For software that isn't tied to one machine.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

DTaskManager Review

Manage your computer

Clearly an improvement over the default Task Manager, DTaskManager offers quite a few features and tools.

"Enhanced Task Manager" features:
  1. Better CPU usage history information (bigger window with more data)
  2. More information about individual processes, page file, and more
  3. Ports, networking, and other information for under-the-hood info

Very cool tricks:
  • Various ways to close a frozen program.  This is similar to Unix in its capability to send increasingly high priority close messages to errant programs.  Start with "End Process" similar to just clicking the "X" at the top corner.  Then continue to Quit, Kill, and Kill Process Override.  Works like a charm and never had a problem with it in the 2+ years I've been using it.
  • Trim RAM usage.  Some programs are RAM hogs and as your computer starts to use more and more, this can help keep the programs hungry for system resources at bay.  Its not a full solution but it certainly helps
  • Suspend individual programs - great for putting a program that takes up a lot of system resources on "pause" ... this is great when encoding audio or video.  Pause the process without hurting it or corrupting the output.

Might be great:
  • A process "freeze" function.  I don't know if this is different from Suspend.  I can't find anything on the website about it.
  • Automatically lowers the process priority management.  Supposedly this will make programs cooperate better.  For example, the program MP3 Quality Modifier has a separate "encoder" program that it automatically set at a lower priority.  Unfortunately I have no way to verify that this really works apart from my system SEEMS to run better when its on.  However I don't really know.  Note: to maintain this every time the program starts, you must make sure it saves settings (Save on Exit under View menu).

  • Does NOT remember the priority given to specific processes.  So if I set my encoder program to a low process priority, when the system restarts, it will not automatically set its priority low again.

Version: 1.51
Size:  0.15 megs
RAM Usage:  6.3 megs
License: Freeware (author takes donations)
Score: 9 out of 10 - Hard to beat since I don't have even a 2nd place Task Manager program.
In Kitchen Sink Collection: Yes - I use it regularly

Comodo HIPS and Firewall Leak Test Suite Review

Security a foreign language?

Note: I hesitate to even review this since Comodo has shown itself to be not a very good company lately.

Leak tests are vulnerability tests that allow you to check your computer for possible security holes and potential problems.  Unfortunately Comodo's program gives no information about what security elements you are vulnerable to.  You are vulnerable to a whole series of security problems that SOUND important or you're not.  There's no information about how to block those, work-arounds for them, or how dangerous they are.  This feels like a beta product or some type of subtle marketing tool to try and get people to use Comodo's firewall that, apart from the company that makes it, I really like.

Finally this program is from 2008 and while I'm going to guess that Windows XP security hasn't changed dramatically in the past two years and most of the information is current, I would probably trust something more up to date.

There's not much more to add as this program doesn't do anything else.

Version: 1.00
Size:  0.3 megs
License: Freeware
Score: 2 out of 10 - Exclusively for security professionals or someone looking to learn more about Windows security.
In Kitchen Sink Collection: No