Tips / Links

Tips and links to help you keep your computer running safely (that do not cost anything).



bullet Net Zero - Why spend $23.90/month on AOL? Get NetZero Platinum's fast, reliable internet access for only 9.95/month.
bulletEveryone knows you need to be running up to date virus protection these days. There are a few major players in the 'free' market, this is the one I've found to be best (it usually finds virus's on machines with 'paid for' anti-virus programs already installed). Download here.


bullet Microsoft XP Powertoys. These are from the MS site, although not 'supported' by MS. All that means is they are 'aftermarket' tweaks that MS approves, but did not make. Some cool features!
bulletTweak-All. This is a GUI tweak program for ALL versions of windows. Boot up faster, optimize your internet connetion, etc. This is NOT from the MS site.
bulletWindows Media Player - how to turn off spyware:
  1. Open the Windows Media Player
  2. Click the Tools menu and then click the Options command
  3. Remove the checkmark from the Allow Internet sites to uniquely identify your Player checkbox
  4. Click Apply and then click OK
  5. Close the WMP and then open it again.


bulletAd-aware. This software checks for and eliminates spyware on your computer. Spyware is software installed when you install a program, and behind your back it installs a communications module onto your computer to relay information back to the host. There are several popular programs software companies use to do this, this one will catch all the known ones. Download here, install, and read the directions.


bulletZone Alarm. This is pretty much accepted as THE best free (for private use) firewall out there. It is easily configured, and does its job. If you have an 'always on' connection (like DSL or Cable Modem), you should be running a firewall. Scroll to the bottom to find the free download.  Download here.


bulletIf you download a lot of software, this is a small program that connects to a large database of software with known spyware attachments. Open this little program before you download a freeware or shareware program, type in the name, and it will tell you if that program includes spyware. Download here.


bulletBack Orifice was a particularly nasty virus (trojan) that would give someone else complete control of your computer remotely. This program will tell you if it is on your machine, and remove it. Download here.


bulletThis program is a different means to foil the communications spyware. Instead of removing the offending dll's and registry entries, it blocks the communications by using the hosts file to divert communications to a non-existant address. If you are afraid to delete the files that Ad-aware finds, you would alternately use this. Download here.


bulletBroderbund was using its own spyware, and decided to stop. If you already have it installed from previous software, they offer a utility to delete it from your computer. Download here.


bulletGreat opt-out site. To keep you saturated with banner ads and pop-ups and such, your computer stores cookies that tells advertisers what banners to send. You can actually set a cookie for various ad-servers to tell them to not send that ad at all. Follow this link to this great site, and opt-out of everything you don't want to keep getting!



bulletTax software. If you normally do your own taxes, hopefully you have realized the MAJOR benefits of using TurboTax (or its kind). But, save your $20 and use TaxAct for free! Same type of interface, the only negative is you can't import your data from other tax software (like TurboTax). Download here.



bulletTired of paying $20-$30 for your ink jet cartridges? Tired of ads you can't be sure of what they will really ship? For ink around $5-$8 (black - color), that works just like OEM (I know because I use it!) go here.



If you know of valuable sites / software that do great things for your computer, that are FREE, to add to this list, email me here.