This week’s column is one that I plan to make an annual affair.
It’s my five favorite freebies.
To qualify, I have chosen only programs that are truly free and readily down-loadable and those that I use every day. There are other freeware programs that I highly recommend, but maybe they only get occasional use for some specific purpose. This list includes only those free applications that I would be lost without.
- First is an integral part of my security system, the free anti-virus program, AVG Free. It continues to be a top pick every year by a host of PC experts and 80 million users worldwide. For most home users it is more than adequate against common threats and not nearly as intrusive as the bought AV programs, especially the security suite programs. Along with your firewall and a couple of adware programs, this is all you need. Download this one from filehippo.com and you’ll avoid their paid version.
- My second choice is very easy, CCleanerm by Pirifor. This small utility makes it easy to clean all your temporary files from one interface and also limit the programs that are in your start folder. It can also be used to uninstall programs that you no longer use; a good practice to keep your PC lean and fast. Get this one also from filehippo.com.
- Third is anything Google. I use Google for my home page, Google Calendar, Gmail for my Webmail client, Google Docs for sharing, Picasa for photo stuff and picture sharing. I like the way all these applications integrate together on my home page.
- No. 4 is Evernote, which I use for note taking and storing information that I have gathered during Internet research. It’s easy to organize and retrieve info using this application and it can be accessed from any PC using your personal ID and password. Download from evernote.com and navigate to their download page.
- No. 5 is WordWeb which gives me immediate right click access to word definitions, synonyms and antonyms without having to go online. I like this little application so well that I actually bought the expanded paid version, but as we used to say in the retail business, “You can have a pretty good Saturday without it”. The free version is quite adequate for most users. You can get it at wordwebonline.com.
The only reason OpenOffice.org didn’t make my Top 5 list is that I own and teach Microsoft’s Office Suite applications and therefore use them for most of my work. For those who do not choose to buy a productivity suite, I highly recommend OpenOffice.org. It’s free and compatible with Microsoft’s applications and other word processors, spreadsheets and presentation programs. You can download this suite of programs at http://tinyurl.com/3salm and there is a ton of help on that site.