Win2PDF 10: Adding new copies of the Win2PDF printer

In Win2PDF 10, there is a new Add Win2PDF Printer option in the Win2PDF program group (which is accessible from the Windows Start menu or Start screen).  This feature can be very useful if you want to dedicate a version of Win2PDF that has specific settings for a specific application, a type of company document, or a particular group of users.

win2pdf blog copies

For instance, consider if you were a Win2PDF Pro 10 user and you wanted to have special Win2PDF printer created that would: ALWAYS create a PDF file with a company watermark.  ALWAYS password protect a document.  Or ALWAYS save certain file types (e.g., invoices or weekly reports) to a specific folder location without any user prompting.  And you could do all of this while still having the main Win2PDF printer reserved for normal interactive printing.

With Win2PDF 10’s Add Win2PDF Printer new menu item, you can easily make as many of these special-use PDF printers as you’d like. Here’s a short video showing how to add a new copy of the Win2PDF printer.

In an upcoming blog post, we’ll describe how to combine this and other new Win2PDF 10 features to automate tasks and improve your workflow with PDF files.

 

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New Auto-name features in Win2PDF 10

One of the most significant improvements to Win2PDF 10 is the enhanced Auto-name options.  The Auto-name feature allows you to save a PDF file without being prompted for the file name.  You can simply print any document and the file will automatically be saved in a location of your choosing, with a file name that you’ve customized.  This Win2PDF 10 update improves the user-defined options that are available to use for the file name.

Here is a brief video that shows how to use this new feature.

For a complete description of the Auto-name feature, visit the Win2PDF online support guide sections on How to Automatically Name PDF Files.

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Win2PDF 10 is now available for download!

We’ve just released our latest and greatest version of Win2PDF with some significant new features, and it’s available now at our Win2PDF 10 download page.

We’ll be covering these features in greater detail over the next several weeks, but here’s an overview:

Autoname

  • Win2PDF 10 makes it easier to add a new copy of the Win2PDF printer.  Auto-name and other settings are stored separately for each printer, so you can create different Win2PDF printers for specific settings.
  • Win2PDF 10 improves performance and reliability.

Win2PDF 10 is a free upgrade for Win2PDF 7 users.  If you purchased Win2PDF before October 2009, you can purchase an upgrade for Win2PDF 10 on the updates page.

We’ll be adding more updates on these new features in the coming weeks, but please download you copy today and get started.

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Win2PDF Support for Windows 10 Editions and Release Date

Microsoft has announced the following planned editions of Windows 10, with each edition serving a core device and/or type of user.

Once Windows 10 is released, Win2PDF will support these editions of Windows 10 using the familiar ‘Print to PDF’ interface as in past editions.

  • Windows 10 Home
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Windows 10 Enterprise
  • Windows 10 Education

Win2PDF will NOT support these mobile editions of Windows 10, however.

  • Windows 10 Mobile
  • Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise

The mobile editions are designed primarily for phones and tablet devices that run on non-Intel processors, and will not have the same type of printing interface that the desktop operating systems have.

Microsoft also announced that Windows 10 will be available on July 29, 2015.  Get ready.  We’ll be posting more updates as the release date approaches.

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Windows 10 – New Coke or Coca-Cola Classic?

150px-New_Coke_can

New Coke

Those of you of a certain age will likely remember one of the most controversial events of 1985 — the day when Coca-Cola changed its formula and rebranded its flagship product as New Coke.  This led to an inevitable customer backlash and the company re-introduced Coca-Cola Classic a mere 3 months later.  Many viewed this as one of the largest marketing blunders in history, but others saw it as a brilliant ploy.  When the classic version returned to the shelves, Coca-Cola sales surged, and it allowed Coca-cola to make one other change — the cane sugar ingredient in the original was replaced by high-fructose corn syrup in the re-introduced Coca-Cola Classic.

Why bring this up?  Well, we see some similarities with Microsoft’s recent operating systems changes.  As many know, Microsoft has had a bumpy road of it since the introduction of Windows 8 and 8.1.  Gone was the Start menu, the interface changed radically, and even basic things like printing changed dramatically with the introduction of a Charms bar.  Windows 8 added new interface support for tablets and touch-enabled PCs, but then forced these same (often non-intuitive changes) on regular desktop and laptop users as well.  Many businesses said, “No thanks,” and kept their users on Windows 7 or XP.

Cue the bugles, because now Microsoft intends to (hopefully) bring back some of the classic features in its upcoming Windows 10 operating system, scheduled to be released in the Spring of 2015.

Wait a minute?  Windows 8.1 is the current available operating system.  What happened to Windows 9?  There was actually a funny April Fool’s Day joke by Infoworld titled Microsoft skips ‘too good’ Windows 9, jumps to Windows 10.  But the truth is actually a little simpler but not too far off the mark.  According to this article in the Times of India:

Microsoft doesn’t want people to associate the next version of Windows with the unpopular Windows 8…  “Windows 10 is not going to be an incremental step from Window 8.1,” he explained. “Windows 10 is going to be a material step. We’re trying to create one platform, one eco-system that unites as many of the devices from the small embedded Internet of Things, through tablets, through phones, through PCs and, ultimately, into the Xbox.”

3_10s

Earlier this month, Microsoft released a public preview build of Windows 10 which we immediately downloaded and tested.  The most obvious addition to Windows 10 is the return of the Windows Start menu, which replaces the Start screen by default on desktop PCs.  And the whole Charms bar interface to access devices like printers (which includes access to PDF creators like Win2PDF)? Windows 10 disables the Charms bar on non-touch-enabled PCs.  The interface returns to a more Windows 7 friendly view of the desktop, which is what most business customers want.

And Win2PDF?  Well, good news there.  Win2PDF is currently working with Windows 10 with our Win2PDF 7 release without any code modifications, which is a good sign.  We’ll keep on top of developments to make sure Win2PDF will be fully supported by the time Windows 10 is released to the public.

If your business relies on PDF files, make sure you stay up-to-date with new developments.  We’ll be covering all of the news here.

P.S. If you want to try the Windows 10 Technical Preview, sign up at Microsoft’s web site.

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Dark Patterns – More on “Free” software

Free Lemonade

Free Lemonade

At my lemonade stand I used to give the first glass away free and charge five dollars for the second glass. The refill contained the antidote.

— Emo Phillips

As a follow up to our last post on the high cost of free software, it’s probably worth discussing the related topic of dark patterns in the user interface of software products and web sites.  Essentially, dark patterns refer to the intentional use of user interface elements that are designed to you “trick” you into doing something you probably didn’t intend to do.

And why would a web site or software publisher want do this?  Most often, it’s to get you to click on a link for a paid advertisement.

For example, many “free” download sites serve ads that look like real download buttons, but actually download software that have nothing to do with what you were searching for.  Here’s a real screen shot showing what comes up for a search for “Adobe Reader”:

darkpattern4

Many users would logically just click on either of the “Free Download” buttons (which also use the label “Start Download”).  After all, all 3 buttons on the page look the same – same size and shape, same green color, a little download arrow on the left…  But one is different.  The two “Free Download” buttons take you to an advertiser’s site so that you can download their products, not Adobe Reader.  And the site hosting the “free” software gets paid a commission for this link – even though it didn’t do what you though it would.  Only if you look closely and find the link that says “Visit Site” are you directed to the read Adobe Reader download.

This example shows a web site doing this type of dark pattern interface, but it can also be embedded within the interface of a “free download” product. If you’re curious to see other examples, go to the Dark Patterns web site and browse the different examples that other users have submitted.  And if you need to download a product like Adobe Reader, it is always safest to go directly to the publisher’s web site to obtain the download.

Just another reminder why “free” sometimes isn’t free.  And why companies like ours only charge you for the lemonade, not the antidote…

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The High Cost of “Free” Software

Adware.  Spyware.  Malware.  Bloatware. [Link goes to another good blog post on this subject].  These are all names for software that are secretly installed on your computer when you download so-called ‘free’ software programs.  Our recommendation?

Be aware and beware!  Just look at this example of an Internet Explorer window riddled with toolbars that have been included with other software downloads.

Example of Internet Explorer overwhelmed with extra tool bars, often loaded by 'free' software

Example of Internet Explorer overwhelmed with extra tool bars, often loaded by ‘free’ software

It may look extreme, but if you’ve seen these types of toolbars or unwanted pop-up windows appear on your computer, it’s quite likely that they piggy-backed on some other ‘free’ software that you downloaded.

As a developer of commercial Windows software, we get offers and inquiries almost weekly from other companies who wish to include their software bundled into our installer.  While we always decline such arrangements (Win2PDF is 100% free of any adware/spyware), this is a typical model that many providers of ‘free’ software use to make money.  After all, it costs money to develop, support, and host software applications:  Web hosting, security, development and version control software, live chat and other technical support software all have costs.  As does having to maintain multiple computers with different operating systems and servers for testing.  And staff.  Let’s not forget about actually having real people in place to create, test, and support the software.  Even a lone programmer working in their own basement needs some revenue to create and make their software available.

Google Search for 'PDF Writer'

If you perform a Google search of “PDF Writer” (see image to the right), the top result is for a “100% Free!” solution.

This is actually an Ad Supported download wrapper for the CutePDF software program, which is also Ad Supported.  If you follow the link to download, you’ll end up with at least 5 extra programs on your PC.  Do you know what these programs do?  Will they slow down your PC, or make it unstable?  Will it collect and transmit any personal information about you or your browsing history?  

If you don’t know, is it still worth it for the ‘free’ software?

Idealware.org posted a useful article on many of these same issues, along with questions to ask yourself when considering these free or low-cost software options.  For example,

    • If it’s truly ‘free’, how does the company afford to advertise it on Google or Bing?  Or pay to host the downloads?
    • Do the companies who make these downloads available even produce their own software, or are they just bundling other ‘free’ solutions?
    • Are you downloading directly from the publisher’s web site, or though a 3rd party site?  3rd parties often add downloaders that can add spyware.  Hint: It’s safer to download directly from the publisher!
    • Will it work in future versions of Windows, or with new service packs or updates?  Who do you contact if you have a problem or question?
    • How trustworthy is the publisher?
    • Do they offer independent reviews [Win2PDF example] on their products?
    • Do they list company information [Win2PDF example] on their web site?
    • Are they a member of the Better Business Bureau, and if so, what is their rating [Win2PDF example]?

Here’s a review of www.pdflite.com, one of the other companies that advertises on Google for the search word ‘PDF Writer’.  By contrast, here’s the review of www.win2pdf.com.  Can you guess which one is ‘free’?

Our company does not make ‘free’ software.  We charge for our products, and guarantee our products with a full 60-day return policy.  This allows us to say No to 3rd party spyware/adware publishers, and it provides the revenue we need to continue developing, supporting, and enhancing our products for the future.  We have a loyal customer base and we’ve been able to operate a successful business since 2000.

So, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your needs.  Just know that there usually isn’t such a thing as ‘free’ software.  There’s usually a cost somewhere – just know what that cost is before installing it on your PC.

And always remember, be careful what you download.

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