Skip to main content

How to protect and enhance your PC using free software



It's no secret that amongst my family and friends, I tend to be the "techiest" person most of them know.  When they plan to buy a new computer or device, my cell phone number ends up on the front lines for tech support as they work to figure out just exactly what their new device is capable of.   Unfortunately, it is all too common that when they buy a new PC, it comes with a ton of unnecessary "bloat" meant to make a few extra bucks for the manufacturer after the sale on things that you should rarely need to pay for.  With rare exception, this "value added" software just ends up takes up space on your hard drive, slows your computer down, and nags you to "upgrade" to a paid version.

This post is meant to guide you on how to automatically remove a most, if not all of the bloatware on your brand new PC, or even an older PC that has slowed down over time.  Read on and learn what you can do to both protect and enhance your Windows PC to keep it running smoothly, and keep it secure.

First, let's start with a free program that assists you in automatically detecting and removing crapware.


PC Decrapifier - Like the name implies, it does just that.  It guides you and automates crapware removal on your PC.

With the unwanted software removed, let's proceed with the free software that we do want:

Chrome Browser - This is Google's browser. With many extensions to add functionality, as well as awesome syncing options that let you continue your browsing between PC's, Macs, Androids, and iDevices,  this browser is a force to be reckoned with.  It even auto-updates itself to the latest version, and has Adobe flash built in.

Avast Antivirus (Free version) -  Like the name implies, this program helps keep your PC free of those nasty things that you may encounter online.  As a bonus, there is additional protection such as a firewall (but that costs money and they will nag you) that can be activated.

On Windows 8, you do have the built in Windows Defender which provides antivirus and spyware protection. On earlier versions of Windows you can also download Microsoft Security Essentials for free protection.

*My current recommendation is to go with Avast.*

Spywareblaster - This is like a software condom.  It keeps malware from getting into your system.

VLC Media Player - Don't want to spend the extra cash to play DVD's on your computer?  VLC plays just about anything that you can throw at it.

Paint.net - Photoshop is overkill for most people. This has a lot of Photoshop type of functionality for free.  Combined with Picasa most standard editing needs will be covered.

Picasa - Use this software to organize and fix/enhance photos.

7zip - The swiss army knife of compressed files.  It works with zip, rar, ace, etc.  I prefer it to Peazip, but everyone should form their own opinion.

Peazip - This software lets you compress or uncompress many of the different types of files that you will encounter online.

Libreoffice - If you need Microsoft Office compatibility but don't want to pay the Microsoft price then this software is for you.

Abiword - If your need is simply geared towards word processing or Microsoft Word compatibility then Abiword may be all that you need.

Pidgin - Connect to virtually every instant messaging service with this program.

Ccleaner - This cleans up junk files on your PC, as well as helps to remove obsolete registry objects.

With the assortment of software presented here, you should be well prepared to handle all the computing basics.  Always remember that the one thing that you cannot download is common sense!  There is no better protection.  If something seems fishy, then leave it alone until you can research it or ask someone who is an expert on the matter.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Retron 5 hacked to launch RetroArch and play ROMS off your SD card

It appears that a someone going by the screenname of RetroN Labo on Youtube has successfully hacked the Retron 5 console to run the full version of  Retroarch.  In the video shown, various emulators that are not part of the original firmware are playable including the PC Engine, Playstation One, Nintendo DS, and Wonderswan.  As the stock firmware from the Retron 5 is programmed to load games from an original cartridge when it is inserted, this hack appears to run ROM and ISO files, most likely from the SD card slot built into the back of the console.




In most of instances shown in the video, emulation appeared to run smooth, and the games previewed looked playable. Currently, Hyperkin (Retron 5 manufacturer) is in hot water with Retroarch's creators due to using their emulator cores without permission.  After being discovered, Hyperkin has shared their code, and claims that they have removed any infringing code from their console.  The Retroarch group feels differently.  Details o…

Your Wii's second life as an emulation and media center powerhouse

Lifesperience is now Raycommend, which can be found here:Ray Commend

While the Wii was initially a very popular console for Nintendo, for most people, it has gone unused for years gathering dust.  More powerful consoles and devices have taken its place and even Nintendo themselves have practically abandoned it with many of their own channels going offline over the last year.  Chances are that by this point, your Wii is long out of its warranty period.  If you're willing to take about an hour of your time, you can turn your old Wii into a great emulation station and decent media center for the kids.

The things that you will need to get the most out of your old Wii console are:

An SD card (up to 32gb)An internet connection The first thing that you will need to do is softmod your console which will allow it to run unsigned software outside of Nintendo's ecosystem.  Yes!  One of the great things about the Wii (for our purposes) is that you don't need to buy an additional hardwa…

Clean up your Facebook activity log with Absterge

Lifesperience is now Raycommend, which can be found here:Ray Commend

Facebook is a platform that tends to elicit many different reactions from people when asked.  Whether you love it or hate it, every day millions of people from all over the world and all walks of life log on to the site or one of its various apps to catch up with family and friends.  As the years go by, one tends to build up a lot of content and in the case of many, some embarrassing content can be buried deep within your timeline. The fact that Facebook's settings can be confusing, even though they have tried to simplify them does not help.

We're now in a day and age where many employers look at Facebook accounts long before they consider hiring you, so how does one clean up without spending hours manually clicking on on timeline icons?  Enter the Absterge script.



According to the Absterge page:

"Absterge works such that a user logs in to the Facebook Timeline, and navigates to the 'Activity Log'…