About CCleaner's Easy Clean Mode 2019-05-15 18:04:09

Piriform released on May 15, 2019. The new version of the popular cleaning software introduces a new simplified cleaning mode called Easy Clean. We followed development of the program for a long time, you can still read our 2007 "second look" of CCleaner.

Piriform calls it one of the "biggest changes in CCleaner history" as it makes the program more accessible to a non-tech savvy audience. CCleaner's new mode helps non-technical users clean their devices through an easier to follow and understand workflow.

We started looking at CCleaner and its interface through the eyes of a non-technical CCleaner user and decided to design an alternative cleaning flow. We wanted to simplify cleaning, guide users through it, and serve up information in a way they understand (so they know what they're cleaning and the benefits of doing so).

Easy Clean

ccleaner easy clean

The new Easy Clean mode is placed at the top of the sidebar, the place of the original cleaning mode; that mode is still there, but it has been renamed to Custom Clean. Experienced users and those who want more control over the cleaning process need to select Custom Clean. The mode offers the same options as before.

Easy Clean displays a single button in its interface. Analyze works similarly to CCleaner's original mode but it gives users no customization options.

Analyze checks if web browsers run and prompts you to close them, just like CCleaner's regular mode does. You can skip that and continue but data won't be deleted in that case. CCleaner focuses on Trackers and Junk in that case.

easy mode ccleaner delete

The scan displays the number of trackers and the total size of the identified junk after the scan completes. You can click on review links to display additional information but you can't make a case by case decision as Piriform moved the decision making steps up a level.

You can decide to clean certain browsers for instance but not which trackers, and the same is true for identified junk. A click on "clean all" removes the data from the device.

Closing Words

Easy 'Mode makes the cleaning simpler and more straightforward. Technical users won't find much use in the new mode, but it may help inexperienced users who feel overwhelmed by the program's cleaning options.

While I think that it is better that these users put in an hour or so of work to understand the cleaning options of custom clean, some might prefer an easy option to clean some of the data that CCleaner supports.

Piriform learned from the past. The company made Easy Clean the default but added an option to CCleaner's Settings to change that to Custom Clean mode instead. Just select Options > Settings > CCleaner Home Screen > Custom Clean to make it the start mode of the program.

Now You: What is your take on the program's new Easy Clean mode?

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NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher: remove resolution and refresh rate limits 2019-05-15 13:22:22

NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher is a free program for Microsoft Windows devices that removes certain resolution and refresh rate limits.

The program detects limits and may patch the values to allow higher resolutions and refresh rates. It checks for certain limits and displays those that it finds in the interface. In the case of our test machine, DL-DVI, SL-DVI/HDMI, HDMI-DVI, SL-DVI on DL-DVI, TMDS.

You may download the latest version of the NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher from the developer's website. The program is updated regularly to address changes in newer drivers that Nvidia releases regularly.

NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher modifies the NVIDIA video driver to allow higher resolutions and refresh rates by removing the 165 MHz pixel clock limit for single-link DVI and HDMI, the 330 MHz limit for dual-link DVI, and the 400 MHz limit for SLI and 400/500-series GPUs.

NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher

NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher requires a Nvidia 400-series or newer graphics processing unit and Windows Vista or newer.

nvidia pixel clock patcher

The archive that you download comes with two executable files:

  • nvlddmkm-patcher.exe -- the regular patcher
  • nvlddmkm-patcher-full.exe -- the patcher for Catleap/QNIX/Tempest/X-Star users with with 400/500-series GPUs.

The application detects existing limits on start. You may select "yes" to patch the limits or "no" to cancel the entire process. Nvidia Pixel Clock Patcher displays a notification after the patching. Note that you may need to reboot the system before the new options become available.

We suggest that you create a backup of the system before you run the patch. Note that new driver installations will undo the changes made by the patch. You need to run the application again to patch the values after new driver installations.

The application creates a backup and when you run it again includes an option to restore the defaults.

Patched drivers allow higher refresh rates which you may set using the Nvidia Control Panel or third-party applications such as Custom Resolution Utility. New resolutions or refresh rates may not be presented directly unless you use a program like Custom Resolution Utility.

The current version has three known issues that users need to be aware of before running the patcher.

The full patch breaks HDCP support. It is only needed if the pixel clock is greater than 400 MHz with 400/500-series GPUs or SLI with 600/700-series GPUs until 391.35.
NVIDIA cards will not reduce clock speeds when idle if the vertical blanking/total is too low.
400/500-series cards will not reduce clock speeds if the pixel clock is greater than 404 MHz.

Closing Words

NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher is a specialized programs for Nvidia graphics processing units; most Windows users may have no desire to run this but some may find it useful to remove certain limitations.

Now You: What is your preferred resolution and refresh rate?

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Sound Editor Audacity 2.3.2 update integrates MP3 Encoder 2019-05-15 11:43:14

A new update for the sound editor Audacity to version 2.3.2 resolves a long-standing inconvenience: the editor comes with integrated MP3 encoder for the first time.

The version bump from Audacity 2.3.1 to 2.3.2 suggests that it is a minor update. If you followed Audacity updates over the years, you know that updates for the audio editor are released two or three times a year only.

The new update comes just two months after the upgrade to Audacity 2.3.1 in March 2019. The last update before that, version 2.3.0, was released in September 2018.

Audacity is a powerful editor that you may use for all kinds of audio editing and creating tasks. You may use it to merge mp3 or wav files, create white noise audio files of any length, or use it to create ringtones (does anyone do that anymore these days?)

Audacity 2.3.2

audacity 2.3.2 release

Audacity 2.3.2 is a cross-platform update for Windows, Mac OS and Linux devices. Downloads are provided on the official Audacity website; Windows users may select a portable version or installer. Updates install fine over existing installations, portable users need to overwrite program files to update.

The new version improves the user experience, especially that of new users, significantly. It includes the LAME MP3 encoder so that it is no longer necessary to download it separately to integrate MP3 functionality in the program.

audacity lame

You can load any mp3 audio file in Audacity right on first run and it will work just fine in the new release.

Patents expired, according to the release notes, so that it is now possible to integrate the MP3 encoder directly.

The remaining changes are not all that exiting. The team fixed over 20 bugs that affected version 2.3.1 including a crash, and added a new select button to select the entire track in the Audacity interface.

The mod-script-pipe to control Audacity using Python has been integrated in the new version. It is not enabled by default but you may enable the functionality in the preferences according to the release notes.

Closing Words

The integration of a native MP3 encoder improves the experience of first time users significantly. Mp3 is one of the most popular audio formats and most users who use audio editors probably need it supported.

Audacity 2.3.2 takes care of that.

Now You: do you use an audio editor?

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Enable new Firefox Recommended Extensions suggestions in Firefox 68 Nightly 2019-05-15 09:59:49

Mozilla announced the launch of the Firefox Recommended Extensions program in April 2019 to increase the visibility of extensions and promote them better.

The program differs from Mozilla's current practice of displaying add-on recommendations to Firefox users. Firefox users may see a list of extensions when they open the Add-ons Manager of the web browser, visit the Mozilla AMO website (official extensions repository), or through the contextual extension recommendations feature of the Firefox browser.

The new program takes the concept a step further. Extensions need to meet certain requirements for inclusion in the program; among them a commitment from the developer, that they pass manual reviews each time they are updated and initially, and that they need to be "really good" at what they do.

Extensions that make it are promoted by Mozilla in various ways. The organization plans them to power the recommendations that Firefox displays on about:addons and contextually, and promote them on Mozilla AMO and through other means.

Tip: we asked you which extensions you'd like to see promoted by Mozilla recently.

Firefox 68: the new recommendations

personalize firefox extension recommendations

Mozilla integrated the new recommendations page of about:addons in the latest Firefox 68 Nightly version. The page is not enabled by default at the time, but can be enabled in the following way:

  1. Load about:config in the Firefox address bar.
  2. Confirm that you are careful if the warning is displayed.
  3. Search for
  4. Toggle the value to True (enabled).

Visit about:addons afterwards to see the new page in action. It looks similarly to the old but there are some differences. Technically, the new recommendations page is no longer loaded as an iframe but a native page.

Firefox connects to two Mozilla-owned domains to pull recommendations and images; the browser downloaded a HTML document previously as well as scripts and styles previously.

old personalize firefox
Firefox's current personalize page

When you compare the old page to the new, you will notice differences immediately. The general page layout is very similar to the classic page but Mozilla added ratings and user counts to the page.

Add-ons are listed with their name, developer, and description in the current version; the new recommendations page lists ratings and user counts. Both useful to determine the quality of an extension.

Listed add-ons are reviewed manually by Mozilla, another core difference to current recommendations. Mozilla will review each update of extensions that are in the Recommended Extensions Program which improves security significantly.

The new Personalization page listed four browser add-ons and three themes:

More extensions will be added to the program in the future so that users may see some variation when opening about:addons.

The feature will land in Firefox Stable eventually; it is unclear if the switch will happen when Firefox Stable reaches version 68.

Now You: What is your take on Firefox's Extensions Recommendation Program? (via Techdows)

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MDS Tool: find out if you are vulnerable to Microarchitectural Data Sampling Attacks (MDS) 2019-05-15 06:21:45

MDS Tool is a free cross-platform security program for Windows and Linux devices that checks whether the system's hardware is vulnerable to Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) attacks.

Intel disclosed a new group of security issues in its processors on May 14, 2019 that it calls "Microarchitectural Data Sampling". The flaws are related to speculative execution attacks such as Spectre or Meltdown discovered last year. The issue affects all modern Intel CPUs in servers, desktops, and laptops.

Rogue In-Flight Data Load (RIDL) and Fallout, two MDS attacks, differ from last year's attacks in several meaningful ways that make them potentially more powerful. The attacks don't depend on the processor cache and don't need to make assumptions about the memory layout. They leak arbitrary in-flight data from internal CPU buffers.

Attacks, when carried out successfully, read data from other system processes and could lead to the leaking of sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or cookies.

Attackers who can run unprivileged code on machines with recent Intel CPUs - whether using shared cloud computing resources, or using JavaScript on a malicious website or advertisement - can steal data from other programs running on the same machine, across any security boundary: other applications, the operating system kernel, other VMs (e.g., in the cloud), or even secure (SGX) enclaves. (via)

Microsoft released patches for some versions of Windows on yesterday's Patch Tuesday, Canonical released updates for Ubuntu yesterday as well.

MDS Tool

mds tool

MDS Tool is a comprehensive program that you may run on your system to find out if it is vulnerable to certain attacks. You can download the program from the MSD Attacks website.

It has been updated recently to integrate vulnerability checks for the disclosed MSD attacks. Just run the program after download and scroll down to the Micro-architectural Data Sampling section of the interface.

There you find whether the system you ran the software program on is vulnerable to the attacks or if it is protected.

If you have not installed patches yet that mitigate the issues, it will report as vulnerable.


Here is a list of resources that offer additional information:

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