A few months ago I took a computer repair class sponsored by our local adult education department. It was a lot of fun taking apart and fixing computers. I also picked up quite a few tips on free software that can be helpful to rid your computer of viruses, malware, or simply speed things up.
Along with what I learned from this class, I have also been keeping my own list of free computer programs that I use and can recommend. This all came together today for the purposes of this article that will share my favorite free computer programs with you.
Most people need something along the lines of Microsoft Office Suite. This includes Word, Excel, and Power Point. Several months ago when I purchased my new laptop I noticed that the Microsoft Office Suite was not included. I wanted the lowest price on the laptop and I got it but it did not come with this ‘must have’ software. A friend recommend Open Office as a free alternative. I downloaded it and like it so much I have added to my desktop computer. I have found this program for me to actually be better than Microsoft Office (which can cost hundreds of dollars based on what version you buy).
Viruses & Malware
One of the procedures I learned in the computer repair class was to start by running the free program Malwarebytes. It has a funny name but the first time I ran it on my own desktop computer it found several hundred problem files. After cleaning out these files my computer ran at about double the speed. I saw numerous computers brought into class that were fixed using just this one program.
There was a debate in class about which free anti-virus program was better. AntiVir and AVG each had about a 50% backing by students in the class. I have been using AVG myself for several years and have always found it worked very well. One thing that was surprising is how negative the instructor was about McAfee, Norton, and other costly anti-virus programs. In fact, there were computers repaired in the class by simply removing McAfee or Norton and installing a free anti-virus program in place of it. Not that I am quick to conclude there is a conspiracy here, but I found it odd that these paid security options seemed to actually do a very poor job of cleaning out and stopping viruses. One would assume that if you pay for something it is better than the ‘free’ option, but that was not the case here. *** Very important: Never have more than one anti-virus program on your computer at the same time. You can have Malwarebytes (which is a malware program) and one anti-virus program of your choice (such as AntiVir or AVG). In my case, I run AVG and Malwarebytes and have deleted all other antivirus and malware programs.
Speeding Up Your Computer
Another little jewel I picked up from my class was learning about C Cleaner. This program is installed to your desktop and every few days you simply click on it and it will clean out all of the junk files taking up memory in your computer. I use it about every two to three days and it only takes a minute or two to speed things up for me.
At this point in my life I have so many passwords to remember that I am about to lose my mind. Of course, you are not supposed to make your passwords easy for others to guess but how do you remember them yourself? Try a free password manager program. Not only does it keep track of all of your passwords, it helps you to create passwords so tough that no one can guess them.
Free Website Software
WordPress has become my favorite software for building websites and it is 100% free. Not only is the program free but there are thousands of already built designs and features that can be downloaded at no cost. If you want to build a website from scratch I would recommend the free program Kompozer. I use Kompozer quite frequently when building and editing HTML pages for my various websites. Again, I dumped a paid program for this free one that is actually better overall and easier to use.
WordPress Free Blog site offers aspiring writers the ability to start their own blog for free.
My favorite browsers are Firefox and Google Chrome (both available as free downloads).
Desktop e Mail Clients
The makers of Firefox offer a desktop e mail manager called Thunderbird that is fantastic. A second free option is Windows Live Mail.
A Bonus Pick
I have already given you fifteen, so consider this one a bonus. I have had more problems over the years with remnants of a computer program staying on my hard drive even after I ‘uninstalled’ it. This can really create major problems. The solution is a free uninstaller called Revo which will do the trick to get a complete uninstall done.
I hope you enjoy this list and share it with your friends! Please post a link to your favorite free software in the comment section below.
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James L. Paris Editor-In-Chief ChristianMoney.com