Business and Home Software Free of Charge – Legally

One of the largest overheads that small and home based business encounter is the often high cost of computer software. The majority of business ventures start with modest or very little capital, many are home based initially and every spare dollar is vital to success.

Whether you already have your own small business or are just seriously considering it, appropriate business and protection software for your computer is vital. Chances are you will need at least a word processing program, a spreadsheet program, an accounting package, perhaps a database and presentation program. If you are looking at setting up a website you will also need a program to edit HTML and web pages, word processors do not do a good job. Don’t forget the most important of all computer security – even if you only use your computer to receive email and for research on the internet – anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware and firewall programs are essential.

All of this software is readily available commercially, however it will cost you many hundreds, possibly several thousand dollars. If you are like me, working full time just to make ends meet, you may not be able to justify or afford the expenditure, when every spare dollar goes into promoting your fledgling business. After all this business is meant to get you out of the red not put you deeper in it! Well, there is a solution – open sourced software and freeware software both completely legal. Many software companies have a free but limited home or one user version of their product. When you can afford it or when the program becomes indispensable to your operations upgrade to the full version.

– Word processing, spreadsheets, database, presentation manager, drawing program, the open source free alternative, is also compatible with MS Office formats.

– Turbocash accounting, open source accounting package, available in 17 languages, suits most tax systems. Turbocash would require some accounting knowledge to use.

– NVU web page and HTML editor, open source similar to MS Frontpage – easy to use.

– Picasa, very useful image organiser and editor from Google

– Thunderbird email, Firefox browser, open source a great alternative to Outlook and Internet

Explorer, enhanced security and tabbed browsing means fewer windows open at one time.

Over the past few years I have found the following free software to be invaluable in protecting my computer system from the “net-nasties” out there. If you want to keep your system clean, use them all. Hat’s off to the providers, they deserve our support. On some sites you may have to search for the free version.

– AVG, Anti-virus, automatic updates, email protection, an excellent product.

– Spybot, Anti-spyware, deals with most Trojan codes easily.

– Ad-Aware, anti-malware and spyware, cleans out tracking cookies etc.

– Zone Alarm, firewall, a must have.

Other great sources for free business and home software are the CD’s and DVD’s given away with most popular computer magazines. Usually there are two or more fully functioning software programs, which can and should be registered, on each disc. Sure, it may be last year’s version but do you really need all the bells and whistles when you first start using it? Often, programs sound great in reviews etc. but after you install them on to your system and start using them, you find they can not do what you wanted. If you paid top dollar for what amounts to trial software, you would not be happy.

I have lost track of the programs I have installed, found to be inadequate for my needs and later thrown out. These days I search for free alternatives and upgrade if I find it suits my needs. Don’t buy it – try it.