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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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                          Featured photo credit: Joergermeister via flickr.com

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                          Published on November 19, 2020

                          15 Great Macbook Accessories To Improve Productivity

                          15 Great Macbook Accessories To Improve Productivity

                          When looking to improve your workflow, you need to have a proper computer. And one of the most appealing computers out there is macbooks. These sleek transportable computers allow you to work anywhere at any time and provide a lot of functionality to their users.

                          But sometimes, that’s not enough. In so many cases, you’re looking for more.

                          While you could go for some productivity apps, there are actually a lot of macbook accessories available that will make your life easier in many ways. These extra accessories will allow your macbook to charge faster, hold more data, or keep it safe and protected while you travel around.

                          Beyond that, there is a wide variety of accessories to pick from as many companies have jumped onto the bandwagon of supply to macbook users. Below we’ve listed off some of the greatest macbook accessories that’ll benefit your computer.

                          What Makes For Great Macbook Accessories?

                          Before getting into the list, we wanted to go over the criteria for what makes for great macbook accessories. The items that we’ve picked from this list will have the following criteria:

                          • Reasonably priced – Accessories themselves shouldn’t break the bank compared to the large initial investment of a macbook.
                          • Usability – All these accessories are practical in various situations, however, they also have extra features that make them useful in a few situations beyond their obvious functions.
                          • Compact – Workflow is also about space in most circumstances. As such, anything that’s too bulky doesn’t help much. These accessories are either large on purpose – for storage of other items – or are nice and compact so they won’t get in the way.

                          A USB Drive To Store Files Quickly Without Accessing The Cloud

                            While you can always access the Cloud at any time, sometimes accessibility can be cumbersome or it takes time. Instead of trying to access files that way, getting a USB flash drive can save you plenty of time. Especially if your work entails providing presentations.

                            The SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive is great as it offers USB-C and USB-A connectors allowing you to plug into virtually any device and transfer files and more between computers. Also, USB drives boast several hundred gigabytes these days making them solid storage devices.

                            Buy SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive here.

                            Compact Charger That Does More Than Charge

                              Your default charger that comes with your MacBook is a good option for a charger, but these days chargers can offer so much more. This can help you speed up your workflow as you can be charging other devices or using the charger for other uses beyond charging.

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                              In the case of the Anker PowerPort charger, it is more compact than the default charger. It also offers another USB-C connector allowing you to rapidly charge another gadget with it.

                              Buy Anker PowerPort charger here.

                              Port Adapter For Those With Multiple Devices

                                One of the hard restrictions with a macbook is that it only has two USB-C ports. This is manageable for people with fewer gadgets but if you’re the kind who has several, it can interrupt your workflow if you need a particular device and you can’t charge it or access it.

                                In this situation, a port adapter from Satechi can help. It offers multiple USB-C ports allowing you to use multiple devices. This can also help in organizing cords which we know can disrupt work. If the USB-C ports aren’t enough, it also comes with an SD card reader and ethernet cable port too.

                                Buy Satechi Multi-Port Adapter here.

                                A USB Cable That Isn’t As Intrusive Or Cumbersome To Use

                                The USB-C cable that comes with Macbooks is small and is used to hook to an external monitor. By adding more length to them, you can have better cable management. One option that we found to be ideal was the Nomad Kevlar cable which offers enough length to do what you want while giving you more space to work with.

                                Buy Nomad Kevlar USB-C Cable here.

                                Screen Cleaning Your Laptop To See What You’re Doing

                                Dust, particles and splotches are to be expected on laptop screens after a while. While you can work around these, sometimes they can obscure your vision at times. The same can apply to all devices these days.

                                The only problem with many solutions on the market is that they can damage screens. Fortunately, we found a screen cleaning solution that doesn’t harm screens. ScreenDr Professional screen cleaning kit comes with a spray that’s safe for screens and an antimicrobial microfiber cloth to ensure you make the most of the spray.

                                Buy ScreenDr Professional Screen Cleaning Kit here.

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                                Card Reader That Speeds Up Photo Transfer Time

                                  If you’re looking for a standalone card reader for your work, getting a device designed for photo transferring and reading is essential. One of the best macbook accessories in this category we found was the Vanja card reader.

                                  This one is able to read SD and MicroSD cards while also transferring the pictures to a computer with ease thanks to its USB-C and USB 2.0 port options. It’s also small making it easy to carry around and is cheap to buy making it a great choice to pick up if you deal with plenty of pictures.

                                  Buy Vanja Card Reader here.

                                  Protective Sleeves To Protect Your Laptop From Harm

                                  For those who are travelling the last thing that you want is your laptop to get damaged for whatever reason. Even though you’re not likely to drop it as frequently as your phone, having a sleeve for a laptop to be in can save you time.

                                  One sleeve that we found interesting was the Native Union sleeves. They are made of tear-resistant material with genuine leather accents. Its interior is soft as well preventing scratches from your laptop. It also offers a pocket area where you can store cables and other macbook accessories easily.

                                  Buy Native Union’s laptop sleeve here.

                                  Car Charger For Charging On The Go

                                    For the person always driving around, a car charger is always a helpful tool to have when you’re on the go. The one from Anker is particularly helpful in a number of ways. Not only can this charge your macbook, but it also has an additional port for you to charge your phone if needed.

                                    It’s not the fastest charger out there when compared to the Macbook Pro adapter but it’s the highest in the market with an output power of 30 watts. For comparison, the second-fastest charging connector offers an output of 18 watts. Aside from that the charger has an illuminated LED ring for you to see it and the connectors late at night. It also has a function that ensures devices don’t experience surges or overheating from the charger itself.

                                    Buy Anker PowerDrive car charger here.

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                                    USB-C to USB-A Adapter Grants Access To Older Models

                                    If your older macbook still works but has files you want that you didn’t back up that you want this makes it easier to access them. It also allows you to access devices that have USB-A slots only. This can save you a lot of time if you are moving between older and newer devices.

                                    Buy Thunderbolt Adapter here.

                                    A Hardshell Case For Added Protection

                                    A sleeve is good for travel, but when you’re using it, having an extra layer of protection can be nice. Beyond that this hardshell case can also serve as additional protection from scratches and bumps too.

                                    Buy Incase Textured Hardshell case here.

                                    Alternative Sleeve For Those With Tighter Budgets But Want Protection

                                      If you are looking for an appropriate laptop sleeve but aren’t looking to spend too much, AmazonBasics brands are a good alternative. Their sleeves are elegant and still offer good protection from scratches as well. It also has a few pockets for small essentials too.

                                      Buy AmazonBasics laptop sleeve here.

                                      A Hub That Accommodates Several Ports At Once

                                      We’ve already mentioned a port before being a huge time saver thanks to it having various ports for different devices. This one is a great alternative as while it doesn’t offer as many USB-C ports, it offers more variety. Paired up with the design being the same color as the MacBook Air, it offers two USB-C connectors, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and SD and microSD card readers.

                                      Buy Satechi Type C Pro Hub here.

                                      Earbuds To Deal With Fewer Headphone Cords

                                        Cords are a common problem when boosting productivity at the desk and one way to mitigate them is to go wireless. If you are thinking about that, one option to consider is the Soundcore earbuds. These are cheaper than the traditional AirPods from Apple which can save you money.

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                                        Furthermore, they deliver great sound and are connected via Bluetooth. The beauty of these earbuds is they can also cancel sound despite them being so compact. They also offer touch control allowing you to pause, play, skip music and answer calls.

                                        Buy Soundcore Wireless Earphones here.

                                        Desktop Stand To Save Desk Space

                                          Desk space is another crucial part of productivity as things can get in the way and obstruct your work. In cases where you don’t need your laptop at the moment, having a stand where you can set it aside can be helpful.

                                          In those situations, we recommend the Twelve South Book Arc. This neat Macbook accessor can save a tonne of space since it requires you to close your laptop in order to insert it into the stand. It also keeps it elevated from the surface which can protect it from spills

                                          Buy Twelve South BookArc desktop stand here.

                                          A Comfortable And Easy To Use Mouse For Faster Working Speed

                                          The last of the macbook accessories we’ll talk about is a proper mouse. Logitech offers fantastic mouses and their Logitech MX Master 3 is one of the greatest wireless mouses out there. It’s ergonomic design, customizable buttons and insanely precise movement is fantastic. It also comes with a scrolling wheel for precise scrolling.

                                          The battery power can last for months between charges and like all Logitech devices, it comes with a USB-C connector for charging.

                                          Buy Logitech MX Master 3 Wireless Mouse here.

                                          Bottom Line

                                          There are many macbook accessories out there to improve your workflow. Taking the time to do research and invest in some of the best ones though will save you plenty of time, money and energy in the long term. At the same time, all of these accessories can help you with specific needs for whatever you are doing.

                                          Featured photo credit: Viktor Ritsvall via unsplash.com

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