Now I fully know students like me don’t want to pay for anything, if they can get away with it. As is said the best things in life are free.
This is true of software, but trying to find viable replacements to the expensive mainstream software such as Microsoft Office can be hard. But over the last few years there has been a small revolution. Initially free software was poor or well below standard. This is still true in some aspects, but there are some cracking freebies that nearly or more frequently than not, out perform there expensive competitors. I always use free software, here are my favourite free essentials:
Well, no competition here, it has to be Firefox, why? It is more reliable, less likely to let viruses through and in my opinion more aesthetically pleasing than Microsofts equivalent – Internet Explorer.
Outlook from Microsoft is nothing special. If you will be or have dumped Internet Explorer, like I did a couple of years ago, you may want to switch to Thunderbird. From Mozilla who make Firefox, it has a pleasant interface, I’m not convinced about its reliability. I’ve known it to crash the computer for a couple of second when getting/reading/deleting mail. Give it a try, I still don’t think you will go back to Outlook.
Antivirus & Spyware
There is a little choice here, for antivirus protection you can use either the well known AVG Antivirus or BitDefender, both are very good, possibly, all thought this is open to debate, BitDefender seems to find more varieties of viruses more often.
Another danger to your computer is Spyware. This allows people to gain access to your browsing habits whilst online. The current favorite way to eliminate this treat is Spybot – Search & Destroy.
With Microsoft Office the dominant name in this market, you may be forgiven to think there is not any viable alternatives. But there is in the form of Open Office. Again totally free and as you would expect, it has all the essentials. Word processor, Spreadsheet, Drawing application and Presentation tool.
Free Software Packs
You can download ‘packs’ of free software from Open Disk, they allow you to download an iso file that needs to be burnt to a disk, for help on this iso burning business click here. As well as some of the software mentioned above they also have additional extras such as GIMP which is sort of an equivalent to Photoshop, plus many more exciting tools. There is also a specific student alternative that has useful tools for students included.
Alternatively you can even run these free applications off a flash drive, great if you are on the move, the site you want is PortableApps.com
Hope you find some useful bits and pieces!