Web Browser and Email Client
Now that Windows Firewall is running and that Windows is patched up, it's time to get a new browser instead of using Internet Explorer (IE). IE has improved security quite a bit since it was first introduced, but you would be much better off with a different browser. Here are some of the choices:
Description: Mozilla Firefox is probably the most popular IE alternative around. It has all the advanced browsing features you would expect, and has much improved security compared to IE. Also has lots off free add-ons like NoScript, which improves security. Supports Windows Vista.
License: Open Source
Description: Opera is another great free browser, available not only on the PC but for a variety of other platforms (the Nintendo Wii uses a version of the Opera browser for its Internet Channel). Not as popular as Firefox, but this could offer you more security (through obscurity). Supports Windows Vista.
The next thing to install is an email client (some of the free software we will download require a valid email address). A web based email tool like Google Gmail or Yahoo! Mail might be a good place to start. Getting a free email account to use for online registration is a great way to prevent spam flooding into your primary/ISP email, and makes moving ISPs easier by not having to change your email address whenever you change ISPs.
But sometimes you may need to have a desktop email client (that can also access your online email accounts). You probably shouldn't rely on Outlook Express, although it is free, since like Internet Explorer, security is a problem. Note that browsers like Firefox or Opera above normally include an email client, but with limited functionality. For full functional standalone mail clients, you have a few good choices:
Description: Eudora is a well known commercial email client, but it has a freeware version that is missing some features, or another version that has all the features but is supported by the display of some ads within the client. Supports Windows Vista.
License: Ad-supported fully functional freeware, or feature-disabled light version (no ads)