Many times, a PC user will stick to the programs which come on the system originally, even though there may be better, and even free, programs available. Most of the time, it’s simply a case of not knowing what’s available rather than not wanting to make the change, although the latter can be a convincing reason for someone to keep using a program. This list covers all the needs one may have which may be met poorly or are not met at all by system standard programs and utilities and suggests ones which will better do the job. With these, you can spend less time worrying about the state of your system and more time enjoying what it has to offer.
An E-mail Client
These programs connect to and download all your e-mails from the internet via POP technology1. Check your e-mail accounts -all of them – at the same time and in the same window. Automatically have all your e-mail messages saved to your hard drive as files which can be moved with ease. Send attachments, as many and as large as need be, with ease. Manage your contacts with a built in address book (which may be able to utilize contacts from IM programs). Import (or export) settings and contacts with ease. Attach a signature or signatures to any of your e-mail accounts. View messages with HTML codes or without, if you prefer. Set up filters to automatically detect junk mail and let your antivirus program scan all incoming and outgoing messages. Use a program that integrates with your browser.2 Be alerted instantly when you receive new mail.
An Video/Chat/IM Program
Send messages, files, pictures, emoticons, animated expressions and sounds instantly with friends, family and coworkers. Have a voice (with microphone) and/or webcam chat or conference. Send messages to offline contacts to receive when they come back online. View someone’s online status. Play games with friends. View when someone is typing. See when you have new e-mail (if that service is/can be associated with an account3), join chat rooms and find new friends.
An FTP Client
Upload or download files to/from your server (webhost) directly from/to any specified location on your hard drive.3 Upload multiple files and avoid size restrictions. Avoid logging in to your control panel every time you need to make a tiny change on your homepage or website. Download all files easier to create backups. Edit webpages with a word program such as Textpad, rather than a browser. Avoid losing information because of browser crashes.
Even legitimate sites can become hacked or contain a malicious code or file. Detect malware on your system and prevent new infections. Reclaim your internet, e-mail client and browser after an infection.
Detect, fix and/or prevent virus infections on your system. Viruses can cause your system to act up, run slower, download files, connect to sites/servers, display messages (to yourself or others via e-mail) delete or damage files, and reformat your hard drive.
These programs can compress (pack) or decompress (unpack) files. Although some versions of Windows come with a basic decompression utility, it often does not have as many options as other utilities on the market. Many files allowed for download on the internet need to be unpacked with one utility or another and archive files come in different formats, not all of which can be read with certain utilities. Many utilities offer the option of file compression which makes the archived file smaller in size than the original files and password protection to keep certain prying eyes away from things.
A Better Text Editor
Although not everyone has needs for something like this, chances are do if you’ve ever written a piece of HTML code or programming language. Windows users tend to fall back on Notepad which, while readily accessible, is not the best tool for the job. Advanced text/HTML editors show syntax highlighting which shows different parts of code in different colours and fonts. This allows one to easily see structure and to find errors, such as a pesky missing quotation mark. In Notepad, one might spend hours pouring over a document to find a missing quote because all the code looks exactly the same. Advanced editors also let one have multiple documents open as once, generally in tabs, as well as advanced search and replace functions (ever wanted to replace something in a bunch of documents? You can as long as they’re all open), spellcheck, HTML tag insertion and improved undo/redo functions.