Mon 25 Jun 2007
- Microsoft Windows Update – Even when the computer is new, you will usually find that there are several high priority updates waiting to be installed. I also recommend enabling Automatic Updates (Control Panel -> System -> Automatic Updates).
- AVG Anti-Virus Free – for virus protection. Avira AntiVir and ClamWin are good free options as well.
- Windows Defender – for spyware protection, Spybot-S&D and Ad-Aware are two popular alternatives.Â Included by default in Windows Vista.
- Mozilla Firefox – I personally prefer Firefox to Internet Explorer. Opera is also worth a look.
- OpenOffice.org – Some people insist on Microsoft Office, I think OpenOffice.org fits the bill for all but the heaviest power users. Google Docs, ThinkFree and Zoho are also good online alternatives but it is good to have an offline option just in case. Update: Google added Sun’s StarOffice 8 (OpenOffice.org souped up with proprietary fonts, etc. for better compatibility) to the Google Pack.
- Mozy Unlimited Backup – for automatic online backup. I have come across way too many horror stories of hard drives failing recently. Face the facts, your hard drive will die at some point or another so get a good backup solution. I like Mozy because it is easy, automatic and cheap. Carbonite and IBackup work as well.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader and Flash Player – these may be pre-installed, but if not you will find it neccessary for reading PDF files and web browsing.
- OpenDNS – for safe and clean web surfing. Depending on the situation I either change the client or the router DNS to point to OpenDNS.
- Google Pack – Includes Google Desktop, Google Earth, Picasa, StarOffice and more…
- Hamachi Instant VPN and TightVNC for remote access (great for supporting your mom remotely).
- Mozilla Thunderbird – Local email application for pulling down message via POP or connecting via IMAP or use it to backup Gmail.
- Paint.NET – Free image editing and photo manipulation software, GIMP is more powerful but also more complex.
- PDFCreator – open source PDF Printer lets you create PDF files for free.
- Tux Paint – Open source drawing software for children.
- VLC – Multimedia player that play just about any kind of media.
Open Source Windows lists more open source applications for Windows XP and Vista.
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