LL&D Law
Free Software I Can't Live Without - Part 2 (Utilities)

by R. Scott Thompson
12/21/2009 11:40:00 AM

     Windows has a number of utilities bundled within it. However, it excludes many important ones as well. While there are expensive programs out there that fulfill these needs, there are often free alternatives. This article identifies some useful, free utilities.1

       1. Files can be archived together into a single file. Such files often carry the extension ZIP. Other common archive formats include RAR, TAR and CAB files. Windows handles some formats, but far from all of the most commonly used ones. Many people use Winzip, however, there are several free alternatives that handle most of the commonly used archive formats. My two favorites are Alzip and 7-Zip.

       2. CCleaner is the best free product available for cleaning up after yourself on Windows. As you probably know, everything you do in Windows leaves traces. Websites drop cookies and temporary files. Programs drop temporary files and create Most Recently Used lists. CCleaner helps you get rid of those things. It will also help clean old, unused entries out of your Windows Registry. CCleaner is here.  The website also contains a free file recovery tool (Recuva) and an excellent disk defragmenter (Defraggler).

       3. Viruses and spyware are a huge problem for many people. Safe computing practices, such as not opening attachments from people you don’t know are the first line of defense. However, there are several free tools for monitoring your system for viruses and spyware. I like avast! or AVG. Both seem to work very well. AVG is a little easier to use, but avast! is a little better overall from my perspective. AVG and avast!. Also, Microsoft now has a good real time spyware scanner called Security Essentials. I keep it installed along with avast! And they seem to play well together.  I also highly recommend the anti-malware program Malwarebytes. It comes in both a free and paid version. Nothing else seems to remove spyware as well as Malwarebytes.

     4.  Another important security measure is a firewall. There are several good free ones available.  One of the easiest to use is from ZoneAlarm.  Personally, I use Comodo Internet Security suite which integrates a firewall with a virus scanner and antispyware utility.  It works well, but all of the components are more complicated to setup and use than ZoneAlarm, AVG or avast!. For the computer savvy, try Comodo, otherwise, use ZoneAlarm.

      Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series which will focus on free multimedia tools.


1 The links included in this article lead to websites beyond the control of the author or Lester, Loving & Davies, P.C. Neither the author nor Lester, Loving & Davies, P.C. is responsible for the content of those sites or the software that may be downloaded from them. Downloading software from these sites is done at your own risk and neither the author nor Lester, Loving & Davies, P.C. is responsible for any damage caused by these websites or the software downloaded from them.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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