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Bob's Software Favorites

Microsoft continues to leave important tools out of its operating systems, or provides less than stellar ones. I use all these tools, in some cases for many, many years, and they're usually the first programs that get installed on a new computer. So you get the latest versions, I have linked most programs to the product's web site home page. Many of these programs are free, or shareware. Just click the disk!
The first Must-Have item on my list is a Zip program. WinZip is the standard, and still one of the easiest to use. But I'm partial to WinRAR there days. It's got some nifty features expanding WinZip's capabilites.
If you're online, you need virus protection. Norton AntiVirus is one of the best, and still my favorite. Not to say that others aren't great as well. Some retailers and service providers are now including free anti-virus programs.
If you're online, you also need a firewall to protect you. ZoneAlarm Pro is one of the best. Only programs YOU allow have access to the internet and stop others from getting in. Windows XP SP2 installs it's own, whuch interferes with ZoneAlarm. Free for personal use.
If you're online, you can protect your computer from "Adware" programs with SpyBot Search & Destroy. This gets ready of a lot of pop-up ads and other sneaky programs lurking in your computer, slowing it down and/or stealing information. Works well with ZoneAlarm.
If you've got a Zip, CD-RW, or other removable drive, and backup software was not provided, Second Copy provides an effortless way to back up your important data files.
Way better than Windows Backup.
Paint Shop Pro is an easy to use and powerful graphic editing program. Doesn't have ALL the bells and whistles like the big guys, but doesn't cost big bucks either.
And to organize those graphics, my top recommendation goes to ThumbsPlus. A great graphic organizer and manipulator. Creates thumbnails and does slide shows.
Did you ever delete a file? And emptied the Recycle Bin too? Sure you did. We've all done it. Emergency Undelete is a very easy-to-use recovery program that will restore files you thought were gone forever. 462K
A screen saver with purpose, Seti@Home installs as a screen saver which analyzes SETI signals gathered at Arecibo when you're not using your computer. I've provided over 23,000 hours of time so far. (Haven't found anything yet. Still trying!) Think the movie "Contact". 773k
Want an idea of where all that space on your hard disk went? Well, you can right-click of every directory, then on properties, but TreeSize Pro knows and tells all, in text or charts.
Check for duplicate files in your computer. Dupeless finds them, even if they have different names, different locations, or different disk drives. You'll be amazed at what you find.
Tired or retyping your name, address, email account? If you use Internet Explorer (and you probably do), get the Google Toolbar. It will let you assign strings of characters to web site logins and forms. Plus you get a Google search box in your menu. A real time and typing saver! Netscape and other modern browsers have most of these options already built-in.
If you are using Internet Explorer, consider FireFox. It is smaller, faster, with plenty of new features, more in compliance with Internet standards, and doesn't have all the built-in problems and other security breaches that IE has been suffering though.

  "If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science. It is opinion."  
					Robert A. Heinlein  

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Last updated on January 3, 2010
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