GENERAL: Most Useful and Free Software

With the amount of software out there, paid for and free, its a minefield to find out which software is actually good and worth having.  In addtion, many people have their personal favorites and other websites recommend based on their comission levels!

This article contains a list of the core free software with links to my articles as appropriate, and is aimed at basic users.  The software mentioned here is perfect for users with basic needs and is a very good starting point for you.  This is the software I tend to install on my parents computer to get them going….

Here is the list.  The “name” is linked directly to the suppliers site.

(You may also wish to see THIS ARTICLE which gives you a very quick way of installing multiple applications)

  1. Microsoft Security Essentials.  One of the least imposing and simple anti virus programs from Microsoft.  Install and forget!  Main article here
  2. KeePass.   Keepass is a simple program/database which is a SECURE place to store your numerous usernames and passwords around.  You just need one very complex password to gain access to all your other passwords.  Much safer than writing them down or keeping them the same!
  3. Picasa  Picasa is a free photo management program from Google.  It allows simple and effective storage, viewing, and simple modifying like straighten, crop and red-eye removal.  There are oodles of advanced features too and a simple method to allow the photos to be uploaded to the Intenet free to share
  4. Skype is a secure way to make phone and video calls by using your computer or mobile device, and for a small charge you can use their SkypeOut service allowing you to make calls from your laptop to normal phones at a low cost.  This is ideal if you travel a lot.
  5. 7-Zip is a file compression tool which is similar to WinZip but is free.  It allows you to manage a multitude of compressed files with ease
  6. VLC Media Player is a fully functional and simple player to play pretty much all types of media, videos and music, and support the vast majority of internet downloaded movies (XVID, DIVX etc).  It does NOT require any Codecs – it just works 🙂  WARNING: Beware of other players or CODEC downloads as these are notorious for being viruses/trojans!  If VLC doens’t play it – its likely to iffy….

If you have any other simple but great software which is suitable for the majority then please let us know!