These are the programs I use on my computer that you may also find useful. All the software is free. Some of them will attempt to sell you upgrades etc but don't go for any free trials. Just use the basic free versions and they should never expire.
As far as I know there is no viruses in any of this software and none of them has ever caused me to lose any of my data. Your mileage may vary.
These two programs are the main ones I use for making web sites. I also use the image software but I pretty much code everything directly in Note Tab Light.
- Note Tab Light
- A totally free advanced text editor. They have a few other editors with other features that they sell, but the light version has everything I need for programming. I wrote this Web site with it.
- A free FTP client. FTP allows you to transfer files between computers online. This is how I access Web hosting for work as well as this site.
- Open Office
- This is a free replacement for Microsoft Office. It's not 100% compatible but I can open and edit most files with it.
- Foxit Reader
- A lightweight program for reading PDF (Adobe Acrobat) documents.
These are the things that make Windows Vista bearable for me.
- The amount of work I do on my computer generates gigs of temp files sometimes. This is a free program to clean them all up without having to look for them.
- ExplorerView gives you the ability to turn off the way Windows Vista's Explorer attempts to auto-detect the contents of a folder. If you use Explorer very much, you know this feature is not accurate, and can lead to frustrating file browsing.
- Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
- A free malware removal tool that only runs when you want to scan with it. This is a heavy-duty antivirus program that will clean up some of the most infected systems.
- Spybot - Search & Destroy
- Similar concept to Malwarebytes' if you install it properly. I turn off almost all the options except the include files and the scanner itself when I install this. I don't use the system settings protection (Tea Timer) or schedule scans with this.
- Types is a free and lightweight utility for Windows that allows you to edit program associations, icons, context menus and other properties of various file types displayed in Explorer. Windows Vista doesn't even have a full interface to edit these.
- A tweaking program that lets you get at hundreds of hidden settings in Windows. When you install this it will ask if you want the latest version. YOU DON'T! It's not free. Never upgrade this. This installer is for the last free version that was released.
- AVG Free
- This runs all the time and tries to prevent viruses from being saved on your hard drive. I recommend you use this as your main antivirus program. Disable the link scanner thing and all other options when you install it. It will occasionally offer you free trial upgrades to AVG's full on security suite, just ignore them.
- Zone Alarm Free
- Firewalls prevent other machines from connecting to yours without your permission. This one also prevents programs on your machine from connecting to the Internet without your knowledge. Same instructions for installation. Turn off all possible options and answer no to pretty much every question. Later it will show dialogs when programs try to connect to the Internet. If you want the program to find you information from the Internet, hit "Allow". Pretty much disallow everything you didn't trigger yourself.
- This allows you to scroll windows using your mouse wheel without having to click inside them. Very nice feature for Windows.
Programs that let me deal with pictures properly.
- This is my default image viewer. Using the mouse wheel moves you quicly through to photos in a directory. It also has it's own thumbnail browser and lets you create screensavers from a set of images. It has good resizing functions so I use it if I need to resize images too.
- The GNU Image Manipulation Program. This can open Photoshop pictures and has a lot of features for doing cool stuff like transparency and gradients.
Programs I use to get information from the Internet.
- This is the Web browser I use most of the time.