Free Stuff for Computers
Friday, January 08, 2010
Since I work with computers every day, I've found some really great free software available on the Internet for such things as virus protection, spyware and malware cleaners, word processing, spreadsheets, drawing software, browsers and e-mail. You have to be REALLY careful on the Internet. Just because something says "free" doesn't mean it actually is. Many times it will say "free download". You can download it for free, but if you actually want to use it, you'll have to pay. All too often, once you have downloaded and installed something, it is next to impossible to get rid of it. Sometimes they are actually malware that will install and then nag with popups until you purchase the software. BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN DOWNLOADING ANYTHING!!
So here is a list of stuff that is actually free to download and use.
Virus Protection: My favorite is Avast. Download from http://www.avast.com . This is free for home use. Once you download and install it, you will need to register it at the website. Then they e-mail a license number that you enter into the software. You will need to re-register about once a year, but there is no charge. It works great and does daily free updates.
Spyware Prevention/Removal: My favorite is still Spybot Search and Destroy. It can be downloaded from http://www.safer-networking.org. Do be very careful when downloading. There are a lot of look-a-likes out there that are really malware. This does take some configuring - you need to immunize your computer and set up frequent scans. They have other good products as well.
Another one is SuperAntiSpyware. Located at http://www.superantispyware.com, this product does a great job of cleaning off spyware and malware.
Check out www.ccleaner.com for a product that can be used to really clean and speed up your computer. Ccleaner (formerly known as Crap Cleaner) removed temporary and unused files and registry entries that are no longer being used. You can also use it to remove software that Windows refuses to uninstall. When you run the registry cleaner, you'll need to run it about three times to get all the junk.
Need to do a presentation, or have word processing or spreadsheet functionality that is compatible with Microsoft Office but don't have $$$ to spend? Check out http://www.openoffice.org. Free open source software that provides word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, graphics and database functionality. Moreover, it can open and edit and save Microsoft Office (up to 2007) files.
Firefox is a great browser alternative to Internet Explorer. Available from http://www.mozilla.com/ it provides more functionality that IE has even considered. It is much more secure and protected against malware and spyware invasions. Their Thunderbird e-mail product provides a great local e-mail client as well.
More to come...
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