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General software advice for Windows


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I haven't really used a Windows computer much* in the past 10 years but now have a Surface Pro 3 and thought I might end up using it on trips when I want a tablet with me.  My hope is that I can successfully install Ubuntu on it in the future and maybe someone can figure out how to get the Type Keyboard working with Ubuntu. For now, I'll probably be sticking to Windows so I need software advice. 

 

What is the best/fastest/least buggy...

 

1) Virus Scan (I assume I will need one of these).  I am leaning towards Avast or Sophos right now. 

 

2) Pdf reader - Chrome reader it ok but it would be nice to have one not tied to the browser.  I tried Sumatra but it is a little slower than I would like.  On OS X, I usually use Skim or Preview.

 

3)  Latex and general editor to edit html, python, etc.

 

I'm sure I'll think of some more soon. 

 

*I have used a Windows Tablet PC but didn't use it for anything except Adobe Illustrator and Windows Journal.  I also didn't have it connected to the internet most of the time. 

Edited by shellylh
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It's been awhile since I used it, but last time I had a Windows machine I cared about ESET (commonly referred to by it's antivirus NOD32 name) was a great resource light option. And I say that working

If you count foobar utilizing flac.exe to convert .WAVs to .FLAC then yes.  Pretty much all audio programs are just the GUIs that use the same flac.exe.  I vastly prefer foobar to anything else for th

Man, I've missed this thread.   If paying, pick for antivirus is Eset NOD32 all the way. Free tools like Malwarebytes I also recommend. Immunization with spybot search and destroy is really helpful

I've used Canopy for Python, which is very nice to me.  Others work better than me, and will have better suggestions.

 

Foxit makes a legit .pdf reader that I've used.

 

Avast is pretty beloved as a virus scanner, but I've run for years without one without issue.  I think good habits count for a lot, which I'm sure you have.  Don't let strangers through your door, and you won't need to own a metal detector.

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Avast is pretty beloved as a virus scanner, but I've run for years without one without issue.  I think good habits count for a lot, which I'm sure you have.  Don't let strangers through your door, and you won't need to own a metal detector.

 

This.  Though, if you get infected with something, my recent experience with cleaning a colleague's computer is that Sophos, Malwarebytes, and the Panda removal tool are all pretty good, and you may need more than one of them.  Avast scores high in the prevention category though, I believe.

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I've run Microsoft Security Essentials for the last 4 or 5 years without a virus-related issue - that was based on Todd's (tkam's) advice.  

 

If you just need to read pdf's why wouldn't you just use Adobe's own free reader?  If you need a pdf editing or markup suite I have no clue if any of the free/low-cost options are any good.  I run the full version of Acrobat at work and at home.

 

No clue on the third item, I'm programming/coding illiterate. 

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Thanks for all the suggestions. I will try out Avast for now. Hopefully it doesn't slow down the computer much. I just want a pdf reader, I also have BlueBeam for marking up pdfs but It isn't great for just reading pdfs. I'm not a fan of Adobe reader, too slow. I'll look into FoxIt but I remember reading something about it I didn't like (I think it was something about the installation process). I totally forgot WinEdt, that is what I used as a grad student/postdoc; thanks for the reminder.

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Good point. MSE has served me well prior to upgrading, but for the last few months I've had Windows Defender for Windows 8.1 assuming it was virus protection.

After some reading, it appears it's anti spyware only unlike MSE. Looks like I'll need to get some virus protection too now.

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By my reading on Windows 8 Defender is MSE....

 

That's what I thought, then I read this: 

 

The two are not the same.  Defender is purely anti-spyware.  MSE includes this functionality and also includes full antivirus protection

 

However, that answer was from 2009, so your post forced me to read further and brought me to this answer from the same thread: 

 

It *was* the whole story in 2009 -- when this was asked and answered before you resurrected it from the archive!

 

Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom (sarcasm), chose to use the Windows Defender name for 3 distinct products -- only one of which existed when this question was asked in 2009.

Windows Defender (downloadable for XP, included on Vista and Windows 7, antispyware only, includes some useful system utilities, too, not present in MSE or Windows Defender/8-RT)

Windows Defender Offline (uses the same technology as MSE, but runs from a bootable disc created by the downloaded "wizard")

Windows Defender (included in Windows 8 and Windows RT that is a full antivirus and antispyware program)

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except msft stopped updating their virus protection last year.

Wait, so MSE is no good any more? Crap, I was not aware of that. I have been using it since '07.

 

I must be living under a rock since this is the first time I hear this.

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  • 3 months later...

So rather than make another thread, I thought I'd ask here for some Windows 8.1 software advice/suggestions.

 

  1. Free MS Office alternatives.  I used to use OpenOffice way back when but what are other options?
     
  2. DVD ripper.  I was using RipIt on Mac to (slowly) backup my DVDs.  I would like something that makes exact copy of DVD as opposed to convert it to a video - I've Handbrake for that.
     
  3. Program to import audio CD.  Looking for something with robust error correction.
     
  4. MP4 tag management.  FWIW, I was using iDentify on Mac with good results.

 

Also, is Avast still the choice for antivirus software?

Edited by Salt Peanuts
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For virus protection, I've been running Microsoft Security Essentials for years now, and haven't had a malware or any other incident since. 

 

I use JRiver to import all my CDs. I use JRiver for everything, easily the best music library management software I've ever used.

 

Actually using its crossfeed function right now, pretty nice.

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