Best Software

Get the best firewall, then scan your PC — free

Firewalls play a vital role in defending your computer from attack and form an essential part of your computer’s security setup.

But is your firewall actually doing its job? Are you sure it’s effective?

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Best alternatives to Microsoft Outlook, part I

If you’re longing to leave Outlook, alternative e-mail and calendar programs could lighten the load on your wallet — and on your PC.

At least one free personal information manager replicates most of Outlook’s features and adds some handy tricks users of Microsoft’s PIM can only dream of.

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Reduce spam using free software

Today I’m going to show you a way to reduce to almost nothing the quantity of spam e-mail you receive using free products and services.

The technique I’ll outline will not only zap your spam but will let your real mail pass unhindered while imposing a minimal processing load on your PC.

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The top Firefox security and privacy add-ons

Stay safe and protect your privacy when you’re on the Web by using these top-notch browser extensions.

Block malicious Web sites, stop annoying ads, control your cookies, cover your tracks, and manage your passwords securely with this collection of free Firefox add-ons.

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The best browser for safe and speedy surfing

If you spend much time on the Web, you need more protection and better performance than you get from Internet Explorer 7.

You have several alternatives to choose from, but only one offers the top rendering speed, the best compatibility with major sites, and the most customization options.

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From paper to searchable PDF on the cheap

You don’t have to shell out $500 for software that converts scanned paper documents into searchable PDF or Office files.

One of the three programs I tested is the clear winner in turning all your scanned images into fully indexed documents.

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Get top-flight antivirus without spending a dime

Protect yourself from viruses and other online threats while skipping the annual subscription fees.

These three antivirus freebies may lack some of the costly bells and whistles (and associated system slowdowns) of commercial alternatives, but they stop malware unobtrusively.

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The best deals for sending faxes online

Online fax services let you ditch your landline and fax machine and fax from anywhere via e-mail or the Web.

The paperless office is not quite here, but three services in particular offer low-cost solutions that save a forest full of trees.

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Two top defraggers speed your disk accesses

Free, easy-to-use disk defragmenters and optimizers let you consolidate scattered files to maximize the performance of Windows XP and Vista.

One program lets you select for yourself which files to reunite and move to the fastest areas of your drive, while the other utility makes the disk-optimization choices for you.

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