There are a couple of other programs that I find quite useful on a day-to-day basis. For free antivirus, I really like Avast Antivirus. The free version works quite well, and it has resident scanners for a number of services, including Exchange/Outlook, the web, Internet mail, instant messaging, and P2P.

For a good, free firewall, I use Comodo Firewall. Sure, it bombards you with all those “do you want to allow this” popups until it has learned your allowed applications, but that’s what good personal firewalls do. It will also reconfirm this permission any time the cryptographic signature of the application changes (like when you do any update), so it’s very complete.

For file compression, I use IZArc. It decompresses just about any format you throw at it – though I usually only need support for .zip and .rar. It compresses into an impressive number of formats too, though you can’t rar files (only unrar them). And, of course, it’s free. It’s also quite fast and has an easy interface.

For simple text editing, it’s tough to beat Notepad++. Fast, easy, and complete with annotating tools for the occasional web development that I do.

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