How Free is that “Free” Software?

October 19, 2010

My mother always says that nothing is free.  How many times have you found some cool software program on the internet that is free, only to discover that once the program was installed, it installed some other things that you may not have wanted on your computer?  The so-called “free” program may of been bundled with toolbars, additional software, malware and spyware.

Nearly any software program that is advertised as “free”, “freeware” or “shareware” typically has some other software or advertising built in to the package.

Many free software programs will install internet toolbars on your browser.  Using these toolbars will direct you to sites that the software company would like you to visit.  Add enough toolbars to your browser, and suddenly, your high speed internet can become as slow as dial-up.

Some software is bundled with spyware or malware programs.  These may cause pop-up advertisements, re-directs on your internet searches, or worse.

So how can we avoid installing unwanted programs while still taking advantage of the free stuff out there?  CUSTOM INSTALL! When installing the free software, make sure you read everything before clicking next.  Also, if there is an option for custom install or options, be sure to go that route.  You can usually remove the free toolbars and other things you don’t want installed.

Also, we recommend NOT selecting options for the software to “automatically check for updates”.  Leaving that option available means yet another software program will be running in the background, eating up the memory on your computer.

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Sharing Your Bookmarks – inQuo’s Tech Tip Tuesday Newsletter Volume 9

December 18, 2009

Wouldn’t it great if you could access all of your internet browser bookmarks from any computer?  Now you can.  There is a great program that works on Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari web browsers.  It is free, and lets you access your bookmarks from any computer.

XMARKS Bookmark Sync
You can download this program for free from www.xmarks.com.
The program will need to be installed on all computers to be synchronized.

Once the program is installed, create a free account.  Then choose the synchronization options for each computer.  You can even set up multiple sync profiles.  For example, create a profile called “work” for your work computer, and “home” for your home computer.  You can choose which profile to use for access to the bookmarks that are saved to it.  You can even use XMARKS on your web-enabled mobile phone.

For more useful programs and add-ons for web browsers, check out these links.

Top 25 Firefox Add-Ons

Best Internet Explorer Add-Ons