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Recommendations


BROWSER Firefox
Chrome
Vivaldi
Opera 12.18 was quite possible the best designed browser ever. From it's site-specific customizability to its ease of use, it's unmatched. Unfortunately, later versions have gone a different route (with understandable but unfortunate reasons). Chrome is both good and popular but I find it to be too much work out-of-the-box to customize. Vivaldi is designed to replace Opera nad may well do so. Time will tell. The less said about IE and Edge, the better. I don't like how the bookmark menu scrolls and scrolls and how they are imitating Chrome with a six week release cycle which is just plain silly.
STAND-ALONE E-MAIL Thunderbird Thunderbird is fully featured, free, and constantly updated. Outlook costs money and Outlook Express (now Windows Mail/Windows Live Mail) is finally catching up to Thunderbird in features and security. Need a calendar? Add Lightning to Thunderbird.
FIREWALL --- Zone Alarm was the software of choice in the XP era. Windows seems to do a better job now than it did.
OFFICE PRODUCTIVITY LibreOffice I still primarily use Office '97/2000 so I recommend this one based more on its reputation and price(free) than the short amount of time I've used it.
MEDIA PLAYER-AUDIO Winamp CDs, streaming radio, and more. Still excellent though no longer actively developed.
MEDIA PLAYER-VIDEO BSPlayer
VLC Media Player
I'm using version 1.37 - the last ad-free version. I've used VLC a few times because it handles embedded subtitles fairly well and I watch DVDs with it but I prefer the one-click-pause and preferences accessability of BSP for other media files. VLC is definitely my choice on Linux.
TEXT EDITOR EditPad
Notepad++
I use the "Classic" version (3.4). The "Lite" version (6.6) is available on their website.
SPYWARE DETECTOR Spybot Search & Destroy A "Must Have" piece of software.
MALWARE DETECTOR Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
SuperAntiSpyware
My new best friend.
ADWARE DETECTOR AdAware I'm not sure it's as good as it used to be and I don't know if anybody really uses it anymore but I still recommend it.
ANTI VIRUS avast!
Avira
AVG
The best AV tends to change year to year but these three are consistantly the best free offerings. I haven't used anti-virus software in about 16 years. Haven't needed it. I've also come to the conclusion that the best way to SUCK THE LIFE OUT of a computer is to install Norton/Symantic/McAfee security suites.
REGISTRY CLEANER CCleaner
Comodo Registry Cleaner
Registry cleaners aren't recommended in general but these two have a good reputation.
CHAT --- Everybody uses Facebook and Twitter now. Pidgin (formerly Gaim) handled all five major chat protocols (AIM, MSN, ICQ, IRC, and Yahoo) in one program. No need to run one program for AIM and another to talk on Yahoo and runs on Linux.
AUDIO EDITOR Audacity
IMAGE/PHOTO EDITOR GIMP The GNU Image Manipulation Program. An open-source alternative to Photoshop.
PHOTO VIEWER/EDITOR XnView
FTP FileZilla
O/S UTILITIES: TweakUI (XP)
ProcessExplorer
StartUpRun
OPERATING SYSTEM Windows 7
Linux
I still have a fondness for XP and my older laptops (and this very webserver) run it. While Windows 10 is not the train wreck that Win8 was, I think it's any ugly piece of software that still has too many design issues and I have no plans to move to it. Microsoft doesn't support anything before Win7 at this point but on older hardware XP might be the best choice. If you don't need to run Windows programs at all (e.g. Quicken/Quickbooks) then try some flavor of Linux such as Linux Mint. XP runs tolerably well on a nine year old K6-500 with 256~384MB of RAM and Mint looks and runs great on older hardware.

All of the above programs are free and, in most cases, have a version that runs on Linux. I believe that the future of computing may well be Linux as it becomes easier and easier to install and use.


Click on the Technical link to find some tips for secure surfing.