Three essential (and free!) apps you need right now

Three essential (and free!) apps you need right now

Computers come with a myriad of programs preinstalled, paid for by the software companies who write them. This helps lower the cost of the computer itself, but often dupes the consumer into paid subscription services that expire after the consumer grows to rely on them. Additionally, some Windows programs that just plain suck (surprise!).

There are three applications I consider totally essential to reliable computing whenever I fix someone’s computer. I don’t get paid to recommend these, nor do I get paid at all, really, so you can take my word as gospel. If you’re one of the tech-types screaming from Internet Land about your personal choices in web browsing, security, and office productivity, feel free to put them in the comments.

Internet browsing

Google Chrome is a web browser that replaces Internet Explorer. Its faster, cleaner, and more secure. It will import your years of bookmarks. It won’t allow programs to install some bullshit toolbar, which is a good thing. There are plenty of extensions and apps available for Google Chrome, and one in particular emulates Internet Explorer in the event you absolutely can’t view a webpage without it.

Antivirus/spyware/malware

Microsoft Security Essentials replaces your antivirus, spyware, and malware programs. If you just bought a new computer, it will typically come with any number of paid subscription based antivirus services such as, but definitely not limited to, Norton or McAfee. Uninstall the programs you have now, then download and install MSE. Contrary to popular belief, a lack of antivirus/spyware/malware programs doesn’t mean you’ll be getting infected worse than a weekend in Tijuana. It just means you need to tiptoe around the web until you download and install your viable alternative.

Office suite

LibreOffice replaces Microsoft Office, and is everything you need to view and/or edit your existing Microsoft Word (text document), Excel (spreadsheet), or PowerPoint (slideshow presentation) documents. By default, LibreOffice will save files in OpenDocument, or ODF, format, but my series of screenshots below will assist in helping you set your defaults to Microsoft Office compatible files.

  1. Start menu, Search programs and files, LibreOffice
  2. Tools, Options
  3. Expand Load/Save, go to General, and select various Document Types, such as Text, Spreadsheet, and Presentation.
  4. Select the corresponding file format for each, looking for Microsoft xxx 2007/2010 XML.
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8 Responses to “Three essential (and free!) apps you need right now”

  1. JEFFLEARY says:

    ITS LIKE A VACUUM FOR PORN!

  2. Christy says:

    I was looking at the picture for the toolbars, all I have to say is LOL! At work, whenever we have a training the trainers always bring up this screen similiar to yours, where a client installed 10+ toolbars. Funny stuff.

  3. Elaina says:

    Question…I find myself alternating between Chrome & Firefox because I have problems with it getting hung up while on websites using Flash Player or whatever. I use Pandora for music and hey, I ain’t gonna lie, I play games on facebook but it seems like it gets hung up a lot. The ads on Pandora for instance, which often have videos stall everything. When I watch stuff on the Netflix website it’s similar. Do you have that problem? Or is it more likely an issue w/ my computer? I have looked on the Google site and haven’t really found solutions. But, I definitely prefer Chrome over IE or Firefox.

    • Jayme says:

      I’ve had no noticeable problems with Chrome at all. I was a FF fan myself, but found myself clinging to it for the extensions. Since Chrome now supports extensions, I’ve switched entirely.

  4. Christy says:

    I work for Verizon Telecom IT down here in Florida, in their internal helpdesk. :) They don’t like Chrome or any of that..we’re using IE8 (blech) and Symantec for our virus software.

  5. Christy says:

    Haha I know but we have applications that we use that’s not compatible with Chrome but I hope that one day they’ll see the light. (lol) I use a Mac so that takes me out of the picture :D if you think that’s gay, that’s ok too. Bwahahahaha.

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The author.Born in the year of the Dragon, the author grudgingly accepts the fact he has too many interests and not enough time. A cyclist as long as he can remember, an avid yet inconsistent writer since age eleven, and a U.S. Marine since age twenty-one, the author also adds peak bagging, diving, snowboarding, and computers to his list of interests. Incidentally, he is aware of his inability to make a living from any but the Corps. The author accepts this as fact and remains optimistic. Feel free to drop him a line.

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