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Spotlight: Editor's Choice
As you'll guess from the name, Freemake Video Converter is able to convert videos from one format to another - but that's just the start of its capabilities.
The program imports a lengthy list of video formats, and can convert them to AVI, WMV, MP4 and 3GP formats. If you just want the file to play on a particular device, though, you can simply select one of many built-in device profiles. Choose the "to MP4" conversion option, for instance, and you can choose from presets including "iPhone, iPod Touch", "iPhone 4, iPad", "iPod Classic, Nano", "iPod 5G", "PSP", "Smartphones" and "Digital media players". Pick the option that best suits your hardware and Freemake Video Converter will prepare the file for you right away.
There's also support for ripping DVDs (unprotected only), and if you drag in a number of videos then the program will burn them to a video DVD. There's not a great deal of control over the results - you can choose text, thumbnail or motion menus, for instance, but can't significantly customise them - however this does make the process very quick and easy.
If you'd prefer to share your clips with the world, though, it might be easier to put them on YouTube - and Freemake Video Converter can do that, too. Just import the relevant videos, click the To YouTube button, enter your account details and the clips will be published for you.
And other features allow you to join videos, extract the soundtrack from a movie, create photo slideshows, and more.
Version 126.96.36.199 (Changelog):
- Optional ad offers removed
- Video download feature in a commercial pack included
- Critical bugs fixed
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Spotlight: Editor's Choice
Let us be frank: the Windows Defragmentation tool is best described as functional. Defragging your hard drive is an essential part of PC maintenance as otherwise files get scattered in multiple segments (or fragments) all over your drive, forcing the disk’s mechanical parts to work harder to piece them back together when they’re needed. Net result: files are slower to access, so computer slows down, but another side-effect is that the drive’s temperature increases and its moving parts wear out that much quicker.
XP’s Defrag tool doesn’t even run automatically, so it’s essential you find another solution. And even though Windows 7 and Vista do attempt to run on a weekly basis, the default timing isn’t great and the results are barely adequate. Your hard drive is the biggest bottleneck in your system, so it pays to make sure it’s defragged regularly to give it the best possible chance of performing at a half-decent level.
Third-party defrag tools have long trumped Windows’ own meagre efforts, and in recent years a number of powerful, versatile and feature-rich freebies have come on to the market, such as Puran Defrag Free and Auslogics Disk Defrag. That probably explains why O&O – one of the pioneers in disk defrag technology – has finally wised up to the fact it needs to provide a free version of its own defrag tool to appeal to the home market.
The net result is this: O&O Defrag Free Edition. It’s based on its Professional big brother, so you enjoy the top-notch performance gains and light system footprint that it brings. The downside is that it’s actually a cut-down version, so you’re only able to use one of two defrag methods (as opposed to eight in the full version), neither of which will keep your drive defragged in the background as you work. There’s no boot-time defragmentation either for system files, and while the program comes with three “zones” for placing files in for best performance on your drive, you can’t actually configure them as you can with the Pro Edition.
It sounds churlish to mention these limitations in the free version, but we do so because many of these options are available in other free tools, so should be noted here. However, if you’re looking for a “set-it-and-forget-it” solution and are happy for your drive to be defragged on a regular basis, then O&O Defrag Free definitely represents a step up from the basic tool provided by Windows itself.
This is the 64-bit version of O&O Defrag Free Edition: a separate build is available for 32-bit versions of Windows.