Necessary freeware on a newly installed computer

Adobe for the web:
Adobe Reader 9.3.4 (include Adobe® AIR®)

Adobe Flash for Internet Explorer
Adobe Flash for Mozilla Firefox, Opera, etc
Adobe Shockwave, if you’d like…

Antivirus:
AVG Free 9.0, very good though a bit slowish than Avast, Avira, Nod but way better. Finds and cures Thanatos, that Kaspersky only detects as suspect activity, but cannot clean, only deletes all exe’s and renders system unusable 😉 Maybe tha’s why you cannot find the free version  anymore un avg.com, only third party.
Avast Home (1 year free usage, registering with email address – you can also register from within application)
Avira Home, here, here or download page (few more clicks).

Antimalware:
Malwarebytes – the first to know last Yahoo Mess (image.php, myspace) trojan, VERY GOOD, A MUST on every computer, already has a resident module in paid version   —   Malwarebytes rules, available separately
(…more to come)

INTERNET:

Firefox – absolute must, most used browser.
Scroll down and watch on the right hand a drop down box with all the others language  versions. then look for
Flash Block (no, I am not Steve Jobs, event though I have to admit, Flash itself it’s a breach in security) – your favorite pages will load way faster, you will be able to open more page at once (I allways have to open some 30 pages in advance, so while I read one, the others load and render – some times sooo slooow). Has a white list, where you can add YouTube, or else you have to start manually every flash – yes, this is the idea, because the animation in flash is taking  CPU time, even if the page is in the background, so the white list is big big help.

Download Express – single limitation in free version, it won’t minimize in tray. Fast, NO ADS, not installing toolbars, not anything else – GREAT! When you close it, it closes. Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer compatible.
Has a bigger brother, Mass Downloader, a very good downloader.

Lots of other addons for Firefox here.

uTorrent 2.0.4 – the smallest, the lightest, you can only see that is running because takes up bandwidth, otherways it is the lightest of them all. Uncheck everything undesired!

Opera has a builtin client for torrent, but there is no match. The others do not worth mentioning – you want a fast computer, isn’t it?

Yahoo Messenger 10.
Microsoft Live Messenger – since getting live, it became also bloated – you can uncheck everything you dont want.
Google talk. Download page for all, video plugin too.
(…more to come)

Burn:

CD Burner XP despite the name, works perfectly on Vista, Windows 7, Windows 2003, Windows 2008 R2, including all x64. Sometimes, freshly installed won’t recognize your burner – restart (as necessary after every install) and there it is.
Way lighter than Nero (once the mightiest, now an obese DVD writer, stuffed with so much things nobody really wants), free, fast, translated in many languages – right now I think this is the mightiest 😉 (feel free to leave comments on this).
What I appreciate the (second) most: no adware of any kind, you cand install with next, next… finish.
.Net 2.0 or bigger needed on Windows XP. If not found, installer redirects you to the right microsoft page for download.

MEDIA:

Pictures:
FastStone (here,zip, also portable): fastest (even than ACDSee!), you can access exif with a mouse move (to the right, in full screen), instead of 3 clicks in ACD – yes, not so detailed, but very light, including portable version, no ads.
4.2 has a very nice NOISE REDUCTION built in, in 4.0 this was available only in thumbnails, now full screen – you’ll see your ISO1600 pictures like they were taken in ISO100 – great! This is the photographers dream. Does a little editing, like crop, resize, rotate, some adjustments like brighness, contrast, gamma, turn to sepia, greyscale, reduce number of colors, then imports images from your camera in a certain folder, organized (date), aquires from scanner, does screen capture from full screen to rectangle or free hand, converts (in batch) RAW (CR2, NEF, etc) to JPG and others.

There’s also IrfanView, but I cannot get my peace with the interface, and especially keyboard shorcuts. Still: light, fast, free, no ads.

There is Picasa, developed  now by Google, fast, full of features, builds and manage libraries anywhere you have images, integrated with your gmail account, big.

Audio:
Winamp 5.581, everybody knows this. Download page here. You have to uncheck a lot, like video from file types, remote, winamp toolbar, (the search addon is good for nothing, still the installation defaults to it), you have to switch back from that big huge useless Bento skin that always take up ALL YOUR SCREEN – do the ALT-S and click Modern skin, or Classic, if you are so hardcore – for you there is also the Lite version of Winamp, very good for very old computers also (where is that?).

Super classic, very good, lots of plugins of all kind – shortly: the best – maybe because turns into tradition? Thanks to AOL who bought this and sponsored nullsoft to keep the winamp Free.
There is a paid version, which does things like ripping and burning Audio CDs and more.

Video – DVD:
KMPlayer 1435 – my favorite, even though comes with ASK toolbar or others, search engine and home page. You can uncheck them at installation time or uninstall later.
Fast, free (mind the ASK), no codecs needed, not even for DVDs – so your system stays free of the all those stupid codecs suite, packs, and so on, which clutters you computer at all times, conflicts with one another and slows down all that is related to video rendering, even though you might not play any video at the time.
KMPlayer 1437 is available here (Coolgram instead of ASK)
Nice interface (beats VLC at this only), the first screen needs flash player – on Vista it says Class not registered with a bang, on Windows 7 just does not display anything. Needs Flash Player, Internet Explorer version, so do not download/update it from Mozilla/Opera.

VLC Player – fast, free, codecs included (DVD too), just one drawback – interface is very simple (simplist?) Link will figure out your platform and redirect accordingly.

GOM Player: free (if you ignore ASK – in some versions you cannot uncheck it at installation time, but ASK is this decent and has an uninstaller that does work). Knows several codecs (many!), nice interface.
Drawback: does not play DVDs.

Codecs: Not needed! once I discovered GOM Player and then KM Player, VLC, codecs became obsolete. All do respect for the developers though. They are loaded internally only when needed, so if you are only a video consumer you dont need anything else, you can keep your system clean.
If you  are a video producer, you might need them.
And like XviD at the time, once in a while appears a new codec that does more than the others. So you might need them.

OFFICE:

OpenOffice: you know this, complete office suite. Download here. PC only, all platform.
Opens Office 2007 files, just dont save them in the same format.

Drawback: big, slower than MS Office, but hey, is a lot cheaper. At times, starts Java engine which is slow by itself, uncheck it in Options and gain some speed.

UTILS:

Compress:

7zip – exe, 32bit, Windows. Download page, all versions.
WinRar – 3.93, win32, from rarlab.com. Download page, all versions, including PocketPC. Yes, is not free, is shareware, but served me great.
UniExtract – 1.6.1, more for programmers and alike, does decompress exe’s (install kits) better than WinRar or 7zip.

Virtual disk:

MagicDisk – win32 all, download page all versions. Comes from MagicIso.
DaemonTools – 4.35.6 – full of annoyances (toolbar, home page change, search engine replaced with it’s own useless search engine, gadget [Vista, 7]). Download page for Lite version, all versions here. Not quite free as it is packed, still a little better than MagicDisk.

(...more to come)
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