Freeware Shorts: HWM BlackBox (System Information)

HWM BlackBox (Version: 2.3 as of this post) is a hardware or system information and profile builder. Much like others of its kind it takes a few seconds upon startup to gather information.

The interface is tabbed and divided into Processor, Memory, Graphics, System and Benchmark. The Processor tab has information on number of cores, speed, cache and technology (90nm, etc.), bus speed, voltage, temperature and also live usage info. Memory has info on RAM slots filled or available, memory type, frequency, manufacturer, serial number CAS Latency and more. Graphics has GPU information like memory, temperature, max speed, DirectX version, raster operators and more. System has computer manufacturer, BIOS version, number of slots (PCI, etc.), fan speed and more, plus information on disc drives, optical drives and network devices. The Benchmark tab works only on Windows Vista and 7 machines. It will run various performance tests most likely only useful to gamers and overclockers.

HWM BlackBox

The arrow to the top right has options to save collected data to text or XML files, change refresh rates for the usage info, take screenshots of the program and a few other settings.

Some specs may not be available depending on the hardware’s and/or BlackBox’s support to retrieve them. HWM BlackBox comes with an online upload tool (see About tab) to measure up benchmarks and system specifications with or against others. HWM BlackBox is a single exe file, exists for both 32 bit and 64 bit systems and and requires the .Net Framework 2.0.

Freeware Shorts: System Explorer (Everything About Your Computer)

System Explorer (Version: 3.6.2 as of this post) bills itself as a system management tool and an explorer of system internals. It is more than just a system profile builder. System Explorer provides lots of, almost too much, information about many aspects of the system or computer in a tabbed interface. Some tabs are open and visible when starting the program, others can be opened in the Firefox new tab style by clicking the + button to the top right and choosing from the available sections. Most sections or tabs have additional capabilities via a right click. Examples include terminating processes, copying file paths to the clipboard, virus checking a file online on and many more.

System Explorer

System Explorer also has a status bar at the bottom with CPU, RAM, swap file and other usage information. A similar graphical overview is also available via the color of its tray icon or hovering over the icon itself.

Tasks is like the windows task manager’s Applications tab, it provides a list of open programs. Processes list all running processes with process id (PID), CPU time, memory usage, ‘sub’ processes, parameters the process may be running with, online security check (click the security check icon and any details available in the system explorer database will be shown online) and more. Also like many other sections, System Explorer has a search feature near the top right.

Modules lists the dll files the running programs are using, like some other sections this can be filtered to not show Windows’ own. Performance (see image) shows graphs for overall processor or CPU, page fault, swap, network connection, kernel and physical memory usage and lots more. Services list all services running with their driver type, name and startup type or mode (automatic, manual or disabled). Drivers lists all drivers running on the system including name, startup type and location/path. Windows is much like Tasks but has a list of all open windows, so if several instances of one program are open you see them here. Autoruns has a list of all processes or programs that run automatically on startup. Uninstaller has the shortcuts to uninstall programs. History is like an event viewer of sorts in that it contains a list of all recent actions, for example “New TCP/IP PID=3292 “Palemoon.exe””. Snapshot takes snapshots of the file system and registry and saves it for future comparison.

System Explorer

There are additional sections that list Users, Security Info with basic information on anti virus and Windows firewall states and Additional Info with lots of information on the system like Windows serial number, computer name, system folders, system date, audio and video codecs, fonts, file types and lots more.

It is really necessary to explore the program or have a look at the online help to really discover all its features. System Explorer is free for personal use and runs on Windows XP and newer versions.

Freeware Shorts: Keepboard (Cross Platform Clipboard Manager)

Keepboard (Version: 2.1 as of this post) is a simple, light weight clipboard manager. It supports both text and images. Unzip the 1.5MB download and double click on the Start.vbs file to run the program.


Using the default Ctrl + C keys Keepboard collects items and keeps them in Clipboard History, clicking on an item presents a preview which is most useful in the case of image items. To further ease of use Keepboard can save items to groups and keep up to 2000 items in each group. Right click on any item to send it to a group, existing or create a new group on the fly, then using the Saved Items tab view those permanently organized. Within the saved items each item can be named as well. Right click, choose Open selected item, type a name and click OK. Later you can narrow down or filter all saved items by choosing a group and typing in the Name field to find items as you type (see images).


Keepboard can be paused to not collect any clipboard content via its Clipboard menu. It is cross platform (runs on Linux and Windows machines) and requires Java.

Freeware Shorts: SnapShot (Screen Capture)

SnapShot (Version: 1.0.4 as of this post) is a lightweight screen shot program or screen capture tool. It can take full screen, active window or rectangular area screen shots. By default it will only present a preview of the screenshot which the user can manually save. Using its preferences (Capture —> Preferences —> Save & Edit tab) auto save can be enabled with an option to not only choose the destination location but also a prefix for the file name. SnapShot is capable of saving files in BMP, GIF, JPG (JPEG), PCX, PNG, PSD or TIFF formats. Also from the same Preferences tab the output JPG quality can be configured. A path to an external image editor can be saved in the preferences for SnapShot to send or open the capture using it or optionally send the screen shot to the system clipboard.


SnapShot also features email and FTP to automatically send or upload a screen shot. Use the Edit menu to configure the email SMTP server and even choose the subject and text of the email and separately the FTP details.

SnapShot supports multiple monitors and supports setting a delay for taking screen shots. It should run on all Windows versions dating back to Windows 98.

Picture Collage Maker Pro Thanksgiving Pack Giveaway

Comment below for your chance to win Picture Collage Maker Pro with the thanksgiving pack from PearlMountainSoft!

Picture Collage Maker Pro was reviewed (along with a giveaway) here on RGdot earlier in the year. We are now back with another giveaway.

To celebrate US thanksgiving the newest edition of Picture Collage Maker Pro comes with a thanksgiving pack which adds eight additional items to the greeting card templates to use for the holiday. Download and run Picture Collage Maker Pro, enter the program using the “Create From Template” or any other button. On the left hand side choose a template to start with. To add the thanksgiving pack click the ‘Download More Templates’ button (see image below) or go straight to the PearlMountainSoft site to download the special pack, download and run the executable file and it will automatically add the pack to the program.

Picture Collage Maker Pro

Choose the photo tab on the bottom left and then drag and drop your photos into the template, then further customize using mask, backgorund, clipart, frame, shape or even with a calendar (Collage —> Add Calendar). Remove any items by highlighting and deleting them or unchecking them from the layers panel in the bottom right. Click on any object to move it, use the menu or buttons immediately above the collage preview area to align, rotate, add shadow, crop or do more with each individual item on the collage. When satisfied with your creation use the Share button to email, set as wallpaper, save as picture or print the collage. It is also possible to create templates (Collage —> Save As Template) for future use or to put the collage on a t-shirt or other merchandise online (Collage —> Create Custom Collage Product).

Picture Collage Maker is available for $29.90 and Picture Collage Maker Pro, which adds the Shape, Color Frames and support for multiple page collages, for $39.90 .

Comment below to win a Picture Collage Maker Pro plus thanksgiving pack license!

Freeware Shorts: Sys Information

Sys Information (Version: 7.0 as of this post) is a system information or profile builder. Run it and after a few seconds it builds and presents a profile of the computer in a tabbed interface.

The tabs are as follows:

Overview tab includes operating system, edition, service pack, motherboard model and processor type. Also system uptime, (external) IP address and internet connectivity status. The check for the latter can be disabled using the program’s settings (gear icon on the top right).

Sys Information

Operating System has more information on the OS like system directory, install date, user and serial number or product key.

Motherboard provides BIOS version, release date and manufacturer plus the motherbaord model and serial number.

Memory shows live memory usage and information on the maximum RAM the system supports plus info on the RAM sticks already installed including the banks or slots they are installed on.

Processor provides live processor usage and information on the architecture (32 bit or 64 bit), cache size, number of cores and clock speed among others.

Graphic Card provides monitor and GPU info but in the case of the (somewhat older) system tested for this review the information was not available.

Peripherals has information on mouse and keyboard including manufacturer, type and device ID.

Installed Software shows a list, much like the one seen in the Add/Remove programs applet of the control panel plus a total number of programs installed. Click on a program and you can uninstall it from within Sys Information.

Running Process is also a list of course, with a total memory usage of each process and the program or process ID. Surprisingly this requires a manual refresh (using the button on the top right hand corner).

Harddisk shows a list of all physical, removable and CD/DVD drives attached to system, their size and device letter and using S.M.A.R.T. a temperature reading of the harddisk. Also a section on any partitions that may exist on the physical drives.

Sys Information requires the .NET Framework 2.0 and is licensed under the GNU General Public License.

Freeware Shorts: Quick Pop Menu (Launcher)

Quick Pop Menu (Version: 1.1.9 as of this post) is a simple launcher that works with shortcuts users choose to add to it. By default it uses the combination of Ctrl and middle mouse keys to pop up in the form of a floating menu on the screen.

After installing it the program folder will contain two subfolders, one called x64 and another called x86 – for 64 bit and 32 bit computers respectively. Within each there is Shortcuts folder. Adding or dropping any shortcuts, to a file or folder, will create a corresponding item to the Quick Pop Menu floating menu.

Quick Pop Menu

The aforementioned hotkey can be changed via the program’s tray icon (Settings —> Set Hotkey). There is also an ‘Advanced Usage’ possibility described on the author’s site for assigning another mouse button to another folder with shortcuts, creating a second menu.

Quick Pop Menu should run on Windows versions going back to Windows 2000.

EfficientPIM: All In One Personal Information Manager

EfficientPIM is a useful and multi-featured PIM (Personal Information Manager). Its interface is the now somewhat common Outlook type window with common and relevant links listed on the top left with access to all available features (not forgetting the ‘Show more buttons’ link to see them all) occupying the bottom left. EfficientPIM also has a few extra, less common features that make it a more complete PIM.


EfficientPIM opens with the default Today view or screen with the date, week and day of the year shown with, as expected, a list of upcoming events and tasks. As with all screens or views this can be customized to show more or less, for example to show different number of days than the upcoming 7. Also from this screen new events, tasks and diary entries can be added.

The Calendar view is where one can see and set events, each event can have a color associated with it. Double click a day to create an event. Choose its subject, start and end date, importance label (color) and optionally set a reminder with sound. The comment feature is a rich text area that can also include a file attachment and/or a link to a file (on the computer or online). The recurrence tab of the new event window includes all options from time, day, day of the week and also range. The calendar view also features a mini-calendar and task view on the right hand side.

Next up is the Contacts view, by default it features full name, company, business phone, mobile phone and email but by clicking the customize current view link one can show lots more including address, title, fax, additional email, website, nickname, hobbies, instant messaging address and even more. There are also 6 custom fields available. One can create groups (Action —> New Group) to group contacts together. It is also possible to sort contacts by any field and view them in card or table view.

Events and Tasks are similar in the sense that a name, comment, time, duration and reminder can be set for most anything.

Diary is ofcourse set by date but can be divided into groups. All entries can later be viewed by either date or group. An entry can also be associated with a contact.

The Notes section is the place to write down anything that perhaps doesn’t belong elsewhere, this can also be associated with a contact and grouped as well.

Desktop Notes (see image below) are similar to Notes but with the additional feature that if so checked the (resizable) notes can float on the desktop. This way a note is always visible and can not be missed.


EfficientPIM also has FTP and Email Account sections with all the relevant fields (server address, password, etc.) for each. The Favorite URL bookmark manager, Password Manager and Software Registration Code provide the EfficientPIM user with even more ways to store information.

The search within EfficientPIM can be global or per section to search inside notes only for example.

EfficientPIM works on Windows (both 32 and 64 bit versions) versions going back to Windows 98 . A free version with less features is always available.

Freeware Shorts: File Renamer

File Renamer is a small yet powerful utility to batch rename files. It has several options that make for many different ways of renaming files. A combination of renaming rules can be saved as a script to be re-used later. To begin start by clicking the – unlabeled in this case (see image) – browse button to navigate to the folder where the soon to be renamed files are and if necessary use the accompanying filter to narrow down to specific file types.

File Renamer

The scripting is done via the New script button at the bottom of the program. Click on a rename option and then click Add Line, add as many as needed and then Save And Exit. Each option or line can be edited and removed as well.

Whether using a script or working on a set of files for one time only the options available in File Renamer are the same and they include adding character(s) anywhere in a file name, removing characters or words, replacing a word with another, capitalizing, making all upper case, trimming character(s) from beginning, end or elsewhere in the file name and adding an incremental prefix or suffix to the file name. One can just create all new file names too.

One can also change the attribute of a file – to hidden, system, read only or archives. File Renamer can also rename files using their created or modified dates as new names.

File Renamer should work on all Windows versions.