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02/27/2006 Entry: "Useful, free Windows software"
Regarding my parents' new computer: I got a helpful note from a McBlog reader who says that Windows XP really needs 1.5 GB of RAM to run adequately. Which, I guess, makes my point about XP being a pig.
My laptop, which came with XP, has only 256 MB of RAM. I'm going to try installing the same security software on it as on my parents' PC, and see if the performance suffers. (I won't be able to test one theory, which is that the Norton ransomware is still running on their PC and consuming resources, despite my turning it off.)
When I started putting together a CD of useful downloads for my computer repair trip, it occured to me that I may need it for other PCs. So as I was downloading, I kept a text file of "system requirements" for each program, and this makes a handy list that I can include in the blog.
1. I can't vouch for all of these utilities. If you see a hyperlink below, it means that I downloaded the software directly from the vendor's web site, and I have some reason to trust it (e.g., I've used it myself, or it comes well recommended). But that process only half-filled the CD, and left me without some important functions. So for the rest I went to download.com and put in search terms "Windows 95" and "free". I have no reason to believe that download.com hosts any malware, but I don't know how careful their screening is, so do be cautious. If there's no hyperlink below, the software either came from download.com, or from a link at firewallguide.com or freebyte.com.
2. Although none of the software here is "crippleware" -- it's all fully functional -- not all of it is freeware or shareware. Some of these are trial versions, or for personal use only; some (e.g. Comodo) even require registration. I burned these to CD knowing that, in most cases, I was going to take them to my folks' place and use them just once. I didn't find any of the restrictions onerous, so please respect them.
Let me add: if you find any of this software useful on a continuing basis, please support the creators. After my experience with Norton, it's reassuring to me that there are still vendors who offer fully-functional "trial" or "personal" versions. And I know that open-source teams need all the support they can get. You receive a lot of value from these utilities, so please consider buying the commercial products or donating to the open-source projects.*
- Reader 7: Windows 2000/XP/2003/NT, Pentium, 90 MB HD, 128 MB RAM
- Reader 6: Windows 98SE or higher, Pentium, 60 MB HD, 32 MB RAM
- Reader 5: Windows 95 OSR 2/98SE or higher, Pentium, 24 MB HD, 64 MB RAM
- Reader 4: Windows 95 or higher, 486, 10 MB HD, 8 MB RAM
- Reader 3: Windows 3.1
(Note that Thunderbird and later versions of Opera contain spam filters, too.)
- Comodo: Windows 2000/XP, Pentium 100 MHz, 21 MB HD, 32 MB RAM, Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher, free registration.
- K9: Windows ?
- Lockspam: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, Pentium, 10 MB HD, 64 MB RAM.
- Mailwasher Free: Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP
- Popfile: Windows ?, 10 MB HD, 1 MB additional RAM, POP3 email.
- Secretmaker: Windows 98/ME/2000
- Ad-Aware: Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP, Pentium 166 MHz, 24 MB RAM, Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher.
- Spybot-S&D 1.4: Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003.
- Spybot-S&D 1.3: Windows 95 and up; some updates needed for Win95.
- a-squared: Windows 98/ME/NT4/2000/XP/2003, internet connection
- ewido: Windows 2000/XP
- AntiVir: Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP, 130 MB HD, 20 MB RAM.
- Avast: Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP, 486, 50 MB HD, 32 MB RAM. For 2000/XP, Pentium, 64 MB RAM.
- AVG Free: Windows 95/98/ME/NT4/2000/XP, 486, 15 MB HD, 32 MB RAM.
- BitDefender 8: Windows 98/NT/ME/2000/XP, Pentium 200 MHz, 40 MB HD, 64 MB RAM.
- ClamWin: Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/2003
(I despise Internet Explorer, but some of the other software here requires it.)
- Firefox: Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003, Pentium 233 MHz, 52 MB HD, 64 MB RAM.
- Mozilla: Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP, Pentium 233 MHz, 52 MB HD, 64 MB RAM.
- Opera 8: Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP
- Opera 7: Windows 95 or higher, 9 MB HD, 16 MB RAM. With Java: Pentium 166 MHz, 65 MB HD, 32 MB RAM.
- Opera 6: Windows 95 or higher
- Opera 3: Windows 3.1
- SeaMonkey: Windows 95*/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003, Pentium, 100 MB HD, 64 MB RAM. *requires DCOM for Windows 95
- Internet Explorer 4:
- Internet Explorer 5.01:
- Internet Explorer 5.5 Installer:
EMAIL(Also, Mozilla and later versions of Opera include email clients.)
- Outpost: Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP, Pentium 200 MHz, 10MB HD, 32MB RAM.
- R-Firewall: Windows 98/2000/XP/2003.
- Zone Alarm: Windows 98SE/ME/2000Pro/XP, P3 450MHz, 50MB HD, RAM 48MB (98SE/ME), 64MB (2000 Pro), 128MB (XP).
- 7zip: Windows 95?/98/ME/NT/2000/XP
- Winzip 10: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
- Winzip 8: Windows 95/98/2000/NT
- Winzip 6: Windows 3.1
- Gimp: Windows 98/ME/NT4/2000/XP, 128 MB RAM. 98/ME/NT4 requires GTK+ 2.6.10; 2000/XP requires GTK+ 2.8.9
(These are all from download.com, and I haven't tried any of them.)
- Notepad++: Windows 95 or better
- Free RAM Optimizer: Windows 95 or better
- FreeRAM XP: Windows 95 or better
- FreshDiagnose: Windows 95 or better
- FreshUI: Windows 95 or better
- RAMBooster: Windows 95 or better
- RamDef: Windows 95 or better
- RegClean: Windows 95/98/NT
- Smart PC Pro Demo: Windows 95 or better
(Before you ask, the popular ws_ftp program is now time-limited to 30 days, so I didn't include it.)
- FileZilla: Windows 95 or better
- Seagull: Windows 95 or better
- SmartFTP: Windows 98 or better
* Over the years, on this list, I've bought Opera, Eudora, and Acrobat (for Windows), and donated to Mozilla.