time tested (and unbroken) ciphers. Regardless of what software you use, the following "what to pick" charts will apply universally. If you have to pick an encryption cipher: Best: AES (Rijndael) (128-bit block size) Better: Twofish (128-bit block size), Serpent (128-bit block size) Good: RC6 (128-bit block size) Depreciated: Blowfish (64-bit block size), CAST5 (CAST-128) (64-bit block size), Triple-DES (64-bit block size) When encrypting large volumes of data, it is important to pick a cipher that has a block size of at least 128-bytes. This affords you protection for up to 2^64x16 bytes (264 exabytes) . 64-bit block ciphers only afford protection of up to 2^32x8 bytes (32 gigabytes) so using it as a full disk or whole disk encryption cipher is not recommended. The depreciated list is only because some of you might be stuck using software that only supports older encryption methods, so I've ordered it from what I feel is best to worst (though all three that are on there are pretty time tested and if properly implemented, quite secure). If you have to pick a hash to use: Best: Whirlpool (512-bit) Better: SHA-512 (512-bit), SHA-256 (256-bit) Good: Tiger2/Tiger (192-bit), RIPEMD-160 (160-bit) Depreciated: RIPEMD-128, SHA-1, MD-5. With all the recent advances in cryptanalysis (specifically with work on hash collisions) These days I wouldn't trust any hash that is less than 160-bits on principle. To be on the safe side, use a 192-bit, 256-bit, or 512-bit hash where available. There will be cases where your only options are insecure hashes, in which case I've ordered the "depreciated" list from best to worst (they are all varying levels of insecure). Many older hashes (MD4, MD2, RIPEMD(original), and others) are totally broken, and are not to be used. A quick software rundown, these applications are popular and trusted: Highly Recommended Freeware Whole Disk Encryption TrueCrypt Based upon E4M, TrueCrypt is a full featured disk encryption suite, and can even be run off a USB memory stick. TrueCrypt supports the whole disk encryption of Windows, with pre-boot authentication. Very nice. If you can't use whole-disk encryption (WDE), you can use the TCTEMP add-on to encrypt your swapfile, temp files and print spooler, and you can use the TCGINA add-on to encrypt your windows home directory. (Note: TCTEMP/TCGINA is less secure than WDE, and only preferable if WDE is not an option. WDE is highly recommended.) Freeware PKI Encryption GnuPG (GPG) GnuPG provides public-key encryption, including key generation and maintenance, signing and checking documents and email messages, and encryption and decryption of documents and email messages. Freeware Email Encryption Enigmail Enigmail is truly a work of art, it integrates with GnuPG and provides seamless support for encryption and decryption of email messages, and can automatically check PGP signed documents for validity. (Enigmail requires both Mozilla Thunderbird and GnuPG) Alternatives Encryption Suite (with Whole Disk and Email Encryption) PGP Full Disk Encryption $ PGP provides public-key encryption, including key generation and maintenance, signing and checking documents and email messages, encryption and decryption of documents and email messages, volume disk encryption, whole disk encryption, outlook integration, and instant messenger encryption support. c. Backup, Erasure and Recovery // This section is under construction. Backups Your data might be safe from prying eyes, but what if you are affected by hardware failure, theft, flood or fire? Regular backups of your important data can help you recover from a disaster. You should consider encryption of your backups for enhanced security. Local Backup Cobian Backup Cobian Backup is a fully-featured freeware backup utility. SyncBack Freeware, Macrium Reflect Free SyncBack Freeware and Macrium Reflect Free are feature-limited freeware backup utilities. Off-site Backup SkyDrive (25GB, filesize limited to 100MB), box.net (5GB) SkyDrive and box.net offer free online storage, useful for easy offsite backups. Be sure to utilize encrypted containers for any sensitive documents. Data Destruction It would be better to have your data residing in an encrypted partition, but sometimes that may not be possible. When sanitizing a hard drive, I recommend using a quality Block Erase tool like DBAN followed by a run-through with ATA Secure Erase if you really want a drive squeaky clean. Block erasing is good for data you can normally reach, but ATA secure erase can hit areas of the drive block erasers can't. As for multiple overwrite passes, there is no proof that data overwritten even one time can be recovered by professional data recovery corporations. For moderate security, a single pseudorandom block-erase pass (random-write) followed by an ATA Secure Erase pass (zero-write) is sufficient to thwart any attempts at data recovery. For a high level of security, a "DoD Short (3 pass)" block-erase pass followed by an ATA Enhanced Secure Erase will ensure no recovery is possible. Single-File/Free Space Erase If you are interested in just erasing single files or wiping free space, you can use the Eraser utility. Block Erase For hard drive block-erasure, use DBAN. ATA Secure Erase For ATA Secure Erasing, use the CMRR Secure Erase Utility. CMRR Secure Erase Protocols (.pdf) http://cmrr.ucsd.edu...seProtocols.pdf NIST Guidelines for Media Sanitation (.pdf) - http://csrc.nist.gov...800-88_rev1.pdf File Recovery Software This is kind of the opposite of data destruction. Keep in mind no software utility can recover properly overwritten data, so if it's overwritten there is no recovery. Highly Recommended Recuva Recuva is an easy to use GUI-based recovery utility. Alternatives TestDisk and PhotoRec These tools are powerful command-line recovery utilities. TestDisk can recover partitions, and PhotoRec is for general file recovery. Ontrack EasyRecovery Professional $ EasyRecovery is one of the best paid utilites for file recovery. d. Access Control (Passwords, Security Tokens) // This section is under construction. Secure Passwords //Section under construction. Your security is only as strong as its weakest password. There are a few basic rules to follow when creating a strong password. Length - Passwords should be at least 12 characters long. When possible, use a password of 12 or more characters, or a "passphrase". If you are limited to using less than 12 characters, you should try and make your password as long as allowable. Complexity - Passwords should have an element of complexity, a combination of upper and lowercase characters, numbers, and symbols will make your passwords much harder to guess, and harder to bruteforce. Uniqueness - Passwords should avoid containing common dictionary words, names, birthdays, or any identification related to you (social security, drivers license, or phone numbers for example). Secret - If you have a password of the utmost importance, do not write it down. Do not type them in plain view of another person or share them with anyone. Avoid use of the same password in multiple places. Security Tokens Security Tokens are cryptographic devices that allow for two-factor authentication. Google Titan Yubikey 5 Series 6. Conclusion And here we are at the end! I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to read my guide, it's a few (slow) years in the making and I've kept it up to date. This guide is always changing, so check back from time to time. Revision 1.10.020 Copyright © 2004-2012 Malakai1911, All Rights Reserved The information contained within this guide is intended solely for the general information of the reader and is provided "as is" with absolutely no warranty expressed or implied. Any use of this material is at your own risk, its authors are not liable for any direct, special, indirect, consequential, or incidental damages or any damages of any kind. This guide is subject to change without notice. Windows_Security_Template__1.10.015_.zip
  4. A complete NoScript Security suite extension guide for the Firefox web browser version 57 and newer. The developer of the popular Firefox security add-on NoScript launched a Firefox 57 compatible version of the extension shortly after the release of the Firefox 57 browser. He worked with Mozilla to create the new version of NoScript and implemented options to migrate settings from classic versions of NoScript to the new version. The initial version received mixed reviews. Some users heralded the effort and were happy that NoScript was available for Firefox 57 and newer, others did not like the new user interface or criticized missing functionality. Now that the dust has settled, it is time to publish an updated guide for NoScript for Firefox 57 or newer. The NoScript for Firefox guide NoScript Security Suite is a browser extension for the Firefox web browser designed to give users control over the content that sites may run. The extension blocks JavaScript execution by default which improves security and privacy significantly. NoScript supports other features, XSS and clickjacking attack protections and other security enhancing features. The NoScript interface The main interface of the extension changed completely in the new version. The classic version of NoScript listed connections in list view on activation, the new version of NoScript uses a matrix instead similarly to how uMatrix handles connections. The interface displays a button toolbar at the top and below it the list of domains. NoScript lists the current domain at the top all the time and below it the third-party connections of the page. The padlock symbol displayed next to domains indicates that the connection to it uses HTTPS. Note that the padlock symbol is not displayed for some trust levels. Setting trust levels for domains Each domain listed by NoScript in its interface has a trust level associated with it. Default -- JavaScript execution is blocked as are objects, media, fonts, and WebGL. Trusted -- Allow JavaScript execution and other elements. Trusted Temporarily -- Allow JavaScript execution and the loading of other elements for the session or until revoked whichever is first. Untrusted -- Everything is blocked. Custom -- Gives you options to allow or disallow elements individually. You may make these temporary by clicking on the "nearly invisible" temp button next to custom. Each domain listed by NoScript has one trust level associated with it. A click on another trust level in a row switches it to the new one automatically. The NoScript options reveal the preset permissions for "default", "trusted", and "untrusted". There you may also change the default presets by adding or removing checkmarks. The elements that NoScript distinguishes between are: Script -- Any type of script the site attempts to execute. Object -- The HTML object tag. Media -- Media elements. Frame -- Frames that the site attempts to load. Font -- Font elements. WebGL -- WebGL elements. Fetch -- requests that use fetch APIs. Other -- unknown. The button toolbar Seven buttons are displayed on the button toolbar in the latest version of NoScript for Firefox. They are, from left to right: Close the interface. Reload the page. Open the Options. Disable restrictions globally. Disable restrictions for this tab. Set all on the page to temporarily trusted. Revoke temporary permissions. NoScript adds a context menu item to the right-click menu automatically. It has limited use though; a click on it displays the main NoScript interface at the top of the browser UI. You can disable the context menu entry in the options. Using NoScript Understanding how NoScript trust levels work is essential to using the extension to its fullest potential. NoScript indicates blocked items in its icon when you load sites in the Firefox browser. A click on the icon displays the connections the extension recognized and trust levels for each site. Note that these may not be all connections a site makes. Since you don't allow the execution of scripts by default, sites may not be able to initiate all third-party connections right away. If you allow scripts to run on the main domain, you may notice that it attempts to make additional connections when those get loaded. Tip: Hover over any domain listed by NoScript and click on it to open a page that is full of links to privacy and security services only to display information about the domain. It may not be necessary to make any changes to trust levels if the site functions properly. You may notice however that some features may not work properly on first connect. Since scripts and other elements are blocked by default, you may notice all sorts of issues related to that. Sites use scripts and other elements for a variety of things, from verifying form submissions and playing videos to often unwanted things such as advertisement or tracking. Changing a domain's trust level to "trusted" or "temporarily trusted" allows it to load additional elements whereas a trust level of "untrusted" prevents even more elements. Note that trusted and untrusted are permanent changes that remain available. Troubleshooting a site comes into play when you notice that site functionality is not available and suspect it is because of the protections that NoScript provides. You have a couple of options to deal with the issue. You could temporarily allow a domain or use the custom trust level to set permissions individually for elements. I'm not a fan of using the "allow all globally" or "allow all for the tab" options as they are often too broad. While they are comfortable, as you only need to press some buttons to get sites to work, using them eliminates most of the protective functionality of NoScript. NoScript comes with a whitelist that includes sites by default. You may want to check it in the options under "per-site permissions" to make sure that you trust them all. There is unfortunately no option to remove sites that are on the list by default but you can change the level from trusted to default or even untrusted. If you migrated from a previous version of NoScript, you should see all custom sites there. Check out our guide on using NoScript efficiently for tips on getting the most out of the extension. It offers ten tips, for instance what you may want to do if a site does not load properly with NoScript enabled. The options The options are somewhat limited at this point in time especially when you compare them to the options of the classic version of NoScript. The NoScript settings are divided into four tabs right now that offer the following functionality: General -- Configure preset permissions for the states Default, Trusted, and Untrusted. Also, enable "disable restrictions globally" and "temporarily set top-level sites to Trusted". Per-site Permissions -- displays all custom (non-default) permissions. Search included. Appearance -- hide the context menu item, disable the count badge of the icon, and enable the listing of full addresses in the permissions popup. Advanced -- manage XSS protection and enable debugging. Options can be reset, imported, or exported. Resources Official NoScript website: https://noscript.net/ NoScript on Mozilla AMO: https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/noscript/ NoScript GitHub: https://github.com/hackademix/noscript Source
  5. As soon as you start up a new Android phone, you get prompted to sign in with your Google account—but what if you don’t want to do that? Maybe you want to take advantage of Android but limit what Google knows about you, or maybe you just prefer the alternative apps; whatever the case, here’s how to live a Google-free Android life. Right from the start we’ll be honest and say it’s not easy using Android without Google—but it is possible. If you want a more convenient life, then you need to sign right in when prompted. The big miss if you don’t is the Google Play Store, but here we’ll show you how to get around that and various other obstacles along the way. We’re assuming you’re starting with a brand new Android phone fresh from the factory. You can de-Google-ify an existing Android handset, but you’ll need to reset it first through the Settings app, to get back to the original setup screen. That means all your existing apps and data get wiped, so you’ll need backups of all your important stuff somewhere. Setting up Android Welcome to your new (or factory reset) Android phone! The prompt to sign in with Google arrives about five screens in, after you’ve chosen your language and connected up to wifi. When you’re prompted to sign in, hit Skip instead, then hit Skip again to confirm that yes, you really do want to use Android without a Google account. A couple of screens later, Google very kindly asks if you want to opt in to some extra Google services: Location tracking and system diagnostic reports. If you’re not happy with either or both of these options, turn the relevant toggle switches off, then hit Agree to continue (you can’t use a phone with regular Google-provided Android on it without agreeing to some basic terms and conditions). And... you should then be in. Don’t worry if you see a few Google apps, because they won’t be connected to anything—Google Photos, for example, can work as a local image library manager without actually connecting to the cloud or a Google account. If there are any apps you want to get rid of, long-press on their icon and drag the icon up to the Uninstall link at the top. YouTube works perfectly well without a Google account to sign into, though you obviously don’t get access to any personalized apps or any of your playlists. Google Maps is another app that will work without a Google account if it’s pre-installed, though again you don’t get all the personal customizations. It’s important to note that a Google account handles various aspects of syncing and backing up Android as well, and you’re going to have to hunt around for alternative solutions. You won’t get Google Contacts synced over, for example—fine if you don’t want to use Google Contacts, but you’ll need to get something else in place or build up your contacts list from scratch on the phone itself. And these apps will still want to log data and information about you, even if Google doesn’t. As always, you can manage the permissions an app has (and the data it can therefore collect), up to a point—head to Settings and tap Apps & notifications, then App permissions to see a list and make any changes you deem necessary. Getting your apps The big miss if you don’t connect your Android phone to your Google account is the Google Play Store: Try and load up the Play Store app and you’ll just be met with the sign in screen again. To get around this, you need to start sideloading apps through your Android phone’s web browser. In times gone by you would need to authorize “unknown” apps (not from the Play Store) in Settings, but modern versions of Android ask for authorization on an app-by-app basis. You’ve got two choices here: Either embrace the Amazon App Store, which isn’t as comprehensive as Google’s but has most of the big-name apps, or transfer apps over one by one as you need them from the excellent APKMirror repository. Choose the former for an easier life (including automatic updates for your apps), or the latter for more control over your phone. If you’re taking the Amazon route, go to www.amazon.com/androidapp on your phone and follow the instructions on screen—you will have to confirm that you are ready to risk installing apps downloaded outside the Play Store, and tap through a couple of security warnings along the way. With that done, sign in with your Amazon account, and away you go. You get a lot of the major apps (Netflix, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram), though there are some omissions too (Snapchat, YouTube). Google’s apps are nowhere to be seen, but that’s the whole point of this exercise, isn’t it? The Amazon App Store doesn’t have the polish of its Google counterpart but it will keep everything updated and sorted for you. You can install apps straight from APKMirror instead of, or as well as, from the Amazon App Store. Head to the site in your browser, or download files on your computer and transfer them over through your file syncing tool of choice or via a USB cable. Again, you’ll need to tap through a series of security warnings as you install apps, but APKMirror is a reputable source (just don’t install anything too esoteric, just to be sure). APKMirror is likely to have most of the apps you need, though—as with the Amazon App Store—some of the latest games titles might be missing. You also can’t download any apps that cost money—these are strictly free apps. The other disadvantage is that your apps don’t auto-update, so you need to remember to do this manually on a semi-regular basis (APKUpdater is a decent effort at automating this process for Android versions up to 7.1). As you’re probably aware, you’ve got all kinds of alternative options for replacing Google apps: Outlook instead of Gmail, Firefox instead of Chrome, OneDrive instead of Google Drive, Flickr instead of Google Photos, MapQuest instead of Google Maps, DuckDuckGo instead of Google search and so on. To really rub salt into Google’s wounds, you could even try Apple Music. You might also have some alternative options from whichever company made your Android phone. Manufacturers like Samsung and OnePlus have some very competent apps for handling the basics of phone use that you can deploy instead of Google’s own apps (including, possibly, an app for managing your contacts). Less extreme and more extreme options You can tailor your approach to be more or less anti-Google, as you feel necessary. If you don’t want the hassle of an alternative app store, you can sign into the Play Store and get all the apps you need, without touching Google’s native apps like Gmail or Google Maps. As a result you’ll be giving Google a bit more information about yourself and about how you’re using your device, but you might consider the trade-off worth it for the extra convenience. Maybe install the Microsoft Launcher from the Google Play Store as an easy way of avoiding Google’s native apps and search, then stick to the non-Google apps we’ve already listed above. Alternatively you could go full-on anti-Google and install an entirely new version of Android—something like LineageOS. You’re going to need a device that works with the custom ROM, and the patience and know-how to flash it, but you’ll be left with a completely Google-free phone at the end of the process. Bear in mind that if you flash an alternative OS on your phone, you won’t have access to Google Play Services, which many popular and well-known apps rely on to work—especially when location access is required. You can add this on top of LineageOS, but that sort of defeats the process of installing a separate mobile operating system in the first place. The open source app store F-Droid (above) covers an impressive number of bases, and features apps you can use free of Google influence (including Google Play Services), but you’re also going to have to do without big-hitters such as Facebook, Spotify, Netflix and so on. Fine for those who yearn for the days of feature phones, not so great for the rest of us. It really depends on how much time and effort you want to invest and how little Google you want in your life, but you should find something that works for you. Ultimately you can get Android running with little or no Google influence—though perhaps not as easily as some EU regulators would like. Source
  6. Author: Whitson Gordon Posted Today 7:00 AM Keep on hearing about encryption but still not sure what it involves? Heres a basic introductionto encryption, when you should use it, and how to set it up. What Is Encryption? Encryption is a method of protecting data from people you dont want to see it. For example, when you use your credit card on Amazon, your computer encrypts that information so that others cant steal your personal data as it is being transferred. Similarly, if you have a file on your computer you want to keep secret only for yourself, you can encrypt it so that no one can open that file without the password. Its useful for everything from sending sensitive information to securing your email, keeping your cloud storage safe, and even hiding your entire operating system. Encryption, at its core, is similar to those decoder rings you played with when you were younger. You have a message, you encode it using a secret cipher, and only other people with the cipher can read it. Anyone else just sees gibberish. Obviously, this is an incredibly simplified explanation. The encryption in your computer is far more complex and there are different types of encryption that use multiple decoder rings but thats the basic idea. There are also different levels of security when it comes to encryption. Some types, for example, are more secure but take longer to decode. Few, if any, encryption methods are 100 per cent foolproof. If you want a more detailed explainer on how encryption works, check out this article from the How-To Geek and this article from HowStuffWorks. They explain a few different kinds of encryption and how they keep you safe online. Should I Encrypt My Files? The short answer: yes. Things can be stolen even if you dont share your computer. All someone needs is a few minutes in front of the keyboard to retrieve anything they want. A login password wont protect you, either breaking into a password-protected computer is insanely easy. So should you encrypt your sensitive files? Yes. But theres a bit more to it than that. You have two big choices when it comes to encryption: do you just encrypt the important files , or do you encrypt your entire drive? Each has pros and cons: ◾ Encrypting a select group of files such as the ones that contain personal information keeps them safe without any extra complications. However, if someone had access to your computer, they could still break into it and view any non-encrypted files, access your browser, install malware, and so on. ◾ Encrypting your entire drive makes it difficult for anyone to access any of your data or even boot up your computer without your password. However, if you experience any corruption on your drive, its much less likely that youll be able to retrieve that data. We generally recommend against average users encrypting their entire drive. Unless you have sensitive files all over your computer, or have other reasons for encrypting the entire thing, its easier to encrypt the sensitive files and call it a day. Full disk encryption is more secure, but can also much more problematic if you dont put in the work to keep everything backed up safely (and then encrypt those backups as well). That said, well show you how to do both in this guide. Well talk a bit more about each situation in their individual sections below. How To Encrypt Individual Files Or Folders With TrueCrypt If you need to keep just a few files safe from prying eyes, you can encrypt them with the free, open-source, cross-platform TrueCrypt. These steps should work on Windows, Mac and Linux. Note that if youre encrypting files to send them over the internet, you can also use this previously mentioned 7-Zip method. Creating a TrueCrypt volume for your files is very easy just follow TrueCrypts step-by-step wizard. Heres an overview of what it entails: 1. Start TrueCrypt and click the Create Volume button. 2. On the first screen of the wizard, select Create an encrypted file container. 3. On the next screen, choose Standard TrueCrypt Volume. If you want to create a hidden volume (to further obscure your data), read more about how it works here. We wont cover it in this tutorial. 4. On the Volume Location screen, click the Select File button and navigate to the folder in which you want to store your encrypted files. Do not select an existing file as this will delete it instead, navigate to the folder, type the desired name of your encrypted volume in the File Name box, and click Save. Well add files to this TrueCrypt volume later. 5. Choose your encryption algorithm on the next screen. AES should be fine for most users 6. Choose the size of your volume. Make sure it has enough space to fit all your files, and any files you may want to add to it later. 7. Choose a password to protect your files. Remember, the stronger your password, the safer your files will be. Make sure you remember your password, because if you lose it, your data will be inaccessible. 8. On the next screen, follow the instructions and move your mouse around randomly for a bit. This will ensure TrueCrypt generates a strong, random key. Then click Next to continue with the wizard. 9. Choose a filesystem for your encrypted volume. If youre storing files over 4GB inside, youll need to choose NTFS. Click Format to create the volume. To mount your volume, open up TrueCrypt and click the Select File button. Navigate to the file you just created. Then, select an open drive letter from the list and click the Mount button. Type in your password when prompted, and when youre done, your encrypted volume should show up in Windows Explorer, as if it were a separate drive. You can drag files to it, move them around, or delete them just like you would any other folder. When youre done working with it, just head back into TrueCrypt, select it from the list, and click Dismount. Your files should stay safely hidden away. How To Encrypt Your Entire Hard Drive On Windows With TrueCrypt The process of encrypting your entire hard drive isnt that different from encrypting individual files and folders (though TrueCrypt can only do this in Windows). Once again, the process is quite simple thanks to TrueCrypts step-by-step wizard. Heres what you need to do: 1. Start TrueCrypt and click the Create Volume button. 2. On the first screen of the wizard, select Encrypt the System Partition or Entire System Drive. 3. On the next screen, choose Normal. If you want to create a hidden operating system (to further obscure your data), read more about how it works here. We wont cover it in this tutorial. 4. Next, choose Encrypt the Whole Drive. This should work for most people, though if you have other partitions on your drive that you dont want encrypted, you may want to choose the first option instead. 5. When asked to encrypt the Host Protected Area, we recommend choosing No, unless you have a specific reason to do this. 6. If you only have one operating system installed on your computer, choose Single-Boot at this next prompt. If you arent sure, youre probably using a single-boot setup. If youre dual booting (say, with Linux or another version of Windows), choose Multi-Boot. 7. Choose your encryption algorithm on the next screen. AES should be fine for most users. 8. Choose a password to protect your files. Remember, the stronger your password, the safer your files will be. Make sure you remember your password, because if you lose it, your computer will be unbootable and your data will be lost. 9. On the next screen, follow the instructions and move your mouse around randomly for a bit. This will ensure TrueCrypt generates a strong, random key. Then click Next to continue with the wizard. 10. Next, select a location for a TrueCrypt Rescue Disk, which will help you save your data if the bootloader, master key, or other important data gets corrupted. Give it a file name and save it. 11. Once youve saved the file (in ISO format), youll have the option to burn it to a CD or DVD. Do this now (using either Windows built-in tools or a program like ImgBurn) before you continue. Click Next when youve finished burning the disc (and keep the disc in a safe place!). 12. Choose a Wipe Mode for your data. None is the fastest, but if you want to ensure that your data is as secure as possible, choose one of the other options (3- or 7-pass is probably fine). 13. Run the System Encryption Pretest on the next screen. Youll need to restart your computer and enter your new TrueCrypt password when prompted. 14. If the test runs successfully, youll see the option to begin encrypting your drive. Let it run it will probably take a while (especially if you have a large drive). Thats it. From now on, when you start up your computer, youll need to enter your TrueCrypt password before you boot into Windows. Make sure you dont forget your password or lose that recovery disc if you do and something goes wrong, you wont be able to boot into your computer and youll lose all your data. How To Encrypt Your Entire Hard Drive On OS X With FileVault OS X has a built-in encryption tool called FileVault, and its incredibly easy to set up. All you need to do is: 1. Head to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > FileVault. 2. Click the lock in the bottom left-hand corner of the window to make changes. Type in your password when prompted. 3. Click the Turn on FileVault button. Copy down your recovery key and store it in a safe place (preferably not on your computer somewhere physically secure like a safe). We dont recommend storing it with Apple. 4. Restart your computer when prompted. When you boot back up, OS X will begin encrypting your disk, and your computer will probably run a little slowly while it goes. It could take an hour or more, depending on how big your hard drive is. Alternative Tools TrueCrypt has long been one of the most popular encryption tools out there, and its one of the easiest to set up. It isnt the only option, however. As we mentioned earlier, 7-Zip is also a great way to encrypt your files, as is BitLocker, which comes with the Pro version of Windows 8 (or the Enterprise and Ultimate versions of Windows 7). Check out our Hive Five on encryption tools for a comparison of some of the more popular alternatives if you want to try them out. Final Words As we mentioned at the beginning, encryption is not 100 per cent foolproof, but its better than leaving your files out in the open. Remember what encryption cant do it cant secure your drive if its infected with malware, if you leave it turned on in public spaces, or if youre using a weak password. Even if you put your computer to sleep, its possible an experienced hacker could recover sensitive data from your computers RAM. Dont let encryption lure you into a false sense of security: its just one layer of the security process. Lastly, remember that this is just a beginners guide to what encryption is and how it works. Theres a lot more beyond basic encryption of files and folders, like transferring encrypted data to your friends, securing your email with PGP, encrypting your Dropbox, or creating a decoy operating system to further obscure your information. Now that you know the very basics, dont be afraid to branch out and learn more about encryption and what you can do to secure your data. Good luck! Author: Whitson Gordon Posted Today 7:00 AM Source
  7. selesn777

    Image Resize Guide 2.2.2

    Image Resize Guide 2.2.2 Image Resize Guide is a program that allows you to change the size or aspect ratio of an image keeping the "important" features intact and remove objects from photo without visible traces. This program offers the following tools: Resize - allows you to change the image size.Crop - allows you to cut out an area of an image.Smart Remove - removes objects without visible traces.Smart Size - changes the image size removing "unnecessary" portions while keeping the "important" features intact.Smart Patch - allows to apply a patch from one area of an image to another.Website: http://tintguide.com/ OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 Language: ML Medicine: Patch Size: 4,82 Mb.
  8. Picture Cutout Guide 3.2.3 + Portable Program offers these tools: Wide Edge - allows you to separate an object from its background and to store it for later transfer to another photo; applies background effects; Paste Object - pastes a separated image into another photo. Picture Cutout Guide includes animated demo samples: the program features; indication the object boundary; simple background erase; the background effects; complex background erase; photomontage. Features Website: http://tintguide.com OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 Language: ML Medicine: Patch Size: 4,36 / 4,32 Mb.
  9. Photo Montage Guide 2.2.3 + Portable Photo Montage Guide - separates solid objects from an arbitrary background, applies background effects (filling, shadowing, blur, monochrome), allows transferring objects to another photo, makes a photomontage, allows you to change the size or aspect ratio of an image keeping the "important" features intact and remove objects from photo without visible traces. This program offers the following tools: Resize - allows you to change the image size.Crop - allows you to cut out an area of an image.Text - designed for inscribing images.Separation - allows you to separate an object from its background and to store it for later transfer to another photo; applies background effects.Paste Object - pastes a separated image into another photo.Smart Remove - removes objects without visible traces.Smart Size - changes the image size removing "unnecessary" portions while keeping the "important" features intact.Smart Patch - allows to apply a patch from one area of an image to another.Website: http://tintguide.com OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 Language: ML Medicine: Patch Size: 5,20 / 5,17 Mb.
  10. Tint Guide Software Pack DC 02.06.2014 Picture editing software from Tint Guide: collage, photomontage, smart image resize and object removal, virtual makeup and virtual cosmetic. Our Picture Editing Software: include animated picture editing samples;can be used as plug-ins in Adobe Photoshop and compatible photo editing programs;have scanner (camera) twain support;run on Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8, both 32-bit and 64-bit.Tint Guide Software Pack DC 02.06.2014 Beauty Guide 2.2.1Brightness Guide 2.3.1Cosmetic Guide 2.2.1Image Resize Guide 2.2.1Makeup Guide 2.2.1Pet Eye Fix Guide 2.2.1Photo Montage Guide 2.2.2Picture Cutout Guide 3.2.2Website: http://tintguide.com OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 Language: ML Medicine: Patch Size: 36,21 Mb.
  11. Tint Guide Software Pack DC 29.05.2014 Picture editing software from Tint Guide: collage, photomontage, smart image resize and object removal, virtual makeup and virtual cosmetic. Our Picture Editing Software: include animated picture editing samples;can be used as plug-ins in Adobe Photoshop and compatible photo editing programs;have scanner (camera) twain support;run on Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8, both 32-bit and 64-bit.Tint Guide Software Pack DC 29.05.2014 Beauty Guide 2.2.0Brightness Guide 2.3.0Cosmetic Guide 2.2.0Image Resize Guide 2.2.0Makeup Guide 2.2.0Pet Eye Fix Guide 2.2.0Photo Montage Guide 2.2.0Picture Cutout Guide 3.2.0Website: http://tintguide.com OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 Language: ML Medicine: Patch Size: 36,13 Mb.
  12. Tint Guide Software Pack DC 18.05.2014 + Portable Picture editing software from Tint Guide: collage, photomontage, smart image resize and object removal, virtual makeup and virtual cosmetic. Our Picture Editing Software: include animated picture editing samples;can be used as plug-ins in Adobe Photoshop and compatible photo editing programs;have scanner (camera) twain support;run on Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8, both 32-bit and 64-bit.18 May 2014 Beauty Guide 2.1.9Brightness Guide 2.2.2Cosmetic Guide 2.1.9Image Resize Guide 2.1.9Makeup Guide 2.1.9Pet Eye Fix Guide 2.1.9Photo Montage Guide 2.1.9Picture Cutout Guide 3.1.9Website: http://tintguide.com OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 Language: ML Medicine: Patch Size: 36,10 / 58,87 Mb.
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    Image Resize Guide 2.1.8

    Image Resize Guide 2.1.8 Image Resize Guide is a program that allows you to change the size or aspect ratio of an image keeping the "important" features intact and remove objects from photo without visible traces. This program offers the following tools: Resize - allows you to change the image size.Crop - allows you to cut out an area of an image.Smart Remove - removes objects without visible traces.Smart Size - changes the image size removing "unnecessary" portions while keeping the "important" features intact.Smart Patch - allows to apply a patch from one area of an image to another.Website: http://tintguide.com/ OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 Language: ML Medicine: Patch Size: 4,87 Mb.
  14. Tint Guide Software Pack DC 08.05.2014 Picture editing software from Tint Guide: collage, photomontage, smart image resize and object removal, virtual makeup and virtual cosmetic. Our Picture Editing Software: include animated picture editing samples;can be used as plug-ins in Adobe Photoshop and compatible photo editing programs;have scanner (camera) twain support;run on Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8, both 32-bit and 64-bit.08 May 2014 Beauty Guide 2.1.8Cosmetic Guide 2.1.8Makeup Guide 2.1.8Brightness Guide 2.2.1Pet Eye Fix Guide 2.1.8Image Resize Guide 2.1.8Picture Cutout Guide 3.1.8Photo Montage Guide 2.1.8Website: http://tintguide.com OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 Language: ML Medicine: Patch Size: 35,52 Mb.
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    Brightness Guide 2.2.1

    Brightness Guide 2.2.1 Brightness Guide — Improves Brightness of Unevenly Lightened Photos. The program improves brightness of unevenly lightened photos, lighting dark areas while keeping light areas intact. Parameters of lighting can be selected in real time, when change of settings cause immediate change of the image. The program will help to improve photos with defects of brightness which are caused by photoflash (too dark background), by a deep shadow or backlighting. This program offers the following tools: Resize — allows you to change the image size.Crop — allows you to cut out an area of an image.Text — designed for inscribing images.Rotation — allows you to rotate an image by any angle.Lighting - illuminates dark areas of an image while keeping the light areas intact.Our Picture Editing Software: include animated picture editing samples;can be used as plug-ins in Adobe Photoshop and compatible photo editing programs;have scanner (camera) twain support;are try before you buy;run on Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8, both 32-bit and 64-bit.Website: http://tintguide.com OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 Language: ML Medicine: Patch Size: 4,89 Mb.
  16. By Paul Sawers, Yesterday Windows Phone is making small strides in some markets as it looks to dent the dominance of Android and iOS. But yes, it does have some way to go before it can lay-claim to any smartphone throne. Recent figures suggest Windows Phone 7 and 8 constitute more than 10% of UK smartphone sales, while across other major European markets Windows Phone 8 represents around 1 in 10 of all smartphone sales. Some data even suggests it overtook iOS in Italy between July and September. With BlackBerry on its way out of the consumer market, Windows Phone is currently the only real contender for iOS and Android, but its market share is still dwarfed by the big guns. Indeed, there’s every chance that you’ve never seen one in the flesh, let alone used one. So for those looking to break from the mold, here’s a quick guide for Windows Phone noobs. And it starts with a quick history lesson. A potted history of Windows Phone Any history of Windows Phone has to include its preceding incarnation – Windows Mobile – which launched initially on the Pocket PC 2000, in April 2000. Though it wasn’t officially referred to as Windows Mobile until 2003. The early devices that sported the fledgling operating system could be regarded as a successor to Microsoft’s Palm-Size PC, which too was based on the Windows CE operating system, and started shipping from around the mid-90s. All these early devices were geared more towards the enterprise rather than consumer market. The Windows Mobile brand remained all the way through to version 6 in 2007, including all the subsequent iterations up to 6.5.5 in 2010, by which point iOS and Android were already taking the consumer markets by storm. Windows Phone 7 was announced at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February 2010, and was released to the public in November that year. Though the version numbering continued where Windows Mobile left off, it was for all intents and purposes a different platform. The Windows Marketplace for Mobile, an App Store-like conduit for third-party Windows Mobile apps, opened in October 2009 – just a few months before Windows Phone was announced. But it was closed down for good in July 2011, making way for the Windows Phone Marketplace – subsequently rebranded as the Windows Phone Store in August 2012 – which had launched alongside Windows Phone 7. The last major launch for Windows Phone was in October 2012, when the curtain was drawn back on Windows Phone 8. The new system saw the existing Windows CE-based architecture replaced with a Windows NT kernel, similar to that of its desktop counterpart, Windows 8. This allowed apps to be more easily ported between the two, as well as catering for larger screens, multi-core processors and other enhancements such as NFC. But it also meant that those who’d committed their cash to Windows Phone 7 couldn’t upgrade their OS to Windows Phone 8. Though Windows Phone 7 isn’t yet dead, the future of Windows Phone very much lies in version 8 and up, with the next big update rumored for a 2014 launch. But as with other mobile operating systems, particularly Android, the hardware is every bit as important – if not more so – than the software. So getting the best manufacturers on board is vital. Devices: The state of play It would be something of an understatement to say that Nokia has played a huge role in the growth of Windows Phone. The Finnish mobile giant first committed its future to the platform in early 2011, and by November 2013 the company was said to control around 90% of the Windows Phone market. Indeed, its Lumia brand has become almost synonymous with the operating system. Here’s a full list of Nokia Lumia Windows Phone handsets, with the date of release in brackets (month/year). Nokia Lumia 810 (12/11), Lumia 820 (12/11), Lumia 822 (12/11), Lumia 920 (12/11), Lumia 620 (1/13), Lumia 520/521 (3/13), Lumia 720 (3/13), Lumia 928 (5/13), Lumia 925 (6/13), Lumia 1020 (7/13), Lumia 625 (8/13), Lumia 1520 (11/13) Lumia 525 (12/13), and the Lumia 1320 (12/13). While Nokia does have the lion’s share of the Windows Phone 8 market, there is also the HTC 8X (11/12), HTC 8S (12/12), Samsung ATIV S (12/12), Huawei Ascend W1 (01/13), Samsung ATIV Odyssey (01/13), HTC 8XT (07/13), Huawei Ascend W2 (08/13) and the Samsung ATIV S Neo (08/13). There hasn’t been a new non-Nokia consumer Windows Phone device since Microsoft announced its intentions to acquire Nokia’s Devices and Services Division last September, and it’s not clear yet whether we will see any more. Few people question the quality of the Windows Phone 8-hosting devices – Nokia’s flagship Lumia handsets are solid and beautiful, offering arguably the best camera functionality of any smartphone. We even called the Lumia 1020 a camera that makes calls. But according to some, hardware is nothing without native apps – something that Windows Phone has been slow to attract, in terms of the big-name brands at least. Apps: What there is and what there ain’t I’ve previously argued that Windows Phone’s big problem isn’t a lack of apps. The main issue is influencers and opinion-formers perpetuating a myth that native apps are pivotal to a mobile platform, which filters down through to those looking to buy a shiny new smartphone. Except many, if not most, of the consumer market would get by absolutely fine with a good browser, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Instagram, Angry Birds and maybe a few others. That all said, Microsoft has been working to get all the major apps on-side, and there was a big push in the build up to Christmas, with Instagram, Vine, Waze and Mint.com, to name just a few, all launching on the platform. Then there’s Angry Birds Go, Skype, Twitter, WhatsApp, Amazon Mobile, Path, Amazon Kindle, TuneIn Radio, Shazam, Spotify, Netflix, Evernote, PayPal, LinkedIn, Tumblr, WordPress, Foursquare, Runtastic, Endomondo and Google Search. But launching an app doesn’t mean that it’s frequently updated, and many of them are behind their iOS and Android counterparts in terms of features – some look like they’ve just been cobbled together as an after-thought – such as eBay. And Amazon-owned IMDb hasn’t been touched in 18 months. The ‘official’ Facebook app was actually developed by Microsoft itself given that the social networking behemoth evidently doesn’t view the platform as viable, when there’s a perfectly good mobile browser to use. And YouTube? This is another annoying one, given it too arrived on the scene via Microsoft’s own developers, but due to a series of squabbles involving a violation of terms and conditions, Google blocked access to the app for a while. As of October, Microsoft reverted the YouTube Windows Phone app to its former state – which is basically a shortcut to a mobile Web version of the service. There’s some notable omissions from the Windows Phone Store though – there’s no Google Maps, but there is the home-grown Maps and Here Maps; and while there’s no official Gmail app, there is a decent third-party effort. There’s also no Flipboard, Dropbox, SoundCloud, Yahoo Mail, Airbnb, Snapchat, Uber, Hailo, Wikipedia, Pinterest, Pocket or Any.do, to name just a handful. You can check out our full guide to the state-of-play with Windows Phone apps here, but as noted already, many folk will get by with a handful of the well-known apps and a good browser – thus the existing omissions from the Windows Phone Store likely won’t concern you. Interface You’re probably used to this sight – rows-upon-rows of square icons, strewn across multiple screens on your device. On Android, when you download an app it’s added to your main library with a shortcut added to your homescreen. You can delete it from your homescreen but still have the app on the device, which can be useful for those ones you don’t use very often. When you install an app on iOS, it’s automatically added to your homescreen, with no separate repository for storing them locally. On both iOS and Android, you can create theme-specific folders on your homescreen to store related applications, such as ‘News’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Reading’. The Windows Phone 8 interface deviates from this, and does actually offer a refreshing alternative. To help demonstrate this, we’re using a Nokia Lumia 925. It sports what are known as Live Tiles, which are basically shortcuts to apps, features, contacts, websites and other media items. These can be dragged and rearranged, or removed completely. But what sets these apart are that they’re dynamic, displaying information that changes in real-time. This could include a new email, photo or – as you can see below – statistics from a run on Runtastic. Pulling in from the right reveals the main library of apps and settings, with a long-press giving the option to pin to your main homescreen. It’s here where all your new app and game downloads will be installed by default too. To remove an item from the main screen, long-press it, and you’ll be given an option to unpin it, or make it smaller. The Windows Phone Store is familiar and works in a similar way to Google Play and the App Store – you can browse by categories or search by keywords, and it will be downloaded to your phone when you give it the go-ahead. In terms of navigation, Windows Phone 8 devices are generally more similar to Android than iOS, insofar as you have a back button, which takes you back to the previous screen, and a home button which takes you to the main start screen. But it also sports a baked-in search button, giving direct access to the world of Bing. These are the very basics of Windows Phone 8, but if you want to take things further, it does actually offer up quite a few ‘Easter Eggs’, if you’re willing to put in the time to discover them. For example, by hitting the search button (magnifying glass), you can bring up the scanner (eye) which lets you beam barcodes, QR codes, and more. But interestingly, this also lets you translate text using the device’s built-in camera – it works for 39 different languages. The little music icon next to the eye serves as a shortcut to a Shazam-style music recognition service. The more you use Windows Phone, the more you’ll discover little gems too, such as the ability to respond to a call with a text message mid-ring. Rather than answering, you slide up on the call, and hit the ‘text reply’ button. You can choose from a default message (e.g. “I’ll call later”), or construct one yourself. I’ve been using Windows Phone for the past month or so – not as my main device, but as a supplementary device when I’m out and about, and at home. It does take a little getting used to, but I’ve really grown to like it. The main downside from my perspective is the lack of deep-integration with Google services, which I’ve grown to rely on in recent times. HERE Maps is great, but it’s not Google Maps. And the native Gmail app for Android is badly missed too, as is YouTube. There are shortcuts and ways around this, which will work fine for many people, but for me it’s probably a deal-killer for now. But hopefully there’s enough information in here to give you a good grounding on where Windows Phone has come from, and where it’s at just now. There’s likely to be a lot more coming from Microsoft and Nokia when the acquisition is sealed later this year, so it’ll be interesting to see where things go with Windows Phone 9 and beyond. http://thenextweb.com/mobile/2014/01/24/everything-need-know-windows-phone/#!tjEEQ
  17. We all know that windows 8 is faster and fluid than windows 7. But the workflow (number of clicks to get a work done) and lake of start menu irritates a bit. I recently have reinstalled windows 8 in my notebook. Before that I was using the same windows 8 with all patched. While it was patched, I was feeling little hangup and slowness on using it. Now, I have decided not to patch windows and to work out with it making some tweaks. By editing the system files, I have made windows 8 exactly look like windows 7 but I wasn't feeling comfortable. I am using windows 8 now and it must feel like windows 8. Then I found out, the main thing is - getting used to something. Now, download autoruns and run it as administrator. As it pops up, move to Options >> Filter Options and uncheck hide windows entries. Consider portable apps over installation and those you need to install but you may uninstall them in future, install those through a 3rd party Uninstaller product like Revo Uninstaller. Now, when you will uninstall a installed app, you can uninstall it completely. After this, your computer must run as light as a feather. Edit: You can also use this registry tweak from askvg to make your experience more fluid. P.S. Feel free to ask anything regarding this tutorial :) My sincere thanks to dcs18 for his knowledge.
  18. At this point in the game, SSD optimization is nothing new to technology and has become a very popular topic as a result of SSD popularity, coupled with Microsoft’s shutting down sales of Windows 7. Microsoft wants the world to be a Windows 8 world, at least until Windows Blue arrives as originally discovered in our own Forum Community. Even more amusing is the fact that SSDs require no optimization whatsoever but they seem to be, well, like a new car that one has to keep clean. We can’t resist learning each and ever characteristic and then fine tuning it until it purrs. The SSD industry (and Microsoft) has made a definite step ahead in the incorporation of many important SSD optimizations in order to smooth the worlds transition from the dreaded hard drive to solid state. Many of these optimizations go against the grain of most’s thinking, however through the past few years, we have seen just about every one that we recommended in 2010 accepted. Back then, they told us we were losing our mind and a person would be nuts to follow our lead. The SSD Optimization Guide Windows 8 Edition is our third in our series of such guides, the first published close to three years ago to the day which was redesigned last year. A comparison of ‘yesterday’s and today’s’ will show many similarities, this because the engine at the heart of Windows 8 is still much the same as it was in Windows 7. It is the fine tuning of Window’s 8 that make this guide so special. Our goal hasn’t changed as well. We hope to provide you with as much as an understanding of each optimization, as well as helping you to weigh the pros and cons of making your final decision to complete that tweak. IS YOUR COMPUTER SATA 2 OR SATA 3? If you are upgrading to an SSD in your own system, it is important to understand whether your desktop (or portable) computer is SATA 2 or SATA 3 as this strikes directly to system performance. With the introduction of solid state drives, the technology sector realized that faster disk access times and transfer speeds made possible a very visible performance increase in computers. A traditional computer is SATA 2 and capable of transfer performance up to roughly 275MB/s read and write speeds while newer SATA 3 solutions are capable of over 500MB/s read and write performance, almost double the speed. Did you know that SATA 2 and 3 actually refers only to the interface that you plug your systems data cable in to? SATA = Serial ATA = Serial Advanced Technology Attachment The good news is that all SATA 3 SSDs are fully backward compatible to SATA 2, however, understanding the difference can save you days of frustration wondering why your SATA 2 PC is not hitting manufacturer listed performance of 500MB/s transfer. Do you want to know a secret? For a typical user, the difference is moot as they will probably never be able to visibly observe a difference between SATA 2 and SATA 3. The difference between a hard drive and an SSD, on the other hand, is absolutely amazing! It is an entirely new experience for most. IS IT A SSD, HYBRID SYSTEM, CACHED SSD OR HYBRID SSD First up on our list is our choice of storage medium. A hybrid SSD is a hard drive with contained flash modules that claim to increase performance to that hard drive. Unless your performance is limited only to start times, we don’t feel this a viable consideration. A cached SSD, on the other hand, is a solid state drive that may be purchased with a user installed caching program. The most popular caching program that we have seen and tested to date is Samsung’s own NVELO Dataplex Caching Software. NVELO Dataplex caching software increases the speed of your hard drive to that of the SSD through caching of ‘hot’ or frequently used data. This data includes all OS functions and the start process which increases your hard drive speed significantly. Manufacturers such as Crucial, OCZ, Mushkin and Corsair have jumped aboard the NVELO train and provide solutions in sizes ranging from 30 to 128GB, capacity being the key element in disk caching that hasn’t been realized in hybrid hard drive solutions to date. Although we are SSD through and through here at TSSDR, we have very positive support for any NVELO Dataplex caching solution and, if this seems the way to go, check out product availability at Amazon. NVELO Dataplex is the ONLY caching solution that can make cached hard drive transfer performance of 550MB/s read and 510MB/s write with up to 80,000 IOPS a reality. Not get too confusing but a hybrid laptop may be a laptop with an SSD and caching solution, as we recently tested with the new Sony VAIO T14 Touch Ultrabook where a 32GB ‘SandForce Driven’ SSD was used with Condusiv ExpressCache. Our solid recommendation is always an SSD (or SSD with hard drive for data) and the SSD Optimization Guide is only of value to systems that use an SSD as their primary drive and their operating system and/or software and data is installed. For those that have to have that capacity, we will get to a trick for moving your ‘Documents’ folder off of the SSD and on to the hard drive. CAN WINDOWS 7 USERS BENEFIT AS WELL? In a word…yes. Much of what we are going to describe is the same in Windows 7 as it is in Windows 8, given exception to the route we follow or a few changes here and there. We have added some significant performance enhancements that both Windows 7 and 8 users can try to significantly increase the speed of their system. It is important that readers follow our direction exactly, and regardless, any changes you make to your own system is of your own choice and we are not responsible IN ANY WAY for unexpected results that may occur. Read More... Additional Reading Materials BENEFITS OF A SOLID STATE DRIVE SSD COMPONENTS AND MAKE UP SSD TYPES AND FORM FACTORS SSD ADVERTISED PERFORMANCE GC AND TRIM IN SSDS EXPLAINED
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