Speed up Windows boot time

Every time I install windows on my computer I notice it's booting up and starting up really fast, might be done in less than a minute actually.

Later, about a month or 2 (Or sometimes less) you have to notice the startup time is really increasing. When I was younger I used to reformat my hard-disk and re-install Windows. See, I was a geek with a lot of time in hand. Until recently I found and started using a software called Soluto.

Unlike many software that claim to speed up your boot time by deleting un-needed registry keys or deleting temporary and useless files. Soluto identifies your software and tracks the ones that run during windows boot and startup and calculates the time each process needs to finish it's startup.

After it processes your software for the first time (after the first boot) using their 'PC Genome' database. They identify which processes shouldn't be in the boot, and the ones that you might not need during windows startup, and the last type... stuff you should keep in the boot.

What you do after that is your own choice. Just open the Soluto window:-

 

Click on the "Chop Boot" button, or just point to it. They have some really nice animations. And you'll get a window that looks like:-

You can see the 3 groups of software (another one will pop out later) and in my case the green group (The ones you really won't be missing) is all removed.

And by removed you don't have to uninstall, Soluto gives you the option to either 'pause' a process (meaning it won't run in windows boot) or you can 'delay' a process (meaning it'll run a minute or two after the boot is done).

Soluto is smart and has a great database so it'll tell you many things you might want to know about a process before you make your decision. It'll also tell you exactly how many seconds it's taking this process to startup.

The only thing I hate about Soluto is having to uninstall (and loose my settings) and resintall on every update they have. Which kinda sucks.

They have many other features that either don't work or not that useful (Like choosing extensions to disable to speedup your browser startup, or Crash handling that is not working so far).

But if you want my opinion, you really should have this thing installed on your computer.

Reigning Pwn2Own champion: "The main thing is not to install Flash!"

Here are the highlights from Miller's interview:

He thinks Windows 7 will prove more secure than OS X Snow Leopard this year, in part because it doesn't have Java and Flash enabled by default. Windows' full ASLR (address space layout randomization) also gives it a security advantage.

When asked what he thought would make the safest OS and browser combo, he opted for Chrome or IE8 on Windows 7, with no Flash installed, although 'there probably isn't enough difference between the browsers to get worked up about.'

For my money, the juiciest quote from the interview was 'The main thing is not to install Flash!'

On the mobile side, Miller guessed that the iPhone 3GS would be more easily exploitable than the Motorola Droid, mainly because the iPhone's been around longer, and has been subjected to more extensive security research.

You can check out Miller's full answers (in English or Italian!) at OneITSecurity.

How To Force Extension Compatibility with Firefox 3.6+

If you’ve already upgraded to Firefox 3.6, you might have noticed that many of your extensions no longer work, and the old checkCompatibility trick doesn’t work anymore. Or does it?
Thanks to my good buddy Daniel for pointing out the change in Firefox 3.6. His personal blog is so nerdy it will make your head explode.

Force Extension Compatibility with Firefox 3.6+

This is the error you get when you try and install an extension that isn’t compatible. Pay special attention to the Firefox version string, as we’ll need that later.

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Type about:config into the address bar, and then after clicking through the warning, you’ll want to right-click in the list and choose New –> Boolean from the menu.

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Now we’ll be prompted to enter the preference name. This is where you need to pay attention to the exact version you are using, because the preference has to be set for the exact version of Firefox you are using.

We’re using Firefox 3.6b3, as noted in the error message above, so the preference would be the following… note the capital C there, very important.

extensions.checkCompatibility.3.6b

Basically the format is extensions.checkCompatibility.VERSION.b for Beta releases or extensions.checkCompatibility.VERSION.a for Alpha releases. So if you were testing out Firefox 3.8 Alpha, you’d use extensions.checkCompatibility.3.8a as the preference name.

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Yeah, that wasn’t the simplest thing. On the next dialog, just choose “false” and close the dialog.

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You should now see the value in the list if you filter for it.

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And your extensions should now install. If they don’t, then you probably put the wrong version into the preference name.

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Definitely a very useful tip, and one that I suspect I’ll be using all the time.<div_prefs id="div_prefs">

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Opera 10 beta 3 speeds up, drops Unite, tweaks interface

Opera 10 beta 3 speeds up, drops Unite, tweaks interface: "

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Late last night Opera pushed out the third beta of the upcoming v10. There are plenty of feature updates and changes in this version, including a reported 40% speed boost to the Presto engine, improved Turbo compression, and a number of interface tweaks.

Visual tab previews can now be displayed on the left or right - in previous versions, thumbnails only appeared if your tab bar was placed on the top or bottom. There's also an auto-updater built in and a better inline spell checker, thanks to the open source Hunspell project.

Gone from beta 3 is Opera's server-in-browser project Unite. Because it is still in the alpha stage of development the decision was made to deliver Unite as a separate download.

Beta 3 definitely feels faster than previous versions, though it still came up short in benchmarks like Dromaeo and Peacekeeper. With my usual set of half a dozen 'core' web apps open, Opera initially used about 40mb memory less than Firefox 3.5. However, as I kept my session open usage continued to climb, ultimately peaking around 230mb (about the same as Google Chrome 3 on the same system).

Browser battle: Firefox 3.1 vs. Chrome vs. IE 8

Mozilla's second alpha of Firefox 3.1 is upping the ante in the next-generation browser battle. So how do the main contenders stack up so far now? One thing's for sure, the Firefox team has taken note of Google's recent Chrome release and worked hard to make sure its offering can hold its own.

Mozilla had already claimed its 3.1 version could outperform Chrome when it comes to speed (and most independent tests show it at least tying). Now, the engineers have incorporated Chrome-initiated options such as the ability to drag and drop tabs in and out of browser windows. The second alpha release also adds support for the HTML 5 video tag , which gives Web developers expanded options for embedding video within a page. Don't forget, too, that Microsoft's new Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 -- released at the end of August and quickly eclipsed by Chrome's introduction -- is also vying for a piece of the pie.

Contender #1: Google Chrome
The status: Windows beta released September 2. Mac OS X and Linux versions still under development and said to be coming soon. No indication of targeted full release date.

The good:
-- Reliability. Chrome's multiprocess architecture makes a bad Web page less likely to take down the whole browser.

-- Speed. Chrome loads fast and keeps your surfing super-fast.

-- Simplicity. Its clean design wastes no screen space.

-- Searching. The Omnibox lets you type search terms or URLs into a single spot and figures out what you want.

-- Privacy. Chrome offers an "Incognito" mode that lets you easily leave no footprints from where you've been.

The bad:
-- Privacy. Chrome's taken a lot of heat for its monitoring and collection of user data, some of which happens before you even hit enter.

-- Security. It didn't take long for users to discover vulnerabilities in the beta browser. Several of these have already been patched.

-- Reliability. Some sites and online services still don't work with Chrome.

-- Consistency. Because Chrome is build on the WebKit system, it differs from the dominant platforms that most designers focus on.

-- Support. Chrome doesn't yet have any add-ons or customization options available. It's yet to be seen how these, once developed, will compare to the rich options available for Firefox.

Contender #2: Firefox 3.1
The status: Second alpha build released September 5. Beta expected in the next month. Full release targeted for end of 2008.

The good:
-- Strong foundation. Mozilla's already built a loyal following with Firefox, and it doesn't intend on letting that go. With Firefox 3.1, you know you'll have a powerful library of add-ons and support already at your fingertips, not to mention the slew of other assets unveiled in Firefox 3.0.

-- Speed. Mozilla says its still-under-development TraceMonkey JavaScript platform will leave Google's V8 in the dust. The second alpha build revs things up, too, with added support for "Web workers" -- a system that lets multiple scripts run as background processes.

-- Competitive edge. Mozilla's developers have good reason to watch what Chrome is doing -- and work to match it, if not one-up it.

The bad:
-- Security questions. Some studies -- albeit, Microsoft-funded ones -- have suggested Firefox, with its frequent new versions, is more susceptible to threats than the other options.

-- Crash potential. Unlike Chrome, Firefox does not have separate environments for each tab -- so one rogue page can still take the whole program down.

-- Support. Firefox has worked hard to snag a small portion of the browser market share, and most early predictions show Chrome taking away more of its userbase than IE's.

-- Google's focus on Chrome will also take away some of its previous focus on Mozilla's development efforts. Will Firefox be able to remain a key player in the browser war?

Contender #3: Internet Explorer 8
The status: Second beta released August 27. Full release expected before the end of 2008.

The good:
-- Support. Love it or hate it, Internet Explorer is hanging on to about three-quarters of the browsing market with its default status in all Windows machines. You know developers and designers are going to cater to it.

-- Security. With Microsoft at its helm, IE hangs on to a reputation of safe and reliable browsing.

-- Privacy. IE 8 was the first to offer a no-record browsing mode, branded here as InPrivate Browsing.

-- Searching. IE 8's Smart Address Bar offers similar functionality to Chrome's Omnibox, letting you type in URLs or search terms and taking you to the right place.

-- Added add-ons. IE 8 finally catches up to Firefox with a new "Gallery" full of third-party add-on options..

The bad:
-- Speed. Independent tests have found IE 8 to be significantly slower than the alternative choices. Resources. IE 8 uses a lot of memory compared to its competitors -- a factor that could considerably slow down the rest of your system.

-- Crash potential. While IE 8 does use separate processes for tabs, similar to Chrome's approach, it does not do so to the same degree

still leaving room for a total meltdown.

-- Competition questions. Can IE's add-ons reach the level of Firefox's? Already, some users are complaining of problems even getting them to work.

That's the lowdown on the battle's current status. Remember, all three of these programs are still early in their development, so many of the pluses and minuses could change as things move forward. One thing's for sure, though: This battle is on, it's growing fierce, and each of its contenders will do anything it can to win.