Microsoft Security Essentials
Microsoft Security Essentials is free software that gives you antivirus, anti-spyware engines, rootkit protection, and real-time protection. Some Internet sites can infect your computer without you clicking on anything. Since it is real-time MSE protects you from these malicious websites.
You can schedule regular scans (highly recommended) and automated updates. Overall Microsoft Security Essentials is a great package that will keep your computer safe from most malicious software. Updates are also free. Download Microsoft Security Essentials.
Your new computer probably came with an Internet browser, but there are other browsers out there that may appeal to you. Everyone has preferences so look at several to see which one you like.
- Internet Explorer – The latest version of Internet Explorer is a vast improvement over older versions. It has all the bells and whistles you would expect in a browser and more including tabs and add-on tools. Download Internet Explorer.
- Firefox – Firefox is the browser of choice for many users due to the many add-on tools. It offers all the features you need and more. Firefox is fast and highly customizable. Download Firefox.
- Chrome – Google Chrome is the latest kid on the browser block. Chrome is fast and offers a simplified clutter-free environment. It has an ever-growing number of great add-on tools that enhances your browsing experience. With Google behind it Chrome will be a serious browser contender, if not the leader for years to come. Download Google Chrome.
There are many other browsers out there to try. Safari is used by many in the Mac crowd. Try several and see which one works best for you.
If you use Internet Explorer or Firefox then the Google toolbar is an essential free software add-on. Google toolbar adds a row to your browser menu that includes instant access to Google search with popular suggestions. Other options include translating a web page, one button access to Gmail, Google Apps and other Google products.
Another good feature is built-in sharing capability so you can share what you find with others on Twitter, Facebook, by email as well as other social websites. You can customize the toolbar so only the buttons you want show. Download Google toolbar.
Google has put together a wonderful package of free software essentials. They do lean towards the Google options, but all are good, free software alternatives and many are essentials you will need. You can pick what you want to include in your Google pack so you get only what you want.
Some of the software that you can include in your Google pack includes:
- Google Chrome Web Browser – excellent web browser alternative
- Google Apps – Gmail (web-based email essential!), Google Calendar and Google Docs office suite.
- Adobe Reader – Essential software for viewing highly used .PDF formatted documents. A MUST have.
- Google Earth – Oh so cool fun to view the world from space down to street level. It also helps you find places, gives you directions and so much more. Slimmer is Google Maps, but Google Earth is worth checking out.
- Google Picasa – Lets you find photos on your computer, edit them and even share them.
- Skype – Allows you to make free voice and video calls to anyone else who uses Skype anywhere in the world.
There are many other free software options. Visit the Google Pack website to see all and download your pack.
OpenOffice is a free software alternative to Microsoft Office. If you use office software a lot you should consider buying Microsoft Office since it is the standard and king of office software. If you only use office software once in a while then OpenOffice is an excellent alternative.
OpenOffice is a suite of free software that lets you do word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. If is easy to use and has good support. Download OpenOffice.
VLC Media Player
Most computer come with a built-in media player and if you have an Apple device like an iPad, iPod or iPhone you can use iTunes. However if you are looking for a great “play anything” media player nothing beats VLC. If you can’t get it to play with other media software VLC can probably play it.
VLC is free software available for Windows and Mac OS X as well as the iPhone. Download VLC.
Evernote is free software that allows you to keep lots of things in one place and well organized. You can create to-do lists, take snapshots of web pages, add photos, voice, really anything that you can copy, paste or insert. It has so many uses it is impossible to list them all.
Another great feature is how many ways you have access to your information. On your computer, on the Internet and on your mobile phone. Evernote helps you organize and find everything that is noteworthy in your life. Download Evernote.
Share Your Favorite Free Software!
There is a lot of great free software out there. If you have a favorite share it with us in a comment.
Photo credit: Peter Baker