Friday, December 28, 2007

Backing up Gmail with Thunderbird

Backing up Gmail with Thunderbird
Ever since that brief but petrifying Gmail outage (and my ensuing freakout), I've been "backing up" Gmail messages via POP using Thunderbird.

Since I don't check Gmail through Thunderbird, the Minimize to Tray extension plus the Minimize to Tray Enhancer make keeping T-bird out of the way and starting up automatically with Windows easy. The bonus of local copies of your email messages is desktop search access (Vista and Spotlight don't search online Gmail like Google Desktop does) and offline access, too. How do you archive your Gmail locally? Let us know in the comments. Thanks, JamesIsIn! — Gina Trapani

8:30 AM ON THU FEB 8 2007

Read More:
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Set Up TimeVault on Ubuntu Systems


Image of katana BY KATANA AT 02/08/07 08:33 AM

I do thunderbird backups now. I did a year or two ago, and after the Dec. deletion of ~60 Gmail accounts, I backed up EVERYTHING again. Lots of spam with it, but at least I have the legit. messages locally too.

No commenter image uploaded BY LEE AT 02/08/07 08:51 AM

Is it possible to back up sent email?

Image of katana BY KATANA AT 02/08/07 09:14 AM

Actually, I didn't find a way to backup sent e-mail or drafts. Anyone know how?

Image of Gideon BY GIDEON AT 02/08/07 09:23 AM

I actually did this yesterday myself... I used the redirect plugin to pull mail from two other gmail accounts I've used over the years and then just downloaded all 9000 msgs into thunderbird.

I then use SmartBackup to back the folder up to an hosted WebDav drive.

I had an old outlook pst file that used to have stuff going back to 97 somehow get corrupted on me - it's all about redundant backups.

No commenter image uploaded BY SPEEDWAY AT 02/08/07 09:31 AM

I have outlook set up to access my gmail account via POP, and have the Gmail settings to keep a copy in Gmail's inbox.

I have the backup plugin from Microsoft installed in Outlook 2003 so everything is backed up on closing Outlook.

Messages sent to and from gmail automatically appear in my Outlook inbox.

Occasionally I go to the outlook inbox and mark all as read. - Nothing is really organized, but if I ever need to find something google desktop search will be there to help me!

Image of Gina Trapani, Lifehacker Editor BY GINA TRAPANI, LIFEHACKER EDITOR AT 02/08/07 09:44 AM

@Lee: When you POP your Gmail, you get sent mail as well as received. I was surprised too! Pleasantly.

Image of Barron BY BARRON AT 02/08/07 09:47 AM

I haven't looked at the "Minimize to Tray" extensions, so maybe they offer additional functionality, but if you are running TaskSwitchXP then you already have a minimize to tray capability. Just turn it on in the "General Settings" and right-click on the minimize button of the window you want to send to the tray.

No commenter image uploaded BY DBUZEK AT 02/08/07 09:57 AM

Me to:) Downloading also sent mails by pop3 is a superb feature! Thank you, Mr. Google ;)

No commenter image uploaded BY SPOOKSTER AT 02/08/07 10:07 AM

I also started doing this after that previous LH post, but have found it annoying that thunderbird now alerts me when I get new gmail. I already use Thunderbird for my work mail, so I can't turn off the alerting altogether - anyone know how to disable it for a specific account?

Image of Gina Trapani, Lifehacker Editor BY GINA TRAPANI, LIFEHACKER EDITOR AT 02/08/07 10:13 AM

Yah, that's the one thing I hate about this system, is the little unread mail icon on the taskbar. So far I haven't figured out a way to disable that. Surely there must be an extension...?

Image of JohnnyLA BY JOHNNYLA AT 02/08/07 10:18 AM

Does Thunderbird also download email into archived label subdirectories? I can see get all of that mail and then having to redirect it again to all of my labels.

No commenter image uploaded BY STICKYSTYLE AT 02/08/07 10:19 AM

I do the same thing with 'fetchmail'. It downloads my mail and has it delivered to a mail spool file, which if needed thunderbird can open up. Much less resource intensive than running thunderbird all the time, although i don't know if there is a similar (fetchmail) way to do this in windows.

No commenter image uploaded BY ADAM SANDERG ERICSSON AT 02/08/07 10:35 AM

I just found this:
Pretty nice tools I think, but i haven't tried it yet.

No commenter image uploaded BY JMSIDHU AT 02/08/07 10:42 AM

How can you do this without causing Thunderbird to move messages from my Gmail inbox? When I am using Gmail, I like to use the GTDGmail Plugin. I'd like to rely on Thunderbird for a local backup but I need it keep my emails where they are. When Thunderbird copies the mail now, it moves my online copies to the Archive. Anyway to stop this?

Image of Gina Trapani, Lifehacker Editor BY GINA TRAPANI, LIFEHACKER EDITOR AT 02/08/07 10:45 AM

@JohnnyLA: No, it doesn't, no labels in the POP download, which sucks.

@stickystyle: I'd love to fetchmail command-line style once an evening instead of running T-bird all the time... must look into it for Windows, thanks!

No commenter image uploaded BY JMSIDHU AT 02/08/07 10:50 AM

Maybe Windows users can run Fetchmail using Cygwin.

No commenter image uploaded BY NAIKROVEK AT 02/08/07 10:52 AM

@Gina: how about this:

Image of jadedhalo BY JADEDHALO AT 02/08/07 10:54 AM

I have a gmail account for personal email and a Gmail hosted account for my work. I have a 3rd gmail account that I forward both the othe rones too. I setup to download via POP from that 3rd unused account. This gives me two backups for both my accounts, local and online.

Image of earth2marsh BY EARTH2MARSH AT 02/08/07 10:55 AM

@Gina Trapani: maybe a filter that marks everything as read? (haven't tried that yet myself)

Image of Gina Trapani, Lifehacker Editor BY GINA TRAPANI, LIFEHACKER EDITOR AT 02/08/07 10:55 AM

@Naikrovek: Now we're talkin'! I'll give that a try. I'd love to come up with an automated, non-intrusive Gmail backup that just works.

No commenter image uploaded BY TRUMPETFALCON AT 02/08/07 11:06 AM

This is probably incredibly dense, but any short explanation on how to do this with Thunderbird?

As an avid gmail user (with multiple accounts), I have no concept of tb whatsoever...

No commenter image uploaded BY JMSIDHU AT 02/08/07 11:18 AM

Sorry about replying to my own post.

Earlier I wrote with question about how to get Gmail to leave my mail where it was stored (especially stuff that is in the Gmail inbox) when backing up with Thunderbird.

I did some checking in Gmail's settings and on the 'Forwarding & POP' tab there is a config option that allows users to tell Gmail to leave copies in the inbox when accessed via POP. Going to give it a try and see how that works going forward with the GTDMail plugin I use with Gmail/Firefox.

Image of infmom BY INFMOM AT 02/08/07 11:19 AM

I check my Gmail with Eudora, which I've instructed to delete messages off the Gmail server after capturing them. I don't understand why people save every last flippin' email they ever get!

If there's information in the mail I want to save, I do a save-as from Eudora and put it in the appropriate directory on my hard drive. I don't keep stuff kicking around in my Eudora inbox either.

I sign into Gmail a couple times a week and go through the spam folder to see if it caught anything it shouldn't (it happens from time to time) and delete the rest of the spam.

Image of 5cents BY 5CENTS AT 02/08/07 11:32 AM

I use Apple's Mail to backup Gmail so I dont know about the Thunderbird specifics. Is it not possible to use rules to tag all incoming messages for a certain account as "read" and move them to an appropriate folder? This way you wont get the "unread" indicator. Another rule in Apple's Mail will let sort the sent messages from the received ones and place them in the sent box (as opposed to both sent and received messages in one box). Is anyone interested or am I way off topic?

No commenter image uploaded BY KEVIN NEELY AT 02/08/07 11:32 AM

Gmail is good, there's no doubt about it, but no matter how good they make it, I still do not find the web interface to be as efficient as an application running on my machine. I also like to make use of offline mail access, which rules web-based mail out.

So, I make use of a rather complex infrastructure relying upon Gmail as a backend. I then use my server at home running fetchmail grab off the e-mail for each account, and then make the mail available via IMAP. This gives me the reliability of Google with the good webmail (for when I have to use it) but the flexibility to access my mail how I want to.

I began documenting the process here:

Hmm, looks like I need to move onto step 2...

No commenter image uploaded BY WEBS AT 02/08/07 11:32 AM

infmom: I delete nothing because if there was something I need to get from an email I previously got, in Gmail it is really easy to search for it.

And besides I have over 2gigs of storage, so rather than delete things I just archive everything (taking gmail's advice).

Image of Pat BY PAT AT 02/08/07 11:37 AM

I use to send/receive gmail, so I do my mail offline but can also do it online when I'm away from home. Then when I get back, Pop access grabs anything I received OR sent while I was out.

Therefore, I have an archive of mail online and off, searchable in both places. Also, I have my gmail account automatically forward everything to a yahoo address for an additional online backup, and of course my folders get backed up to a disk clone at home. With 4 copies of everything, in three different physical locations, I think I'm covered! ;)

No commenter image uploaded BY SPOOKSTER AT 02/08/07 11:56 AM

@earth2marsh: thanks for the suggestion re. marking all incoming mail as read - that does the trick!

Only problem is that Thunderbird doesn't have a filter option to match all incoming mail, so I tried using 'size > 0' and that worked.

No commenter image uploaded BY SENSELESS1 AT 02/08/07 12:12 PM

Just thought you should know...the Thunderbird link at the beginning of this post is incorrect.

No commenter image uploaded BY SENSELESS1 AT 02/08/07 12:13 PM

Just thought you should know...the Thunderbird link at the top of this post is incorrect.

Image of katana BY KATANA AT 02/08/07 12:25 PM

My gmail "sent" folder didn't download into thunderbird. Any special setting here?

Whomever said they always delete off the server: some people like archived, online copies. It comes in handy when you're on vacation, when your hard drive(s) crash, etc. It's a backup "sytems" for people who don't back up to external disks (naughty naughty).

Image of Gina Trapani, Lifehacker Editor BY GINA TRAPANI, LIFEHACKER EDITOR AT 02/08/07 12:26 PM

@Spookster: Ooooh, size > 0! Brilliant, you are!

@Senseless1: D'oh, will fix.

No commenter image uploaded BY MEYERSMP AT 02/08/07 12:31 PM

I've got a gmail question that none of my gmail guru friends has been able to completely answer. My wife is a photographer and loves her gmail account. Professional etiquette says that she should have a non freebie account hosted on her own server. Something like

So the question... Can gmail go out to a pop3 account and retrieve email sent to her "professional" account? The guru friends swear it can be done. I disagree as this would put further strain on gmail servers having to constantly look for newly arrived mail. Any thoughts Gina?

No commenter image uploaded BY JWELSHJR AT 02/08/07 12:52 PM

@myeersmp: Just have her configure Google Apps for Your Domain - then she'll get the best of both worlds. (Also see Lifehacker articles such as this one:

No commenter image uploaded BY MIKE TUTTLE AT 02/08/07 12:58 PM


It is a standard option in Gmail, actually. Go to Settings->Accounts->Get mail from other accounts.

Unless I am missing something.

I often hear people express disbelief that someone would want to use a desktop client like TB for Gmail and lose the labels, etc. It all depends on your individual needs, folks. I hate Outlook but really love having a client that checks all my gmail accounts, delivers my RSS feeds (incl. Lifehacker), and has groovy extensions like Minimize to Tray, Contacts Sidebar, Signature and QuickText. I leave my old messages on the Gmail servers as a backup for a month or so at a time then delete them with ease to clean things up. If I am away from home, I can always check my Gmail via the web interface or even my phone. It all just depends on what your needs are.

No commenter image uploaded BY VRB AT 02/08/07 01:03 PM

@ meyersmp
When google when completely open a few days ago, they also added Mail Fetch to all account. Check out:<...

No commenter image uploaded BY MIKE TUTTLE AT 02/08/07 01:05 PM

@meyersmp Here is a link to Google Help which explains the Gmail "Mail Fetcher" capabillity. Up to five other non-gmail accounts can be fetched.

No commenter image uploaded BY BRADD AT 02/08/07 01:06 PM

@meyersmp: This feature is being rolled out. It was just activated on my account and is called "Mail Fetcher".


Extra bonus: it preserves the date that the original message was sent. Importing messages using other methods generally time-stamps each message the day GMail received it, instead of when it was actually sent.

Image of Irian BY IRIAN AT 02/08/07 01:15 PM

Fetching mail from other POP accounts is a recently introduced feature that is being rolled out slowly to all users.

And it seems I finally have it enabled! :)
Time to fully migrate to Gmail.

Any ideas on how to do the opposite (uploading what I have in Thunderbird to Gmail, to have it as a backup and take advantage of the extended search capabilities)? I'd like to have all my email both on Gmail and on a local copy at my PC.

No commenter image uploaded BY MEYERSMP AT 02/08/07 01:39 PM

Now don't I feel stupid for not checking the accounts tab. I skipped it thinking it had to do with gmail preferences and not outside accounts. Thanks for the help.

Image of katana BY KATANA AT 02/08/07 02:04 PM

"Fetching mail from other POP accounts is a recently introduced feature that is being rolled out slowly to all users."

STILL not there for me. STILL.

I signed up for a new account a while back. It's in there. But, it's not enabled in my old accounts.

Image of Jeff S BY JEFF S AT 02/08/07 02:53 PM

@ Mike Tuttle and bradd

Beware of using gmail to fetch It will work, but when you reply to an email, Outlook will your wife's email address as on behalf of For this reason getting gmail for your own domain is a much neater solution.

I actually use Gmail as a backup at the front end. From there, I forward all my gmail accounts and work email to where rules auto-file it into IMAP folders. I then pull it all onto my desktop with Thunderbird Portable on my PC (at work), and Thunderbird on the Mac (at home). Because Fastmail uses IMAP, the folders are replicated on my desktops and there is no mail re-sorting to do.

IMAP is not a backup of my Fastmail, but as it routes through gmail there is an online copy if fastmail ever goes down
if it ever goes down, i have it all in gmail.

Image of Gina Trapani, Lifehacker Editor BY GINA TRAPANI, LIFEHACKER EDITOR AT 02/08/07 03:05 PM

@Jeff S: Agreed. Gmail for your domain is definitely more ideal than forwarding, for the exact reason you said.

No commenter image uploaded BY JER887 AT 02/08/07 03:13 PM

I've just been using google desktop to index my gmail so I can get to my email offline. But, is that a sufficient backup solution? Where are those indexed emails stored locally?

No commenter image uploaded BY REEFLECTIONS AT 02/08/07 03:53 PM

Irian: See this article from last week.

Image of infmom BY INFMOM AT 02/08/07 04:10 PM

@webs: So, do you save every magazine you ever got, just because there's plenty of room in the living room to stack them up?

Come on, how often do you actually have to go back and find something in a previous email? If there's useful information in something you got, save it. If it's idle chit-chat, advertising, a reply that mostly quotes back what you sent and then says "You bet!" at the end... [etc etc etc] then saving it is kind of like filling your living room with gum wrappers just because you can.

Image of MTS BY MTS AT 02/08/07 04:26 PM

Through my hosting company's control panel, I've set up my email account to send to two mailboxes -- the account's own plus Gmail. I have the hosting one set up as IMAP, so I check it frequently enough to weed out the spam (this is why I switched to Gmail) but leave it be otherwise.

Instead, I use the Gmail one. Thunderbird accesses it via POP, so all my message filters are run and then I decide what to keep/delete on the web version.

A little unwieldy but if Gmail ever croaks, I've still got my email. And if my computer/Thunderbird buys the farm, I still have a backup of that.

No commenter image uploaded BY YEABIRFDAY AT 02/08/07 07:07 PM

I actually worry more that my local backup will fail than gmail's (remote to me) storage. I use thunderbird to collect email from maybe 6 accounts, but they get so much spam I make Google Desktop pause indexing before opening up Thunderbird. I can't seem to come up with an indexing filtering rule that will keep them out of my index. I'd prefer to have a way to go the opposite direction of what everyone's talking about here, and back them all up in Gmail, but those accounts are all freebies, so no POP access, and :. no mail fetching. I use the Web Mail extension to get them into Thunderbird in the first place. Any ideas?

Image of cJw BY CJW AT 02/09/07 03:55 AM

So how long before google release gmail, the desktop version - or is that called google-desktop? :p

Image of ahoier BY AHOIER AT 02/09/07 06:27 AM

I don't back it up. To me, that's the whole point of "web mail", so I don't have to use my own Hard drive space to store the messages.

But yea, I might have to look into backing who knows when Google will change their ways...heh

Image of Joe BY JOE AT 02/09/07 10:08 AM

I've been doing the same thing, backing up with Thunderbird, but I'm using the 'Thunderbird-Tray' extension to start Thunderbird and minimize it to the tray. If you come up with a simple command-line option, do let us all know. The other part of this to consider is restoring mail to G-mail. I initially started backing up when I heard about the people who lost all their mail due to a Firefox hole. If that were to happen, and you needed to restore your mail from Thunderbird to Gmail, how would you do it?

No commenter image uploaded BY PRAGMATOPIAN AT 02/25/07 08:51 AM

Just started using Gmail so the mail fetcher has been a godsend for importing old mail. It must have sucked for early adopters, who's imported mail would show the date it was forwarded via SMTP. Here's how I did it:

(1) temporarily set up a mail server with POP3 and IMAP protocols (such as Macallan Mail Solution Mail Server) on your computer, (2) drag and drop mails from archive folders into the mailbox using any mail client that supports IMAP, and (3) connect to the mailbox from GMail using the POP3 protocol to download the mails. Obviously you need to have an ISP that will allow the traffic.

Hope this helps some other Gmail virgins - a quick search didn't give me any hits along these lines - all links still point to GML! :)

No commenter image uploaded BY KLIONERG AT 04/01/07 09:41 AM

I've searched far and wide on the web for a fix to this problem. I've configured Thunderbird and Gmail perfectly to back up all my mail from Gmail...I have over 11,000 emails, but Thunderbird is saying its done at 375 and then saying 'no new mail' to download. I've gone through the trouble of marking all 11,000 email 'unread' and running a configuration troubleshooter, but still no luck...i want all my 'old' mail sucked down, but it won't let me. I've seen some other posts on the web about this problem. Is Gmail blocking this process or is there something i can change in my configurations to fix this?

Image of ahoier BY AHOIER AT 07/25/07 06:02 AM

@Lee: When I Use(d) "Freepops" to download my gmail messages, it happened to grab some "Sent" messages too...though I found it quite annoying.

No commenter image uploaded BY PR0CRAST AT 12/20/07 07:57 PM

Wow, I'm really bringing an old post back from the dead here. But what I do is keep a little encrypted safe on my external backup drive, and within that safe install "Thunderbird Portable." Once a month (or whenever I feel like it) I'll open the safe, suck down whatever new messages there are since last time, and close the safe. If I want a second online backup I can upload the whole safe to my web space via FTP, and being that it is in a safe and encrypted, I don't have to worry about my privacy.

Monday, December 24, 2007

How to Clean an LCD monitor

Apple offers a simple three-step guide for cleaning your LCD monitor:

1. Turn off the computer or display. You may need to turn off the computer in order to turn off some Apple displays.
2. Dampen a clean, soft, lint-free cloth or paper with water only.
3. Wipe the screen. Do not spray liquid directly on the screen.

This may have been common sense to many of you, but I'd been putting off a much-needed clean for a while because I didn't want to destroy the beautiful, mysterious screen. Since my instinct was to use some rubbing alcohol or glass cleaner (boy was I off!) to get the job done, I'm very glad I checked beforehand. Alcohol on your monitor can cause damage to the coating and dry out and crack the plastic. You can use mild, non-alcoholic detergents (and Apple does endorse one), but I'll probably stick with water for now.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

MailStore Home

MailStore Home
The Single-User Desktop Solution for E-mail Archiving and Backup
MailStore Home keeps all your valuable e-mail messages in one persistent and safe place. Lightning-fast search, one-click backup, powerful export - all information from your e-mail is at your fingertips anytime. Never lose important e-mail again!

MailStore Home archives e-mail from:

* Microsoft Outlook
* Microsoft Outlook Express
* Microsoft Windows Mail
* Microsoft Exchange Server Mailboxes
* AVM KEN! Mailboxes
* Mozilla Thunderbird
* Mozilla SeaMonkey
* Webmailer
* POP3 and IMAP
* File Import

MailStore Home is totally free and takes only seconds to install.

Download MailStore Home
Version 2.0 for Windows, 12 MB

Do you need a central solution for your business? Try MailStore Server now!
Keep Your E-Mail in One Safe Place
With MailStore Home, you can keep a virtually unlimited number of e-mail messages and attachments in one persistent and safe archive.
Save Disk Space
To conserve disk space, MailStore Home saves only a single instance of each attachment, even if it appeared in more than one e-mail. Additionally, a smart compression algorithm is applied.
Lightning-Fast Search
You can search your e-mail within fractions of a second (including the contents of attachments), and limit the search result via Extended Search.
One-Click Backup
With just a single click, all archived emails can be backed up to CDs or DVDs. A burning software is already integrated.
Benefit From Your E-mail
You can preview the archived e-mail messages directly in MailStore Home, and reopen them in your favourite e-mail client (e.g. Microsoft Outlook) if needed.
No One-Way Road
Messages are stored MIME-compatible, and can be recovered at any time without information loss.

Dec 20, 2007 (2 days ago)
Backup Your Email with MailStore Home [Featured Windows Download]
from Lifehacker by Gina Trapani

Windows only: Archive all your email messages to DVD or to your hard drive with MailStore Home, a desktop email import, search, and archiving utility. Fire up MailStore Home and import any POP/IMAP email (like Gmail or Yahoo Mail) or Outlook, Windows Mail, or Thunderbird email. MailStore Home sucks in all your messages and lets you burn a backup disk or store and search your entire library locally for when you're offline. MailStore Home also has some disk space conservation smarts, and it doesn't lock your messages into a proprietary format.

Save Disk Space To conserve disk space, MailStore Home saves only a single instance of each attachment, even if it appeared in more than one e-mail. Additionally, a smart compression algorithm is applied. No One-Way Road Messages are stored MIME-compatible, and can be recovered at any time without information loss.

I'd been using a way geekier (read: complicated) method to back up my POP email; this looks much more person-friendly. MailStore Home is a free download for Windows only.
MailStore Home - Free E-mail Archiving [via Download Squad]

Hack Google (Maps) URLs for Quick Searching

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URL hacking
Hack Google (Maps) URLs for Quick Searching

URLHacking.pngFrequently using Google Maps for directions? Reader Pham writes in with a simple but interesting way to save time when looking up directions.

Basically, the multi-step process of going to Google [Maps], typing in an address, clicking submit, etc., can be avoided by just putting all your info directly into the URL. For example typing this works: Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA

This simple observation can be coupled with Texter to speed up your searching. This kind of URL hacking isn't specific to Google Maps. You can also roll your own AutoHotkey applications to search Google, Google Maps, or any other site that allows robust URL searching. Hit the jump for the AHK code syntax.

To search Google Maps using an AutoHotkey application (start the application with ALT + 1), use the following code:

InputBox, OutputVar , Enter your location:,
if ErrorLevel
MsgBox, CANCEL was pressed.

To search standard Google (start the application with ALT + 2), use the following code:

InputBox, OutputVar , Enter your search criteria:,
if ErrorLevel
MsgBox, CANCEL was pressed.

"Command-Line" Hacking Google Maps [Broken Home for Lost Passwords]

6:00 AM ON SAT DEC 22 2007

Read More:
Check Your Airport's Delay Record Before You Travel
Make Text Links Click-able with Linkrr
Get Directions with Two Clicks with GDirections
Generate Charts On-the-Fly with Google's API
Google Maps Mobile Adds GPS-Like "My Location"


No commenter image uploaded BY MRJR AT 06:32 AM

With Firefox, it's as easy as making a keymark - keyboard shortcut bookmark.
Create a bookmark with '[]' as the URL and a short lower case abbreviation, such as 'gm' in the keyword box.
From now on (using the example in the article) type 'gm 1683 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA' in the URL bar.

No commenter image uploaded BY JASON AT 07:28 AM

@MrJR: Just to clarify, you'll want the link in your bookmark to be of the format:
maps dot google dot com/maps?q=%s

In the first post that URL is showing as just (the hyperlink is correct, but what shows is truncated).

Works great!


Image of Mr Handsome B Wonderful BY MR HANDSOME B WONDERFUL AT 07:54 AM

I discovered the beauty of this the other day in relation to Launchy - simply save your bookmark as per Jason above, and then the wonderful new shiny Launchy 2.0 will index it, and you simply have to Alt+Space your way into Launchy, type 'gm' press tab, then enter your search term.

This works for most google products, and I find it massively useful for Google Calendar, especially as hitting return in the search box on the webpage (as is instinctive) searches public calendars rather than your calendar, which drives me nuts (hence the workaround.

A Merry Festivus to all.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

How to Track Down Anyone Online

When you're trying to find someone online, Google's not the only game in town. In the last two years, a handful of new people search engines have come onto the scene that offer better ways to pinpoint people info by name, handle, location, or place of employment. While there's still no killer, one-stop people search, there are more ways than ever to track down a long-lost friend, stalk an ex, or screen a potential date or employee. The next time you wonder, "What ever happened to so-and-so?" you've got a few power people search tools to turn to.

Note: Stalking is serious business. When we say 'stalk,' we're exaggerating, not recommending.
Find Phone Numbers and Addresses with ZabaSearch
zabasearch.png Look up anyone's home address(es) and phone numbers at ZabaSearch, a creepily-comprehensive people search engine that will freak you out when you search on your own name but save your ass when you desperately need a former coworker's phone number. ZabaSearch's index includes listed and unlisted numbers and addresses (though the founders say all the info is public record.)
Search the "Deep Web" with Pipl
My favorite new search engine of the bunch, Pipl digs up information about a person Google often misses, supposedly by searching the "deep web" (or "invisible web.") Pipl returns an impressive number of results for most people who use their "real" names online, including personal web pages, press mentions, MySpace pages, and Amazon wishlists. You can also narrow your search for common names by entering city, state and country, too.
Search Several Social Sites at Once with Wink
So the person you're looking for likely has a Friendster, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, or Xanga account? Instead of searching each service individually, enter their full name or screen name, plus other identifying information like interests and location at Wink to do a one-hit comprehensive search of all those services at once.
Get Employment Results at ZoomInfo
Job-centric search engine ZoomInfo aggregates people and company information in one place to help candidates find the right job, but its people search tool also turns up information about corporate types especially well. ZoomInfo's information listings on people, culled from the web, include people's employment history and current job title, whether or not they're looking for a job. Search by a person's full name at ZoomInfo, and when you get too many results, filter them by geography (U.S. and Canada only.)
Find More than College Students at Facebook
Incessant notifications, Beacon, and zombies aside, one of Facebook's greatest utilities is finding people online, and it's not just for students anymore. Chances are your grandmother set up a Facebook account this year, so all those annoying emails might be worth tracking down your best friend when you were 9 years old who moved to Florida on Facebook.
Practice Your Google-fu for Better People Results
googlepplsearch.png Okay, fine, you can't talk finding people online without mentioning the big G. For internet superstars you'll get great results by just typing his/her name into Google's search box, but for civilians, common names or names with double meanings, a few advanced Google techniques can help narrow down the field of results.

* Enclose the first and last name of the person you're searching for in quotes when you enter it into the search box (like "John Smith").
* Include other relevant words, like the person's profession, employer, location, or screen name, too (like banker or Austin, Texas.)
* If the person you're searching for is likely to appear on a particular web site—like a school—search only that site using the site:URL operator (like "John Smith").
* To look up people by face, search for them on Google Images to get a quick visual—especially useful for people with common names, or to determine the gender of a name you never heard before.

Get Context-Menu Access to People Search Engines with the Who Is This Person? Firefox extension
Finally, if you run across folks online you want to know more about often, search a ton of engines for someone's name with the Who Is This Person? Firefox extension. Simply highlight the name on any web page and look 'em up on Wink, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, Facebook, Google News, Technorati, Yahoo Person Search, Spock, WikiYou, ZoomInfo, IMDB, MySpace and other engines from the Who Is This Person? context menu item.

For more online sleuthing resources, check out Wendy's great tutorial on searching public records online. To make yourself more findable? Have a say in what Google says about you. Also, many of these services let you "claim" your name and add information to your results. Do a search for your own name and click the link that says, in effect, "Is this you?"

Does the current crop of people search engines make you want to change your name, fail you entirely, or help you get in touch? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Gina Trapani, the editor of Lifehacker, likes to find and be found. Her weekly feature, Geek to Live, appears every Friday on Lifehacker. Subscribe to the Geek to Live feed to get new installments in your newsreader.

Burn almost any video file to a playable DVD

Burn almost any video file to a playable DVD

by Adam Pash

Putting any old video file - like the DivX/Xvid-encoded videos you've downloaded with BitTorrent - onto a DVD to play on your TV can be a daunting task. There's plenty of software that tackles this sort of thing for a price, but as a lover of open source software, free's always my first choice.

Luckily for all of us, authoring playable DVDs from just about any video file has gotten a lot easier in the open source community. This week I'm going to show you how to burn those downloaded TV shows to a DVD you can play in your living room using the free (as in speech), open source application, DVD Flick.

NOTE: DVD Flick's almost embarrassingly simple to use, but since it's a subject that can be confusing for people who haven't authored many DVD's, and it's a question we've been asked about several times before here at Lifehacker, we thought DVD Flick deserved a quick guide.

In a few simple steps, here's how to burn almost any video file on your computer to a playable DVD.
Step 1: Download and install DVD Flick

DVD Flick is a free, open source DVD authoring tool that will take care of pretty much all of the legwork involved in authoring your DVDs. So thank the gods of open source and go download it here.

In order to make a DVD that you can play on your DVD player, your video files need to be encoded in MPEG-2 format. What makes DVD Flick special (aside from the fact that it's free) is that it handles all of the necessary transcoding of your AVI, MPG, MOV, and WMV files (among others) to MPEG-2, and then authors and burns your DVD all in one fell swoop - meaning it's very simple for anyone to use.
Step 2: Configure your project settings

The DVD Flick interface is very no-nonsense - everything you need to access is available to you through the 7 buttons in the toolbar. Before we add videos to your DVD project, let's take a look at the settings and make sure everything's as you want it.

Click the button labeled Project settings. By default you probably won't have to change anything, but I do want to point out a couple of things.

The General tab lets you set the size of your target media (i.e., the capacity of your DVD). If you're burning to a standard DVD-R, you'll want to keep the default 4.3GB setting. However, you can also set your target size to Dual Layer DVD, Mini-DVD, CD-R, or your own custom target size.

video%20settings.pngThe Video tab lets you set the format of your DVD player - namely whether your DVD should be NTSC or PAL-formatted. If you live in the US, NTSC is your pal. Most of Europe and Asia, on the other hand, use PAL. You can also set the encoding quality in the Encoding profile drop-down. If you feel that the quality of your authored DVDs isn't high enough, you might want to try upping the quality and ensuring the "Second encoding pass" checkbox is ticked. If you're more than happy with quality but you want to speed up the encoding process, you can lower the quality and get rid of the second encoding pass (you probably won't want to do this, but just in case, there it is).

Also of note, the Burning tab lets you set the options for the final product. If you don't have a DVD on-hand for burning, for example, you can tell DVD Flick to create an ISO image that you can easily burn to a DVD later on using a tool like ISO Recorder or ISOBurn.
Step 3: Add titles to your DVD

As I said above, DVD Flick lets you add nearly any type of video file to your DVD project. The easiest way to do this is to open up the folder holding your video files and drag-and-drop the files into DVD Flick. The yellow bar on the left of the app shows you how much space you've used. The amount of video you can fit on one playable DVD will vary by length and quality, so keep an eye on your space.

chapters.pngDVD Flick is pretty no nonsense at this point; you can't build any fancy menu screens. [1] Instead, the DVD you author and burn will simply play each file as a chapter in the order you add them to the project by default. If you want to add chapters to individual video files, select the video/title and click on Edit title... and change the method of chapter creation. You can create chapter points every so many minutes, create a set number of chapters per title, or leave your video chapter-free.

Advanced users can add extra audio tracks (like commentary) and subtitles through the Edit title menus as well.
Step 4: Create your DVD

destination%20folder.pngBefore you start, pick the directory that the transcoded files will be saved to while DVD Flick works. You'll need to have a drive with a fair amount of space, so keep that in mind. You'll also want to keep that in mind so you can remove those files after the process is complete so you don't end up with a hard drive full of pre-burned DVDs.

create%20dvd.pngNow that you've got everything set up how you want, click the button labeled Create DVD. DVD Flick will now start transcoding the video files and authoring the DVD while you sit back and browse the internet. If you've never done this before, you'll learn quickly enough that video transcoding takes some time and CPU horsepower.

If you don't want DVD Flick to eat up precious CPU cycles while you're working on your computer, it's sometimes useful to save this sort of operation for when you're away from the computer. Tick the checkbox labeled Shutdown when completed and you can leave DVD Flick to do its business overnight and shutdown your computer when it's finished. When you get up the next morning, you'll be the parent of a newly authored DVD!

Adam Pash is an associate editor for Lifehacker who likes his DVD creation to be dead simple. His special feature Hack Attack appears every Tuesday on Lifehacker. Subscribe to the Hack Attack RSS feed to get new installments in your newsreader.

[1] If you're looking for a free solution for authoring DVDs with nice menu screens, check out DVD Styler. The downside to DVD Styler is that it doesn't handle all the transcoding that DVD Flick does, meaning that you'll need to transcode your video files to MPEG yourself. [back up]


9:00 AM ON TUE JAN 30 2007

Read More:
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Lifehacker Zeitgeist 2007
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No commenter image uploaded BY DAEDAL AT 01/30/07 09:07 AM

Also check out for tons of DVD covers too. Great when you're backing up your DVDs.

No commenter image uploaded BY ADI AT 01/30/07 09:19 AM

How does it run under Vista?

Image of Grungydan BY GRUNGYDAN AT 01/30/07 09:21 AM

This is awesome. Thanks guys!

Image of William Mize BY WILLIAM MIZE AT 01/30/07 09:23 AM

Well poo. I got all excited because I figured this was a mac app.
As a sidebar is there something like this for the mac to burn flv's to DVD? Something that a mac n00b would understand?

No commenter image uploaded BY DUH-FACTOR AT 01/30/07 09:29 AM

Or skip all this and just buy a DivX-Certified DVD player so you can play the video file back natively (you don't even need a DVD burner, usually a CD-burner or thumb-drive will do it)

No commenter image uploaded BY LODGER AT 01/30/07 09:45 AM

Very nice, simple application- I'm definitely going a good bit of use out of this one :D cheers

No commenter image uploaded BY JEREMYNIELSON AT 01/30/07 09:49 AM

Free, as in beer refers to cost of a product
Free, as in speech refers to your rights to use the product.

Both "free"-doms are important. In this case, the product is both... it's truly "free" - as in both beer (download for free) and speech (open-source).

Image of soke2001 BY SOKE2001 AT 01/30/07 10:00 AM

Well, my wait paid off. I was about to buy VSO's ConvertXtoDVD ($39.00), but instead decided to wait. DVD Flick does the same thing, and it's free!

No commenter image uploaded BY BSWIZ AT 01/30/07 10:04 AM

I've used DVDStyler, and it works pretty well. But as you point out, it doesn't handle any video transcoding, so there could be an extra step involved. Luckily LH has recommended a few video conversion programs lately, so I have options.

Now if someone could just add menu functionality to DVDFlick, or transcoding to DVDStyler....

Image of Ben Zvan BY BEN ZVAN AT 01/30/07 10:10 AM

On Mac, I use ffmpegx to cross-code files. It doesn't do all that fancy DVD authoring, but I just copy the MP4 file to a CF card and play it back on my PS3.

Image of TheVault BY THEVAULT AT 01/30/07 10:16 AM

I got a question. When I had bought my external DVD Burner(I LOVE THIS THING!)

It also came with Nero Suite 6 which is a very excellent program. But the only thing I dislike about it is that when I burn movies, it plays the movie and then burns it onto the DVD. Does this software here do the same? Play movie and then burns it or does it automaticlly burns it and then your done but after it encodes it of course? Thanks in advance.

Image of roadragerintherapy BY ROADRAGERINTHERAPY AT 01/30/07 10:17 AM

I use Nero Burning ROM to burn DivX and XviD .AVI files to DVD, and it does a great job of converting them to native DVD format with a very user-friendly interface (one that looks much easier to use than what I can see in this article).

Image of DeaconSune BY DEACONSUNE AT 01/30/07 10:26 AM

Those wishing to know what JeremyNielson is talking about feel free to refer to this Wikipedia article. He ain't kidding when he says both are important.

Image of eeefresh BY EEEFRESH AT 01/30/07 10:28 AM

Sweet! I have a ton of downloaded avi files at home, and now I can watch them on the big screen. Thanks Lifehacker!

No commenter image uploaded BY HERNIA1 AT 01/30/07 10:45 AM

That is an awesome app. Unfortunately, I don't see .TIVO format on the DVD Flick list. I don't like having to rely on Sonic myDVD to burn .TIVO proprietary files. Let me know if you come across something free to do this. Thanks!

No commenter image uploaded BY SILENTFOOL AT 01/30/07 11:00 AM

there's a program called "divxtodvd" that does the same thing essentially. It's the GUI is not as robust, but it gets the job done and it's also faster at encoding I believe.

unfortunately they charge for the current version...however if you look around you should be able to find the older, free version (0.5.2)

Image of bswilson BY BSWILSON AT 01/30/07 11:29 AM

Is there a Linux equivalent?

No commenter image uploaded BY LINUS29 AT 01/30/07 11:41 AM

Seems like an important point to leave out: This does NOT run on a free OS. You mention freedom, but this is a Windows Only program.

We need a Linux version.

No commenter image uploaded BY DUH-FACTOR AT 01/30/07 11:43 AM

I'm still missing it, why would you want to author a DVD (transcoding and losing quality in so doing) when you could play the file natively?

No commenter image uploaded BY WOOLFIE AT 01/30/07 11:44 AM

Linux? Why yes, and if you prefer the command line like I do, then you'll love:

tovid - to convert the file(s) to mpg format
todisc - to build the DVD structure (automatically produces the *animated* (or static if you prefer) menus
makedvd - to actually burn it

I can run all the above on my home machine remotely.


No commenter image uploaded BY ELEAZAR AT 01/30/07 12:16 PM

Thanks guys! Extremely useful :) I have been looking for something like this for a long time (actually I haven't been looking, but I have been wanting) :)

No commenter image uploaded BY CHICOPENGUIN AT 01/30/07 12:20 PM

Please help us Mac OS X users. Any programs that do the same? Also, any ideas on the reverse? How do I get those movies I bought on DVD into iTunes for Mac and onto my iPod?

Image of Foamator BY FOAMATOR AT 01/30/07 12:33 PM

Lol... Extras rocks.

No commenter image uploaded BY NI2SML AT 01/30/07 12:46 PM

Another Linux option, if command lines make you break out in a cold sweat, is Varsha (

I've used it for just this task on Linux a couple of times.

It's a Java front end to various command line tools and while a bit rough around the edges, it's worked well enough for me so far.

It does require that you have the movie file in an appropriate format. As well as tovid, ffmpeg and transcode can help do that job.

It might be possible to bodge the same setup together in Mac OSX?

Image of anithinks BY ANITHINKS AT 01/30/07 01:41 PM

So what happens to the file size, Adam?

For example, I can fit 25 anime episodes (each around 170 MB) on 1 DVD if burnt as .avi (which can be read by a computer, not a DVD player), but how many of the same on a DVD-player playable DVD?

Image of anithinks BY ANITHINKS AT 01/30/07 01:45 PM

What I meant above was that does the DVD-player playable DVD only contain around 4 episodes? (Like the commercial DVDs do.)

I think the transcoding somehow increases the file size by a great magnitude (not sure why, as it cannot increase video quality as such...)

No commenter image uploaded BY CALENDARPHONE AT 01/30/07 02:15 PM

This would be a vital tool for me on my Mac. Right now I can only watch my avi files thru my VLC player on my computer. TV would be nice. MAC alternatives, please?

Image of Ben Zvan BY BEN ZVAN AT 01/30/07 02:23 PM

You can use MacTheRipper to rip DVDs to disk (It removes all that pesky copy protection and region encoding). Then use ffmpegx to convert the file to .m4v for iPod. The default settings for 'iPod for TV' actually work pretty well, but if you're going to watch it on your TV I'd recommend changing the resolution setting so it's the same as your source.

Image of Lula Mae Broadway BY LULA MAE BROADWAY AT 01/30/07 02:57 PM

Ahhh! I got all excited, and it's Windows Only! Yes, some Mac alternatives...

ALSO - maybe this would fit into your new NewBs category, but some "Getting Started In BitTorrent" help would be great. Especially regarding configuring preferences and opening/choosing ports to get the darn programs up and working. I've tried to set up Azureaus (sp?), use the torrent part of Opera, and at some point I donwloaded the LH recommended Transmission, but don't think I've ever gotten any of them to work. Acquisition is also not finding many files these days. Help!

Image of Eric Danielson BY ERIC DANIELSON AT 01/30/07 04:25 PM

@anithinks: DVD video has to be in a certain format, and one that's considerably less thrifty than mp4/divx/pretty much anything else. Figure it roughly akin to mp3s vs CD audio - You may be able to store 200 songs in mp3 format on a CD, but if you want it in CD Audio (ie, playable on home devices), you can only store about 80 minutes. Same principle applies with the DVDs, so yes, you're capped at a certain length in minutes of video.

Image of anithinks BY ANITHINKS AT 01/30/07 05:45 PM

Thanks for clearing that up, Eric. Unfortunately, this is the reason that this method of transcoding to play on DVD player pretty much sucks - I believe there should be workarounds - say, connecting your computer to your TV via S-Video et. al.

Lifehacker should do a feature on how to connect TVs to PCs so that they can display on each other - I have been saying this for a while - Gina/Adam/Rick/Wendie - listen to my plea!

Image of anithinks BY ANITHINKS AT 01/30/07 06:02 PM

Or in other words, Lifehacker, please put an update to this article from 2005, which was technologically eons ago...

No commenter image uploaded BY CHRISLROB AT 01/30/07 07:45 PM

Yeah! This is my chance to get unchain myself from my computer and get back into the living room with my wife!

Duh-factor says that a divx dvd player means you can play the files without the conversion. Can I use my CD burner to burn the files or would I still need to get a DVD burner?

Image of Billifer BY BILLIFER AT 01/30/07 08:04 PM

Anyone have any ideas on convert RMVB (Real Media variable bitrate) and other RM/RAM/RV files to other formats? I curse the day that came to exist, because their format is so closed. Just whenever someone figures out how to transcode it, they create a new version of the codec.

I've tried ffmpeg (command-line invocation, even), but with no success. Thanks in advance for any assistance. I've got several very large .rmvb files I want to get off my hard drive and onto DVD.

No commenter image uploaded BY HOTTYMO AT 01/30/07 09:15 PM

Um, tried to put some movie trailers that iTunes offered for free on their site, there is no DRM on them, and when I dragged them over to the program it thought about it for a moment and exited itself. Tried another trailer and it exited itself, crashed. Does this program not support QuickTime videos?

Image of upnishad BY UPNISHAD AT 01/30/07 09:59 PM

DVDFlick is a super piece of software. I used it for several conversions. Only drawback is that its very slow while decoding the Audio/Video compared to the paid heavyweights like Nero. But for a free software, its a masterpiece. If you have 7-8 GB DVDs and if you want to shrink it to a standard 4 GB Disk, DVD Shrink does wonders and suprisingly there is very little loss fo quality.

No commenter image uploaded BY OO AT 01/31/07 08:37 AM

I have been trying to figure out a way to play DivX movies with seperate subtitle files on my DivX machine for a while. This seemed like the answer, and in a way it was. Tried it last night, and makes 2 movies fit on a DVD quite nicely. But all subtitles are about 2 minutes out of sync.

So, although this worked well, is there a better way to paste subtitle files into a movie file so I can watch it on my DivX playing DVD player?

No commenter image uploaded BY OO AT 01/31/07 08:38 AM


Image of ADM BY ADM AT 01/31/07 09:37 AM

fellow mac people, google is your friend. chico penguin, just use handbrake to convert a dvd to an ipod-compatible format.

to the person who wanted to burn tivo files...this has been exhaustively covered on the web. if you have a PC, use Direct Show Dump to strip the light encryption. It is very fast. You will be left with an MPEG2 file, which is essentially the same format that one would use to burn to a DVD. Once you have the MPEG2, you can burn it to a DVD, or use software such as Videora iPod Converter to turn it into an iPod-compatible MPEG4.

people who want to output video from their PC to their tv should just buy a video card that has the requisite output (s-video, composite, etc). you don't need lifehacker to tell you that.

in general, i think it is easier to get yourself in a situation where you can easily output from your pc to your tv, rather than bothering with all this transcoding and burning all the time.

Image of cheesebubble BY CHEESEBUBBLE AT 02/01/07 01:02 PM

DVD Flick seems like quite a useful program. I'll have to give it a try. I have a question about zapping just the audio from a DVD. Is there a free program that would allow me to do that? I would like to be able to take audio tracks off some of my music DVDs and utilize them as wave or mp3 files. Any suggestions?

Image of Mysterius BY MYSTERIUS AT 02/01/07 08:16 PM

Any tips on burning an Xvid file into a VCD or other CD disc format playable on a DVD player?

No commenter image uploaded BY RADEK AT 02/03/07 01:47 AM

Just buy the DVD/DivX/XviD player (about 100USD), or hook up your silent PC/notebook to the TV directly.

You will save your time messing with re-encoding video files.

Image of weirdlyspazoid BY WEIRDLYSPAZOID AT 02/03/07 02:25 PM

just tried this today after reading the article. i had pretty high hopes for this program. it is as easy to use as stated, but the main drawback for me is the speed. it is just so SLOW! painfully slow encoding..

any suggestions to speed up the app or an alternate program with faster speeds??

No commenter image uploaded BY ISH_KABBIBKE AT 02/04/07 02:33 PM

I have been trying for about ten hours now to burn a dvd from this and other similar programs without success. (meaning that they won't play on my dvd player(a sony 1080i compatable unit) my wii or my playstation. I have hooked up my laptop to my 46" LCD screen and play my downloaded movies using this method. Has anyone used a newer dvd player (a 1080i compatable unit) with any success using this program?

Image of Lula Mae Broadway BY LULA MAE BROADWAY AT 02/26/07 11:26 AM

ADM: Actually Google isn't much of a friend in this case, as most of the results still return Windows programs, and/or programs that rip DVDs to AVI, not other way around. If you've found useful links please post them.

LH HQ - if you're still reading this thread, any mac help, alternatives on this.


No commenter image uploaded BY COMPACT AT 03/01/07 01:30 AM

Speed issues:
All software is slow when converting video. Imagine how many frames per second it has to deal with and then remember how slow windows takes when just simply rotating an image file in the viewer..

Flick is pretty damn good, for free.

Also AVI2DVD is good (though no burning software)
and Satsuki's All2DVD (links to IMG Burn)....

If you want to get deeper into all this has many many guides to help and a good forum for questions.

No commenter image uploaded BY PEREZTECH AT 03/01/07 05:23 AM

Hey thanks for the link, now i can free up about 40 gigs of divx files. WOOHOOO

No commenter image uploaded BY MAX4000 AT 03/01/07 10:14 AM


Since this was posted I've been using DVD Flick like crazy. I'm a video editor, so I'm no stranger to dvd transcoding. But generally, casually burning a divx file to DVD isn't even worth the effort. It's either too long of a process with too many steps, or the simpler programs just plain don't work. Running this remotely on my office computer while I'm not even there is painless. Now I won't be chained to the computer to watch all these videos that have been piling up. It's also nice to be able to watch at someone else's house.


Image of CarrieC BY CARRIEC AT 03/01/07 10:15 AM

@William Mize:
Check out VisualHub by Techspansion
It costs $23.32 US and is worth every penny.
They are the same people who do iSquint.
I have no affiliation with them, i just love the program.

No commenter image uploaded BY LIFEHACKERLAURENT AT 03/02/07 05:13 AM

I only use open source or freeware to burn AND I financially contribute what I can to the developers/programmers. It is only fair. Now to burn there's none better than CDBurnerXP Pro 3 in these & all instances. Fast, nice interface & easy to use.Nothing more, nothing less.

No commenter image uploaded BY PROVOBIS AT 03/09/07 06:30 PM

Tried build 326 which was posted as temporary fix for bugs that caused transcoding failure when using edit to burn several clips. The new temp worked fine (notwithstanding 3 hours to transcode and burn one one hour clip and two 5 minute ones), but the two 5 minute clip videos on DVD were out of sync with the sound track. Otherwise video and sound quality were good. Any new fix for the sync bug?

Image of Aetherfukz BY AETHERFUKZ AT 03/14/07 11:26 AM

I can only second Max4000's comment. This is a great app! I too burned my fair share of divx and other videos to stand-alone-playable DVDs, but it always was very time consuming and I had to be at the computer nonstop usually because there would be like 6 little tools involved.

No commenter image uploaded BY ALLTHEWAYUP AT 03/20/07 09:02 PM

Dvd flick is absolutely the best. Hats off to the creators of this program. Time management is necessary. Run it before bed, lights out and tomorrow another excellent DVD. Nice and Easy.
I love this program.

No commenter image uploaded BY GOONSOCK AT 03/29/07 03:25 AM

On the Mac, Burn 1.7 will convert most video files to dvd player compatible discs:

and... it's free.

No commenter image uploaded BY M8M AT 06/16/07 05:41 PM

Every time I try to start the burning process, it gives me an error about the Audio Encoding process. Can someone help me out?

No commenter image uploaded BY PENTAPENGUIN AT 06/21/07 01:43 PM

Wow! Great find! It worked perfectly putting some MOV files from my digicam to DVD. Awesome program! OSS rocks!

No commenter image uploaded BY CHICKENDINNER AT 06/29/07 10:05 PM

Thank you so much! I've been looking for a way to burn DVD's like this and before I only got the audio to download on the DVD! Thanks again!

Image of marksman7328 BY MARKSMAN7328 AT 07/15/07 06:42 PM

Thank you once again, LH. Awesome find!

No commenter image uploaded BY ROBERTGORETSKY AT 09/12/07 06:29 PM

For a similar open source program for burning playable Audio CD's from directly from a plethora of file formats (MP3, FLAC, OGG, etc.), I recommend a program called "Burrrn" -- its available here

Robert Goretsky
Hoboken, NJ

No commenter image uploaded BY KNIGHT_OWL AT 10/06/07 11:29 PM

I just used DVD Flick for the first time, on some xVid clips, and it worked beautifully! The encoding was perfect - far superior to my OEM Cyberlink software - and the interface couldn't be simpler or more effective. This totally rocks for a no-hassle, flawless way to transfer to DVD format.

No commenter image uploaded BY STONOGIRL AT 10/10/07 01:10 PM

I have some TV shows downloaded to my PC. Does anyone know what file format I should/can use? Does it give you a choice? I would like to burn these to a DVD that can be played on a Mac laptop. Do I use an app like DVD flick, then convert the files to one that is Mac compatible? Help, I have no idea what I am doing!!!!

No commenter image uploaded BY LALIATK AT 10/11/07 11:29 AM

THANK YOU so, so, SO much. I've only been looking for a solution like this for 2 years. This will be extremely useful for me in my work AND personal life. Bless you!

No commenter image uploaded BY LE_CAT AT 10/18/07 07:43 AM

hello, first post around here :)

i've just began using DVD Flick and DVD Styler, and got frustrated because Flick doesn't do menus, and Styler doesn't do transcoding... so i took the mad scientist approach: create VOB files on DVD Flick, one title for each vid you want to have on your dvd, then open those VOB files on DVD Styler, and voila! You can create all the fancy menus and navigation you want. I did noticed a little bit of "stuttering" on the videos, mainly when a scene was fading to black, and i had to press the forward button to get the audio started on each title, but i'm not sure if that's from a bug on Styler, a side effect of transcoding, some settings i got wrong, or just because i crammed eight 22-min. anime episodes on one disc.

No commenter image uploaded BY STANDAN AT 12/02/07 04:18 AM

I am using flick to burn a dvd from my hard drive. It has been running for 13 hours, and is only on "combine sources. Will it ever complete? Is there something I can do to speed up the process? I had the process priority on normal, and just switched it to above normal. I will push it up to high when I stop using the computer, but still, the time seems excessive.
I have an AMD 2200+ processor(1.8ghz) and am running xp. My new liteon dvd burner is hooked up to usb 1( I have ordered a usb 2 card, it is on the way)but I don't see how that matters until the dvd actually begins to be ripped.
Any suggestions will be appreciated.

No commenter image uploaded BY KEVO_GEE AT 12/09/07 01:44 PM

help! im just wondering if anyone can tell me why is it that when i try to pick which drive im going to use my DVDburner is not showing, the only thing showing in the drop down box is my CD burner, my dvd burner is external but im sure thats its plugged to the USB and still its not showing on the drive. what next?

No commenter image uploaded BY SOURUBIES AT 12/13/07 06:38 PM

i love you. i have been searching for a way to burn a downloaded movie forever. thanks. sine cera.

also can anyone help me with the proper drivers to use with this? i just used a that bad? also where would i find these proper drivers? thanks.

No commenter image uploaded BY GARYWANG AT 12/15/07 03:59 PM

Hi Adam - thanks for this article. The best dvd copy software of all-time was 321 Studios DVD X Copy Platinum ( I see above that many people have discussed mainstream DVD burning programs like those from Nero, Corel (DVD Copy 6), Cyberlink, and Roxio. The truth is that these are mostly for DVD data and music backup and not as good for DVD movie copying. DVD X Copy had a CSS ripper on board and the compant was shut down because of it. Since DVDXCopy has faded away, two new and separate DVD burning programs have emerged and the best DVD movie copy software, they are: DVD neXt Copy and 1 Click DVD Copy. There are dozens of other inferior products like DVD Cloner, DVD Fab Platinum, DVD Wizard Pro, DVDtoDVD Copy, etc., but they simply do not have the support, development teams, technology or ability to copy every DVD movie. FYI, all major DVD copying software are listed, ranked, compared side-by-side and reviewed in detail at: []

Image of Felixe BY FELIXE AT 08:49 AM

The problem here, and the reason people are sometimes partial to one program or another, is that avi files are just containers to a quite large of video file formats. So there's no such a thing as perfect encoder.

But tools like DVD Flick can do the job 95% of the time. Thanks for the heads up.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lifehacker's 2007 Guide to Free Software and Webapps

Lifehacker's 2007 Guide to Free Software and Webapps

Throughout Lifehacker's archive of over 14,000 posts, we've mentioned hundreds of free web and desktop apps that help you get things done—but which are the best? As we wrap up the year 2007, it's the perfect time to put together an authoritative guide to our favorite pieces of free software and web services for common computing tasks on every platform. After the jump, check out our favorite freebies to date in over 20 categories and counting, as we add your suggestions to the list.

Application Launchers

Backup Utilities




Desktop Search

Disk Space Visualizers

DVD Rippers

File Syncing

Image Editing

Image Viewers/Managers

Instant Messenger

Macro Makers

Media Players

Password Managers/Helpers

PDF Readers/Writers/Editors

Personal Finance/Money Managers

Start Pages

Telephony Managers/Helpers

Text Editors

To-do List Managers

Virus Killers and Malware Cleaners

Web Clippings


Zip File Extractors

Phew! Surely we missed one or two or 16 items on this list, so now we pass the torch to you, dear reader. What should be here that isn't? Let us know in the comments, and we'll add to it as we go.