By far the most common request for advice we get is how to stay safe online. Sometimes, less is more when it comes to security, here's what we recommend.
Ninite should be the first website you ever visit on a new PC. It's a really useful service that allows you to select multiple programs to be installed at once. It has some of the most common apps on there, such as Chrome, Skype, iTunes and Spotify. Not only does it save time, but it's great for security, as it prevents any 'extra' software, toolbars or extensions getting bundled in.
You can select your own programs at Ninite.com, or check out the Vibox-recommended bundle at this link. With the notable exceptions of Unchecky and AdBlock, almost all of the software listed on this page can be found on Ninite.
Nowadays, one of the biggest issues with computer security is bundleware. That means that when installing a legitimate app, something extra is hidden away, which leaves you with a new homepage, a toolbar pushing adverts or a search engine logging your data. The problem is, these extra installations are usually hidden amongst the terms and conditions of the software you want, so it's easy to let it slip by. Unchecky automatically stops these extras getting added, and you can install it from Unchecky.com.
A lot of websites have banner ads which look like part of the website, but actually lead elsewhere. Sometimes it's harmless, but it can contain malicious links. AdBlock Plus removes all adverts from Chrome or Firefox. While it's legal to install this software, it's worth remembering a lot of websites depend on ad-revenue, so it's best to disable AdBlock on websites you visit frequently. You can download AdBlock from Adblockplus.org
Although antivirus software is no replacement for being safe online, it's always worth having something installed just as an extra layer of security. One of the most common misconceptions with antivirus software is that you need to pay for good quality security. You'd be surprised at how many of the big names cause more problems than they solve. We've found that Windows' built-in software Windows Defender is surprisingly robust, but if you're looking for something a little extra, Bullguard and Malwarebytes are good third-party solutions.
There's a lot of software out there designed to optimise your PC, speed up Windows and make everything run better.
Almost every instance of this software is some sort of malware, and will in fact slow your PC down!
The closest thing to optimisation software we would recommend is CCleaner, which is good for routine maintenance and cleaning up unnecessary files. Anything else should be avoided!
Honestly, that's everything you need! Using too much security software will actually just slow your PC down, without adding any real benefits, so stick to the basics and try to stay safe online!
For playing videos, VLC player and Media Player Classic are the two best options. There's no need to install any additional codecs, as they're already included with the players. For converting videos, Handbrake is the best option!
iTunes is the most popular music player on Windows, and can be found on the Apple Website. If you're looking to sync your music with an iPhone or iPad, this will be the best option. If you're looking to sync your music with an Android device however, we'd recommend MusicBee or Winamp. If you're looking to stream music, Spotify has good paid and free services.
Microsoft Office is the industry standard for Office software, but many don't realise that it's not actually a standard part of Windows and must be purchased separately.
If you're willing to pay for a license, it's a great piece of software to have, but there are a number of free alternatives which use the same filetypes (.docx, .xlsx, etc).
If you're looking for a free alternative to Microsoft Office, we've found OpenOffice to be the best of the bunch.
For viewing PDFs, look no further than Adobe Acrobat Reader. It's free, and it's the industry standard for viewing PDFs, but make sure you decline the "Additional offers" on the Adobe page