Articles in Category: Software

A computer screen with a red 'unsupported' stamp over outdated software icons. The background features a person looking concerned, surrounded by warning symbols, and security icons like shields and locks.

Unsupported Software Survival Guide: Mitigate Risks and Stay Protected

While using unsupported software is discouraged, sometimes it’s the only option. I’ll discuss the ramifications, alternatives, and what you need to do to stay safe.

A photorealistic image of a computer screen overflowing with icons, windows, and notifications, representing the abundance of features and capabilities added to software over time.

Why Does Software Only Seem to Get Bigger?

It’s a march of technological progress: computers can do more, and we expect software to do more. That leaves those of us with older machines in a difficult spot.

A person in an office environment, looking slightly frustrated, sitting at a desk with a computer screen open. On the screen, a PDF document is displayed, and next to it, a Google Docs window showing a partially converted document with noticeable formatting differences. The room is filled with technology gadgets and a large window showing a cityscape outside, suggesting a modern, tech-savvy individual dealing with the challenge of converting a PDF to a Word document using Google Drive. Scattered on the desk are notes and a pen, hinting at the manual effort required to clean up the converted document. This scene captures the essence of the struggle and workaround for editing PDFs, which were never meant to be edited or converted, highlighting the free solution provided by Google Drive and Docs.

How Do I Convert PDF to Word for Free?

PDFs were never meant to be edited or converted. There are some workarounds, though. I’ll show you one that’s free.

In a popular animation style, depict a person transferring software from an old desktop computer to a new laptop. The old desktop is a Dell, cluttered with CDs and USB drives, symbolizing the software to be transferred. The new laptop is sleek, modern, and has a screen displaying a progress bar, indicating the ongoing transfer. The person, a young adult of Middle-Eastern descent, is intently focused, working on both computers simultaneously. The setting is a cozy home office, with tech gadgets and notes around, indicating a tech-savvy environment. The overall tone is vibrant and engaging

How Do I Transfer Purchased Software to My New Machine?

Transferring installed software to a new machine isn’t as easy as we might like. I’ll list the options.

Progression: 8 to 16 to 32 to 64.

What’s So Special About 32?

32, like 16 before it and 64 to follow, is special simply because computers think in powers of 2, as does Windows itself.

Risks Ahead

What Does “Unsupported Software” Really Mean?

“Unsupported software” can refer to different things. I’ll review variations on the theme and revisit the question of whether unsupported software can be used safely.


Where Can I Download Old Software Versions?

After releasing a new version of software manufacturers often make older versions difficult to find. What if you really do need an old version?

Open Source Software

Open Source Doesn’t Mean Free

Open-source software is not necessarily free, though there is a high correlation.

Power Button

My #1 Debugging Technique

You already know what it is. The trick is to remember to do it in the frustration of the moment.

DVD in tray.

How Do I Open an ISO File in Windows

ISO files are a common disk-image distribution format. We’ll look at the best ways to open and use ISO files.


Why Can’t I Boot From an SD Card?

You probably can boot from an SD card, but it’s likely to be more cumbersome than just using a USB thumb drive.

The Sysinternals Web Page.

Installing SysInternals Tools

Microsoft has made these free tools easier to get and keep automatically updated.


Why Does a Scan of a Simple Text Document Result in Such a Large File?

Scanned documents can result in large graphics files that are too large to email. I’ll review options for more manageable results.


Can I ZIP Photos or MP3 Files to Save Space?

Most music, picture, and movie files are already compressed. Compressing them again won’t make much difference, and could even make them larger.

"Start Over" button.

Sometimes It’s Faster If You Just Start Over

Sometimes the best solution is to give up trying to find a solution.

Docker + VirtualBox = Confusion

What I Do When Software Stops Working

I had a serious problem with an app I rely on in Windows 10. I’ll walk you through my experience solving it, and show how the process relates to you.

Can I Delete Setup Files I’ve Downloaded?

Can I Delete Setup Files I’ve Downloaded?

You can safely delete setup files after you’ve set up the corresponding software, but only if you do something important first.


How to Find Software Support

Finding support for software and services can be a challenge. I’ll breakdown the places to look and the steps to take.

Full Resolution Puppy

How Do I Print Pictures from Websites So They Look Good?

Printing pictures displayed on screen so they look good turns out to be surprisingly difficult, if not downright impossible.

Image in OneNote

Use OneNote for Basic OCR

If you have OneNote, you already have basic OCR capability on your computer.


What the CCleaner Hack Means to You

CCleaner, a popular Windows utility, accidentally included malware in its download for a time. Here’s my take on what to be concerned about and what to do.


What Is DRM?

DRM is digital copyright protection. Unfortunately, it’s both imperfect and annoying.

Acrobat Extension Added

Remove Adobe’s Stealth Chrome Extension

An Adobe Acrobat update is installing more than just an update.

Flash Update

An Easy-to-Miss Source of PUPs

PUPs, or Potentially Unwanted Programs, appear when least expected.


Is It Illegal to Download Torrent Files?

Torrent files are used by bitTorrent file sharing and downloading technology. Are they illegal? No. But something else might be.

Why Didn’t Microsoft Fix the Bug I Care About?

Not all bugs will be fixed or be fixed quickly. Not all bugs are even actually bugs. I’ll look at why some bugs might never get fixed – even those you consider important.

LastPass Export Item

What happens when applications die?

It pays to prepare for, or at least think about, the day that the application on which you rely stops working or is no longer supported. In some cases preparations are simple. In other cases it may have you consider alternative applications.

PDF file in Adobe Reader

How Do I Download and Read a PDF eBook?

Ebooks are commonly distributed as simple PDF files which you can download and then read on your computer or other devices using any of several free PDF readers.

Heck No!

How do I keep my browser from being hijacked?

Be careful where you download things, and know exactly what you’re downloading. Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) are becoming common.

4 Cores

Why is only one core on my multi-core processor being maxed out?

You may have a multi-core processor, but not all software can utilize more than one core.

Cleaning Up

Why Might an Uninstalled Program Still Be Listed?

Obviously, something has been left behind by the uninstall process. But do we even need to worry about it?


Is There Software that Will Transform Poor Quality Images and Videos?

You can’t add data to an image to make it better, but there are some tricks that can make it visually more appealing.

MSN-Problems (IMZers) (formerly I get a lot of questions from people having problems with MSN Messenger. A lot of questions. turns out to be a very helpful resource with recommendations for each of the various MSN Messenger versions and error codes that people are experiencing. There’s also a very active forum with even more … Read more

What’s “Invalid startup directory, please check your pif file”?

Boy… now there’s a blast from the past. QBasic has a long history dating back to the days of MS-DOS. QBasic was the free Basic programming language interpreter that was included with MS-DOS, and eventually Windows, though it appears to have vanished from Windows XP, if not from earlier versions. I feel a personal connection … Read more

How do I download Process Explorer?

Not a problem. Process Explorer is one of my favorite, can’t live without it, tools. I recommend it’s use frequently when diagnosing problems. But rather than describing how to download it, let me show you.

What’s on Your Nerdstick?

I talk about the software I use most often and that I make sure to take with me when diagnosing computer problems.

How do I convert a Word document into a PDF file?

PDF, or Portable Document Format, is a common format for sharing documents. Turning your Word document into a PDF can be as simple as printing.