This antivirus program not only protects your computer against viruses, worms and malicious code - it's free! AVG AntiVirus allows you to scan on demand or at scheduled times. It also features an e-mail scanner that supports most e-mail programs such as Outlook Express and Eudora.
This is my favorite firewall. Made by Zone Labs, it will render your computer invisible to hackers' probes. Hackers run scanning programs over the Internet, looking for computers with electronic openings, called ports. A good firewall such as ZoneAlarm makes your computer invisible to the scanners.
The goal of these intruders is to place a Trojan horse on your computer. The rogue program uses the open port previously identified by a scanner. However, ZoneAlarm blocks those transmissions. They can only go through if you agree. Always say no, unless you recognize the program.
The free version of Outpost Firewall offers a basic protection solution for casual web surfers and low budget systems. There is also a "Pro" version with more robust features. Cost: Free for personal use
Manage your passwords and information with Roboform. It will automatically fill in password information or login information to any online account or Web site. Create an identity with all of your personal information--name, address, telephone, etc. You won't have to waste time retyping that information ever again! Stuck trying to think of a new password? It will generate secure random passwords for you. All personal information is securely stored on your computer.
Cost: Free limited version; $29.99 for Pro edition
This program will retrieve messages from up to 16 e-mail accounts, allowing you to manage everything from one program. You can use it to forward or reply to messages from the original address that received the e-mail.
If you use Internet Explorer 5.0 or above, you can use Google to search from any Web site location without returning to the Google home page. Internet Explorer 5.5 or above users can take advantage of its great pop-up blocker!
Do you get a lot of forwarded e-mails? You know, the ones titled 蹠Are Computers A Lot Like Cats?ᦴer making the rounds, they tend to look messy. You can clean things up with this three-step e-mail tool. Basically, it does a Gypsy Rose Lee on all those ">" characters. The result is a more readable, buff-and-cut e-mail. I found it worked okay in Hotmail and Yahoo, but less well in Eudora.
Requirements: Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000 or XP Cost: Free
GenoPro can draw family trees. In addition to displaying marriages and children, GenoPro uses a genogram to add more details, such as medical issues and living situations. Adding family members to the tree is easy. Pictures can be inserted, and data from other genealogy software can be imported and exported. The completed project can be saved on a CD as a family album, or inserted into Word, PowerPoint or other Windows software as part of a family book or reunion presentation. I really liked the Family Wizard feature (under Tools)--it's a quick way to grow your family tree.
Requirements: Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000 or XP Cost: 30-day free trial; $39 to buy
OpenOffice.org is a free suite of office products. It includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and drawing programs. You can open and save in a variety of popular formats -- Microsoft Office, PDF, HTML, and others. The programs have the same look and feel as Microsoft Office, so there's no big learning curve. It's a 64 MB file, so downloading it may take some time if you're on a dialup connection.
Picasa allows you to edit, organize and share photos. It scans your computer for all of your digital images. Add keywords to each picture to help organize them. Edit your pictures by cropping, removing red-eye and enhancing the color and contrast. You can print or e-mail directly from the program.
Sometimes when you download a free program it comes in a compressed format such as zip. To open them, you need a utility like QuickZip. QuickZip helps you shrink very large files or extract previously zipped files. It can extract 20 different types of archive files. The documentation is written in broken English but it's good enough to get you going.
Spy Sweeper fixes existing spyware problems and prevents them from happening again. It does this by scanning and removing spyware from your computer. You can schedule regular scans or conduct them manually. And it utilizes Active Shield technology to stop spyware before it infects your computer. Spy Sweeper constantly updates its database of known spyware threats, so you will always have the latest definitions. You also have access to free customer support.
This a beta (test) version of Microsoft's anti-spyware program. The underlying code was bought from Giant Co. Software. Giant's anti-spyware was very well regarded, and the Microsoft version appears to work well, too. Set this free program to update automatically. I would also schedule it to scan the computer every night.
This program finds spyware, also known as adware. These are little programs that advertising companies place on our computers. They report back on our browsing habits. Run Ad-aware weekly, and get this garbage off your hard drive.
CW Shredder removes some variants of spyware known as the Coolwebsearch Trojan. The Trojan takes advantage of a flaw in a key component of Windows -- Microsoft's version of the Java Virtual Machine -- to install itself via popups often found on porn and illegal software (a.k.a. "warez") sites. Run CWShredder after installing, and have it look for updates. Then click the "Fix" button, and the program will both scan and fix any problems it finds. If your system does not have this kind of spyware, it will give you the good news.
A program designed to fix browsers whose home pages and settings have been altered or "hijacked," Hijack This! requires some knowledge to be used safely. After scanning your system, which takes just a few seconds, it shows in a single window a list of items that could be related to browser hijackings.
This program finds spyware, also known as adware. These are little programs that advertising companies place on our computers. They report back on our browsing habits. It allows you to fix registry inconsistencies related to adware.
This is a collection of little applications that make Windows run better. They were written by Microsoft programmers, although the company does not officially support them. In fact, Microsoft warns that it can't take responsibility for them. Don't let that throw you off. I've used them for years. They work well.
Fresh UI is the PC-version of chrome rims and performance exhaust. It tweaks default Windows settings into something unique. Add 请changing the Media Player skin or by lifting modem speed limits. You can access Application, Hardware, interface and System components. This kit contains strong privacy tools and lock-down settings--a plus for small business or families. Especially intriguing is the anti-fraud Cover Your Tracks solution.
Requirements: Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 or XP Cost: Free