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Recommended Free Programs for home and small office users

The following programs are recommended for home, home office or small office users. I selected these programs based on recommendations and reviews from my industry peers and my own personal experience, and research based on user rating and complaints. The programs in this list have excellent user satisfaction ratings and are well known and respected.

 Antivirus and Malware Protection

 AVG 2011 Antivirus (Free Edition)  – The free edition of AVG Antivirus offers good virus protection for most general use computers. AVG Antivirus automatically updates its virus signatures daily, and runs quietly in the background and uses very little system resources. It scans your e-mail and web-traffic, all of your drives, and programs and files. You can schedule system virus scans to fit your schedule, and the user interface is intuitive and easy to understand. AVG also offers a complete Internet Security Suite for $54.99 that also provides a firewall, and other tools to enhance your computer security.  You can try it free for 30 days. Download the Free version of AVG Antivirus here

Comodo – Comodo is another popular antivirus application that does a good job at detecting virus and malware threats, and either blocks them from infecting your computer, or destroys them. If you need more than basic protection, Comodo does offer a paid version that offers stonger protection, and a $500 virus-free guarantee and a $15,000 identity protection coverage.  Download Comodo Free Version here.

Microsoft Security Essentials – I’ll admit that I was sceptical when I first heard about Microsoft Security Essentials, but after runing it through its paces, it’s not a bad program, especially for free software. Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time virus and malware protection. Microsoft Security Essentials is available for small businesses with up to 10 computers. Download Microsoft Security Essentials

Malwarebytes – Malwarebytes is probably the most downloaded and used malware scanner on the market today, and it is one of most recommended programs I recommend for malware control.  Malwarebytes is very effective at detecting and removing malware.  The free version of Malware does not offer real-time protection, if you need real-time protection, you will have to buy the Pro version. Download Malwarebytes (Free Version) here

System Cleaners

CCleaner – I recommend this must-have utility to all my clients. CCleaner, short for crap cleaner, is the number-one tool for cleaning your Windows PC. It protects your privacy online and makes your computer faster and more secure. Easy to use and a small, fast download.

File Security

Eraser – Eraser is an advanced security tool for Windows which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns. Eraser is currently supported under Windows XP (with Service Pack 3), Windows Server 2003 (with Service Pack 2), Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Eraser is Free software and its source code is released under GNU General Public License.

File Shredder – File shredder securely deletes files from your hard drive by using a process called shredding, which is a method of repeatedly overwriting files with random strings of data. this process makes it virtually impossible to recover any part of a shredded file.

TrueCrypt – Truecrypt creates a virtual encrypted disk within a file and mounts it as if it were a real disk, and can even encrypt the entire hard drive that Windows is installed on. The encryption allows you to safeley and securely store your sensitive data and keeps it safe from unauthorized access. TrueCrypt also supports hidden volumes.

FBackup – I haven’t used FBackup myself, but I have heard enough good things about it from my industry peers, and I feel pretty safe recommending it to users. FBackup is a free backup software for both personal and commercial use. It protects your important data by backing it up automatically to any USB/Firewire device, local or network location. The backed up data can be either compressed (using standard zip compression) or an exact copy of the original files.

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this list will continue to grow and be modified from time to time.


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