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June 15, 2009

10 Must Have Apps for IT Pros


There are so many useful applications out there in the IT world it’ll make your head spin.

Here are 10 apps I’ve always found helpful — not only for personal use, but helping friends and family with their computer problems and issues with viruses, spyware, sharing files, etc. Most of them are free and all are great tools you will no doubt find useful.

Also, make sure to check out Brian’s 8 Must Have Windows Utilities and see what you’ve been missing.

1. Avast

Avast is a great anti-virus program that is reliable and easy to use. Avast protects your PC against viruses, spyware, adware, rootkits, and other malware.

I can’t rave enough about it. No installation or compatibility problems, no noticeable slowdowns and updates available almost every day. Also, it gives you the option to run a boot-time scan.

There are a lot of anti-virus software out there, if you want a reliable one, Avast is a great choice. The home version is a 2 month trial but can be extremely effective if you need to do a quick scan on someone’s infected computer.

Link to Avast:

2. Dropbox

Dropbox is a free online service used to backup and sync your data. It also allows you to share your files and photos with friends.

Dropbox works just like a folder on your computer except it automatically synchronizes with other computers linked to your account. Meaning a friend can be linked to the folder on my desktop and as soon as I drop in a file, the remote folder will shortly be updated and my friend can retrieve the file.

The best part is the convenience of having Dropbox wherever you are without the hassle of portable hard drives, CD’s, and other storage devices.

Free accounts come with 2GB of storage. You can also get 5GB through the referral program and as much as 50GB for a monthly fee.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out Brian’s article on Dropbox that talks about usage, security, and other info.

Link to Dropbox:

3. CrossLoop

This is the quintessential app for helping those remote buddies trying to untangle their PC mess. Similar to LogmeIn or some other remote access program, CrossLoop is free, extremely easy to install, and is a convenient way to log onto someone’s computer remotely.

All you have to do is download, signup, and you get an access code you can give to another person to log in remotely. Give it a whirl, you won’t be disappointed.

Link to CrossLoop:

4. UnDelete Plus

Undelete Plus is a free tool used to recover deleted files from your PC. Whether you emptied the recycling bin, deleted within a DOS window, or a networked drive, Undelete Plus is there to the rescue.

It scans your system for files that have been deleted and tells you whether or not they can be restored (some deleted files have already been overwritten).

It’s not 100% guaranteed, but since it’s free it’s worth a try.

Link to UnDelete Plus:

5. Everything

Everything is a great search tool that puts Microsoft’s Folder search to shame. Instead of wasting time waiting for MS to find what you need, use Everything to find exactly what you are looking for at lightning speed.

It’s also useful for those hidden files you can’t find. Really a great free to tool that makes life just a little bit easier.

Link to Everything:

6. Unlocker

This is a great tool for all those annoying file restrictions you get from Windows. You know what I’m talking about; those “Can’t delete file” or “Please close any other processes that may be using the file and try again”.

This program is used to terminate a running process for files that can’t be accessed due to Windows file-access bugs. Unlocker successfully bypasses these bug restrictions and gives the user access to that file.

Basically, it lets you override those pesky Windows errors and do exactly what you want to do with your files.

Link to Unlocker:

7. ClamWin

This is one of those “sleepers” out there in freeware land, but is a great anti-virus program. It boasts real-time monitoring along with other options.

Since it’s just under 6 MB in size (rather small for an anti-virus program) it does not bog your system down. It’s also known to find some threats which other anti-virus tools fail to detect.

The biggest knock against ClamWin is that the program still doesn’t have the ability to scan files on demand, something found in many newly released anti-virus products. But this isn’t a bad trade-off when you’re getting a free virus scanner in return.

Link to ClamWin:

8. Keepass

Keepass allows you to create a database with all of the passwords and use one master key to access them all. Not a bad idea for obvious reasons.

Keepass makes it easy to handle 10 different usernames, 9 different email accounts, etc. If you’re having trouble with passwords, this app is the solution for you.

It’s free and is small enough to fit easily on to even the least capacious USB drive.

Link to Keepass:

9. MalwareBytes

There are a lot of spyware tools out there, but MalwayreBytes is an excellent one and far more useful and up-to-date than the forever behind-the-times Spybot Search and Destroy.

Malwarebytes is fast and doesn’t use a lot of resources. Quick performance, real time protection, and deep file scan are only some of the pros.

These days you can never have enough removal tools and MalwareBytes won’t disappoint. Oh yeah, you can get it for free too!

Link to MalwareBytes:

10. Ccleaner

Keeping your PC free of unwanted files, cached data and unneeded registry entries has never been easier. Ccleaner frees up hard disk space and cleans traces of your online activity.

Ccleaner doesn’t take a lot of time to run and definitely cleans out the crap, especially for novices or those who don’t performing regular PC maintenance.

It’s designed to be safe and secure to use, meaning it has multiple checks in place so that it won’t delete any useful information or documents you need. It’s a great tool and free software is always a plus.

Link to Ccleaner:

So… Which One’s Your Favorite?

About the Author

is the product of Western Illinois University’s prestigious academics programs. With a BS in Instructional Technology and a BA in Communications Roman has taken his education and applied it into the vast world of Information Technology. Roman currently works for Jack Morton Worldwide and is a Technical Administrator for the IBM training facility in the Chicago Loop. Roman has been working at Jack Morton for two years and is consistently engulfing himself in different technologies that IBM has to offer. While pursuing higher education through certifications such as A+ and Net + he also enjoys life outside of the computer world with ultimate frisbee, synchronized swimming, and fantasy football.