5 Free Software Programs You Should Have On Your Laptop
Finding free software is not always easy for new laptop owners. Sure, your laptop will come equipped with some essential software programs already, but many are free trials that ask you to purchase after a certain amount of time. Luckily, there is actually free software out there that can supplement or even replace the programs you already have.
Although there are more than a handful of free software programs available for download, these five should be a good place to start.
1. Panda Free Anti-virus 2015
After purchasing a laptop, an anti-virus program should be the first thing you install. It is essential when browsing the internet or downloading files, as there is plenty of malware “swimming” around on the internet. Whether you’re savvy at surfing the net or not, malware has no preference; anyone can fall victim to it.
Panda Free Antivirus 2015 offers protection from the latest viruses, without you having to constantly worry about updating the program. You can basically install it and forget about it and it’ll keep your computer protected while you do! There’s no complex settings involved either, making it a good choice for even the newest of internet users.
If the free version hasn’t caught your fancy, Panda Antivirus also offers paid versions of their anti-virus software as well. No matter which version you choose, you may want to consider adding extra protection to your laptop by installing a VPN. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) lets you surf the net through a secure, encrypted tunnel to a host server. This means cyber-thieves can only see a bunch of useless data when trying to hack your connection. You can think of anti-virus software as a cake, with the VPN being the icing on top, offering you the ultimate package of security while browsing the web.
2. Mozilla Firefox
Voted the Most Trusted Internet Company For Privacy, Mozilla Firefox is a web browser that offers speed, flexibility, and of course, privacy! It is customizable, allowing you to install themes and add-ons, and remove and add different buttons to the toolbar. You can also sync Mozilla Firefox so you’re able to access your bookmarks, history, and passwords from any device.
In independent speed tests, Mozilla Firefox outperformed other web browsers, making it much faster than the default one installed on your laptop. This fact alone is enough to make it worth the download; no one wants to wait all day for pages to load. When it comes to security, Mozilla offers private web browsing, a “Forget Button” add-on that allows you to remove specific browsing history, a “Do Not Track” feature, automatic security updates, and more.
3. Adobe Acrobat Reader
PDF files are not natively supported by Windows, but luckily Adobe offers a handy, free program for that exact reason. Whether it’s an e-book you’re planning to read, instructions for something, a contract for business, or something you need to print, Adobe Acrobat Reader has you covered. Since most laptops are involved in some form of work or school study, it’s unlikely that you’ll never need to access PDF files, making this an essential tool.
There’re a few other things Adobe Acrobat Reader can do that aren’t always readily apparent. PDFs can be digitally signed using Reader’s Fill and Sign, and comments can be left in the form of annotations (be they for co-workers or for you to look at later). More recently, users can store files on Adobe’s cloud, although that moves into the territory of paid services.
Though I’m not quite sure if anyone actually buys the license for WinRAR, their software has been useful ever since its first release in 1995. Released as shareware, it is available for download by anyone and usable with full features for the first 40 days. After that…it’s still usable, but asks you to purchase a license every time you open it (yet never actually makes you buy one to use it).
Basically, WinRAR lets you unpack compressed files. Because many files come in .zip or .rar format, it is essential to have software that can extract their contents (plenty of install files, groups of files, and the like are presented in .rar format). Make sure to get this one early, as some of the other software items may actually come in .rar or .zip format, so you’ll need WinRAR to even get them.
Essential on any computer, Skype allows you to place calls for free to other Skype users, or to make calls to anyone (including internationally) for extremely affordable rates. It also includes a messaging service so you can send messages, but what’s most interesting about Skype is the ability to chat with multiple people at once. For work calls this can be especially useful as it removes the need to call multiple people one at a time.
If you really want to take it to the next level, Skype also has video chat and conferencing. Whether you’re traveling, working from home, or catching up with the family, this is a great way to create an experience that is largely unique to Skype.
Free Software Programs
Now that you’re aware of some of the basics, it’s time to get downloading. Being an internet user, there are far more free software programs that you’re bound to come across. That being said, be sure to protect your laptop first and foremost, as downloading can sometimes be risky.
By following that piece of advice, and thoroughly investigating any software program that you intend to download, your laptop should be long-lived and without issue.