Free Software Utilities

Is it possible to get something for nothing? If so is it worth having?

Well a couple of years ago when money was tight, I asked my self the same question. We needed to make some cutbacks, so one area I looked at was how much money was being spent on computer software. There was the yearly anti virus subscription, spyware subscription as well as purchasing software that had lots of unused functions.

I then began to look at what free software was available. I found three pieces of free software that have performed well over a period of three years.

Avast antivirus

Initially I was a bit skeptical about using a free antivirus, as I had religiously stuck to a yearly subscription package. However three years on and it has dealt with everything the net threw at it. It has saved me from several Trojans, spyware plus the odd piece of malware.

The interface has recently been updated in 2010 and now is far more user friendly. Updates to the virus definitions are done daily, at least once sometimes twice when you connect to the net. When the definitions have been updated, a voice will inform you and a screen notification pops up. Another advantage is the software has a small footprint, so will not use up lots of valuable memory.

Izarc file extractor

When people send you files in email, you need to extract them. This is a great free utility and can extract virtually any file. Before Izarc we had three different extractors for different files. One to extract.zip files, one for.rar files and another for.Ace files. This program now handles all of these and many more.

The setup allows the program to run with your anti virus software, so the files being extracted are scanned, for viruses and spyware. Files are easily compressed for sending to other people. These can be sent as self extracting, and are easily opened with a double click by the recipient.

Mailwasher

When you open your email, you will probably find some spam. This piece of software works with your email program, so that you can check email before you actually receive it. When checking your mail first with Mailwasher, you can choose to delete an email, or bounce an email back to the sender from your server. Bouncing an email back, says to the sender that the address they sent it too is not valid. I found this actually stopped spam, which is a major advantage over some programs, which just catch spam.