Free, cool and essential Downloads

If you’ve just bought yourself a brand new computer, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve listed 20 must-have downloads for your new pride and joy, including important security applications, system management tools and essential entertainment software.

Safety firstFrom the minute you press the power button, think, “Safety first!” The right security software is a life-or-death matter for your computer, since spyware, viruses, Trojan horses, worms, and hackers can quickly send your PC to an early grave. These six security programs ensure your computer won’t become a very expensive doorstop.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition

True to its name, AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition keeps your computer safe from the Internet’s hazards at no cost. While you may eventually upgrade to the Professional version or another antivirus suite altogether, AVG is a good start.Download now

ZoneAlarm

A firewall is absolutely essential to prevent hackers and other cyberthreats from accessing your PC. ZoneAlarm walks you through the setup process, offers several levels of security, and doesn’t overload you with jargon. Set it and forget it.Download now

Ad-Aware

This program is extremely effective at finding and removing the Web’s most notorious spyware components, as well as new, deadly threats. You won’t find bells and whistles, but you will get rock-solid protection.Download now

Microsoft Windows Defender beta

Microsoft recently beefed up its free antispyware app with new tools and other improvements, but the verification process is annoying. Still, if your operating system is compatible, Windows Defender provides excellent protection. Download now

WinPatrol

This program monitors several computer locations where malware is most likely to invade, including start-up programs, browser helper objects, scheduled tasks, services and cookies. While it won’t cure serious infections, it will prevent new harm. Download now

HijackThis

If your spyware-removal arsenal has failed to defeat a particularly insidious intruder, this program could be your last hope. While you may need to consult a Web-based forum to make sense of the program’s scans, this program will spot almost all potential threats.

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