Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Win PC Essentials
Running your computer with the Windows operating system, and connected to the Internet? If so, you will find the following products necessary to the safe operation of your machine.
1. Virus protection. If you cannot afford a commercial program, try AVG: http://free.grisoft.com/freeweb.php/doc/2/. Occasionally stop by Pandasoft, and run their free scanner, also: http://www.pandasoftware.com/activescan/. This is a great backup between updates of your main virus software. If you have a suspect file or two, try Kaspersky Lab: http://www.kaspersky.com/scanforvirus. Another free antivirus program is Avast Home Edition: http://www.avast.com/eng/avast_4_home.html.
2. Firewall. If you have no firewall hardware, use software: http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/company/products/znalm/freeDownload.jsp
3. Popup blocker. Makes web browsing safer, and easier. Google makes an effective one, built into their Toolbar: http://toolbar.google.com/
4. Spyware tools. I've found that one is not enough. Run both Ad-Aware and Spybot Search and Destroy: http://www.lavasoftusa.com/support/download/ and http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/index.html. They will catch different junk. A good new one is BHODemon: http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_download.asp?fid=23611&fileidx=1
5. Download and install a safe web-browser! Try Firefox: http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox or Opera: http://www.opera.com. Both Opera and Mozilla offer an integrated safe email program, which is also important. Other secure email programs are Eudora: http://www.eudora.com, Thunderbird: http://www.mozilla.org/products/thunderbird and Pegasus: http://www.pmail.com/.
If every Windows computer connected to the Internet was regularly using (and keeping updated) these programs, the virus/worm/spam load would be reduced to nothing. Imagine how pleasant THAT would be! For more in-depth information, see Computer Internet Security Class: http://members2.1stnetusa.com/~a/comintsec.
In trouble, and need a boot disk? FreePCTech has all the MS operating systems: http://freepctech.com/pc/002/files010.shtml
Enough about safety. If you want to USE your computer, here are some great FREE programs:
1. Genealogy - Legacy: http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/, Ancestry Family Tree: http://www.ancestry.com/ Embla Family Treasures: http://www.embla.us and of course the venerable PAF (Personal Ancestral File): http://www.familysearch.org
Genealogical Research Note-Keeping - Bygones: http://www.bygonessoftware.com/
General note-taking, to-do lists and so forth -EverNote: http://www.evernote.com/en/
2. Office - OpenOffice.org, hands down!: http://www.OpenOffice.org. Tutorials for OpenOffice: http://www.tutorialsforopenoffice.org
3. Graphics and Graphics Editing - Picasa: http://www.picasa.com/
IrfanView is also popular: http://www.irfanview.com/. The Gimp: http://www.gimp.org/~tml/gimp/win32 cross-platform.
4. Web Authoring - New! NVU: http://www.nvu.com/ (Win, Mac, Linux)
5. RSS Newsreaders - I use Bloglines online, but if you prefer to download a free program, there is SharpReader for Windows: http://www.sharpreader.com. More about RSS and readers: http://www.lights.com/weblogs/rss.html
6. Backup and Storage: Karen's Replicator: http://www.karenware.com, Yahoo Briefcase: http://briefcase.yahoo.com/ - 30 MB.
7. Have a website? You will need to up and download files. DataFreeway will FTP, SecureFTP, and SSH in an intuitive interface: http://www.enginsite.com/download/DataFreeway.exe
8. To Do lists: What To Do
9. File sharing (P2P), chatting/IM, voice over IP, even video-conferencing: Qnext at http://www.qnext.com
Many good free programs for the Windows OS are available from The OpenCD: http://www.theopencd.org
PCMag reviews 26 freeware packages, some of which are listed above: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1864515,00.asp
If your computer is hopelessly compromised by viruses, worms or spyware, it can be recovered with a Knoppix (Linux) disk: http://www.shockfamily.net/cedric/knoppix/
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle