Saturday, January 19, 2013

Good (FREE!) Software

Whilst it is true that there's a lot of fake software out there offering to do wonderful things like speed up your computer or find you great deals and it's also true that you should keep well away from such things, it's also true that there is a lot of very good software on offer - and it's free!  This details a few of my favourites.  The views expressed are my own, but that doesn't make them wrong!

Firefox and Chrome

These are web browsers which I believe to be better than Internet Explorer in many ways.  They are more standards compliant, which means that websites work better with them, and they tend to consume less computer resource.  Firefox can be downloaded from and Chrome from  Personally I use both!

Antivirus Software

My favourite of these is currently Avast.  It's free and does the job.  You have to register each year and it does have some annoying sounds everytime it does anything but you can turn these off in 'appearance'!

AVG antivirus is still a possibility, though I currently feel it is rather resource heavy.

Foxit PDF Reader

Often you will find documents distributed in PDF format with the statement that you'll need the Adobe Reader to read them.  That's not true; there are alternative programs and Foxit is one such.  It consumes far less resource than the Adobe product and is faster and, to my mind, offers a nicer interface.  Get it from

The latest version also allows you to write PDF files (print to Foxit) which can be very useful.


This is a great utility simply for finding and organising your pictures.  Its main virtue is the speed at which you can look through or search for pictures on your computer.  It also offers some limited photo editing and resizing facilities.  Get it from


Many people are familiar with WinZip, the file compression utility which allows you to compress files into a single smaller file or, more usually, extract the contents of a ZIP file.  WinZip is a commercial product while 7-ZIP is free and offers some extra features as well.  It's not a program you're likely to use often but one well worth while having available.  Get it from


This utility is really designed for doing backups or keeping two disks synchronised and it's really good at what it does.  I even use it when I need to copy a lot of files and folders from one place to another because, if it hits a problem, it'll carry on with the rest, unlike the Microsoft copy which will stop and need you to fix the problem before you try it all again!  Mostly this is used for backups but it has other uses and can be obtained from

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

Although your anti-virus program can detect most viruses, there are other things which can infect your computer.  These go by a variety of names but generically they are malware.  This scanner will detect and remove most of these things and it's worth while doing an update and scan on a monthly basis.  The free version doesn't sit there checking your computer all the time, unlike your anti-virus program, so you do need to run the scan yourself.  You can find this program at


You may have noticed that many of the downloads I'm suggesting are from  This is an excellent resource which provides downloads of a vast number of software items so if there's something else you need, you might like to look there first.