Expert computing advice (Part 3) - Using heritage format files & Free Screen Capture Software

3/27/2012 4:28:19 PM

Expert computing advice (Part 3)

Extract damage


I use 64bit Windows 7 and really need a trustworthy utility allowing me to extract the compressed files into SIT files by Mac. I tried 7-Zip, WinZip and StuffitExpander.

Stuffit files can be extracted on Windows PC by using a utility such as ExtractNow, or Universal Extrator. Both can deal with SIT files made by Mac as easily as with Zip files made on PC.

Free Screen Capture Software


Please introduce some free Screen Capture software to record your activities on the screen and save in video files. It is for educational purpose.

The easiest way to record video clips online from the screen is using a website such as Website using plug-in Java allows you to choose the screen area to record and activate microphone of PC as you wish. In order to use it, all you have to do is click on the red big button and accept whatever permission requests appear.  

Once being recorded, your video clip can be previewed, uploaded to the ScreenCastle server. Then, you will be supplied with a link which can be used to embed into a web or send by emails.

A disadvantage of this website is that you can’t delete your video files in case you don’t need them anymore. It means the uploaded files can’t be attached to a personal user’s profile, and video ID code is so long that the users which aren’t the tagged one can’t find it.

If you don’t like uploading your record on the Internet server, there are plenty of free applications can be suited to your requests. We list some popular applications below. 

CamStudio is the screen capture application which is powerful and free of charge for personal or commercial purposes, but it lacks editing features. 

You can consider Webinaria and Wink. Both are free tools allowing you to edit somehow about your own videos.

How about the available Jing in free or charged version? Its advantage is that it can be used on either Windows or Mac. 

Similar and useful, though it is not a screen capture actually, is Problem Steps Recorder of Microsoft. It was installed into Windows 7.

Problem Steps Recorder is designed to help the users clearly describe their problems to the technical assistance. This utility records your activities in Windows which you can send it to the supporting assistance or a friend who is expert in technique.

Problem Steps Recorder doesn’t record videos, but it helps you to have a look through the screen pictures which shows your steps, and the result of your actions. They include the error messages, relevant system information, even the version of any software you use. Moreover, you can add your comments on your records which are saved in Minimal HTML file to send by emails.

Any Windows 7 users having PC problems which you want us to solve, please consider sending Problem Steps Recorder files together with your questions. This will help us give advices and solutions faster and more suitable. Other operation system users can also feel free to send us your screen capture pictures in other formats.

Using heritage format files


I want to open and edit old format files such as Lotus 1-2-3, Ami Pro, etc… I could do with these files on my office computers till the recent retirement. Based on the new versions of Microsoft Office and WordPerfect, they seemed not to support this file. Now I use Windows XP but with the intention of replacing the laptop with a MacBook.   

The best solution to this heritage format files is using emulation softwares. It is similar with the case mentioned in the previous page, which require accessing GWBasic in 64bit Windows 7.

You can continue running old programs on new PC by setting up a virtual computer. This allows you to run old applications in virtual environment. Let’s think of it as running by one of the old office PC on your home computer virtually.

However, in order to make it works, you have to transfer your original files on the virtual PC. This is difficult with heritage storage such as floppy disks, and it is even harder if you have no access to the origin softwares. 

A possible better long-term solution is converting these files into the new formats. This is the most time-consuming options, because you have to find the converter softwares for each file you want to use. Of course, once you convert the files, you don’t have to do it again.   

Once time passes by, the converter softwares synchronize with the modern applications are more and more difficult to find. For instant, the Ami Pro converter programs which Microsoft offered to use with Word 2000 is no longer available with the latest version of Word. 

While the old versions of Microsoft Excel support the Lotus 1-2-3, .WK4 files, the later one of Office don’t. You can figure out what software versions to fill up the gap between the chosen file formats.

In case of Lotus 1-2-3, you will need a copy of Excel between the 7.0 version and 2003 to convert the .WK4 files into a format that can be used in the current version of Excel.

Or let’s find the latest copy of Lotus SmartSuite. SmartSuite and Office 2003 can be bought in Amazon.

In the supporting website of IBM, Lotus SmartSuite will run on Windows 7, though it is designed to synchronize with Windows versions up to XP.

If other versions of these softwares are not available, the converter packages such as ABC Amber Lotus Converter can be used to convert Lotus 1-2-3 into friendlier Excel format and no need to install applications on your computer. There are samples for this software but you have to pay money to unleash their full features.

Ami Pro converter software for Word is listed in this website, including version for 64bit Windows 7.

Changing to Mac means any Windows softwares need to be used under the emulator utilities such as Parallels Desktop, or you have to dual boot Windows by using Boot Camp. In any circumstances, you have to buy the Windows license. However, the number of converter options can be increased, because you can run Mac programs which aren’t synchronize with Windows operation system.

Unfortunately, no matter which method you use, the file converting is not easy at all. Even though you can luckily find the free file converters for many types of files, and then you realize that the specific features of the original formats are not supported. You should have to check whether your converted files can work or not. The original copies of the origin softwares are the best ways to guarantee your success.

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