Association of Personal Computer User Groups

Arizona Alliance of Computer Clubs


Useful Websites and Products
September 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.

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

The Freedom PC
by Bill Aulepp
Publisher - Phoenix PC Users Group

Last month we did not have a Web Tour as our new editor Michael Bishop and I were busy working out the transfer protocol we would use to divide the work we do on the Newsletter. Michael now has full responsibility for the content of the Newsletter and I will continue to format, print, and mail it as I have been doing for the last couple of years.

I will also continue to do a Web Tour article when I have material that merits printing, but probably not every month.

Today we list the programs on my PC as an example of A Freedom PC using the free applications we have covered in previous web tours.

Many commercial applications set the standard, but if you do not have a business to subsidize the cost, these free applications are reliable and sometimes even better.

So here is my Freedom PC from A to Z. If you use other applications and they work for you, stay with them. If you are a beginner setting up a new PC, this list is a good starting point. If you are a pro, hopefully this list will introduce you to some new programs.

Gateway to the Internet

Microsoft includes their Internet Explorer browser as part of their operating system; however, I prefer to use Mozilla's Firefox. Of course you will have to use Internet Explorer to begin your downloading process so you can obtain Firefox.


Get the latest security and stability release

Keep the Doors and Windows Locked

The next step after a browser is to secure your PC from intruders. Believe me, the bad people are out there just waiting to get in. Protect your PC against the latest viruses and spyware


When I used XP, I used ZoneAlarm as a firewall

Free Version

Get the latest security and stability release

With Win7, and probably Vista, the included firewall appears to work well


Avast Home Edition
Free version

I know this isn't the best known antivirus but for me it works best

System Cleaner
Throw Out the Trash and Put Everything in its Proper Place

We now have a $c Gateway to the Internet $n and we have secured our PC from most intruders. Even with this security, nasty things happen to your PC along the way. The first thing I do each day when I boot up my PC is to run Advanced System Care.

Advanced System Care

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

Tools of the Trade
PDF Reader - Search Tool - Zip Tool - Text Editor

There are some must-have tools, and these are my favorites

PDF Reader

Adobe Reader

The universal standard, free from Adobe

Search Tool


A search engine that uses the other search engines for a combined search

Zip Tool

7-Zip Compression Tool

7-Zip is fast, efficient, and free

Text Editor

Notepad Plus Plus

Lightweight, fast, and full featured, Notepad++ boasts an impressive collection of plugins

Office Suite
Open a Home Office


This complete all-in-one office suite contains all that is needed for a productive day in the home office, featuring word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases, and more

Disk Burner
You Want to Share with Your Friends, Don't You?


Does it all when it comes to burning discs

A powerful tool for grabbing, burning and mastering CD, DVD, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD media. StarBurn supports all types of optical storage media.

Paint Tool
Learn the Magic of Image Manipulation

Paint Net Photo Program

Easily competes with the expensive programs, and it is free

Media Player - Play It Again Sam
From Moovies to Your Own Masterpieces

VLC Media Player

This is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming

PC TV - Enjoy TV Video
It's All Out There - Just Grab It

Streaming TV Programs

Warning - will not work well on slower PCs

Special Situation Programs


Belarc does an "audit" of your PC's hardware, software, installation key codes (for example MS Office, Windows XP and Vista). Save and print these out as you add and remove programs, devices, etc. Even finds your motherboard's manufacturer and serial number. Very helpful when you call tech support.


Powerful audio recorder, editor, amplifier, noise reduction. Great for recording support calls, doing audio note taking, music editing, etc.


Access and back up your home or work computer from anywhere with an Internet connection

Electronic Manuals

If you have ever lost the manual that came with one of your consumer electronic items, this is the place to find it. Try it out now! This site also gives street prices for the manual's item.

Driver Max

Download the latest driver updates for free. This applies to 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 if your OS misses an update. Driver Max will come to the rescue.


From this site you can find many, many free download applications. The Web Site describes itself as follows: FreewareUpdater is a small, yet powerful, software management tool to help you keep track of the most popular freeware and open source applications. It is provided to you absolutely free.

Comodo Free Products

An assortment of free products featured in the August 2009 Web Tour


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