AUTOHOTKEY FOR BEGINNERS

AuoHotKey is a free open source application and it is really powerful, using this tool you can even remap keys on your Joystick.

A power user is always in search for shortest way to perform task. If you are using BTW as a short form for By the Way in your Chats you know what we mean. There are some ways to perform large and complex things in a computer just via shortcut (a hotkey, get it?). AutoHotKey is one of our favorite and most powerful.

 

Why AutoHotKey?

It is a free open source application and it is really powerful, using this tool you can even remap keys on your Joystick. You can define shortcuts for many tasks and launch many operations and processes just by keystroke. A practical example? When I was writing this article, I knew i will have to type AutoHotKey several times so I set “ahk” to expand to AutoHotKey – that was the simplest one. I have remapped my Capes Lock key to send an Alt+Tab so that I can cycle through running programs easily. AutoHotKey may seem a little bit difficult to understand at first but is really useful.

Getting the Basics

Autohotkey is used to make scripts (don’t worry! they are much easier then programming). The extension of a script is .ahk (example:  hotkeyscript.ahk) an AutoHotKey script can be made by using pretty much any text editor. After you have done scripting you can save the script in an .ahk extension and then simply double click on the script to run it. You can see the icon of AutoHotKey in your notification tray. From there you can Pause, Edit and Stop the script. Now that you have got the basics, let’s begin.

STARTING UP

First point your Web-Browser to here to download AutoHotKey.

Next you have to install it. After the installation is done you are good to go.

Creating a AutoHotKey Script

To create a script in any folder, right click on empty space and then point to New > AutoHotKey Script

AUTOHOTKEY FOR BEGINNERS

 

Now give your new script a cool name and then don’t’ open it – that is useless, the script is currently empty.

Now right click the empty script, it will be opened in notepad and you will see something like this.

 

As you can see there is nothing useful here, so let’s begin.

AUTOHOTKEY FOR BEGINNERSThe Rules of AutoHotKey Scripts

  • Every sentence starting with ; is a comment.
  • # is used to denote the WIN key on your keyboard.
  • ^ means CTRL button
  • ! means ALT button
  • + means shift button.

All the work in AutoHotKey script is done in two parts. First is the part before the  :: which defines when and after the :: defines what to do

An example:

AutoHotKey

 

#C means WIN+C and the latter means to send ALT+F4 (of course to close the active window)

There are a lot more things which we will face when they come.


 

Task 1: Making a Shortcut to Open a Website

To create a shortcut to open a website in your default web browser you have to type something like this:

KEYBOARD SHORTCUT :: run WEBSITE URL

As an example if you want to open THEBIGCOMPUTING.COM using combination WIN+T you will have to enter the following text.

#t::run http://www.thebigcomputing.com

Now save the script using CTRL+S and Double click on the saved file, you will see the AutoHotKey icon in notification area too. Now whenever you will press WIN+T you will reach here, you are free to change the shortcut and the destination site.

FOR REAL BEGINNERS: #n denotes WIN+N if you want to use WIN+CTRL+N then you will have to enter #^t (got it?)


TASK 2: Creating Shortcuts to Type Large Text

You can easily expand your text using abbreviations – Believe us that is easier even then task one.

The syntax should be like this:

:: SHORTFORM :: TEXT TO REPLACE

That’s it! Example? Take a look-

::btw::by the way

::skt::Saurabh Tripathi

::tbcmail::[email protected]

REMEMBER: you can always add as many as definitions in one script.

 

Those were just the basics of AutoHotKey, we will explain even more advanced, useful and complex AutoHotKey stuff in our upcoming articles. To stay tuned and get notification do sign up for newsletter on the sidebar. Got any queries or suggestions? Please drop your comment.


Original Image Credits: remko van dokkum

TAKE OWNERSHIP OF ANY FILE OR FOLDER ON YOUR COMPUTER

many times we have to delete alter or replace default system files and Windows gives us a access denied dialog box.In this article we will discuss an easy way to get ownership of these files.

Doing some tweaking, hacking or modifying system files many times we have to delete alter or replace default system files. For some cases the ever suspecting Windows gives us a lovely access denied dialog box.In this article we will discuss an easy way to get rid of these stupid dialog box(s)

ADDING “TAKE OWNERSHIP” OPTION ON THE CONTRAXT MENU

For anyone this is the best option, sure you will may have to get your hands dirty. After the job is done you can take ownership of any system file with just a click.

To do that you have to paste the following text in your notepad window:


Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell\takeownership]

@=”Take ownership”

“HasLUAShield”=””

“NoWorkingDirectory”=””

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell\takeownership\command]

@=”cmd.exe /c takeown /f \”%1\” && icacls \”%1\” /grant administrators:F”

“IsolatedCommand”=”cmd.exe /c takeown /f \”%1\” && icacls \”%1\” /grant administrators:F”

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\takeownership]

@=”Take ownership”

“HasLUAShield”=””

“NoWorkingDirectory”=””

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\takeownership\command]

@=”cmd.exe /c takeown /f \”%1\” && icacls \”%1\” /grant administrators:F”

“IsolatedCommand”=”cmd.exe /c takeown /f \”%1\” && icacls \”%1\” /grant administrators:F”

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\dllfile\shell\takeownership]

@=”Take ownership”

“HasLUAShield”=””

“NoWorkingDirectory”=””

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\dllfile\shell\takeownership\command]

@=”cmd.exe /c takeown /f \”%1\” && icacls \”%1\” /grant administrators:F”

“IsolatedCommand”=”cmd.exe /c takeown /f \”%1\” && icacls \”%1\” /grant administrators:F”

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\takeownership]

@=”Take ownership”

“HasLUAShield”=””

“NoWorkingDirectory”=””

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\takeownership\command]

@=”cmd.exe /c takeown /f \”%1\” /r /d y && icacls \”%1\” /grant administrators:F /t”

“IsolatedCommand”=”cmd.exe /c takeown /f \”%1\” /r /d y && icacls \”%1\” /grant administrators:F /t”

After you have pasted the text, just save the file giving it whatever the name you want – be sure to save it in .reg format.

Text to paste on Notepad Window

For Newbies: to do that on the save dialog box change save us type from .txt to all files. After you have done that add .reg in the end of your file name.

Take-Ownerhip

Removing Take Ownership Option from menu

If you want to remove the option form your right click menu paste the following code into a new NotePad window:


 

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell\takeownership]

[-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\takeownership]

[-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\dllfile\shell\takeownership]

[-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\takeownership]


 

And then do the same that we did to add the option, that means save it in a .reg format and then double click on the file, when asked click on Yes to remove Take Ownership from the menu.

Remove take ownership Option
Do you know any other easier method for this task, if yes do drop us a comment and as always don’t forget to subscribe to our feeds.

How to Create Portable Windows 8.x USB without Enterprise Version

in this article we will use a tool that lets us make a Portable windows installation on any version of Windows 8/8.1

Linux distributions (such as Ubuntu, Fedora etc.) have the ability to be installed on a USB disk, even some Linux distros are just designed to do that (Gparted etc.) Microsoft introduced this feature in Windows 8 (quite late…) but there is a restriction even on that – this feature was only available in the enterprise edition of Windows 8. As it was only for enterprise version of Windows 8/8.1 it was not so useful for everyone, but in this article we will use a tool that lets us make a Portable windows installation on any version of Windows 8/8.1

What is meant by portable?

A portable OS sitting on your USB flash disk or HDD is able to boot on any computer, you can make a portable Windows 8 or 8.1 installation and carry a fully-personalized OS in your pocket. All you have to do is just plug the USB and then boot through it.

Some Geeks then found a way to do that manually, but the process is a bit complicated. So here we are, we will use a third party software to install Windows 8 on a USB disk.

What we need to prepare a portable USB

Following are the ingredients you will need to bake a sweet Windows 8 Portable USB:

  • A USB disk: that can be either a pen drive or even a USB hard drive, the lowest size that will work is 13 GB. Remember that is for the installation only, to install anything you do need a bit extra. Although it will work on any USB 2.0 disk we highly recommend using a USB 3.0 as that will be much faster.
  • Installation Media: Microsoft made Windows to go feature requires enterprise version of windows 8. This method will work on any version of Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 you are free to use the standard or pro version of Windows 8. You can use your Windows 8 or 8.1 installation disk or am disk image.
  • AOMEI partition assistant: It is the software we will use to prepare USB. The tool is available free. You can download it form here.

Let’s Begin

  1. Plug in your USB disk in computer and backup all the data in the disk: The Partition Assistant tool will format the disk into NTFS format and all data in the USB disk will be erased, so it is always a good idea to backup all the data of USB before proceeding.
  2. Open AOMEI partition assistant standard assistant tool: After you have fired up the Partition assistant tool, you will see something like this:

Easily Create Portable Windows 8/8.1 USB without Enterprise Version
3. On the left hand side area click on Windows to go creator

4. On the next screen select your USB flash disk.

portable 3

Note: if your disk is not visible click in the Refresh button.

    5.After you have selected the USB disk now click on the Browse button and locate your Windows installation media.

You can mount any disk image or insert your installation DVD in appropriate disk drive. If the installation media is in a folder then select the install.wim file.

portal 2

6.Click on Proceed button

Just after you hit Proceed, the Partition assistant will then extract and install all the necessary files you need to boot from the USB disk.

Booting from the USB

After you have successfully created the USB Flash disk, you can boot your portable environment on any computer. To do that, just plug in your USB Stick into computer and power up the machine, if the computer doesn’t boot from the USB disk you will need to dig through BIOS and change the boot order. The key to open BIOS is usually DEL, F12 or F2 although it may be different according to the maker.

That’s it! now you have a fully functional Portable Windows 8 or windows 8.1 installation on your USB key if you find any problem or have any question don’t forget to drop your comment.


 

Image credit:Esparta Palma On flikr

Learn How to Hack Windows Experience Index

In the Windows Experience index the base score is based on the lowest score of any component.

Starting from Windows Vista, Microsoft introduced a kind of bench-marking system in its Operating System. In Windows Vista and 7 users can rate their PC using the Windows Experience Index. The Highest possible score in Windows Vista is 5 while Windows 7 machines can go up to 7.9 in the experience index.

In the Windows Experience index the base score is based on the lowest score of any component. Such as in the test PC it was 4.4 based because of the Graphics subscore.

However it is not so tough to manipulate these numbers and change these scores according to your will. You can change these just to fool anyone.

GETTING STARTED

To make things simplified we would recommend you to run Windows Experience Index first (If you have not done so) if you have done that you can skip this section.

To do those open Control panels go to System and security and then click on Check the Windows Experience Index

After that click on Rate This computer

Note that your Computer may take several minutes in rating the system

You will see a screen similar to this.

hack windows experience index

MESSING UP WITH SCORES

To manipulate these scores head to Windows installation drive (C: in our case). Then go to

Windows > Performance > WinSAT > DataStore

You will able to see several indexing files there.

You will need to open the file ending with “Formal.Assessment (Initial).WinSAT”

Open the file in notepad. You will see the following window:

hack windows experience index

In the notepad window you don’t need to do too down to hunt anything, simply change the values according to your will in the upper area. The values are written between tags. Such as

<MemoryScore>5.9</MemoryScore>

Change the values between tags and save the files. Next time you will open the Windows< Experience Index the values will be changed.

hack windows experience index

OFF THE ROAD TIP: For more fun we suggest everyone to keep their Scores realistic ( Not 7.9 Exactly )

To revert the changes you can re-run the assessment.

Get Windows 10 like Task Manager for Windows 7

Windows 7 is a really good OS. Released in 2009 it is now out of mainstream support, still it is most used operating system on the internet. The successor (Windows 8) was released in 2012, it introduced a new task manager, that offered better control over running apps and better visual representation of performance data. Task manager on Windows 7 is old and looks exactly like Windows XP’s task manager. Folks at DBC Studios have made a small Tool that looks and feels exactly like task Manager included in Windows 8 and it works pretty well on Windows 7. The program is called DBC Task Manager, you can download it from following Here.

The program is small in size and looks exactly like Task manger in windows 8 and 10, Here are some screenshots of DBC Task Manager:

DBC Task manager - Graph view

DBC Task manager - Graph view

History of Windows In One Infographic

No doubt you use PC or a Mac, you know about Windows very well. The platform has grown from messy Windows 1.0 in 1985 to a sleek, cool and fast platform in 2015 with Windows 10.

Over the years of History of Windows, Microsoft has made many changes in the design concepts, UI and UX.

Not all releases were successful, however Microsoft has managed to stay on the top of OS market share war. With Windows 7 being the most used OS in the world and WIndows 8/8.1 being there as the second most used OS, Microsoft dominates the OS market by having 95% Share.

Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows History. There will be no Windows 11, the reason being said that Microsoft will now add features regularly using Windows update. Instead of upgrading OS every few years, users will have the latest features only by enabling Windows Update.

The Following infographic carries some important information about the history of Windows
history of windows
via Microsoft Training

Windows 10 Review : It is perhaps the best OS

Microsoft expects One Billion copies of Windows 10 installed in some years. Let’s see how Windows 10 stacks up on our expectations in our Windows 10 review.

[su_dropcap style=”simple” size=”5″]M[/su_dropcap]icrosoft has had a habit of messing up with every other Windows release. Windows Vista was a huge disappointment later came Windows 7 was a huge improvement, I think the same about Windows 8.x and Windows 10. Microsoft has made many changes and has found new ways to test and get feedback from users. New CEO Satya Nadella has made some changes on How the company works by giving away free upgrade to users. Microsoft expects One Billion copies of Windows 10 running on PCs, Tablets and smartphones in some years. Let’s see how Windows 10 stacks up on our expectations in our Windows 10 review.

windows 10 review
Unlike Other releases, Windows 10 matches the name with version number

Installation, Updates and Performance:

Installation was pretty straight forward and simple. I made a clean install which did not take much time. After Installation all the necessary drivers were installed automatically and I did not have to mess with anything. Although you have option to use Windows 10 via a local user account, Most of Microsoft apps such as OneNote and OneDrive require you to sign in using a Microsoft account. Users running Home versions of Windows 10 will get all Windows updates as they don’t have any option to ignore or disable windows updates. Users running Pro version of Windows 10 can defer updates for 8 Months. Torrent like technology called Peer to peer connections is used by default for downloading windows updates, you can opt out if you wish. Performance wise Windows 10 is good, even if it is not magically faster than Windows 7  or 8, still feels snappier on the same system.

It ain’t boxy but looks Modern ( and Minimalist )

Windows 10 looks and feels a lot modern than any other version release. Coming from Windows 7 I actually missed Transparency in title bars and other windows Aero stuff. Still UX is better than ever. Default Theme is good and users have options to customize it a little bit.

Windows 10 review
Not as good as Aero, still better than Windows 8

Desktop sideshow which allowed wallpapers to be changed automatically is now only able to switch wallpaper after 1 minute  ( at least ) comparing to 10 seconds in Windows 7. Start Menu is transparent and also has a blurred background. Clock and Action center also have blurred transparencies although you have option to turn these off.

Windows 10 Review: pre-installed Apps and software:

Windows 10 comes with some apps preinstalled mainly Groove Music, Xbox app, New Edge browser (more on that later) Music and TV app, A weather, calendar and A mail app along with some others. In games department Microsoft has included candy crush saga (which I removed the first) and a few others.

[su_pullquote align=”right”]Removing Candy Crush Was the first Thing I did on Windows 10[/su_pullquote]

New Music app looks and works just fine, still it lacks many important features such as equalizer and auto playlist. Windows Media Player is still here without any change. Default Calendar app is good enough for daily use. You can sign in using your Google account in calendar app which is nice because many people use Google Calendar for their day-to-day planning. Windows 10 also includes OneNote app which is fairly basic compared to Microsoft Office OneNote 2013. However it looks neat and works just as fine. You do need a Microsoft Account to use it. Other apps are also improved compared to the default apps in Windows 8.1. A Phone Companion app is included which helps users installing Microsoft Made apps on their Windows Phone, Android or iOS smartphones.

Edge: Not so cutting edge but better than IE

 

Edge is  browser based on an engine forked from Internet Explorer’s Trident engine. During my testing it crashed  a few times, still for most of the time it is stable enough. Edge works well with Cortana and gives suggestions and answers of some queries right in the search recommendations which is useful.

[su_pullquote]Edge does not currently has support for extensions and that sucks.[/su_pullquote]

Such as to know the weather you just need to type “weather” and current temperature will be shown to you on the screen. Cortana is also able to give you directions to an address given in the webpage. Edge does not currently has support for extensions which sucks and this is why I am still using Maxthon as default browser on Windows 10. During the review I also found that Microsoft has annoyingly made it really complex to switch default search engine on Edge. To change the search engine you have to go the website and then only from there you can add it as a default search Engine. Mozilla has already criticized Microsoft over Default browser options on Windows 10.

Windows 10 review
Edge Browser

Hello Cortana

It is a new intelligent digital assistant included in Windows 10. Cortana is not officially available in India and in order to use that I had to dig in region settings and change my region from India to United States. From that point it worked as expected. “Hey Cortana” command was disabled by default so if you want to make her listen every time you say “Hey Cortana” you will have to enable it in settings. In addition for setting reminders, Cortana now also handles all kind of searches either local file search or Internet queries. As obvious it uses Microsoft Bing Search engine by default. By Default you will have a big fat search box always on your taskbar, though you have option to change it just to an Icon or turn it off all the way.

Windows 10 review
Cortana

Windows Shell just got a lot better:

 

Windows 10 review
Finally, Virtual Desktops are here.

Windows 10 has several cosmetic and functional changes in the shell. First and most notable is the return of the start menu. Start Menu is back and it is completely overhauled. Hit the start button and you will see a windows 7 like most used pane on the left side and Windows 8 like Live titles on the right side. Search box is not visible, however typing anything starts searching. Metro Apps are now not full screen on Desktops and run in windows just like traditional software. Virtual Desktops are now included and enabled by default. By pressing Win+Tab or clicking task view button on taskbar you can access them. To move to previous or next desktop CTRL+WIN+Left or Right key can be used. A new  feature called Snap Assist now suggests you open apps to snap on the other side if you snap any app to any side of your display.

Windows 10 review
Snap Assist suggests Windows to snap on the other side of the screen.

Some Disappointing things

Windows 10 is pleasant to use for most of the time, it feels like a modern OS without slapping an ugly UI and that is good. Anyone coming from Windows 7 will feel like home within a few hours of use. Sad thing is that not everything is perfect. Some things feel incomplete at the moment with Windows 10. For an example, Settings apps is now a lot better that it was on Windows 8; still we have to dig in control panel to make some system wide changes.

Windows 10 review
There are still two panels to change user account settings.

Having More than one app to change settings is sometimes confusing.

 [su_pullquote]We still have to dig to control panel to make some system wide changes.[/su_pullquote]

Microsoft could have made settings app more better and removed the control panel altogether to make things straightforward.

Windows 10 also raises some privacy concerns because of its so tight integration to Microsoft servers. As an example Cortana phones home even for a local file search. Edge is definitely better than Internet Explorer, still it lacks some basic features such as Download UI can be made better. Photos app keeps crashing from time to time without reason and these app specific problems are more to be seen.

Review Verdict : Should You Upgrade or Skip?

Being free for users having genuine copies of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, I find no good reason to skip. However Windows 10 users should make some changes in their Privacy settings. There are a few areas where Windows 10 can improve but it is  polished enough to keep user excited and help him in  being productive. I will recommend all PC gamers to upgrade just because Windows 10 is the only OS to support DirectX 12. Other people also should upgrade. With Time Microsoft will definitely fix some bugs and Make Windows even better. Upgrade is free if you upgrade within one year of the release, so you don’t really need to rush. Even if you are holding and staying with Windows 7 ( or 8 ) Windows 10 is still good for future of PCs.

Stop using Turbo C++: That is now stupid

Turbo C++ is an IDE that is used to write and compile code for C and C++. Sad point is that if you are a young programmer, it is way older than you.

Have you ever used Turbo C or Turbo C++? Answer is definitely “yes” if you were a CS student in past and “I am using it” if you are CS Student currently. Programing involves hard work, passion, knowledge and an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) sadly, for a lot of people who are into C or C++ programming, IDE is Turbo C++. For those who have no idea what Turbo C++ is: Turbo C++ is an IDE that is used to write and compile code for C and C++. Sad point is that if you are a young programmer, it is way older than you.

What is bad with Turbo C++

Glad that you asked, please have a look on the gorgeous program:

Stop using Turbo C++: It is stupid
See the Copyright notice?

Please don’t fool yourself I have not taken the screenshot from an Internet Screenshot Archive, instead it is running on a separate Window on my Windows 7 PC.

Turbo C++ was released on somewhere between 1990-1992 (yup, almost 25 years ago) Back then it was a very good IDE and it was used a lot to code C and C++, as on 1990 Windows 95 was not in existence, Turbo C++ ran on DOS. It was not a Win32 application and the good thing was that it never tried to be. It was a 16 Bit application and all application that Turbo C++ compiled and made were 16 bit. That was good at that point of time. Not today.

What is wrong with Turbo C++ today?

Almost everything, first of all it is not standardized with ANSI standardization. It is old, ugly, unstable and heck, it now runs on a DOSBox Virtual Machine.

No Autocomplete: autocomplete features are really helpful on longer projects and in minimizing errors related to syntax, Turbo C++ can’t even spell Autocomplete. You will have to write every bit of code and you will have to close every single function.

It runs virtually: Turbo C++ is 16 bit software and now we are using 64 bit Operating system so the only way to run it is to use it under a virtual machine. Many developers have done that. Now it is an 8 MB installer file that installs DOSBox and then Turbo C++ in the DOSBox.

Compiled Application is piece of S#it: Sorry for that, but it is true, work on a 1000000 line code project, save the CPP file, compile it and make the application. Now exit the IDE and double click the newly made app, you will be greeted by a beautiful error message (giving you the finger). [su_pullquote]Code and time moved on but not our teachers and our Education system.[/su_pullquote] The reason behind the error is that the newly built application is 16 bit, which is not compatible with your 64 bit OS.

The sad story is that Code and time moved on but not our teachers and our Education system.I can still see students using that 1990 made IDE in 2015 in my college. Some of my friends (one specially) who are taking C++ and C classes are using Turbo C++ to write and compile code. Even the teachers are encouraging Students to use that Crazy, Blue and Old IDE. They are taking enormous amount of coaching fee and still are not able to teach student how to use a modern IDE.

Better alternatives

Or should I say industry standards? Yes there are a lot of free and paid alternatives, some of them are open source. The best thing is that they use standardized ANSI code. Let’s look on some of the excellent options:

Microsoft Visual Studio: It is the best if you can afford it, IDE is slick, UI is excellent and the best thing is that you can make apps for many platforms. Visual Studio is 100 times better than Turbo C++. It provides many solutions to reduce the time and efforts. Students can get it free of cost from Microsoft.

Stop using Turbo C++: It is stupid
Visual Studio

CODEBLOCKS: It is an Open source IDE, so you are free to download and use it. The best part is that CodeBlocks is a cross platform IDE so you can use it on platforms other than Windows. It is not as cool as Visual Studio but still it is a lot better than Turbo C++. Many sample projects and templates are also made available with this IDE.

The Open Source Codeblocks
The Open Source Codeblocks

Which one is your favorite IDE? Have you ever used Turbo C++? Tell us your story in comments…

Searching For Best Operating System in 2015? Perhaps Now That Doesn’t Matter

Still thinking about the Best Operating system in 2015? Maybe you don’t need to think about that anymore. All are good to live with.

Still thinking about the Best Operating system in 2015? Maybe you don’t need to think about that anymore. All are good to live with.

Microsoft is saying that Windows 10 is the best operating system ever made by them. Perhaps they are right. Windows 10 has a lot new and unique. So says Apple with every release of its Mac OS X. Linux users also say that Linux is best because it is customizable. So which party is lieing through their teeth? What really is the best operating system? And when will the hunt for that finish? Maybe one of these is better than all the competitors on show, still it is 2015, and Operating Systems have evolved. Now we do not have to worry about stability or reliability. We now need to think about User Experience (at least for normal users)

 

Unless you are a networking Professional or Computer administrator of some big corporation, you now don’t have to think about the best OS around.

OS maybe different, Web is always the same

Yes, operating systems maybe a lot different in terms of usability and appearance. Apple has close buttons on the Left side of title bar and Windows has it on the right side, still Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox (Two most used cross platform Web browsers) will function as the same. Most of us spend most of our time under tabs of a web browser. Starting from the Office suite to media conversion all of that can be done online. Add-ons for Chrome and FireFox are also don’t rely on the operating system version.
[su_youtube url=”www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntLPcVAyNPE”]
Look on Chrome OS, the bare bone OS that technically is a web browser, still it has a lot potential, web is now more powerful and so are Web apps. Google Docs (and also office Web apps) work under a web browser. They do not depend on the operating system, and that is perfectly good. Because it gives the users a common simplicity.

Performance is not an issue anymore

Still do you find performance an issue? I don’t think so. Gone are the days where we had 64MB ram and a 200 MHz processor. Now we are rocking quad core processors and many Gigs of RAM. Granted that Windows 8 is a bit faster than Windows 7 and Windows 10 is faster than both, still I find Windows 7 is sufficiently fast for everyday use, no OS has a magic stick that can give your Hardware wings. The same applies for Ubuntu and Mac OS X, all recent versions have acceptable performance. All of them are stable enough and all are updated for security and performance improvement regularly.

best operating system in 2015
Once ugly Linux is not like that now | Kubuntu 14.04 Image Source: Wikimedia

We don’t really use OS, we use software

Windows comes with a word processor called WordPad, an image editor called Paint, and a web browser called Internet Explorer, still I am typing this on Microsoft Word, I use Adobe Photoshop for Image editing and Mozilla Firefox as web browser, I can bet that most of us don’t use bundled programs.

For most of the part, we use third party software such as Kodi, avast, VLC and so on, that doesn’t matter that whether it is Windows 7 or Windows 10, they work the same way. Essentially for a lot of normal users, Operating system is just a launcher to open installed software and apps.

best operating system in 2015
Office is the software people use.

All the choices are good enough

We have choices when it comes to OS selection, there is GNU Linux, Mac OS X and also the world dominator Windows. The good thing is that no one is painful(OK, for me I exclude Windows 8 for now) All are stable enough, all are fast enough and all have a good to better software library. Startup time and shutdown time is now not bad and now software is not the bottle neck for performance. Pick any one and you can live a happy computing life.

Should you switch or stay?

Have you mastered your OS? If yes, it will be good that you stick with it. Suppose you are a Seasoned Windows User and you are lured by Mac OS X and you decide to switch, it can either be annoying or interesting, there is one thing for sure, you will again have to learn that OS and it will take some time.

If you are a windows user, moving to mac or Linux, won’t really make any better difference for common tasks. Stick with what you already know because programs on all OS are the same.

Windows Media Center is Dead: Here Are Your Alternatives

To help you in playing DVDs and Watching TV in your HTPC we have found some Windows Media Center alternatives that you can use in your PC

Microsoft has confirmed that just like it did with Windows 8, Windows Media Center will not be shipping with any version of its latest operating system. However it is not too new as Windows Media Center already stopped to be shipped as standard Windows Program in Last version of Windows i.e. Windows 8.

However with Windows 8, users had the option to download Windows Media Center for free for a few days from Microsoft and later it could be purchased from Microsoft by paying almost $10. Microsoft has cleared that Windows 10 won’t be shipping with Windows Media Center and also it will not be available to download.

Although this is disappointing for some users, still it makes sense for Microsoft. Microsoft’s Windows Media Center is used most for playing DVDs and Blu-Ray Disks and Microsoft had to pay some licensing fee to play these media disks. Now lots of desktops and laptops are shipping with No DVD Drive and thus it was a waste of money for Microsoft. If you haven’t used Windows Media Center in years, this will have no effect for you. But if you have been using Windows Media Center for your HTPC, be ready to start using some alternatives and even other OS for your Home Theater PC.
To help you in playing DVDs and Watching TV in your HTPC we have found some Windows Media Center alternatives that you can use in your PC, all the programs we are listing here are free to use and some require access to internet to work.

Windows Media Center Alternatives

KODI

windows media center alternatives
Kodi UI with Custom Skin

Formally known as XBMC, Kodi is a perfect Windows Media Center alternative. It is open source, we have already discussed about Kodi in our Pick of Must have Free software list. The UI is slick, easy to use and you can customize almost every aspect of it. Kodi is capable of playing almost all popular media formats.

Download Kodi

MediaPortal 2

windows media center alternatives
MediaPortal 2

Media Portal is also a good alternative for Windows Media Center, it requires .NET framework 4.5 so folks using Windows 7 may have to download an additional update if they haven’t installed Service Pack 1 yet. After installing it you will found that UI is really simple to use and is no brainer. I still found it to be too much simple and it looks a bit old, still if you don’t like Kodi, you can give it a try.
Download MediaPortal 2

VLC Media Player

Okay, it is a bit of cheating, VLC is not exactly a Windows Media Center like program, it is a simple media player, however if you are looking just for an app that can play DVDs VLC can work for you. Plus it has good skinning support and an active user community.
Download VLC

Windows Media Center alternatives -VLC Skinned
VLC Media Player with ModernX skin

CyberLink PowerDVD

New CyberLink PowerDVD is an excellent Windows Media Center alternative if you are ready to pay for it. PowerDVD is, as the name says excellent for Playing Media Disks and other media files saved on local or network storage. PowerDVD supports a 10 foot UI that will work well if you are looking for something to install on your HTPC.

Download PowerDVD

Which Media Center program are you using? And do you find any of given programs to be good enough to replace Windows Media Center completely? Tell us in the comments below…