Replace Your Paid Software with Free Alternatives - Comments Page 1

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Comment Page: 1 |  2 

Posted by:

Art F
10 Oct 2019

Why do you say Windows upgrades are never free? You yourself have written at least one column about upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 10 for free (though doing so is probably no longer available). Microsoft would NAG people to get this free upgrade when Windows 10 first appeared!

Posted by:

Daniel Wiener
10 Oct 2019

I've used Quicken for many years now, and am quite satisfied with it as it is. I have no desire to keep shelling out money for a new version every three years. The only reason I can see to do so is because Intuit (or presumably the new owner H.I.G. Capital) keeps disabling the transaction download feature every three years to force users to upgrade. For me it's crucial to be able to download into Quicken the several dozen credit card transactions I make every month. Doing it manually would be horribly time consuming and error-prone.

I had previously been forced to upgrade to Quicken 2013, but since then I've found a work-around (even though it requires a few extra clicks). First I go to my credit card's web site and export the current (or previous) month's transactions in a .CSV format. But Quicken won't allow direct import of a .CSV file, so I have to convert it to a .QIF file. Use Google to find a free file format converter, such as csvconverter.biz. (There may be some idiosyncrasies, such as needing to reverse the negative signs in the Credit column of the .CSV file, so the credits will later show up correctly as Decreases or Payments in Quicken.) After conversion I then download the resulting .QIF file to my computer.

Quicken won't let you import a .QIF file directly into a credit card-type account; this is part of their scheme to to cripple old Quicken versions and force you to upgrade. However, you can create a new liability-type of account (similar to a mortgage). Quicken does allow .QIF imports to liability accounts, and you only have to create this account the first time. From Quicken, select File..File Import..QIF file. Browse to the downloaded .QIF file you want, then select the above liability account to import it into.

From the liability account, highlight all of the transactions you want transferred to your credit card account. Right click and select Move Transactions, then select the credit card account, and you're done. Once you've gone through the whole procedure a couple of times it becomes fairly easy.

So no more upgrades for me. I expect to continue using my current Quicken program indefinitely.

Posted by:

Gerald
10 Oct 2019

Good article Bob, cheers mate.
My Alternatives:

Windows media player video -> VLC
Windows Media Audio - Foobar2000

Nero -> Imgburn

MP3Tag (Audio ID3 batch renaming, album art)

IRFANVIEW (image conversion, crop, sampling, naming, batch manipulations)

Posted by:

Dave
10 Oct 2019

I have continued to use Microsoft Money Plus Sunset Deluxe for years, and for most family related finance issues, it does the trick.

Posted by:

bill
10 Oct 2019

There is the compatibility issue. I have tried Word and Excel alternatives and run into things that just don't work with items I have made in Office. I don't do really creative things in Office but apparently I do enough advanced things that the alternatives could not.

Posted by:

Lawrence
10 Oct 2019

Great article. Maybe because I was born in Scotland and perhaps assimilated the frugality attributed to the Scots, I have always sought out free software alternatives
I have used Irfanview for image manipulation and resizing for many years
Use VLC for video files
I have an old version of MS Word which still works but also have Libre Office and WPS as great alternatives, but Google's equivalents work pretty well too
have used Avira free for many years too and it seems to have kept my computers free of malware, but also have Malwarebytes free to run occasional checks.
Have free versions of Paintshop Pro and GIMP as photoshop alternatives
have the free versions of Advanced System Care, CCleaner and Glary Utilities to tune up computer (They all seem to find slightly different things to clean up)
Am toying with installing Linux on one of my computers but so far haven't taken the plunge

Posted by:

Norris Kenwright
10 Oct 2019

Hi, A neat little free photo editor is "Phoxo", with lots of interesting features

Posted by:

Marc Lapierre
10 Oct 2019

Hey Bob, I enjoy your Newsletter. Ive used free alternatives for years, but there is a point where I draw the line and that is online based apps AND online storage, particularly the latter.

As for the apps, this aversion is simply because I like the warm fussy feeling of knowing that I can compute even if there's internet outage where I am.

Storage however is a whole different ball game. I haven't been a fan of the cloud right from the get go. My thinking has been and is, that cloud services are vulnerable to a myriad of risks, not the least of which is hackers and infrastructure failure. I prefer to have all my data local. I realize this also has risks.

At the moment, given the major data breaches that we've seen, I really don't have a sense the cloud services are bullet proof.

I would love to take advantage of the simplicity and convenience of the cloud, but can't bring myself to use it.

It would be interesting to have you views on this in a future newsletter.

Posted by:

John
10 Oct 2019

Thank you Bob for a non-partisan review in regards to both OS and software. My only recommendation to your article is that Clonezilla (https://clonezilla.org/) should be on your list of back up alternatives.

Posted by:

Mike R.
10 Oct 2019

There's a dichotomy in your article & reader comments. You say you like Web based software (for the usual, seemingly rational reasons) but several reader comments say they want to continue using an old and/or free version of an application--which usually is only possible with locally installed software.

I agree that Web-based software is OK for some things, but certainly not all. By using it you give up control...of updates, backups, features, etc. You cannot "go back" to the prior version which you liked better or which was less buggy. I don't like Web based software for anything mission critical.

Intuit, for instance, has broken QuickBooks Online a few times overnight with a "minor update", which of course was forced on users because it is Web based. They've also had a couple 24-hour complete QB Online server outages..a terrible thing in the midst of tax season! Nor can you get them to restore a backup of your data as of a specific date such as prior to a major accounting mistake you made or nefarious entries made by a disgruntled employee.

I used desktop QuickBooks a lot, and can stay with either a new version or an old version for as long as I like--assuming I don't use any of the required-update features like their version of Payroll. In any case, I DO NOT allow QuickBooks to auto update, preferring to wait a couple weeks after an update has been released to be sure it is stable before acquiring it.

Web-based software is not the panacea which many people think it is.

Posted by:

Pablo
10 Oct 2019

Recently, you had an article about updates. Are this group of free applications kept updated the paid ones are, especially for security holes?

Posted by:

Jim K
10 Oct 2019

Thanks, Bob. I am a big fan of Google docs, and have become pretty good at the included Apps Scripting, which can automate all kinds of tasks. Much better than the VBA scripting in MS Office.

Posted by:

Greg C
10 Oct 2019

I recently found out about Sumatra pdf. I have used both Foxit and Adobe's free readers. Both have advantages, but Sumatra is a VERY light app that is NOT just a one trick pony. I love it !

https://www.sumatrapdfreader.org/free-pdf-reader.html
Sumatra PDF is a free PDF, eBook (ePub, Mobi), XPS, DjVu, CHM, Comic Book (CBZ and CBR) reader for Windows.

For WinXP license holders who want a fully patched & updated version: Integral Edition 2019.8.17
( many point of sale systems still use XP & MSoft still patches it up )

Posted by:

Louie O.
10 Oct 2019

I have never had much luck using Acronis TrueImage. Macrium Reflect is much easier to use, but it has failed occasionally also. I have never had an issue with AOMEI Backupper though. It has an easy to understand interface as a bonus.

Posted by:

mike
10 Oct 2019

Bob, one of your better articles, especially with all the links and references to your other related articles. Good reader comments this time too with nice additions mentioned.

Posted by:

JP
10 Oct 2019

A variety of online PDF tools: https://pdf.io/

Online video cutter: https://online-video-cutter.com/

Online video converter: https://convert-video-online.com/

Online photo editor and animated GIF maker: Lunapic.com

Posted by:

snert
10 Oct 2019

with anti virus over the years i've tried norton and eset, and other assorted free stuff, but now i love my pcmatic, none are 100%, but pc does better...as for video and audio, never happy with the free stuff, so far i've settled with avs, ans about 50 bucks for life, can't beat that!!!

Posted by:

hifi5000
10 Oct 2019

I have used Libre Office for a few years now and am happy with it.It does most of the stuff that I had when I used Microsoft Office.Easy to use

VLC works fine with video and audio files that I have.

Posted by:

MartinW
10 Oct 2019

I use (paid) McAfee now and used (paid) Norton before that. When my subscription is up, I'll look for something free. I've had a (very few) problems with free security apps before, though.
Everything else I use is free. LibreOffice, VLC, Malwarebytes (free version), etc., etc. For backups, as one commenter above stated, AOMEI Backupper has worked fine for me. (And I use Timeshift on my Linux installations.)
Keep up the good work and I'll check out the article on free antivirus.

Posted by:

Samantha
11 Oct 2019

I use Avast have done for years now - tried Norton back in early days of windows when it came with computers - and then Avast - tried other free bees but Avast is the one. Does have offers VPN which I am trying now free trial- having had Cyber Ghost which worked on lap top but not on PC for some reason Paid version. Tunnel Bear free didn't work on either. Tried Avast's paid tune up program - didn't do the job - say now have updated it but with PC running sweet - dont want to upset it. Now contemplating what to do Jan 20 when 7 is no longer patched.Thunderbird for email Greek Uninstaller free. All good programs and of course C Cleaner, IDM, SAS life paid, & Win Patrol old favorites. PC is old as well as Lap top but still running and both would take W10.

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