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Best free essential software for a new laptop

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Saying there's plenty then posting one that's written by MS's no 1 fanboy doesn't really help your case though.
Maybe not.... the link was in my recent history and I couldn't be bothered searching for others I'd read!

 

Fanboy or not, It's an informative review and makes some good points, especially the bit about the 450 million using AU I quoted. That's a massive pool for the MRST and MSE to collect malware related data from and the review shows how it utilises this data. Add to that the usual sources the AV companies draw data and samples from.

 

AVG has slipped in the detections stakes recently and I think that's directly linked to the fact a lot of users changed to alternatives (Avast, Avira) when it became so bloated, thus the data it collects via those users goes down. Contrast that to Avast who have gone on from strength to strength as their market share rose.

 

There are independent tests that rate it quite well, as discussed on that other thread here the other night
Yes, look to av-comparatives, Westcoast labs, av-test and Virus bulletin (Registration required for some)

 

The only really bad review I've read so far was from...... Symantec (Norton) !!

 

Despite some decent independent reviews though I'd still be reluctant to use any security software by MS, they're still the biggest target for hackers
Each to there own. :)

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Install Foxit reader, instead of adobe reader, faster and leaner.

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Evil ? possibly - bloated malware door certainly but necessary ? - no.

 

The are several good, small and fast pdf readers available that don't phone home or have periodic vulnerabilities. I use Foxit reader, there may be better ones but it does all I want.

 

If you want a truly lightweight pdf reader (less than 2 mb) go for this

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Irfanview is something I've used for years - one day when I feel a bit richer and less tight, I really will use their 'donate' button and send a few quid (saying a lot for me) :blush::D

 

Yes IrfanView is brilliant - can't compress your images in a word document anymore? just copy and paste into IrfanView and edit the image for compression to 200 dpi (as default value in Word) and paste back, a 70 Mb file becomes 11 Mb!

 

regards,

swarfendor43

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There has been quite a mention of K-lite codec packs - my only concern here (possibly serveral) is the extensive list of codecs that are available and if you don't know what you are doing ...

 

Also, PSI (Personal Security Inspector) picks up the fact that it uses an outdated Media Player (Classic) that is susceptible to hacking vulnerabilities.

 

Must try that GomPlayer Ghozer mentioned.

 

For a one-stop shop (not exhaustive as you can make suggestions) http://ninite.com

 

regards,

swarfendor43

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I've tried most of the media players and find vlc one of the best as it plays almost any file but weighs in @ 17.6mb. Tried gom and liked it but found that for some files it was CPU intensive and choppy in places so I stopped using that.

 

I've now started to use Media Player Classic Home Cinema 1.3 as its one of the few that can use the GPU on modern grafix cards for video acceleration and its fairly compact @ 4mb. I'm not bothered about the hacking vulnerability report on it.

Edited by apelike
spelling

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Depends on your OS but the best things I've picked up so far on Win7:

 

Handbrake - Simple yet powerful video encoder, great if you want to watch video on an iPod etc as it has built in presets.

 

Windows Movie Maker 2.6 - The new Windows Live version is nowhere near as good so download and stick with this if you're on Win7.

 

Picasa - Great for viewing and sharing photos.

 

Paint.NET - Powerful Paint replacement, works with layers etc and you can download loads of plugins for additional functions.

 

VLC (VideoLAN) - Simple, skinnable and plays everything you can throw at it.

 

7-Zip - Powerful zipping tool with support for splitting files etc, miles better than WinRAR and open source.

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Vuze

 

Presumably to test the AV:hihi:

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Are CD/DVD burning applications going to die a death now Windows 7 has native support for it?

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For a free registry cleaner try Eusing.

 

I wouldn't think that was essential software for a new laptop.

 

There are plenty of articles throughout the web that dismiss the need for registry cleaners no matter what the age of the PC. The only evidence I have seen put forward to conclude that these programs have any benefit at all are usually from the vendors themselves.

 

It might be very well using these if it's a reputable program and you know what you are removing (deleting) and why it is being removed. The Windows Registry is complex and most people using registry cleaners don't know what they removing or why, storing up the potential for trouble.

 

Microsoft

 

Are registry cleaners necessary?

 

The Windows* registry is a database that lists all of the configuration settings that determine how Windows looks and behaves. Sometimes, settings that are no longer needed will remain in the registry in case they are ever needed again. There's nothing unusual about this, and this data, while unused, is small in size.

 

Some products available for free on the Internet suggest the registry needs regular maintenance or cleaning. Occasionally, a registry setting can become corrupt but, in general, the registry is self-sufficient.

Why I don’t use registry cleaners

 

Most people I know use registry cleaners as part of their magic cleanup routine, and I see very little upside and a lot of potential downside in this sort of routine use. Specifically, as I write below, I have never seen any evidence that routine “cleaning” of the registry has any positive effect. I stand behind that statement....

 

....How can you balance those against the risk that the utility will “clean” (in other words, delete) something you really need, causing a program or feature to fail?

 

....there wasn’t a single example of an actual performance test. Virtually all the results were from companies that make and sell this sort of utility, or from download sites that have affiliate agreements with these developers.

Are Registry Cleaners Safe to Use?

 

People seem to think that “cleaning” the registry will make it smaller and easier to manage. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. What you are doing is creating mini gaps in the registry’s file. These gaps will be reused by new data that inserts itself into your registry. The end result is that the registry becomes fragmented. Searching the data in a fragmented file is way slower than it is within an optimized file....

 

....Registry cleaning will not improve your system speed. Even though there are a lot of orphaned keys and/or values present, you won’t notice a difference in your system speed....

 

....To be quite frank, if you “clean” your registry often enough, it will become fragmented. That WILL result in slower system performance

Registry Junk: A Windows Fact of Life

 

....developing one that’s both safe and effective requires a huge amount of application-specific knowledge.

Hi Mark, do you really think that Registry junk left by uninstalled programs could severely slow down the computer? I would like to 'hear' your opinion.
No, even if the registry was massively bloated there would be little impact on the performance of anything other than exhaustive searches....

Do I need a Registry Cleaner?

 

Summary:

 

Will using Registry Cleaners speed-up my system and make it more reliable?

 

It will have no effect on system speed. There is an excellent chance it will make your system less reliable.

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