Ten Free Software Tools for the Cost-Conscious Consultant - Slide 6

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Next Anti-virus: Microsoft Security Essentials-6 Next

Anti-virus: Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft – yes, Microsoft – actually gives away a real-time AV solution that, by most accounts, is quite viable. And it's already in version 2.0.657.0. Of course, since Microsoft's operating system is constantly under attack, most folks might say it's about time Redmond protected its own turbulent ecosystem. All the expected features – real-time updates, removable drive scanning, process exclusion – are there, and Security Essentials also can be set to check for anomalous patterns. The one knock on Security Essentials tends to be resource consumption; the malware agent runs at about 65,000K on Ken’s Windows 7 laptop, but he has seen no real lags in overall system performance.

Free, unlimited use.

Consultants need to do a little bit of everything, and that can mean loading up on a lot of potentially expensive software packages. Thank goodness for open source freeware projects and proprietary software publishers who give away powerful free samples as a marketing tactic.

These software packages provide more than adequate – sometimes surprisingly powerful – functionality for your Windows-based PC, and interoperate quite nicely with brand-name apps. They won't necessarily replace industry-standard tools for your core business; professional project managers are still going to have to bite that $500 bullet for a seat of MS Project.

But for general productivity and most niche tasks, software doesn't have to cost a lot, or anything, for that matter. These tools don't expire and won't frustrate you by suppressing necessary functionality. They just work.

This slideshow features 10 free client software packages identified by Ken-Hardin, an independent business analyst and management consultant, as well as an IT Business Edge alumnus.

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