What Should and Should Not Be on Your New Computer

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Five things that should be on a new home computer but often aren't:

Simple but flexible automatic file-backup software. (Macs have this -- provided you own an external hard drive.)

The Mozilla Firefox browser, which is simpler and more capable than Internet Explorer on Windows and a useful backup to the Safari browser on a Mac.

Easy, reliable personal-finance software.

Podcast-friendly music software. Apple's iTunes can easily subscribe to podcasts, but Windows PCs ship without that feature.

A prominent link to a site that features trusted, tested add-on software downloads (most Linux distributions include this).

Five things that are often on a new home computer but shouldn't be:

Trial versions of Microsoft Office.

Desktop icons and Start menu links advertising free AOL service.

Software for any subscription service that has been rejected by the market, such as Napster and Vongo.

Third-party software to run a WiFi receiver. At best, it duplicates what's built into Windows; at worst, it greatly compounds the complexity of wireless networking.

Stickers of any sort. It's a computer, not a NASCAR vehicle!

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