Top Picks For Free Software

  • By David Maloney
  • 09 Dec, 2016
Utilities:
Piriform Recuvra Undelete  - free, finds and recovers deleted files, also permanently erases deleted files by overwriting them. Works great. They've also got CCLeaner, and a defragger.

Mouse without Borders  - free utility from Microsoft that allows mouse & keyboard sharing, plus file sharing. Basically a software KVM, best used when you have two PCs and two monitors on your desk, and you don't want to use two keyboards and mice.
Duplicate Cleaner Free  - helps you find and delete duplicate files on your hard drive.
TreeSize Free  - shows how much space folders are taking up on your hard drive.
EaseUS Partition Master Free  - allows for hard drive partition resizing, moving, split/merge.
EaseUS Disk Copy Home Free  - allows for copying/cloning hard drives from a boot CD. Works well, but runs very slowly.
R-Drive Image  - allows for copying/cloning hard drives from a boot CD or USB flash disk.
Eraser  - securely delete files from hard drives.
License Crawler  - finds CD/product keys from most software programs.
Crystal Disk Info  - all sorts of hard drive info, including rotation speed

PDF creation:
Do PDF  - installs as a printer, and allows you to print any file to PDF
BullZip PDF  - installs as a printer, and allows you to print any file to PDF, even in a Terminal Server session
PDF SAM  (Split and Merge) - the free way to split and merge PDF documents
Nitro PDF  - very fast PDF reader that replaces Acrobat and also allows you to create and manipulate PDFs
Sumatra PDF  - incredibly tiny PDF reader that can run without even being installed.

Antivirus / AntiMalware:
Microsoft Security Essentials  - it has no paid version, so Microsoft doesn't bug you to buy it.
Malware Bytes Anti-Malware  - by far the best free malware remover
AVG Antivirus  - decent free antivirus program
Avira Antivirus  - small, lightweight free antivirus program
PC Tools ThreatFire  isn't a stand-alone antivirus program, but used in conjunction with a standard AV program, it greatly enhances the security of your PC. Unlike traditional AV programs (which use virus definition files), it looks for suspicious behavior, and stops those suspicious programs.
Kaspersky Rootkit Remover  - free, removes rootkits. An invaluable utility. AKA TDSS Killer.
Adw Cleaner  - free, effective
RKill  - highly effective at stopping malware processes
Unchecky  - automatically unchecks  options during software installation that installs optional, unwanted programs.

Web Browser:
Firefox  - fast, secure web browser provides improved experience, especially with ad-ons  IE Tab 2  and  AdBlock Plus
Google Chrome  - Google's web browser

Backup:
Macrium Reflect  - terrific hard drive image backup program. You can also use it as a nifty disk cloning tool that works over a network, by booting using the "Rescue" CD or USB flash disk, which you can make using the software.
EaseUS ToDo Backup Free edition  - I haven't actually tried this yet, but it gets great reviews, and you can't beat the price.
Microsoft SyncToy  - synchronizes sets of folders. You can use this tool to keep two computers in sync, but if you set up one folder on a USB hard drive, it makes for an effective backup.
Mozy  - online backup, provides up to 2 GB of over-the-Internet data backup.
iDrive  - online backup, with up to 5 GB for free.
CrashPlan  - lets you back up from one computer to another.

Cloud file storage:
DropBox  - not just for backups, but for syncing files between PCs, smartphones, tablets & the web. Free for up to 2 GB, reasonable prices for much more storage space.  Click here for a free account.
Microsoft OneDrive  - 15 GB free
Google Drive  - 15 GB free

PC Remote Control:
Log Me In  - with this program installed on your PC, you can access it from any other PC anywhere in the world, through a web browser. As of 2014, no longer free. Still terrific, though.
Join.Me  - quicker and easier than LogMeIn, because it doesn't require an install - start using it immediately.

DVD copying, ISO tools:
DVD Shrink  - Use this program to overcome DVD file copy protection as well as strip out unwanted content (previews, anti-piracy warnings, etc) and create small, tidy ISO files.
ISO Recorder  - Superb freeware for creating ISO files from unprotected optical discs. It also allows you to burn ISO files back onto physical discs.
Virtual CloneDrive  - Utility for mounting ISO files.

Office:
Microsoft File Format Converters  (enables Office 2003 & prior to read and write files using the Office 2007 file formats).
UBit Menu for Office 2007 & 2010  - restores the menus of previous Office versions to Office 2007 & 2010.
OpenOffice  - free, and excellent, replacement for Microsoft Office.
Libre Office  - even better replacement for Microsoft Office

Media & Photos:
Paint .Net  - digital photo editing software
Media Player Classic  - play DVDs and other media.
Image Resizer for Windows  7 - Windows XP had a great Power Toy utility that enabled you to resize photos by right-clicking them. Microsoft doesn't have it for Windows 7, but some enterprising people wrote a replacement utility with exactly the same functionality.
Adobe PhotoShop Album Starter Edition  - free photo management app.
Awesome Duplicate Photo Finder  - silly name, but seriously useful. This app find and helps you delete duplicate photos from your PC. The same programmer makes a  Duplicate MP3 Finder , as well.
Jing  - use it to record videos of your computer screen. Ideal for software demos or training.

Virtualization Software:
VMWare ESXi  - Extremely low profile virtual host.
VMWare Converter  - Use to convert physical PCs or servers into VMWare virtual machines.
VMWare Player  - Play (aka run) virtual machines.
Oracle VirtualBox  - Alternative to VMWare, with features that rival VMWare's non-free Workstation product.
Microsoft Virtual PC 2007  - Not surprisingly, Microsoft's entry is only suitable for running Windows, but it does that very well. And don't forget  SP1 .

Advanced Software:
pfSense  - Open-source router software, will run on x86.

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