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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 February 15, 2019

                          7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                          7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                          Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                          Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                          Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                          So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                          Joe’s Goals

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                            Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                            Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                            Daytum

                              Daytum

                              is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                              Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                              Excel or Numbers

                                If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                                What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                                Evernote

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                                  I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                                  Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                                  Access or Bento

                                    If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                                    Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                                    You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                                    Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                                    All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                                    Conclusion

                                    I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                                    What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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