Choosing the software with which to protect your computer is never easy, however if you want to sleep relatively quiet you can use an antivirus like Bitdefender Free Edition that has almost always obtained the highest marks in the comparative tests (and is completely free) and an antimalware of consolidated reliability as Malwarebytes Antimalware that you can use to perform a second-second scan (it does not monitor the PC in real time) and free the system from “hassles” like the promotional toolbars included in many free software. For the same purpose, if you prefer, you can also rely on Spybot.
In addition to protecting the computer from viruses and malware, it is also necessary to carry out a constant maintenance of the operating system, activities that you can entrust to applications such as CCleaner which allows you to free the hard disk from useless files, repair errors in the Windows registry and speed up system startup by removing the programs set to start automatically.
Another fundamental aspect concerning computer security is the use of secure passwords to subscribe to online services. Passwords that must be kept safely. To this end, I would like to recommend the browser extensions linked to the free LastPass service, which allows you to keep all access data to Internet sites in a protected archive and recall them with a single master password. Alternatively, you could use the 1Password payment program which differs from LastPass in that it stores mainly offline passwords (they can still be synchronized online via Dropbox or iCloud) and for the ability to also store credit card and license information of software.
Find download links and other very good software to protect / speed up your PC in the following posts: programs to delete toolbar; programs to free up disk space; password programs.
Watch movies, store photos, listen to music: with your computer you can do this and much, much more. Find out how by downloading the software I’m about to advise you.
After downloading movies from the Internet with the software that I have previously indicated you will want to enjoy them on your PC without problems, here comes into play VLC which is a phenomenal free media player (as well as open source) thanks to which you can play any type of video files without using external codecs.
If instead you prefer to create them videos, the choice can only fall on Windows Movie Maker. This is the best free video editing software available on Microsoft systems that allows even the least experts to edit videos, create animated slideshows with photos, apply writings and effects to movies shot with digital video cameras and much more.
For more details, take a look at my posts with programs to view videos and programs to make videos.
As for photo editing there is little to say: Photoshop is the best. It is a software that allows you to really do everything with digital images and with a pinch of practice it can be used even by less experienced users, however it is very expensive. Its best free alternative is called GIMP and even if it fails to reach the level of completeness of the Adobe software it can be used with extreme satisfaction even by the professionals of the photographic industry.
Quite what is instead expensive is Picasa, an excellent software for storing, viewing and correcting images distributed free by Google. Install it and you won’t need other programs for your photos.
Find the download links and other interesting photo software in my guides on the best photo editing programs and the best programs to store photos.
The way you listen to music on your PC has changed, now there are streaming services like the excellent Spotify that allows you to listen for free (and above all legally) any kind of song via the Internet. I highly recommend it, also because the free version has as a “contraindication” only a few advertising intervals between one song and another.
If you are a more “traditionalist” type and still love to listen to the music you have downloaded locally on your PC, try Apple’s iTunes which among other things gives access to a vast catalog of music to buy directly online.
Do you need to make audio recordings or small music editing operations? Don’t think twice about installing Audacity, the best free audio editor available for Windows that allows you to apply a wide range of modifications, corrections and special filters to WAV, MP3 and OGG audio files.
You find the download links in my posts dedicated to programs to listen to music, edit music and listen to online radio.
Other utilities not to be missed
In conclusion, I want to tell you about the PC programs of varying utility that I have not mentioned in the previous categories.
Compressed archives management
When it comes to extracting compressed archives in ZIP, RAR or 7Z format and zipping files you can rely without too much trouble on the excellent free 7-Zip program which is very light and easy to use. If instead you need to create archives in RAR format you have to contact WinRAR for a fee but it is available in a trial version without time limits (with advanced features blocked, such as creating password-protected archives). Learn more about the subject by reading my post about programs to extract files.
Creating backups of files is crucial. You can choose to make your backups online using solutions such as Dropbox that offers over 2GB of space on the Internet for free (synchronizing data on all computers automatically) or in a more traditional way on external hard drives or other media with EaseUS Todo Backup. Find more info in my article on backup programs.
The spread of cloud storage services, such as the just mentioned Dropbox, and versatile storage devices such as USB sticks has made burning files on diskettes more marginal. However if your PC is equipped with a DVD or Blu-Ray burner it would be a shame not to install software like Ashampoo Burning Studio which allows you to create data discs, audio CDs, video DVDs and easily duplicate discs. It is available in both free and paid versions with additional functions. Find out more details in my guide on burning programs.