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Software Programs to Get You Started on You New PC

Updated on October 21, 2013
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The Excitement of Owning a New PC

Acquiring a new computer can be very exciting, especially if it is your first purchase. What comes next is usually the tricky part. After installing Windows or any preferable OS, getting software that is relevant to your needs can be tedious.

This article will hopefully enlighten you on what software options will be of benefit to you. One thing you can say about the web is that there is no lack of variety when it comes to software. Still, there are ones that stand out in terms of their efficiency in function, ease in installing and most importantly, are cheap to acquire.

Relevant terms defined

  1. Software - Simply, a bunch of computer instructions that come in the form of a computer program. Software comes in two forms: system software is the basic requirement for any computer to work (an OS like Windows 8) while application software gives you functions beyond your basic computer operations.
  2. Program - Basically, an order of instructions that direct the functions of your PC. A software is basically made up of a collection of computer programs.
  3. Operating system (OS) - A basic requirement for any working PC that manages your application software. Provides for a platform for your other programs to function.
  4. Freeware - The free version of a software (for example, Virtual DJ and TeraCopy) with no given time limit. It may have only its basic functions available but with a fully functional version commercially on sale.
  5. Free software - Software that is free and fully functional. A good example being Mozilla web browser.
  6. Shareware - Demo or trial version of a commercial software program that has limited functionality. You are given a limited time period to try it before you can purchase the complete package. Internet Download Manager and Microsoft Office are just a few of the well known programs around.

Some basic software you may need

These dozen or so choices may be what you need to get you started with your new PC:

1. Adobe Reader

Most PC reading material comes in PDF (Portable Document Format); whether its books, diagram, documents or just information manuals. Thus, if you download your favorite novel or a work manual, chances are it will be in PDF format. Adobe Reader is the most reliable PDF reader around which should not be a surprise because Adobe Acrobat actually creates these same PDF documents. This program is free to download and easy to install.

2. Adobe Flash Player

This software becomes relevant when one visits sites with streaming media. Sites like YouTube will request a flash player if you have none installed on your web browser. Most will recommend Adobe Flash Player and provide you a link to the Adobe website.

3. Microsoft Office

This is essentially an all-in-one buffet of applications. Whether you want to write or view word documents with Word, publish pamphlets and business cards with Publisher or work on a spreadsheet with Excel. Honestly, you might not need all these applications but never ignore Microsoft Office Word because not every document you download will come in PDF format. On the expensive side but worth the money.

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4. VLC Player

After installing Windows and you start downloading web videos, then you will come to realize just how Windows Media Player is limited in the video formats it can play. In, comes one of the most reliable video player on the web. VLC plays most of the video formats out there, including DVD files. If VLC can’t play it then it probably is fake or damaged.

The most common video formats supported are:

  • MKV
  • AVI
  • MP4
  • WMV
  • MPG
  • MOV
  • VOB
  • FLV

While the most common audio files include:

  • MP3
  • WMA
  • WAV
  • M4A
  • FLAC

Comes as a free software.


5. TeraCopy

A good software program to have if you are into heavy file transfer. Benefits include:

  • Provides a safe and fast way of copying single or multiple files on your PC.
  • Gives you the option of pausing and resuming file transfer while you can perform other tasks.
  • Can replace Windows Explorer as the primary file transfer function.

The software is available for free only as a non-commercial tool, but a commercial version with extra functions can be acquired.

6. Internet Download Manager

Whenever you load a site with streaming media (and the site allows you to download its content because some like Yahoo Music don’t), the best software to have is IDM. Probably the most reliable direct download program around. Whether you are downloading documents, other programs, videos, compressed files or audio files, IDM can automatically pick up the download. This is considered shareware as you are given a one month free trial and then required to buy it. Another software worth its weight in gold.

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7. Mozilla Firefox

Windows does provide you with Internet Explorer, but its safer to have more than one option just in case the other one decides to crash. A web browser choice is all about preference. There are other viable options available including:

  • Google Chrome
  • Opera Mini
  • Safari
  • Internet Explorer


Which is the best web browser out there?

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8. WinRAR

The best option for extracting compressed files. A key program that you should have as many people like to upload compressed files (RAR and ZIP formats mostly) in order to save time and space. You don’t have to download a file and be left frustrated when you can’t open it.

9. Nero Multimedia Suite

A software with multiple features with the key functions being the ability to:

  • burn
  • edit
  • convert
  • play your media files

Whether you want create a MP3 playlist, burn a DVD folder or back up your files, Nero is the application for you. Another one that requires you to part with your money so as to get its full benefits.

11. ConvertXtoDVD

Wonder how those DVD CDs you get from the video store are made? This software converts most video files into DVD.

  • Converts formats such as AVI, DivX, MP4, Mpeg, Mov, MKV and WMV into quality home videos that you can watch on your player.
  • Very easy to use.
  • It allows you to customize the menu with audio, video and picture files of your choosing.
  • It also gives you the option of burning your converted project on to a DVD disc.

You can get a trial version but with limited functionality.

10. FormatFactory

A free and easy-to-install file converter that is both fast and reliable. This program is truly essential because the hardest programs to find on the web are reliable file converters. It converts audio, picture and video files from and into the most common formats around. Another benefit of this software is its ability to convert DVD files back to video files and Music CD back to the basic audio files. A good thing that it’s free.

12. DivX Player

Another web player specifically for AVI and MKV oriented sites on the web. Most of these sites will request the installation of a DivX software before you can view videos there.

13. PDFlite

A free software that enables one to view PDF, MOBI and EPUB documents on a PC. Able to convert Word documents, JPG and Images files into PDF.

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The Antivirus Conundrum

An effective antivirus is one software program that shouldn't be missing on your PC. Windows has built-in security in the form of Window Defender, but that is not enough protection; especially for a serial web-surfer. Some of the most common choices include:

  • Norton
  • Kaspersky
  • Bitdefender
  • Avira
  • Avast
  • AVG
  • Panda

The best option is to have one this antivirus as a permanent fixture but with the occasional free online scan just to be careful.

Conclusion

These are just some of the essential programs you may need at the start. There are definitely more programs out there but don’t slow down you PC with too many installations, some of which may not be essential.

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