Free Programs Every Computer Should Have

There are many free programs that every computer should have installed.  You should also make sure their up to date.  If you a see warning notice pop up telling you an update is available, you'll want to say "yes" to downloading and installing it. 

You can easily check to see if these programs are installed on your computer by clicking the START button and then ALL PROGRAMS.  You'll have to scan the list of programs looking for the titles below.  If you do see these programs installed, it would be a good idea to open them and click the CHECK FOR UPDATES button which is usually located under HELP on the menu.

Adobe Reader
Adobe Reader is the program that lets you open and PDF documents. If you already have Adobe Reader installed on your computer, you can open it and click HELP and then CHECK FOR UPDATES to get the latest version.  If you don't have Adobe Reader installed, you can click here to get it.  If you want the ability to convert your documents to PDF for easier sharing through email and the internet, then you'll want to buy Adobe Acrobat.

Flash Player
Many websites today use Flash technology to add graphics, video, and other interactive modules.  Flash player allows to view these websites correctly.  Flash is a plugin installed in your internet browser (e.g., internet explorer, firefox, etc.), so it needs to be installed in each browser separately.  To get the latest flash player, click here.

Java is similar to Flash, but is different technology.  You know those cute little greeting cards you get in the email that say "click here" to create your own firework show around the statue of liberty or throw snowballs, etc. ... those are created using Java.  Java is also used on many business sites like FedEx, USPS, and others.   To get the latest version of Java, click here.

Many of the videos you see on websites use QuickTime to play them.  QuickTime is Apple's technology so it can be installed on PC's and MAC computers.  If you have QuickTime installed on your computer, you may see a program (under ALL PROGRAMS) called, APPLE SOFTWARE UPDATES.  You can open that program to update it.  If you don't have it, you can get the latest version of QuickTime by clicking here.

MalwareBytes AntiMalware
This is one of my favorite programs!   It specializes in removing junk from your computer.  There is a free and paid version of this program and the difference is automation.  You have to update and run the scans yourself in the free version, whereas the paid version will automatically do those things for you.  To learn more about MalwareBytes AntiMalware, click here.

PowerPoint Viewer
This program allows you open and view PowerPoint Files (PPT and PPS).  All those cute little slide shows you get in email are usually created with PowerPoint.  You only need this program if you DON'T have PowerPoint installed on your computer.  To download PowerPoint Viewer, click here.

If you don't have Microsoft Office installed your computer, you can also download free viewers so you can open and read Microsoft Word and Excel documents too.  But like the PowerPoint Viewer, you only need the Word Viewer and Excel Viewer if you don't have Word or Excel installed on your computer.

Microsoft Office Compatibility Converter Pack
You only need this program if you have Microsoft Office installed and it's a version earlier than 2007.  You don't need it if you have Microsoft Office 2007 or later or if you don't have Microsoft Office installed.  This converter pack allows earlier version of Microsoft Office to open Word, Excel and PowerPoint files created with Microsoft Office 2007 and later. To get the Microsoft Office Converter Pack, click here.

Microsoft Works 6-9 File Converter
This program is for Microsoft Word users who sometimes have to open documents created with Microsoft Works. Although Microsoft created both programs, they're not compatible with each other.  Many new computers today come with Microsoft Works pre-installed.  And this is the only program you are working in, that's fine.  But if you're a Word user and now need to open a Works document (.wps),  this converter will let you. To download the Works converter, click here.

I'm a big believer that EVERY computer should have a second internet browser installed.  The reason is that if Internet Explorer gets corrupted (which it frequently does), then the only way to fix it is to get to the internet ... but if you can't get to the internet, you can't fix it. That's where having another browser your computer is helpful.  Having another browser on your computer will let you get to the internet if Internet Explorer is corrupted.  You don't have to use Firefox if you don't want to.  But having it installed will give you a backdoor to the internet.  While there are other browser alternatives (Chrome, Safari, Netscape, etc.), Firefox is my favorite browser.  To get Firefox, click here.