Free CAD software for home use – ProgeCAD 2009

November 7, 2009

I was with a customer yesterday, fixing their PC, and they showed me a program they were using called ProgeCAD 2009.

It is a Computer Aided Drawing (CAD) program very similar to AutoCAD LT. But where AutoCAD LT costs many hundreds of pounds, this program is free for non comercial use (you can make a donation to charity if you like the program).

They also do a professional version for business use, and that is far cheaper than AutoCAD.

ProgeCAD can be downloaded at

Thanks for your software recomendation Stuart. If any other customers know of a very good PC program that is free, or offers exceptional value, let us know and we will post details on our Website.

ASL Computer Services
01788 298034



Internet Explorer vulnerability

December 18, 2008

Microsoft has issued a security patch to fix a critical vulnerability in its Internet Explorer browser which has attacked over 2 million Windows users.

Their advice is to update Windows with the security patch as soon as possible. The relevant patch for your version of Windows and Internet Explorer can be downloaded below

Chris Moody

ASL Computer Services

The end of Windows XP

June 7, 2008

It looks like anyone wanting to buy a new PC with Windows XP as the Operating system is very quickly running out of time.

At the end of this month (30th June 2008) Microsoft will prevent the major PC builders (Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, etc) from supplying any desktop or laptop PC’s with Windows XP, Vista will be the only available Microsoft operating system. The only exception to this rule is the Ultra Low cost PC’s which will still be allowed to be supplied with XP Home pre-installed, but they are a very small and specialist market.

With just over three weeks to go until the deadline the manufacturers are running out of XP licences, and they cannot get hold of any more. We are already finding it is almost impossible to obtain new desktop or laptop PC’s with XP Home or XP Professional.

Chris Moody
ASL Computer Services

AVG Free Edition

May 31, 2008

For a number of years now we have been recommending AVG Free edition as the ideal Anti Virus product for the average home PC user. It has many advantages over other Anti Virus products:

* It is free of charge for home PC users
* It does not consume lots of memory and processor power, so is ideal for older less powerful PC’s
* It is very effective at protecting your PC from Viruses

Recently AVG released a major update to their AVG products. Those with the paid for AVG products will automatically be upgraded to the new version, but the AVG Free users will have to upgrade manually. The existing AVG Free Version 7.5 will not receive any virus database updates after 31st May 2008, so users of the old free product will need to uninstall version 7.5 and install the newer version 8.0 as soon as possible to ensure continued full virus protection.

Some of our customers have had some difficulty in finding the download link for the new AVG Free Edition program so we have put a link to the download on our webpage. Just go to our website and you will find AVG Free Edition V8 under the “useful links” section on the right hand side of our web page.

Please note that the AVG Free edition is only for home PC users. Business users, or home PC users requiring more advanced virus & spyware protection, should consider the paid for AVG Anti Virus and AVG Internet Security products. We are an authorised AVG reseller so can supply these paid for products if you require them (you can purchase and download via our website, or we can visit you to supply and install these products). However, the average home PC user will find the basic AVG Free version will give perfectly adequate protection from Viruses.

Chris Moody
ASL Computer Services
Computer Support and Repair for Small Businesses


May 25, 2008

We recently found a useful utility called “ClipMate”, from Thornsoft Development. Normally the Windows Clipboard only holds the last entry copied into it, with prior entries being lost forever. Clipmate keeps all your clipboard entries in it’s own internal database, to be available for subsequent retrieval. Clipmate also lets you manipulate the enties in the clipboard.

Here are just some of the powerful features of Clipmate:

·         ClipMate Remembers everything that you cut or copy to the clipboard.

·         It works with all Windows programs that work with the clipboard.

·         Searchable database can hold THOUSANDS of clips, in Text, RTF, HTML, and Bitmap format.

·         “Shortcuts” place commonly-used clips within easy reach for quick re-use.

·         PowerPaste™ feature helps you quickly paste a series of clips, or break apart complex data by comma, linebreak, etc.

A 30 day trial of Clipmate can be downloaded from and the full program costs around thirty five USdollars, under twenty pounds sterling.

Chris Moody
ASL Computer Services
Sir Frank Whittle Business Centre, Great Central Way, Rugby CV21 3XH


The PrtSc key on your keyboard

May 25, 2008

Many people are not aware of the existence of the “PrtSc” key on every PC keyboard, or what it’s function is. In fact this is a very useful key. The “PrtSc” stands for PrintScreen and every time you press this key, an image of the current contents of your PC display is copied into an area called the Windows Clipboard.  You can then “paste” this image into any windows application.

So why is this so useful? Imagine you had to keep a permanent record of something on your PC screen, perhaps details of an online internet purchase, or maybe an error message that has popped up.  Just press the PrtSc key, then open up Word or Wordpad, and click on Edit-Paste in the drop down menus. An exact Image of your PC screen is now in contained in the word (or Wordpad) document and can be saved, or emailed to someone else.

Perhaps you need to document how to complete a particular task on a PC for someone else to follow. Just go through the task, and PrtSc every stage of the process, pasting the screen shots into word as you go along. We all know “pictures are worth a thousand words” so your documentation on how to do this particular task will be easy for others to follow.

If you don’t want to capture the whole screen, just the currently active “window”, hold down the “Alt” key while you press PrtSc.

Thanks to Tim Foden for giving me the idea to write about the PrtSc key.

Chris Moody
ASL Computer Services
Computer Support and Repair for Small Businesses in the Midlands (based in Rugby)

Windows Vista

April 6, 2008

Back in February we wrote about Windows Vista and how we thought it was still too early to adopt this new Operating Systems for any serious PC use. The update to Vista, Service Pack 1, which was supposed to fix the many bugs, and speed up the slowness of Vista, seems to have made little difference.

I found this blog entry today that asks if Microsoft are trying to quietly kill off Vista by extending support for XP, and announcing the replacement for Vista (Windows 7) will be launched sometime in 2009. It looks like Vista will be around for less than two years before it is replaced.

Our advice at ASL is to still stick with XP as the Operating System for your new PCs. Hopefully “Windows 7” will be more successful than Vista.

Chris Moody
ASL Computer Services
If you have a PC problem, ASL can fix IT

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