The w0rd: The Best of Free Windows Software

 Posted by on 2007-06-12 at 14:05  Technology
Jun 122007

I know, everybody has their own list of "best whatever". But sometimes there is one gem in the rough that you find that makes it worthwhile. When I build a PC I find that I’ve got to hunt down all the software I need to make it go. I’ve rebuilt enough PCs in my day to have this process down, but there may be others out there that don’t have a clue. This list will include FREE software that I use during the course of my work, whatever it may be. I like having everything on my workstation "just right" before I really get into working on a project. It sucks when you are in a groove and you have to stop to install some drivers or hunt for an application you need. I will include links to the software project’s homepage and a brief description. Trust me, these applications are the "best of class" variety and well worth your time.

(list updated 6.12.2007 – I will continue to update as I find / remember more software)


If you have a suggestion of something that should be on the list, please comment and share with the community your tricks of the trade.

The List:

  • ClamWin: Open source anti-virus client. Keep your PC free of viruses.
  • Democracy Player: Fueling the next generation of Internet TV and media broadcasting
  • Microsoft PowerToy "ClearType Enhancement": Make your fonts more readable with this free tool from Microsoft.
  • Microsoft PowerToy "Cmd prompt here…": Adds a context menu in explorer to open a command prompt from any folder
  • Cole2kMedia Codec Pack: All in one audio and video codec pack for windows. Watch and encode virtually any format.
  • Daemon Tools: Create virtual drives and mount ISO images on them.
  • Damn NFO Viewer: Small text editor good for viewing ascii readme files.
  • Microsoft PowerToy "Virtual Desktop Manager": Allows you to switch between 4 virtual desktops.
  • Ettercap: Great tool for network troubleshooting / sniffing.
  • FileZilla: This is the only FTP client I use.
  • Firefox: Best web browser, ever.
  • Flash Player: You know you need it, so don’t forget to install Flash on your system.
  • FreeMind: Powerful java based Mind Mapping software. Great for getting your ideas mapped out. Good for making nice looking organization charts too.
  • iTunes: I own an iPod, and it comes with Quicktime which you need anyways.
  • IrfanView: Good utility for viewing images. Allows for batch resize and has multiple useful plugins.
  • Sun Java: Another thing you don’t want to forget to install so you can view certain websites.
  • KeePass: Excellent security application for organizing all of your usernames and passwords.
  • Tell others what music you are listening to, suggests music you might like as well.
  • MediaCoder: All in one audio / video transcoder. Changing between digital media formats has never been easier.
  • NetStumbler: Use this application to perform a Wireless site survey or monitor the strength of your own wifi signal.
  • OpenOffice: Replacement for Microsoft Office.
  • Picasa: Google’s photo editing, organizing, and sharing software.
  • Pidgin: Cross network instant messaging platform. Login to all of your IM accounts at once.
  • Putty: Putty is the greatest SSH client ever.
  • Skype: Make calls around the world to other PCs or real phone numbers. Collaborate with friends and associates.
  • Spybot S&D: The best spyware remover I’ve used. I still recommend using multiple anti-spyware solutions for better protection.
  • Microsoft SyncToy: I use this application to sync my memory sticks with different data.
  • Sysinternals Suite: Must have resource for system admins to troubleshoot Windows PCs. My favorite in the bunch is ProcessExplorer. Every geek should know and use these tools.
  • SysMetrix: Fully skinable metrics system for your PC. Check out cpu, memory, network usage, etc…
  • Microsoft PowerToy "Task Switch Replacement": Shows previews of each window when you alt+tab to switch tasks.
  • Thunderbird: Full featured e-mail client from Mozilla, the makers of Firefox.
  • TrueCrypt: Create encrypted virtual drives. Great for securing memory sticks with sensitive information.
  • Microsoft PowerToy "Tweak UI for XP": Lets you control how windows behaves, allowing fine tuning of many user interface elements as well as system resource tuning.
  • VLC (Video Lan Client): Light weight yet versatile media player. Supports many formats including xvid/divx and mp4.
  • Wakoopa: Share information about the applications you use with the community.
  • Azureus: Java based bit torrent client.
  • Wireshark: The best network protocol analyzer around. Used to troubleshoot networks.
  • WinRAR: easy file extraction.
  • XChat: Full featured IRC client. Best Windows client so far as I can tell. Supports multiple server connections and tabs. Stop using mIRC.

If you’ve found any of this software helpful, please support the developers with your donations or purchasing a license.

  2 Responses to “The w0rd: The Best of Free Windows Software”

Comments (2)
  1. I really like this post. Thanks for the tips. I’m always looking for better and more reliable apps. Some 0f those listed are already in my arsenal and I will check out the others. Good stuff. Surf safe.

  2. i find 7zip to be better than winrar and easier to use. here is the site so other viewers can see it

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