New Windows Update Disk Cleanup Recovers MORE SPACE

Microsoft released a Windows 7 update that adds a new option in the Disk Cleanup tool called Windows Update Cleanup. With it, you can free up several gigabytes of hard drive space from the Windows Updates folder.

Windows Updates can be terrible space hogs. Windows saves every security update and hotfix—even if they’re superseded by new updates—in the WinSxS directory. You can’t just manually delete everything in that folder, because some files are needed just in case a system file gets corrupted or you need to roll back a Windows Update.

So that’s where this new Windows Update comes in. Released for Windows 7 SP1 machines, KB 2852386 adds the ability to cleanup all the obsolete updates in the WinSxS folder. It’s a "recommended" update but not "critical," so you might not have installed it yet. You can either do a Windows Update to download it or head to the Knowledge Base article to grab it from there. (Note: Windows Update Cleanup is included in Windows 8.1.)

Once you have it installed, run Disk Cleanup and click the "Clean up system files" button to find the new Windows Update Cleanup option. Note that running this cleanup will prevent you from uninstalling any updates you have currently applied, but you can manually download and install previous update versions if you ever need to rollback.

Hit up TechNet below for more details, including a way to automate this process.

Breaking News! Reduce the size of the WinSxS Directory and Free up Disk Space with a New Update for Windows 7 SP1 Clients | TechNet via InfoWorld

CCleaner Update

CaptureAs an example of why one needs to keep up, I read about a recent update for CCleaner just as the update came onto my machine.


CCleaner just updated to a new version with the added ability to clean up Windows’ cluttered right-click menu.

CCleaner’s context menu editor is super easy to use: just head to Tools > Startup > Context Menu and find the menu item you want to get rid of. Click on it, and press the Disable or Delete button.

This assumes that one knows what one wishes to get rid of.  Still, I never like to right click and have “Add to VLC playlist” or “Open in Bridges” as I never used them.

Simpler is better.

Their Best Windows Software and Mine

On this page you will find the best 166 free Windows programs according to MakeUseOf for all your needs.

They’ve taken the effort to categorize the apps and picked only those we believe to be the best ones and which will most likely be useful to you.  And they do a really great job at it.  My list is a smaller subset of theirs.  I like to use theirs to see the best in the group and revisit my thinking on it, check out the article and read their full review, find other qualified reviewers and download the software and see what you think, then choose your own favorites, mine include at present:

mseMicrosoft Security Essentials
Simple, effective and lightweight protection suite. Download

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware
Easy-to-use, simple, and very effective anti-malware application. Download

Another excellent defrag tool. Portable. From the same guys behind hugely popular CCleaner. Download

Live CD to completely clone your hard drive. Download

Windows Live Mesh
Sync your documents, photos and other files across multiple computers using SkyDrive. Download

Scores high points all around. The most popular choice at the moment. Not as many features as in others. Download

Google Chrome
The fastest, minimal design browser (from Google) now with extension support. Growing extremely fast. Download

More than 6,000 add-ons for every possible feature. The most customisable browser to date. Download

Google Talk
Google’s standalone GTalk client for Windows is a simple yet effective tool. Download

The Swiss Army knife of image viewers/editors. Extremely popular.Download

Google Picasa
Powerful photo manager software from Google. Includes 1-click photo retouching features. Easy online photo sharing. Download

Very popular open source software for recording and editing audio tracks and sounds. Download

VLC Media Player
Extremely popular cross-platform video player that can play almost any video file. Highly recommended by many.Download

A great looking media centre solution that also works remotely and with mobile devices. Download

A free, lightweight and robust FTP client for transferring files to and from the web. Download

Copy and move files at maximum speed. Pause and resume file transfers. Download

Popular open source text editor. Favoured by many, including programmers. Download

Must-have for everyone. Sync folder with docs and files to web or other PCs / Macs. Share documents. Download

Windows Live Writer
Compose then publish your blog posts with a click straight from Windows Live Writer. Download

Save your ideas on the go and instantly take notes. Access notes from anywhere. Highly recommended! Download

A powerful keystroke based program launcher that lets you open program and files really quickly. Download

Takes care of most of your archive extracting/compression needs. Supports ZIP, RAR and many others formats. Download

CD/DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-ray burning tool. Also, lets you easily create image files from CDs and DVDs. Download

The most popular free alternative to Nero Burning ROM. Burn CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs. Download

Secure plugin to store and synchronise login passwords across browsers. Comes auto-login and form filler. Download

Free open-source, cross-platform disk and data encryption tool. Encrypt and hide sensitive files. Download

Easy to install Apache distribution with MySQL, PHP and Perl. No manual setup required! Download

Free virtualisation software for creating and running virtual machines. Download

Free open source eBook management software with support for conversion and syncing. Download

How I am Building a Low Effort Home Surveillance System With My PC

I reviewed and installed Active WebCam.  Active WebCam would not communicate with my FTP server which is setup for sftp and is primarily a trial version of a purchased package despite all the labeling.  So it was out.

I moved to the much simpler Secure Cam which I like a great deal better. Secure Cam worked well with Motion sensors but was not easy to have the pictures sent and did tend to fill up my local hard disk even during the test.  Nothing that was going to provide a problem; however, it wasn’t easy to see how to keep the directory clean.

But the third bed was just right.


“Yawcam is a shortening for Yet Another WebCAM software, and that’s exactly what it is ;-). More precise Yawcam is a webcam software for windows written in java. The main ideas for Yawcam are to keep it simple and easy to use but to include all the usual features.”

I liked if from the description, and the Title: a nod to Yahoo! and earlier programs. It has a simple interface window (shown at right) and great documentation.

md_actions_emailIn addition to all of the usual features, and it appears to have the complete set, it has a excellent interface and monitoring setup for the motion sensor.  The motion sensor also allows you to run an executable and I would like to hack my house someday and have it turn on lights and an alarm (that will be a later project, aren’t they all); however, it is the only one that allows you to configure GMail SMTP server and email anyone with the pictures so that if the machine is taken, I will still have the images. 

This is a great tool and I am looking forward to using it for a variety of reasons, if nothing else, I at least get to use it to monitor my non-existent cat.

Wi-Fi Troubleshooting

I recently begain using inSSIDer 2 to troubleshoot WLAN networks, primarily because I am running Windows 7 on 64-bit machines and this one works very well with that.  MetaGeek has done a nice job and I suppose it was time I upgraded from NetStumbler.