When it comes to keeping my computer running at its best. I’m absolutely obsessive-compulsive about it. At the slightest hint of a slowdown I will drop everything I’m doing and start running every piece of virus/spyware scanning software I have. Run sweeps of any errors present in my computer to have them all fixed. Once my mission of search and … repair is done, only then will I pickup where I left off. So I’ve compiled a list of five free programs I use to keep my computer running smoothly and help organize things a bit.
First – And it will be no surprise… An Antivirus. Over the years I’ve tried out many. Norton – Hated it. McAfee – hated it more. Kaspersky, a great piece of software. Do I use it? No. It costs money. I don’t think it should cost money to keep your computer, your network, your information safe. Its in the common interest of every person, company, organization to keep the internet clean and safe. But before I go on a rant about that. I’ll simply say. I use Avast! Anti Virus. I’ve toyed around with other free Anti-Virus’s like AVG and Avira. And I always come back to Avast! Loving it. Its not intrusive, controlling, or slow. You don’t feel like your borrowing use of your computer by getting permission from your AV. Its simple to understand and user friendly. It has the options of both basic and advanced skill levels when it comes to how familiar you are with computers. Hands down. The best. On par with anything you’ll pay for in my opinion. If you want more security with it, you can choose the pay for the subscription to upgrade it. I don’t really see a need for that though.
Second – Next up, your Malware defenses. What better than Malwarebytes? Its free version does what its supposed to do. It will pickup anything your AV leaves behind. Has the traits we are looking for with being easy to use, effective at its detection range, and informative to anyone who’s looking to keep their computer safe.
Third – Now for the first of two support utilities. A friend of mine recommended a program as a kind of “fix-all” for any goofy behavior your computer might be doing. Glary Utilities has a function to search your registry for errors, search for spyware/malware, clean garbage out of your internet cache, down to shortcuts that may be duplicates or that lead no where. There’s just TONS of useful utilities in this program. If you want to know what is taking up all your HD space it can give you a percentile of space per drive, per folder displayed the screen. It just does everything. I can testify that when my Steam program (a gaming-multimedia platform) starting acting up and refused to log me in, my Glary Utilities scan found errors in the registry that it fixed, and I was gaming again in no time. I’ve used this program for over a year now and installed it on computers for friends and family. That is how much I like it.
Fourth – Your second for support utilities. Have you ever had trouble defragmenting your computer? It either takes forever, doesn’t finish, or overall doesn’t seem like it did anything even if it does finish? Defraggler actually does what its supposed to. It does it in a decent amount of time, effectively. Its graphical just like your normal defragmenting program. A simple must have.
Fifth – Strictly for organizational purposes. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But I love the Fences program. It allows you to create windows on your desktop to place your icons in. If you hate making folders and want to be able to scroll through your icons in organized windows that you can re-size, rename, and even hide on your desktop then Fences is the way to go. I have one window that I use for all my basic computer icons like My Computer, Recycle Bin, CD Drive, on the left hand side. I have my Software programs lining the top of my screen. I have my game shortcuts lining the bottom of my screen, and my music, movies, and Itunes on the right hand side. I can quickly scroll to anything I can’t see. Hide it all with 2-clicks if I want to admire my background. Its just a simple yet awesome program. If you want to keep your desktop organized this is the way to go.
Extra Credit – For those concerned about added firewall protection. I recommend PeerBlock.
It uses configurable lists that block a whole heap of nosey peers that might be snooping around your browsing habits. Its a little advanced as far as its use goes, which is why its not part of my Five above. But for those willing to tinker, and troubleshoot some ranges of IP blocking/allowing it can be a very effective tool to help keep your internet browsing a bit more safe.
In closing, yes all these sites do flash a bit of the “upgrade now” button. But its my opinion you really don’t need to. If a computer user is diligently using his or her anti-virus, and running routine scans of spyware and malware your not going to need to spend any money on extra protection. I hope this list helps someone make a better choice about computer security. Before switching out any software its always best to do your own research on each product and see if its right for you. User reviews are always best. Another reason I posted mine. Happy and safe web browsing!