Best Freeware Guide

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I'll post this list of the best freeware that will be constantly updated and have things add things to it. This first time around will just be the basics without too much in-depth detail. Please leave comments, I've worked on this for the last 2 hours, so anything will be appreciated. Please click title to read the full post, I'm having some troubles with the Full Post tags and all these views are slowing it down.

Updated 29 Apr. 2006

----Digital Imaging----
----Computer Tools----


Best Browser

Firefox hands down is my favorite browser, being safer than IE and highly customizable. Automatic updates, faster browsing, better pop-up blocking, tabbed browsing, an integrated search bar, and live bookmarks are just some features of this browser. Another popular browser is Opera which includes many of the same features as Firefox.


Best BitTorrent Client

Azureus is a java bittorrent client offering multiple torrent downloads, queuing/priority systems (on torrents and files), start/stop seeding options and instant access to numerous pieces of information about your torrents. Azureus now features an embedded tracker easily set up and ready to use. uTorrent is a lightweight (Very) and efficient BitTorrent client that includes bandwidth prioritization, scheduling, RSS auto-downloading and Mainline DHT.


Best Multi Platform File Transfer Utility

Shareaza is a great program that connect to 4 P2P networks, EDonkey2000, Gnutella, BitTorrent and Gnutella2 (G2).


Best IP Blacklist/Blocker

Was going to put this under Security, but it's a MUST for anyone using P2P. PeerGaurdian
integrates support for multiple lists, list editing, automatic updates, and blocking all of IPv4, TCP, UDP, ICMP, etc, making it the safest and easiest way to protect your privacy on P2P<. Lite version is made to consume as little CPU and RAM as possible. It has no UI or options and consists of a single tray icon. PeerGaurdian
PeerGuardian Lite

Best FTP Client

Two amazing FTP clients that each include a great deal of features are FileZilla and SmartFTP


Best Chat Program

Two that stand out are Gaim and Trillian, both are multi-platform. Gaim is compatible with AIM, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, IRC, Jabber, Gadu-Gadu, SILC, GroupWise Messenger, and Zephyr networks. While Trillain is a skinnable chat client that supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, and IRC. Trillain also includes many features not included in those chat programs.


Best AIM Virus Remover

AIM Fix was created to remove all known AIM viruses in one consolidated removal tool.


Best Phone/Talking Software

These programs allow you to call people for free and talk with them, all you need are headphones and a microphone. Skype adds encryption and has excellent sound quality, an addon, SAM, adds voicemail functionallity. An alternative to Skype is the Gizmo Project.

Gizmo Project

Best Download Manager

There are many, but the ones that work great are FlashGet, GetRight, and Free Download Manager. All split up files and increase the download by 100-600%, they can also resume broken downloads.

Free Download Manager

Best Gmail File transfer

There are a couple programs that use that Gmail space of yours to upload your files and make backups of them.

Gmail Drive

Best Email Client

Another from Mozilla, Thunderbird, is a full-featured email client, that includes a spam filter, anti-phishing protection, enchanced security, and auto updates.


Best Blogging Poster

w.bloggar is a great blogging tool that includes a template and post editor that works with many blogging sites, including Blogger. Unlike other blogging tools, this ione doesn't require you to have your blog on an ftp site, but can log in and post.


Best IRC Client

Other than the popular mIRC some outstanding IRC clients are IceChat and HydraIRC.


Best IRC Add-on

NoNameScript is an amazing addon that's definitely worth installing over normal mIRC.



Best Anti-Spyware

A few stand out, mainly Spybot, Ad-Aware, Windows Defender, and Spyware Blaster. The first three are scanners each with their own special tools including realtime scanning, encrypted file deletion, and history erasor. Spyware Gaurd is more of a realtime scanner (Like Anti-Virus) of spyware while you're downloading. Spyware Blaster is different in not being a scanner, but prevents spyware from installing on your computer in the first place (Spybot includes a robust version of this). All four programs are recommended since each is not 100% efficient.

Ad-Aware SE Personal
Windows Defender
Spyware Blaster

Best Anti-Virus

A few come to mind, but my favorite is AVG from Grisoft, which includes updates, real time scanner, and an email scanner. Another good one is AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic which includes many of the same features. Do keep in mind that free anti virus clients are not up to par with paid ones according to testings.

AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic

Best Firewall

My favorite by far is ZoneAlarm which is simple for begginers and contains a barrage of features for more advanced users. Another option is Sygate Personal Firewall includes all the same functions for the same price.

ZoneAlarm Free
Sygate Personal Firewall

Best Anti-Malware

Ewido really helps stop hijackers, spyware, worms, dialers, trojans, and keyloggers. It includes a great scanner and realtime scanner. Some features are disabled in the free version, including the realtime scanner, auto updates, self-protection, and memory scanning, but all these are included in the 15 day trial which can be reinstalled.


Best Diagnostic Tool

Ultimate Boot CD is an amazing bootable CD to restore a crashed computer and can fix it.

Ultimate Boot CD

Best Disk Cleaner

I couldn't believe my eyes after I ran CCleaner, it removed around 1.5 Gigs in unused application data and internet cach (Which I thought I removed through the disk cleaner). This truly amazing utility cleans out your computer safely and even scans and removes obselete registry data, speeding up your system. You might want to turn off cookie deletion if you save your passwords on forums and such.


Best File Deleter

Eraser is an advanced security tool (for Windows), which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns.


Best File Encrypter

Three stand out, GNU Privacy Gaurd, TrueCrypt, and Blowfish Advanced CS. GNU is a full replacement of PGP that is totally command line based, and not for beginnners. On the other hand, Blowfish Advanced CS offers multiple algorithms, efficient data compression, and safe key handling for content protection. TrueCrypt can create virtual encrypted disks, can encrypt an entire hard disk partition or a device, such as USB flash drive, and provides two levels of plausible deniability, in case an adversary forces you to reveal the password.

Blowfish Advanced CS
GNU Privacy Gaurd
Guide to GNU Privacy Gaurd

Best Md5 Checksum Creator/Checker

This open source utility is used to calculate the MD5 checksum of a file using L. Peter Deutsch's MD5 code. One of the most common uses is to make sure that a file that you have downloaded is not corrupt. Some websites post the MD5 checksum of a file on their download page. Once you have downloaded the file, use winMd5Sum to get the MD5 checksum of the file on your computer. Then make sure that the MD5 checksum from the web site is the same. If they are the same, then your file is exactly the same as the file on the website.


Best File Unlocker

Unlocker is an Windows Explorer extension allowing you with a simple right-click on a file or folder to get rid of error message such as error deleting file or folder, cannot delete folder: it's being used by another person or program.


----Digital Imaging----

Best Image Editor

A few stand out, mainly The GIMP and Paint.NET. GIMP is more like Photoshop and there is a seperate version that renames GIMP tools to the ones in Photoshop. Piant.NET replaces the simple MS Paint program and adds tons of features and includes many of the things Photoshop has.


Best Vectar Image Editor

Inkscape is an Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, Freehand, CorelDraw, or Xara X using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.


Best Image Viewer/Editor

IrfanView supports many formats of images and includes some plugins that allow it to view many other formats such as videos, flash, and some audio formats. Picasa, on the other hand, differs in being able to edit photos and searches your computer for photos. Another good one is FastStone Image Viewer which is a fast, stable, user-friendly image browser, converter and editor.

>IrfanView Plugin/Addons
FastStone Image Viewer

Best Digital Album Creator

InAlbum Lite is an easy you can use program to turn your digital photos into a great photo album slideshow. InAlbum Lite helps you turn your digital photos into stunning photo albums.

InAlbum Lite

Best 3-D Modelling/Animation/Rendering

Foreget Maya, Blender is the open source software for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation and playback.


Best Color Capturer

Color Schemer ColorPix is a useful little color picker that grabs the pixel under your mouse and transforms it into a number of different color formats. You can use the built-in magnifier to zoom in on your screen, click on a color value to copy it directly to the clipboard, and even keep ColorPix on top of all other apps and out of the way. Also, it doesn't require installation and is a tiny program.

Color Schemer ColorPix


Best Virtual Drive

If you ever wanted to run that .iso or any other CD image without having the CD or DVD in the drive just use DAEMON Tools. Do not install the adware toolbar!


Best DVD Descrambler

Well the name says it all, DVD Decrypter allows you to copy DVDs to your hard drive and re-encode them to MPEG1 (VCD) or DivX. DVD Decrypter can also write most types of CD / DVD images via its 'ISO Write' mode.

DVD Decryptor

Best DVD Compressor

ratDVD takes a full featured DVD-9 movie and puts it into a highly compressed .ratDVD container format file of about 1.x GB in size - while preserving all the features of the original DVD.

Best CD/DVD Burner

CDBurnerXP Pro and DeepBurner are two fully featured DVD and CD burners and can create .iso's from them. Both are amazingly fast and meet all your needs.

CDBurnerXP Pro

Best MPEG to DVD Converter

Got those mpegs from your digital video camera, off the web, etc. but always wanted to convert them into DVD's? Well DVDBuilder does exactly that, efficiently and painlessly for free.


Best Video Player/Codec Pack

Basically, the K-Lite Mega Codec Pack will play every video file on this planet.

K-Lite Mega Codec Pack
K-Lite Codec Pack Full (Less features)

Best Audio Player

Winamp and foobar2000 comes out on top as the best audio players. ml_ipod is a plugin that uses Winamp to support your iPod. Winamp DSP Enhancer increases the quality and depth of your bass and treble, but not just making them louder but by filtering out any distortions and other bad stuff. foobar 2000 s an advanced audio player for the Windows platform. Some of the basic features include full unicode support, ReplayGain support and native support for several popular audio formats. Not to mention it's tiny size.

DSP Enchancer

Best Audio Editor/Ripper

Audacity is a free and gull featured audio editor and recorder. As for grabbing audio from CDs , Exact Audio Copy is the solution, although it's not for beginners.

Exact Audio Copy

Best Audio Converter

Often called the Swiss army knife of audio, dBpowerAMP is able to convert your audio files to convert between audio formats whilst preserving ID Tags.

dBpowerAMP Music Converter

Best XviD/DivX Converter

AutoGK is an amazing program that converts Xvid and DivX formats of video to many others, at the same time compressing them and it includes many other features.


Best Movie Cover Searcher

Have those "back up" DVDs but no covers? Well, no fear, iCover searches its 6 databases and the internet for over 13,000 movie covers that you can download for free.

iCover Site (French)

Best iPod Utility

Forget iTunes, YamiPod gives you full control of your iPod and offers many other features to you.


----Computer Tools----

Best Hard Drive Analyser

JDiskReport is an amazing program that provides many different graphs and information on what's stored on your computer.


Best Software Collection

TheOpenCD includes many freeware programs and open source programs that are essential to anyone.


Best HTML Editor

Based off the firefox source, NVU, made by Linspire is a great HTML editor that is amazing for its price, much unlike the expensive Dreamweaver and Frontpage.

NVU Features

Best CSS Menu Designer

CSS Menu Designer is a good tool to automatically create beautiful CSS menus that you can customize to your every whim.

Best CSS Menu Designer

Compression Tool

Although there's many, a few stand out, mainly 7-Zip and IZArc. 7-Zip supports: 7z, ZIP, CAB, RAR, ARJ, GZIP, BZIP2, Z, TAR, CPIO, RPM and DEB. IZArc supports many files including: 7-ZIP, A, ACE, ARC, ARJ, B64, BH, BIN, BZ2, BZA, C2D, CAB, CDI, CPIO, DEB, ENC, GCA, GZ, GZA, HA, IMG, ISO, JAR, LHA, LIB, LZH, MDF, MBF, MIM, NRG, PAK, PDI, PK3, RAR, RPM, TAR, TAZ, TBZ, TGZ, TZ, UUE, WAR, XXE, YZ1, Z, ZIP, ZOO. Both also include many other features.


Best Benchmarking Tool

EVEREST Home Edition is a freeware hardware diagnostics and memory benchmarking solution for home PC users. It offers the world's most accurate hardware information and diagnostics capabilities, including online features, memory benchmarks, hardware monitoring, and low-level hardware information. Sadly, this free version has been discontinued, since they want to make some money on their corporate version (Which is understandable).

EVEREST Home Edition

Best Office Suite

The best one out there is It includes many of the same features as MS Office and more.

Best Word Processer

AbiWord is a free word processing program similar to Microsoft Word and is rapidly becoming a state of the art Word Processor. It has lots of features useful for your daily work, personal needs, or for just some good old typing fun.


Best Process Viewer

Process Explorer is a incredible program that shows you information about which handles and DLLs processes have opened or loaded.

Process Explorer

Best Multi-Coding Tool

For those computer programmers, PHP Designer 2005 and Notepad++ are great programs that include syntax highlighting and syntax folding. PHP Designer supports: PHP, HTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript, Java, Perl, JavaScript, VB, C#, Java & SQL. Notepad++ supports C, C++, Java, C#, XML, HTML, PHP, Javascript, RC resource file, makefile, ASCII art file (extension .nfo), doxygen, ini file, batch file, ASP, VB/VBS source files, SQL, Objective-C, CSS, Pascal, Perl, Python, Lua, TCL, Assembler, Ruby, Lisp, Scheme, Properties, Diff, Smalltalk, Postscript and VHDL. And that's the tip of the iceberg for both programs, they contain tons of features.

PHP Designer 2005
Other good ones (That also work with AutoIt scripting):

Best AutoIt Editor

This custom made version of SciTE has syntax highlighting and syntax folding, autocompleting, and intellisense.


Best .pdf Reader

Foxit Reader is small (the download is less than 1MB), so it downloads quickly. It doesn't need any installation, so you can start to run it as soon as you've downloaded it.

Foxit Reader

Best Linux

Ubuntu and Kubuntu are two of best and most well known linux distros out there and include a barrage of programs. Another good one is Damn Small Linux, which is 50mb and can run off your USB flash drive.

Damn Small Linux

Best Mouse Movement Capturer

Wink is a Tutorial and Presentation creation software, primarily aimed at creating tutorials on how to use software (like a tutor for MS-Word/Excel etc). Using Wink you can capture screenshots, mouse movements, add explanations boxes, buttons, titles etc and generate a highly effective tutorial for your users.


Best Windows CD Creator

AutoStreamer works as a totally automated slipstreamer. Basically, all it really needs is a source that being an original Windows CD or a local share and a Service Pack file. Using this you can create another Windows CD that includes the newest service pack and all the hotfixes.



Best Dockbar

ObjectDock is the main program for this and can be highly customized. Another, Y'z Dock, has similar functions but was discontinued as a result of Apple's intervention.

Y'z Dock

Best Widget Engine

Yahoo! Widget Engine is your solution to Windows widgets, it's highly customizable and there's thousands of available widgets.

Yahoo! Widget Engine

Best Wallpapers

EarthView replaces your background with realtime photos of Earth. Another great on is Holding Pattern, Holding Pattern turns your idle computer screen into an airplane window, complete with a moving aerial view. Each time the screensaver plays a unique sequence. Hint: The plane does have a destination.

Holding Pattern

Best Desktop Searcher

There are many, but my favorite is Google Desktop Search, with a plethora of features. Such as searching (Duh?), news, maps, notepad, gmail notifier, and many other features.

Google Desktop Search

Best Earth Viwer

Obviously Google Earth makes it, but NASA's World Wind is another program worth a look at.

Google Earth
World Wind

Best Bootskin Changer

This tiny and free program allows you to easily change boot skins that you download from various theme customizing sites.


32 Responses to “Best Freeware Guide”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous 

    Not bad... i do disagree on the best dvd "descrambler" though. DVD Shrink is by far the best for copying a copyrighted DVD onto another DVD. Or to compress video to fit on one DVD. You should try it out.

  2. Blogger jambarama 

    Good list. I'd add to AV - ClamWin. It is a terrific Windows port of the Open source ClamAV. It is lightweight, doesn't consume (hardly any) system resources. Along with that, WinPooch is a great anti-malware program. It allows clamwin to do realtime scanning (if you want) and it really gives you more power over you system than anything else. HijackThis is also pretty good anti-malware.

    For firewalls - sygate (gone now) and Kerio have been nicer for me. They've consumed less system resources than ZoneAlarm, though ZA is good stuff.

    CinePaint (built on GIMP) is spectacular. It's been used in movies such as Spiderman, Elf, Looney Toones, and Planet of the Apes. I'm sure there is a Windows port out there.

    For audio - foobar2000 is the best. It encodes, rips, burns, plays any non-drm format, has a masstagger, supports tabbed play lists and everything else you'd ever want for less than 5mb. No plugins necessary. It is also the lightest player I've ever used.

    If you are suggesting openoffice (good suggestion) I'd l ike to encourage you to look at bluefish for
    html editing. It is almost as nice as NVU and a lot more stable.

    Other honorable mentions - virtualdub, VLC, media player classic are some great video players/encoders.

    Again good list, keep up the good work!

  3. Anonymous Anonymous 

    Getright and Flashget aren't in my view free since they have ads.
    Also the K-lite codec pack illegally distributes many of its codecs without permission,
    AutoGK violates the mpeg4 patents, and DVD decrypter is probably a violation of the DMCA.

    RatDVD makes files that are of VERY degraded quality compared to the original, but there are situations where it could be useful. Desktop and laptop hard drives are cheap though, and so are DVD blanks so usually you are better to keep the full quality. Just people should be aware that this isn't like mp3 where a 190ish VBR file is almost impossible to tell from the original. Compressing a DVD even to a DVD-5 can sometimes suck the life out of it, and compressing it to <2GB does reduce the quality.

  4. Blogger Adam 

    definately a plus for peerguardian. it might not be perfect, but it does make p2p a tad safer. though I don't think I can agree on ZoneAlarm as a firewall, Outpost Pro gets my vote.

    As far as Kodec Packs, have had bad experience with them, I just keep Gspot on a USB pen drive, to analyze audio/videos, so I can direct download ONLY the codecs that I need.

  5. Anonymous Anonymous 

    Very good, but I'd advise people to avoid uTorrent because the developer now works for P2P-poisoning company PeerFactor. Sure, theres no evidence that he has corrupted uTorrent in any way, but since uTorrent is closed source there is no way of verifying that. Better safe than sorry.

  6. Anonymous Anonymous 

    Another good dock for your desktop is ROCKETDOCK.

  7. Anonymous Anonymous 

    And another very good dockbar is AquaDock (XP only) which you can get here

  8. Anonymous Anonymous 

    very nice guide, also you should recommend as video player Media Player Classic, or VLC...

  9. Anonymous Anonymous 

    I'd like to propose MediaMonkey for music organization. MediaMonkey allows you to organize your music by its location in your harddrive, by genre, by user-ratings, or by any other characteristic you can think of. I also enjoy being able to pull files directly out of the playlist as if I were pulling them out of their actual location. MediaMonkey allows you to burn cd's, and synch to your portable device. It's really worth checking out. And it's free! Unless you want the Pro version.

  10. Blogger SWC 

    I'll be adding these suggestions in the future and thank you for the feedback.

  11. Anonymous Anonymous 

    I have to agree with what that other user said. DVD Shrink is by far the best DVD cracking software. Its use is much more intuitive, allows for compression and reauthoring. I do however reccomend DVD Decrypter because DVD Shrink can do the actual ripping, and then send the ISO file to DVD Decrypter for buring. Best when used in combination.

  12. Anonymous Anonymous 

    It was quite fun to look at this stuff after I posted mine (with same concept), check out this site and let me know what I can improve on. ( I am a minimilist when it comes to software)

    Freeware Rocks.

    Thank you.

  13. Anonymous Anonymous 

    hey, you still havn't posted the link for rat.DVD. where can you get it?

  14. Anonymous Anonymous 

    Nice blog. I have a similar blog ( where I share my ideas of the best freeware too, so I can really appreciate the work that you put into this. I agree with most, but not all, of your software picks and I've found a few great apps on here that I didn't already know about. Great job.

  15. Anonymous Anonymous 

    Damn cool !!!

    I would also suggest programs for :

    registry cleaners (Abexo registry cleaner - , eusing free registry cleaner - etc. )
    Mediamonkey-much better than winamp.
    Spyware terminator - awesome and free-
    Winrar - much better than winzip
    Try winpatrol it monitors the system.
    Sandboxie can prevent spyware,virus etc. from accesing the comp.
    Microsoft Baseline Analyser which checks your microsoft components for errors
    Also add a section on PC Optimizers,RAM optimizers etc..

  16. Anonymous Anonymous 

    Great list.

    I'd add Kmplayer
    in the Video player section, because it's like (indeed, more powerful than) Media Player Classic/K-lite Codec Pack, but with less things to install/upgrade.

    The features (here:
    explain almost all.

  17. Anonymous Anonymous 

    Hi and thanks for the opportunity to post on your blog.

    I am working on a topic similar to yours and I am putting together a guide for finding free stuff online. I’ve only managed to cover some of the things you can get online for free and I am hoping to get more input from bloggers and other webmasters, regarding this matter.

    So if you have any good info or websites where one can get things for free, I would be very interested to hear about them.

    Warm regards,

    Mihai Rad

  18. Anonymous Anonymous 

    jedit is the best text editor out there. fully customizable, and written in java, so it is virtually for every OS

  19. Blogger SWC 

    Mihai: and

  20. Anonymous Anonymous 

    Perfect Disk is best defragger,Steven Gould has the best junk remover called Cleanup.DVD Fab Decrypter is best DVD Copier and is free.

    Zone Alarm sucks and so does AVG.Azuerus is good but will get you in serious trouble with the RIAA and Movie Companies.

    E-Cleaner free for forward removal from Mail forwarded.

    CDEX Version 151 is best free CD to Harddrive copier also does MP3's and other Music files the best free program I have ever seen.

    RegClean from Microsoft is best Registry fixer and is free free free.

  21. Anonymous Anonymous 

    Avast! antivirus is also a wonderfull free antivirus. Registration is free and it provides chat client and p2p/bittorrent protection as well.

  22. Blogger abhijit 

    Interesting links.

  23. Anonymous Anonymous 

    The "NVU Features" link is broken.

  24. Anonymous Anonymous 

    GREAT list!

    Also, take a look at The Open CD :

  25. Anonymous Anonymous 

    I'd add real alternative, for playing real player files (if not already covered by other codec downloads above...)

  26. Anonymous Anonymous 

    I'd add real alternative, for playing real player files (if not already covered by other codec downloads above...)

  27. Anonymous Anonymous 

    What is the best Torrent compressor ??

  28. Anonymous Anonymous 

    Thanks a lot for this great list!

    Well, I would like to suggest one of my own projects, though: Mediaware Task Manager 3.0.

    It's a powerful process monitoring tool and provides the means for controlling which programs are executed at system startup. There's also a Launcher component integrated that allows you to quickly access all your favorite applications.

    The freeware tool can be downloaded from my website at:

    I hope you will enjoy it!

    Greetings from Vienna,

  29. Anonymous Anonymous 

    Best image editor

  30. Anonymous Anonymous 

    Great list' I was looking for a good firewall to use for protection while using bit torrent but I hear zone alarm has issue's with p2p and sygate is unfortunately being swallowed up by another company and is no longer available I would like to here others opinions on what is the best to use for a good mix of security and simplicity.

  31. Anonymous Anonymous 

    Terrific I love freeware
    Thanks everyone for the great suggestions.

    One of my most used freewares is Managanese Menu which
    allows you to set an icon on either the desktop or in the system tray to access icon shortcuts of all your applications, ordered in categories of your own choosing.

    A truly neat feature is that the menu can be set to activate by mouseover only

    Another freeware which i find indispensible is OpenExpert. It allows you to open any file via the right click menu with any application rather than just it's associated application.
    ie if you have several media players or dvd tools on your pc you can easily select which one you want to open a video or audio file with.

  32. Anonymous Anonymous 

    Awsome list, thanks for taking the time! You've got almost every app I use regularly, and I picked up a couple more! One note: I used to use JDiskReport as a hard drive analyzer, but I find that WinDirStat does more of what I need and feels lighter. If you haven't checked it out, I think it's worth a look (

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