Editor choice

10 Essential software programs for your home computer.

Anti-spyware: Spyware and adware can be just as nasty as viruses, and they slow down the performance of your PC. We strongly recommend against using adware on your PC. But for users of Vista, there is a built-in protection feature called „Windows Defender.“

Firewall: A firewall will prevent spyware, adware, and viruses from entering your computer, and it is the most important of all the three defences against malicious software. Windows Vista comes with a firewall called the „Windows Firewall“.

Antivirus: Antivirus is essential if you want your computer to run smoothly without crashing or breaking down. Antivirus software is the one that is responsible for enabling all other software to work. It is recommended that you install virus checking software on your computer first and update it regularly, with the result that it is McAfee. This is a good and practical choice.

Gimp: If you like to create and edit photos, Gimp is an excellent free alternative to Paint Shop. It is just as good and full of features. It can be helpful for budding artists, students, web developers, and anyone who wants to tweak their photographs to remove annoying blemishes or add funky backgrounds to their photos.

Spotify: Spotify has been among the newest software trends on the internet, which is justified. Unlike other music players, Spotify allows you to search for and stream music directly from the internet. There is no need to download any music. That means you can listen to hundreds of songs for free and legally.

Windows Messenger, the king of instant messaging, is an excellent tool for staying connected with your friends.

Skype: You can also use this software to talk with your friends and colleagues worldwide for free. It is essential for arranging video conferencing and calling landlines, which are charged at a discounted rate. Who needs a phone?

Adobe Acrobat Reader. E-books, instructions, newsletters, etc., all come in PDF files, so you need an Acrobat Reader to view them. I also recommend PDF, which allows you to save word documents as PDF files.

Ask for and record the toolbar. A toolbar is one of the best programs that you can download. It is handy and has lots of different functions. Unfortunately, it runs as a toolbar and not as an independent program. But the easy-to-use features make it one of the few worthwhile programs. It is mainly the software that records sounds and videos that you play on your computer. So if you find videos you like on YouTube, you can save them as an FLV file and watch them whenever you want, or you can also save the sound of the video as an MP3 file and record it. Then there is also a utility bar that functions as a file converter. This toolbar converts FLV and MP3 files to almost any format more efficiently and reliably than other programs. And best of all, it’s free!

Open the office. It gives you free access to Microsoft Office, which allows you to open and edit files in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other office formats. Considering that the price of Microsoft Office is very high, this is an intelligent download. And given that Microsoft Office is very expensive, it is a sensible download.