Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Universal Extractor

There are many filetypes we deal with in Windows that are compressed archives, but may not have an extension that tells Windows this. A good example would be an Android .app file. Installers are also usually just archives with some sort of script attached telling the un-archiver where to put everything. Universal Extractor, from Legroom.net is the best way to deal with these files.

You can use Universal Extractor as a full Windows application, integrated into the shell, or as a simple drag and drop app. If you choose the latter, there are also portable versions of UE out there if you want to load it up with your USB tools, or add it to a custom PE disk. A full install gives right-click options on almost any file.

I first discovered UE when I read an article somewhere on making your own portable apps. This works because UE will unpack many common installers. After unpacking, just put all of the binaries and support DLL's, etc in one directory and try to run. This method does not always work, but for many applications it does.

As a day-to-day extractor UE works fine, but I think it is a bit slow for me. Usually for routine extracting I prefer 7zip.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

BBSAK (Blackberry Swiss Army Knife)

If you have ever had to deal with a corrupted Blackberry, you know how frustrating it can be to completely wipe a locked, or non-functioning berry. This application, Blackberry Swiss Army Knife can do things not available in the regular desktop software. BBSAK is a replacement for JL Cmdr, and is a front end for RIM's java loader command line tool, as was JL Cmdr.

BBSAK offers backup and restore options, 3rd party app backup, OS loading, factory reset, complete device wipe (leaving you at the 'error 507' screen) for replacing a corrupted OS, read the device logs, create and restore JAD files from CODs, and many more advanced features. Get it here.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Hiren's Boot CD

I know what some of you who may know about Hiren's already are thinking. Hiren's is free but contains software of questionable origin. This is no longer the case folks! For those of you that do not know about Hiren's Boot Cd already, Hiren's is a collection of over 300 programs and utilities bundled into a bootable CD image. You can boot into a DOS environment for low-level utilities like HDAT2 (a great hard drive recovery utility like SpinRite, or HDDRegenerator), or boot into a Windows environment with a large collection of tools and utilities. Hiren's used to come with pirated versions of Ghost, HDDRegenerator, Acronis, and others. The newer versions contain all free software. I would guess the Windows section is in a gray-license area, but I'll leave that moral dilemma up to you. The .iso file is available from several sources. Just search for "Hirens Boot CD .iso" in your favorite search engine. There are also directions on the Hiren's web site for making a bootable USB stick out of the .iso file. Hiren's CD Homepage

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


How many times have you attempted to delete or edit a file in Windows only to be told that it was in use? Or tried to safely eject a drive and refused because something is accessing the drive in question? Unlocker is the answer. A simple application that runs in the system tray, and pops up when it senses an "in-use" dialog. For locked drives, you can right-click the drive in question and get a list of programs that are currently accessing it. You are then given options to unlock the object, or kill the process that is locking it. Unlocker is free to use. The developer asks that if you appreciate his work, you may donate towards its future development. Download here.