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DC MISC.        

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Programs I Load on my Computers

6-18-08 - Been super busy with a bunch of SSLP writing and phoning and there are a zillion bad links on cuke that I'm fixing and had some very time consuming computer glitches that led me to reformat my desktop and then have to reload. I've got to get one of those mirror back ups so I don't have to reload. But I thought I'd share what programs are my computers. Some of them are tres nifty and someone out there may have some other thoughts.

To the Mac folks let me say, I know that system is superior and I promise I'll switch very soon. But until then, here's what I do.

First - it's not a bad idea to periodically erase everything on the hard drive and reload. Super-knowledgeable techies I know do this and have advised this when things got bogged down or there was some problem I couldn't figure out.

On my laptop I've got Vista Home Premium and even though a bunch of folks say it's awful I don't think so though I wish it wouldn't ask me permission to do stuff so much - that function can be disabled. On my desktop I have XP. With both it's important to keep updating and rebooting till it says there are no updates.

After I get the operating system going I put on the virus program. I take my lead from the Computer Recycling Center not far away (check it out - a great outfit) and load lots of free anti virus, spy, and ad programs. They think the free AVG anti-virus is better than the costly Norton.

Next I put on a slew of other guardians. The folks at CRC claim that these free programs are reliable, don't put a bunch of crap in your computer and don't slow it down. Tell me if you disagree. You can also go to and Google for other places to check for reviews on these programs. But they work for me. I haven't had any virus or spy problem for years. Some of these programs update automatically daily and run without you doing anything and some you should update when you open them. Remember to update new programs right away after you download them.


Spy Bot - Search and Destroy (disable the teatimer or it bugs you all the time - you'll get a prompt on this when loading)

Spyware Blaster

Spyware Guard

Super AntiSpyware

Next I put on Piriform's CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) and run it about once a week - Analyze and Clean both Windows and Applications and then do Issues.

CRC also loads Piriform's Defragger instead of using the one that comes with your system which is under Programs/ Accessories/System Tools in XP and Vista. Run it about once a month or so - you'll be able to tell how badly you needed it by seeing what it does.

Next comes Belarc Advisor - Free PC Audit - which is a great tool to let you know everything on your computer at a glance - from the name of your operating system to what type of RAM and how much to passwords - everything is listed. This can be very helpful at unexpected times.

Then I put on Mozilla Firefox so I don't have to use Windows Explorer. I'm not sure what the advantages are but so many techies I know say it's always best to use non MS stuff when you can.

Now it's time for which is the most complete dictionary-encyclopedia-and more in the universe and which sort of completes Google. Anything you want to know about a word just put the cursor over it and hit Alt left click. A truly great program.

Now to load a paid program - Info Select - which I've used since the old DOS days when it was truly the greatest. Now it's just one of many ways to keep notes and I don't know anything else so I can't compare, but to me it's essential. Also - I use an old version (5) and am not interested in a lot of the new fangled stuff they offer. But with it I can organize notes in folders or just keep them all in a big list. It doesn't matter. And I have thousands of notes. You can access anything you want by just hitting G (for get) or the magnifying glass icon and writing whatever it is you're looking for and only note with what you're writing will remain on screen. But the new one's expensive and I don't know what else is out there. I'll bet there's something free that's good and simple.

I don't need Open Office at this point but I've used it and can say from my experience that this free program eliminates the need to pay a lot for MS Office.

Where I'm really in the Stone Age is that I still use Front Page to do my web site. I frequently have techies tell me to get with it and start using CSS and blog software and stuff and I've had a few suggest they'll do it for me but so far no one's had the time and I'm so involved with content that I haven't set aside the time to figure all that out. I really need professional help. Mercy.

One thing you can do to speed up your computer is to go to MSconfig and uncheck just about everything in the Startup part. You know those icons on the bottom right? Those programs are running and some of them don't need to be - you can just open them when you need them. To do this in XP go to Start and hit the bottom button for RUN - in Vista Run is in the Accessories folder in Programs - then write in <msconfig> and when it opens go to the far right STARTUP tab. You can uncheck most of that stuff. Leave whatever anti-virus and spyware programs you want running. If you want to know what something is on that list - like ctifmon.exe, just copy and paste it onto Google and you'll find plenty of techies telling you about it and whether you need it and, in this case, how to get rid of it even though it keeps reappearing on startup.

Oh yes - Skype - it's great for phone calls.

And Google desktop! I think it's great.

Okay - that's enough of all that. Please comment on anything here and add and subtract from it if you wish. I always like to learn better ways to run these computers.

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