The Essentials: Best free Windows apps for students

Getting ready to go back to school is like getting ready to go to work: you're either excited and ready to rock or you couldn't give a rat's bottom about another year of eight-hour days, full of books, energy drinks, projects, and assignments.

Whether you're in high school or college, it's good to keep your PC equipped with the best programs so that you won't be hit with any surprises. Rather than scrambling around, trying to figure out which... Read More &raquo

Tags: freeware , Windows , Windows software , free

Avira kills its pop-up for 2013, sort of

The competition for the best free Windows security suite just got a lot more intense, as Avira returns to the field with its second major revamp in as many years of its flagship free antivirus and paid upgrades.

Available exclusively from today, Avira Free Antivirus 2013, along with the paid upgrades Avira Antivirus Premium 2013 and Avira Internet Security 2013, greatly expand the kinds of protection that Avira offers.

Avira wouldn't reveal a precise number of people... Read More &raquo

Tags: antivirus , security , Windows software , antimalware , Internet security , free , Avira

Amazon Cloud Drive apps for Windows and Mac (hands-on)

Amazon announced today that its Cloud Drive storage apps (Windows | Mac) are available for download, so I went ahead and downloaded the apps on both my desktop machines to check them out. The service was already available at the Amazon Cloud Drive Web site, but with a dedicated app you get easy access for storing just about any type of file on the fly.

After a fairly easy setup (requiring my Amazon account log-in info), a cloud-shaped... Read More &raquo

Topics: Mac Software

Tags: apps , Windows software , Cloud , free , software , download , Amazon

New ZoneAlarm antivirus-firewall combo competes for free

ZoneAlarm is making an aggressive move to attract new people to its line of security programs with what may be a first: a free antivirus program pre-packaged with a free firewall.

Available exclusively from today, ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus+Firewall 2013 (download) could very well make big waves in the free security-suite space. It's the same free firewall that ZoneAlarm has produced for years, but with basic antivirus and anti-malware tools included. It's basically ZoneAlarm Pro Antivirus+Firewall from last year,... Read More &raquo

Tags: antivirus , Windows software , antimalware , free , firewall , ZoneAlarm

AVG now blocks tracking ads, monitors Wi-Fi connections

Two new features designed to protect your privacy while you browse the Web and guard you against misleading SSIDs come to all three AVG suites in a service pack update.

The Service Pack 1 update for AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012, AVG Anti-Virus 2012, and AVG Internet Security 2012 are available exclusively today from

Both of the new features are available to free and paid users, but the tracking ad blocker called AVG Do-Not-Track is the big one. It... Read More &raquo

Tags: antivirus , Windows software , antimalware , AVG , free , wi-fi

Editors' Choice awards for 2012 security suites

After long deliberation, CNET has awarded the top two 2012 security suites Editors' Choice awards.

In the paid suite category, we decided on Bitdefender Total Security 2012 (download) for its top-rated security, its low impact on your computer's performance, and its excellent range of features. Bitdefender started strong out of the gate, and although some came close, notably Norton and F-Secure, Bitdefender posted an impressive set of benchmarks that kept it ahead.

Related stories Version 2012's mid-season security suite round-up Read More &raquo

Tags: antivirus , security , Windows software , antimalware , free , Avast , suite

Comodo adds VPN, attacks competitors

An on-demand Virtual Private Network and a better "quick scan" take their bows in Comodo Internet Security 5.9 (download), released today. Along with the new features, a Comodo Security Solutions spokesman had some tough words for the competition.

Comodo Internet Security 5.9, which despite following the security industry naming convention for paid suites is actually the name of Comodo's free suite, now supports the company's TrustConnect VPN service. TrustConnect uses 128-bit encryption to provide addition Wi-Fi protection, although it doesn't... Read More &raquo

Tags: Windows software , Internet security , free , VPN

UNO goes free in the Android Market

UNO, one of the most popular paid card game apps for Android, is now available for free download.

Previously only available in its $2.99 paid download form, the new ad-supported UNO Free still offers the same nostalgia-inducing gaming experience.

For those who have never played UNO (or have never experienced childhood), it's a classic color and number-matching card game for up to four players. And with its Android incarnation it can be played via Wi-Fi with friends, or against computerized opponents. The... Read More &raquo

Topics: Mac Software

Tags: Android , apps , games , Windows software , free , classic

New ZoneAlarm gets you protected faster

A significantly improved installation procedure and a new look are the notable improvements to ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2012 (download).

ZoneAlarm borrows its new look from the full ZoneAlarm security suite, replacing the old horizontal buttons with three large icons and boxes. One takes you to settings for your computer's security, the middle focuses on Internet traffic, and the third addresses your identity and data.

ZoneAlarm Free has for some time offered 2GB of online storage and credit monitoring gratis.

The new... Read More &raquo

Tags: Windows software , free , 2012 , firewall , ZoneAlarm

Avira 12's got new threads, install, and engines

After several years of minor changes that were touted as big improvements, Avira today released a new version with some serious heft behind it that the publisher hopes will position the free antivirus for future growth. Avira Free Antivirus 12, available exclusively today from CNET, along with the paid upgrades Avira Antivirus Premium 12 and Avira Internet Security 12, bring a new interface, tighter security engines, and an impressively zippy installation process to the suites.

The new... Read More &raquo

Tags: antivirus , Windows software , free , Avira