- "A free removal tool for: Adware, PUPs (Potentially Undesirable Programs), browser toolbars, homepage hijackers." Must be downloaded for each new version (no internal updates), and must be run manually - no real-time protection and there is no paid version. Still, what it does, it does well. Some care must be taken in finding the real mccoy - Scammers Are Using a Fake Version of AdwCleaner to Trick People. Be sure to download it from the https://toolslib.net/ web site. Here is the AdwCleaner documentation. Highly recommended. Recently acquired by Malwarebytes.
- Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
- "Can detect and remove malware that even the most well known anti-virus and anti-malware applications fail to detect." Free and highly recommended - Install (and keep uo-to-date) even if you have other good anti-virus protection. It is especially good at finding/destroying malware that other programs cannot - run in safe mode if you think you may have an infection.
- Avast Free Edition
- "A reliable free antivirus solution, that constantly and rapidly scans your computer for malicious programs such as viruses, Trojans, backdoor programs, hoaxes, worms, dialers etc." Avast recently bought AVG antivirus (an equally good according to PCMag.com) and the products will be merging the products next year.
- Teamviewer Remote Desktop for Windows
- Access your computer from another Windows, Linux, or mobile device (Android or iOS)! FREE with no ads!
Teamviewer gives you remote access support with full audio and video.
Teamviewer is significantly better than Splashtop (faster, more options, including the abiltiy to control your computer over the Internet for free!)
A truly outstanding application. Highly recommended! Available for FREE as an app for Ipad (in Apple App Store) or Android (in Google Play Store).
- GWX Control Panel
- "The easiest way for users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to protect their computers from Windows 10. With GWX Control Panel you can: Remove the "Get Windows 10" icon that appears in your notification area, prevent your Windows Update control panel from upgrading your computer to Windows 10, prevent your computer from secretly downloading Windows 10 installation files, detect and remove the hidden Windows 10 installation files if they're already on your PC." I recommend using the standalone executable. You should read over the documentation before using. Here are 10 reasons you shouldn't upgrade to Windows 10.
- From the same people who make the great AdwCleaner. "This tool will fix Windows Update when Windows Update isn't working or fails at installing updates, etc. Extremely fast and easy to use. Works with Windows XP and later.
- Excellent! Free and highly recommended. Site/software for saving data online. "Any file you save to Dropbox also instantly saves to your computers, phones, and the Dropbox website. Features:
- 2 GB of online Dropbox storage for free, with subscriptions up to 100GB available.
- Your files are always available from the secure Dropbox website.
- Dropbox works with Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.
- Works even when offline. You always have your files, whether or not you have a connection.
- Dropbox transfers just the parts of a file that change (not the whole thing).
- Manually set bandwidth limits -- Dropbox won't hog your connection.
- Shared folders allow people to work together on the same projects and documents.
- Invite friends, family or teammates to a folder. It'll be as if you saved the folder to their computers.
- See other people's changes instantly.
- Create photo galleries viewable by anyone you choose.
- Send a link to any file in your Dropbox using your Public folder."
- Here is an article describing how to Back Up Your My Documents Folder Using DropBox
- MS's OneDrive
- MS's rebranded, redesigned, and expanded (7GB) free cloud service - hopes to compete with Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. Right now it has a long way to go to match the online editing features of Google Drive, the automated backup features of Dropbox, or the robust cross-platform file management features of Box.
- Google Drive
- Google Drive replaces Google Docs & Spreadsheets. As before, you can:
- Use our online editor to format documents, spell-check and more.
- Upload Word documents, OpenOffice, RTF, HTML or text.
- Download documents to your desktop as Word, PDF and more.
- View your documents' revision history and roll back to any version.
Plus, since its online, you can:
- Invite others to share your documents by e-mail address.
- Edit documents online with whomever you choose.
- Publish documents online to the world, or to just who you choose.
- You can now also upload video and images.
- Glary Utilities
- "Offers numerous powerful and easy-to-use system tools and utilities to fix, speed up, maintain and protect your PC. It allows you to clean common system junk files, as well as invalid registry entries and Internet traces. You can manage and delete browser add-ons, analyze disk space usage and find duplicate files. You can also view and manage installed shell extensions, encrypt your files from unauthorized access and use, split large files into smaller manageable files and then rejoin them. Furthermore, Glary Utilities includes the options to optimize memory, find, fix, or remove broken Windows shortcuts, manage the programs that start at Windows startup and uninstall software. Other features include secure file deletion, an Empty Folder finder and more." Free and highly recommended.
- VideoLAN 2.0
- A free cross-platform media player. Version 2.0 has many new features:
- "With faster decoding on multi-core, GPU, and mobile hardware and the ability to open more formats, notably professional, HD and 10bits codecs, 2.0 is a major upgrade for VLC.
- Has a new rendering pipeline for video, with higher quality subtitles, and new video filters to enhance your videos.
- It supports many new devices and BluRay Discs (experimental).
- Completely reworked Mac and Web interfaces and improvements in the other interfaces make VLC easier than ever to use." Free and highly recommended
- WPS Office Free 2016
- "WPS Office 2016 Free is a powerful office suite which includes a word processor, a spreadsheet program and a presentation maker. These three programs can help you easily deal with office tasks.
Writer - Efficient word processor with PDF Reader and PDF creator; Presentation - Multimedia presentations creator; Spreadsheets - Powerful tool for data processing and analysis
Although it is a free suite, WPS Office comes with many innovative features, such as the paragraph adjustment tool and multiple tabbed feature. It also has a PDF converter, PDF to word, spell check and word count feature."
- Panda Antivirus Free Edition
- See the 2016 PC Mag review.
- Kindle Cloud Reader
- "A web app that lets you read your Kindle books, instantly. Instant access to your Kindle library. Continue reading even when you lose your internet connection." Works in Firefox, Chrome, Safari.
- Amazon Cloud Drive
- "Amazon Cloud Drive is your hard drive in the cloud. Store your music, videos, photos, and documents on Amazon's secure servers. All you need is a web browser to upload, download, and access your files from any computer. 5 GB of free online storage." If you have an Amazon account you already have the reserved space just log on here. This is secure storage (encrypted using HPPS) and therefore somewhat like Google Drive and Windows Cloud, except no sharing possible. And of course you lack any online applications/editing facilities that are available with Windows Cloud and Google Drive.
- "Free image and photo editing software for computers that run Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. An active and growing online community provides friendly help, tutorials, and plugins." I now use it in preference to my old favorite Paint Shop Pro - great for simple tasks like cropping/resizing/optimizing - highly recommended.
- "OpenDNS is the leading provider of FREE security and infrastructure services that make the Internet safer through integrated Web content filtering, anti-phishing and DNS. OpenDNS services enable consumers and network administrators to secure their networks from online threats, reduce costs and enforce Internet-use policies. OpenDNS is used today by millions of users and organizations around the world." Not really software, at least from the user's side, but a way to protect your computer(s) from many Internet threats. Highly recommended. Takes only minutes to setup (a video tutorial) and gives you immense control (if you setup a free account) over potential security issues, e.g., monitors your network traffic for signs of the Conficker virus. All of this without installing ANY software on your computer(s)!
- "The easiest way to get [free] apps. 1. Pick your favorite [free] software. 2. Start your customized installer. 3. You're done!
Ninite installs software fast with default settings and says "no" to browser toolbars and other junk.
Ninite checks your PC's language and 64-bit support to install the latest, best version of each program.
Ninite runs on Windows XP/Vista/7 and works in the background unattended and 100% hands-free.
All Ninite does is automatically download and install the apps you select. Not even Ninite is installed."
- "Now you can carry [on your flash drive many useful] computer programs along with all of your bookmarks, settings, email and more. Use them on any Windows computer. All without leaving any personal data behind." Includes portable Firefox and Thunderbird, Open Office, and much more. Free and highly recommended.
- Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) at Home
- An outline of a presentation to the Computer Club of the Sandhills (June 12, 2017) at the Whispering Pines Town Hall, with links to articles, videos, and resources.
This guide contains some important tips for setting up a VPN service for a typical home, explaining how VPNs work. In this presentation I show how to take advantage of free VPN solutions available for the Chrome, FireFox, and Opera browsers. I will briefly discuss some more comprehensive (and more expensive) VPN implementations including using a dedicated VPN router and paid VPN service.
- Back-of-the-Envelope Computer Security
- An outline of a presentation to the Computer Club of the Sandhills (May 9, 2016) at the Whispering Pines Town Hall, with links to articles, videos, and resources.
Based on my experience this guide contains the most important security tips for the typical home computer/Internet user (especially items numbered 0 through 7). I have called this presentation "Back-of-the-Envelope Computer Security" because it makes no claim to provide advice or solutions for every possible computer/Internet security issue, which are legion. That said, this guide represents the most common threats and the defenses and remedies I have myself employed.
- Jim's Windows 10 Technical Preview Review
- A summary outline of my presentation to the Computer Club of the Sandhills on Oct. 13, 2014 at the Whispering Pines Town Hall, with links to Windows 10 articles, videos and resources.
Addendum May 5, 2016: I DO NOT RECOMMEND UPGRADING TO WINDOWS 10 computers currently running Windows 7 or 8.1 (these are the versions of Windows eligible for the free upgrade), UNLESS 1) your computer has least 4 gb of RAM and 2) is fairly new (no more than 2 years old) with a reasonably fast dual or quad core processor (2ghz or faster). The principal problem in my experience has been very poor performance of Win 10 on machines with less than these minimum specifications. Depending on your inclination to keep your computer beyond the end-of-support date for your version of Windows (1/14/2020 for Win 7), you can elect to add more RAM (8 gb or more) and upgrade before the expiration of the free update on July 29, 2016. With the steep decline in hardware prices in the last couple of years, I think it a better choice to simply buy a new computer with Windows 10 installed when necessary.
- Ben's Bargains Guides
- Guides and ad scans for finding the best deals on computers, electronics and many other things.
- Jim's Android Tablet Review
- A summary outline of my presentation to the Computer Club of the Sandhills on Jan. 13, 2014 at the Whispering Pines Town Hall, with links to Android tablet videos and resources.
Updated: Thursday January 16, 2014
- Jim's Windows 8 Review/Preview
- A summary outline of my presentation to the Seven Lakes Computer Club on Oct. 11, 2011 and links to Windows 8 articles, videos and resources.
Updated: October 30, 2012
- Jim's When, What, Where to Buy a New Computer Guide
- On October 8, 2012 gave a presentation on "When, What, Where to Buy a New Computer" to the Computer Club of the Sandhills, meeting at the Whispering Pines, NC town hall. Here are some notes and links used for that presentation.
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
- Jim's Top 10 Tips for Optimizing XP/Vista/Windows 7
- Some easy tricks to wring more performance out of XP/Vista/Windows 7.
- Jim's HP-Touchpad Review
- My evaluation of the HP-Touchpad and resources for same.
Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012
- Jim's Kindle 3 Ereader/Ebook Review
- My evaluation of the Kindle 3 ereader and sources of ebooks and ebook utilities.
Updated: Wednesday, June 5, 2013
- Jim's Browser Review
- My evaluation of the three major browser competitors (IE, Firefox, Chrome) to date (on the PC/Windows platform).
This review is rather out of date, since the original review considered the older versions of all these browsers.
- Excellent site for learning in many areas. "With a library of over 2,600 videos covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and 211 practice exercises, we're on a mission to help you learn what you want, when you want, at your own pace. "
- Princeton University: WebMedia - Lectures
- Many streaming videos of lectures by eminent intellectuals in many fields. Great stuff!
- Gifford Lectures Online
- "Presents a comprehensive collection of books derived from the Gifford Lectures [a tradition of more than a hundred years]. In addition to the books, the Web site contains a biography of each lecturer and a summary of the lecture or book." Wonderful if you care anything about the confluence of philosophy, science, and theology.
- MIT's OpenCourseWare
- "A free and open educational resource for faculty, students, and self-learners around the world." Incredible content!
- "Inspired talks by the world's greatest thinkers and doers" - great stuff!
- BBC - Languages
- "Learn Spanish, German, French and Italian and other languages with the BBC Languages site. From holiday phrases to a complete course."
- A Brief History Of The End Of Everything
- "A series exploring how our ideas about the end of the universe have been shaped by religion, belief, and the contemporary state of scientific thinking and observation." A series of streaming audio programs on contemporary cosmology.
- Free ebooks on Biblical history topics
- An Internet word game has generated enough rice to feed 50,000 people for one day.
The game, FreeRice, tests the vocabulary of participants. For each click on a correct answer, the website donates money to buy 10 grains of rice.
Companies advertising on the website provide the money to the WFP to buy and distribute the rice. FreeRice went online in early October and has now raised 1bn grains of rice.
- "Save more, spend less and avoid ripoffs." Consumer information and advise. Very useful.
- LibriVox provides free audiobooks from the public domain.
- Roger McGuinn
- Incredibly beautiful folk music on 12-string in RealAudio/MP3 - former leader of the Byrds of "Mr. Tamborine Man" and "Turn, Turn, Turn" fame. Here is a video of Roger singing/playing "Turn, Turn, Turn."
- A data source and comparison tool for national statistics...you can generate maps and graphs with ease.
- Washington Post Puzzles
- Crosswords, sudoku
- USAToday Puzzles
- Many puzzles, including crosswords, sudoku
- Casual Printable Crossword
- Seven American-style crosswords are available each day (rotated at midnight eastern time). Solutions available the next day.
- "Over 500 pages of word puzzles, games, amazing lists, and fun facts."
- Only Connect
- Fun quiz taken from the BBC TV programme (as they spell it) - a challenge to your lateral thinking skills. Find the connections in seemingly unrelated things