Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thankful for Free Computer Stuff

Yes, I am thankful for God, and America and those who defend us, but I'm also thankful for free computer stuff. You don't need to buy an anti-virus program, spyware remover, or other useful utilities. You can get them all free, and legally.

My computer's performance was straining under the detritus and remains of various compilers, database engines and SQL servers and other toys I had played with at one time or another. You can get rid of a program, but some of it always sticks to your computer's innards. My computer had indigestion; it needed a purge. So I blew a perfectly good day off reloading the factory image and setting it all back up again.

"There's gotta be a better way," I thought to myself.

Back it all up for free
Well, there is. Here's a cool idea that is just hitting the everyday home computer user: disk imaging. You make a complete copy of your computer hard drive that you can use to restore your computer in the event of a catastrophe. The restore disks or partition that come with a new computer essentially do the same thing, but using them wipes out all of the programs and drivers you loaded. Also, after restoring your computer with the factory disks, you have to decrapify your machine all over again, removing all that useless junk the manufacturers, who have a pact with the devil, have larded up your new machine with.

So once you've set up your computer just like you want it, clean out the useless stuff, run defrag and do a virus and adware scan. Then make your restore disk and the disk image. I used a free version of Macrium Reflect. You've now saved your personalized computer settings.

Disk images can be big, so I recommend having an external USB drive to do your backups. The next time your computer is acting sick, don't reach for the factory restore disks, use the rescue disk and image you made. This restores your computer to like new condition without trashing your printer install, your games, and other software you've installed yourself. Be sure to back up your personal files, pictures, etc. Restoring a disk image will wipe everything out!

Free anti-virus and anti-spyware

I use AVG's free antivirus, as well as Spybot and Ad-Aware, all free.  You can find all the free stuff at a trusted site like It is run by CNet, which is a reputable internet and computer web site. Don't look for free stuff via Google or Yahoo. Many downloads purporting to be an antivirus programs or spyware removal tools actually put viruses and spyware on your machine. So start from a trusted source like CNet.

So how does a conservative, free-marketeer enjoy, and even justify free stuff when I know there is no such thing as a free lunch? Easy. Companies give away the stripped down versions, and charge for the luxury models. You will have to put up with scanty help, few bells and whistles and many ambiguous messages trying to scare you into buying the full version.

For free, it's all worth it.


manapp99 said...

Great information Silver.


Silverfiddle said...

No problem. Some of our fellow bloggers in Left Blogistan are having problems, so I thought I'd post this as a kind of public service announcement.

Most bloggers probably know all this stuff already, but some will still admit to being computer illiterate

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

All should check out NOD32, the best protection out there, not free but worth it.

Sue said...

will you come over and be my personal Geek Squad?? I'm having problems....

Lisa said...

This is how I fix my computer problems,I yell "PAUL".

That's my hubby.

Amazing how well it works.

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...


I would be happy to help clear and block all the commie-Hussein shit you get!

Might clear your head?

Silverfiddle said...

Seriously Sue, backing up your stuff is the #1 thing you can do, pictures, anything else you don't want to lose. If you have your stuff backed up, you can reinstall the original software and you'll have a new machine.

I'd be glad to help. Are you more than a days drive from Colorado?

Lisa said...


Lisa said...

She's in New Jersey and she misses Governor Corzine

Ray said...

Good advice Silver. That's a good program to have. And never feel bad for using free versions because they're using us as beta testers.

Back up or you'll feel the pain one day or another sooner than later with the way these companies design their software on the fly using our time and machines as guinea pigs.

IE Microsoft as anyone who computes daily knows they command your machine a couple times a week to fix all the crap they left out using 'security fix' as the end all blanket excuse in the form of intrusive updates, which often don't play nice with all the present progs we're using.

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