Software is a subject that gives us a lot to talk about, especially on your brand new desktop or laptop computer. There are several decisions that you will need to make in order to configure your computer with the right software combination that best fits your needs.
In the past I have recommended a fairly large number of freeware programs and utilities. Over time, it has been increasingly difficult to find quality freeware applications that perform as advertised and do not contain malware or PUPS (potentially unwanted programs). Many of them today will also install unwanted toolbars in your internet browser of choice.
For these reasons I recommend only a limited number of freeware programs. If your operating system contains a utility that will do what is needed then you are better off to stick with the included software.
Third-party applications not included in Windows 10 suggested for your productivity are as follows:
AntiVirus & Malware
- Emsisoft – Commercial – annual subscription – Recommended – In-depth protection, excellent tech support, timely updates, and much more.
- Windows Defender – Antivirus and malware utility included in Windows 10. Minimal utility support by Microsoft – Certainly better than no protection at all but not state-of-the-art by any means.
- Libre Office – Freeware – Recommended – Contains word processor (Writer), spreadsheet (Calc), presentation manager (Impress), database (Base), Microsoft document compatible, and much more.
- Microsoft Office for Home & Student – Commercial – Excessive cost, locks you into one vendor, many features contained are unnecessary for the basic computer user.
Internet Web Browser – It is suggested that you install three browsers on your computer. Some web sites will respond nicely in one particular browser and will not appear the same in another. I recommend the following browsers in the order which they appear.
- Chrome web browser – Recommended – Offered free by Google – well supported by Google with periodic updates – fast rendering speed.
- Firefox web browser – Recommended – Offered free by Mozilla – well supported by Mozilla – a very popular browser.
- Opera web browser – Recommended – Offered free by www.opera.org – well supported – periodically updated.
- Microsoft Edge – Included in Windows 10 operating system – security issues are present in this new browser from Microsoft just as was it’s predecessor Internet Explorer.
- ISP Provided E-mail Client – First choice is to use the web mail application that your internet service provider (ISP) will include in your membership. This e-mail client is already embedded in your ISP package and they will provide support in the event that you need help. WARNING: If your ISP uses Yahoo e-mail or contracts this function to Yahoo, use only a GMail account. AT&T uses Yahoo. Recently Yahoo announced that 1.5 billion (yep, that’s a ‘B’ for billion) email accounts had been compromised. E-mail addresses, passwords, answers to your security questions, and more fell into the hands of hackers or, to be more accurate, thieves. Yahoo was aware of this as early as 2013 and only recently did they announce this fact to the public. This issue has been happening for a long time so chances of them getting it repaired and earning your trust all over again are, in my opinion, slim to none. A copy of this database recently sold on the internet illegally for $300,000 so there is no way to tell how many miscreants will have this information and what ends they will pursue to use it for their ill-gained profit.
- Gmail – I suggest that you obtain a two Gmail account from Google. The first for your primary account which is for family and friends. The second for merchants when they ask for your e-mail address, give them your secondary Gmail address so that you will not have your primary e-mail account full of junk mail. Google will provide access to many features that you will enjoy, all cost free. Click here to find out how to get your Gmail account.