Programs that you think every Windows PC should have. *******A WORD OF WARNING!!!!!******* Several formerly considered "safe" sources for downloading software, like download.com, have taken to wrapping the programs available on their sites with what's called doucheware. What this means is that instead of getting just the program you want, the wrapper will try to trick you into installing toolbar "helpers," spyware, adware, and other crap you absolutely, positively, do not want. If you read through the various messages that pop up as you're trying to install the program, you can sometimes avoid installing the doucheware. Avoid installing software from those sources if its at all possible. * Indicates new item added to a post in the past 30 days. Security Software AdBlock Plus is a plugin for every major web browser out there. Not only does it keep web pages from being cluttered up with ads for products you neither want nor need, it also protects you from ads infected with malware. CCleaner, formerly known as "Crap Cleaner". This helps get rid of the cruft that tends to build up on PCs over time, if your machine is particularly bogged down, it can even speed it up. Process Explorer, what Task Manager in Windows should have been. Not only does it show you what processes are currently running on your machine (Task Manager only shows you a few of them), but it shows you which ones are sucking up the most RAM and processor cycles. It lets you kill those that you don't want running. (Handy, because some times Task Manager won't say that a program is still running, while Process Explorer will reveal that a sub-program of something you closed out is still running.) SpyBot Search & Destroy helps protect your PC from malware in two different ways. The first is that it tweaks your system settings to reduce avenues of attack for malware, and it scans your PC for malware that might already be on there. The initial set up takes forever to run, because it does a deep scan of your system. WinPatrol, an excellent defense against doucheware. It alerts you to things like new start up programs trying to add themselves to your system, or if a program is trying to become the default program for opening a file type. Handy if you didn't realize that you've installed doucheware that tries to change something on your system. PC Decrapifier, perfect if you've got a new PC. Before you do anything on your new PC (besides turning it on) download this and let it run. It will go through your system and make it easy to delete all the crappy software offers that manufacturers stick on machines these days. Trust me, you don't want the anti-virus programs they're offering, there's free alternatives out there which are just as good, and in some cases, don't bog your system down as much as the paid programs do. Secunia PSI, because not every software program auto-updates in the background, Secunia periodically compares the version of a program installed on your machine with the most recent release by the vendor and alerts if you there's a new version or updates for it available. Can be annoying in that it'll warn you that a program isn't up to date (and thus more likely to be a victim of malware), even though its a program you hardly use, or one that will auto-update the next time you launch it. *LastPass A password manager and generator. An absolute must-have. No matter how cleaver you are, you're going to pick a password which, thanks to the increasing amount of computing power available to hackers these days, can be cracked in a short period of time. LastPass also remembers all your passwords for you, so you don't have to try and figure out what they are when you set up a new PC. Just install LastPass on your new machine, log in, and it'll take care of the rest. *TrueCrypt. Got a laptop? Ever take it out of the house? Then you need Truecrypt. Even if you password protect your machine, someone can still gain access to all your files on it by removing the hard drive and installing it in another machine. Truecrypt not only encrypts your entire hard drive so that nobody else can read it, but it enables you to create hidden drives on your system that only you know about. Remember kids, SCOTUS has ruled that forcing you to enter in your computer's password is a violation of your Fifth Amendment rights, so protect yourself by using a password and not a fingerprint reader.