Important Software Resources
Be Sure to install Microsoft Silverlight
Many classes use online video presentations. These presentations rely on Microsoft Silverlight to run properly.
Keeping your computer up to date
Make sure that your computer is up to date with updates and patches. Keeping your computer up to date can help keep you protected from the latest viruses and malware.
Windows XP, Vista, and 7 have an "automatic update" feature that should be updating your software automatically. Sometimes this feature can be turned off.
To make sure your computer has automatic updates turned on, follow these instructions:
1) Click the Start button, then Control Panel
2) Open the "Automatic Updates" icon in Windows XP or the "Windows Update" icon in Windows Vista/Windows 7.
3) Ensure that the setting is set to enable automatic updates.
On Windows XP/2000, you can also update your software manually online. Navigate to http://update.microsoft.com/ and follow the instructions on screen to install your recommended updates.
Updating Mac OS:
1) Click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of your screen.
2) Select "Software Update"
3) Check for updates, and install when prompted.
Virus and Malware Protection
Microsoft Security Essentials
Security Essentials is a fully functional free anti-virus program developed by Microsoft. The Helpdesk recommends this as the best free anti-virus software available for Windows.
AVG Free Edition is a well-known anti-virus protection tool. AVG Free is available free of charge to home users for the life of the product.
MalwareBytes Free is an effective anti-malware program that you can run manually to remove unwanted viruses or spyware. It does not monitor your system, so you still need to have a dedicated system monitoring program like Security Essentials or AVG.
Windows Defender is a free, fully functional anti-spyware and anti-adware program.
General Software Resources
Microsoft Word Viewer (Windows Only)
This is an official viewer made by Microsoft. It is a program that will allow you to view Microsoft Word documents (but not edit or create them). This is especially useful if you do not have Microsoft Office installed.
Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer (Windows Only)
This is another official viewer made by Microsoft. It is a program that will allow you to view Microsoft PowerPoint presentations (but not edit or create them). This is especially useful if you do not have Microsoft Office installed.
Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack (Windows Only)
This update will allow early versions of Microsoft Office to open Office 2007 (.docx) documents. This is only needed if you have Microsoft Office/Viewer 2003 or earlier installed.
Apple QuickTime (Windows and Mac)
Some courses may contain video or audio clips that require Apple's QuickTime player.
OpenOffice.org (Windows Only)
OpenOffice is a freely available office suite that will open and write Microsoft Office and WordPerfect files. It is fully functional and will do most things that Microsoft Office does. However, it will not open newer Office 2007 (.docx) documents. You will need to visit Docx Converter to convert the files first.
For Mac Users
Make sure you are current with your Apple and Microsoft updates. For more information on Macintosh updates, visit Mactopia.
Opening .Docx files with Macintosh Office 2004
Follow the instructions on http://theappleblog.com/2008/09/03/open-docx-with-office-2004/
You will need to install two separate updates.
NeoOffice (Mac Only)
NeoOffice is a free Office suite for the Mac OS. It will open and edit Microsoft Office documents and contains many of the same features as Microsoft Office. It does not open Office 2007 (.docx) files. You will need to use Docx Converter to convert the files first.
Other Online Resources
There are online format converters that will convert Office 2007 documents into other formats. Here is a good one:
There are also many free online word processors. Here are a couple good ones:
Zoho Writer (Requires signup or existing Gmail or Yahoo email account)
Google Docs (Requires Gmail account)