Great Free Software
There are many free, quality software programs available for download on the Internet. However, it is important to be selective about which sites to download from, and to read editor and/or user reviews to make sure the software is of good quality and won't mess up your computer. We have compiled below a list of some of the more useful free software available on the Internet.
Disclaimer: no guarantee is made for any software listed below. Software is installed and used at your own risk.
Author: Keynote Support
Before installing any software, backup important files and create a Windows Restore Point (see our tutorial Windows System Restore - Your New Best Friend!. If the new software causes problems, return Windows to this Restore Point by following the directions in the referenced tutorial.
Update your browser settings so it will prompt you for a destination folder when you download a file. And always scan a downloaded file before opening it. The right-click menu on my PC gives me the option of scanning a file with my anti-virus program.
There are numerous download sites, but many are unsafe. If you use SiteAdvisor (see below), you will see this for yourself. The most popular download site is download.cnet.com. Most download sites will let you filter the search results for free software. Read reviews and ensure the software says “free license" before downloading if you don't want shareware or trial software.
ScreenHunter: this neat program lets you capture a rectangular image of anything displayed on your monitor. After selecting the area you want captured, the software creates a gif file. Go to download.com and key in Screenhunter.
Deskwin for Windows: If you keep many windows open on your PC at one time, you'll like this freeware. It simply lets you logically divide your display into 4 quadrants. Go to download.com and key in Deskwin.
CutePDF Writer: This software allows you to create a PDF file from any software file that can be printed (i.e. Word, QBP). To convert a file to PDF, open the file and click Print, choose CutePDF as your "printer," type in the filename, and choose the destination folder. You need both the software and a special converter program. To download both, go to the www.cutepdf.com and on the left you’ll see links that say “free download” and “free converter. Download these two files only. Some have reported adware from other products from this company.
AbsoluteShield File Shredder: when you delete a file in Windows, the file remains - only the pointer to the file is deleted. Since software is readily available that can find deleted files, you may want to shred files you know you will never want to recover (in case you ever sell or give your PC to someone else). File shredding programs like AbsoluteShield File Shredder at www.sys-shield.com destroy unwanted files by writing over them on the hard disk.
Audacity: This editor imports and exports wav, aiff, mp3, and ogg files. You can edit files using cut, copy, and paste. You also need the lame mp3 encoder in order to export mp3 files. Go to the audacity.sourceforge.net webpage and click on the download link. On the next page are links to download both the Audacity program and the lame mp3 encoder. After clicking on the lame mp3 encoder, print the instructions provided.
Jet Audio: this integrated multimedia software records, plays, rips, burns, and converts. It has many other features, and includes JetCast for creating your own Internet Broadcast. Creating a playlist in Jet Audio is slightly less annoying than the other players(!) The authors’ website is www.cowonamerica.com.
Belarc Advisor: This program displays a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, including software serial numbers and Microsoft Hotfixes. The authors’ website is www.belarc.com
Thunderbird: email program from Mozilla. Authors’ website is www.mozilla.com
Ad-Aware SE Personal Edition: This extremely popular scanning program detects and removes spyware from your PC. The authors’ website is www.lavasoft.com. Click on Products and choose Ad-Aware SE Personal. Don't forget to update the program's definitions and perform a scan of your hard drive each week.
AVG Anti-Spyware: scanning software that detects and removes spyware from your PC. Go to free.avg.com and AVG Anti-Spyware Free will be listed on the left sidebar. Don't forget to update the program's definitions and perform a scan of your hard drive each week.
AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition: a very popular anti-virus software. The authors’ website is www.free.avg.com. Don't forget to scan your PC for viruses each week.
AVAST Anti-Virus: a very popular anti-virus software. I’ve used it for about 5 years. The authors’ website is www.avast.com. Don't forget to scan your PC for viruses each week.
SiteAdvisor (from McAfee): download at www.siteadvisor.com - a very useful extension to your IE or Firefox browser. You can also go to siteadvisor.com and get reports on websites. After installing the software, you must close your browser. When you reopen it, and do a keyword search, you will see green, yellow, or red indicators by most websites.
Spybot Search and Destroy: Use this popular program to scan you PC for spyware. It also helps prevent spyware. Click the Immunize button after downloading updates. The authors’ website is www.safer-networking.org. Don't forget to update the program's definitions and perform a scan of your hard drive each week.
SpywareBlaster: The purpose of this software isn’t to scan your hard disk for malware but to prevent the installation of malware in the first place. Before I started using SpywareBlaster, my weekly scans always found ad tracking cookies and often other spyware. Now very little spyware gets into my PC. The authors’ website is www.javacoolsoftware.com
Zonealarm: one of the most popular free firewalls. Detailed information about this program can be found in the article titled "Using Free Zonealarm." I recommend downloading this from download.com since it is difficult to find the free version on the company's webiste.
We hope this article has been helpful. Cheers!
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