An antivirus program is mostly used as a preventative measure. Their main purpose is to stop your computer from getting infected. They are typically fairly good at removing infections as well, but will sometimes need a little bit of extra help for that, programs to help remove an infection are referred to as Malware removers and will be covered further down on this page. Many antivirus programs will offer basic features for free, but also have a more robust paid option
Malware scanners are used to remove an infection on your computer. Unlike an Antivirus program, they are not a preventative measure. Think of antivirus as an immune system, and malware scanners like antibiotics. You don't want to always be using it, but it's very helpful when you need to fight off an infection. Much like antivirus programs, many of these offer free versions with a more robust paid option.
For most people an extra firewall isn't very necessary. Windows comes with a basic firewall built in, and most antivirus programs also have some level of firewall functionality. But, if you want that extra level of security then a firewall is a great choice. A firewall blocks incoming connections from the internet to your computer which can stop malicious software from ever getting on to your machine.
A browser is the program that you use to access the Internet. Windows machines all come with Internet Explorer. Many people do not like IE for any number of reasons. Most find that other browsers can be faster or have fewer issues with various sites. Other browsers also offer many add-ons that can give additional functionality on various sites. Lastly, other browsers offer synchronization options across multiple devices. For example, you can bookmark a webpage on one computer, and the bookmark will appear on your phone and any other computers that you have. These are all completely free for full functionality.
These are commonly used programs used to view web content. These are frequently used to view online videos and interact with websites.
This is a list of various useful programs for your computer. Each program has it's own description with it
- VLC is a free media player. If you've ever tried to open a video file and weren't able to, then this program can fix that problem. VLC is always free, and will never try to get you to pay for anything, and will never install any extra software on your computer.
- CCleaner is a system cleanup tool. While many programs claim to clean up your computer and help out, most of them will try and get you to buy a special version or install additional software. CCleaner is one of the few reliable and safe options to use in order to clean up unnecessary files on your computer.
- Defraggler is made by the same company as CCleaner, and can help speed your machine up. When files are saved to your machine they are not necessarily saved in the most optimized fashion, and defraggler fixes that. By rearranging where the files are physically located on your hard drive (They'll still be in the same place in your folders) Defraggler helps speed up loading files and programs.