Association of Personal Computer User Groups

Arizona Alliance of Computer Clubs


Useful Websites and Products
April 2010

Web Tour is a monthly feature where we travel the internet to find interesting sites and programs. Web Tour appears in the group's newsletter as well as here on our website. Just click the links below to visit the sites.

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Could All Apps be Free?
by Bill Aulepp
Member - Phoenix PC Users Group

Web Tour this month encompasses a project I have thought about for some time. Could you have a computer with all of the applications being free? Well here they are.

One caveat is that while the apps are free, they are sometimes littered with additional sponsored applications. For example, you will encounter boxes with check marks in them while you are downloading. At first you might think this is part of the application you want. Read carefully what that checked box includes. My rule of thumb is to almost always left-click all the check boxes, and clear the check mark. That keeps programs I do not want from being downloaded.

Another caveat is that you should carefully read and search for the download you want. Many apps have a free version and several for-pay versions on the same page. The objective is to get you to mistakenly download the for-pay application and then hope you decide to keep it. When you get to a page that has all these unwanted downloads, think of it as a treasure hunt. Somewhere on the site, sometimes in very small print, you will find the free application you want. Go for it. It's worth it.

One other point of order. This list is comprised of my favorite apps. I know there are many other versions and types, but I picked these because they all work for me, and they work on Vista / Win 7.

Open Office
Office Suite

This is probably the best known of the freebie apps. It has most of the Office Suite programs such as word processing, a spreadsheet and so on.

PDF Creator
Virtual Printer

PDF Creator is a virtual printer, so it's automatically integrated and ready for use in all of your favorite Windows programs. Just think of it as another printer.

Adobe Reader
PDF Reader

The universal standard, free from Adobe

Advanced System Care
System Cleaner

I have tried many system cleaners. I even bought two of them, but I prefer this one, and use it at least once a week. You will be amazed at the crap your computer collects. It has a one-click approach to help protect, repair, clean, and optimize your PC.

Driver Max
Driver Updater

Download the latest driver updates for free for Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP. Driver Max lists all of your current drivers in a separate folder. The free version allows only two driver downloads per day. Vista and Win 7, however, are good at keeping your drivers up to date, so that is not a burden.

Security - Antivirus and Firewall

It's effective, works in the background, and is unobtrusive.


Probably only required for XP. Vista and Win 7 have built-in firewalls.

VLC Player
Media Player

This multi-platform media player supports most audio and video formats.

Paint Net
Photo Program

Easily competes with the expensive programs.

Belarc Advisor
Computer Profiler

A complete account of what is in your computer.

Zip Utility

A must, as many downloads are in the compressed form. Handles most compressed formats.

Cam Studio
Screen Copier

CamStudio is able to record all screen video and audio activity on your computer.

create demo videos for any software
create videos answering your FAQ
create video tutorials for school classes
record problems to show tech support
create video products you can sell

Disk Burner

A free open source program to copy and record to discs.

This is a good start, and there are many more free programs out there. We will cover some of them in future issues.


All of the Web Tour sites in the newsletter are archived and instantly available right here on our website. Don't waste time-consuming typing of the site addresses. Just click, and you are there.

Tip Jar
If you have favorite sites and products,
drop them in the Tip Jar:  
Tip Jar