I was recently discussing with a friend how amazing it is that many of the best utilities and software are freeware! Don’t you wish other industries were like this? What other things can you get for free that are often just as good if not better than the paid version?
So, I spent some time going through my bookmarks asking a few friends for ideas and came up with this list of my favorite freeware programs for Windows. Since I am now a Mac user as well, I should probably do a list like this for Macs, but we can save that for another day…
And if it is budgeting utilities that you are looking for check out an article I wrote listing 15 pieces of free budgeting software.
Help us find the best freeware programs out there!
As I am writing this, I know full well that I am missing tons of great freeware software and utilities – just because I haven’t heard about them yet. So, your job is to let us know in the comments what tools you use and love that aren’t included in this list… Oh and by the way, they are in no particular order, some are websites, some are software, but all are useful!
The days of paying hundreds or thousands for an encyclopedia are gone. While it isn’t flawless, for as much info as it has on it, it is pretty darn good… Wikipedia.org
2. Google Calendar
My favorite online calendar tool that I have used. It is simple, flexible, and has a lot of features… Google.com/calendar
Send faxes over the internet for free! Faxzero.com
This is a great anti-virus program as an alternative to McAfee or Norton. It works with Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/2003 and Vista… Clamwin.com
I discovered Gimp about 6 months ago and love it! It is the freeware version of Adobe Photoshop. It isn’t quite as feature-rich as Photoshop, but for most amateur photo-editing, it works great! Gimp.org
6. Windows Live Writer
Since I started blogging, I have looked at many offline blog publishing tools. Windows Live Writer has been one of the best I have found. I use it on my PC, and I use Ecto on my Mac… Windowslivewriter.spaces.live.com
I kind of thought that everyone knew about Firefox by now, but I just checked my Analytics and 65% of my visitors are using Internet Explorer. It’s okay, I forgive you. 🙂 I am not going to go into the 100 reasons why Firefox is better than IE right now, I will let you decide… Firefox.com
8. Gadwin printscreen
This is just a simple Windows-based printscreen function that makes taking screenshots a breeze… Gadwin.com/printscreen
Wordpress, WordPress, WordPress, how I love thee? WordPress has been a key player in making blogging accessible to many people. For a self-hosted blog, this is as good as it gets… WordPress.org
This website will easily let you add rounded corners to your pictures so you don’t poke your eye out! Roundpic.com
And this one will take your image and create a little reflection, almost like it is sitting next to a lake! ReflectionMaker.com
I haven’t used this, but the concept is great. It is all about creating a family-friendly internet experience for the whole family… Glubble.com
This is a very fun tool for coming up with color schemes… Kuler.adobe.com
14. FoxIt Reader
This is a PDF reader that loads about a million times faster than Acrobat Reader… Foxitsoftware.com
15. Google Analytics
More information about your website’s stats than you will ever need! Google.com/analytics
16. Delicious Bookmarking
If you learn how to use del.icious correctly, I don’t think there is a better bookmarking tool out there. You can access them from any computer and since the tag feature is so great I never have difficulty finding something I’ve bookmarked… Delicious.com
A cool tool (software) that allows you to IM all your friends in one place. You can connect to AIM, MSN, Yahoo, and others all at once… Pidgin.im
Also lets you keep tabs on all your IM friends, but you can do it from their site rather than downloading software with Pidgin… Meebo.com
CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. But the best part is that it’s fast (normally taking less than a second to run) and contains NO Spyware or Adware! 🙂 Ccleaner.com
Another Free Anti-virus program… Free.avg.com
This is a great free replacement for Microsoft Office. It’s got the wordprocessor, spreadsheet, powerpoint, and more. Not quite as good as MS Office, but pretty darn close… OpenOffice.org
My favorite free FTP software… Filezilla.sourceforge.net
23. Thunderbird and Sunbird
These are two more toys from the maker of Firefox. Together they basically replace Microsoft Outlook. Thunderbird is a great email client and Sunbird is a pretty good calendar as well… Mozilla.org
Other Great Resources
- 30 essential pieces of free and open programs for windows – As the link suggests this article has 30 pieces of Windows freeware…
- Open source living – This site functions as a directory of freeware programs and utilities for windows…
- Open source windows.org – A great list of freeware for windows…
- Download.com – They have more free software (and paid) than you could ever dream of. This is good and bad. You may have to wade through some of the junk in order to find the winners…
- Top 100 most useful freeware apps – This is a great top 100 list full of freeware utilites for Windows to get you thinking…
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