Alternatives to paid software

There are times when you just don’t want to pay retail and for computer software there are often free alternatives to many of the programs you pay for. These are legitimate and often as good or even better in some situations, and this list is focusing just on Windows software this month.

So, starting with the big one, Microsoft Office. Look at LibreOffice or OpenOffice for full-blown office suites with word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database, and diagramming.

Web browsers, we all know of the big three free ones, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. But there is also Opera, a browser with a built-in email program, and Safari from Apple.

For playing a range of video, including when you get the error message from Windows Media Player about not having the right codecs (whatever they are, right?) try the VLC player from VideoLAN. For audio editing, Audacity can handle most all simple editing, including layering a few tracks together.

As an alternative to the iTunes store for music, you might want to look at Spotify, which is expanding out from Europe into the United States in the coming month(s).

Needs for Photoshop and Illustrator, can be often be met through GIMP or Inkscape, with lighter weight needs being met with Paint.NET.

And, the big category, security. For antivirus needs, especially on older PCs, try Microsoft Security Essentials. Malwarebytes is good for helping to remove intrusive search stealers. Try Recuva for recovering files that you have put in the trash and then emptied, also good for recovering files off USB drives, and even photos from camera cards, if you haven’t shot many more.

To make it really easy to install these and many others, try the installer from Ninite,

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