A friend ask me about a computer program she had seen advertised. We’ve all seen these ads that promise to make our slow-moving PCs run light lightning in a can. Well, having a couple of decades experience with these things I have two things to say. First, anyone who knows how Windows operates knows how to maintain optimum running speeds without the need of special software. Second, there are excellent programs that can be downloaded for free and will keep your PC tuned to the maximum.
Here’s my list of free software that every PC owner should be running on their machine:
- Chrome operating system. I choose Chrome because it is gimmick free and optimized for functional speed. Chrome is lean and mean and does everything one needs to effectively browse the Internet.
- Google’s Gmail. Again, Gmail is lean and mean but still does everything one needs to manage email. What I like best is that your mail is online and not resident on your PC. That means you can check your email from any PC and wherever you may be in the world. Yahoo and Hot mail does the same thing but I don’t think they are as clean and free of advertising, etc. as Gmail.
- Avast Free Antivirus*. There are several free antivirus programs but my two favorites are AVG Free and Avast. For years I used AVG but switched to Avast about a year ago. The reason, it is more automatic. Both these programs are totally free, well supported, and work silently in the background and without hogging resources or interfering with other programs. Every “pay for” program I ever used created problems. With the two mentioned I have never had a problem and only one virus. The one virus I acquired was because I didn’t follow the recommendations of the program. It told me NOT to visit a certain URL and I did it anyway. My fault!
- MalwareBytes Anti-Malware. This too is a totally free program and works great. It finds software that has been secretly installed on to your PC and may be spying on you and/or hogging your resources, and removes it.
- Advanced SystemCare by IObit tune up software. This is the freebie that everyone wants to sell you in TV ads. These people will sell you a more feature-filled version but I’ve never found it necessary. What happens with Windows is over a period of time certain directories and memory caches get full and need to be purged. Also, a vital part of Windows is something called the registry. Over time the registry becomes corrupted. Simple put, as you make use of your PC it will tend to slow down and will need the occasional tune up. That’s what ASC does. Just download and install the program and it will tell you what it thinks you need to do. Just follow the instructions and afterwards your PC will be healthy and running like new.
There are no end to utility programs but these are the ones I have on all my computers and have used them successfully for a several years. All my be found at c/net’s www.download.com. On the right side of their main page you’ll find their list of “Most Popular Programs” and links to all the above will be found there. As you go to each link you’ll be offered the opportunity to download and install the program. You’ll also probably be offered to “upgrade” your software but don’t opt for it. The upgrades do a little more but they are not free. You’ll be fine with the free versions. You may also have other programs recommended but I would be wary of downloading those.
One thing you may want to be aware of when downloading any software. As each page in the download/install procedure read it carefully to see that nothing other than the program is being installed on your PC. For example, often there will be a box that is check marked that will install some tool bar on your browser screen. Yahoo does this a lot. I suggest you uncheck those boxes. The only boxes I check are those in which I agree to have an icon installed on my desktop screen.
Now for my disclaimer. These are recommendations based on my experiences and they have all worked well for me. Whether you’ll have the same experiences and feel the same afterwards, is beyond my control.
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