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Description
This latest release of Sun’s Java Virtual Machine (JVM) can be used to update an earlier version or install the entire JVM for the first time. Version 6 adds support for Windows Vista. This is the standalone package – you download a single file that can be run at any time, used on multiple machines or new installation of Windows.

Note: The other way to install the Sun JVM requires a computer to be connected to the Web and then use ‘active download’ where a smaller downloading program updates your system. This process means you can’t backup the file you download, plus you can’t use it multiple PCs. That’s why the standalone package is a better option. This complete download should also help avoid error codes such as: 1305, 2755, 1606 and a bunch of others that are all a result of incomplete/corrupted downloads.

Note: This release also fixes several critical security holes found in the software. Sun advises all users to update the JVM immediately.

JVM allows you to run programs called ‘applets’ inside your Web browser. Applets are mini-programs written in the Java language specifically to run within a Web browser. Many, though not all, web browsers come with support for applets built in. By downloading this update, you will be ensured that you have the latest release which, most importantly, contains fewer security holes and is generally more stable.

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Description
The Microsoft Pro Photo Tools 2.0 lets you edit key meta-data in digital photographs. Okay, not everyone knows what this means, so here is a quick run-down. Digital photos can store a wealth of information about the imgae. This information includes date, time, type of camera, settings used. You can also manually add information covering many more fields such as copyright, contact information, descriptions, GPS location and so on. If you have ever seen ID3 tags in MP3 files, you’ll be familiar with the concept. The beauty of the meta-data system is that it doesn’t affect the picture at all. The information is stored in the file, but not in the image.

The problem with meta data is that since it is invisible, most people don’t know it’s there, nor do they know how to change the information. Microsoft Pro Photo Tools 2 lets you do all that without the need to shell out for specialised software. This release even includes support for GPS – if your camera has this feature, you can view the GPS data – or if you know the location where a picture was taken, you can type it in and get the GPS location information automatically. It’s not often we say this, but this is a good piece of software from Microsoft, especially since it is free.

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Description


The Visual C++ 2008 SP1 runtime library, also called mfc90.dll runtime files, are required to run programs that were written in Visual C++ 2008. It can be difficult to know whether a program needs these files because often an author fails to mention it in the help files or documentation. Typically the way you find out is that you run the program and an error message appears ‘A required .DLL file was not found’ or ‘Error: the file mfc90.dll could not be found.’

The latest set for Visual C++ 2008 is Service Pack 1 (SP1) – it was released in August 2008. This package installs runtime components of C Runtime (CRT), Standard C++, ATL, MFC, OpenMP and MSDIA libraries. After you have downloaded the file, simply run it and the files will be installed to their correct location.

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Description
Virtual PC 2007 (with SP1) is released as a free tool from Microsoft. It lets you create and run one or more virtual machines, each with its own operating system, on a single computer. This allows you to use different operating systems on one physical computer. In other words, you can have your usual operating system, such as Windows XP running. Then, while that’s running, you can also load Vista. This lets you preview Vista or test that the operating system works correctly before installing it. This combination is only an example and you can use either Vista or Windows XP to virtually run Windows Vista (various editions), Windows Server 2008 Standard or Windows XP.

Virtual PC 2007 is free and this updated release includes Service Pack 1. It requires the 32-bit versions of either Windows Vista (with SP1 installed) or Windows XP (with SP3 installed). Note: you will need licenced copies of the operating systems you wish to run.

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Description
QuickTime is a free multimedia player from Apple. You can use it to view most types of video files including QuickTime format (MOV, QT). Plus you can use it as picture or file viewer, plus it’s an essential part of itunes. The other main features of this release are a large number of security fixes – it is critical that everyone should update to this version, especially if your release is quite old. You can use this download to install QuickTime for the first time on a PC, or as an upgrade to an existing installation (such as from 6 to 7.5.5).

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Description
This download for iTunes will update the core iTunes software and includes the latest version of QuickTime. It includes support for the newer iPhone, iTunes Applications and iPod Nano models and a has slightly revamped look with new preferences and options. Version 8 of iTunes includes the new Genius function, but it also address security issues. Not surprisingly for Apple, version 8.0 was loaded with bugs and the 8.0.1 update hopes to fix many of them, including improved syncing spoken menus for iPod nano and a fix for the annoying issue of HD TV episodes being deleted when downloading.

The Genius feature will use music from your existing library and attempt to compile playlists of what you may like. The first time you run Genius, it may take over an hour to determine what music is likely to appeal to you. It testing, we didn’t find it that helpful.

Version 8 takes a while to install on a PC and will need at least a dual core 2 processor to play HD videos – but hardware requirements are lower for simple music playback and iPod syncing.

The download can be used to upgrade an existing version of iTunes or to set up iTunes on a new PC.

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Description
As your CD and DVD collection grows, there are two important problems you face – do your CDs and DVDs still work? What can you do when a CD or DVD starts to have problems? These are crucial questions since the discs are used to store valuable files like email, home movies, photographs, business/tax records and music. The solution is to use a free program like CDCheck. It can scan most CDs in a few minutes to tell you if the data is OK – this way, you don’t have to find out the hard way that there is a problem. Plus you can use the time it takes for a scan to complete as indicator of the CD or DVDs overall health – even though files may not be recorded as damaged, slower results normally indicate a CD that is on the way out (expect longer times if there are more files on the CD).

If a CD or DVD is showing files with damage or you can no longer read a file in a drive, CDCheck can be switched to recovery mode and make a full sweep of the CD or DVD, recovering lost files along the way. When parts of a file can’t be fully recovered, the program will still recover any salvageable fragments. Many file formats such as Zip, TIFF and JPEG can still be used if incomplete (success of this technique varies, depending on the damage). Most zip tools have a ‘repair archive’ function, and a standard graphics editor can help repair damage to photographs caused by missing fragments.

Since CDCheck is freeware (free for personal use) and a small download, it is worth getting a copy and occasionally using it on your CD or DVD collection.

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Description
Digital camera technology makes it easy to erase photos whenever you need. Unfortunately, it can also mean accidentally deleting images you want to keep or transfer. Some cameras can occasionally get confused and reset the card to show ‘no images’, even though the files are still there. If you act quickly, it is possible to recover lost photographs from most digital memory cards. Smart Recovery can also help reconstruct data files after a card has been formatted. All you do is download and install the program on the computer. Follow the simple steps and – fingers crossed – the photographs can be recovered.

Smart Recovery supports the following picture formats: .jpg, .tiff, .bmp, .gif, Canon .crw, Fuji .raf, Olympus .orf (E-XX), Olympus .orf (C5050), Kodak .dcr, Minolta .mrw, Nikon .nef (D1H/D1X), Nikon .nef (E5000/E5700), Sigma – Foveon .x3f. Plus Video files in .avi, QuickTime .mov format and audio files in .wav or .dss formats.

Most digital card formats are supported including Compact Flash, Smart Media, Memory stick, Secure Digital Card, Microdrive, Multimedia Card and Microsoft pocket. Since Smart Recovery only reads the card, you can try it on card types not listed here. As long as you have a card reader or camera that creates a ‘logical drive’, it should work. Smart Recovery is free (freeware), so it is worth downloading and keeping for emergencies.

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Description
We have all had it happen at some stage. Sometimes the wrong answer to a cryptic Windows question has sent files to oblivion. Maybe a program crash or virus wipes files from your system. Suddenly you realise that an important file – or entire directory – has been lost or deleted. Contrary to what you might think, it is possible and quite easy to recover a deleted file (even if the recycle bin has been emptied). However the most important step with any file recovery technique is to avoid using the computer – especially the drive that holds the deleted files. There is a good chance the file is still present but if you use the computer, the possibility of file recovery decreases.

File recovery has many descriptions: you can undelete, recover deleted files or recover a lost file. Regardless of what you call it, the freeware program File Recovery 4 can help get your file back. All you do is download and Install the program on the computer – try to avoid the same drive as the deleted files. Follow the simple steps and fingers-crossed the file can be recovered. It can undelete a lost file from FAT, FAT!6, FAT32 and NTFS file system format. Plus it can finds partitions automatically, even if the boot sector or FAT has been erased or damaged.

File Recovery 4 can also recover most common files types. Even if part of the file is damaged and beyond recovery, you may be able to get back some useful fragments – recovering half of a lost 10,000 word assignment is better than having nothing at all.

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Description
The October 2008 patches for Windows Vista are listed below. They fix many security holes in Windows Vista:

  • KB956391 – Cumulative Security Update for ActiveX Killbits
  • KB953155 – Vulnerability in Windows Internet Printing Service Could Allow Remote Code Execution
  • KB954211 – Vulnerabilities in Windows Kernel Could Allow Elevation of Privilege
  • KB957095 – Vulnerability in SMB Could Allow Remote Code Execution

Note: The patches above are only for the Windows Vista operating system. Optional updates and critical releases for Internet Explorer, Office or other Microsoft products are not included here. See the Windows section of this site for more patches.

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Click the links below to download:

The numbers above refer to the official Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) number for the patch. Be sure to download all the files relevant to your setup.