Monday, 25 February 2013

Boot up Your PC faster: Best Tips and Programs

Until I upgraded my computer, I was struggling with this problem also: how to make my computer boot faster. It took ages for it to boot up, and as I later learned, it was because all of the programs I had installed on it. All the useless programs on my machine were suffocating it and this had to be solved. After doing some digging, I found a couple of ways to make my PC boot faster, and now I share them with you, so everyone can do the same.
Of course, there are other ways to speed up computers, without using other programs, but those require money to be invested, such as buying more RAM, or buying a SSD drive, or even installing Windows 8, that has really revamped its boot up process, now taking much less time than what it used to (but with all of this innovation, some users still want to downgrade to Windows 7).

Tricks to Boot up PC Faster

Of course, the biggest improvement on any PC will be to add more computing power, but to change the components requires some technical knowledge and it can cost quite a lot. By using optimization programs and implementing some simple tricks, you can make your computer much more responsive and faster. We’ll start tuning your PC from the bottom up, and the lowest level you have is the motherboard’s BIOS.
  • BIOS Tricks
When you start your computer, press the BIOS key (it’s not the same for all the computers, but it usually says in the bottom of the screen “Press [key] to enter Setup”). When you have entered the BIOS, you can enable or disable some features that will allow your computer to boot faster.
Note: Not all BIOS versions are the same, some have different menus or features, do some research on your BIOS version to see what features are available for you.
One feature you can disable is Quick Power On Self-Test. What this means is that the BIOS will no longer do all the hardware and memory tests at startup, thus making it faster. Set this setting to “Fast” something similar. If your BIOS has IDE and Floppy Drive check, you can disable these if you do not use IDE drives or a Floppy drive.
  • Windows Tricks
Moving on from the BIOS to the operating system, the first step here is to scan your computer for viruses. There are lots of free antivirus utilities that do an excellent job, but I would recommend buying a good antivirus also. After scanning your computer (I usually use 2-3 antivirus utilities to scan my computer), you can move on to deleting useless files and cleaning the startup process.
Some programs have the option of starting on Windows startup, but each program takes up some memory, and with the more you have, the startup of your computer has a lower speed. To disable the non essential programs, click on “Start” and the “Run”. When the Run windows opened, type ”msconfig”. The Msconfig utility is a Windows integrated tool that allows you to remove startup programs. In the main window, click on “Startup” and you will see a list of startup programs. All you have to do is uncheck those that you do not necessarily need. Apply and exit without restart.
Note: For those who have dual boot, you can adjust the “timeout” time and the default OS from the Msconfig tool. This feature is located under the “Boot” menu.
  • Cleaning the Temp files is something that might make your computer a bit faster. You should know that if your C: partition is running low on space, the performance of your computer drastically decreases. These files are temporary files that have no actual use for Windows on startup, so can delete them with no problems. There are two temp folders on your computer, you can find them here: C:Users[Yourusername]AppDataLocalTemp or C:WindowsTemp.
After doing this, you can clean your registry for entries that are not used anymore. These can really pile up after some time because each program you install creates registry entries and they are not deleted after uninstalling the program. There are lots of utilities that allow you to clean the registry of your computer, we will feature a list later on.
  • Updating the drivers of your computer can have a beneficial effect on the performance of your computer and sometimes it will help it boot faster, so visit the websites of the manufacturers of your components and download the latest drives and install them.
  • Defragment your drive for better seek times. We have previously discussed the benefits of defragmenting your drive, and you can also use defragmentation programs. A list of the best can be found here.
  • Remove unused fonts that make your computer run slow. You usually do not use all the fonts installed on your computer, so removing some of them is a benefit. Head to Control Panel -> Fonts and right click on unused fonts and delete them.
The last thing you might want to change is the visual aspect of your desktop. This is why desktop customization apps are not recommended for slower computers, they take up RAM memory and increase the boot time of your computer. Setting your desktop background to blank or solid colors and disabling transparency for Windows can free up some memory. Also, try disabling the Windows widgets.
These are some of the tips you can use to speed up your boot time for your computer. But there are other methods to optimize a PC. There are programs that can help with the boot time of your computer. Also, they have some other optimization tools that can lend a helping hand. Here is a list of such programs:

Programs to boot up your computer faster

  1. Soluto – Soluto is a complete PC optimizing solution. It helps you identify and remove start-up programs slowing down the PC boot in addition to identifying crashes.
  2. Regcleaner – We previously talked about this tool. It allows you to delete the unused registry files.
  3. Tuneup Utilities – This is one of the best optimization utilities that I have ever used. It features lots of optimising tools for making your computer faster.
  4. PC Doctor – Similar to Tuneup Utilities, this program offers some great optimization tools that I have used to great success.
  5. Norton 360 – 360 is right, Norton is one of the best antivirus utilities, but apart from this, it provides a good parental control feature and a great PC optimizing tool.
  6. Startup Faster – A utility that has a very low resource footprint but it can also have a massive impact on your computer. It allows you to very easily stop or delay startup processes.
If your computer had problems with the booting time, after using these tips and programs, you surely won’t have any more problems. Try them out for yourself and see what an impact they can have on your computer.

Create Temporary Email Addresses inside Hotmail

A temporary email address is handy in situations where you don’t want to share your primary email address because of the risk of spam. Now there are quite a few services on the web, Mailinator and 10MinuteMail for example, that offer temporary email addresses for free but with certain limitations.
For example, these services provide receive-only inboxes so you can’t send email to someone using your temporary address. Second, these addresses auto-expire after a certain time and then you may have to generate a new one. Finally, we don’t have much of a clue about the companies that run these services and their privacy policies.
If you have been looking for a more reliable temporary email service but without any limitations, it’s time to log in to your Hotmail account.
Microsoft has added a new feature in Windows Live Hotmail that will let you create aliases for your main email address and the good part is that all these aliases can be managed though the same Inbox. Google Apps also supports email aliases but not Gmail.
I really like the way they have implemented aliases in Hotmail (see the video above). All incoming email for an alias gets stored in a separate folder, outside your main Inbox, and if you are getting too much spam for an alias, simply delete it from your account.
You may associate up to five different aliases with your Hotmail account.
Technically, this is quite similar to creating a new Gmail account that auto-forwards to your main Inbox and then you set up a filter for routing those messages. However, for people who aren’t that technically inclined, Hotmail’s approach is a winner.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Get an Email Alert (with Picture) When Someone Tries to Log into your Computer

You have a feeling that someone else used your computer (or at least made an attempt to login) while you were out for a quick coffee break. Maybe that colleague with whom you share the cubicle knows your password or he made a few guesses before finally giving up.
How do you get notified when such an attempt is made to intrude into your computer?
Computer Webcam Alert
Email alert with a webcam picture of the intruder.
A new website (made in Turkey) called may have a simple solution here. They will send you an email alert as well as a picture of the intruder as soon as someone tries to use your computer.Here’s how Mouse Lock works.
You sign-in with your Google Account (they’ll send the alert to your Gmail address) and then select a secret pin on the screen. Next, put your mouse cursor in a designated area on the Mouse Lock website and leave the machine.
Now when someone moves the mouse, they will also have to enter the original pin. If they fail to do that in the first few seconds, Mouse Lock will send you an email and, if the computer has a webcam, it will use that to also snap a picture of the intruder.
Mouse Lock won’t prevent the intrusion but will at least notify you the minute it happens. And best of all, this a web app and thus requires no installation.
Internally, the site uses jQuery (mouseLeaveEvent) to detect mouse movements while the webcam photographs are captured using the getUserMedia() API currently supported in Chrome and Firefox. The alerts, possibly due to a bug, are triggered even when any of the keys are pressed and that makes it a little less useful since there’s no way to lock the computer after setting up the monitor.

1,000 Free Music Albums Up for Grabs at Flipkart

Flyte, if you are new, is an online music store from Flipkart where you can download individual songs and music albums in MP3 format. The files are DRM-free meaning you can listen to your purchased music on any device without restrictions and using your favorite media player.
It’s been a year since Flyte launched and, to celebrate, Flipkart is giving away 100 music albums per day, across various genres, for the next 10 days.
Download Free Music from Flipkart
Download music albums in MP3 format from Flipkart for free for the next 10 days.
To get started, go to, pick your favorite genre and hit that “green” download button to add a music album to your online MP3 library. You can buy /add the tracks in one go and download them anytime later.
The listed music albums will change daily until February 28 so do remember to check the site every single day.
There are no string attached to this offer – you neither have to make any purchases at Flipkart nor do you need to have any minimum balance in your Flipkart Wallet. All you need is an account at Flipkart and the music is all yours.
You can download music directly from the Flyte website and they also have discovery apps for Android and iOS devices. The only restriction is that you can download music only within the territory of India.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

FREE Mobile Phone Tracking

You might think of a GPS unit as the easiest way to get driving directions while commuting. But do you realize the other uses of it?
  • Parents can use them to monitor their children,
  • friends can use them to keep up with one another’s hangouts,
  • travelers can use them to find local information and directions wherever they are.
Mobile phone tracking or Cell phone tracking or simply, GPS tracking is the process through which a functioning cell phone is detected and localized on the globe (even on the move!!).
From Wikipedia -
To locate the phone, it must emit at least the roaming signal to contact the next nearby antenna tower, but the process does not require an active call. GSM localisation is then done by multilateration based on the signal strength to nearby antenna masts

How Mobile Phone Tracking Works?

First, the Cell phone tracking system detects the closest cell phone tower to the phone, estimates the distance between them, and after that it interpolates signals between adjacent antenna towers to make a more exact approximation.
Update: Over a period of time, several readers have asked if they can track a mobile phone which is switched off. Unfortunately, the answer is NO. The reasons are clearly explained above. When the phone is switched off or the battery is dead, there is no way it can emit signals. So it makes all sense to be safe now than sorry later. If you own any smartphone, be it an android device or an iPhone or a Windows phone or even a Blackberry, install one of the apps we are going to discuss below to help you keep track of your mobile phone all the time.
Smartphones like Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android bring cell phone GPS tracking and applications directly to people’s pockets. And with the right software, one can even have free GPS cell phone tracking.

Free cell phone tracking solution – Mologogo

Mologogo offers free cell phone tracking solution for the handset. Mologogo allows anyone with a GPS enabled phone to be tracked as long as the phone is operational. Basically the user downloads software to the phone which in turn sends updates to the Mologogo website which tracks the cell phone and displays updates as to where the cell phone is.
It not only shows where your friends are but it can also send alerts when your friends are close, find points of interest, and display traffic and weather updates. Tracking your phone from web is now possible, thanks to services like Mologogo.
Phones which work with Mologogo – Full List here.

Another FREE cell phone tracking service –

Not everyone owns a smartphone. So, isn’t it possible to track a non-smartphone? Well, LocateA turns your Java enabled mobile phone (or feature phone as they are commonly known as), or your PDA Mobile Phone running Windows in to a personal real time tracking solution, which allows you to track people, employees, lone field workers or children etc, and the good news is it’s free. With it you can track people carrying a specific mobile phone you have registered with the service.

Free GPS Cell Phone Tracking Software – Instamapper

Instamapper is a free GPS tracker for mobile devices that allows you to track any mobile phone with built-in GPS in real time. It allows you to track any GPS-enabled phone in real-time online. The image on the right shows how the phone gets tracked as a moving dot on a map, with the positions being updated as frequently as 5 seconds. Very useful for a free service! But yeah, you’d need to register for a free account in order to use the free mobile tracking. Click here for the complete list of compatible phones.

iPhone Tracking

The iTunes app store is rich with millions of apps and that really helps while tracking phones too. I have written a detailed post on how to track iPhone using various apps and services available. Do check it out. I’m sure it will be of some help.

Android Phone Trackers

Like iPhone owners, Android phone owners too can track their lost phones using some great GPS based apps. WaveSecure is one such app which can track android phones and even lock down the phone remotely. Another such app is MobileDefense which is also free. I suggest you to check out these Android security apps and install one of them for your own good, before it is too late.

Tracking BlackBerry & Windows Phone

There are quite a few BlackBerry Tracker apps, some of them are free, while others are paid. MoosTrax is one of the decent free tracking apps. Another free Blackberry tracker is an aptly named app called Phone Tracker – Anti Theft and tracking. A reliable third party app is Berry Locator which costs $7, but lets you track phone from your PC.
Windows Phone users can make use of Microsoft’s My Phone service to track their phones.

Carrier Specific Mobile Phone Tracking

Some carriers offer free as well as paid plans to keep track of mobile phones online, specially for parents who are apprehensive about kids and other family members. Most of these have just free trials, so consider them only if the above free phone tracking solutions didn’t work for some reason.

1. AT&T FamilyMap Phone tracker plan

AT&T’s FamilyMap helps you locate a family member from your wireless phone or PC and don’t necessarily need GPS to keep a track. It’s really easy & accurate to track phones and can even locate a lost or stolen phone, assuming the phone is turned on. It’s free to try for a month & subscription based from then on.

2. T-Mobile FamilyWhere

With T-Mobile FamilyWhere solution, you can find your family members using their mobile phone’s location. If you’re using an Android phone, it lets you send your location to any mobile phone on any network for free. A more comprehensive solution doesn’t come free, but pretty useful.

3. Sprint Family Locator

Sprint Family Locator is something kids gonna hate for sure. Not only it lets parents track the mobile phones of their kids, but it also lets them lock the phone with a single mouse click! Free to try for first 15 days, and then $5 per month.

4. Verizon Family Locator

Much like Sprint, Verizon too has a family locator service which lets users track the phones of their family members right from their PC. Sadly, there isn’t any free trial. Consider paying only if the other free solutions described above didn’t work.

Over to you

How did you like this post? Do you know any other FREE Mobile phone tracking software / services? Let me know.

Track Your Lost or Stolen Mobile Phone Using Phone Guardian

  • Don’t you care for the mobile phone you own?
  • Isn’t it valuable enough to be safe-guarded?
  • What precautions have you taken to safe-guard it?
If you own a S60 generation phone and if you are worried about the safety of your mobile phone, then go ahead and download Phone Guardian.
Phone Guardian is a mobile security anti-thief software for your Series 60 v3 Symbian smartphones. In case you lose your smartphone or it gets stolen, then Phone Guardian will allow you to remotely secure and auto lock your Symbian mobile by sending a lock SMS.
The good thing about Phone Guardian is, once you have locked the cell phone using this software, it stays locked and in order to unlock you would need to send an SMS! Not just that, you can even enable Phone guardian to automatically send an SMS without letting know the thief, with some information that allows you to track him down. This is by default enabled on SIM Change.

Features of Phone Guardian for S60 Mobile Phones

1. Phone Guardian becomes active (locks the mobile, emits the siren) when a different SIM card is inserted or on lock SMS.
2. Remote mobile lock and unlock with SMS.
3. Operator specific and location information is automatically sent to the number specified, including the number of SIM, IMSI and CellID numbers. You can then use this data to map the location of the cell phone using CellToMap.
4. Siren option can be put on and off.
5. Uninstall possible only with secure password.
Phone Guardian is a shareware and hence you would need to pay once the trial is over. But I believe its worth the price for the functionality it provides. For a complete list of compatible phones, click here.
Download Phone Guardian

How to Track a Cell Phone by its Number?

Since I wrote about Free Mobile Phone Tracking, I have been getting queries from a lot of users on “how to track a mobile phone by just having it’s number?” This can be either malicious or well intentioned. But before we go into the details about all those websites which claim to track cell phones by just inputing a number, I would like to discuss few things.

Ethics of Cell phone tracking

Tracking someone else’s phone constitutes a major invasion of privacy, no doubts about it. This is irrespective of your intention being good or bad. Think again if this is the only way out for you, before proceeding further.

Idea behind Tracking Cell Phones

Most cell phone tracking methods work on the premise that the cell phone often “pings” the nearest cell operator’s towers.
GPS-enabled cell phones don’t require cell towers, and may be located anywhere in the world by satellite triangulation in a similar manner. In some countries like US, cell companies are mandated to keep track of cell phones to an accuracy of 100 feet, so that help can be made available in case of emergency.
So far, so good. But is there a way to actually track or locate a mobile phone? Let us check the possible solutions-

Tracking Websites

So, what about all those free and paid websites claiming to track down any mobile phone on click of a button? The one’s where you just need to put in the cell phone number in order to track it? Can they really track a phone?
In simple words, the answer is a big NO. I am yet to come across a website which actually works as claimed. Sites like “Reverse Phone Detective” or “Track the number” never seem to provide accurate location information.

Google the Phone number

If you’re trying to figure out the general location of the owner of the number, as opposed to real time tracking, a good old fashioned Google search will probably do the trick. The person might have been un-paranoid (or unaware) enough to have it publicly posted on a social networking site, along with other potentially location-identifying information. Again, this is a small chance, and it won’t work in real time.

Cell Phone Hacks

Theoretically and logically speaking tracking a cell phone is quite possible. Experienced hackers won’t have any problems with any of this. It is perfectly possible to track a cell phone’s location – after all, the cell operators do it – even if you just know the number and have had no physical access to it, without the user having any indication of this happening. While this hasn’t reached epidemic levels, the possibility is there.

Cell Phone Tracking Software

The only guaranteed way to really track a cell phone is through some sort of installed software on the device itself. There are lots of free and paid solutions for smartphone like Apple iPhones (iPhone Tracking solutions) and Blackberries, and even for general phones like Nokia S60 based phones.
However, this generally requires physical access to the phone, and consent of the user, both of which might be difficult to get, and probably defeats the point of what you’re trying to do here.
So tracking a cell phone by just having its number is not practical, unless you are/hire an experienced hacker, which isn’t a good idea anyway.


Saturday, 16 February 2013

Quickly Open Google Cached Pages in Chrome

Google Cache
How to access the cached version of any web page in Google.
Google Cache is among the most useful features of Google Web Search.
If a website is down or is taking too much time to respond, you can quickly retrieve the cached copy of that page from Google servers. The cache can also be serve as a proxy server (sort of) allowing you to view pages that may be inaccessible from your current location.
The “Cached” link had a prominent place in Google search results but with Instant Previews, the Cached links become visible only when you hover the mouse over a search result (see screenshot above).

How to Open Google Cached Pages

If you wish to access a cached version of a web page, go to and type cache:<web address> in the search box. When Google sees that special “cache” operator in the query, it automatically transfers you to the cached copy of that page.
And if you are using Google Chrome, just type “cache:” before the URL in Chrome’s address bar and it goes straight to the cached version.
Google Cache

Want to Know the Sleeping Time of your Friends or Celebrities

sleeping time

When do they sleep?

Actors, singers, journalists, sportsmen, musicians, writers, politicians, bloggers and your friends – they are all active on Twitter now. The only time when they are not posting messages on Twitter is probably when they are sleeping.
Introducing Sleeping Time – a mashup that will help to determine the approximate sleeping cycle of any Twitter user with a click.
Here are 1-page sleeping reports of Tech, Bollywood and my friends in India.
The algorithm uses the timestamp of the last 500 or so updates of a Twitter user to calculate his or her sleeping time. Consider this app in the early pre-alpha stages so please let me know if you encounter any bugs or if your sleeping report is way off the actual pattern.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Office 2013 or Office 365 – Which Edition Should You Buy?

Microsoft has introduced a new version of their trusted Office productivity suite and home consumers essentially have to make a choice between Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 365.
Office 2013 vs Office 365
Compare Microsoft Office 2013 with Office 365
Before we delve deeper into the topic, please note that the new Microsoft Office editions are only available for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Mac OS X machines. Also, there isn’t an upgrade path available so even if your computer is running Microsoft Office 2010, you’ll still have to buy the full license.

Microsoft Office 2013 vs. Office 365 – The Difference

Microsoft Office 2013, like the previous versions, is a bundle of core Office programs including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. A single license would allow you to install the Office suite on just one Windows PC.
Microsoft Office 365 is a suite of the same Office programs but here you have an option to install Office on up to five different Windows PCs or Macs. There are not product keys to enter as everything is tied to your Microsoft account. You also get 20 GB of extra storage space on SkyDrive with Office 365.
Another advantage with Office 365 is that you can stream the full version of Microsoft Office on any Windows PC on demand.
This is useful in situations when you are working on someone else’s computer that doesn’t have a copy of Microsoft Office – go to, sign-in with your Microsoft account and within minutes you’ll get the full version of Office on that computer. The Office software is “streamed” and isn’t permanently installed on that computer (just like web apps).
Microsoft Office Streaming On Demand
With Office 365, you can temporarily install Office on any Windows PC
The Microsoft Office 2013 license is valid forever and you can use it for the life of your PC. However, in the case of Office 365, you don’t get a perpetual license but are required to pay an annual subscription (it’s like renting the Office suite).

Office 2013 or Office 365 – The Verdict

The Office 365 Home Premium edition is $99.99 (12-month subscription) while the Microsoft Office 2013 Home & Student Edition is $139.99 (single PC).

Thus, deciding between the two Office editions should be easy. If you have multiple computers at home or need access to the entire suite of Office products (including Outlook, Publisher and Access), go with Office 365 else the Office 2013 Home edition could prove to be a more economic option in the longer run.

Windows 8 Pro Upgrade Offer Expires Today, Will be 425% More Expensive

Windows 8

If you are planning to upgrade your Windows 7 or Vista machines to Windows 8 but haven’t initiated the upgrade process yet, consider doing it today.
The Windows 8 Pro license (includes Windows 8 Media Center*) is currently available for $39.99  but starting February 1, this discounted price will no longer be valid and you’ll have to shell out $199.99 for the Windows 8 Pro upgrade license and an additional $9.99 for the Windows Media Center pack. That’s a saving of about $170.
Here’s a detailed guide on how to install Windows 8. You basically run the Upgrade Assistant to determine if your machine’s hardware configuration and the installed software applications are compatible with Windows 8. The wizard then pretty much guides you through the entire process.
Also, if you upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8, you will not be required to re-install any of  your existing applications and the files and program settings will be preserved as well.
[*] You will need the Media Center pack to play DVD movies since Windows 8 no longer ships with a DVD player.

Write longer tweets on twitter- Introducing Tall Tweets v2.0

There are situations when you need more than 140 characters to express yourself but Twitter won’t allow you post tweets that exceed the limit.
Some apps – like TwitLonger – let you bypass that 140-character limit by posting your message to another page and then tweeting the hyperlink to that page. The downside to this approach is that Twitter users will have to leave the Twitter website to read your full tweet.
If you are looking for an alternative, check out the latest version of Tall Tweets. This web app also allows you to publish longer tweets on Twitter but takes a slightly different approach as shown in this video demo.

What is Tall Tweets?

Tall Tweets will slice your tweet into multiple smaller tweets of 140 characters or less, and publishes them all to Twitter in a sequence. The tweets are numbered and are sent in a reverse arrangement such that they can be read from top-to-down inside any Twitter client.
Alternatively, you may choose to publish your long tweet as an image and in that case, the entire text gets published in a single tweet. The image tweets are rendered in the Roboto font (originally design by Google for Android) and thus the text in the images should be readable even on mobile screens.
The main advantage with Tall Tweets is that your Twitter followers can read your entire tweet inside their favorite Twitter client. This is also true for image tweets since most Twitter apps (and the website) offer inline image previews.
To get started, sign-in with your Twitter account, compose a tweet and hit publish. If there are hyperlinks in your tweet, they’ll be shortened using The app uses OAuth and therefore you won’t have to share your account credentials anywhere.
Tall Tweets
Send tweets as images and bypass the 140-character limitation of Twitter