Remember how excited you were to buy a new computer? You can’t wait to get it home, and set it up. You check out all the programs that came with the computer, but there’s a problem. One by one, you find out that these programs are “free to try”. They usually come with a 30 day trial period. After that you have to pay a yearly fee to use the program. While others will have a one-time fee. The point is that these fees are not cheap.
Consumers purchase computers for various reasons. They all have tasks that they want to perform on their computer. Only to find that it’s going to cost hundreds of dollars more to perform these tasks. Well I’ve got good news for you. There are absolutely free software programs available that will do everything that the paid versions will do. If you know where to find them.
I’ll show you how I find free software. The first thing I do is head over to download.cnet.com. This is a well established and trusted web site. On the right column of the home page you’ll find the category, “Most Popular Downloads”. This list of downloads is a great place to start our search for free software.
As I’m writing this article the top 2 most popular downloads are anti-virus programs. This is a perfect example of the types of software that were looking for. Because as you set up your new computer you find that your anti-virus program is only a free trial. Here were looking at two free programs. Which one will we choose? This will require a little bit of homework.
Each software program that’s listed in the “Most Popular Downloads”, has a review page. You will find all the information that you need on the review page. At the top of the page, you can read CNET’S review. Next it will be the company’s review of their product. Finally, we want to read the reviews written by computer users who have installed (and used) the program on their computers.
These reviews are rated on a 5 star scale. Also the reviewers list the pro’s and con’s of the program. Based on the reviews, I don’t have to guess if this software is good or bad. They will give the product a thumbs up, or thumbs down. I also count how many stars they gave the product. This is why I trust this website.
But we are not done yet. We need some more information that’s located on the review page. Look for the heading “Quick Specs”. And look at the price. We want “free”, not “free to try”. Next look at the operating systems the program will work on. Make sure your operating system is on this list. Finally we can see how many people have already downloaded the program. This lends some credibility to the program.
After looking through the “Most Popular Download” list, I found a few of my favorites were missing. I always use “Open Office” for creating text documents. This is a complete office suite, that includes powerful applications for making text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, diagrams, and databases. This free software will save you hundreds of dollars. Use your favorite search engine to find Open Office.org.
Do you need personal finance software? “jGnash” is an open source personal finance manager. It will help you monitor and keep track of your accounts including investments. If you need personal, and small-business financial accounting software, try “GnuCash”. Just use your favorite search engine to find jGnash, or GnuCash. Using these free, alternative programs, will save you a lot of money.