Inside Tech Talker's Backpack: Software Roundup

Dive back into Tech Talker's backpack for Part 2 of this series on tech essentials. This time, we reveal the software Tech Talker just can't do without.

Eric Escobar
5-minute read
Episode #121

If you’re not familiar with what a bootable CD/DVD is, it’s essentially special CD/DVD that has its own operating system on it. You know what I'm talking about if you bought a computer more than 10 years ago. Back then, a new computer came with a disc that contained a new operating system. You'd pop this disc in, restart the computer, and follow the set up instructions from there.

My bootable CDs work the same way except that you don’t need to install anything. The program loads directly from the CD to the memory of the computer. This is awesome because many versions of Linux such as Ubuntu allow you to burn the entire operating system to a disc and then you can run it on almost any computer, plus you can easily run some handy back up, recovery, and antivirus tools this way.

If you're not sure how to make a bootable CD, you can often find instructions readily available online. Here's one great tutorial I found.

My four main bootable CD’s are Hiren’s Boot Disc, Ubuntu, Kali, and Kaspersky.

Here’s a quick summary of each:

Hiren’s boot disc has a handful of tools such as antivirus scanners, text editors, and file recovery tools that make it pretty indispensable. It looks very similar to Windows XP, and it allows you to clean viruses and recover files no matter how much crud there is lurking on your hard drive.

Ubuntu is probably one of the friendliest versions of Linux that is completely free to anyone who wants to use it. Anyone familiar with a Windows or Mac computer could easily use Ubuntu in a few minutes. I use it mainly as a tool to test hardware. It comes with a system analyzer that allows you to scan a computer for hardware issues such as failing hard drives or for dying memory. I also keep it around to give to people who are interested in learning Linux but don’t want to install it on their machine.

I also carry another version of Linux with me called Kali. This is the updated version of BackTrack, which is a freely available operating system used for security analysis. This operating system can be used to probe for holes in networks, firewalls, websites and a number of other things. It’s useful for making sure my friends and family’s computers are nice and secure!

Last but not least is Kaspersky. The Kaspersky boot disc is an awesome antivirus program that allows you to scan, detect, and remove viruses from your computer without needing to install anything. I use this when I find a computer that is so heavily infected with viruses that I can’t even install basic software on it.

Now I really want your feedback. Email me, Facebook me, or tag me in a tweet with your most useful tech items that you carry around with you! Maybe you’ll think of something I haven’t thought of or something that will help another techie.

Well, that’s it for today! Be sure to check out all my earlier episodes at quickanddirtytips.com/tech-talker. And if you have further questions about this podcast or want to make a suggestion for a future episode, post them on Facebook.com/QDTtechtalker.

Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!

Software box and other images courtesy of Shutterstock.


About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.