The internet is an ocean of freeware apps that can be both overwhelming and confusing. How do you know which is best? What happens if you download one and it turns out to be malware?

Fear not, computing enthusiast, because PC Plus is here to allay those fears and guide you through the deluge. Here, we'll give you the lowdown on 25 of our top freeware applications.

If these aren't already on your PC, you should be asking yourself why not.

1. Firefox

Download Firefox

We kick off with Mozilla's flagship Firefox, the internet browser that everybody with a clue is using. Its constant updates and wealth of extensions that let you expand the app's functionality to epic proportions are a massive plus.

Built-in features include its private browsing function, the Awesome Bar for finding sites in seconds and session restore for loading the same websites and tabs after a crash. Now really is the time to ditch Internet Explorer.

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2. TeamViewer

Download TeamViewer

The crucial disadvantage of having an understanding of computers can be that you're the go-to person for your entire family when they're in need of IT support. It can be especially tricky to provide advice over the phone when you're not able to see the problem in front of you.

The solution is to install TeamViewer and share the desktop of the person who's asked for your advice, so you can interact with it and discover any issues they're having difficulty with.

It has the ability to work behind firewalls and there's even an app called TeamViewer Web Connector for accessing remote desktops from within your internet browser.

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3. Skype

Download Skype

You'll want to tell the world about your finely-tuned PC and its collection of superb apps – or, at the very least, your close family. What better way to do this than with the power of Voice-over-IP in the form of Skype?

Friends on the other side of the globe will be easily contactable by voice or video, and you won't have to pay your gluttonous telephone provider a penny when calling other Skype users. As well as all this, you'll also have access to some incredible offers when calling landlines.

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4. ZoneAlarm Free Firewall

Download ZoneAlarm Free Firewall

Once you've got online with Firefox, finding yourself some protection from the various foreign bodies that roam free on the internet should be a priority.

That protection will come in the form of a firewall – think of it as a virtual shield against hackers and other baddies – and ZoneAlarm is at the top of its game when it comes to preventing all the unsafe code that hurtles down your copper cabling.

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5. Panda Cloud Antivirus

Download Panda Cloud Antivirus

In the unlikely event one of said foreign bodies evades your firewall and sets up camp on your hard disk, you'll want another line of defence – a secondary row of ramparts, if you will.

Virus-searching and purging are top of the agenda, and Panda Cloud Antivirus does that in a novel way, by storing definitions on a remote web server in the cloud, saving you the hassle of regular heuristic additions.

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6. Trillian

Download Trillian

So you don't have a microphone or webcam? That's no problem, because we have the solution for you: instant messaging from Trillian.

You'll be able to type out conversations using your trusty keyboard on a number of different networks, including Astra, Windows Live, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo. If you grow tired of this, there's also video and audio functionality, so Trillian certainly has all your bases covered.

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7. Orbit Downloader

Download Orbit Downloader

While chatting to a long-distance friend, there's a good chance the conversation will stumble onto the topic of music. But if your chum posts a URL to a track recommendation then you'll want to save it to your hard disk with a program more reliable than your default internet connection.