View Full Version : Ed's "MUST HAVE SOFTWARE" List v2.0

July 10th, 2010, 7:30 PM
(Created 10 July 2010)

Several years ago, I created a long list of great software for Windows-based PCs that helped enhance usability and security. It's been 5 years since my last update, so I'm starting over. Some of the programs back then are still great today. Others have definitely outlived their usefulness. So here goes.


Mozilla Firefox (http://www.firefox.com) - The best browser out there right now, in my opinion. Very fast, secure, and offers many ways of customizing the browser through themes, addons, etc.

Google Chrome (http://www.google.com/chrome) - This is Google's entry into the browser market, based on the original Mozilla project (just like Firefox) except it touts even more speed and some extra integration with Google itself. It even has automatic bookmark backups if you have a Google account. It's still fairly new, so to me it doesn't feel as polished as Firefox, but it's definitely a great browser as well.


Norton Internet Security 2010 (http://www.symantec.com/norton/internet-security) - ($69.99 MSRP) Over the past few years, Norton products have kinda sucked and had really gotten bloated. Fortunately, that has changed with their '09 and '10 versions, which has really had a focus on performance. NIS 2010 offers full antivirus, spyware, phishing, firewall, and more. If you want a little less stuff, then Norton Antivirus 2010 (http://www.symantec.com/norton/antivirus) ($39.99 MSRP) would save you a few bucks.

There are a few free antivirus solutions out there, but to be honest, I don't have much experience with them. Four of them come to mind, but the bottom line is that SOME kind of antivirus program is a MUST when it comes to running Windows.

Free antivirus solutions:
AVG Free (http://free.avg.com/)
avast! Free (http://www.avast.com/free-antivirus-download)
Avira (http://www.free-av.com/)
Clamwin (http://www.clamwin.com/)

SUPERAntiSpyware (http://www.superantispyware.com/) - This is a more heavy-duty antispyware/malware program.

MalwareBytes (http://www.malwarebytes.org/) - Another heavy-duty antispyware/malware program.


OpenOffice.org (http://www.openoffice.org) - Complete office solution (word processing, spreadsheet, presentations, etc) and compatible with Microsoft Office files.

CD Burner XP (http://cdburnerxp.se/) - Windows has had some CD/DVD burning capability for a while, but it's limited and very slow. This will burn at your hardware's max speed and can do gapless audio discs, burn/create ISO images, create bootable discs, and more.

VLC Media Player (http://www.videolan.org/vlc/) - Good alternative to Windows Media Player and will play most formats, even high-def MKV files at full 1080p.


Pidgin (http://www.pidgin.im) - (Formerly known as Gaim) This is an all-protocol chat program that offers most features available on any chat service you can think of. Also features good addons, encryption, and more.


7-zip (http://www.7-zip.org/) - Opens just about any type of compressed file, and even handles its own native .7z compression, which works better than the usual .zip or .tar.gz files.

CCleaner (http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner) - Great Windows deep-cleaning software. It finds and deletes old log files, temp files, cookies, and other useless stuff. Also can fix registry errors and allow you to edit startup programs.

PC Decrapifier (http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/) - Just buy a new PC and it's preloaded with a ton of useless garbage from the factory? This will take care of most of that. It will uninstall most commonly annoying programs that PC manufacturers love to install for some reason.

July 10th, 2010, 7:59 PM
You're still alive? How bout that.

In terms of free anti-virus software I'd highly recommend Spybot Search & Destroy.

July 10th, 2010, 9:17 PM
I :heart: Google Chrome

July 10th, 2010, 9:38 PM
In terms of free anti-virus software I'd highly recommend Spybot Search & Destroy.

That and instead of 7zip, Winrar. Cause who the fuck uses 7zip? And I'm not sure how much it costs as I don't pay for it but ESET NOD32 is a great Anti-virus.

July 10th, 2010, 9:40 PM
for you music fans. i found this little music downloading program called napster. like i can download whatever music i want and make a special mix cd which you could then record to cassette tape.

July 11th, 2010, 12:29 AM

July 11th, 2010, 1:13 AM
for you music fans. i found this little music downloading program called napster. like i can download whatever music i want and make a special mix cd which you could then record to cassette tape.

I thank you for this great tip, but I have encountered a really recent and seemingly brand new problem with it.

I downloaded "Fade To Black" yesterday, and then when I logged back on to Napster, I was told that I was "banned by Metallica". I then registered a secondary screen name to download "Let Me Ride", logged on later, and was told that I was "banned by Dr. Dre".

Do you know any way around this, Matthew? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

July 11th, 2010, 7:49 AM
HijackThis and Killbox are handy to have in your toolbox if you have the skills to use them properly.
They should only be used in conjunction with the malware etc programs Ed suggested and only by experienced users. They can mess up a system fast.

July 13th, 2010, 10:37 AM
Spybot S&D isn't a bad program, but in the past few years, I've had better luck with Malwarebytes and SUPERAntiSpyware.

HijackThis and Killbox are also great programs, but hopefully not necessary on a regular basis, which is why I didn't put them on the list.

Simmo Fortyone
April 20th, 2011, 9:05 AM
I've been using AVG for years but it's really been giving me the shits lately. Any of those free ones light on system resources?

June 22nd, 2011, 8:53 AM
I'd like to echo Simmo's unanswered question above - AVG Free is making my netbook start up times completely unacceptable. Are there any good anti viruses designed specifically to be light on resources?

*Edit* - Just googled and found an article recommending Avast or Microsoft Security Essentials as free alternatives. Anyone have any experience with these?

June 22nd, 2011, 9:09 AM
I use security essentials at work, and its pretty much a breeze. Light, unobtrusive, and it doesn't bog down other programs while its scanning.

June 22nd, 2011, 9:32 AM
Thanks Cewsh I'll give it a try tonight when I get home. AVG has been a complete nightmare recently.

June 22nd, 2011, 10:04 AM
I found Security Essentials to be far too slow on a netbook, though that was version 1, version 2.0 is out now and may have improved that. I use Avast with no difficulties at all, and my netbook is pretty weak, just a 900MHz processor and 1GB of RAM.

June 22nd, 2011, 12:11 PM
Yeah, I have a desktop of decent processing speed. Bear that in mind if you have a laptop.

Simmo Fortyone
June 26th, 2011, 6:40 AM
I've been using Clamwin and it's been going alright.

:edit: I use a netbook and it doesn't get noticed, not even when it's updating

June 26th, 2011, 12:21 PM
ClamWin is nice and light but it does not offer real-time protection. You need to scan manually to catch viruses that you might have introduced since the last scan.

July 11th, 2015, 1:42 AM
Windows 95. must have it. If you want it call me.

Yell out the window of your car and if the Karma is right I'll send you a copy.