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The use of Google to find software or solutions

When search engines first appeared, they were a means to find web sites or web pages.  They simply crawled the web to see what was there and provided an index to it.  Since then, the web has developed, and so have search engines so that now search engines have become a very useful tool to find information.  But there are problems, some of which I will discus here.

The amount of information on the web is huge now, which has made it an excellent place to search, if only you can find what you want.  You do need to know the terms to put in to your search.  If your problem involves a Windows control then you should use the correct name for the control (Window, pane, tab, radio button, etc), "sub-window" will not find "pane".  Another problem is getting too many hits, so that you can't find what you want amongst them.  For this it is worth learning the Google operators

Looking for software

If you know the name then this should be easy.  If you don't then include the words "best free" in your search, e.g "best free image editing software". There are many sites that now provide such lists and your search should turn up the popular ones.  If you are willing to pay a license fee then you leave out the word "free".  However paying a license fee does not guarantee better software, there is some very good software produced under the GNU license.  One of the problems with some free software is that it comes bundled with other rubbish that you don't want.  Some of this software is so bad that the only way to distribute it is to trick unwary people into installing it thinking it is something else.  One way of avoiding this problem is to use a responsible download site to look for software rather Google

There are several of these, but beware of those that claim their software is virus and malware free.   That will still allow adware, bloatware and other rubbish that you don't want.  I recommed OlderGeeks.  They have a lot of software and so it is worth looking there first.  They have two very useful software tools; Windows Repair Toolbox and Antivirus Removal Tool.  If OlderGeeks haven't got what you want, look elsewhere but be vigilant.

Looking for solutions

If you get a strange message from Windows (or other software) it is worth searching on the message text.  You would be unlucky to be the first to hit this problem and if others have had it before the answer could well be on one of the forums.  Sometimes you will find an answer but it is very technical and you can't understand it.  In that case try one of the other hits.  If they are all like this, then bring your problem here.  You should be careful in selecting your search text and not include things like time stamps or local directories or filenames, as they wont match on the search.

If you haven't got an error message, then try describing the symptoms in a sentance.  The search engines index all the text on the page and you might get a hit on someone asking the same question.  You may need to try several different ways to express your problem.

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