Free Software Alternatives for Windows. No Strings Attached!
Forget the cash!
Owning a computer has never before been so crucial as it has become today. With more and more schools requiring internet research as part of their curriculum, it makes it quite difficult to function without one.
Purchasing a computer isn't necessarily the expensive part. You can pick one up these days for roughly $350. What turns into the dollar sign nightmare, is the pricetag on the software that you need to run it. Even though these computers come pre-loaded with all sorts of software, most of them besides the operating system are just trials. Take Microsoft Office for example. A standard home version of Office 2010 Home and Student is roughly $119. The professional edition is much more. Most antivirus software packages require a yearly subscription. Depending on what other software you need to run, you could be looking at some serious dough!
I am one of the cheapest people out there. I am on the eternal search for 'Great' freebies. But on the other had, I'm also picky. Not usually two terms that go hand in hand. However, I have searched high and low to find an attractive and TRUELY FREE software bundle for the home user that you will NEVER have to pay for.
One essential set of applications that almost everyone needs is an office suite. Programs like word processors, spreadsheets, powerpoint etc... I have found that OpenOffice.org is the perfect solution to the costly Microsoft Office applications. They are 100% Microsoft Office compatible and offer a similair 'feel' in their functionality. It includes a nice word processor that is very intuitive in design and it's features are excellent! Also included is a spreadsheet program that has all of the functionality of Microsoft Excel. If you are looking for a solution for doing slide shows like Microsoft Powerpoint, that is included as well. In addition to that, this free solution also includes a database application much like Microsoft Access, which is not included in the Home and Student edition of Office 2010, and the Draw applictaion, which lets you create graphics to insert into other applications. The Math application lets you create mathmatical equations, most commonly used as as an equation editor for documents, but can also be used with other types of documents or stand-alone. OpenOffice also offers online clipart and templates much like Microsoft office. All for FREE!!!
You can get it at: http://www.openoffice.org
Antivirus and Anti-Spyware
Everyone needs good antivirus solution. But does a good antivirus have to cost you? The answer simply is NO. A typical license for Mcafee Virusscan is $39.99. You also have a yearly subscription charge to continue to be covered. Again, being the cheap person that I am, I opted to search for a free solution. One of the best antivirus solutions that I have found is AVG Free. This isn't just some watered down piece of software that gives you minimal protection. It is a full featured antivirus with real-time spyware and malware protection. Another reason that I really prefer this piece of software is that it also includes what they call an Active Surf Shield. This Surf Shield scans sites that are found using your favorite search engine and lets you know before you even click on them, whether it is safe to proceed or not. This is an EXCELLENT feature! I have found this software to be top notch, even when put up next to all of the BIG names in the industry.
You can get it at: http://free.avg.com
Another free solution, is Microsoft Security Essentials. This Antivirus blends well with the Windows operating system since it does afterall come from Microsoft and is great for the purpose for which it is provided. I installed this on a few of my computers to check it out and it is rock solid as well. The updates are rolled up with the WIndows updates process and the software provides and easy to use user interface as well.
Spyware and Malware Scanner
Ok, so now and then, everyone is guilty of picking up a little bug on the internet that they didn't know about. It happens to the best of us. Luckily, there are applications for this type of situation. My top pick for a free solution to this problem, is MalwareBytes Anti-Spyware. I have used this application in many situations and have found it to be EXTREMELY effective at removing many types of spyware and malware. The most recent infections that I have used this for were 'Antivirus 2009' and the 'Vundo' virus. After cleaning with this software, I no longer had any symptoms of infection.
You can get it at: http://www.malwarebytes.org
Most new PC's come with some type of CD/DVD Burning software included. Now this software is fully licensed and you don't have to pay anything for it. However, if you need updates later, you will have to pay. I looked into a few solutions for this and have found one that really stands out in the crowd. CD Burner XP is a full featured burning software and even has ISO support for burning CD or DVD images to disc. It supports music and data CD's and DVD's. It also has a very nice intuative interface which is very easy to understand. The best part is that there is never a charge, even to upgrade to the newest version.
You can get it at: http://cdburnerxp.se
Digital imaging has become one of the top photography choices for the average household. A digital camera is inexpensive in comparison to most 35mm cameras on the market today. Also, you never need to buy film. With this type of standard rising, the need to edit and organize digital photos has become a must.
One such piece of software is Google Picasa. Once again, a totally free application; this piece of software boasts some of the same great functionality that it's BIG competitors offer. On top of that, Picassa also offers an online photo album that you can share with your friends!
You can get it at: http://picasa.google.com
Another option that I have grown to like more and more each time I use it is calle GIMP, which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. This software is no watered down image enhancer, but a full featured photo editing and graphics program. There are a wide variety of tools and filters that may be applied to your work, multiple layers etc...
If you are doing more than just a simple retouch, then this is for you.
Download GIMP at: http://www.gimp.org
A Great Bundle Price!
All of this software combined will give you a great bundle totally FREE for your PC. Not only is the software free, but it is high in standards as well. I have loaded this on many computers that I have built for people and even use most of it on my home computer as well. Save yourself some cash and get some of these great titles!!!
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