Five Free Software Programs For Everyday Use

When we bought our first personal computer in 1996 for my wife to work from home on we only had a vague notion of what the Internet was. A few of us at work had PC’s, but none were online, and most of us just had IBM mainframe terminals to work on. Using the AOL software preloaded on our home PC we decided to check it out. The dial up modem crackled and hissed to life and, finally, connected us to the AOL homepage where a hearty male voice greeted us with a cheerful “Welcome!” We were hooked from day one.

Over the next few months while getting acquainted with the contraption and talking with a few others that I knew who were also online it became apparent that there were free alternatives to all the enticing and expensive software offers preloaded on my computer. During the following years I have tried a lot of freeware for all kinds of applications. I decided to limit myself to picking only five of my favorite free software programs.

PC Tools Firewall Plus – I have used this free firewall for a while and am very happy with how easy and seamless it runs. We have since set up a home Wi-Fi network and even though I was assured the router firewall would be sufficient I leave this one up and running anyway.

AVG Anti-Virus – I have been using this software for a number of years and I like its ease of use. If I had not already been using this anti-virus software I probably would be using the all-in-one bundle program offered by PC Tools.

Spybot – Another program I have been using for years, this one zaps adware and other nasties. The only drawback I have encountered is it seems to freeze up occasionally while scanning. I will keep it because I have been using it for so long but this article might really be leading me to try the full PC Tools package. And no, this is not a secret, paid review for PC Tools.

Open Office – We purchased a laptop over the summer and annoyance with the limited, trial version of Office that came loaded on it led me to finally give Open Office a try. What I have used so far has been very easy to understand and overall I have liked the experience.

RoboForm – This is a password manager and form filler that we use primarily for the form filling option when entering sweepstakes or sending away for freebies. Fast, simple and free.

Bonus Freeware: When my old desktop really started slowing down I looked around and discovered Smart Defrag. I installed it and it really seemed to make a difference. It runs all the time in the background and doesn’t make a peep. I see PC Tools also offers a defrag utility but I really like how fast this one runs, so I’m sticking with it.

Bonus Site: Giveaway of the Day offers different licensed software to download for free every day. Sign up for their free newsletter for daily alerts as to what is available.


  1. Why not use AVG Free 8.5 or 9.0 for anti-virus AND anti-spyware? You can then drop Spybot.

    I use for all my office-related tasks, whether I'm working on Windows or Linux. 2 of my 3 daughters are converts too! Checkout

    Finally, why have you not mentioned Firefox, which is much more flexible than Internet Explorer? Checkout


  2. Phil - I did not mention Firefox because I have not tried it yet, but thanks for pointing it out.

    I agree it might make sense to use one program for multiple needs. Alot of freeware used to offer and focus on one utility, which is why you had to cobble together several programs. That has obviously changed. As I mentioned above I think I am going to try what PC Tools has to offer.

  3. I use Avast for anti-virus. I tried AVG but for some reason, it used a lot of CPU and really slowed down my machine.

  4. Max Money - Thanks for adding to the list!

  5. I've used AVG protection for a number of years, I would recommend this product to all you.


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