Month: August 2015

CopyTrans Suite Review

In today’s media-centric world, portability is the name of the game. Within the last fifteen years, iDevices have remained the top-tier product line in the world of portable media players, smartphones, and tablets, over their competition product lines. Having the best hardware platform is a great asset, but with Apple’s closed ecosystem, including media organizer/playback software, has its limitations. People crave choices and the ability to manage their hardware, without having to be tied to one piece of software. To add to the complications that come with a single software pipeline; people sometimes have difficulty keeping up-to-date with iTunes changes or updates, due to hardware/software limitations and parameters for these devices.

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What alternatives might there be available, if one has these issues? I have good news for you! WindSolutionsCopyTrans Suite is a fully-featured software suite that allows you to transfer songs, videos, playlist, photos, contacts, and apps, without using iTunes at all. You can also backup, restore, and transfer (both the device and libraries) without the need for other software, as well. This is all done, with the central command center software that allows you pick which utility you need for each task; clutter-free and intuitive GUI for ease of use.

The primary module (which can be used free-of-charge), is the CopyTrans Manager.

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This fine piece of software allows you to upload media files to your iDevice, from your laptop or desktop computer. It is lightweight, and uses less resources, than iTunes, all while performing a very similar function of placing music, movies, and ringtones in the directories that the native apps on your device use. While you can only add media files from your computer to your device, one-way, the other apps in the suite allow you to take media files from your iDevice and download them to your computer; besides, you cannot beat free for the cost of this module, for this functionality.

The next module that we will look at it is CopyTrans main program, itself.

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This program allows you to transfer your media files (videos, music, and apps) from your iDevice to your computer. You can then import that data into your iTunes, to add them to your library. In addition to copying these to your computer, CopyTrans is smart piece of software, in that it knows what to you have and have not downloaded, and/or imported into iTunes, so you will not get duplicates. It even maintains your ratings, and ID3 tags, so you will not have to redo them on your computer, as one is apt to do, without proper software. If you have media files you only have a copy on your iDevice, without an alternate source, this can save your bacon, if you need to backup/save copies on your system!

Being able to get your contacts synced and managed between your iDevices and computer is very important task to undertake, and CopyTrans Contacts has you covered.

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I know how important it is to keep your contacts managed, up-to-date, and readily accessible. I have always been underwhelmed by how iTunes gets your contacts in/out of your computer, especially if you do not keep your contacts in the default address book, included in your OS. Now, using CopyTrans Contacts allows me to backup my contacts, where I have them stored and port them to my iDevice with ease. Well worth the price of admission!

Managing one’s photos and albums takes on an added importance as our iDevices have supplanted our dedicated cameras more and more with better optics, framing mechanics, and HDR image processing. Having a camera in our pockets/purses means our memories are on these devices, and getting them into our computers to make archives a vital piece of the puzzle. In this milieu, WindSolutions’ CopyTrans Photo rises to this challenge, competently and easily.

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Using this tool allows you to upload/download your photos with a split window that allows you to browse your images and albums, choose what to save/move to your device(s), and sync them, flawlessly. It is very intuitive and a breeze for people who have any experience with Windows/Mac GUI interfaces.

The key infrastructure that the iTunes software on your PC functions revolves around apps. Before CopyTrans Apps, you had to use iTunes for putting downloaded apps on your iDevice; this was especially true, before Apple allowed you download/sync directly to your device, without using a computer.

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Now with this versatile piece of software, you can add/remove apps, organize them, and even modify settings and sync documents; all without having to boot up iTunes at all (Apple iOS 8.3+ does put new restrictions/limits on how 3rd. party software can interface with apps and settings; check WindSolutions website for further details). Depending on what apps and iOS version you have, you can even move high scores and preferences between devices, as well.

Next on the agenda, CopyTrans TuneSwift, an excellent utility for backing up, restoring, and transferring iTunes library between devices. This is a critical tool, as a loss of an iTunes library can be devastating and costly! As someone who has experienced this problem, I can tell you trying to reconstruct the library, with remaking playlists, re-linking files, getting rid of duplicates, and making sure metadata is accurate is quite a chore.

Being able to backup a polished library, to my PC (outside of iTunes), store it on a external drive or optical disc, and then import/transfer it to a new or upgraded PC, is wonderful feature to have. This functions as a vital coverage option, as forgetting to deactivate your computer before OS change or in the event of a hardware failure can cause you use up your activations, which would make your DRM media unusable and inaccessible. While you may be able to convince Apple to untangle your problem, you will lose valuable time and resources. This option is missing from iTunes, natively (to my knowledge), so WindSolutions is leading this charge to give their users the ability to keep their libraries save, secure, and well protected.

The last software title in this full-featured suite is CopyTrans Shelbee.

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While the name may not denote what it’s function does, do not be discouraged, as it is a very powerful whole iDevice backup system. iTunes does have a built-in device backup, but I find it cumbersome, lacks intuitive usage, and always has to sync the device, before staring the said process. Now, with Shelbee, you can do full backups, incremental backups (backup only the changes since a prior backup) or restore from either of those, two options, with just a few clicks!

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It is very easy to select where you want to store your backups, and find them again, with no trouble at all. It takes the difficulty out of doing such a common task, without having to worry about getting your devices backed up right or frequently. Best of all, you will have peace of mind, knowing that if an iDevice has software corruption or fails an update, you can be back in business, in no time. In a life on the go, knowing you can get back to being mobile, quickly, is time and resources spent, wisely.

What more can I say about this fine software suite, but restate the obvious. It is fantastical and covers all of the bases. While several of the aforementioned programs/modules are free, the paid programs (CopyTrans, CopyTrans Photo, CopyTrans Contacts, and CopyTrans TuneSwift) can be bought a la carte ($14.99-$19.99/program) or in a four-pack for a reduced price ($29.99 for all four). Seeing the value and interconnectivity of these programs, I am sure you will agree that it is well worth the money to by the four-pack to have complete control of your iDevice/computer interface. In addition, buying the paid software titles helps fund development and customer support for all of the products, and their continual updates.

WindSolutions strives to make the best possible software products to augment iDevices. This reflects the development spirit that independents, such as these fine folks, embody, and bring to the table. They marry the top-tier hardware vendor to their software, which makes the best of both worlds; a unified and easy to manage ecosystem of iDevice usage for users on both Windows and Mac.

Try out their free modules and demos for each of these software titles, and I know you will give them your business patronage. After all, the premise of smartphones and tablets is freedom of choice, wherever you are at now, and where you are going next. Sailing with WindSolutions will help you get there faster, easier, and safer. Until next time, keep moving and exploring you world, via technology. . .

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Recover Keys Review:

In today’s world, people buy their software digitally, rather than through physical means, such as “boxed” software with its printed manuals, licenses, and product keys. While this offers many benefits, including near-instant delivery of titles and reduced packaging materials, it has an important downside; the ease of losing the codes/keys needed to activate/register their software. This compounds, when software needs updates/upgrades, or complete reinstalls, due to malware or hardware failures.  I can tell you that even under my best auspices; I have lost such codes and had to go through a hassle to get them retrieved/replaced. This is magnified, when it comes time for an OS upgrade, when you must provide your product keys for reinstall or for proof of upgrade eligibility for the upgrade product/price.

In anticipation of needed said information, I was wondering how to best track down my Windows 7 Product Key, as I was going to being upgrading up to Windows 10, since they were offering it for free, for one year for individuals. I knew that they would require me to go through the Upgrade Wizard for an in-place upgrade, but I wanted to capture my product keys so I could do a fresh install. (I plan on taking this on, when I finish my hardware upgrade, later this year, as my new hardware will need DirectX 12.)

I have used various methods to get my licenses recorded, with mixed results. There used to be registry tweaks, small executables (with risky sources) to recover keys, all the way to just putting everything down in a text file or physical notebook. Nowadays, with greater encryption methods, more software using Product ID/Product Keys activation servers and even a return of hardware dongles (iLok), more advanced tools are needed. One of those tools that meet these challenges head-on is One-Up, Ltd.’s Recover KeysRecover Keys Boxshot 220x328.

This fine tool allows you to view, recover, backup, and save your keys into a myriad of formats. You can save them as a PDF, text file, XML, Excel, or even print them out, to have a hard copy on hand; all while supporting 6500+ software titles for decryption. Many of the tools that I alluded to earlier would only show you the Product Key on a screen, which you would have to write it down, manually, to use later. Not to mention that they would only support one product family (maybe Microsoft products, like Windows or Office), and maybe contained malware, to boot.

This excellent software program/suite allows you to scan your main HDD that it is installed on, other HDD’s/partitions on your system, or other computers connected to it by a network. When you get your results, it will show you the Product Name, Location, License Keys, and version numbers for supported software in a table format. It is able to do this, with a small installation footprint, so it does not take up significant storage space on your system. In fact, they make a portable version, which can be installed to a thumbdrive for analysis on multiple computers. As I stated before, you can easily take your results, and save them in multiple formats or print them out for your records. Whatever works best for your disability or record keeping, you are covered. You may be asking, how does this work in the real world, with an actual usage sequence; fear not, I will use myself for an example of this in action.

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Using my current experience as a case study, I downloaded and installed Recover Keys for Windows (Single-User License Version), and decrypted my keys for Microsoft Windows, Office, and all of my other installed software, before I attempted the upgrade. (As I side note, backup/archive practices should include retaining your software installers and decrypted keys, for a complete backup.) I took my results, and saved them as a PDF, so I could reference them later. I was then ready to take the plunge, and start the Windows 10 upgrade process.

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After some hiccups, with my older hardware (particularly my old NVidia video card), and internet connections/speed problems, I was ready to re-run Recover Keys, and see what keys changes that have occurred, particularly the changes to Window’s Product Key/Product I.D. (In my process, Windows 7 to Windows 10 keys, so I could do a clean reinstall of either OS, at a later date.) I got my results, and saved these new results in a new PDF, for comparison. I now have both keys for each Windows version that I own, so I am ready to go forward.

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This may seem a cursory review or advocacy for this software tool, but the reality is that this tool is very straightforward and easy to use. Its purpose and usage is very well focused, and meets the goal set for it. As you can see, if you get your keys, and save them, like it did, you will be set for any unforeseen or mandatory installs, alike. Take my advice, try out the demo of this tool, and you will see the $29.95/ 1 PC is worth it. If you need more PC’s covered or a portable version, the price for these are competitive, considering the loss of your software licenses or having to pay additional fees to get them restored, makes them well worth it. The bottom line, saving your keys, saves money! Until next time, keep your keys to the kingdom . . .