Avast! Free – That does a lot for being free, I should say. The On Access Scanner is the best part and you’ll have to leave it installed on the PC – the next time any of your closest ones click on a ‘Congratulations, you’ve won $$$’ banner, their PCs are protected for sure thanks to Avast’s on access realtime web traffic scanning.
Another good antivirus is AVG, does a lot of stuff, but still Avast! wins. You can read acomparison of AVG and Avast! here.
Junk File Removers
You surely must have seen disks filled with nothing but junk. Sometimes they go up to a few GBs or more, and that’s the place where tools like these get handy.
CCleaner -That’s the best junk remover I’ve ever used. Has all that you might need in one place: a junk file cleaner, an uninstaller and also a registry cleaner. It’s more reliable than other such junk removers.
HijackThis – Scans the nook and corner and checks and reports to you. You can remove bad items from start up and take down other suspicious services. But beware – be sure of what you’re doing with this program.
Rightly named, this tool removes the nuisances that come pre installed with your Windows PC. If anyone from your family has just got a new PC installed with Windows, you gotta run this program to cut the crap. Download it here.
Partition Manager – GParted Live CD
Sure you’ve tried many partition managers else before, but I can’t resist myself by putting this up here. GParted is open source and is very very light. It can do copying, resizing, moving operations in around a dozen filesystems.
Ultimate Boot CD – Recovery Tool
It’s the ultimate Swiss Army Knife that comes packed in with tools that do varied jobs like memory tests, hard disk diagnosis, partitioning, system benchmarking and lots more. Definitely a must have. Get it here.
UBCD for Windows
UBCD4Win is imilar to the above mentioned software, but runs directly on Windows.
DriverMax lets you copy your current hardware drivers and reinstall them later if you don’t have the setup files of each of your hardware drivers.
Quite useful, but the person on whose computer working on must already have a driver backup that’s been done using this software.
Ahh! You can ask why this is listed here, but what if you can’t get your PC’s OS to work? You want the internet to work and need something desperately done, but XP won’t start.
Not a problem if you have a Linux live CD in hand. Just pop the CD in, access the internet, send the email that you had to send or do whatever you wanted to get done. All without writing on to your hard disk and not damaging anything that’s already there.
I’m mentioning gOS here specifically because it has got quite good integration with Google services and pretty much works out of the box.
There are many other Live CDs available, you can check here for that. Make sure you download one and have it burnt on a disk for emergency uses.