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Software Worth Paying For

Song-Fixing

TuneUp

Little is more annoying than having a collection of music that’s completely mislabeled, somewhat mislabeled, or mislabeled just enough to cause havoc within the library of your song application of choice (ideally, iTunes or Windows Media Player). TuneUp, a plugin for either aforementioned app, helps you de-dupe, standardize, and fill in the missing details of your mighty musical archive. And once you’ve done all of that, the plugin will even give you song lyrics and upcoming concert dates.

$50 for one-time purchase; $40 for an annual subscription, www.tuneupmedia.com

Financial Discipline

You Need a Budget

The name is almost self-explanatory. Nevertheless, this software—primarily a Windows app with both iOS and Android tie-ins—is a finance application that helps you keep track of your spending decisions, monthly allowances, and all other things money management–related. While the app doesn’t tie directly into your bank account like, say, Mint, it does allow you to import your raw financials if you so desire. A ton of built-in reporting gives you plenty of options to see how well (or poorly) you’re keeping your finances in check.

$60, www.youneedabudget.com

Spyware Eradication

Malwarebytes’Anti-Malware

You can install the free version of Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware and reap nearly all of the benefits of the paid-for app, save one. And it’s a biggie: Real-time protection for your system. For what good is a malware search-and-destroy kind of an app if you never remember to run it? Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware is a frequently updated bazooka of protection compared to the lesser (but free) Windows Defender, though it never hurts to have both in your back pocket when spyware strikes!


$25, www.malwarebytes.org

Windows Monitoring

WinPatrol

WinPatrol is one of those kitchen sink–like applications that’s designed to throw a grab-bag of options your way for making sure that the more intricate bits of Windows aren’t messed up by other apps (or worse, malware). For example, WinPatrol will alert you when another app is trying to modify the list of apps that start when Windows loads, or if an app is actively trying to uninstall another program on your system. Yikes!

$30, www.winpatrol.com

Hunting Down Thieves

Prey

Laptop thieves suck. Plain and simple. While those Apple enthusiasts have their fancy little iCloud and Find my Mac and all that, Windows users are pretty much left out in the cold when it comes to recovering their purloined PCs. Unless, of course, you install a tracking app like Prey, that is, which will take pictures of your thief using your laptop’s built-in webcam and attempt to notify you of your laptop’s location (among other nifty features). Too bad it doesn’t come with a self-destruct mode….

$5/month, www.preyproject.com

Gmail Mastery

Postbox

If you’re big on Gmail—and hate Outlook—then you might want to check out the application Postbox, which delivers a compelling Gmail experience to your desktop (sans web browser). You’ve got labels, priority messaging, Google Calendar integration, and even the ability to run your favorite Gmail keyboard shortcuts within the desktop app itself. Fun features like the automatic creation of shareable links to files in your Dropbox go above and beyond anything you’d find in other offline email apps.

$10, www.postbox-inc.com

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