Useful Software and Add-Ons

A good list to have when you buy a new PC.

Opinion page by Duane Alan Hahn.

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Windows Software


The best free internet browser.



Free open source data backup software which helps you compare and synchronize files and folders so you don't have to copy the same unchanged files every time you backup your files.


Avast Free Antivirus

One of the best free anti-virus programs. An update to Avast in May of 2018 mangled my Windows 8 system profile, so you might want to avoid Avast.



The best free image viewer.


VLC Media Player

The best free audio and video player.



The best Atari 2600 VCS emulator.



Easily record video and sound from an emulator or an area of your PC screen. Bandicam is the best screen/emulator recording software for making YouTube videos that I have ever tried (I don't have a Mac and I don't use Linux). It really does seem to have less lag (as they claim on their main page). When I start recording video games in Stella with other programs, there is a noticeable, jarring slow down, but not with Bandicam. (When using Stella, remember to press Alt + P to enable the phosphor effect before recording.)


The program makes it very clear what you are going to record. There is no irritating flashing rectangle around the area you're recording and you can easily disable the FPS overlay (under the FPS Tab), so you can record a game you're playing without any irritating distractions.


Unlike some other programs, you won't have to spend time just trying to find the record button. There are no mysteries or weird, complicated problems. It just works.



Create animated GIFs directly from an emulator such as Stella. Using 33 FPS instead of 30 FPS seems to give a smoother result without increasing the file size by a huge amount. Program recommended by walaber. When using Stella, remember to press Alt + P to enable the phosphor effect before recording. You can also use a free online tool to resize your GIFs.



This is one of the best free image/photo editing programs for Windows computers. It's much easier to use than GIMP (that weird, unintuitive program so many people seem to be in love with).


One of the things I love about Paint.NET is that it lets me draw straight lines that can be quickly turned into curved lines. Just grab one of those dots (control nubs) along the line and drag it until you have the curve you're looking for.


You can also select anything in an image, click on the Move Selected Pixels icon, move the mouse pointer just outside of the selection until a double headed curved arrow appears, then left click and drag the cursor to rotate the selection. I also use that technique to rotate text in an image. So far every tool I've needed to use has been easy to find and easy to figure out. Paint.NET is virtually frustration free. Just remember that you need to hold down the Ctrl key if you want to zoom in and out with the scroll wheel on your mouse.



English thesaurus and dictionary.


Moffsoft FreeCalc

Adjustable calculator size and simulated paper tape history.


VideoPad Video Editor

Intuitive video editor for creating professional quality videos in minutes.



Compares two files and shows the differences. Get the xdocdiff WinMerge Plugin if you want to compare PDF files. Be sure to enable plugins (under Plugins/List) and select Automatic Unpacking.



The most powerful free & open source office suite on the market.



A graphical frontend to Tesseract-OCR


Xenu's Link Sleuth

Checks your web site for broken links.


WebLog Expert Lite

Allows you to quickly and easily analyze your log files.





Firefox Add-Ons

Tab Mix Plus

Enhances Firefox's tab browsing capabilities.



Allows active content to run only from sites you trust.


Adblock Plus

Blocks annoying video ads on YouTube, Facebook ads, banners and much more.


All-in-One Gestures

I turn off everything except right click and slide left for back and right click and slide right for forward.



Brings back the status bar.


Googlebar Lite

A light-weight Google search toolbar.


Bookmark Current Tab Set

Adds options to bookmark all tabs.


Self-Destructing Cookies

Trustworthy services can be whitelisted.


Open in Browser

Allows you to display documents in the browser window.





Hydrofracking is Evil

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Use these programs and add-ons at your own risk. Always scan for viruses.


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