Friday, December 17, 2010

Gmail Backup – A Free Minimalist Gmail Backup App

imageGmail Backup (which migrated from a commercial application to open source, in September 2010),  is definitely without any bells and whistles, but it does what it says it will do, without any fuss or bother.

The application is designed to backup your Gmail account to a folder on your Hard Drive, and as an added bonus, you can restore back to Gmail.

Prior to using the application, it’s necessary to enable IMAP by clicking “Settings” – “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” in Gmail. 


The application interface is simple and basic, as the following screen capture indicates.


For this test run, I downloaded 47,142 emails totaling 1.03 GB (that’s 6 years or so of emails), which took  about 8 hours.  The average download speed was an unimpressive 50 KB/s – sloooooow! But, that’s not related to the application – that’s a Google issue.

The application transferred this huge number of emails perfectly. I selected one at random for this test, as indicated by the arrow in the following screen shot.


Then, I opened that particular email in Thunderbird, to ensure the contents, and the attachments, were accessible.

Gmail Backup Test

Note: You don’t have to backup your entire Gmail account, as I did for this test. You have the option of choosing specific “from”, and “before” dates.

Gmail Backup is certainly not the most exciting application I’ve taken for a spin recently, but it’s basic functionality was impressive.

Not everyone has a need to backup their Gmail account but if you do, then Gmail Backup is a free solution that’s worth taking a look at.

Note: As with all backups, the local folder should be copied to portable media.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7 and a Gmail account of course.

 Download at:

License Giveaway - iCare Data Recovery Software Worth $69.95

imageSoftware developers seem particularly generous this holiday season. From now until December 25, 2010, iCare Data Recovery Software is giving away iCare Data Recovery Software Version 4, which is regularly priced at $69.95.

I have not tested this application, but at this price you might decide that it’s worth a look. I know I’m going to take it for a spin.


Fast facts from the developer’s site:

    • Never lose photos and files again
      This data recovery software is an award-winning Windows recovery software, works when other utilities have failed.
    • Recover files from external drive, usb drive, hard disk drive
      Recovering files from a corrupted external drive, reformatted external drive, unreadable external drive, bad external drive (not physically damaged); Recovering files from formatted, deleted, virus attacked usb drive, hard disk drive
    • Rescues lost/delete photos and files
      iCare recovery software helps you to recover digital photo, audio and video files even when they are lost, deleted or the memory card, removable media is formatted.
    • Support recover files
      IDE / ATA / SATA / SCSI hard disk drives, SD Cards, CF Cards, XD Cards, CF cards, Memory Sticks, external Zip drives, FireWire and USB hard drives.
    • Support RAW files
      This software has highly advanced algorithms ever designed to support file recovery from RAW file system when your drive is read 0 byte while you have tons of files in it or usually known as RAW drive.
    • Very Easy to use
      With this file recovery software, you can recover your photo, RAW photos, music, video and audio files with only a few clicks.
    • Windows 7 compatible data recovery software
      Supported Windows Platform: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, Windows Server 2000, 2003, 2008
    • Recover deleted or lost files emptied from the Recycle Bin
      iCare Data Recovery Software is able to restore deleted files that has disappeared in your recycle bin if you emptied or you used hot keys SHIFT+DEL. "Advanced File Recovery is the right module to recover your lost files. And what's more, files deleted after format can also be restored."
    • Support FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, NTFS/NTFS5 file systems
      Recover files from most Windows file systems like FAT32, FAT 16, NTFS... And iCare Data Recovery Software can restore files when your file system becomes RAW or is marked as RAW drive and the drive became 0 byte.
    • Recover office document, photo, image, video, music, email, etc.
    • Get back files after a partitioning error.
      iCare Data Recovery Software is able to restore files from a partitioning error when you failed in merging partitions, disk partitioning, resizing partitions, copy partitions etc.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, Windows Server 2000, 2003, 2008

To get iCare Data Recovery Software for free, visit the developer’s site and follow the instructions. 

“One” Tip For Speeding Up Windows Boot Time – Install Free Soluto Anti Frustration Software

This past Tuesday, an item posted as part of our Tech Thoughts Daily Net News column – “Five tips for speeding up Windows boot time”, written by one of my favorite tech writers Michael Kassner, struck a chord with many readers. More readers than I expected, found this item of interest.

There’s a problem with Michael’s suggestions thought - the effort required is substantial, and despite implementing each and every suggestion, you may not see any improvement in startup time.

Popular guest writer Rick Robinette, (another of my favorite tech writers),  in this review, will introduce you to a no nonsense free tool that WILL shorten your boot time. Using this great find of Rick’s, I was able to cut my boot time almost in half – down to 51 seconds!

Here’s Rick’s review:

imageHave you ever noticed that the longer you own your PC the longer it takes for it to startup (or boot)?

A common complaint from computer users, especially home-based users, is that their computer is slow to startup and does not boot like it did when they first purchased (and installed) it.

During the ownership of our PC we are constantly installing software, and as a result many of these software applications take a place in the startup routine of the computer.

The startup place that the apps reside is often for purposes of performing automatic updates or to provide a convenient launching point for the application (such as the system tray) or it is an application (or Windows Service) that simply runs in the background while you are performing other tasks on your PC.

I have personally witnessed another scenario where computer users attempted to remove applications from their PC only to find that residual files are left over (after the uninstall) that is still attempting to startup when the computer boots.

Over a period of time this accumulation causes the computer to startup slow and often robs the computer of system resources, resulting in increased memory and cpu (processor) usage.

If you are techie enough, you can try to dissect the numerous (yes there are more than one) startup points on your PC to regain some of the power back; however, you will soon find out it can be frustrating experience.

To help us solve this problem, I ran across a wonderful software application, called Soluto – Anti Frustration Software, that measures your startup time as soon as the Windows Logo screen is displayed.

Soluto is geared toward the non-techie type, is very appealing in appearance, and is very easy to use. Soluto is currently in beta (software testing stage); however, during my testing on my Windows 7 based PC, it performed without a hitch.

After you install Soluto, you will be prompted to reboot (restart) your computer. This is where Soluto goes to work in analyzing and actually timing how long it takes your PC to startup.

Following the analysis you will be provided with a very nice graphical interface where Soluto will help you determine what apps (and/or services) are slowing down your PC, what apps you can pause or remove (called no-brainers), what apps you can delay starting up (will eventually start when the computer is idle), and, what apps are safe to play around with and which ones are not.

If you mess up, you can return or restore an application back into the startup routine. To see a video of Soluto in action, click [ HERE ] .  Typically, most Windows services will identified by Soluto as “cannot be removed” and will even tell what purpose the service provides.

In my testing of Soluto, I went from a 2 minute and 30 second startup time, to a 1 minute and 31 second startup time by simply pausing and delaying a few apps that Soluto told me was safe to do so.

If you choose to Pause an application it means it will be removed from the boot sequence and in order to run it, you must launch it manually. Choosing to Delay an application means it will be removed from the boot sequence, and will run automatically after the boot is over, during an idle moment. Pausing an application provides value beyond the boot, and improves your ongoing PC experience, since Paused applications do not run in the background and do not occupy PC resources. Delaying an application, on the other hand, will only shorten your boot time and not improve your ongoing experience. In general, it is advisable to Pause applications that you don’t use on a daily basis, and Delay those that you do.. If you’re not sure, choose Delay. If you see that you’re barely using an application, you can always choose to Pause it later.


Screenshot - Soluto

I can also see this app being used on my PC to help me visually detect a potential malware concern. Speaking of malware, this app must have potential… The cybercriminals are already posting “fake” Soluto programs out there. Do not fall for this tactic. Only download Soluto from their web site [ HERE ] .

Minimum requirements to run Soluto Beta:

  • 512MB of Memory (RAM) and above
  • 500MB of free disk space (Soluto Beta takes up approximately 20MBs; the rest is required for the proper operation of the Microsoft .NET Framework. Please see the Microsoft .Net Framework Minimal System Requirements for more information.) Operating System – Windows XP (SP2 and above) / Windows Vista / Windows 7
  • Not Supported: Windows Server 2003 and 2008
  • Administrator User – The application must be installed using an Administrator account.

Some of the comments we received from high level users, when we first ran this article in June of this year included:

It took 25-30 seconds off of each of my machines boot time. (Mark)

It is really an impressive and easy to use - nice looking program. (TeX)

Super program and very accurate. (Robert)

This is a guest post by Rick Robinette, who brings a background as a security/police officer professional, and as an information technology specialist to the Blogging world.

Why not pay a visit to Rick’s site at What’s On My PC. Like me, you’re sure to become a frequent visitor.

Comment Spam Is Dangerous BS!

imageIf you’ve ever wondered why comments on this site, and many other sites for that matter, are held for moderation by a site administrator, the simple answer is – comment spam, and the need to control it.

Without a doubt, comments are an important part of the mix for a technology site. Comments can spark discussion (always a good thing), allow a reader to present his/her point of view, share tech wisdom, or spread the word on a unique piece of software.

But, comments are not without their share of issues; with comment Spam, in my view, being a significant problem. Spam is virtually everywhere on the Internet. In your inbox, on Twitter and Facebook and other social networks, and so it’s not surprising that you’ll find Spam comments. Recently however, I’ve seen a major increase in the amount of comment Spam.

The following comment spam (full of praise – like many are), is just a small example of the type of nonsense Spam I deal with daily. (click on the screen capture to expand to original size – 1280 x 589).


Take a look at this one, and try to imagine the type of creep who would submit this as a comment.


Hard as it is to believe, there are many sites that rely only on a Spam filter to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Unfortunately, this complacency can lead to the posting of comment Spam that contains dangerous links. Links, which if followed, can lead to a malware site - guaranteeing a very painful experience. The comment shown above, for example, contains a number of malicious links.

Some advice:

Be cautious when following links contained in comments on any web site.

Be particularly cautious of comments, on any web site, where the writer is describing a problem with recommended software and offers a link to alternative software.  This is a favorite technique employed by cyber-criminals.

Be cautious when following any link contained in any web site, since the latest reports indicate there are 5.8 million individual web pages infected across 640,000 compromised websites. Cyber-criminals are finding it easier than ever to inject malicious content into legitimate sites.

Be cautious following links on web forums. Forums can often be a source of dangerous links.

Since the majority of infected sites are infected with Java based scripts, consider using Firefox with the NoScript add-on active. NoScript offers superior protection.

Install an Internet Browser add-on that provides protection against questionable or unsafe websites. My personal favorite is Web of Trust, an Internet Explorer/Firefox add-on, that offers substantial protection against questionable, or unsafe websites.