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Money and Computing

Free Stuff

Free Downloads for Your Computer

Desktop Additions

Your computer desktop doesn't just have to sit there looking boring. There are many free add-ons you can download that will decorate your desktop or put it to work.
Webshots Desktop

Every desktop needs a fresh look now and then. Hundreds of free desktop backgrounds to choose from (two new per day allowed with free registration) and have them automatically rotate as often as every fifteen minutes.
Windows; Free registration required

Desktop Weather from the Weather Channel

Want to know at a glance what your local temperature is? This program keeps the temperature always showing in your taskbar, and a click brings up a window with the pressure, wind speed, 12 hour forecast and severe weather alerts.
Free with ads; Free registration required; Broadband (always on) connection needed


A screensaver or desktop background with moving, shifting patterns that often resemble the Aurora Borealis. Takes up very little computing power.
Windows; Freeware

Serene Screen

A beautiful aquarium screensaver. There are two drawbacks, though. Unless you buy it, you need to type in a phrase each time you run it and it does use a lot of computing power. But it's soothing to look at and very realistic.
Windows/Mac; Demo; Inconvenience incentive to buy

Useful Tools

Google Toolbar (Version 2.0)

The second version of the toolbar from the popular search engine Google has some nifty features, including a pop-up blocker, AutoFill, which fills in forms for you, and one-click access to Google's many different search engines. This version is still in beta, which means that, as Google puts it, it is "still being tweaked and perfected." In other words, you could run into a bug occasionally. I have not run into any problems so far, and the worst that will happen is that your browser will crash.
Freeware; Internet Explorer 5 and up only

Spybot-Search & Destroy

If you do any web surfing you are likely to pick up spyware, software that is silently installed on your computer for the purpose of tracking your movement around the web, among other things. Although it is not as harmful as a virus, it can be quite annoying. If your home page changes for no reason or you see new toolbars on your browser, then you have a clear indication that spyware has been installed. However, sometimes it runs in the background, completely undetected. Spybot-Search & Destroy is the best of the programs that have been developed to find spyware on your computer, clean it out and block further installations.
Windows; Freeware

AVG Free Edition

No technical support, but other than that this free antivirus software is considered by many to be as good, if not better, than the antivirus software from Norton or McAfee. Updates are also free (Norton and McAfee charge you after six months for updates, which are crucial to fighting viruses).

Windows; Freeware

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