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Free apps for a hassle-free PC
A screenshot of www.sourceforge.net

Why pay for software when you can get programs that are usually better and absolutely free? Don’t waste your money on things like Office Suites, PC optimisers and video and audio tools. Instead, spend wisely by buying two absolute essentials — Windows XP and an Internet Security Suite. I will introduce you to some superb downloads that will keep you happy and your computer free of hitches for years to come.

I have had hassle-free computing on my PC for over six years now. No, my computer is not a power PC. It is a regular one for which I spent around Rs 40,000 six years ago. But computers were more expensive then. The same configuration would probably cost around Rs 25,000 now. I get a lot of good, free software from www.sourceforge.net. It is a fantastic repository of free, Open Source programs and the world’s largest Open Source development website. Today, I will give you tips on where to get free apps from other sites to keep your PC trouble-free.

First, avoid Internet Explorer for browsing. It inevitably spells trouble for 90 per cent of users. Especially so if you are using a pirated copy of Windows and you do not have a proper Internet Security Suite. A security suite comprises a firewall and anti-virus and anti-spyware tools. Switch to Firefox or Safari. They both are leaner, safer and faster. Type either of the names in your Google search bar and you will get the links to download them.

Let me introduce you to some free tools and utilities that will prevent crashes, error messages, and make your PC start and shutdown faster. If you want your computer to run smoothly, your computer’s registry has to be clean. In a Windows operating system, the registry is the database that stores all the setup, user preferences, software and hardware configuration information. The registry is vital for the proper running of the operating system.

CCleaner (www.cleaner.com): CCleaner scrubs your system by wiping off temp files, cookies, browsing history, recent-document lists, log files in the Recycle Bin, and a lot of other digital dirt. The utility is very good for cleaning orphaned and unused Registry entries. The program was updated just last month and now works even better.

Advanced Windows Care Personal (http://www.iobit.com/advancedwindowscareper.htm): You may think that your computer has been affected by a virus if it keeps crashing or slowing down. This program will speed up your boot time, keep it error free by working on your registry and run your computer at top speed day after day. This is my personal favourite.

Absolute Uninstaller (www.glarysoft.com): Sometimes you will find that you are unable to uninstall a program that you do not need anymore. It just eats up hard disk space and lies latent on your PC. Absolute Uninstaller is similar to Windows Add/Remove programs in the Control Panel, but more powerful. The standard Add/Remove program cannot uninstall applications completely which often leaves broken registry keys, useless files on the hard disk. The more junk files your computer accumulates, the slower it runs. The program’s Uninstall Manager can wipe off all the junk in seconds. It is a user-friendly way to remove redundant applications and to improve your computer’s efficiency.

Uniblue ProcessScanner (www.processlibrary.com): What do you do when a program stops responding? You press Control-Alt-Del to go to Task Manager and click End Task. However, this often does not close the unresponsive program. You will then need to kill the process by right clicking and selecting Go to Process and End Process. But in doing so you may kill a wrong process. You need to understand what you are stopping. This is where the ProcessScanner along with the Process Library gives you extra information on each process. It will list whether the process auto starts or not and the maker of the software. You can even find out the security risk associated with running the process. I find this tool absolutely essential because I can spot if a spyware, Trojan or malware has somehow slipped into my system.

Tip of the Week: Unable to get CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator? Don’t worry, just go to www.inkscape.org and download the program. It is an Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).

Send in your computer- related problems to askdoss@abpmail.com. The solutions will appear soon


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