- CCleaner cleans up junk and temporary files, also secure erase
- Defraggler free defragmenter – works better than Windows Defrag. Do not use on Solid State Drives.
- CheckDiskGUI checks your file system and hard drive for errors, and repair them (click green arrow on the right). Do not use “recover” mode on Solid State Drives.
- Classic Shell essential for Windows 10 (and 8) – get your Start button back!
- Adobe Flash Player Most browsers have it built-in now so you might not need it.
- Adobe Reader essential for viewing PDF documents (do not download extra junk such as McAfee)
- Office 2007 Compatibility Pack for opening Office 2007 and 2010 files in earlier versions of Office.
- Java Needed for some websites and programs. Use only if needed. If prompted, do not install any extras.
- Bonjour Apple’s Bonjour Print Services for Windows
- CutePDF Generates PDF document from any application (if prompted, do not install any extras). Might not be needed now that Office and Windows 10 can both generate PDF documents.
- Powerpoint Viewer from Microsoft
- Microsoft Security Essentials an excellent free anti-virus from Microsoft for Windows 7. If you have Windows 10 or 8, just remove your old anti-virus and turn on Windows Defender (it’s the same thing) – and check that your Windows Firewall is on.
- K9 Web Protection from Blue Coat Protect your kids from the nastier things on the Internet, or use it yourself as added protection from known dangerous websites. Fast and unintrusive, for PC and Mac
- MalwareBytes for removal of spyware. I recommend the free version but you need to remember to run it yourself. The Pro/Premium version is always on the lookout. You may try the trial and revert to the free version at the end of a month.
- BackBlaze – Online backup – great value for about $5 per month. Full disclosure: this link gives me a teeny tiny commission. Carbonite and Mozy are also good.
- Keyfinder records your Windows and Office license keys in a text file.
- Asterisk Key reveals the password behind the ***.
- Spybot also for removal of spyware
- SyncBack “Synchronize & Backup”
- File Shredder to securely delete files from a hard drive – but CCleaner can also do this.
- VNC remote control assistance
- iTunes free music player from Apple
- Picasa free photo organizer and editor from Google
- OpenOffice.org free replacement for Microsoft Office!
- Roboform for securely storing online passwords (only free for a certain number of passwords)
- Firefox web browser replacement for Internet Explorer
- Google Chrome a fast browser. Works especially well on older, slow computers
Use them in this order:
- rkill attempts to terminate known malware processes so that your security software can run and clean your computer of infections (click the green “Download Now @ BleepingComputer” button)
- TDSSKiller Root-kit remover (fast, but more limited. Click “TDSSKiller.exe” in the section titled: “How to disinfect a compromised system”. )
- JRT (Junkware Removal Tool). Works as advertised. (click the green “Download Now @ BleepingComputer” button)
- AdwCleaner – my favorite, but always requires a reboot. Check what folders it wants to delete because once or twice is has wanted to delete an important folder. (click the green “Download Now @ BleepingComputer” button. Alternatively click “Visit Author’s Site” for the latest version).
- ComboFix Root-kit remover (click the green “Download Now @ BleepingComputer” button). Doesn’t work on Windows 10 yet nor on newer versions of Windows 8.
- autoruns – to see what programs (viruses?) are starting up.
- sometimes what looks like a virus can be something as simple as a start page change or a command embedded in an shortcut / icon to open a certain site. These are easy to check and fix.
- HijackThis – if you’re still having trouble. Handle with care.
Other Useful Links
- Shadow Explorer – pull previous versions of your Office files out of System Restore!
- SARC Symantec Anti-virus Research Center
- Norton Anti-virus updates
- Norton Anti-virus Corporate Edition updates
- Tools for virus removal (Symantec)
- Stinger for removal of the most common viruses (useful many years ago)
- “Shields Up!” Firewall test
- Linksys Downloads
- Netgear Downloads