Getting Comfortable With The Basics

Must Have Computer Tools and Software

Essential tools I always install on my computer and home network! Glenn

Fix a Technical Problem – Find Solutions to your technical problems visit Microsoft Support Solution Center. 

PDF-XChange Editor – Those wishing to View/Edit/Modify and even OCR Image based PDF files on their Windows PC's now have a FREE pdf reader alternative to the Adobe Reader! The PDF-XChange Editor is smaller, faster and more feature rich than any other FREE PDF Reader/ PDF Viewer/ PDF Editor available. The FREE download of the PDF-XChange Editor may be used without limitation for Private use.

  • At the right side of the page in the "Download Now, Try this product for free!" section. Choose the "64 bit MSI Installer" for most Windows 10 computers.

This is the PDF viewer I use on all of my Windows computer. To use all of the editing features you will need to buy the license, but viewing and printing is completely free.

PDF-XChange Viewer –  The smallest, fastest, most feature-rich PDFreader/viewer available, an alternative to the Adobe Reader!
At the right side of the page in the "Download Now, Try this product for free!" section. Choose the "EXE installer (32/64 bit) | 16 MB"

Create PDF documents on the fly — for Free! – Portable Document Format (PDF) is the de facto standard for the secure and reliable distribution and exchange of electronic documents and forms around the world. CutePDF Writer (formerly CutePDF Printer) is the free version of commercial PDF creation software. CutePDF Writer installs itself as a "printer subsystem". This enables virtually any Windows applications (must be able to print) to create professional quality PDF documents – with just a push of a button!

Convert Case – The Easy Way To Convert Text Between Upper Case, Lower Case and Sentence Case. This online Case Conversion Tool is designed to allow you to convert blocks of text into any case and simply copy and paste back to your own document.

Online OCR Service Convert scanned PDF and images to editable text is a free web-based Optical Character Recognition software (OCR) that allows you to convert scanned PDF documents (including multipage files), faxes, photographs or digital camera captured images into editable and searchable electronic documents including Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Rtf, Html and Txt.

OCR Terminal is a free online Optical Character Recognition service that allows you to convert scanned images and PDFs into editable and text searchable documents, 20 pages a month free. It accurately preserves formatting and layout of documents. is a free online OCR (Optical Character Recognition) service, can analyze the text in any image file that you upload, and then convert the text from the image into text that you can easily edit on your computer.

Free Online OCR is a free service that allows you to easily convert scanned documents, PDFs, scanned invoices, screenshots and photos into editable and searchable text, such as DOC, TXT or PDF.

Docs.Zone offers a variety of document conversion services under a single umbrella and solves your problem quicker than other methods and tools.

No Monthly Cost Land-line Phone

Google Voice  One number: a single phone number that rings all your phones – Google voicemail: voicemail like email – Voicemail transcription: read what your voicemail says –

Custom greetings: vary voicemail greetings by caller – International calling: low cost calls to the world – Block calls: send unwanted callers straight to voicemail – Record calls: record phone calls and store them online – Conference calls: join several people into a single call – Screen callers: hear who is calling before you pick up

Free home phone with Obitalk and Google Voice – Swap your landline for Google Voice with an OBi

The $40 OBi100 VoIP Telephone Adapter and Voice Service Bridge by Obihai telephone to internet adapter  You plug Internet, electricity and a phone into it. What it doesn't have is any kind of service, so on its own all you can do is call other OBiTalk users. You can, however, log into Google Voice with with device and use that as your phone service. And since Google Voice is free (for now), there are exactly zero charges for this setup.

GV911.COM Enhanced E911 for Google ™ Voice Users – Designed for VoIP users who would need to be able to dial 911 and reach a live local Police / Fire Department dispatcher in case of an emergency.

Low Cost Wireless Provider – Ting is a mobile phone service that caters to people tired of dealing with complicated billing plans from carriers like AT&T or Verizon. Their slogan is ‘Mobile That Makes Sense’.

Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your  home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It's a free download from Microsoft that is simple to install, easy to use, and always kept up to date.

A Google approach to email. – Gmail is a new kind of webmail, built on the idea that email can be more intuitive, efficient and useful. And maybe even fun. After all, Gmail has:

The Last Password You'll Have to Remember! – LastPass brings all of your usernames and passwords together in one secure place, allows you to autologin to your favorite sites, makes shipping and billing forms a breeze to fill out and helps you manage your digital life. Create Your Account for free!  – You can also subscribe to LastPass Premium for only $12 a year!

Image Resizer for Windows is a utility that lets you resize one or more selected image files directly from Windows Explorer by right-clicking.

FaxZero – Send a fax for free to anywhere in the U.S. and Canada

Get Carbonite, it's easy to use. It isn't enough to backup to a hard drive, you have to have an off site backup as well. – Rules of backup are simple – there's got to be two copies of everything with a third copy offsite. Francis Ford Copolla had all his scripts, his laptop and his backups stolen! You need an off site option as well.

SpiderOak offers 5 services in 1 solution – Online backup, sync, share, access and store.

 TeamViewer – the All-In-One Software for Remote Support and Online Meetings. Remote control any computer or Mac over the internet within seconds or use TeamViewer for online meetings.  Remote control: Control computers remotely via the internet, as if you were sitting right in front of them. Whether you are providing spontaneous support, or working from your home office, TeamViewer lets you get the job done. TeamViewer is free for all non-commercial users!

The Belarc Advisor builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, network inventory, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status, security benchmarks, and displays the results in your Web browser. All of your PC profile information is kept private on your PC and is not sent to any web server. 

Paytrust, the service I use that lets me receive, review, and pay 100% of my bills online from anywhere – at home, at work or on the road.

Amazon Prime – FREE Two-Day shipping on all eligible purchases for $79 yearly, plus, free access to Amazon Instant Video and the ability to borrow books from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

Wi-Fi Access Point – Outdoor POE Wi-Fi range extenders! NanoStation

Zamzar or FreeFileConvert

Need a file converted to another type of file? You don't need to fiddle with desktop software as long as you've got a browser. Zamzar and FreeFileConvert can each convert files into different file types, and each supports a wide range of formats.

Zamzar claims to support 1,200-plus file formats, and it's been around for a long time, but it only lets you convert files up to 100MB in size before you have to buy a subscription.

FreeFileConvert's site has more ads, but it lets you convert files up to 300MB in size—and, unlike Zamzar, it doesn't require you to register an email address to download your converted files.

Each site also lets you save files from URLs of your choosing in the format of your choosing.

Ninite installs software fast with default settings and says "no" to browser toolbars and other junk. Ninite runs on Windows XP/Vista/7 and works in the background unattended and 100% hands-free. On My systems I use Chrome, Firefox, Skype, iTunes, Picasa, Reader, CutePDF, Essentials, Flash, Flash (IE), Java, Google Earth, and FileZi

A NAT Router's Inherent Security

Although NAT routers are not generally purchased for their security benefits, all NAT routers inherently function as very effective hardware firewalls. As a hardware firewall they prevent "unsolicited", unexpected, unwanted, and potentially annoying or dangerous traffic from the public Internet from passing through the router and entering the user's private LAN network.

OpenDNS is fantastic and I recommend it to everyone. It's safer and more responsive than any other DNS service.

Google Public DNS is a free, global Domain Name System (DNS) resolution service, that you can use as an alternative to your current DNS provider.

EASEUS Partition Master Home Edition is a FREE ALL-IN-ONE partition solution and disk management utility. It allows you to extend partition (especially for system drive), manage disk space easily, settle low disk space problem under Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Win7/Win8

magicJack costs $35 plus shipping and handling. – One year of free local and long distance calling to the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, along with all the other great magicJack features are included with your initial purchase.   An additional year of service is $39 for magicJack.

How to disable Java in your browsers.

System Recovery Tools

Hiren's BootCD 15.1 for Windows, Hiren's Boot CD is a collection of open-source data recovery, backup, and anti-malware utilities.
Note: To download go to the downloads page, scroll to the bottom of the page. The link is in the light green box (Filename: this is a large file 592.5 MB, it may take 1 to 2 hours to download.  How to run Hiren's BootCD from USB Flash Drive. 

How To Boot Into Safe Mode On Windows 8 or 10 (The Easy Way) – One of the most common steps when troubleshooting a PC is to boot into Safe Mode. For a long time this has been achieved by pressing the F8 key, this all changes with Windows 10 and its Automatic Repair mode. But what if we want Safe Mode?

Tech News by Topic