This is J Kolson (Zetacon) submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:
There is a lot of free software available for your Windows PC. However, it can sometimes be difficult to filter out the good software from the bad. In this article, I have provided a list of top five free programs that you just can’t do without that hit a lot of key areas:
- OpenOffice – If you’re looking for a free, open-source alternative to Microsoft Office, then this software package is for you. While similar to Microsoft’s Office software suite, OpenOffice provides just as much pizazz and a little more. If you’re switching over to OpenOffice from another office suite software, your files should be read with no problems. OpenOffice is available in many languages and is completely free of charge for a variety of uses, business or home.
- HijackThis – Whether you are proficient in the use of your Windows PC or not, this is an excellent program to have installed in case of an emergency. Hijack This scans several areas of your system and returns a log file of what it has scanned. The log file is recommended to be read by advanced users, so if you don’t know exactly what you are looking at, be sure to post it on a support forum for assistance.
- Logon Studio – This piece of software from Stardock allows you to customize your login screens on Windows XP and Vista. You can download a variety of themes from WinCustomize , use the few default themes provided with the program, or use the built-in editor to create your own. A simple program, but gives a face lift to the logon screens for XP and Vista.
- RamBooster – The name of the software says it all: Ram Booster. RamBooster allows you to optimize your RAM to allow your PC to run smoother and faster, resulting in you restarting your system less. The options allow you to set how much RAM you want to optimize and how often to optimize it. You can also manually optimize it by opening the program and clicking “Optimize”. The built-in CPU meter also monitors your CPU usage. The only downside to this program is that it has to be started manually each time your PC boots.
- TeamViewer – Good remote assistance programs are hard to come by, especially the free ones. TeamViewer is a nice exception, though. This remote assistance program allows two computers to connect to each other over a secure connection, utilizing a randomly generated numerical username and password. You can use a few different options before connecting: the Remote Support to take control of another PC, Presentation to show others how something works, File Transfer to send programs and other files to another person’s PC, and VPN to enable a Virtual Private Network.
There you have it, my Top Five list of Essential Windows programs. If you have recommendations for software you would like to submit, locate me in Chris’ IRC chat room or find me on Geeks!