We all know having a desktop with windows operating system can be a hassle at times, due to freezing, rebooting, viruses or getting loaded down with useless junk that you do not need. This is a list of ten useful and free programs that I’ve been using for many years myself.
Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is an antivirus software (AV) product that provides protection against different types of malware such as computer viruses, spyware, rootkits and Trojan horses. It runs on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, but not on Windows 8, which has a built-in AV component. Built upon the same virus definitions and scanning engine as other Microsoft antivirus products, MSE provides real-time protection, constantly monitoring activities on the computer and scanning new files as they are downloaded or created and disabling detected threats.
ZoneAlarm is a personal firewall software application originally developed by Zone Labs, which was acquired in March 2004 by Check Point. It includes an inbound intrusion detection system, as well as the ability to control which programs can create outbound connections. In ZoneAlarm, program access is controlled by way of “zones”, into which all network connections are divided. The “trusted zone” generally includes the user’s local area network and can share resources such as files and printers, while the “Internet zone” includes everything not in the trusted zone. The user can specify which “permissions” (trusted zone client, trusted zone server, Internet zone client, Internet zone server) to give to a program before it attempts to access the Internet (e.g. before running it for the first time) or, alternatively, ZoneAlarm will ask the user to give the program permission on its first access attempt.
Advance SystemCare (formerly Advanced Windows Care) is a computer tool for Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 2000 created by IObit. It is used to improve computer performance and speed. It includes a free version and a PRO version. Functions on both versions include cleaning up computer registries, do a disk defragmentation, scan for malware, and clean up broken shortcuts. The latest version of this program is called as Advanced SystemCare with Antivirus 2013. This is a combination of the already existing Advanced SystemCare with a powerful antivirus engine provided by Bitdefender.
CCleaner (formerly Crap Cleaner), developed by Piriform, is a utility program used to clean potentially unwanted files and invalid Windows Registry entries from a computer. A public version 1.01 for the Mac OS X has been released along with a Network Edition. CCleaner supports the cleaning of temporary or potentially unwanted files left by certain programs, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, Windows Media Player, eMule, Google Toolbar, Netscape, Microsoft Office, Nero, Adobe Acrobat, McAfee, Adobe Flash Player, Sun Java, WinRAR, WinAce, WinZip, GIMP and other applications along with browsing history, cookies, recycle bin, memory dumps, file fragments, log files, system caches, application data, autocomplete form history, and various other data. The program also includes a registry cleaner to locate and correct problems in the Windows registry, such as missing references to shared DLLs, unused registration entries for file extensions, and missing references application paths.
Glary Utilities contains system tools and utilities to fix, speed up, maintain and protect personal computers. Boosts PC speed and fixes frustrating errors, crashes and freezes. Protects your privacy and wipe sensitive internet and chat history, over 20 tools to maximize your Computer’s performance
VLC media player (also known as VLC) is a highly portable free and open-source media player and streaming media server written by the VideoLAN project. VLC media player supports many audio and video compression methods and file formats, including DVD-video, video CD and streaming protocols. It is able to stream over computer network and to transcode multimedia files.
IrfanView is a freeware/shareware image viewer for Microsoft Windows that can view, edit, and convert image files and play video/audio files. It is noted for its small size, speed, ease of use, and ability to handle a wide variety of graphic file formats, and has some image creation and painting capabilities. It supports viewing and saving of numerous file types including image formats such as BMP, GIF, JPEG, JP2 & JPM (JPEG2000), PNG (includes the optimizer PNGOUT), TIFF, camera RAW, ECW (Enhanced Compressed Wavelet), EMF (Enhanced Windows Metafile), FSH (EA Sports format), ICO (Windows icon), LDF (LuraDocument format), LWF (LuraWave format), PCX (Zsoft Paintbrush), PBM (Portable bitmap), PDF (Portable Document Format), PGM (Portable graymap), PPM (Portable Pixelmap), TGA (Truevision Targa), WebP and viewing of media files such as Flash, Ogg Vorbis, MPEG, MP3, MIDI, and text files.
Apache OpenOffice is an open-source office productivity software suite containing word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, graphics, formula editor, and database management applications. It was formerly known as OpenOffice.org under Sun, then Oracle ownership. OpenOffice’s default file format is the OpenDocument Format (ODF), an ISO/IEC standard. It can also handle other file formats including those from Microsoft Office. OpenOffice runs on several operating systems.
The LibreOffice suite includes a word processor, spreadsheet, graphics editor, slideshow creator, database and math formula writer.
It is designed to be compatible with other major office suites, including Microsoft Office, though some Microsoft Office layout features and formatting attributes are handled differently or unsupported. LibreOffice is available for a variety of computing platforms, including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger or newer, and Linux-based systems running Linux kernel version 2.6.18 or newer. It is the default office suite of popular Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Debian and Fedora. Ports for FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD are being maintained by contributors to those projects, respectively.
Between January 2011 (its first stable launch) and October 2011, LibreOffice was downloaded approximately 7.5 million times.
Anti-Virus Guard (AVG) is a family of anti-virus and Internet security software for the Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and FreeBSD computing platforms, developed by AVG Technologies, a publicly traded Czech company formerly known as Grisoft.
For desktop protection of PC’s running Windows, the AVG solutions include:
- AVG Internet Security is a full suite which brings together the AVG Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, LinkScanner, Anti-Rootkit, Web Shield, Security Toolbar, Firewall, Anti-Spam, Identity Protection and System Tools protection components.
- AVG Identity Protection provides protection against identity theft and unknown malware threats using behavioral monitoring.
- AVG Anti-Virus plus Firewall provides the Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, LinkScanner, Anti-Rootkit, Web Shield, Security Toolbar and Firewall protection components.
- AVG Anti-spyware was a rebranded version of ewido Anti-Spyware, that was integrated into AVG Anti-Virus as of version 8.0. A free version was also available, having now been merged into AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition
MBAM is intended to find malware that other anti-virus and anti-spyware programs generally miss, including rogue security software, adware, and spyware. MBAM scans in batch mode, rather than scanning all files opened, reducing interference if on-demand anti-malware software is also running on the computer.