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.
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.
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.
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.
- Start menu, Search programs and files, LibreOffice
- Tools, Options
- Expand Load/Save, go to General, and select various Document Types, such as Text, Spreadsheet, and Presentation.
- Select the corresponding file format for each, looking for Microsoft xxx 2007/2010 XML.