February may be the shortest month of the year, but the list of software releases over the past seven days is just as long as ever. This week we have collected together 23 key releases that may have escaped your attention, and as no roundup would be complete without at least one security tool, what better place to start that with Avast! Internet Security 7 FINAL. Offering virus protection, a firewall, web filtering and remote assistance, this is a very comprehensive suite, but there is also Avast! 7 Free FINAL for anyone who would like a decent level of protection without having to part with any money. Once you have a secure internet connection, you can make safe use of online services such as Google Docs, and gExplore 1.0 is on hand to enable you to interact with your online documents in a handy Windows-style interface.
Get the Metro look with Windows 8 Start Screen Full
If you’d like to squeeze a little extra performance from your computer without having to perform any upgrade, TweakNow PowerPack 2012 v4.0.0 may be just what you have been looking for. Including tools that enable you to boost Windows’ memory management as well as customizing the appearance and function of not only your operating system, but also applications you might have installed such as Office. For anyone more interested in system maintenance, CCleaner 3.16 is an incredibly useful tool to help cleanup your hard drive and ensure your privacy by clearing up after programs such as Chrome, Firefox, and Adobe Acrobat – there’s also improved support for Windows 8. Talking of the next version of Microsoft’s operating system, Windows 8 Start Screen Full 3.0 is a free transformation tool that brings the Metro interface to users of older versions of Windows. If you’re stuck with Windows 7 for the time being, Start Orb Mover 1.0 is a self-explanatory tool that makes it possible to move the Start button to a new location. If you take your computing serious and want to keep up to speed with the file and folder permissions that are in place, look no further than NTFS Permissions Reporter Free Edition 1.0.0 which can tell you precisely that.
VLC is a feature packed media player available for multiple platforms
Using your computer should also be fun, and many, many people use their machines to watch movies and listen to music. If you’re having trouble playing a particular file or you’re looking to standardize your media collection, SUPER 2012.50 can be used to convert just about any audio or video file into a different format. While Windows includes its own media player in the form of Windows Media Player, VLC 2.0.0 is far more feature packed, and features a new interface for Mac users as well as Blu-ray support. There is also a portable version of the app available – VLC Media Player Portable 2.0.0 – while any who wants to see what to expect up future releases of the media player should check out VLC Media Player Nightly 2.1.0.
PC Wizard 2012 reveals everything you need to know about your hardware
We’ve already mentioned a couple of tweaking and maintenance tools, but IObit Game Booster 3.3 is also worth taking a look at. This free tool makes it easy to free up system resources so they can be put to better use by games, while PC Wizard 2012.2.0 enables you to get the lowdown on the hardware you are running so you can see if you meet the minimum requirements for a particular game as well as determining what setting are in place for your devices. Tweaking and upgrading your system can produce some impressive performance improvements, but speed boosts can be hard to quantify without running some form of tests. Auslogics Benchtown 18.104.22.168 is a free tools that enables you to benchmark your computer so you can see how it compares to your friends’ machines, while Geekbench 2.2.7 is a paid-for – but low cost – benchmarking tool which is not only easy to use but also incredibly fast.
Waterfox is a 64-bit version of Mozilla's Firefox browser
There has also been the usual selection of web browser updates starting with Pale Moon 9.2. This Firefox inspired web browser is also available as a portable app – Pale Moon 9.2 Portable – and there is also Pale Moon x64 9.2 and Pale Moon x64 9.2 Portable for users of 64-bit versions of Windows. Fans of 64-bit software can also take advantage of Waterfox 10.0.2 which is also based on Firefox code – the latest version of which has just been transformed into a portable app in the form of Firefox Portable 10.0.2. The next version of Mozilla’s browser, Firefox 11 Beta 4 is also available with improved synching options and other tweaks.
That’s it for this week; there’ll be another round the same time next week.
This article originally appeared at softwarecrew.co.uk