DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

October 14, 2014

Need Screenshots?

Amy wrote recently and asked what tool I use for screenshots on my site and in training manuals I have written.  I told her I wrote about that five or so years ago, but it may be time to review.

First, what is a screenshot?  A screenshot is pretty much defined by its name.  It is what you make when you get a picture of your computer screen to use in a document, email or whatever else you may need one for. 

For the past many years I have used an application by Tech Smith (techsmith.com) called, "SnagIt" which is an excellent screenshot tool.  However, it currently costs $49.95.  Those of you who have followed my columns know that money is something I do not easily part with.  So that tells you what I think of SnagIt…great application worth the money if you often need a tool like this. 

SnagIt has many features not always found in similar programs.  You can add watermarks, callouts, create transparent backgrounds, text, draw on graphics, edit photos from other places and more.  This is an excellent application, especially for business.

Next, on my list is "Snipping Tool" which is automatically built into Windows 7 and 8.  This is a great application for getting a screenshot then saving it and emailing or using it in a document. 

To get it running click your start button, type "Snipping" without the quotes and then click "Snipping Tool" which is your first choice.    

Snipping Tool menuDo not be alarmed as most likely everything on your screen will go gray.  Also, a small "tool" will open.  Click on the "New" button to make the colors come back.  The graying is what happens when you are getting ready to copy a screenshot or snip it.

To create a screenshot I recommend first clicking on the down arrow by "New" and choosing what shaped area you wish to copy.  Your choices are self-explanatory with the possible exception of "Free-form Snip" which means you draw the scissors icon around the screen and it copies what you surround. 

Once you snip something the tool box opens with the area you copied.  You can save it, copy it to your clipboard, email it, draw or highlight the graphic etc.  This is not a full featured screenshot program; however, it does give you the basics.  

If you need to keep a screenshot save it to your computer.  Make sure when using the snipping tool you first save a shot before you create another.  If you do not save it when you grab the next one the first will vanish.

One last item to mention if you want more features that the snipping tool has.  It is called "Screenshot Captor" (screenshot-captor.en.softonic.com) and is very positively rated by users. 

Screenshot CaptorI will warn you that you need to watch each screen while installing the application.  It will try to change your search engine and other things.  Make sure you choose "Custom Install" and uncheck everything you see.  Nothing there is nefarious but it is pain to change back to the way it was.  This application has most of the features SnagIt does but it is free.  You must register it during the first 10 days with an email address or it will stop working as it should. 

Good luck in your new screenshot career. 

August 26, 2014

Piriform Tools, Part 1

I recently mentioned the site Piriform.  I received several emails asking about what it offers, so today we will take a look at some of the excellent free utilities they have.

Download CCleanerTheir most well-known tool is CCleaner.  When the company first started out this was their first app and then it stood for, "Crap Cleaner."  Since they are highfalutin now that nomenclature has vanished.  This app will allow you to do several things.  First you can have it run the "Cleaner" to check for unneeded files scattered about your computer. Not files you have created but the pesky ones left over from old installations, junk temporary files, the cached files in your browser(s), etc.  It will scan and make suggestions to remove those files.  It is up to you but I run this every couple of weeks on my constantly used computer and delete everything it suggests.  I have never had any problems; however, as with all apps, use at your own risk.  

It will also clean up your registry files which I (and many other geeks) feel become disorganized over time.  CCleaner will straighten them out keeping your computer’s health and speed up.

Some geeks think this is a waste of time but it has always worked for me.  This app will also uninstall your old applications if you need it to.  I believe it does it a little better than the windows default uninstall program; however, that is also open to debate. It has several other features you can check out.

Download/Learn more about DefragglerNext, Defraggler is the app which replaces your built in Windows Defrag.  Fragmentation occurs (as Windows is designed to do) as files are changed and rewritten to your computer.  Say you open a letter in Word that you have written.  It is opened in RAM memory (not on the hard drive) where you edit it.  After you have finished you saved it, which writes the document back to the hard drive.  When saved it may put it in a different location from where it started leaving "crumbs" (my word) behind. 

In many cases it may also split the file up into pieces, so you have one piece stored in the center of your drive and another on the outside edge.  Over time it will take longer to access all the parts and reassemble them when you want to open the files up later.  This is called a fragged drive.  Defraggler undoes this process and makes things run faster.  Think of it as sleeping at night and waking up to bad hair; Defraggler combs it and makes it neat.

Next week the last two tools from Piriform that I will mention; both of which can come in quite handy when you need them. 

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