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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.

Two caveats:

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.*



(Note that Thunderbird and later versions of Opera contain spam filters, too.)





(I despise Internet Explorer, but some of the other software here requires it.)


(Also, Mozilla and later versions of Opera include email clients.)








(These are all from download.com, and I haven't tried any of them.)


(Before you ask, the popular ws_ftp program is now time-limited to 30 days, so I didn't include it.)


* Over the years, on this list, I've bought Opera, Eudora, and Acrobat (for Windows), and donated to Mozilla.

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