The Internet is filled with free stuff, but you can't always tell what is good and what is bad. Here are a few of my favorite free programs, services, and Web sites.
Free Virus Scan & Security Check
You should already have an anti-virus program guarding your computer, but if you don’t and you suspect that you may have a virus there are several Web sites that will scan your computer for viruses for free. These virus scanners will not remove a virus, but they will tell you if your computer is infected.
This is not a replacement for having a good anti-virus program that is updated regularly, but in a pinch it’s a great way to check your computer for viruses.
Free TV Guide
Ready for another round of new television shows or looking for one of your old favorites? Get a free TV guide listing at the TV Guide Web site. The site requires registration, but the service is free. It doesn’t matter if you have cable, satellite, or plain old television. This guide covers them all.
Every now and then when traveling, I purchase a lottery ticket. When I get home it’s easy to see if I am a winner on Lottery results. This site has links to results in 39 states plus several foreign countries.
Picasa photo editing software is a free photo-editing and organizational software. I love it. It lets you work to improve your photos and helps you keep them all safely organized.
Bandwidth Speed Test
Does your Internet connection seem slow? Visit the Bandwidth Place for a quick check on how fast you are actually connecting to the Internet connection. You can check any type of connection including dial-up, DSL, and cable.
One of the best free firewalls is ZoneAlarm. Zone Labs will try to sell you their Pro version and other software, but if you just click on “Download Free ZoneAlarm” you will be protected from hackers and marketers who are trying to get into your computer. For more information on what a Firewall is and what it does, read Firewalls Explained.
Software programs that are installed without the computer owner's knowledge are often called Spyware. In most cases they piggyback on other programs that are downloaded from the Internet. They are completely transparent to the end-user, so your computer can be infected without your knowledge. Spyware is rapidly spreading. It can harm your computer and steal personal information. Zone Alarm has a free spyware scanner to find and remove spyware. Two excellent free Spy Blockers are Ad-Aware and Spybot Search and Destroy.
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