Five free alternatives for bloated software on Windows
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I have always said that Windows machines would run perfectly fine if it weren’t for all the software that people install on them . There is some truth to this for some of the especially bloated, sluggish, commercial software that is out there for Windows.
In this post I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You don’t need Norton anti-virus, Adobe Reader, Microsoft Office, QuickTime, or Microsoft Money for most every day computing needs. Before I get comments saying, “Well, you do need Software A because it does a, b, and c that Software B won’t do,” let me say this. The software outlined in this post is good for almost every non-power user need there is. Also, if you are doing advanced computing, chances are you already know that these products exist and you should know if they fit your needs.
So, here we go with the list.
-Avast Home Edition: Replaces “insert horrible, nasty, bloated commercial anti-virus here” Yep, as I have said before- Norton Sucks, McAfee Sucks, Panda Sucks. Viruses Suck, but you have to deal with them as a Windows user. Go to http://www.avast.com and download the free Home Version.
-Foxit Reader: Replaces Adobe Reader. Why would you want to do this? Because Adobe Reader sucks. It sucks the life out of your RAM every time it loads. It is bloated and it slows your computer down. If you need to read a pdf file, go to http://www.foxitsoftware.com and download Foxit Reader. From what I have seen, it works flawlessly and is very fast. The program itself is about 1/10th the size of Adobe Reader. That should tell you something.
-VLC Media Player: Replaces almost all other media players, including QuickTime. Quicktime works as advertised on the MAC. However, on Windows it just pisses me off. An unsuspecting user will install QuickTime with iTunes if they are not careful and uncheck the iTunes box. QuickTime is slow and causes many weird problems on Windows machines. Go to http://www.videolan.org and download VLC Media Player. Install it with the Firefox plugin (you are browsing with Firefox aren’t you?) and watch embedded web video like QuickTime till your heart’s content. It plays stand-alone video and audio files as well.
-OpenOffice Suite: Replaces Microsoft Office. If you just need a little word processing, presentation creating, and spreadsheet magic, then OpenOffice should work. OpenOffice uses less resources than Microsoft Office and it will save in the Microsoft Office formats (.doc, .ppt, .xls). Head over to http://www.openoffice.org and download the latest version of OpenOffice to save yourself some sanity and money.
-Clearcheckbook.com: Replaces Microsoft Money. There are plenty of users out there that use Microsoft Money to balance their checkbook. They don’t do fancy reports. They aren’t forecasting investments for the next fiscal year. They just want to balance their friggin checkbook. Why they torture themselves with Microsoft Money is beyond me. Clearcheckbook.com is the only web application that I am recommending because it is simple, intuitive, and replaces a core function that many users use in Microsoft Money. This site helps you balance your checkbook (plain and simple) by letting you enter in your purchases via the website, Instant Messaging, or even SMS text messaging. Simple is good and this site works great. There are also some more advanced features that are just as easy to use. Head over to http://www.clearcheckbook.com and rid yourself of Microsoft Money.
That’s it! Five simple programs that won’t break the bank (they’re free) or your computer. Have any alternative programs that you like to use? Let me know in the comments.
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