Avast – a free Anti-virus software that actually works, and doesn’t eat resources, and is easy to install, update and use.
This is a more-than adequate replacement to Microsoft’s firewall, and far more configurable. Here’s what the site has to say about it: “ZoneAlarm Free Firewall blocks hackers from infiltrating your home PC by hiding your computer from unsolicited network traffic. By detecting and preventing intrusions, ZoneAlarm Free Firewall keeps your PC free from viruses that slow down performance, and spyware that steals your personal information, passwords, and financial data.• Essential firewall protection• Be invisible to others online• New interface makes it even easier—smaller size keeps it light”
Spybot S&D is a free spyware/malware software that actually works. Easy to install, update and use.
Daemon Tools creates a quick and simple way to create virtual DVD-ROMS on your PC, without the hardware. Designed to play .ISO files, but is compatible with many more.
Maxthon is a highly configurable browser that looks and feels a little like Internet Explorer and a lot like Mozilla, but different in its own, unique way. The website says it all.
Ever feel like turning your TAB key into a BACKSPACE key. Or your ENTER key into a NUMLOCK key? Well, Sharpkeys will do just that. Careful, though… Changres are permanent and made in the registry until you use the app to change them back!
Tired of Microsoft’s Windows Media Player? Try Winamp – as their motto says, it “Kicks the Llama’a a**”
7-ZIP – the free alternative to WINZIP (who suddenly seemed to go proprietary on us).
Need to make a PDF document from an existing web page, word document or photo? PDFCreator can do that, and from many more sources. Just install PDFCreator and print to the ‘virtual printer’ the app installs for you, and you have a shiny new PDF file. You can also stack images into one, large PDF file, if you choose.
Memtest may seem a little geeky, but it’s a great RAM testing tool should you suspect a problem, but can’t be sure. You’ll need to download and burn the files onto a CD and boot from it when you suspect your computer’s memory (RAM) may be giving up the ghost. In this thorough test, anything that pops up RED means go shopping for new RAM. Simple, efficient.
RegCleaner, another geeky download, is a very valuable tool for cleaning out those pesky registry entries that just won’t go away when you uninstall software. It can also unsinstall software (that Windows seemed to, but didn’t), file types and shells. By using caution, i.e., “if you don’t know what it is, don’t delete it,” you should be fine.
Tired of copying files from one PC to another, or to a network device, and having the copy fail while not knowing what got copied and what didn’t? And haviung it run so slowly? Well, TeraCopy is the answer. It is a file copying/moving manager, and it’s slick. Just install, choose the files you want to copy or move, right-click and select Teracopy from the pop-up menu, chooose your destination directory, and it does the rest. It will even pause, and skip failed files without crashing the entire process. This application was long overdue…
Gone are the days of reinstalling operating systems, programs, applications, configuring profiles, resetting preferences, and so on when upgrading to a bigger hard drive. DriveImage XML will copy your ENTIRE hard drive – bit by tiny little bit – to an external hard drive or USB drive and let you restore your data just the way you left it to a newer, bigger hard drive. Free!
Need parental-control software, but can’t find the right one? Or justify their exhorbitant prices? ScrubIt may be your answer. I haven’t used this particular software since I have other systems in place, but this one seems like a no-brainer, especially due to the price. PCWORLD magazine recommends it, and that’s good enough for me. You’ll need to tweak your router, however, and if you need help (sorry, this tool is for XP and 2000 user’s only – MAC and Vista user’s must do it manually), here’s a tool to help:
want to convert your IronMan DVD to an MPEG-4 format to play on your IPOD or other portable media player? Who doesn’t! HandBrake will do just that. According to PCWORLD magazine, however, you’ll also need AnyDVD, DVD43 lor DVDDecrypter to allow HandBrake to “work its magic on commercial (copy-protected) movies.” There’s no guarantee even these aplications will work, but it can’t hurt to try. (P.S. – DVDDecrypter can also rip DVD’s into .ISO files – perfect for watching on the virtual DVD-ROM you made with Daemon Tools!)