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How to Import and Export Browser Bookmarks

I like to use multiple browsers and always mess around with any new browser in town. And so, quite often I import/export my bookmarks around. If you are looking to move your browser bookmarks to a different browser, then I can help.

In this post, I’ll show you how to import and export bookmarks and other data in:

Chrome

Import bookmarks

  1. Click on the three vertical dots menu at the top-right corner and go to Bookmarks > Import bookmarks and settings.
    bookmarks and settings
  2. Next, either select the an installed browser to directly import the bookmarks, or select the HTML file from your PC. While directly importing, you can select type of data as well, such as browser history, bookmarks, passwords, and search engines. Click on Import when you are done to import the data.
    chrome

Export bookmarks

  1. Click on the three vertical dots menu again and go to Bookmarks > Bookmark manager.
    chrome bookmark manager
  2. Go to Organize > Export bookmarks to HTML file. An HTML file will be ready to download.
    export chrome bookmark

Firefox

Import bookmarks

  1. From the top bar, click on the Show Bookmarks button, and select Show all bookmarks. You may also use Ctrl + Shift + B for this.
    show all firefox bookmarks
  2. Next, click on the Import and Backup menu at the top and click on Import Bookmarks from HTML to import them from an HTML file, or click on Import Data from Another Browser to select another browser to directly import data.
    import bookmarks firefox

Export bookmarks

From the same Import and Backup menu, click on the Export Bookmarks to HTML option and save the HTML.

export firefox bookmarks

Opera

Import bookmarks

  1. Open Opera menu from the top-left corner and click on Settings. Alternatively, you can use the shortcut Alt + P.
  2. Here move to the Browser section from the left menu and click on the Import bookmarks and settings button under the Default browser heading.
    opera bookmarks and settings
  3. Now you can either select a supported browser from the drop-down list or select “Bookmarks HTML file” option to import from an HTML file.
    import opera bookmarks

Export bookmarks

Unfortunately, Opera doesn’t support export feature. However, you can use Bookmarks Import & Export Opera extension to get this functionality. Install and open up the extension, and click on the Export button to download the bookmarks HTML file.

export opera bookmarks

Microsoft Edge

Import bookmarks

  1. Click on the three horizontal dots menu at the top-right corner and select Settings.
  2. Now click on the Import from another browser button under the Import favorites and other info” button.
  3. Next, you can select a supported browser, or click on the Import from file button to import from an HTML file.
    import edge bookmarks

Export bookmarks

Go to the “Import your info” menu again and click on the “Export to file” button to download the HTML file.

export favourites

Note: The export is only available in the Creators Update of Windows 10. In case you haven’t updated Windows 10 to Creators Update, you can use this third-party tool Edge Manage to export favorites.

Internet Explorer

Import bookmarks

  1. Click on the Star icon at the top-right corner, and click on the tiny upside down arrow next to the Add to favorites button. Here click on the Import and export option.
    import and export internet explorer
  2. A wizard will open up. Here you can either select Import from another browser or Import from a file option and then follow the wizard to import data.
    import bookmarks internet explorer

Export bookmarks

  1. Open the same “Import and export” wizard and select the “Export to a file” option.
    export internet explorer bookmarks
  2. On the next page, you can select the type of data that you want to export, including Favorites, Feeds, and Cookies. Afterward, click Next to finish the process and download the HTML file.
    select data internet explorer

Vivaldi

Import bookmarks

  1. Click on the Vivaldi menu button at the top-left corner and select Import Bookmarks and Settings from the File option.
    import vivaldi bookmark settings
  2. From the drop-down menu, you can select a supported browser or an HTML file. Interestingly, Vivaldi also supports importing data from Opera, although Opera natively doesn’t support the export feature.
    import vivaldi bookmark

Export bookmarks

To export bookmarks, go to the File menu again and select “Export Bookmarks” to download the HTML file.

export vivaldi bookmarks

Wrap up

While importing data, try to automatically import from an installed browser instead of an HTML file. This way you’ll be able to import more data, including cookies, bookmarks, history and saved passwords.

The exported HTML file usually only contains bookmarks, so direct importing is better and more convenient.

How to Customize Windows 10 “Send to” Context Menu

The “Send to” option in Windows context menu is astonishingly helpful, but it’s also one of the most underrated features. I’ll blame its lame default entries for receiving the cold shoulder.

But, what if you can customize the context menu‘s “Send to” option, it would be able to help you easily send any file to your desired location with just a click, or even open files in a respective program without forcing you to jump between different locations.

So, in this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to manage the “Send to” option. Read on after the jump.

Understanding the “Send to” option

At its very core, “Send to” option is very similar to drag and drop feature. If you drag and drop a file in a folder, it will be moved to it. Similarly, if you drag and drop a file on a specific program then that program will try to open that file (if possible).

When you right-click a file and select a program/location from the “Send to” option, it copies the file to that location or opens it in the selected program. So basically, Send to (as its name also suggests) sends the select file to the selected location or program.

Manage the “Send to” option manually

Getting to the sweeter part, adding and removing items in the “Send to” option is all you need to know to be productive while moving or opening files. Interestingly, “Send to” option is backed up by a simple folder, not surprisingly called SendTo.

Everything that is added in this folder is shown in the “Send to” option, and similarly, everything removed from it is removed from the “Send to” option as well (and you thought I’ll drag you in the registry, right?).

Access the SendTo folder

The SendTo folder is located in the below-mentioned directory:

C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo

Here username is your actual username in your PC. You can go to this directory manually to access the folder. Alternatively, you can also use a Run command to open this folder. Press Windows + R keys to open the Run dialog and enter this command shell:sendto. When you will press Enter, the SendTo Folder will open up.

sendto folder

Here you can add the shortcut to any program or folder and it will immediately appear in the “Send to” context menu option. Although make sure you copy a shortcut to the original program/folder to keep confusions to a minimum.

Just right-click on the required program/folder and select create shortcut from the context menu. This will create a shortcut that you can move to the SendTo folder.

Use third-party tool to manage “Send to” option

Adding and removing items from the “Send to” option isn’t that hard, but if you want to make it even easier; then a third-party tool may help. For this purpose, Send To Toys is an interesting tool that offers multiple ways to add/remove items from the “Send to” option and also adds some handy entries of its own.

Using Send To Toys

After installation, Send To Toys will automatically add more handy entries in the “Send to” option. The entries include a Quick Launch shortcut, Recycle Bin shortcut, copy to clipboard shortcut, a folder shortcut to send files directly to a default folder, and a few more.

extra entries

The program’s configuration window lists all the items in your “Send to” option and gives simple Add and Remove button to easily add more items or delete the unrequired ones. You can also configure the Folder option to let you send files to the last accessed folder, user folder, or a predefined folder.

send to toys

The best feature of this tool is its context menu entries that let you add or remove any item from the “Send to” option by right-clicking on it and selecting the desired option.

For example, if you want to work on a folder and add items to it frequently, then there is no need to go to the SendTo folder. Simply right-click on it and select Add to Send To menu and it will be added. Afterward, when you are done working on it, just right-click on it again and select Remove from Send To menu to easily remove it.

add remove items

“Send to” option tips and tricks

Now that you know how to manage the “Send to” option, here are a few tips and tricks to help you get started:

Access an extended “Send to” list

Windows also has an extended “Send to” list that also shows all the folders inside your current User folder. Just press and hold the Shift key and then right-click on the item.

Now move to the Send to option and you will see an extended list of folders. If you work often with folders inside your user account, such as video, documents, and music, etc. then this trick will surely help.

extended send to
Add cloud storage folder in “Send to” for quick syncing

I commonly use the “Send to” option to easily send any file to my Google Drive folder and sync it with my Google Drive account. If you have a Dropbox folder or a Google Drive folder, then you can add its shortcut in the SendTo folder for quick syncing.

Add an uninstaller shortcut

If you use a third-party uninstaller such as IObit Uninstaller, then you can simply add its shortcut in the “Send to” option to quickly delete any program from anywhere.

Ending words

“Send to” option can be really handy when you need to work with multiple folders at the same time, or need to quickly open items with a dedicated program. If you frequently use the “Send to” option, then I will recommend you to download Send To Toys tool to make it easier to add/remove items and get more control.

Create Customized Fonts and Characters with Windows Private Character Editor

Did you know that Windows has a built-in font and character creator? Known by the name of Private Character Editor, it is a lesser known Windows built-in tool that allows you to create and edit your own characters to use them on your PC.

Of course, it’s not as advanced as some of the today’s online and offline font maker tools, but I would say it’s one of the easiest character makers that would get the job done. Best of all, it’s completely free and doesn’t need to be downloaded.

Today, I will show you how to use Windows Private Character Editor to create your own fonts and characters to freely use them on your PC.

Note: It should be kept in mind that the custom characters that you will create can only be used on your PC. You can’t send them to another PC via email or in a document as the receiver won’t have them saved on their PC.

However, you can still print and share the documents if you need to share them with someone (screenshot may work as well).

Access Private Character Editor

Private Character Editor is a rather hidden tool saved in “C:\Windows\System 32\eudcedit.exe” and you will have to find it among hundreds of other files. So, the easiest way to open Private Character Editor that works in all versions of Windows is through the Run dialog.

Press Windows + R keys to open up Run dialog and enter eudcedit in it. When you will press enter, Private Character Editor will open up.

open

Select code

As soon as PCE opens up, you will be asked to select a code. This is basically a registration process of your new character. You need to assign a code to the character to be able to use it and search for it when needed.

There are total 6400 codes available for you to choose from. Just click on any block and you will see it’s code at the bottom in the Code field. The codes are automatically created, based on the values in the left column and the top row. Once you have selected your desired code block, click on OK to get started.

select code

Create your own character

Now you should see a grid style drawing board with 64×64 blocks to fill in and create your character. There are also basic tools to help you with creating your character. The tools include pen, brush, straight line, hollow rectangle, filled rectangle, hollow ellipse, filled ellipse, rectangular selection, freeform selection, and eraser.

drawing tools

You can only create the character with black color, and whichever tool you use for drawing they will simply fill a block with black color. You can select your desired tool and use the left mouse click to start drawing. The cool thing about grid style layout is that you can easily un-fill filled blocks just by right-clicking on them.

This allows you to easily rectify errors and create the perfect character. I was able to create multiple types of drawings without much problem and with great perfection.

draw character

Edit an existing character

Creating a character from scratch isn’t necessary, you can also edit any of the available characters and make it yours. You just need to find a character that resembles your vision and quickly edit it to create your own character. To do so, click on Edit button in the above menu and then select Copy Character… from it.

copy character

A new window will open up where all the characters that are currently installed on your PC will show up. Just browse through them and click on the one that you would like to edit. After selecting, click on OK below to insert the character in the editor.

select character

The character will be inserted and you can edit it to your heart’s content. Do note that you are not editing the original character, the edited character will be saved separately as your custom character.

edit character

Save the character

Once you have created your character, you can save it alongside other characters to insert in any of the documents. To save your character, click on the File menu and select Font Links from it.

font link

A prompt will show up asking you to save the character you just created. Click on Yes here to save the character.

save character

Another dialog will open up asking you whether you want to make the character available for all the fonts or just specific fonts. You should select “Link with All Fonts” here if you don’t have any special needs and click on OK to link it.

link to all fonts

Use the created character

The easiest way to use the character is through the Windows Character Map and copy the character to clipboard from there. To open the Character Map, press Windows + R keys and type charmap in the Run dialog. In the Character Map, click on the drop-down menu next to the Font option and select “All Fonts (Private Characters)” from it.

all fonts

You will see all your created characters now. Click on any of the characters to see a preview of it. You can double-click on a character to select it in the “Character to copy” field below. Afterward, click on the Copy button next to it to copy the character to your clipboard.

character map

You can now paste this character anywhere in your PC by pressing Ctrl + V. The allowed fields include (but not limited to), folder names, file names, explorer search bar, and any type of documents.

paste character

In case you want to add the character in a Microsoft Word file, simply enter the code of the character that you selected at the beginning and press Alt + X keys (the code is not case sensitive).

Bottom line

Private Character Editor might be a very limited tool for creating custom characters and fonts, but it is definitely one of the easiest tools to use. You can create thousands of custom characters if you want and use them without any limitations.

Do share with us in the comments if you use Windows Private Character Editor for any purpose.

How to Remove Black Folder Icon Background in Windows 10

There’s seemingly a bug in Windows 10 that adds a black background to folders. It doesn’t affect the data inside it in any way; it simply makes the folder look, well… ugly. It may happen because of corrupted files, a problem with the folder thumbnail cache or with the Windows image.

I also faced this issue and after messing around with multiple solutions, I managed to fix it for good. If you are dealing with the same problem, then I can help you fix it using the same methods I have tried. Let’s see which solution works for you.

Solution 1: Restore default icon

This solution only temporarily fixed my problem, as it turned black again after restarting. However, many users have reported that this solution fixed the problem permanently for them. And it is easier to execute. Let’s try this first.

Right-click on the affected folder and select Properties from the context menu. In the properties, move to the Customize tab and click on the Change icon button.

change icon

Here randomly select any icon you want and click on OK to select it. Afterward, click on OK again to apply the changes.

select new icon

Now go back to the same Change icon option, and this time click on the Restore Defaults button instead. When you will click on OK, the default icon will be restored and most probably the black background issue will be resolved as well.

restore default icon

Solution 2: Uncheck Read-only attribute

There is a chance that the Read-only attribute of the folder may be causing the folder to show an icon with a black background. Simply remove the Read-only attribute and see if it fixes the problem.

Right-click on the folder and select properties from it. Here uncheck the checkbox next to Read-only in the Attributes section. When you will click on OK, the folder icon may be fixed.

disable read attribute

Solution 3: Delete thumbnail cache

Corrupted thumbnail cache seems to be the most common reason for this problem. Deleting thumbnail cache and resetting it solved this problem for many users, including me. There are many ways to delete thumbnail cache, but I find using the Windows Disk Cleanup tool to be the easiest.

Press Window + R keys and types cleanmgr.exe in the Run dialog. When you will hit OK the Disk Cleanup tool will open up. The system drive (C drive) will already be selected in it, simply click the OK button on it to start scanning.

clean up drive

After scanning, it will show a list of data that can be deleted to save space. Here scroll down and check the checkbox next to Thumbnails, and then click on OK. A prompt will show up, confirm it to delete all the thumbnail cache. Afterward, restart the PC and see if the black background is gone or not.

delete thumbnail cache

Solution 4: Run System File Checker scan

If the problem persists, then it could be due to a corrupted or missing system file. Windows built-in System File Checker (SFC) scan can look for any corrupted or missing system files and automatically recover them (if possible).

To run the SFC scan, right-click on the Start menu icon and select Command Prompt (Admin) from the list.

command prompt

This will open a command prompt window where you need to enter the command sfc /scannow. Once you will press Enter, the scan will start. It can take a few minutes to complete the scan, so hold on tight. Once finished, it will show if there were any corrupt files and whether they were fixed or not.

run sfc scan

Solution 5: Run DISM scan

A problem with Windows images can also make the folder background turn black. You can run DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) scan to see if there is any problem and fix it.

To run the scan, you will have to run a command from an elevated command prompt window. Follow the process mentioned in the solution #4 to open an elevated command prompt window.

In the command prompt enter the command DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth. This will scan for any problems and let you know if it finds any.

dism scan

If the above scan reports any problem, then you can use another command to fix itm. After scanning, enter the command DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth and hit enter. The scan will run and try to fix problems with Windows images and their components.

dism restore health

Both scans can take a bit of time (10-15 min). Once finished, restart your PC and see if the problem is fixed.

Keep Windows updated

The above solution should fix the problem permanently, or at least for the time being. As this problem seems to be a bug, there’s a chance one of the Microsoft updates may resolve this problem for good. As far as I know, there hasn’t been an update that solved this problem (as of writing). Although a future update may fix the problem, so keep your operating system updated.

Ending thoughts

Resetting the thumbnail cache usually solves the black folder icon background problem. Although I will recommend you to try to restore the default icon first as it’s easier to do it and you won’t have to go through thumbnail regeneration process if it solves the problem. And of course, you can run SFC and DISM scan for fixing any corrupted files.

Do let us know in the comments if you managed to solve the black folder icon background in Windows 10, and which method worked for you.

Best Alternatives to Windows 10 Built-in Tools

Did you know there are much more powerful third-party alternatives for many of the Windows built-in tools? Windows search, start menu, notepad, media tools, uninstaller, and many other built-in tools have alternatives that offer more customization options, more features, and overall more power that you’ll surely like.

Here is a list of 12 of the most commonly used Windows built-in tools. All of these alternatives are completely free to use, so there is no excuse for not trying them.

Anvir

Alternative for Windows Task Manager

I personally like Anvir task manager for its heavy emphasis on security. Its interface may set you back to Windows XP days, but it’s much more powerful than Windows Task Manager.

Anvir has a smart process behavior detection system that lets you which processes are safe and which entail a risk. It lists all the processes and programs that start with Windows and gives you full control of what to do with them. And when you are in doubt, it gives an easy option to check almost any type of file with VirusTotal.

anvir

Notepad++

Alternative for Notepad

If Windows built-in text editor is too simple for you, then you need the beefed-up open-source text editor Notepad++. It’s one of the best text editors and comes with a plethora of features for writing code.

It uses pure Win32 API and STL for the fastest execution speed along with smaller sized files. It has support for dozens of coding languages including, JavaScript, C++, Python and more.

If you just want to create some notes, then the Windows built-in Notepad is enough. However, if you are a coder or want more from your text editor, then Notepad++ is the ultimate solution.

notepad

Listary

Alternative for Cortana

People who use Cortana find it to be helpful but a bit slow and a rather stalky. There are many third-party search tools available, (interlink my Windows search alternatives article here when it’s published) but I find Listary to be the best alternative for Cortana (as far as the search feature is concerned).

As soon as Listary is installed, you can simply start typing anywhere and it will automatically start providing accurate results. A simple double-tap on the Ctrl key will let you search through installed apps and Windows functions.

Best of all, the results are instantaneous and program itself is very light. Smart learning, quick commands, history and gesture support are just the tip of the iceberg that Listary has to offer. Do keep in mind that it is only free for home use. For commercial use, you will have to buy a license.

listary

IObit uninstaller

Alternative for native uninstaller

Windows built-in uninstaller only uninstalls the program from its directory. The program registry entries, app data, and other junk files still stay in your PC and waste space or even create errors. A third-party uninstaller tool will do a much better job of cleaning and may offer other handy features.

I like IObit uninstaller for this purpose as it does a great job of cleaning almost everything and it’s light on the resources. Furthermore, it has support for bulk uninstallation and it automatically answers most of the common dialogs created while uninstallation.

iobit installer

Defragmentation tool alternatives

Windows built-in defragmentation tool does a reliable job, but it doesn’t provide much control and feels a bit lacking in features. I will recommend you to check out both Defraggler and Smart Defrag by IObit.

Defraggler

Defraggler is a more to-the-point tool that offers handy features to analyze and defrag your hard drive.

It has multiple defrag modes and it can individually defrag files and folders. Additionally, you can also defrag free space.

Smart Defrag

Smart Defrag offers a bit more control than Defraggler with dedicated defragmentation tools for games, Windows apps, and multiple boot time defragmentation options. Although, Smart Defrag installer is also bundled with adware and its interface may seem a bit overwhelming to some people.

I personally use Smart Defrag for its extended boot time defragmentation options.

defraggler

O&O RegEditor

Alternative for Windows Registry Editor

If you dwell on Windows Registry often, then you must try out O&O RegEditor. It has a similar interface as the Windows Registry Editor (in fact more polished), but it has additional ease of access features that any registry maniac will love.

It has a power search bar to quickly find any entry, lets you easily copy/paste entries, keeps a record of changes and lets you export the file as an XML file.

regeditor

ZoneAlarm

Alternative for Windows Firewall

Windows Firewall is a reliable internet safety solution, but if you are one of those users who like the best security for themselves; then you should get a third-party firewall tool. There are a few good ones, (interlink my article Windows firewall review here) but I’ll recommend ZoneAlarm Free Firewall.

It’s highly customizable and scans both inbound and outbound connections. It also has dedicated application behavior control tools to keep rogue apps at bay, and comes with Wi-Fi protection as well. Overall, it offers much more security than the Windows built-in firewall.

zonealarm

CCleaner

Alternative for Windows Disk Cleanup

Windows Disk Cleanup is a very basic cleaning tool. You should get the renowned CCleaner that does a way better job of cleaning and comes with additional tools as well.

It cleans both Windows and browsers junk and gives you full control over what you want to delete. Additionally, you can use its duplicate cleaner, disk analyzer, startup manager, and more cleaning tools to keep your PC tidy.

ccleaner

VLC

Alternative for Windows Media Player

Whether you use Windows Media Player or Windows 10 default media app, both are very limited in features and codec support. The open source VLC media player is astonishingly powerful and supports almost any type of media file.

It offers full control over video, audio, subtitles, volume and other aspects of a media file. Furthermore, it has hundreds of plugins to further extended its capabilities.

vlc media

Classic Shell

Alternative for Start Menu

Windows 10 Start Menu is quite good in itself, but if you are still in love with the Windows 7 Start Menu (I know I am), then I got a perfect alternative. Classic Shell lets you completely switch the Windows 10 Start Menu with the Classic menu or an exact copy of Windows 7 Start Menu.

classic shell

The Start Menu functions perfectly with smooth transitions and access to all the features. You can also change skins, add/remove functions, use custom start menu icon and even use multiple Start Menus at the same time.

classic shell2

7-Zip

Alternative for File Compressor

Windows has a built-in compressor and decompressor tool to compress multiple files in a folder to decrease the size and make it easy to share it. However, this is only what it is capable of. Any serious user should switch to 7-Zip as soon as possible. 7-Zip offers more customization options and archive formats.

It’s also more secure and lets you encrypt your compressed folders with 256-bit AES encryption. Additionally, you have full control over how you want to compress the files, such as the ability to customize compression method, compression level, and CPU threads, etc.

7zip

WinDirStat

Alternative for Disk Analyzer

Windows 10 came with a storage analyzer to see what is taking up all the space on your drives. Unfortunately, it is very limited and won’t make it easy to get a full picture of what is taking space on your hard drive.

There are many disk analyzer tools (Interlink my article best disk space analyzer tools), but I swear by WinDirStat for its simple interface and extensive information about data. It creates a color-coded directory tree that lets you quickly see all the data and what is taking most of the space.

I also love how it lets you explore the files right inside its interface and make changes as required. A very handy tool to both view and manage data to save space.

windirstat

Summary

These were some of the best alternatives to common Windows 10 programs. It should be kept in mind that all of these tools also work perfectly fine on other versions of Windows, including Windows 8 and Windows 7.

I am personally using most of these tools, and they really make it easy for me to complete most of the Windows tasks optimally. If there is any other good replacement for Windows built-in tools, do let us know in the comments.

How to Improve Windows 10’s Battery Life

Like its predecessors, Windows 10 also comes with a bunch of features to increase battery timing, including a completely new Battery Saver option. On top of that, the Anniversary update and the new Creators Update also came with some changes to help you get more time out of your laptop battery.

However, if you are looking for even more up time or your battery is not holding enough charge, then there are some ways to deal with that.

Apart from the built-in power saving options, I know many other tweaks to trim down Windows 10 battery consumption and below I share all of them with you.

1. Disable UI animations and shadows

Windows 10 UI consists of many animations and shadows to make it look cool, but you can turn them off to save battery power. Here’s how:

  1. Press Windows + R keys and type cpl in the Run dialog to open System properties.
  2. Move to the Advanced tab, click the Settings button under Performance section.
    performance settings
  3. Now select the Adjust for best performance option and click OK to disable all the animations and shadows.
    adjust for best performance

Now the Windows UI will be snappier and lighter on the battery.

2. Turn off wireless signals

Wireless signals such as WiFi or Bluetooth eat a lot of battery power as they require dedicated hardware components to run continuously. Simply switching to the wired connection can help conserve power.

To connect to the internet you can use ethernet cable and if a deice is running on Bluetooth, go for its wire-based option, (e.g. switch from wireless headphones to the wired ones).

3. Disable background apps

Many of the Windows 10 native apps run in the background to keep information updated. But they also drain the battery, even if you don’t use them. Nevertheless, Windows 10 has a dedicated section to enable/disable these background apps:

  1. Open Start Menu, click on Settings and then go to Privacy.
  2. Move to the Background Apps section and you’ll see all the background apps in the right panel. Just switch off the ones you don’t need.
    disable background apps

Only the background process will be disabled, the app itself will work fine.

4. Manage startup apps and services

You can disable the unnecessary startup apps and services to conserve battery power. Check how to do it in the following:

Disable startup apps
  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to open the Task Manager and move to the Startup tab.
  2. Here, select all the unnecessary startup apps and click on Disable to stop them.
    disable startupp apps
Disable startup services
  1. Press Windows + R keys and type msconfig in the Run dialog to open System configurations window.
  2. Move to the Services tab here and uncheck the option Hide all Microsoft services at the bottom-left corner.
  3. You will see all startup services now. Uncheck the ones you don’t need and click OK to apply changes. A PC restart will be required for changes to take effect.
    disable startup services

5. Turn off some of the CPU processors

You can disable some of the CPU cores to save battery power. To give you a rough idea, if you have a 5 core PC and usually you just browse the web or play some media files, then turning off 2 corse should not hurt your work. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Press Windows + R keys and typemsconfig in the Run dialog to open System configurations window.
  2. Now move to the Boot tab and click on Advanced options while your current OS is selected.
    boot advance options
  3. Here check the checkbox next to Number of processors and use the drop-down menu to select the number of processors you need. PC restart will be required for the changes to take effect.
    select number of processor

As processors are in passive state when not in use, you are only saving battery power that they use in their passive state (which is quite low). So you may not see any dramatic increase in battery life.

6. Prevent your PC from heating

Heat can cause many problems in PC, and faster battery drain and permanent decrease in battery life are one of them. Lithium-ion batteries (mostly used today) discharge faster when heated as ions flow faster. So if your heating laptop has lithium-ion battery, then it’s battery will drain faster.

Overheating PC should never be overlooked, trust me, I made this mistake and my laptop’s battery became useless in less than two months. Check out my guide on how to stop a PC from overheating and cool it down to fix overheating issues.

7. Check issues with battery drainage

You can use a command prompt command to see information about apps and processes that might be using too much power as well as recommendations about settings to increase battery life. Let’s see how to use it:

  1. Right-click on the Start Menu button and select Command Prompt (Admin).
  2. Here enter the command powercfg /energy and press enter. The command will monitor your PC usage for 60 seconds. You can do whatever you like during this period.
  3. After 60 seconds, it will generate a list of errors and warnings and save it in your PC in .html format. The location of the file is provided at the end, move to it to access the report.
    windows energy analysis

You will be surprised at how much information it can provide. Even if you don’t have a problem, it will still provide customized tips to conserve power. And remember, if you don’t understand anything; Google is your friend.

analysis result

8. Using a third-party battery optimization app

Although, Windows built-in battery optimization tools are good, but there are some third-party battery assistants available that are much more powerful. They can offer real-time battery monitoring and advice for best experience.

Out of the lot, I like Battery Optimizer as it’s especially created to increase overall battery life while conserving power as well.

The app will first ask your permission to scan your PC to create a detailed report of what can be improved. After the scan, you see a customized list of features and hardware components that you can disable/enable to increase battery time.

It also shows total battery time you may gain when you’ll accept a recommendation. Very handy for creating balance between battery time and required features.

battery optimizer

Apart from all the this, it also monitors your battery usage to offer more insight. You can see battery charging and discharging pattern, and even be alerted when the battery drains faster than usual.

To sum it up

Along with all these methods, you should always use the standard methods of power saving in Windows 10. Such as, enabling automatic power saving feature when the battery is low, switching to power saving plan, keeping brightness low, and letting the laptop automatically go to sleep if it stays idle for 5-10 mins.

The usual power saving options are always the most effective ones, but if you want even more battery time then you may follow the methods I’ve listed.

Top 3 Firewalls for Windows – Review

A firewall is the first line of defense against malware and phishing attacks that can immensely damage your PC. Windows has a built-in firewall that does a reliable job of protecting your system against most of the online threats. However, it still lacks some of the advanced protection features and customization options.

If Windows built-in firewall isn’t enough for you, then you can try some third-party firewalls that offer more control and protection. Below Is have reviewed 3 of the best Windows firewalls for you to choose the best firewall for your PC.

Is a firewall necessary?

Firstly, it is necessary to understand the importance of a firewall. When you connect to the internet, the data is accessible on both sides. Like if you can access the internet, the internet can also access your PC. If not protected, a hacker could easily send malicious code to your PC or take advantage of a security hole to steal data and damage the system.

A firewall basically works as a filtering system to scan the data and ensure no infected data goes by. I should also mention that it’s easier to protect yourself against downloading infected files. However, you can’t do much about an unsafe internet connection. Therefore, a firewall is necessary even if you think you can follow proper safety guidelines.

Note: Before using any of these third-party firewalls, make sure you turn off Windows built-in firewall. Similar to antivirus programs, firewalls will also conflict with each other if used simultaneously.

1. ZoneAlarm Free Firewall

ZoneAlarm is one of the most popular firewall programs that offers reliable protection with a highly customizable interface. It scans both inbound and outbound connections and ensures there is malicious activity.

Additionally, it keeps a strict eye on applications and processes to ensure no application goes rogue and is always stopped in its tracks.

zone alarm interface

I also really liked it’s added Identity and data protection feature that alerts you whenever an untrusted website asks for your personal information or any other personal data. There’s also a handy game mode that suppresses alerts while you are gaming.

identity protection
Interface and usability

ZoneAlarm Firewall interface is very intuitive and it took me less than a minute to take full control over its features and customization options. All of the functions are perfectly customized for average use by default and big buttons in front make it easy to explore the program.

I did see an ad to check out ZoneAlarm paid antivirus solution, but it didn’t bother me once I clicked the Close button. Additionally, the Identity and Data protection feature needs to be turned on and configured manually, which can be a both good and a bad thing.

As for customization, it makes it very easy to select the level of protection you require, you can either go medium protection with fewer alerts or high protection that can even block all types of inbound connections.

On top of that, you can also view all the logs and secured applications, and individually customize each application and connection setting.

select security level

Its worth noting that ZoneAlarm Antivirus is directly baked into ZoneAlarm Firewall and you will find many grayed out options that are actually added for the antivirus and can only be used if you download the antivirus program as well. Even if you want to use the firewall only, you will still have to deal with the antivirus settings.

zone alarm antivirus
Features

Some of the notable features of ZoneAlarm Free Firewall are below:

  • Both inbound and outbound connection scanning.
  • Application behavior control.
  • Identity and data protection.
  • Gaming mode.
  • Stealth mode to become invisible.
  • Wi-Fi protection to protect against unsecured networks.
  • Real-time updates to protect against latest breakthroughs in malware world.
  • Automatic Firewall configuration based on new connection type.
Pros
  • Easy to use interface.
  • Highly customizable.
  • Offers both connection and application behavior monitoring.
  • Automatic learning from user behavior.
Cons
  • You may see recommendations for ZoneAlarm’s other products.
  • ZoneAlarm antivirus program is baked into the ZoneAlarm Firewall (which doesn’t work by default).

2. Privatefirewall

Privatefirewall doesn’t have one of the most beautiful interfaces and may seem a bit confusing at first. However, it is a powerful firewall program that has some unique features and offers reliable protection.

It can monitor both inbound and outbound connections and has support for application and process monitoring to ensure no program goes rogue.

privacy firewall

I really liked its Port tracking section where you can see all the networks ports and even terminate any port you like. Similar to ZoneAlarm, it stealths the ports to make them undetectable from outside. It also has a cool email anomaly feature that protects against mass spam emails being generated from your PC.

port tracker
Interface and usability

As I said earlier, Privatefirewall interface isn’t that attractive, but this should not make you flee. If you explore a bit, you will easily get a hang of it. Besides, it also offers detail explanation of what you can do in each window on the right-side of the window.

So it is arguably easier to get a hang of if you don’t mind reading the instructions. Additionally, it has dedicated profiles for home, office and shared networks to apply the right settings automatically.

function information

The applications and processes are listed separately and you can double-click on each program to open configuration options. There are also handy quick access buttons to allow, deny or filter all the traffic with a single click.

To top it off, Privatefirewall also has an automatic training system for both network and application anomaly to handle them automatically as time passes.

iteam details
Features

Below are some notable Privatefirewall features:

  • Inbound and outbound connection monitoring.
  • Built-in port tracker.
  • Email anomaly detector.
  • Process and application anomaly detector.
  • Anti-logger.
  • Stealth mode.
  • Customizable automatic learning system.
  • Dedicated profiles based on usage.
Pros
  • Provides detailed instruction for each feature.
  • Highly customizable with dozens of separate customization options for each program/process.
  • Track and manage ports.
Cons
  • Dull interface.
  • No options to configure different types of traffic and connections.

3. TinyWall

TinyWall has a setup file of hardly 1MB and doesn’t even have its own interface. It sits in the system tray and works from there. This economical behavior forced me to compare its resource usage with the above two firewall programs, and I found out that it used one-third of the PC resources as compared to the above programs.

tinywall

TinyWall is created to work alongside Windows built-in Firewall and it enhances its features and offers better control. Although TinyWall focuses mostly on managing inbound and outbound connections, but it also scans application to check if they are safe or not (no dedicated options available, though).

Interface and usability

As TinyWall works from the system tray and doesn’t have an interface of its own, it may leave many people feeling less satisfied. However, its few options in the system tray menu are more than enough to take full control over the program features. You can easily change it’s working modes and control whitelists and blocklists.

tinywall modes

The awesome thing about TinyWall is its “no pop up” rule. TinyWall never shows any pop up for applications blocked or allowed. If it accidentally blocks an important application’s network access, then you will only find out when you see it can’t access the internet.

Of course, this can be annoying in rare situations when something important is blocked, but it also eliminates the biggest headache that comes with firewall programs; pop-ups.

Additionally, it also makes it easy to whitelist programs and process. With a simple keyboard shortcut, you can whitelist any application or process. Its Show connections option also attracted me where you can see and manage all the established connections and open ports.

tiny wall active ports
Features
  • There are no pop-ups.
  • Has built-in setting modifying protection from malicious programs.
  • Easily whitelist programs.
  • Automatic learning mode.
  • Password protect settings.
  • Dedicated LAN control options.
  • Protects host file.
Pros
  • Works alongside Windows Firewall.
  • Doesn’t annoys with pop-ups.
  • Very easy to use and makes it easy to block and whitelist programs manually.
Cons
  • It’s no pop-up rule can also block important programs without your knowledge.
  • Less customizable as compared to the above two programs.
  • Application behavior monitoring feature is very limited.

Good to know: I also checked all of these firewalls with common firewall security checker tools and all three of them passed them. Although high-security settings were needed to pass some of the tests.

How to Disable Location Tracking & Desktop Notifications from Websites

Many websites ask for your location to offer better services or request to show desktop notifications to keep you updated. These prompts will stop you from navigating the website and won’t go away until you hit the “Allow” or “Deny” button. If you are tired of seeing these prompts, you can easily disable them in your browser.

In this post, I will show you how to disable location tracking and desktop notifications in Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Microsoft Edge.

After disabling these features, use the Manage exceptions (if available) button to manually allow these features on the required websites.

Note: Do remember that location tracking and desktop notification features can be very handy. For example, you should enable location tracking for any Maps website (like Google Maps) to get precise results, and enabling desktop notification ensures you are immediately updated on important messages; such as emails.

Google Chrome

In Chrome, click on the Main menu at the top-right corner and select Settings from it.

chrome settings

In the settings, scroll down and click on Show advanced settings, and then click on Content settings under the Privacy heading.

chrome content settings

Scroll down in this menu and you’ll see Location and Notifications sections. Select “Do not allow any site to track your physical location” in the Location section, and select “Do not allow any site to show notifications” in the Notifications section.

disable location chrome

Manage exceptions

You should see a button of Manage exceptions below each of the options. Click on it to allow these features on specific websites, or block them on websites that are already allowed to track location or show desktop notifications.

manage exception

Firefox

Firefox doesn’t offer any way to disable location tracking and desktop notifications from its main options. However, you can still completely disable these options from its hidden experimental settings.

To access hidden settings in Firefox, type about:config in the address bar and hit enter. Click on “I accept the risk!” button on the next page and you will see a big list of tweakable features.

firefox config

To stop location tracking prompts, type geo.enabled in the above search bar and double-click on geo.enabled option to set it to False. This will stop websites from prompting you to enable location tracking.

disable location

To stop desktop notification prompts, type dom.webnotifications.enabled in the search bar and double-click on dom.webnotifications.enabled to set it to False. Now no website will ask to show desktop notifications.

disable location

Unfortunately, Firefox doesn’t provide any options to manage or allow both of these features for any websites. Once you disable these features, you won’t be able to use them at all.

Opera

In Opera, click on the Menu button at the top-left corner and select Settings (or press Alt + P ).

settings

Here choose Websites from the left-hand menu and scroll down until you see Location and Notifications section. To disable location prompts, simply select “Do not allow any site to track my physical location” in the Location section. And to disable desktop notifications prompt, select “Do not allow any site to show desktop notifications” in the Notifications section.

disable location

Manage exceptions

Similar to Chrome, Opera also has Manage exceptions button under each of these options. Simply click on it to allow or block these features for specific websites.

manage opera exception

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer doesn’t support desktop notification by default, so you won’t have to worry about those prompts. However, you will still see location tracking prompts and here’s how to disable them.

In Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon at the top-right corner and select Internet options from it.

internet options

Here move to the Privacy tab and check the checkbox next to “Never allow websites to request your physical location”. This will prevent websites from showing location tracking prompts.

disable location

Manage exceptions

Internet Explorer doesn’t make it easy to manage exceptions, but you can still do it. The browser will not block location tracking for websites that are already allowed to track. So you can allow location tracking on the required websites and then disable it in the browser.

If you need to disable location tracking for all the websites again, then perform the steps mentioned above and then click on the Clear sites button next to the “Never allow websites to request your physical location” button. This will clear all the sites that were previously allowed to track location.

clear site data

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge does support location tracking and desktop notifications, but it doesn’t offer any convenient way to disable them.

To disable location tracking requests, you will have to disable location tracking in the Windows 10 settings like you do it for other Windows 10 universal apps. Go to Settings from the start menu and click on the Privacy option.

privacy settings

Here select Location section from the left menu and then scroll down until you see all the Windows universal apps listed. Simply click on the toggle button next to Microsoft Edge and switch it off. This will disable location tracking prompt in Edge and will stop all the websites from tracking your location.

To disable desktop notification prompts in Microsoft Edge, there is, unfortunately, no option. You will have to deal with them at least once on every supported website and Edge will remember your preferences.

Safari

Similarly to Chrome and Opera, Safari also makes it easy to disable location and desktop notification prompts. Although you may have a little trouble managing location tracking similar to Internet Explorer.

From the Safari menu, go to Preferences and then move to Privacy tab. Here, just select Deny without prompting in the “Website use of location services” section to disable location tracking prompts.

disable location
disable location

Manage exceptions

Although there are no options to manage exceptions, but similar to Internet Explorer; Safari remembers the websites for which location tracking is not allowed. You can allow location tracking on required websites and then disable location tracking, and Safari will not block location tracking for those websites.

Go to the Preferences again and click on the Notifications tab. Here uncheck the checkbox next to “Allow websites to ask for permission to send push notifications” to stop websites from prompting you to enable desktop notification.

disable notifications

In the middle you will see all the websites with permissions to provide desktop notifications, you can easily manage them here.

To summarize

Location and desktop notifications prompts can be really annoying, but at least you can disable them in most cases. Chrome and Opera are the only browsers that make it very easy to both disable and manage these features. Although you can still disable these features if you don’t mind going through few extra steps.

View and Edit Sketch Files on Windows with Lunacy

Mac users love Sketch and it’s quickly becoming a popular alternative to Photoshop. But Sketch has one major downfall preventing widespread adoption: it’s a macOS-only program.

To help resolve this issue (partially), we have Lunacy. It’s a totally free Windows desktop program that allows you to view, edit, and even export Sketch files, right from your Windows machine.

It doesn’t require extra plugins, syncing features, or anything like that. You just open the Sketch file in Lunacy and see it just like you would on a Mac.

Lunacy for windows

However, Lunacy is so much more than just a viewing tool. It also works as an export tool, so you can generate custom design assets such as text, bitmap graphics, and even layer effects like shadows and gradients.

This gives Windows users a lot more control over their design workflow. You can move Sketch files between computers and even share them with non-Mac designers without much worry.

Granted Lunacy doesn’t have many editing features and it’s not a full replacement for Sketch. But, there are future plans to add editing features on Windows, so this would be a huge leap forward.

Perhaps the best part of Lunacy is the CSS export feature. You can find tons of plugins that convert Photoshop files into HTML/CSS and you can find many for Sketch as well.

Lunacy is the first program on Windows that lets you open a Sketch file and export it to raw HTML/CSS code. You can inspect each layer, study the colors/sizes/dimensions, and alter these in CSS if needed.

Each file opens with 100% accuracy, so this program feels much like a native Sketch application.

Screenshot example Lunacy sketch editor

If you’re a heavy Windows power user and need a way to support Sketch then this is the way to go. Until Sketch releases their own program for Windows, there isn’t much else on the market beyond a VM. And, Lunacy is a lot easier than that!

Check out the Lunacy homepage to learn more and download a free copy of the program. It has both a full installable version and a portable version if you want to keep it handy on a USB or in a cloud account. Either way, Lunacy will remain free for life, so it’s a trustworthy Sketch viewer you can count on.

10 Best Video Tools to Make Compelling Videos Easily

A picture speaks louder than words, but what speaks even louder than a picture is a compelling video. Whether you need to create animated videos to pitch your business or want to make a video montage to play on your friend’s wedding, there’s no need to hire a professional as long as you have some cool video creation tools available.

There are tools that turn your photos and movie clips into engaging videos. In this post, I have picked the best video creation tools that are full of features and can be easily used by anyone. Come let’s give it a look.

Top Picks

Prezi

Though Prezi is essentially a presentation tool, but you can also create videos out of it using any third party screen recording tool. One of its kind presentation maker, Prezi lets you put your ideas on a zoomable canvas and create interesting presentations.

Customize Prezi's presentations your way

You can create fun presentations and customize them quickly by tuning details like font size and angles, and adding, audio clips, etc. It also has numerous pre-designed templates to quickly create a great video. Moreover, you can also import PowerPoint presentations and convert them into videos.

A pre-designed Prezi template

Pricing: 14-day free trial and $5 – $59 per month after trial period | More details

Slidely Show

One of the easiest tools I’ve used, Slidely Show lets you compile short videos, photos or perfect shots into slideshow videos. You can organize a sequence of media items and add real-time effects, music, and even a message to create an amazing video in just a few minutes.

Create videos with ten-tools-to-create-compelling-videos on Slidely

You can edit colors and fonts, and even edit/replace the footage. You can live-preview the videos in the editor as it renders edits, saves changes, and then plays the video automatically. And it allows you to make and save as many drafts as you need.

Pricing: Free

Magisto

If you’re looking for a tool that lets you shoot clips and make videos, then Magisto is what you need. It allows you to shoot video clips, add photos, put in audio clips or voice recordings and add more videos to create your awesome movie — easier than ever.

Magisto has a built-in video editor that selects the best clips and handles the time-consuming process of video editing and enhancing your clips. You can select a style or theme for your video, and the editor adds professional effects, transitions, zoom and pan options to give movement to static shots and does much more — all by itself.

Create videos using photos on Magisto

You can add a soundtrack from its own library or even upload from your personal playlist, and edit color and style options to create a video that resonates your brand. Though its premium subscription offers unlimited downloads yet you need to pay $0.99 per video to download on a basic subscription.

Add soundtracks in Magisto movies

Pricing: Free to try and then $2.49 – $49.99 per month | More details

Animoto

Just like Magisto, Animoto allows you to choose pictures and clips and turn them into video slideshows. Though Animoto doesn’t allow you to capture photos or videos through the app itself, but it does offer a handsome collection of media wherein you get access to 2,000+ commercially licensed audio tracks and 100+ styling options.

Animoto's easy storyboard editor

There are pre-built storyboards in Animoto and feature to add a short voice-over, custom text and layout configuration options to suit your needs. Lastly, Animoto lets you create HD videos and download them in MP4 format (only if you use its premium plans).

Customise with advanced layout in Animoto

Pricing: 14-day free trial and $8 – $34 per month for pro features | More details

Kizoa

If you’re a photo blogger or enjoy creating GIFs, then this user-friendly video creator is just for you. You can use photos (including GIFs), audio clips, and transitions and visual effects along with pre-designed templates for developing videos.

Also, if you wish to configure everything by yourself from scratch, there’re an array of tools for that too.

Kizoa's options to create a video

You can use the many features of Kizoa’s video editor that offers to cut long videos into short clips, add transitions and special effects as well as include a music, audio clip, and text.

Play/preview videos on Kizoa

Pricing: Free to try and $29.99 – $299.99 for lifetime membership | More details

Flixpress

Flixpress is an amazing bargain as it’s easy to use and creates high-quality videos for less than $1 per month. The tool caters to professional as well as personal needs and allows sharing videos on social media. It offers numerous pre-built templates — some come free but others are available on paid plans only.

Flixpress avails multiple templates

The tool matches the features of above tools and offers objects, photos and audio libraries to help you get most creative. Moreover, you can also upload and add your own photos, videos and audio clips, and the created videos can be saved in MP4 video format as well as additional formats like MOV or WMV.

Preview/play a Flixpress template or video

Pricing: Free to try and then $0.83 – $79.99 per month | More details

Muvee

If you love creating movies to tell stories, then Muvee is what you should use. The tool lets you create videos automatically by simply selecting the photos and videos, editing colors and style, and customizing text, titles and other options. You can also enhance your videos with blockbuster-style cinematic titles and numerous frames, graffiti, and stickers.

Muvee's video creator

You can include a voice-over, trim the music directly, add color filters, even highlight the best moments in the video, along with the ability to edit multiple photos and videos in minutes.

Another exciting feature is its collaborative environment for video creators that allows multiple creators to edit and save videos at the same time.

Add a voice over in Muvee

Pricing: Free for basic features and $79 – $499 per month for pro features | More details

MAGIX Video Easy

Video Easy is well-equipped with tools and wizards to help beginners and novice users create awesome videos. Its video editing wizard does everything for you in just a few clicks — just include the photos and videos and follow the on-screen instructions.

Optimize/adjust video in Magix

Video Easy lets you be creative using pre-loaded stylish transitions, video effects, color filters, and audio editing tools to assist you in adding music or a voice-over to the video. It also has an intuitive export feature (unlike some above tools) that makes it very easy and straightforward to save your video, export it or share it online.

Export options in Magix editor

Pricing: 30-day free trial and after that $49.99 for a year | More details

Movavi Video Suite

If you’re looking for unlimited creativity, Movavi Video Suite is a comprehensive video making software with lots of powerful features. Using Movavi, you can create professional-looking movies and slideshows as well as record videos using a webcam and capture your screen.

Capture webcam using Movavi

Though its functionality is extensive, yet Movavi is simple to work with. It lets you cut and join video clips while maintaining the quality of the video, apply video effects, various filters, music, and titles. Moreover, the suite supports 180+ media formats and offers a utility for burning movies onto DVDs.

Add filters to video using Movavi

Pricing: 7-day free trial and $99.95 – $119.95 for lifetime | More details

More Tools

Here are more video creating tools that are also worth mentioning.

Rendrfx
Numerous video templates of Rendrfx

Pricing: Free to try and subscription for $49 – $299 per month | More details

Shakr
Shakr allows trimming shots

Pricing: Free to try and $84 – $254 per month after trial ends | More details

Telestream

Pricing: Free to try with basic features and $99 – $175 for pro features | More details

Motion graphics library by Telestream
Camtasia
Add/import media files in Camtasia

Pricing: Free to try and subscription for one-time $199 | More details

Are you ready to make your pick?

I have personally selected these video creation tools for my readers based on their ease of use and features they offer, and all of them can be equally useful for novice as well as veteran video creators.

What do you think of these tools? Do you wish to share your own story of video making? Then just write a comment below.