Some must have programs
for your Windows System
For safe computing experience, there
are certain types of programs which must be there on any system. I will
mention here some of the programs I have been using for keeping my
system safe and healthy. There are many excellent programs other than
those I mention here. But, since I have not used them, I would refrain
from commenting about them.
This is a most vital first layer of
defense for any computer to avoid unpleasant crashes and corruption of
its system and files. With dozens, or maybe hundreds, of computer
viruses launched every day, a computer without a good anti-virus
software is actively courting disaster. Sooner, rather than later, it
will get infected resulting in grief to its owner.
If you can afford to spend some dough,
go for NOD32 from www.eset.com.
However, it is not necessary to spend money in order to have a good
anti-virus software. There are excellent free programs like
AVAST. Whatever program you choose,
make sure that they are updated over the internet daily.
A firewall prevents hackers from
connecting to your computer and it also prevents trojans and other
malware from "phoning home" to their creators. I have found the free
ZoneAlarm to be an excellent software and have been using it for
years. If you can spend money, go for the pro version which has many
Spyware is another type of malware
which cannot be detected properly by anti-virus programs for the simple
reason that a spyware works differently than a computer virus. I
recommend free AVG anti-spyware which was known as "ewido" in its
earlier avatar. Microsoft also has released a very good and free
anti-spyware program named "Windows
Defender". Webroot Spysweeper
is considered by many to be the best program in its category. It is a
Cleaners (Useless files
Over a period of time,
Windows collects many useless files such as temporary files and back up
files. Then there are many files cached in internet explorer. These
files are not at all necessary for smooth running of a system and
clutter up the hard disk. Same happens with Windows registry. Too many
useless entries get accumulated in the registry and slow down the
system. Many excellent programs are available for free for cleaning up
your system. I regularly use two programs: EasyCleaner from
and CCleaner. Both these
programs clean unnecessary files as well as the registry. They are free
too. I run them one after the another and enjoy the satisfaction of
having a clean system.
Loss of important computer files for
want of a proper backup, be it mail or documents or photographs,
makes one feel real sad and stupid. Ask me, I have experienced it :-)
and I plan never to experience it again if I can help.
There are two types of
back up. Normally, the term "back up" is related to making copies of
data files such as word documents, spreadsheets, pictures, music,
videos, email files, installation files for programs and so on. These
files are created as a result of user's actions (typing, downloading
etc). These files should be backed up regularly using a back up program
on external hard disk or over a network if you are on one. The idea is
to insulate the backed up files and folders from the system. This way,
if the system gets infected by some virus or if there is some device or
system failure, your data files would be safe.
There are numerous
programs for backing up data files; freeware as well as shareware. It is
difficult to decide which are the best programs available. I use my own
program AKGBackup. It has never failed me and perhaps is one of
the fastest back up programs available.
The files which are
created during installation of operating system are called system files.
Files and folders are also created during installation of programs.
These files are necessary to run operating system and the installed
programs. When the operating system and programs are running, the files
necessary to make them run remain open and in use. Such files cannot be
backed up using normal back up programs, as access to any open or "in
use" files is denied to the back up program by the operating system. If
one tries to backup system and program files, in the hope of being able
to restore the whole system and programs in the event of some problem,
he would be disappointed as many crucial files will be missing from the
back up (those which were in use at the time of backing up).
However, there is a way
of backing up whole system including operating system and installed
programs using different kind of software. Such software is called image
creation program. The image creating programs copy the entire system
partition bit by bit to another location in the form of a file and the
whole system partition can be restored whenever required. The advantage
of such back up is that you can restore your system to its original
Once you have installed
all the programs you need on your system, you can create a system image
and store it somewhere safe. I create several images of my system. The
first image is created after complete installation of Windows, drivers
and activation. The second image is created after I am through
installing all the programs. I keep both of these images on a partition
on the other hard disk in my system. After some days of computing, I
create third image and name it "CurrentImage". Then as I go on
installing and tweaking more programs, I keep over-writing this third
One more important
thing: clean your system and registry using cleaner programs and then
defrag the system partition before creating an image.
Acronis True Image is one of the
best programs for system back up. It is a shareware, but the price can
gladly be paid for having peace of mind.
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