So many programs, so much money!  There you are stuck with all these files and ideas with no easy way to save, share, or protect them without lightening your wallet, right?

That is where open source programs can be a real life (and money) saver.  Open source simply means that the developers believe that anyone should be able to use their software and do not copyright or charge huge fees for it.

Open Office: The open source answer to Microsoft Office.

Everyone uses Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access and Publisher, but the Office Suite can be expensive if it does not come pre-installed on your computer.   Open Office offers all these programs and it’s completely free.  There are two drawbacks: It does not include an equivalent to Outlook.  Also, when saving a file, you must select the Microsoft extension (such as .doc for a Word document).   You can download Open Office at

Drop Box: Back-up your files online and share them.

When your computer goes down, there’s a moment of panic when you wonder when the last back-up was made.  Or even how to get to your back-ups.  Maybe your data is scattered over multiple devices.   This program syncs it all up via the internet and Drop Box account.   When you save or make changes on one device, such as your laptop, it will be available on all your devices and the data is backed up online.   It even bridges PC and Mac.  You can also choose to share folders with other Drop Box users, making it easy to send mom that video of the kids playing at the lake.   To find out more, visit

Microsoft Security Essentials: Free Virus Protection.

There are plenty of virus protection programs out there.   It’s hard to sift through them all to find one you can trust and afford.   We use Microsoft Security Essentials, especially for a home computer. It’s up-to-date, finds and removes most threats, and (best of all) free!  Be sure you do not have any other virus protection software loaded.  Remove current software by going to your Control Panel, then Add/Remove Programs.  You can find the link to download Security Essentials under “Helpful Software” on our homepage.

You can also find other free downloads on our helpful software page at This software is there to make your life easier, but if you need more help, just let us know by calling (706) 253-6362 or emailing For tech tips and tricks, connect with PC Co-Pilot’s Facebook Page.