AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition
Most major brand computers will come loaded with major brand anti-virus engines. But these major anti-virus engine will eventually require you to purchase an annual subscription to receive updates and virus definitions. They didn’t tell you about that at the store right? Well here is a free anti-virus engine that is both stable and up to date whilst costing you nothing. Free anti virus protection may make some people skeptical about its abilities to protect your computer, but AVG is a solid and well maintained project. The free version is usually more than enough protection for most users, but AVG does offer paid upgrades in the form of their Home Security and Business Security products. Altogether AVG will protect you from nasty computer viruses just as well as the $100/year product pre-installed on your machine. Please note that it is best practice to install only 1 anti-virus engine at any given time. If you choose to use AVG please visit your control panel to remove your existing AV program first.
Mozilla Firefox Web Browser
This is probably the most useful application you will ever install and use on a computer, the web browser. Over the last decade we have seen browsers rise and fall in the cruel realm of the world wide web. Many browsers lacked basic functionality. Some browsers did not respond well to heavy usage, and others failed to maintain a safe and secure browsing environment. Then came Mozilla Firefox. The browser of choice by most avid web users and the best choice for anyone wishing to browse in a safe, convenient, and fun manner. The Mozilla website describes the product as “The award-winning Firefox Web browser has security, speed and new features that will change the way you use the Web. Don’t settle for anything less.”
Not only does Firefox provide better security and usually a faster browsing experience, the project has a massive following and a huge database of plugins. Some of my favorite plugins are Adblock Plus, IE Tab, and Screengrab. Adblock Plus stops banner ads and malicious links from loading when the browser requests a page from the server, and in turn stops you from clicking on something that may mess up your new computer. IE tab affords you one-click convenience when you must render an incompatible website, say your online bank, using Internet Explorer inside the Firefox browser. Firefox and its plugins can be downloaded from the Mozilla website here