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12 Useful Windows Programs You’ll Want to Download

12 Useful Windows Programs You’ll Want to Download

We’ve come a long way since the DOS days of doing all of our computer tasks manually. Nowadays, there’s even an Iphone app that sorts our socks for us. So it goes without saying that there are plenty of useful Windows programs- none of which sort your socks.

Whether you’re a windows veteran or a disgruntled Mac convert, you’ll want to take advantage of the following free and useful Windows programs. If you’re looking for something to help with organization, productivity, or simply keeping track of things, try these out.

1. Avast!: for the infected

No, I’m not calling you a zombie. However, if you’re computer is badly infected with viruses, it probably won’t be long before its performance starts going south. Avast is a free antivirus and anti-spyware program that will run on Windows 7, 8, Vista, and XP.

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useful windows programs

    2. Comodo Backup: for the losers

    Just kidding, you’re not a loser. However, if you lose things often, you may want to think about keeping important files and media in storage. Comodo is like an online hard drive, offering 10 GB of space for free or 100 GB for $7.99 per month. The program runs on Windows systems as old as 2003.

    windows comodo free

      3. WinDirStat

      True or false: You have too much stuff running at once and your computer hates you. You’ll be able to find out with WinDirStat, a program that allows you to view your disk usage and clean things up if necessary. You’ll be able to see statistics as well as a visual display of your file types. Bonus points: cool colors.

      windows useful programs

        4. Lastpass: for the forgetful

        We’ve all needed Lastpass at one point or another. The program recalls your important passwords by creating browser extensions for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. Never sit dumbfounded in front of an account login again!

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        lastpass windows

          5. Rainmeter: for the wallpaper junkie

          Rainmeter is the perfect way to up the aesthetic value of your desktop and organize it at the same time. Thousands of skins are available like the one below. The program allows you to customize your desktop with memory and battery power, email, RSS feeds, weather forecasts, or whatever else you want to keep track of. Plus, they’re fun to build.

          Rainmeter desktop useful

            6. Defraggler: for the clean freak

            I don’t know about you, but just the idea of having “fragments” scattered around my hard drive gives me the immediate urge to clean. Defraggler is your virtual spring cleaning program, sequencing “blocks” of content and freeing up space. It’s especially good to try if your computer has been running slow. Unlike most defragmentation programs, this one allows you to choose specific files instead of the whole drive. Conveniently, you can also schedule the program to run when you’re not at the computer.

            Defraggler free program

              7. Ultimate Windows Tweaker: for the customizer

              This program will run on Windows 7, 8, XP and Vista, enabling you to “tweak” just about every feature you can imagine. Security, network, display, and other options allow you to set your computer up in the exact way you want it. This is great for those little annoyances you wish you could edit.

              wintweak

                8. Breevy: for the timesaver

                Breevy is certainly the product of a fast-paced, technological age. No longer do you have to type out full words and phrases that you use often. Just save an abbreviation in Breevy, and from then on you can type the abbreviation to make the full word or phrase appear. It also comes with a typo corrector and syncs with TextExpander (a similar program) via Dropbox.

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                windows breevy program

                  9. CCleaner: for the hoarder

                  Ccleaner is similar to Defraggler in cleaning and speeding up your computer. However CCleaner wipes out your Browser’s temporary files, history, cookies, super cookies, and autocomplete form history. Think of CCleaner as the poor guys who have to clean out a hoarder’s house. Think of Defraggler as the interior designers who go in afterwards and trying to make sense of what’s left.

                  ccleaner program useful

                    10. XBMC: for the media junkie

                    XBMC is home theater software that allows you to view movies, shows, and pictures. You can also listen to music, play DVDs, and download an XBMC remote control on your Iphone. The program is open source with a 10 foot user interface (yea, get the popcorn ready). As of recently, you can even watch Netflix and download tons of other addons like weather forecasts, skins, and webscrapers.

                    XBMC

                      11. Virtualbox

                      Virtualbox is an open source program that enables you to run two operating systems at once. If you’re wondering why on earth you’d need to do that, you’re probably just not nerd enough. It’s useful for testing out new upgrades before installation, playing games, or running programs that are incompatible with your host system. With Virtualbox, you can use Windows as the host or guest system. There’s also a feature called Snapshots that allows you to revert back to a previously saved state.

                      virtualbox program useful

                        12. Unlocker

                        Windows sometimes decides to be incredibly frustrating and not allow you to delete a file. It will often say that the file is being used by an open program, but you might have no idea which one. Unlocker is the solution. Download Unlocker, right click those files, and select “Unlock” to get rid of them. That’s it!

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                        Unlocker windows

                          Featured photo credit: Joergermeister via flickr.com

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                          Last Updated on May 14, 2019

                          8 Replacements for Google Notebook

                          8 Replacements for Google Notebook

                          Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

                          1. Zoho Notebook
                            If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
                          2. Evernote
                            The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
                          3. Net Notes
                            If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
                          4. i-Lighter
                            You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
                          5. Clipmarks
                            For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
                          6. UberNote
                            If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
                          7. iLeonardo
                            iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
                          8. Zotero
                            Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

                          I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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                          In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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