Lately I have been making sure that all of the windows computers in the house are updated with the latest software. I guess this was brought about by all of the viruses and security vulnerabilities in Windows. Whatever the reason, read on for my list of apps… (I should note that ALL of these are 100% FREE!)
- Browser: Firefox, of course. The single biggest hole in Windows is Internet Explorer. Firefox also runs on Windows, Linux, Mac, all of which I use.
- Email: Thunderbird – there are plenty of mail programs out there, but I like this one. It also runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac.
- AntiVirus: AVG Free Edition – I have talked about ClamWin elsewhere, but this antivirus package is a little more user friendly and polished. I run ClamWin on my laptop, and AVG everywhere else.
- Office Productivity: Open Office – the latest version 2 has improved by leaps and bounds, and does most of what almost anyone would use MS Office for. Runs on Windows, Linux, Mac, Solaris, BSD, etc…
- ZIP: 7-zip – Very broad, powerful zip program. Windows and Linux.
- Instant Messaging: GAIM – this client speaks Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft, and other IM protocols, and you only have to run this one app. Runs on Windows and Linux.
Some other neat apps:
- Spyware Removal: Spybot Search and Destroy – this only runs on demand, but is great for cleaning up a PC someone else has been using.
- Windows License Key: Magical Jellybean’s Keyfinder – this will find your registration key for MS windows and office. For my laptop that is about to die, I can save the key (license) so I can install XP Pro on another PC later when it dies. (Just have to get my hands on some install media) I hate how Microsoft was worked it so that you are buying a new copy of Windows with every PC. If your hardware dies, you should not have to repurchase the software!
- Video Player: VLC media player – This plays a wide variety of formats and also runs on Linux, Mac, and Windows.
- Remote Control: VNC – sure, windows remote desktop protocol is OK, but VNC runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux so I can display one desktop on any other OS.
- Hardware: PC Wizard – detailed hardware and performance scans for Windows
- Privacy: xp-AntiSpy – disble scan-and-report-to-microsoft features in XP.