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Must-have Free Programs (PC)

Posted by 4love2love on June 3, 2011

For maintaining the safety and integrity computer, some programs are needed to help you keep your information safe from viruses, hackers, useless files and registry entries that use up memory, slow down your computer, cause errors, etc.

I have been working with computers since the late 80’s and I’ve watched the technology change. Used to be an anti-virus program was hardly used and firewalls were totally unnecessary. Now, there are a lot of programs that can be useful. So which ones do you choose? What works best? With so many choices, it can be confusing as to what programs to use and which ones not to.

First off, these are my personal recommendations. I have been using these programs for a while, some for many years, others are more recent additions that I have found to be highly effective in maintaining my computer, which has a lower amount of memory and hard drive space than most computers as it’s an older machine. Even with an upgraded system, I will be using these same programs.

I am currently running Windows XP, though the majority of these programs are also compatible with other versions of Windows. I am unsure with the compatibility with Mac systems. All of these programs are available in a free version.
AVG Anti-Virus

AVG is one of the leading anti-virus programs available on the market today. They have both the free edition and a paid version. They also have other programs available that include a firewall that are reasonably priced. I strongly advise the use of this program over McAfee or Norton any day of the week. I strongly recommend against using McAfee or Norton due to some issues that I have come across in customers computers over the years. You can set the times for updates, system scans, as well as performing manual updates and scans.

Zone Alarm Firewall

I’ve used a variety of firewalls over the years, but then I found Zone Alarm. I have been using Zone Alarm for many years now and have never had an issue. It’s rather simple to set up, you just have to make sure you keep with the free version and not one of the trial versions. If you elect to use a trial version, though, you may be tempted to buy it. 😉

CCleaner

Piriform.com has this lovely utility program up for free. It’s a newer program to the market but extremely useful. It offers a system cleaning of temp and other useless files, as well as a registry cleaner that is useful any time you uninstall any program from your system. It also has tools for enabling or disabling startup files (for advanced users) and a tool to help you uninstall programs without using the add/remove program option windows provides. At the least, I strongly recommend the use of this program for deleting crap files from your system and registry.

Speccy

Another handy piece of software from Piriform.com. This program will show you all the hardware in your computer system, which is handy for technical support calls or just to see what hardware will be compatible with your system for upgrades.

Auslogics Disk Defrag

Defragging your system is necessary to keep your computer running at optimum speed. Windows system defrag is ok, but this program really makes a difference. If you run the defrag with optimize you will find that your computer and programs runs much more effectively and quickly. I strongly advise the use of this program at least on a weekly basis.

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware

This is a great piece of software to keep your computer clean of malware, spyware and other unpleasant things that can be downloaded onto your computer without your knowledge. It’s an easy-to-use program that works best if you scan your computer at least once a week.

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