When I buy a computer, I always set aside a small budget for programs I need to pay for that does not come with the computer package. But ideally, this extra cost should be kept minimal or even zero. Over the years, I have kept a list of freeware programs that I immediately download the first time I use a new computer. Because why would you want to pay for something that has a free alternative?
Don’t get me wrong, the Microsoft Office Suite is great but when I was a student, buying another license aside from the operating system puts a strain on my budget. I was at first reluctant to try the open source office suite but I had little choice. It wasn’t love at first sight as I admit Microsoft still makes user-friendly interface, but it doesn’t take too long to get used to it either. What really blew me away was the fact that OpenOffice supports Microsoft’s latest XML document format so you should have no problems with compatibility.
2. VLC Media Player
Windows Media Player supports very limited audio and video formats. If you want to keep using it, you should install codecs which can be downloaded for free. But I do know that VLC Media Player supports almost all formats. It’s a quick and easy way to play even the most bizarre video formats around, with very simple user interface.
IrfanView is a simple image editing tool but one feature I love is the batch conversion tool. It allows you to compress huge image files in one folder so you can easily upload them without significant loss in quality.
4. Avast! Antivirus
Every Windows user needs a robust antivirus system for protection. While there are excellent antivirus programs you could buy, you can actually download one for free. I have been using avast for years and have had no problems with it. It’s quick in detecting viruses and the latest version does not have annoying pop up messages about warnings and update reminders. For home users who don’t do a lot of internet banking, it’s not really necessary to purchase a sophisticated security suite.
Made by Piriform, CCleaner is a great tool for system maintenance. The system cleaner removes all unnecessary data accumulated over time like log files, cookies and thumbnail cache in just one click. It also has a great registry cleaner to help your computer run faster.
So there you go. You don’t really have to spend a lot as a computer owner because the technology keeps changing and you have to pay for each new version being released or when the license expires.