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Must-have Programs...

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#1 JWUequine08


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Posted 18 September 2006 - 09:58 PM

***This post is originally from a different forum, which I accidentally posted in while I was browsing, and forgot I wasn't in the XP section...figured I would post it here...could not figure out how to delete it in the other one...so sorry!***

So I recently just did a complete restoration of my Sony Vaio laptop, bringing it back to its factory state. I have done my Windows XP updates (including SP2). I promised myself that this time, things are going to be different...I am not going to be weighing my system down with meaningless programs, etc...

With that said, I come to my reason for posting here...I want to get a general consenus on what everyone thinks are the best (preferably free and/or pretty cheap) downloads. What does everyone think are the absolute must haves for maximum functionality, security...maybe even some music? What type of a schedule should I be on with these programs to keep my computer running at its best? What are some tried and true methods that work for you?

I should also mention that my stock software includes a 90 day trial of Norton...don't know if I should keep it or not...

I look forward to hearing all of your opinions, and thanks so much for all your time and input!


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#2 Gary335


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Posted 18 September 2006 - 10:17 PM

For security, I would highly recommend downloading Spybot Search and Destroy, Ad-aware, and AVG Anti-Virus. All three can be downloaded for free, and all three are excellent programs.

#3 dc3


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Posted 18 September 2006 - 10:51 PM

I posted this in your other forum.

I use these and have had no problems and they are all free.

Avg anti virus


Zone Alarm personal firewall


Spybot Search and Destroy




Ewido Security Suite






As for maintenance, keep your programs updated and run your scans on a regular basis. I would also suggest clearing your cookies and history from your browser, and defragging your hdd. I use diskeeper lite to defragment my hdd, it's much better than what M$ has to offer...and it's free.

Diskeeper Lite


I almost forgot, I personally don't like Norton, it's too proprietorial for my taste. Only use one anti virus at a time, there will be conflicts if you try to run two at a time, especially with Norton.

Edited by dc3, 18 September 2006 - 10:56 PM.

Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.





#4 jgweed


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Posted 19 September 2006 - 01:40 AM

You should have:
1. A software firewall (NOT the Windows version).
2. An Antivirus (AvgFree, for example. I would avoid Norton) providing real-time protection.
3. Several anti-spyware applications, at the minimum Ad-AwareSE and Spybot Search and Destroy. Others are optional, but useful.
4. Firefox (or Opera) for safer, faster browsing. Optionally, Thunderbird to replace Outlook Express.
5. OpenOffice. org. This is an open source (and free) replacement for Windows Office, with great functionality and it interfaces well with MS Office file types.
The next set is useful in web surfing and downloading, and file creation:
6. Adobe Acrobat Reader (or a slimer equivalent depending on your use).
7. Probably Quicktime and (alas!) Realplayer.
8. WinRAR
9. CD burning software (e.g. Nero)

Anything else would be the result of your own computing activities. IM applications, software required to run your peripherals, picture or music editing software, etc.

I would direct your attention to a pinned post here at BC called "Slow Computer Checklist" which provides a quick guide to the steps you should take on a regular basis to keep your computer running at its best:


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#5 usasma


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Posted 19 September 2006 - 10:50 AM

I like to have every troubleshooting and maintenance tool on the market! :thumbsup: Yes...my name is John and I am a geek! (sound bite here: http://home.pcisys.net/~tbc/sounds/dilknack.wav )

IMO, jgweed's list is spot on. I'd amplify it a bit with this:
1) I use the last freeware version of the Sygate Personal Firewall - it's rock solid.
3) Windows Defender beta - a good engine, and automatic updating make this a must for me!
6) Foxit PDF Reader - it's standalone (no install required) and it's much faster than the Adobe. If you use the Adobe reader, use the Adobe Reader speedup tweak.
7) I'm starting to look at 7-Zip due to other recommendations that I've read about it. Current I use WinZip, with WinRAR following closely behind.
8) CD/DVD burning software - another favorite is the Silent Night Micro Burner. It's standalone (no install needed) and it hasn't made a coaster yet!

And, I've added a few others:
A) Mailwasher - to screen the spam before it hits your inbox.
B ) Total Uninstall (last freeware version) to monitor installations and uninstall them completely.

Edited by usasma, 19 September 2006 - 10:51 AM.

My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

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#6 Enthusiast


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Posted 19 September 2006 - 07:47 PM


Erunt for backups of your registry and emergency recovery and Ntregopt Registry Optimization

StartUp Inspector (Enables novice and expert users to manage Windows® startup applications):
Startup monitor on the same page warns if any program tries to add itself to your startup menu and requires your authorization for it to do so.

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA)

Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (Win XP and Win 2000):

Ewido Antispyware Free

Microsoft Windows Defender

#7 JWUequine08

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 08:19 PM

thanks for all of your suggestions, you all were very helpful and extremely thorough!! I decided to start off with a firewall, Zone Alarm...I downloaded the install file to my desktop, clicked on it, and clicked on "run" when the security box popped up...it then told me that the program is not a "valid win32 application"...

why is it saying that?

I tried again with norton firewall disabled, got the same message...do I need a driver or something?

should I try another firewall program? If so, how do I properly dispose of the setup I already downloaded? ahhhhh!

#8 Enthusiast


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Posted 19 September 2006 - 08:27 PM

What version of ZA did you download?

See if it is in add/remove programs and remove it if it is.

Download ZA free here:

ZoneAlarm (freeware) V. 6.5.722
(you can have only one software firewall running. More than one will conflict)

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