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Thursday, September 03, 2009

 
Programs I Can't Live Without -- A recent PC catastrophe resulted in me (well, my friend Brian, really) reformatting my computer's hard drive, and reinstalling windows. Most of my important files were backed up, but of course all my applications were gone. Which led me on the path of finding out what I really need to be happy with my computer.

It's actually a great feeling to start fresh like this; the machine may be over four years old now, but with a new Windows XP install and four years of registry changes wiped out, it hums along now like nobody's business. Here's a list of the applications I find are essential to my computer.

* Panda Cloud Antivirus - I had been using Kaspersky for my antivirus needs, but at $60.00 to renew it and money being tight right now, I was looking for a free alternative. The first day or so I wasn't sure Panda Cloud was the app for my needs, but the past two weeks or so it's been getting the job done quietly and without hogging resources.

* Google Chrome - At the moment I find no one browser meets all my needs, but the speed and reliability of Google Chrome give it the edge over Firefox, the latest version of which I'm not entirely happy with.

* Mozilla Firefox - On the other hand, some sites are just not ready for Chrome yet, so I have Firefox to fall back on. If you're wondering, the only thing I use Internet Explorer for is Windows Updates. Other than that, I don't use it, because it's just too much of a virus and malware magnet.

* Auslogics Disc Defrag - This defragger seems to me to be the quickest and most efficient at getting everything on my hard drive where it belongs and running smoothly. I run it once a week.

* Media Monkey - I've used a lot of MP3 players over the years, but this one organizes my collection and has tons of other features that I really like. Its interface is also very intuitive and easy to use.

* uTorrent - Essential for downloading free, legal torrent files.

* Microsoft Word 2007 - If you've spent much time here, you know how I feel about giant corporations. That said, I've never found a free word processing program that is as useful, fast and essential to me as Word 2007.

* VLC Media Player - Absolutely the best player for all sorts of video files. VLC will play just about anything.

* FTP Client to be Named Later - FTP, File Transfer Protocol, is an essential part of running a website. Most of Comic Book Galaxy these days runs off Blogger's online interface, but for the legacy parts of the site that are still hand-coded HTML, I need an FTP client to get them up to the site. Since the crash, I have yet to find one that works for me, but I am not sure if the problem is with the applications I've tried, or on the server side of things. If you have an FTP client you swear by, not at, leave a comment and let me know what works for you.

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