There is a rich catalog of Windows 7 themes at devaintart.com. With the
concerns over privacy using Windows 10, some users are sticking with
Windows 7 SP1. But there is no use accepting the standard Windows 7
themes. So I have revisited the "chromium" WPA4 theme from wifajo. It is
the closest thing to a Mac OS desktop, while still using Windows. Sure
there are other MAC themes available for Windows 7. But WPA4 offers a
clean silver theme unique to the Windows experience. Below is a link
where you can download it yourself. Enjoy.
Adobe’s PDF standard is handy whenever you need to distribute some information and be sure that it’s seen the same way by all recipients. But PDF files are also infamously tough to edit.
Unless you’ve paid for Adobe Acrobat (the full version, not just the Reader), you’ll have to look for a specific tool to edit the text of PDFs. Many of these are available on various platforms, but for an easy and free method that works across all kinds of desktops and mobile devices, you can use Google Docs.
If you have your PDF file ready, open drive.google.com in any browser and log in with your Google account. It’s possible to go through this process on mobile with a phone browser, so long as you do it in “desktop view,” but it’s going to be somewhat difficult—get to a full laptop or desktop PC if you can.
Upload your PDF file from your local files by clicking the blue “NEW” button on the left, then “File upload.” Select your PDF and wait for it to upload to Google’s server.
Once the file is in your drive, right-click or long-tap the item in Drive’s main view. Select “Open Open with,” then click “Google Docs.” The PDF document will open in a new browser tab in the Google Docs interface.
From here you can edit any of the text in the PDF document as if it were a standard word processor file. some of the formatting may be a bit off thanks to Docs’ interpretation of the images and spacing in the PDF file, but all of the formatted text should be visible and editable—if it’s a larger file, Docs will even create an automatic outline separated into pages.
You can edit any of the text in this window and save your work online in Google Docs for later. If you’d rather have a standard document file for an offline word processor, click “File,” then “Download as.” Here you can choose from Docx, ODT, TXT, RTF, and other formats, so you can open them in Microsoft Office (or your word processor of choice).
Click on the one you want, and it will immediately be downloaded to your default desktop or phone folder. That’s it! You now have a saved, editable copy of your original PDF, compatible with any word processor.
was a case of spies watching spies watching spies: Israeli intelligence
officers looked on in real time as Russian government hackers searched
computers around the world for the code names of American intelligence
gave the Russian hacking, detected more than two years ago, such global
reach was its improvised search tool — antivirus software made by a
Russian company, Kaspersky Lab, that is used by 400 million people
worldwide, including by officials at some two dozen American government
Israeli officials who had hacked into Kaspersky’s own network alerted
the United States to the broad Russian intrusion, which has not been
previously reported, leading to a decision just last month to order Kaspersky software removed from government computers.
Russian operation, described by multiple people who have been briefed
on the matter, is known to have stolen classified documents from a
National Security Agency employee who had improperly stored them on his
home computer, on which Kaspersky’s antivirus software was installed.
What additional American secrets the Russian hackers may have gleaned
from multiple agencies, by turning the Kaspersky software into a sort of
Google search for sensitive information, is not yet publicly known.
current and former government officials who described the episode spoke
about it on condition of anonymity because of classification rules.
most security software, Kaspersky Lab’s products require access to
everything stored on a computer in order to scour it for viruses or
other dangers. Its popular antivirus software scans for signatures of
malicious software, or malware, then removes or neuters it before
sending a report back to Kaspersky. That procedure, routine for such
software, provided a perfect tool for Russian intelligence to exploit to
survey the contents of computers and retrieve whatever they found of
National Security Agency and the White House declined to comment for
this article. The Israeli Embassy declined to comment, and the Russian
Embassy did not respond to requests for comment.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week
that Russian hackers had stolen classified N.S.A. materials from a
contractor using the Kaspersky software on his home computer. But the
role of Israeli intelligence in uncovering that breach and the Russian
hackers’ use of Kaspersky software in the broader search for American
secrets have not previously been disclosed.
Lab denied any knowledge of, or involvement in, the Russian hacking.
“Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the
world with its cyberespionage efforts,” the company said in a statement
Tuesday afternoon. Kaspersky Lab also said it “respectfully requests any
relevant, verifiable information that would enable the company to begin
an investigation at the earliest opportunity.”
Kaspersky-related breach is only the latest bad news for the security
of American intelligence secrets. It does not appear to be related to a devastating leak
of N.S.A. hacking tools last year to a group, still unidentified,
calling itself the Shadow Brokers, which has placed many of them online.
Nor is it evidently connected to a parallel leak of hacking data from
the C.I.A. to WikiLeaks, which has posted classified C.I.A. documents
regularly under the name Vault7.
years, there has been speculation that Kaspersky’s popular antivirus
software might provide a back door for Russian intelligence. More than
60 percent, or $374 million, of the company’s $633 million in annual
sales come from customers in the United States and Western Europe. Among
them have been nearly two dozen American government agencies —
including the State Department, the Department of Defense, Department of
Energy, Justice Department, Treasury Department and the Army, Navy and
N.S.A. bans its analysts from using Kaspersky antivirus at the agency,
in large part because the agency has exploited antivirus software for
its own foreign hacking operations and knows the same technique is used
by its adversaries.
is the ultimate back door,” Blake Darché, a former N.S.A. operator and
co-founder of Area 1 Security. “It provides consistent, reliable and
remote access that can be used for any purpose, from launching a
destructive attack to conducting espionage on thousands or even millions
Sept. 13, the Department of Homeland Security ordered all federal
executive branch agencies to stop using Kaspersky products, giving
agencies 90 days to remove the software. Acting Department of Homeland
Security Secretary Elaine C. Duke cited the “information security risks”
presented by Kaspersky and said the company’s antivirus and other
software “provide broad access to files” and “can be exploited by
malicious cyber actors to compromise” federal computer systems.
directive, which some officials thought was long overdue, was based, in
large part, on intelligence gleaned from Israel’s 2014 intrusion into
Kaspersky’s corporate systems. It followed months of discussions among
intelligence officials, which included a study of how Kaspersky’s
software works and the company’s suspected ties with the Kremlin.
risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in
collaboration with Kaspersky,” D.H.S. said in its statement, “could
capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise
federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S.
Lab did not discover the Israeli intrusion into its systems until
mid-2015, when a Kaspersky engineer testing a new detection tool noticed
unusual activity in the company’s network. The company investigated and
detailed its findings in June 2015 in a public report.
report did not name Israel as the intruder but noted that the breach
bore striking similarities to a previous attack, known as “Duqu,” which
researchers had attributed to the same nation states responsible for the
infamous Stuxnet cyberweapon. Stuxnet was a joint American-Israeli
operation that successfully infiltrated Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility,
and used malicious code to destroy a fifth of Iran’s uranium centrifuges
reported that its attackers had used the same algorithm and some of the
same code as Duqu, but noted that in many ways it was even more
sophisticated. So the company researchers named the new attack Duqu 2.0,
noting that other victims of the attack were prime Israeli targets.
the targets Kaspersky uncovered were hotels and conference venues used
for closed-door meetings by members of the United Nations Security
Council to negotiate the terms of the Iran nuclear deal — negotiations
from which Israel was excluded. Several targets were in the United
States, which suggested that the operation was Israel’s alone, not a
joint American-Israeli operation like Stuxnet.
researchers noted that attackers had managed to burrow deep into the
company’s computers and evade detection for months. Investigators later
discovered that the Israeli hackers had implanted multiple back doors
into Kaspersky’s systems, employing sophisticated tools to steal
passwords, take screenshots, and vacuum up emails and documents.
its June 2015 report, Kaspersky noted that its attackers seemed
primarily interested in the company’s work on nation-state attacks,
particularly Kaspersky’s work on the “Equation Group” — its private
industry term for the N.S.A. — and the “Regin” campaign, another
industry term for a hacking unit inside the United Kingdom’s
intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters, or
intelligence officers informed the N.S.A. that in the course of their
Kaspersky hack, they uncovered evidence that Russian government hackers
were using Kaspersky’s access to aggressively scan for American
government classified programs, and pulling any findings back to Russian
intelligence systems. They provided their N.S.A. counterparts with
solid evidence of the Kremlin campaign in the form of screenshots and
other documentation, according to the people briefed on the events.
It is not clear whether, or to what degree, Eugene V. Kaspersky,
the founder of Kaspersky Lab, and other company employees have been
complicit in the hacking using their products. Technical experts say
that at least in theory, Russian intelligence hackers could have
exploited Kaspersky’s worldwide deployment of software and sensors
without the company’s cooperation or knowledge. Another possibility is
that Russian intelligence officers might have infiltrated the company
without the knowledge of its executives.
experts on Russia say that under President Vladimir V. Putin, a former
K.G.B. officer, businesses asked for assistance by Russian spy agencies
may feel they have no choice but to give it. To refuse might well invite
hostile action from the government against the business or its leaders.
Mr. Kaspersky, who attended an intelligence institute and served in
Russia’s Ministry of Defense, would have few illusions about the cost of
refusing a Kremlin request.
L. Hall, a former chief of Russian operations at the C.I.A., said his
former agency never used Kaspersky software, but other federal agencies
did. By 2013, he said, Kaspersky officials were “trying to do damage
control and convince the U.S. government that it was just another
didn’t buy it, Mr. Hall said. “I had the gravest concerns about
Kaspersky, and anyone who worked on Russia or in counterintelligence
shared those concerns,” he said.
Once a concern that was the province of the paranoid, years worth of
reports and revelations have made it readily apparent that people really
can spy on you through your webcam. Here’s why you should disable or
cover yours. TL;DR version: Script-kiddie hackers and teenagers
can, and do, use easily accessible tools and phishing techniques to
hijack webcams of unsuspecting people, often who they know, and watch
them through their camera. They can store images and videos of people in
compromising situations in their bedrooms, and many of these images and
videos are uploaded to shady websites.
If you have kids, you should strongly consider reading the entirety
of this article and implementing something to stop their webcams from
being on all the time (or ever).
Is Webcam Spying Really a Threat?
Ten years ago the idea that people—be they government agents,
hackers, or just law-breaking voyeurs—could actively spy on you through
your computer’s webcam would be the considered the ramblings of a
paranoid conspiracy theorist. A slew of news stories over the
intervening years, however, have revealed that what was once considered
paranoia is now an uncomfortable reality.
In 2009, a student sued his school when he discovered his school-provided laptop was secretly photographing him
(the ensuing legal investigation revealed that the school had collected
56,000 photographs of students without their knowledge or consent). In
2013, researchers demonstrated that they could activate the webcam on
MacBooks without the indicator light turning on, something previously considered impossible. A former FBI agent confirmed that not only was this possible but that they’d been doing it for years.
In 2013, courtesy of the documents leaked by Edward Snowden, we learned that the NSA had successful programs they used to gain backdoor access to the cameras on iPhones and Blackberries. In 2014, again courtesy of the Snowden leaks, we learned that the NSA has a host of tools at its disposal to remotely monitor users like “Gumfish”:
a malware tool that allows for remote video monitoring via your webcam.
In early 2015, a group known as BlackShades was broken up after it was
discovered that the software they sold for $40 a pop had been used to give millions of purchasers remote access (including webcam access) to victims computers; that’s hardly a new trick though as old programs like Back Orifice were used in the same fashion back in the 1990s. It’s Not Just the NSA
We want to emphasize the whole “hardly a new trick” bit and the ease
with which even marginally skilled malicious users can gain access to
your computer. This article over at Ars Technica, Meet The Men Who Spy On Women Through Their Webcams,
is an unsettling account. The majority of people doing the spying
aren’t government agents, but low-tier hackers that use simple tools to
catalog and monitor all the devices a computer may have access to.
So before you shrug your shoulders and say, “Well the NSA doesn’t
care about my boring life, so it doesn’t matter,” understand that while
we might all find allegations of government spying the most troubling on
a global and intellectual level, the majority of actual webcam spying
is carried out by creepy Peeping Toms.
So the short of it is: yes, webcam spying is a real threat. When
everyone from the spooks at the NSA to the kid next door has access to
tools that can turn a webcam against its owner then the threat is
What Should I Do?
You should, no questions asked, disable or obscure your computer’s
webcam. There is no good reason, especially in light of the numerous
documented cases of webcam spying, to leave an insecure recording device
permanently accessible on your computer. It’s so easy to do that
there’s no reason not to. Here’s what you should consider.
Make Sure You’re Using Antivirus
While antivirus isn’t going to detect all of these things, and won’t
detect many of the latest ones that are out there, it will at least help
in dealing with the possibility of infection through a link or running
the wrong executable. Here are the programs we recommend.
The problem is that if the threat is actually the college kid that
offers to help people with their IT problems, they can easily whitelist a
trojan so an antivirus won’t detect it. Or malware could do the same
You can’t really trust that little icon that says you are secure. But it’s at least a help.
For desktop users with external webcams, the easiest solution is to
simply unplug the USB webcam. No amount of hacking is going to magically
plug an unplugged device back in.
This is the solution we use around the How-To Geek offices; we leave
the webcams in their usual position atop their respective workstation
monitors and then when we need to use them we plug the USB cable into an
easily accessible front or top USB port on the said workstation.
It’s the most foolproof way to approach the problem if you have an
external webcam, and works regardless of the hardware or operating
Disable It in the BIOS
If you have a laptop with an integrated webcam (or a rare all-in-one
desktop model that also sports an integrated webcam), you have a few
options. If your BIOS supports it, you can disable it at the BIOS level,
which is ideal.
Reboot your computer and enter into the BIOS (follow the on-screen
instructions to enter “SETUP”, typically by pressing the F2 key, the DEL
key, or a function key combination of some sort). Look through the BIOS
options for an entry labeled something like “webcam,” “integrated
camera,” or “CMOS camera.” These entries will typically have a simple
toggle, like enable/disable or lock/unlock. Disable or lock the hardware
to turn off your webcam.
Unfortunately, the BIOS solution is relatively rare and typically
found on computers from vendors with heavy institutional sales. Business
Dell and Lenovo laptops, for example, commonly ship with this feature
in the BIOS because their corporate buyers want the ability to disable
the webcam. With other vendors (and even within computer lines from the
aforementioned vendors) it’s hit or miss.
Be forewarned that disabling the webcam typically disables the
microphone too, as in most laptops the camera and microphone module are
on the same small expansion board. This is obviously a benefit (from a
privacy standpoint) but you should be aware of it so you’re not left
wondering why your mic is dead.
Disable It in the OS
This solution isn’t quite as secure or foolproof, but it’s a welcome
next step. You can cripple your webcam by disabling it and removing
driver support for it.
The technique for doing so varies from operating system to operating
system, but the general premise is the same. In Windows, you just need
to enter the Device Manager (click Start and search for “device manager”
to find it). There, you can locate your webcam under the “Imaging
Devices” category, right-click it, and choose “Disable” or “Uninstall”.
Obviously this isn’t a perfect solution. If someone has remote
administrative access to your machine they can always, with a greater or
lesser degree of hassle, install the missing drivers and enable the
Barring that kind of focus and determination, however, it’s a simple
and easy way to disable your webcam. It is, however, rather inconvenient
if you actually use your integrated webcam with any regularity. This
brings us to the next solution: obscuring the lens with a cover.
Cover It Up
A compromise between the hassle of disabling the the webcam in the
BIOS or operating system and leaving it wide open all the time is
applying a simple physical cover to your webcam lens. As elementary and
simplistic as it seems, it’s actually a really effective technique. You
get instant visual confirmation that the lens is disabled (you can see
the cover every time you look at your laptop), it’s easy to remove, and
we even tried out some dirt cheap DIY options that keep the cover-up
Presented below, for reference, is the laptop we’re using without any
of the solutions (commercial or DIY) applied. The indicator light is on
the left, the webcam lens is center, and the microphone is on the
Before you run off to grab a roll of duct tape, let’s run through some of the more convenient commercial options.
Eyebloc Cover (~$6)
The Eyebloc is the
best selling and the most reviewed webcam cover on Amazon. The design
is really simple: it’s a C-shaped plastic clamp that you slip onto your
laptop (it can also be applied to tablets and smartphones in a similar
No doubt about it, it was easy to apply, easy to remove, and as
advertised it had no adhesive to speak of (so there was no risk of
residue). It also completely blocked the webcam lens on all devices we
tested it on. That said, this thing is really, really, ugly and
obvious. In terms of style we’d rank the Eyebloc right up there with
the massive fit-over-sunglasses you’d see around a retirement community.
This is also the only device we tested that won’t work very well for
smart TVs, game consoles, or any other larger device that has a
webcam-like device built in. If you’re not attaching it to a slender
object like a laptop lid or tablet, it won’t work.
is a tiny (and we do mean tiny) plastic slider that you adhere onto
your laptop or tablet. The entire device is the size of a very small
mailing label (1.4″ x 0.5″ and a scant 1mm or so thick). It’s so tiny,
in fact, that it was delivered stuck to a piece of cardstock in a common
#10 business envelope and the outside of the envelope had “Your webcam
cover order is inside!” in large highlighted print to, presumably,
ensure we didn’t scrap it as junk mail.
Unlike the other solutions in this roundup the C-Slide is intended
for permanent application to the device. You enable and disable the
webcam by sliding the tiny little panel of plastic back and forth to
open and close the webcam much like some larger external webcams have a
physical slider that covers the lens when not in use.
Despite our misgivings about how tiny the C-Slide is, it worked quite
well. It’s so slim that you can easily close the laptop without any
noticeable gap between the lid and body. There were only two issues we
found with the C-Slide.
First, if you have a laptop that has a curved bezel, it does not
adhere very well and will likely fall off immediately (or shortly after
application). Second, you’ll want to place it very carefully so that it
doesn’t accidentally stick over the microphone hole on your laptop or
cover the indicator light. Second, before you peel the double-sided tape
off the back and slap it on, take a minute to experiment with
placement. Our initial placement was less than ideal, as it blocked the
indicator light and resulted in a blocked microphone when the slider was
open. By offsetting the opening in the slider slightly from the webcam
lens we were able to position the device such that the microphone wasn’t
obscured or taped over and the only time the indicator light was
blocked was when we had the slider open to use the webcam.
Those minor issues aside, the C-Slide will work on any camera
embedded in a flat surface so long as the camera lens is smaller than
the roughly square centimeter opening of the slider (approximately the
size of the nail on your pinky finger). Overall this was our favorite
solution. It’s easy to apply and it’s easy to use: no picking at a
little sticky disk and no misplaced parts.
Creative Cam Covers (~$10 for 6)
The Creative Cam Covers
feel and look very similar to cut vinyl decal clings like those you
would order from a sign shop or purchase to peel out and stick on your
car window. The pack comes with an alcohol wipe and six black circular
clings roughly the size of a dime. They have no adhesive, but instead
use static electricity to cling to smooth surfaces.
This is both a benefit (no sticky residue and they’re easy to remove)
and a flaw (they work great on smooth surfaces but not so great on
textured ones). As such, they work super well on laptops with glossy
piano black bezels and tablets that have smooth glass bezels, but if
your laptop is brushed aluminum (like a MacBook) or just has a rough
texture on the bezel, you may find they readily fall off.
In light of that, we can only recommend the product for those
situations: super smooth and flat laptop bezels or glass surfaces like
those found on tablets. None of our laptops have a gloss case and the
Cam Covers would not stick (even for a fraction of a second) to the
bezel of the laptop we used for demonstration purposes in this article.
They did, however, stick incredibly well to the perfectly smooth glass
surface of our iPad mini, as seen in the photo above. If you’re looking
for a non-adhesive solution for a tablet or laptop with a gloss bezel
this is a great solution.
DIY Electrical Tape Covers (< $1)
While field testing all these solutions, it occurred to us that if
you weren’t afraid of a tiny bit of adhesive then the cheapest solution
would be to simply punch a hole in a piece of electrical tape with a
hole punch and you’d have a perfectly round little dot you could place
right over the lens of your integrated webcam.
A quick trip to the old supply closet for some tape, a hole punch,
and FedEx label (to steal a bit of the non-stick paper backing) and we
had the fixings for hundreds of webcam covers.
The only downside to this technique is that, yes, you’ll potentially
have a little adhesive to deal with when removing the dot (although this
is mostly a temperature-related issue, as electrical tape doesn’t have
much residue when used in cooler temperatures). It would also be easy to
lose or mangle the little dot of tape if you were using it while
traveling about, but given how cheap they are to make you could easily
stash a few in your laptop bag.
Armed with the tips we’ve shared on disabling or covering your webcam
you can easily avoid the unfortunate reality of webcam snooping and
reduce or outright eliminate webcam-based privacy breaches.
As its featureset expanded, Windows became something of an omnibus. It now includes not one, but two
built-in browsers, a defragmentation tool, and even Candy Crush. But
like most do-it-all tools, just because Windows can do almost everything
doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do anything. So it is with the
default photo viewer.
The Need For Speed(y Image Processing and Display)
An image viewer might seem like a somewhat mundane portion of your
operating system to upgrade, and of course most people don’t think to do
so. But in situations where you’re handling large image files in exotic
formats, it can be a necessity. Third-party tools like IrfanView may
not be as aesthetically pleasing as Windows’ photo viewer, but they’re more powerful, more flexible, and faster than the operating system’s default.
I first started looking for a more powerful option while working as a
graphic designer in a sign shop way back in the aughts. On a Pentium 4
machine that chugged to run Photoshop and Illustrator, I made custom
advertising banners and cutouts, sometimes thirty feet wide and a
gigabyte or two thanks to hours and hours of work. Rasterizing the files
for the printer would sometimes take half an hour. So using the default
Windows XP image viewer, which sometimes couldn’t even open the file
formats I had to save in, didn’t work well.
During my time in the printshop, I used an underpowered PC to make massive banners for retailers and events.
Even on medium-sized images with complex effects, trying to load them
with the default Windows XP image viewer was painfully slow, sometimes
only a few seconds faster than booting up the cumbersome Photoshop
program from a cold start. It was clear I needed something with a little
more under the hood.
You don’t need to be a graphic designer to get the benefit of a
faster, more broadly-compatible image viewer. With DSLRs shooting
thousands of images in RAW and even cell phone cameras eager to bust
through new megapixel barriers, speed is of the essence, especially if
you’re using it on a low-power laptop or tablet.
IrfanView Beats the Windows Default With a Stick
After a bit of searching for something better than the Windows default, I found IrfanView.
The tiny, funny-sounding application is designed for two things:
maximum file type support and ludicrous speed. (If you think the name
sounds weird, it gets it from its Bosnian creator, Irfan Skiljan.) The
program has been in continual development for over twenty years, and
it’s free for personal use.
After installing it on that old office clunker, I was immediately
able to load up huge images in a preview view almost instantly. What the
program lacks in sartorial splendor it makes up in speed and
flexibility, and I soon set it as the default image viewer for every
format except full Photoshop and Illustrator files. The program allows
for a few extra tools like permanent rotation, copying and pasting, and
toolbar customization, and its already-extensive file support can be
extended even further with plugins.
Digging deeper into the program reveals some thoughtful extras, like
an Optical Character Recognition tool (it can “read” text on an image
and export it to an editable text format), and even basic video and
audio playback plus some editing tools. It won’t replace Photoshop
anytime soon, but if you need some cropping or to block something out,
it’ll do. Those who want a minimal interface or custom zooming steps or
even a slideshow mode that stretches across multiple monitors will find
what they’re looking for.
Even though I now only use my high-powered, home-built machine for
graphic design, I’ve kept IrfanView installed up to Windows 10. Why use
something slower with fewer features?
MS Paint is a simple, basic image creator and manipulator that was
originally introduced in 1985 with Windows 1.0, and has shipped with all
subsequent versions of the operating system. It’s the first painting
application of any sort that I personally used on a computer back in the
90s, and even though I’ve graduated to more robust image editing
software over the years, it still felt a little odd when Microsoft added
it to the growing list of Windows features that will be deprecated in
the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Sure, it will still be available
for download on the Windows Store, but you’ll have to do so manually, as
it won’t available on your computer right out the box. So from now on,
since you have to download an image editor manually while running
Windows anyways, let’s take a look at the 7 best free MS Paint alternatives that you can download instead:
Paint.NET is a free photo-editing software that comes with the
simplicity of the built-in Microsoft program, but adds enough new
features to make it not just a viable MS Paint alternative, but actually
a more robust and feature-filled replacement for it. Unlike MS Paint,
it comes with support for layers, blending, transparency, special
effects, unlimited undo and many other useful tools, but the best thing
about it is the wide array of effect, adjustment and file type plugins,
not to mention all the tutorials that you’ll get on the official forums
from an active and involved community of developers, users and
While Paint.NET is one of the most popular image-editing programs on
Windows, it is, unfortunately, not available on any other platform. So
if you’re using a Mac or Linux, you’ll need to take a look at some of
the following examples that are available on multiple desktop platforms. Download:Free (Windows)
Unlike Paint.NET, MyPaint is a free and open source (FOSS)
alternative to MS Paint that is available on Windows, Mac and Linux. The
program focuses more on the painting aspect rather than image manipulation and, comes with a boatload of features that belies its simple user interface. It comes with dynamic brush library that simulate pencil, charcoal and ink, but advanced users can also create their own customized brushes to suit their needs.
MyPaint supports all the major file formats, has support for layer management,
as well as an ‘unlimited canvas’, which means you won’t have to preset
the image size before starting off on your painting. MyPaint is
basically a free and relatively more basic alternative to Corel Paint,
so as you’d expect, it comes with support for pressure sensitive graphics tablets like the ones from Wacom or Huion. Download:Free (Windows, macOS, Linux)
Released in 1996 for Windows 95 by developer Irfan Skiljan, IrfanView
is yet another feature-filled yet easy-to-use image editor that has
gotten extremely popular over the past couple of decades. It is free for
non-commercial use, and comes with a wide variety of third-party plugins for image, video and sound formats
that can be added to the program to extend its already long list of
functionality even further. Although it’s technically only available for
Windows, it can also be run on Linux under Wine and on Mac using
While the program is chock-a-block with features, it is extremely lightweight,
occupying barely about 2MB of disk space, and even the installation of
the optional plugins only require about 17MB space overall. The program
also offers full support for a bewildering array of file formats,
including JPEG, JPEG2000, JP2, BMP, GIF, PNG, TIFF, RAW and many more. Download:Free (Windows)
Pinta is a free and open source image editor that is distributed
under the MIT X11 license and is available on all three major desktop
platforms – Windows, Mac and Linux. The software offers all the basic
features you’d expect from an image editing software circa 2017,
including annotations, drawing, color adjustment, unlimited undo and
more. The program also offers advanced features like support for image layers, something that you’re unlikely to find in more basic image editors.
The original creator of Pinta, Jonathan Probst, has gone on record
saying that his software was inspired by Paint.NET, which itself was
intended to be an open source replacement for MS Paint. However, for the
most part, Pinta comes with its own original code, with only the
adjustments and effects code borrowed from Paint.NET. Pinta is hosted on
Github and is under active development, although, Probst is no longer
associated with the project. Download:Free (Windows, macOS, Linux)
So we’ve taken a look at quite a few free and open source software
for Windows and Linux, but only a few of them are available for Mac. If
that’s making all you Mac-owners feel a little left out, here’s one that
you should try if you’re looking for a basic, free image editor and
annotator for Macs. Paintbrush is a free and open source program that’s available only for Mac,
and was originally intended to be a replacement for MacPaint – an
archaic image manipulation software that was last released almost three
decades ago back in the late ’80s. Like Paint, it is also a very basic
software with a simple interface, and comes with freehand drawing, an
eraser, a spray can and a few other simple annotation tools.
Paintbrush is probably one of the least powerful software on this
list, and is only a simple 2D bitmap editor with no vector capabilities.
However, you can still save edited and annotated images as PNG, JPG,
BMP, GIF and TIFF. Download:Free (macOS)
Greenshot is yet another free and open source editing and annotation
software that is available for Windows under the GNU Public License.
Greenshot is s great MS Paint alternative if you mostly used the
built-in Windows program to save screenshots on your PC. That’s because Greenshot specializes in screenshots, and can be used to create, annotate and edit them. The program comes with several optional plugins
for Office, Imgur, Dropbox, Flickr and Confluence, among others. The
program allows its users to resize, rotate or crop images, and just like
Paint, even annotate them with rectangles, ellipses, lines and arrows.
Greenshot is a very capable program that’s light on resources but
heavy on features. It is extremely configurable, and unlike the default
PrtScn tool, even gives you an option to capture the mouse cursor in
your image. The program combines a great screenshot tool with a neat little image editor and extreme configurability. Download:Free (Windows)
7. Paint 3D
Last, but definitely not the least, those looking to replace MS Paint
on their Windows PCs should take a serious look at the more grown-up
version of Microsoft’s age-old image editing software. Called Paint 3D,
the all-new iteration of Microsoft’s iconic software is a part of the Windows 10 Creators Update,
and is one of the many new 3D applications that are now available for
download from the Windows store, including View 3D and 3D Builder. As
you’d expect, Paint 3D is a lightweight app that draws heavily from its
predecessor, but comes with support for 3D elements including humans, animals, geometric shapes, texts and doodles.
While Paint 3D is an enormous improvement over its
predecessor, it still got ways to go before it catches up with some of
the other programs mentioned on his list. In fact, while it brings many
new features to the table, it also misses out on some absolute
bare-basic features, like multi-window support. Overall, Paint 3D is a
decent program that’s well worth a look, but there are also other, more
powerful free MS paint alternatives. Download:Free (Windows)
MS Paint Alternatives: The Best Free Photo Editing Software For Your Computer
While MS Paint will still be available for download from the Windows
Store, it will cease to be the default photo editing application on
Windows PCs like it has been for decades now. But nostalgia or not, we
need to appreciate that the program has outlived its utility even circa
2017, and while it can still perform bare basic tasks, there are other
options available that can do the same with much more panache, and much
more efficacy, but without the steep learning curve that comes with
programs like Photoshop or GIMP. So what do you use for your everyday image editing needs? Do leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Internet Explorer 11
is a milestone in Microsoft’s evolution towards a fast and modern web
browser that found its force again thanks to improvements in security,
performance, privacy and standards support. Windows 8.1 users know it
very well as it is the built-in browser of this operating system, but in
this tutorial we will talk about the version built for Windows 7. Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7
is an important Windows update and its installation is recommended for
all users. But before we can see what this browser has to offer, let us,
first, see how you can download and install it on your Windows 7
This tutorial will cover two methods of installing Internet Explorer 11 on your Windows 7 computer. The first one is based upon using Windows Update. The second one involves an old fashioned download from the official web-page of Internet Explorer 11.
How To Install Internet Explorer 11 Via Windows Update
It goes without saying that this is the easier method you can use to install Internet Explorer. First you have to go to Windows Update by using either this path "Control Panel - > System and Security - > Windows Update", or just by typing "windows update" in the Start Menu search box.
Then do a check for the latest updates. In the list of Optional Updates you should see one that says Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7. Select it and then click OK.
After Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 and any other update you have selected are downloaded, the installation will start.
This new streamlined installation will finish in a few minutes and
shortly after, it will ask you to restart your computer to finish the
whole process. The necessary file and services cannot be updated if the
system is still using them. So just press the Restart now button from the Windows Update window and wait until the computer restarts.
Once this is done, the Internet Explorer 11 shortcut will be placed in your Taskbar.
Now meet your new browser…
How To Install Internet Explorer 11 As A Standalone Download
It is also possible to download Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 yourself and install it manually on your computer. You first have to go to the official download page
via Internet Explorer 9 or 10, or any other browser and you will
receive an appropriate download link. Of course, it is also possible for
you to choose the language of the browser.
If you are using another browser, you need to select which Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 you want to download and install. This situation appears if you access the download page
for the offline installer. Here, you will find an alphabetized list of
languages where you will have to choose between the 32-bit or 64-bit
versions, and then press the download button. This webpage has a little
more complicated interface, but a more simple way to find your desired
version and language.
Take into account the fact that you can also use the first download link
on a non-Microsoft browser, for the less complicated download
procedure. You will receive a 53.3Mb.exe file, which is the actual
offline installer and not a file downloader.
Then, you just have to run the downloaded installer. You will receive
a separate prompt, that asks you to confirm that you really want to
install Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7. How Microsoft-ish is this, right? Click on Install.
Wait for the installation process to finish, and then you will be
asked to reboot your computer. Be sure to save all of you ongoing work
and then, press the Restart now button.
After restarting Windows, Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 should be installed on your computer.
As you can see from this tutorial, installing Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7
is not exactly rocket science. It has a streamlined installation, but
one that, unfortunately, still requires you to close your applications
and restart your computer. If you have any problems or questions, do not
hesitate to use the comments form below.