10 things you didn’t know about WeChat and Line

10 things you didn't know about WeChat and Line

Introduction

WeChat has a staggering 762 million monthly active users

Welcome to the 'everything app'. While some predict the death of apps, and other instant messaging (IM) services like WhatsApp, Apple's iMessage and Snapchat are busy bringing in encrypted communications, the Tencent-owned WeChat – called Weixin in China – and Japan's Line are slowly making themselves integral to daily digital life in Asia.

These two big players are adding shopping, smart agents, cab-hailing and much more – and it's clear that in the messaging wars, Asia is streets ahead. In this slideshow, we'll explore some interesting facts and figures concerning the explosion in WeChat and Line, and what all this might mean for the future.

WeChat has 762 million monthly active users

WeChat is called Weixin in China

Oh, and 83% of online adults in China are WeChat users. Why? "It's the Swiss army knife, the Inspector Gadget and MacGyver of apps all rolled into one," says Tim Gibbon, cofounder and editor of the Social Media Portal.

"The East has totally bought into OTT, and they'd be hard pressed to live without it … they message, chat, share images, stickers, game, videos etc, and more importantly, they shop," adds Gibbon. "Can you imagine us doing that in the West right now?"

There's also the little matter of the Great Firewall of China; Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are all blocked. Outside of that wall, WeChat isn't nearly as popular. In fact, only about 70 million of WeChatters are outside mainland China.

You can use WeChat to buy anything

WeChat Wallet allows online purchases, including Red Packets for Chinese New Year

Thanks to its WeChat Wallet feature, WeChat is becoming much, much more than a mere messaging app. "WeChat allows payments from within the app itself for Chinese users, which is genius," says Gibbon. As such, WeChat Wallet has become a serious rival to Baidu Wallet and Alipay. A massive 87% of WeChat users shop online, and 75% buy digital content every month, according to GWI.

"Tencent is positioning and building WeChat as a platform play, with the core feature being messaging," says Magnus Jern, president, DMI International. "Shopping, money transfers, location, dating, maps, gaming and services are all enabled through the messaging interface."

Line is big in Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia

And of course the IM app is big in its home market of Japan

The West tends to see China as a standalone – albeit massive – market, and that's pretty much how it's viewed in the rest of Asia, too. Japanese messaging app Line – launched in 2011 – recently became 2016's biggest tech IPO, and has 218 million monthly active users.

"Line's user base has not grown as quickly and gained as much scale as WeChat and is heavily reliant on four main countries – Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia," says Arnold Ma, founder of Chinese digital marketing agency Qumin, who adds that the Line app is blocked in China, as is Facebook and Twitter.

However, it remains a fascinating platform, relying largely on digital stickers of cute characters (very much en vogue post-Pokemon Go), advertising and games. "Line's value stretches beyond pure user numbers," says Ma. "Its value is also in its characters, as they are licensed out beyond simply existing as emojis." Coming soon to Line is cab-hailing and music, too.

WeChat users are subject to military-grade surveillance

WeChat is one of the few IM apps not to offer encryption

Post-Edward Snowden revelations about the NSA Prism surveillance – soon to be a movie – there's a trend in the West for messaging apps that promise encryption. Not so in China – not only is WeChat one of the only messaging apps left that doesn't offer any encryption, but it's an open secret that everything can be monitored by the Chinese government.

"WeChat is so ingrained into a way of life in the East, surveillance, privacy and personal freedoms have taken a back seat," says Gibbon. On the other hand, Line does offer end-to-end encryption, as almost all IM apps do these days.

WeChat has an integrated QR scanner

QR code tech has finally found a platform to drive its growth

The QR code is central to the WeChat experience, predominantly used for adding new friends, following accounts and accessing web pages. "Utilising the camera to scan another users' QR code means people can connect in seconds without the need to exchange a phone number," says Ma.

"A bridge between analogue and digital … it's created the world's most advanced offline-to-online, or O2O, marketing in China," notes Ma, who expects Snapchat's Snap Codes and Facebook Messenger's circular scans to follow suit, and to prove popular in the West.

Asia sees apps and money differently to Europe

Separate, highly specialised apps are not popular in Asia

Apps have evolved very differently in the East compared to the West. "In Europe and the US, we have an 'app for everything' philosophy," says Kevin Dallas, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Worldpay. While the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google have produced separate, highly specialised apps, that's not happened in Asia.

"In Asia we see the reverse, with a small number of super-apps integrating themselves into every aspect of consumers' daily lives." The ease with which China has embraced WeChat as a payments platform has a lot to do with development; China was able to go straight from cash sales to mobile commerce and payments.

WeChat and Line are platforms, not apps

Neither Line or WeChat are just about IM

In Asia, messaging apps have become a hub for internet activity. "Whereas apps in the West are purely focused on social interaction with friends, the likes of WeChat and Line are built as platforms for broader internet enablement," says Karl MacGregor, VP Digital Content, Worldpay.

"Having integrated both the supply and demand for goods and services within their applications, it is simply a natural progression for these businesses to close the loop by bringing payments into the ecosystem too."

WeChat Shake lets you find strangers

Shake your phone and the WeChat app will find other 'shakers' nearby

"WeChat's oddest feature is 'Shake' which adopts a roulette style of engaging with random strangers," says Jern. It's seriously weird – in its Discover section, you shake the phone and up pops users 'nearby' who are also shaking their phones.

That's the theory, but it doesn't work all that well outside China; a random shake in the UK found someone in Armenia. What it does highlight is button-less interaction, which is being used by marketers as a way for potential customers to trigger interaction with social channels and mobile ads. There's also a proximity option to find other WeChatters in the area, shakers or not.

Huge rise in Asian WeChat usage

Three-quarters of WeChatters are under 34

Since 2015, there has been a 97% rise in users for WeChat in Asia and APAC outside of China, according to GlobalWebIndex (GWI). Hotspots appear to be South Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia.

GWI also discovered some valuable nuggets of information for anyone planning on using WeChat for marketing and sales: 75% of WeChatters are under 34 (and a third are 16-24), and half of WeChat users in Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Hong Kong follow brands on social media.

Western brands want to use WeChat Moments

WeChat Moments is irresistible to Western brands

You might think that any app associated with surveillance by the Chinese government would be swerved by companies outside of China, but you'd be wrong. "WeChat has more than 700 million monthly active users, with the majority of those residing within its domestic market, China," says Brian Cooper, chief creative officer at Oliver Group UK. "Brands in the West would be insane not to tap into this."

However, how brands should use WeChat depends on objectives. "Like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, brands can place sponsored content in WeChat's Moments timeline," explains Cooper.

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Round up: The best free system utilities 2016

Round up: The best free system utilities 2016

Speed up your PC

The best free system utilities

A PC or Mac is rather like a car. That showroom-fresh saloon doesn't seem so sleek and shiny once road film, suicidal insects and evil supermarket car park users start ruining it, and that speedy new computer soon begins to sag under the stress of unnecessary apps, unwanted add-ons and other irritations. Thank crikey, then, for system utilities and tools: the right ones make your PC or Mac feel brand new, or at least an awful lot faster and a lot less crashy.

There are thousands of system utilities out there, but these are our favourites - although as with any freeware, be very careful when you're installing any of them. Many free apps' installers are awfully keen on giving you extra software, toolbars or changes to your search engine that you might not want - see our guide to avoiding potentially unwanted programs.

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CCleaner - the best free system utilities

1. CCleaner

Remove unneeded files for a quick and easy speed boost

Top download - CCleanerCCleaner has been around for a long time, and part of the reason for its ongoing popularity is that it cleans the parts of your PC that many other free system utilitites don't.

There are paid-for versions that add real time protection and cleanup scheduling, but the free edition covers the important stuff such as removing temporary files, getting rid of browser caches, removing unwanted cookies while keeping the useful ones and so on.

If your PC feels slow or sluggish then this is the system utility to try first, and thanks to its huge array of features and deep scans, it's our favorite free system speed-up tool.

Download CCleaner freeHave we missed a system utility you rely on to keep your PC in top shape? Let us know in the comments below.

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PC Decrapifier

2. PC Decrapifier

Uninstall the junkware that comes with a new PC

Like CCleaner, PC Decrapifier's job is to remove unnecessary files and programs for your PC. It's particularly useful on brand new PCs, which are often either full of exciting opportunities to discover new apps or stuffed to the gills with a load of preinstalled junk, depending on your point of view.

Download PC Decrapifier freeFree system utility PC Decrapifier analyses your system, shows you the apps it thinks you should get rid of - based not just on its developers' opinions, but on other users' feedback - and then removes the ones you choose. It's so focused on cleaning PCs it doesn't even install itself. One of the tidiest system utilities around.

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Autoruns

3. Autoruns

Stop unnecessary startup processes to speed up boot times

We don't normally quote former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, but when he said "There are known knowns. These are things that we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know," he could have been describing the apps you know you're running - the known knowns - and the ones you don't.

Download Autoruns freeThe latter category of software runs when you boot Windows, or log in, or launch certain system tools. You can find and get rid of the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns with the superb system utility Autoruns.

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Recuva

4. Recuva

An essential system utility for recovering lost or accidentally deleted data

There are lots of data recovery tools out there, but Recuva is our favorite. Not only can it recover files that have been deleted but not overwritten, this free system utility can recover files from removable media such as USB drives and memory cards. It can even get data off damaged discs, although naturally the success rate depends on the kind and extent of the damage.

Download Recuva freeThe paid-for Pro version adds support for virtual hard disks and offers technical support too, but the free one is worth sticking on a thumb drive as part of your emergency toolkit.

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3DP Chip

5. 3DP Chip

A convenient tool to keep your hardware drivers up to date

The near-infinite variety of possible Windows PC configurations is a great thing, but it can also lead to a great big pain in the backside: ensuring that the device drivers, the bits of software that Windows uses to communicate with your various bits of hardware, remain up to date. It's worth doing because driver updates banish bugs, vanquish vulnerabilities and fix flaws, but it's not remotely quick or fun.

Download 3DP Chip free nowEnter 3DP Chip, a free system utility that can do the dirty work for you - and unlike some other driver update programs, it doesn't try to install a whole bunch of nonsense on your PC either.

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SpaceSniffer

6. SpaceSniffer

Find out what's taking up so much space on your hard drive or SSD

You're running out of space but you've no idea why. Does that sound familiar? Then you need free system utility SpaceSniffer, which enables you to see what's taking up space via a format known as a Treemap.

Download SpaceSniffer freeIt's a very immediate way to understand where the space hogs are on your system, and the filtering means you can limit the visualisation to certain kinds of files or to exclude certain kinds of files. You can also combine filters to look for space hogs of a particular kind or vintage.

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Auslogics Duplicate File Finder

7. Auslogics Duplicate File Finder

Delete redundant files to free up space on your hard drive or SSD

One of the downsides of digital media is that it's very easy to end up with multiple copies of the same thing taking up valuable storage space. That's bad enough on a hard disk, but on the more limited space of an SSD it's even more of a problem - or at least, it is if you don't have Auslogics Duplicate File Finder.

Download Auslogics Duplicate File Finder freeThis free system utility scans your PC for duplicate files and enables you to restrict the search to specific file types or sizes, and you can specify whether duplicates should be binned or placed in a holding area for you to check them out. This is a great and genuinely useful app for Windows users of all kinds.

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Revo Uninstaller

8. Revo Uninstaller Free

Remove all traces of uninstalled programs to avoid junk buildup

If you like trying new apps you'll be horribly familiar with the joys of built-in software uninstallers, which all too often leave bits and pieces everywhere. It's a particular pain when a program comes with additional tools like browser toolbars and unwanted 'helper' apps, which then have to be removed separately.

Download Revo Uninstaller FreeRevo Uninstaller Free is a free system utility that solves the problem by scanning for the bits the standard uninstaller often leaves behind, and its multiple uninstall option means it's a big time saver too. The free version can't uninstall apps that were on your PC before you installed it, but it does a good job of getting shot of anything added since.

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Secunia PSI

9. Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI)

Keep your software up to date with the latest bug fixes and security patches

Secunia PSI solves one of the biggest headaches for Windows users: keeping software up to date in order to keep your system secure. The free system utility knows about thousands of different programs and can scan your system to identify whether you have the most up to date versions.

Download Secunia PSI freeAnd here's the best bit: if you don't, this free system utility can usually download and install the necessary updates and/or patches without any further intervention from you. The combination of PSI and Windows Update should ensure that malware can't exploit any vulnerabilities in unpatched software.

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Onyx

10. OnyX

A system cleanup tool to keep Macs running quickly and smoothly

The majority of system tune-up and cleaning apps are for Windows, but Macs get messy too - and on OS X, the evergreen OnyX is often the solution. It can get shot of bulging system logs and clean up files that are no longer needed, it can turn on hidden features in OS X itself and you can use it to schedule dull but useful maintenance tasks.

Download OnyX freeIt has two companion system utilities, both also free: Deeper is purely for personalisation while Maintenance covers - yep - maintenance. For most people OnyX offers the best of both.

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Dell patches gaping holes in its SonicWALL security software

Dell patches gaping holes in its SonicWALL security software

Dell has just patched some serious flaws in its security solutions used on business PCs.

The six vulnerabilities are in SonicWALL GMS and SonicWALL Analyzer and affect version 8.0 and 8.1 of these products respectively. They were found by security firm Digital Defense Incorporated, who brought them to Dell's attention, and noted that the PC vendor had been "extremely professional" when it came to resolving the flaws.

In an advisory provided with the hotfix issued, Dell stated: "Vulnerabilities were found pertaining to command injection, unauthorized XXE, default account, and unauthorized modification of virtual appliance networking information.

"To fix these vulnerabilities, Dell highly recommends that existing users of Dell SonicWALL GMS and Analyzer Hotfix 174525."

Password pickle

One of the vulnerabilities involves an easily guessed password for a hidden default account (which NSA conspiracy theorists have, predictably enough, been pleased to hear about) which when exploited could potentially give an attacker control over any device connected to the company network.

If you run the software in question, you should most definitely be addressing this issue right now.

Dell advises: "GMS/Analyzer/UMA Hotfix 174525 is available for download from https://www.mysonicwall.com.

"Users should log into MySonicWALL and click on Downloads > Download Center in the navigation panel on the left, then select GMS/Analyzer – Virtual Appliance or GMS/Analyzer – Windows in the Software Type drop down menu."

In other recent Dell news, the company advised that its PCs will be increasing in price to the tune of 10% thanks to the weakening of the pound against the dollar triggered by Brexit.

Via: Win Beta

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Microsoft Bookings makes appointments a snap in Office 365

Microsoft Bookings makes appointments a snap in Office 365

Office 365 is rolling out a new service designed to make it easier for businesses to interact with customers and let them schedule appointments.

Microsoft Bookings gives businesses a hub web page which customers can use to schedule appointments. It's designed to be simple to use, with the customer picking the service they want, and then being presented with available appointment slots which they can select from.

Customers can do this at any time, day or night, and it's obviously far more convenient than trying to arrange an appointment via email or phone. It's also easy for businesses to publicise their bookings web page, and you can embed links to it in emails for example.

Flexible rescheduling

Microsoft Bookings also makes it a snap to reschedule appointments – you just hop on the web page, and you're done in a couple of clicks. Businesses can set time limits on the amount of notice required to change an appointment, though, to avoid frustrating last-minute cancellations.

The system also allows a company to send a reminder email nearer to the time of the meeting, as well as the initial confirmation email the customer will receive.

And naturally, the business gets an overview of all appointments, and capabilities such as reassigning different staff members to bookings, or contacting customers directly (Bookings automatically creates an entry under contacts for each customer).

Microsoft Bookings has started to roll out now, and Office 365 Business Premium subscribers will get it over the coming months. You'll see it in the app launcher when it arrives.

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French watchdog blasts Microsoft over Windows 10’s privacy failings

French watchdog blasts Microsoft over Windows 10's privacy failings

A French regulatory body has blasted Microsoft over Windows 10's habit of hoovering up plentiful user data, giving Redmond a deadline in which the firm must do something about it.

This warning comes from the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), which has issued an ultimatum to Microsoft to clean up its act in the privacy stakes and comply with French data protection regulations. Redmond has three months to do so or the software giant risks being fined.

The CNIL insists that Microsoft must "stop collecting excessive data and tracking browsing by users without their consent", and furthermore that the company must ensure "satisfactory measures" are taken in terms of keeping user data confidential and secure.

The regulatory body listed Windows 10's failings which went beyond excessive data collection to include complaints about a lack of security, specifically the fact that Redmond doesn't limit the amount of login attempts that can be made with a PIN to a user's Microsoft account (or other online services).

The company was also criticized for sending data from the EU back to the US under 'safe harbor' when the latter is now irrelevant in Europe thanks to a recent EU ruling.

Fast and loose

Having such a strongly worded official warning fired at it will obviously be a major concern for Microsoft, particularly seeing as there has been much talk for a while now about how Windows 10 plays relatively fast and loose with user data.

Indeed, in a survey of companies we highlighted earlier today, while IT pros praised Windows 10 for many strengths, their major concern with the OS was 'data privacy guarantees'.

Microsoft has responded to this matter, and as the Register reports, David Heiner, deputy general counsel, issued a statement to say: "We built strong privacy protections into Windows 10, and we welcome feedback as we continually work to enhance those protections. We will work closely with the CNIL over the next few months to understand the agency's concerns fully and to work toward solutions that it will find acceptable."

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Windows 10 is liked by bosses, not so much by workers

Windows 10 is liked by bosses, not so much by workers

When it comes to business adoption, Windows 10 is making good headway, and management are generally satisfied with the OS – even if employees aren't so convinced.

Those are the findings of a new piece of research from Spiceworks, which observed that Windows 10 had 'sprinted' out of the gate having been adopted by 38% of businesses surveyed across the US and EMEA, as of the end of June. That's pretty much bang on target to the predicted 40% adoption rate, Spiceworks noted.

Adoption was highest in larger companies with more than 250 staff members, which saw a figure of 51%.

And 85% of organisations said they were generally satisfied with Windows 10, an impressively high statistic. 51% went further and said they were very or extremely satisfied.

Windows 7 is still the crowd favourite

However, the satisfaction metrics with employees weren't so good. When the IT pros who were surveyed were questioned about which operating system their staff preferred, Windows 7 was top by a long way on 69%, with Microsoft's newest OS far behind on 17%.

As for the reasons why businesses are upgrading to Windows 10 – the majority, 66%, said they were making the move because of the free upgrade. 49% cited improved performance as the reason, and 48% said they had shifted because their current OS had hit end-of-life. 43% wanted to make use of Windows 10's new features – mostly revolving around better security and, naturally enough, the return of the Start menu.

In comparison to previous versions of Windows, respondents said that Windows 10 was a major improvement over Windows 8 in all departments, including performance, security, and the interface.

The only worry IT professionals had with the new desktop OS was data privacy guarantees, unsurprisingly given the amount of flak which has been flying around concerning Redmond hoovering up data left, right and centre from Windows 10 users.

Via: Business Insider

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Firefox joins the phase out Flash party

Firefox joins the phase out Flash party

Firefox will begin blocking Flash elements that aren't essential to the web experience starting this August.

Firefox joins Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge in phasing out the use of Flash across the web. Google announced plans to stop advertising support for Flash by Q4 of this year, though the plug-in will still run in the browser. Chrome will instead default to HTML5 wherever possible.

Adobe's Flash technology is being slowly phased out for newer technologies like HTML5 due to repeated security exploits,instability, battery drain and slow performance. For more about the death of Flash, check out our breakdown of the long and painful death of Flash.

Firefox Flash stability graph

Mozilla expects to make Flash elements around the web click-to-activate by 2017. This will result in a 10% decrease in crashes and hangups in Firefox, writes Mozilla in a blog post.

"These changes are part of our ongoing efforts to make browsing safer and faster without sacrificing the Web experiences our users love," writes Mozilla. "We continue to work closely with Adobe to deliver the best possible Flash experience for our users."

Even Microsoft's Silverlight web plugin isn't safe. Mozilla is urging websites that use Flash and Silverlight to adopt HTML technologies "as soon as possible." The company still plans to support plug-ins like Silverlight and Java until 2018 to give companies more time to transition technologies.

For users, you most likely won't notice this change as more and more websites transition to HTML technologies. There may be certain sites you visit that will show a play button to activate Flash, but it's a small price to pay for a more stable and quicker browsing experience.

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Round up: The best screen capture software 2016

Round up: The best screen capture software 2016

The best screen capture software

The best screen capture tools

Snapping a screenshot is rarely as simple as just taking a picture of your desktop. There's usually a reason behind every screenshot - posterity, demonstration, preservation - that means each particular case needs something special. That's why we've selected our top five tools for doing more with your screenshots, like adding annotations and fancy adornments, using custom hotkeys, or even accurately capturing specific screen regions without the need to resort to additional software to get the job done. The days of hitting [PrtScn] and pasting your shot into Microsoft Paint are over.

We've covered Windows apps almost exclusively here but don't feel left out if you're using a different operating system. On OS X/macOS, there's absolutely no need for a separate screenshot tool – you can do everything with keyboard shortcuts. [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[3] captures the whole screen, [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[4] captures a region, and there are many other edge cases described on Apple's support pages.

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Download Screenshot Captor free

1. Screenshot Captor

Multi-purpose capturing software that does much more

Top download - Screenshot CaptorScreenshot Captor seems to have ideas above its station somewhat. Far from just being a screenshot app - and, rest easy, it does do that - it'll grab images from your webcam, and it even includes a full suite of scanning tools to make sure your documents look their best.

But those advanced features don't stop there. Ever wanted to capture the contents of a scrolling window? It'll do that automatically, and even trim the margins for you. Need to capture a screen region of a fixed size? Piece of cake. Splicing areas out of screenshots, annotating, interfacing with advanced image editors, blurring areas you don't want seen? It's all here.

Download Screenshot Captor freeIf there's a downside, Screenshot Captor is a little esoteric in terms of its general interface, but the important bits are all well explained and easy to grasp. It's donationware, so while it's free to use, make sure you chip a little bit into the pot if Screenshot Captor is something you use regularly.

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Download SnapDraw Free

2. SnapDraw Free

Feature packed grabber with pretty post-processing effects

If you're capturing screenshots for something that needs to be well presented - a user manual, perhaps - it pays to put in a little effort. Or at least you would if SnapDraw Free didn't do absolutely everything for you: borders, backgrounds and even awesome-looking fading reflections are all available by simply clicking a check box. What's more, you can dig down when it comes to capturing, taking shots of everything from multiple monitors at once all the way down to a single object within a window.

It's not quite a fire-and-forget screenshot tool, but that's not a negative. There are ton of annotation features, you can layer individually captured windows and elements on top of a single screenshot, and there are even 3D transformation tools available to give your shots some action.

Download SnapDraw FreeOh, and you can even automatically upload your images to an FTP server or email them. That's a lot of features.

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Download Gadwin PrintScreen free

3. Gadwin Printscreen

An install-and-ignore screenshot tool that's easily extendable

Gadwin PrintScreen is the screenshot app we regularly turn to here at TechRadar, and for good reason. It's streamlined and extremely convenient, sitting quietly in the system tray until you need it. When you do, it's either bound to a hotkey of your choice - handy if you need the mouse cursor in shot - or accessible from a handy auto-hiding control panel that disappears when you fire off a screenshot, capture a window, or snip a rectangular area.

Annotation and image editing is sadly locked away in its paid-for Professional edition (US$24.95, about £18.94, AU$33.35), but Gadwin Printscreen doesn't leave you entirely stranded; it can automatically add shadows or watermarks to your images, save them in a number of formats, resize them automatically, or run an image editor of your choice immediately after capture.

Download Gadwin PrintScreen freeThe latter ability means you can effectively extend its abilities - point it at Microsoft Paint for rudimentary sketching and cropping, or a more powerful free image editor if you wish.

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Download Steam free

4. Steam

Capturing games – any games – made easy and free

Don't be too baffled. Yes, Steam is primarily a way of buying and downloading games. But it also applies its own overlay when you're playing games, one which (amongst other things) allows you to take screenshots.

If you've ever tried to take game shots using Windows' built-in tools (or even some of the other software we've listed here) you'll know why this is important - the advanced graphics modes that games apply usually leave you with a grey image and the moment completely lost.

You're not restricted only to games available through Steam, either - just about everything you own can be added to your Steam library manually, and as long as you launch it through Steam you'll get the benefit of its overlay, which defaults to using [F12] as a screenshot key.

Download Steam freeShots are usually saved to an obscure folder which differs for each game, so check up on them through Steam's View > Screenshots menu, then right-click and select 'Show on disk' to find out where they are.

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Try Windows Snipping Tool free

5. Windows Snipping Tool

The built-in grabber you might not even know about

Included with the majority of Windows systems since the XP days, the Snipping Tool is an oft-ignored app tucked away in the deepest recesses of the Start menu.

It's simple, but it has the power to take useful screen captures. Not only can you grab fullscreen images, rectangles and the current active window, it's also capable of performing free-form snips: drag your mouse around the area on screen you're interested in highlighting and it'll bring in only those pixels within your sketch.

You can scribble on your shots with rudimentary pen and highlighter tools, set a delay on captures if you need to set something specific up, but that's literally it: the Snipping Tool is very, very basic when it comes down to it, and most of the time you'll be better off using Windows' built-in screenshot tools unless you want to capture a very specific region.

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