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Maintaining, Protecting, and Optimizing Your Computer

So far you have learned to set-up your browser, and manage your computer's file system. The last thing to do to get the most from you computer is to install and use various tools that will:

  1. Project your computer from virus'
  2. Keep your computer running at optimal levels by not allowing spyware, malware, etc. from entering your system
  3. Protect your privacy and security
  4. Maintain your computer by performing various utilities

You will be given some tools that will allow you to perform the above. All of the applications that you will be using are free, and none of them will pose a threat to you or your computer. I have personally tested all of the software. Sometimes they change the links and so you may have to hunt down the application. If this is the case the easiest thing to do is to Google it. Before beginning you do need to familiarize yourself with Freeware and Open Source software. There is a reason for its existence. Go to the sites below and read a little about them. You will have to write a one page paper on the section below.

To learn some Windows short-cuts then you may want to visit this page, for Mac OS then go here. Both pages will provide you with the tools needed to successfully navigate your OS.

Freeware and Open Source

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is dedicated to promoting computer users' rights to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs.

The GNU Project was launched in 1984 to develop a complete UNIX-like operating system which is free software: the GNU system. Variants of the GNU operating system, which use the kernel called Linux, are now widely used; though these systems are often referred to as “Linux”, they are more accurately called GNU/Linux systems.

GNU is a recursive acronym for “GNU's Not UNIX”; it is pronounced guh-noo, like canoe.

Here is a definition of Free Software. One reason for creation of freeware is The Microsoft Monopoly, but there other advantages to using open source. OpenOffice is a great way to start getting involved.

Below are some pages with links to various software applications and utilities.
The Best Free Windows XP Software and Opensource Software Available This is where we go for our must have software when we rebuild a system.
Free Open Source Software...an extensive list of software and resources.
Free Open Source Portable Media Software...media geek's on the go.
Free Portable Software...geek's on the go. OSes to Browsers.
Free Music Software...music only software.
Free plugins, mp3 Players, and browsers

Windows Software

You should download via Firefox the software below. If you already have a firewall or anti-virus software, then there is no need to install the software. In fact, do not install a firewall or anti-virus software if you already have it. But, do install the utilities and you will see a profound increase in the performance of your computer. The four applications that you should install are marked ***. These are great/indespensible applications/utilities. If you feel like going for broke then install all that you can.

ZoneAlarm A firewall that stops hackers from getting into your PC.

AVG Free Edition is a free anti-virus protection tool developed by GRISOFT for home use.

CCleaner*** is a freeware system optimization and privacy tool. It removes unused files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space.

FreeRAM XP Pro*** includes automatic memory monitoring and optimization; advanced tray support; fast, threaded freeing with a stop option; multiple system-metric monitors; a simple and attractive GUI; memory reporting and diagnostic logging; and real-time memory information.

ewido*** anti-spyware Free is a free anti-spyware protection tool developed by GRISOFT for home use.

Ad-Aware SE Personal Edition*** is free anti-spyware version provides you with advanced protection against spyware that secretly attaches and takes control of your computer, resulting in aggressive advertising pop-ups, sluggish computer activity, even identify theft through stolen bank details, passwords, and credit card account numbers.

Diskeeper 10 is not free, but it is by far one of the best investments you could make for your computer.

StartupList A simple tool that lists all and every auto starting program on your system. You might be surprised what it finds, this is way better than Msconfig. Commonly used to troubleshoot malfunctioning systems, trojan/viral infections, new spyware/malware breed and the likes.

BugOff This little app disables a few exploits that are commonly used by browser hijackers (including CWS), thus protecting you from infection.

ExplorerXP is a very fast, small, compact and innovative FREEWARE (for non - commercial use) file manager for Windows 2000/XP. Unlike the regular Windows Explorer, it displays the total size of each folder and allows you to browse multiple folders from a tabbed interface.

UDPixel is a great way to look for dead pixels and it also attempts to cure the problem.


  1. Write a one page paper on the philosophy of Open Source software. Do you agree with the basic principles?
  2. Install at least four of the above applications...only with the permission of the computer owner. You do not need to install the software to pass, but it will be to your benefit.





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