30 Essential Pieces Of Free (and Open) Software for Windows

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Recently, I received a fresh new laptop from Dell. Upon receiving it, I did the traditional “installation of Windows from scratch” on it to remove a lot of the garbage that is preinstalled on Dells. Then I got really busy installing tons of great software that takes care of pretty much every software need I have. Not only was all of the software free, every piece of it was open source, which means that the code is peer-reviewed; no spyware here!

What follows is a list of thirty pieces of software that are the cream of the crop of open source software for Windows. Not only is every piece of it free, almost all of them directly replace expensive software packages.

Now, if only there were an open version of The Sims 2, I might go the whole way and switch to Linux…

Firefox logo1. Firefox
http://www.getfirefox.com/
Replaces Internet Explorer
If you haven’t switched to Firefox for your web browsing needs, do it now. It stops annoying popups and it has tons of amazing plugins that can make surfing the web even better. I could evangelize all day about Firefox, but one thing’s for sure: the first thing I do on any new Windows machine is run Internet Explorer just long enough to download Firefox.

2. Thunderbird
http://www.mozilla.org/thunderbird/
Replaces Microsoft Outlook or Eudora
Thunderbird is an email client that has five big things going for it: it’s free, it’s full featured, it’s lightweight and runs quick, it has an unparalleled spam filter, and it protects you from those ridiculous phishing attacks by clearly indicating which emails send you to a bogus website. If you’re not already using a web-based email solution, Thunderbird should be your client.

3. Sunbird
http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/sunbird/
Replaces Microsoft Outlook’s calendaring functions
Might as well get the Mozilla trifecta out of the way by mentioning Sunbird, which is the Mozilla Foundation’s calendaring program. It’s extremely easy to use (I figured out everything I needed in a minute or two) and easy to share your calendar with others. I consider a calendaring tool to be essential if you’re using a laptop, and this is no different.

4. Abiword
http://www.abisource.com/
Replaces Microsoft Word
Want a good word processor but find Microsoft Word too expensive? AbiWord is my favorite replacement for Word. It’s lightweight (meaning it runs quickly) and includes pretty much every feature that I use regularly in a word processor, plus it can save files in formats that you can exchange with Word and WordPerfect users, plus open any of their files, too.

OpenOffice logo5. OpenOffice
http://www.openoffice.org/
Replaces Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint
If you want to replace the rest of the Office suite, your best bet is OpenOffice. It includes very nice replacements for Excel and PowerPoint (and workable replacements for Access and other Office elements). In fact, I actually prefer their Excel and PowerPoint replacements to the real thing.

6. ClamWin
http://www.clamwin.com/
Replaces Norton AntiVirus or McAfee
ClamWin is a slick anti-virus software that’s quite easy to manage and is unobtrusive while keep your system free of viruses. That’s pretty much all I want from a package, so why pay money for McAfee to keep bugging me all the time?

Gaim logo7. Gaim
http://gaim.sourceforge.net/
Replaces AIM, Windows Messenger, etc.
This is a very clean instant messaging program that allows you to be on AOL Instant Messenger, Windows (MSN) Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger simultaneously with one program. There are other free packages that do this, but Gaim is stable and clean and simple.

8. BitTorrent
http://www.bittorrent.com/
Original but essential
From their website, “BitTorrent is a peer-assisted, digital content delivery platform that provides the fastest, most efficient means of distributing, discovering, and consuming large, high-quality files on the Web. Our mission is simple: to deliver the content that entertains and informs the digital world.” In other words, BitTorrent allows you to download large media files and also use your bandwidth to help others download these files. Search for media files you want and download ‘em.

9. GIMPShop
http://www.gimpshop.net/
Replaces Adobe Photoshop
This is a version of the GNU Image Manipulation Program that does a pretty solid job of imitating Adobe Photoshop – a regular user of Photoshop (like me) can adapt to it quite quickly. It’s very richly featured and runs quite well – in fact, I see no reason to ever go back, even if Photoshop were free.

10. Gnucleus
http://www.gnucleus.com/Gnucleus/
Replaces LimeWire, BearShare, etc.
Sure, LimeWire and BearShare are free, but why not just get the same basic software without all of the spyware? Gnucleus is pretty much identical to those software packages – but without all that extra junk that slows down your computer.

11. VLC Media Player
http://www.videolan.org/vlc/
Replaces Windows Media Player, Quicktime, RealPlayer, etc.
If you get tired of having tons of media players on your computer, get this package that runs pretty much every media type you’ll run across without breaking a sweat.

Juice logo12. Juice
http://juicereceiver.sourceforge.net/
Unique but essential
Juice lets you effortlessly subscribe to podcasts, organize them, and listen to them at your convenience. In conjunction with PodNova, I find it easier to use Juice to organize podcasts than using iTunes itself.

13. Audacity
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
Unique but essential (for some)
If you’re interested in recording your own podcast (or just want to make your own voice recordings for whatever reason), Audacity and a microphone are pretty much all you need to get the job done. I’m not much for podcasting (let’s just say I don’t have a radio voice), but I use Audacity for other voice recording purposes.

RSSOwl logo14. RSSOwl
http://www.rssowl.org/
Unique but essential
RSSOwl is one of many open source RSS readers. In other words, it enables you to use one program to keep track of the content of a lot of different blogs; if you read a lot of blogs, it’s the only way to keep tabs on all of them without devoting hours jumping from site to site. If you have a laptop, it’s preferable to using sites like Bloglines, but if you’re on a desktop, a web-based feed manager might be better.

15. Filezilla
http://filezilla.sourceforge.net/
Replaces WinFTP
Many people occasionally have a need to FTP files to other computers; if you ever have the need to transfer files in such a fashion, FileZilla will do the job slickly and quickly.

16. Keynote
http://www.tranglos.com/free/keynote.html
Unique but essential
Keynote is basically designed specifically for the task of taking notes on a laptop. If you ever find yourself in a meeting or a presentation with your laptop open and want to jot down notes and organize them just a bit, Keynote is unquestionably the program for you. It’s not good at quality word processing, but that’s not the point. In my professional work, I find myself using Keynote almost as often as any other utility.

17. MusikCube
http://www.musikcube.com/
Replaces iTunes
If you’re not already committed to downloaded music from the iTunes Music Store, then MusikCube is the best choice available for a music organizer and player. It organizes your mp3s, makes it really easy and really fast to find them, and allows you to make some incredibly clever smart playlists.

18. Handbrake
http://handbrake.m0k.org/
Unique but essential
Handbrake enables you to stick a DVD in your DVD drive and have the contents of that film stored to your hard drive in a form that can be read by pretty much any media player. I often use it to put a few movies on my laptop for travel purposes, so I don’t have to worry about keeping track of DVDs while on the road.

19. X-Chat 2
http://www.silverex.org/
Replaces mIRC
X-Chat is a free IRC client. For those unfamiliar with IRC, it’s a place for technical people (and, as my wife loves to point out, nerds) to meet and discuss topics in an open environment. I often find it very useful when piecing through difficult technical issues.

KeePass logo20. KeePass
http://keepass.sourceforge.net/
Unique but essential
KeePass is a program that securely stores and manages the abundance of passwords we all use on a daily basis. I have literally hundreds of usernames and passwords spread out all over the place; KeePass keeps them all for me and keeps them safe.

21. TrueCrypt
http://www.truecrypt.org/
Unique but essential
TrueCrypt enables you to convert a memory stick into a strongly encrypted data storage device, meaning that you can store personal data on it without worrying about losing it and having personal information get out and about. I use it to keep some of my most personal data off of my laptop and strongly secured, just in case.

22. PDFCreator
http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/
Replaces Adobe Acrobat
PDFCreator creates a virtual printer on your computer that, if you print a document to it from any program, creates a PDF of that document that can be read on any computer with Acrobat Reader on it. After installing PDFCreator, all you have to do is print like normal and out comes a PDF!

23. Freemind
http://freemind.sourceforge.net/
Unique but Essential
Freemind is a “mind mapping” software program. In essence, it enables you to brainstorm and link together ideas quickly, creating “maps” of concepts similar to what you might do on a whiteboard. I find it incredibly useful when putting together ideas for new posts or planning small projects or assembling the backbone of a writing project.

24. NASA Worldwind
http://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov/
Replaces Google Earth
WorldWind is very similar to Google Earth in that it allows you to browse the globe. While it isn’t strong for creating maps (but why not just use Google Maps for that?), it is utterly incredible for viewing three-dimensional landscapes of any place on earth.

25. Notepad2
http://www.flos-freeware.ch/notepad2.html
Replaces Notepad
Notepad2 is a replacement for the traditional Windows Notepad that just adds a few sweet little features: multiple documents; line, word, and character counts; and some highlighting of tags. In fact, I’m using Notepad2 as I draft this post (after using Freemind to organize it).

26. HealthMonitor
http://healthmonitor.zucchetti.com/
Unique but useful
HealthMonitor enables you to keep an eye on the health of your computer. It identifies slowdowns and other system issues quickly and lets you know (for example, it gives a popup if your system memory gets to a certain percentage of fullness, or if your hard drive has only 10 GB free). This can keep you out of trouble and also give you clues to problems your machine might be having.

27. Workrave
http://www.workrave.org/
Unique but useful
Sometimes late into a writing session, my wrists get sore from too much repetitive movement. Workrave basically jumps in before this happens and locks down the computer for a while, preventing me from working too much and causing repetitive stress injury. Since I’ve started using it, it hasn’t significantly hurt my productivity at all and my wrists are thanking me!

28. GanttPV
http://www.pureviolet.net/ganttpv/
Replaces Microsoft Project
If you do any project management (or have a need to dip your toes in the water), GanttPV does a brilliant job of managing the task quickly, easily, and freely. If you need to move to MS Project later, you can export from GanttPV to Project, but once you start digging into GanttPV, you’ll likely have no reason to use Project.

29. GnuCash
http://www.gnucash.org/
Replaces Microsoft Money or Quicken
GnuCash is a slimmed-down version of the bloated Microsoft Money and Quicken packages, but it contains all of the features I want for managing my money. The interfaces are incredibly simple – it functions much like a checkbook ledger on your computer – but there’s a lot of meat hidden throughout the software.

30. True Combat: Elite
http://www.truecombatelite.net/
Replaces Quake IV, Halo, etc.
After all this downloading, you’re going to need to blow off a little steam, and I’ve yet to find a more enjoyable free game than this one. It’s basically a third person combat game, but the graphics are spectacular and the game is quite engrossing.

If you’ve downloaded and installed all of these, you’ve got access to all the productivity software you’ll likely need, clean and open and best of all free.

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299 thoughts on “30 Essential Pieces Of Free (and Open) Software for Windows

  1. Awesome post! I’ve thought about looking for alternatives to what I have, but just haven’t had the time. And so many of these I could really use. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Many of these can be run off of a USB thumb drive as well. If you travel, it can be very handy to be able to bring your environment with you.

    Three things that I didn’t notice on here. Maybe VLC covers the first two…

    QuickTime Alternative
    Realplayer Alternative
    Foxit PDF Reader

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  4. ummm….I didn’t think GnuCash ran under Windows? If there’s a version that does, please point me to it!

  5. Just to let you know, the windows version of X-Chat is not free. It costs a small one time fee. But it isn’t free.

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  7. Many people are asking about GnuCash. There are some binaries floating around out there from various sources; in fact, I didn’t realize there wasn’t an “official” binary when I wrote this. However, it’s pretty easy to build it yourself if you want; here are the instructions: http://wiki.gnucash.org/wiki/Windows

  8. There seems to be a lot of conflicting information about whether TC:E is open or closed source. I’m going to leave it on the list for now until I get clear confirmation one way or another, since it is an excellent game and I keep finding conflicting information about it. If you want to remain clearly in the open source category, I recommend BZFlag ( http://bzflag.org/ ).

  9. FireFTP plugin for Firefox is also a wonderful FTP client.

    I sometimes don’t like the gui of filezilla for some reason. Especially the file views are messy…

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  11. You missed one.

    VirtuaWin (http://virtuawin.sourceforge.net/) which is an open source virtual desktop manager.

    Probably one of the first 5 things I install on a new Windows installation.

    I also vote for GanttProject over GanttPV. Excellent, cross-platform Gantt charting software.

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  17. if you want a Windows accounting package thats FOSS GPL support for many countries etc check out Turbocash

  18. True Combat Elite is closed source, but still a great game and free. From the FAQ at True Combat Europe (http://www.truecombat.eu):

    10. Is TC:E Open Source? How about moving to the Q3 GPL engine or its forks? Can I contribute?

    TCE is closed source. The engine subject has been discussed already, and the developement team has stated several times that they intend to continue in the W:ET engine as a closed source project. If you think you can contribute models/maps/textures of the same quality of the TC:E standards, feel free to contact the team through the Contact Form.

  19. Zoom Player is a great free video/audio player that can be configured more than VLC. I especially like having the arrow keys control the volume and jumping the video by 5 seconds. It’s very handy. The developer is personally involved in running the support forum, too.

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  21. Soon you’ll be able to stick with Eudora instead of using Thunderbird, which IMHO isn’t as feature-rich and robust as Eudora. Qualcomm has announced plans to donate Eudora to the open source community, and there should be a free full-featured release out early 2007!

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  26. True Combat: Elite looks like a cool free game but any software that isn’t a straight-up installation these days doesn’t make any of my top lists.

  27. This is a great post. I didn’t know that some of these applications were available for windows. There is one piece of software that I think is good that is PAF (personal ancestral file) great way to do family history without having to pay for it. check it out at http://www.familysearch.org

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  29. You forgot Notepad++ .

    Its awsome tool, i use it as a notepad and for coding. It has syntax highligthing and lot of useful functionalities.

    check it out.

  30. I’d love to know if there’s a program like Handbrake for Windows.. I’m about to receive my first ipod, and would love something for the video part. Thanks and wonderful post!

  31. I was wondering if there was a good program that cleans up and maybe even makes windows faster. Im preety sure there is some non adware/virus problems with my computer that is making it run slower. Any free programs that would help speed up my computer?

  32. this is a great list of apps . considering i am a newbie i find alot of these actually help i also find great stuff on filehippo/demonoid . just my opinion though . if there are more sites i can look through would appreciate.

  33. Thanks!
    I’ve red this in the right moment.
    Tips:
    Use free AVAST home version for squashing threat to your laptop ’cause it’s rock solid and the tiny personal firewall.

  34. @Travis: CCleaner is amazing. On my first run of the program it freed up 2.2 GB of crap (the “C” in “CCleaner”), which included 78 MB of data in my IE Temp folder alone (and I use Firefox 99% of the time!). It also features a better uninstall launcher than the Windows Control Panel’s Add/Remove Programs utility.

    http://www.ccleaner.com/

  35. Nice list. Why is Handbrake on it? There doesn’t seem to be a Windows version of it.
    Quote from the homepage: “HandBrake was originally available on the BeOS, but now has been ported over to MacOS X and to GNU/Linux. A Windows port is being worked on.”

  36. For free, but not open source antispyware programs, I would recommend Ad-Aware SE, made by the Lavasoft corporation, and Spybot Search&Destroy, by Safer-Networking. Both work great, and cover just about everything.

  37. Great list, going to download a few of those later. Here’s a program that I have been using for about 3 years now and absolutely adore:
    http://www.ePrompter.com
    This program (for those that haven’t used it) allows you to log into all of your e-mail accounts and check them all from the program. It only uses HTML and does not support attachments, this way you can check your e-mail without the risk of viruses.

  38. nice list
    i think freeware are good but can they supports unicode for reginal language
    i like microsoft beacuuse it is user friendly supports reginal language

  39. I would submit that Freemind is a far superior piece of note-taking software than Tranglos…. The same organization functions that make it good for brain-storming also make it good for organizing notes around central topics and key points.

  40. I have another compilation for you:

    http://www.ttcsweb.org/osswin-cd/index.htm

    “The TTCS OSSWIN CD is a collection of over 100 Free/Open Source software for home and business users using the Microsoft Windows 98SE/Me/2000 and XP operating systems… Version 1.65 of the TTCS OSSWIN CD was created on November 6th, 2006 and is available for download as an .ISO file.”

  41. I’d definitely add Eclipse http://www.eclipse.org to that list. Not only is it an adequate replacement for many professional Java development environments, it’s extensibility makes it a replacement for many development environments for any language. Not only that, but many plugins add more than just development environment functionality.

  42. I’d spend some time with search engines before using Babya Logic. aafuss (the “creator”) is notorious for ripping off other people’s work and claiming it as his own.

  43. I’m due a new laptop at work soon so this will be a valuable resource for making sure I’ve got all the basic essentials without bloating my system with numerous unused apps.

    Cheers for the write up!

  44. Very useful list! I’m keeping this, in case I decide to start my computer from scratch.

    Currently I use around half of the software on the list.

  45. Very good list, I just have a couple of suggested apps that I use.

    VNC (or ultraVNC, etc.) to replace Remote Desktop Client or Citrix (www.realvnc.com)

    ZipGenius – this software opens almost every kind of archive file. Free, but not OSS. http://www.zipgenius.it

    Google Browser Sync – plugin for Firefox. it will sync your bookmarks to multiple systems. Free, not OSS.

    Microsoft Virtual PC – try Linux or run windows as a virtual machine. Or VMWare is free too.

    Picasa from Google for photo organizing.

  46. i would say the (not yet complete) SONGBIRD will be my replacement for iTunes.

    it’s like an RSS reader, browser and all-around media player in one.

  47. Using Opera replaces 1, 2, 8, 14, and 19 easily.
    In this case I’d prefer 1 free app to 5 free/open source apps.

  48. Great list. Eerily similar to my linux list :)

    I’d add Spybot Search&Destroy, Ad-Aware, Crap Cleaner, and Hijack This. All free and all very good at what they do, especially in combination.

  49. Opera is also a very commendable web browser. It opens faster and loads pages much better (it is generally considered the fastest), BUT – and this is a big BUT – it has limited plugins and not as much support.

    It isn’t open-source, as far as I know, but in a discussion of good safe free stuff it needs a mention!

  50. Way to spread the free software cheer!
    I would like to add, FreeCommander ( http://www.freecommander.com/ ) the best file manager!

    uTorrent, smaller than most other torrent clients, and very fast.

    And Fuzlez Wheels of volume, the coolest volume controller I have found, simple and quick.

  51. Nice list. I would actually say uTorrent over the original BitTorrent client or Azureus (which is a resource hog, most likely due to it being based on Java).

  52. Instead of handbrake, you might try AutoGK, based on the GordianKnot collection of free / open source tools for ripping / compressing video & audio. It compressed in divX/Xvid, and you can choose image quality, sound quality, etc., without too much trouble. Saves a bit of space.

  53. From the GnuCash wiki re GnuCash on Windows: “…compiling is possible, and running as well, but so far not everything runs.” Not sure I’d recommend trusting your finances to something this unfinished.

  54. Great job, but I would add some apps…
    - Apache (well, this is trivial because I do not think there is a competitor for it).
    - Octave or Scilab (they can be used to replace some of the uses of MatLab).
    - 7zip (which can deal with all sorts of compressed files I can imagine, zip, rar, tar, tz, bz2…)

  55. You forgot Inkscape! una de las mas sencilas y funcionales herramientas de diseño vectorial que he probado…por otra parte yo no pondría The Gimp en esta lista porque aunque el rendimiento del software en linux es inmejorable en Windows deja mucho que desear.

  56. for taking note evernote is the best. No need to maintain 100 scattered files. And the best part is that it supports mime content also and it save automatically(there is no save button :-)

  57. I ahve an idea too, Though not open source , Opera browser is for the me the best. YOucan find RSS feeds , zooming , torrents at least

  58. Awsome, just plain brilliant, several of the apps I already use but this introduced me to some awsome ones, anyway one thing that bothers me is that the only game here looks like it probably wouldn’t run on my computer very well, if at all, but otherwise its a great list :).

  59. editpad lite is very good notepad replacements. It is among the first few applications that I install immediately after doing an install of windows.

  60. I wish you had included what other platforms these are for. I’m already using Linux, but a few looked like programs I would like to try…

  61. I think you forgot to mention 7-zip (File archiving utility), Vim/Emacs (File Editors). Emacs would further remove the need for calendar/todo list software requirement.

    For FTP we can use FireFTP Firefox-plugin. For playing multimedia files, mplayer+mencoder is way far better than vlc player.

    For Bittorent, utorrent is again more popular choice.

  62. For the fans of IE ,Greenbroswer is also a free alternative having too many addons : page manager on the start of the program,script collector – it also clooects javascrits , proxies, multiple engine watch at same time , form manager , ad filter , url alias and many others . MOre on this site morequick.com (chinese site! )
    this is the version 2 . I think there is now a nw version but i have not tested it so far.

  63. What about Notepad++?

    And GIMP? Ugh, why not put LaTex on the list too?

    Something easier and free would be Paint.NET

  64. Let me be a more generic today:
    For the fans of IE ,Greenbroswer is also a free alternative having too many addons : page manager on the start of the program, script collector – it also colledcts javascrits-, proxies inldcluding anonymizer , multiple engine watch at same time , form manager , ad filter,plugins , url alias autosave pages also per category , autorefresh , alias ,drag drop tabs ,mouse grestures , tab groups (also in firefox and opera ), auto scroller , auto filler ,ad filter ,updirectory visiting etc . It is a green program meaning that it does not require installation
    MOre on this site morequick.com (chinese site! )

    I however prefer Opera which in its latest version 9 includes page zooming , widgets, RSS , and many more

    As for picture viewer i recommend the freeware Irfanview . The program though can be used as ‘green’ , once installed associates with the most pictures extensions, having several basic picture adjustments and capturing. Its plug ins are 3 times bigger than the program itself!

    Also Sage plug in for MOzilla is better than RSS owl.
    Another ‘freeware’ download manager is Flashget- as far as i know it from its 1.65 version . i mean program with adverts

  65. Another good resource (OK, I’m biased: I created it) is “Just Say NO to Microsoft” (http://microsoft.toddverbeek.com). Parts of it are getting a bit out of date (who knew that it was going to take so much work to maintain?) but it lists multiple free and low-cost (and high-cost) alternatives to most of Microsoft’s major products.

  66. Great list of software! My only recommendation is to ditch Firefox for Opera. Yes, you heard that right. Numerous users, myself included, have experienced crippling memory leaks in FF. As much as I love FF… I had to let it go because as a small business owner I simply cannot afford to lose any more productivity to tech problems.

  67. You would use the Gimp “even if Photoshop were free?” Really? I mean, you can easily argue Photoshop isn’t worth the difference in price, but for ease of use, compatibility with other programs, plugins, scripts, etc., come on.

    It’s comments like this one that make these lists lose credibility quickly.

  68. Great programs and thanks. I”ll name a couple more. ccleaner.com for a free registry cleaner that works great. Also dzsoft.com has a great program called Favorites Search which does just what the title says. Saves hours by not having to search through your favorites manually. A great educational site concerning unborn children is abort73.com

  69. Original List lacks a file archiver. As mentioned in previous comments, 7-Zip is a free archiver and is damn good. (see http://sourceforge.net/projects/sevenzip/)

    If you want to compress something to mp3, you may wish to download the lame codec (http://sourceforge.net/projects/lame/)

    A good site listing open source software is http://directory.fsf.org/ . Win ports for many gnu tools can be found at http://sourceforge.net/projects/gnuwin32/ . I recommend as a minimum: gawk (text processing) and ls (commandline “list directory”).

    SPECIALITY SOFTWARE
    For very particular purposes, there are various high-ranked programs:
    – statistics: R (http://cran.r-project.org/) is the gold standard
    – octave (http://www.gnu.org/software/octave/), a free mathematics program
    – gnuplot (a free and powerfull plotting utility)
    – gnumeric: an alternative to Excel and OpenOffice Calc (and much more accurate than both of them – uses far more robust statistical algorithms)

  70. I haven’t used Gnucleus, but would suggest Shareaza or FilePipe as better open-source alternatives to LimeWire.
    Shareaza connects to the Gnutella, G2 & eDonkey2000 networks, and also handles torrents and HTTP/FTP downloads (so it makes a great download manager). FilePipe uses the giFT daemon to connect to Gnutella, FastTrack and Ares.

  71. Great list! Another open source (and addicting) game is jrisk. It’s just like the popular board game with great maps and it’s multi-platform java based with a game server for lan-multi-player games as well.

  72. Thanks for have suggested Healthmonitor. I was looking for software similar and finally I fond it. It gives me a big hand keep an eye on my servers.

  73. Thanks for the list. I wanted to recommend Spiceworks (www.spiceworks.com) which I use. Its a free Network Management and Inventory tool. Helps me keep all my computers and printers working :)

  74. Notepad2 doesn’t offer tabbed windows, a bit minus in my book. Check out Notetab (www.notetab.com). It comes in a free and share ware version, only difference are a couple of features which I never needed anyway.

  75. i’ve got a better idea! USE LINUX!!!!!!!!!!

    seriously trying to simply find free alternative to microsoft and other close-source programs is just damn pathetic, Linux already has it all!

  76. very very nice list, had some (open) software on it that I didn’t check out yet. NASA worldwind is definitely worth checking out too.

  77. I found the following interesting programs: Oolite (http://oolite.aegidian.org/). It’s a reimplementation of the original Elite. I also prefer Notepad++ over any editor, especially Editpad lite.
    Another thing that may be interesting is AutoIt. It can replace Winbatch to script actions that you are doing over and over again, pressing buttons, sending text to windows, etc.

    For translators: OmegaT translation memory

    For removing spyware: Hitman Pro2 (http://www.hitmanpro.nl/hitmanpro/)

    I maintain a similar list at: http://www.winfix.it/ It needs to be update though.

  78. Thanks for the list. And Thank God for all those who make good (and free) software.

    If anyone is still running Windows 9x (Windows what?) then FreeRamXpPro is a must. It not only frees memory, but shows system resources, CPU load, and available RAM, etc. and can alert when resources get too low. Find it at
    http://www.yourwaresolutions.com/

    I have used AbiWord, but find OpenOffice to be much more useful, even for basic word processing,and very customizable. For a replacement for Word Pad i have found that the best by far is a discontinued word pro named Text Shield, which has so many features that i am still discovering some: http://members.lycos.nl/textshield/download.htm

    The VLC player is quite good, the next best one i found is JetAudio (at jetaudio.com), which does play real files.

    An app that should have come with Windows is Folder Size Shell Extension which add a Size tab to the Properties dialog of each drive and folder to see the individual size and in order.
    http://www.jsifaq.com/SF/Tips/Tip.aspx?id=5802

    This is similar:
    http://www.jam-software.com/freeware/index.shtml

    Another nifty app is FileNote, which is a little shell extension that allows you to add textual descriptions to your files. It adds one command to the shell context menu of a file object. Useful for downloads, etc.
    http://www.moonsoftware.com/freeware.asp

    And the best free and fast alternative to the bloated Adobe PDF, is the Foxit-PDF-Reader http://www.download.com/Foxit-PDF-Reader

    WinPatrol (http://www.winpatrol.com)is also a low resource app that detects changes to files, and with an allow/disallow option.

    And to clean up residues from the apps you unistall, Easy Cleaner has a good rep. http://www.tucows.com/preview/355248

    Finally, to quick launch all these i find WinKey sufficient http://freewarewiki.com/WinKey

    There are so many more, but these are enough for now!

    Grace and peace by Jesus

  79. I do not like the clam virus support. I downloaded it and used it, and it was finding about four viruses per second. All in a file that isn’t even on my computer! They were just random names, too. Such as fairly odd parents and Fairy. I do not trust this software!

  80. A few things:

    Handbrake is indeed Windows software, or at least it is nowadays.

    If you do both IRC and IM, then XChat is just redundant; use Gaim. Gaim has great IRC support. http://gaim.sf.net

    Emacs is available on about any platform, if you can stand configuring/extending your text editor with Lisp. http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/

    If you don’t like Lisp, jEdit is a great editor. Personally I have mine set up as a TextMate substitute, and it rocks. Based on Java, but heck, even Java is GPLed nowadays so it’s not like you’re relying on proprietary software…other than Windows, of course. ;-) http://jedit.org/

    Cygwin always gets a bad rap, but if you’re also a *n?x user, you’ll want it. http://cygwin.com/

    And if you need a terminal emulator to go with Cygwin, we’ll delve back into Java territory: http://software.jessies.org/terminator/

    Heh, a dubious program like Handbrake gets mentioned without mention of VirtualDub? http://www.virtualdub.org/

    And if VirtualDub doesn’t do it for ya, how about AVIDemux? http://fixounet.free.fr/avidemux/

  81. I’d add free art apps to the this list..

    Project Dogwaffle’s free version–digital art & some animation capabilities

    ArtRage2 Free version–naturalistic painting tool. The shareware version is a sane 20 bucks.

    FreeCad–an AutoCad alternative

    Blender–for 3D graphics

    and for older PCs, those with limited disc space, or who just want something with more punch than MS Paint: mtPaint or Paint.net

    Sorry for the lack of links. It’s past my bedtime and I trust everyone to copy and paste the names! :D

  82. Awsome list (^_^)

    Instead of Handbrake though, which does not officially support windows I would highly recommend Ripit4me, a great tool that will rip any dvd.

    TC:Elite is also a great game, it does take time to install but definetly worth it. Read the forums first though.

  83. Hi, seeing as some these apps are actually only for Linux, and seeing a the latter can be quite useful in recovering files from a corrupted Windows OS, i would suggest that an important “windows” software would be Linux. Having tried Ubuntu (+ Kbuntu Edgy), Xandros, Puppy, Mandriva, etc, i found found the best to be Knoppix for that purpose. Unlike Ubuntu, it auto-mounts windows partitions and read and move files therein (at least on my 9x PC).

    Also, i found the best freeware image viewer to be xnviewer, and the best smaller-than-Gimp graphics editor to be photo filtre.

  84. I have to agree with BobH – even in the wildest dreams you cant expect me to believe you would use Gimp over PS if PS was free. The differences are huge, particularly if you are a serious photographer.

    I would recommend Azueus over BitTorrent and if you totally must be anti MS for a browser use the best alternative – Opera

  85. Hi Trent,

    Wonderful list. Just wondering, isn’t gnucash for linux only? is there any windows version too?

    /CD

  86. You’ve done a great service. I agree with you on most of your selections.

    Here’s a suggestion: How about expanding this site to allow user submissions and topic-specific comments ?

    Here’s another suggestion: Remind everyone that they can get actively involved with most of these open-source projects or donate money to them.

    Thanks for this resource . . . Keep it up

  87. What a fantastic collection of free applications! You have covered the gambit, and anyone who wants to set up their system for an all around work environment can actually do that with your suggestions. Great work! Keep it up.

  88. I installed Audacity after PC Mag recommended it. It has lots of options, etc., but it won’t record sound off the internet. The people at the online forum were telling me all kinds of things to change so it would work. No dice.
    Of course this is just like most freeware/Linux stuff, lots of options and power, but you need to be a total geek to get it running. No thanks. My Windows apps run first time with no problems. Of course that is what they claim about Linux, but it is not true.

  89. I use Apatar Data Integration, to turn my Excel spreadsheets into an XML, and to mashup data between desktop databases and web-based applications. Apatar has many connectors, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, MS SQL, Sybase, Salesforce.com, HTTP, WebDav, Ldap, FTP, SugarCRM, Compiere, Amazon and even Flickr. It is basically an ETL (Extract Transform Load) tool, as it works in a batch mode, and it is released under GPL. Apatar Data Integration.

  90. from guncash.org:

    The GnuCash development team proudly announces GnuCash 2.1.1 aka “Bug-begone”, the second of several unstable 2.1.x releases of the GnuCash Open Source Accounting Software which will eventually lead to the stable version 2.2.0. With this new release series, GnuCash is available on Microsoft Windows for the first time…

  91. As for Workrave and repetitive stress injury (wich is by the way repetitive STRAIN injury) why not just use an anti repetitive strain injury keyboard, like I do?

  92. möchte dankeschön für die seite sagen….
    konnte eine menge davon gebrauchen. merci

    will say thank u for this site….

    tommy

  93. Hi some other interesting software / plugins

    1. DTA for Firefox [downloader super good]
    2. Firebug for Firefox [ all http html problems ]
    3. web developer for Firefox [gives u an insider view to html ]
    4. whats running a great tool alt to task manager
    5. sys internals suite [ built by mark russinovich a key man in MS itself and amazing set of system internals tools [as the name goes]]
    6. inkscape as an alt / complement to GIMP
    7. Cmaps from ICHP >> alt to freemind and better
    8. mp3TAG >> great tool to organize and rename all mp3 > useful when u have tons [>10 Gb] of songs , automates using the mp3 metadata
    9. ccleaner >> cleans all temp files registry etc…
    10. quintessential player >> good media player else u can go with mplayer
    11. picasa >> image viewer need to check magicube
    12. super >> great audio video converter
    13. blender >> animation studio ala maya 3dmax?
    14. winhttrack >> website copier the best of its kind!

  94. I downloaded clamwin antivirus. I let it run for about 10 hours. It never finishes , It just ran and ran until I stopped it. . I think it was in an endless loop. It proves once again to me that freeware is worth what you pay for it….. !

  95. I LOVE some of the free stuff out there, unfortunately I have dialup, so I’m limited on what I can take advantage of.

    Hopefully, AT&T will come through, and I too will get high speed internet by the end of the year.

    :D

  96. nice nice … :) the most comprehensive list of useful opensource and freeware apps i’ve seen. great work.

  97. Interesting list, a few of these I’ve never heard of before. I’ll definitely check them out. Most of it still seems valid, even after 8+ months. I’ve also read through the comments, a lot of useful tips in there too.

    My 2 cents:

    Launchy – http://www.launchy.net/
    OSS (windows) keystroke launcher. I use it all the time. No need to locate any apps. No need to locate any files anymore, just Alt+Space and start typing the name. Easy to configure.

    Subsonic – http://subsonic.sourceforge.net/
    OSS (crossplatform), requires a web server. Free Media Streamer. Fast and great UI. Streams music (or video) over the web. I use it to listen to my music at work, making my entire music collection available — all over the world! Actually, I use it at home too, finding the UI easier and better than iTunes and all those clones.

    Opera – http://www.opera.com/
    Mentioned by others. Not OSS, but freeware (crossplatform). Very fast. Replaces at least 5 other apps in your list (and others you didn’t mention). (Web browser, mail client, Usenet News Reader, RSS, Bittorrent, IRC).

    Picasa – http://picasa.google.com/
    Mentioned by others. Not OSS, but freeware (windows only I think). The best picture organizer I’ve seen.

    Regards,
    Steinar

  98. Thank you, it’s great to find a list of programs that I have bookmarked for download all in the same place. I will be using pretty much all of them by weeks end.

  99. Great list. I have linked to my post with an excellent Wiki for free and open source games! LibregameWiki.

  100. FreeRamXpPro – It seems this was loaded with some spyware last I put it on. I stay away from it now.

    Trillian is a good alternative to Pidgin for multiple IMs.

    Xfire – A must have for gaming IM.

    Teamspeak for Xfire

    DVD Flick – great for converting and burning .avi’s to .iso.

    Daemon Tools – mount drives

    FastStone – any of their viewers

    Weather Watcher

    Foxit Reader – fast pdf viewer

    PowerToys for Windows XP

    Hamachi – for creating a virtual private network

    Azureus – great torrent program

    Microsoft Private Folder – you have to search for this one as MS pulled it shortly after release.

    Paperless Printer – like PDFcreator but this program can create .jpgs, gifs, etc… along with PDFs.

    MWSnap – for screen captures.

  101. Guys, this list is now 9 months old — may explain some of the dead links.

    Also, this guy at xgaweb.com reviewed it:
    http://xgaweb.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=2624&keywords=simpledollar
    … pardon the judgement, but his reviews explain a lot about some members of the closed-source community: he writes a lot of them off specifically because he’s never heard of them, and is too lazy/closed-minded to look into them; he writes them off because they’re not relevant to *his* use case; and he is pretty clueless about the purpose of some of the software (see #25).

    … Anyway… Good job on the list!

  102. LOL, replace Photoshop. I stopped reading when I read that. Gimp’s not even close. It’s good but not Photoshop.

  103. I use both OOo and MSO for university work, and I can’t see how anyone in their right mind could prefer OOo Impress to Powerpoint on a functionality basis. Sure, it gives you more freedom but since I (and, according to your article, you) have a Powerpoint licence, that’s a moot point anyway.

  104. I’ve recently written an open-source C# app.

    ZScreen is an open-source screen capture program that allows for region/window/full-screen screenshots. It can FTP screenshots and put the URL in your clipboard in a single keystroke. It supports automatic custom naming conventions with variables. It can also interface with image editing software.

    http://www.brandonz.net/projects/zscreen

  105. Nice list. I’d like to mention though, that when i tried to install ClamWin, my McAfee poppped up and said that it is infected with a virus, and cannot be cleaned.

  106. Where’s Miro?! Miro allows you to do so much. plus it plays any media file, auto checks for new episodes and can be easily integrated with RSS video feeds (Read: The Office on you computer for free).

  107. okay, i have seen many of these top free software list, and i have finally gotten sick of always seeing vlc player as the video player to use. someone mentioned zoom player earlier which i believe is much better than vlc player, however the player that i recommend is gom player http://www.gomplayer.com/main.html this player can play pretty much every media type, except for real media which can be fixed with real alternative. believe me, i have used vlc player and zoom player, and this one is by far the best

  108. If you’re such an advocate of open source, why don’t you even switch your entire OS altogether from Windows to something like Ubuntu, it’ll make your life a whole lot simpler than it already is.

  109. I’ve used all of mozilla’s software and it is good, but after trying Opera and all i’ve read on it I’ve stopped using firefox. Firefox was ranked the least secure browser then made the jump to second least secure. It’s cpu/ram efficiency is far less than Opera and many plugins that are available for Firefox were/are standard features in Opera. On top of that there are some nice features in Opera that are available. Read up for yourself and give it a solid chance.. you might find yourself not using Firefox anymore.

  110. I have seen this list so many times. Just because it’s free doesn’t meen it’s essential Other than Firefox and VLC player and maybe notepad2 (not really) most of these software are useless to the coommon user.

  111. People should stop raving about Opera being superior until it becomes more widely accepted by web sites. So many sites just do not display properly in Opera. It is a nice program yes, but limited. A number of us tried Opera for a while, but the incompatibility drove us nuts… try working for example with Google documents among others, and you will see many ‘browser not supported”… SO, build your Opera using firefox plugins.

  112. I would add 3 apps to the list:
    7-zip or Zipgenius (unzip/unrar tool)
    Gomplayer (best multimedia player!)
    Foxit Reader (simple and clean pdf reader)

  113. What no WinAmp? Are you kiddin me? Best media player handles all your portables etc etc etc. Another bullshit list afaik

  114. The best free desktop search tool is:

    Copernic Desktop Search
    http://www.copernic.com/en/products/desktop-search/
    Fast – Easily search your entire hard drive in less than a second to pinpoint the right file, email, music or picture.

    Fresh – New and updated files and new emails are indexed the instant they arrive on your hard drive.

    Ultra-Light – Utilizes CPU, memory, and disk space efficiently to ensure continued high levels of system performance.

    Easy to Use – Simply type words into the deskbar, and CDS finds all relevant documents in an instant.

    Rock Solid – Fault-tolerant technology ensures that your PC is searchable at all times.

  115. Great site, i love your reviews, very useful… However check your links again there are some death links…

  116. Hi,

    This article has very useful information, it will be helpful for many. Actually one of my friends first read this article and asked me to visit this page.
    It’s really amazing to read this description of this article. Thank you so much for your help and for your efforts.

    Thanks,
    Alex
    http://www.NobleHelp.org

  117. Very nice page, thanks for the info.

    I’m all for anything that’s against Microsofts monopoly!

  118. Here’s a website:

    opensource.us.com

    which has a list of open source apps. The best part is that you can submit your own find!

  119. google it me231, you lazy arse! took me 2 mins to find it and download it (quicker than posting on here!)

    Great list man, really helped me – iv just bought a laptop and want some open source software to get me started

  120. I believe that Freeware is a good idea and good for everyone. Seen a lot of sites and this is one of the best. The stuff I’ve tried works for me. The freeware suggested is the best in the opinion of the writer.
    I suggest you try it out and see if it works and if not post back here.
    NO NEED FOR ANTI-MICROSOFT STUFF AND CRAP – Post nice for us newbies and maybe we may start to look at Linux.

  121. Enjoyed the list, found it useful. VLC is frankly a garbage choic, it’s nothing more than a good foundation for a media player.

    It’s out of date sure but a lot of it was useful especially the comments.

    I like how there is one dude shifting his own software every few months. Bittorrent isn’t open source anymore and Adobe are kings of Photoshop, GIMP is not as good.

    Anyway as a Mac to PC convert I appreciate the help, now just to find a good Quicksilver alternative.

  122. Great post!
    I’ve looking for a list like this for a long time.

    I have a DELL PC full of crap, running slowing and giving me tons of error messages everytime I shut it down.
    Does anyone know how can I clean it to install some of this new features? If I erase all the softwares to install some of them again, some from the list, the documents, pictures, etc that I have will be lost?

    Some tips are more than welcome. I can no afford to pay someone to do this.

    BTW: the list posted in Spanish has made my life sooooooo easy!!!!

  123. Thanks so much for the awesome list ! I’ve always wanted applications that could read/create the Microsoft proprietary formats. Keep up the great work !

  124. Blender should be at least number one in this list , and inkscape second.

    Blender is the best software in the world.

  125. Thanks for the list. Great compilation.

    Imo, I find that AVG and Ad-Aware are the best combination for virus and spyware protection. I don’t think these are OSS, but they are free. If you think something’s better than those two, please email me.

  126. Any free contact manager programs??

    I’m trying to use Google Contacts, but am having trouble figuring out how to get it to properly sync with MS Word for a mail merge.

  127. Yoooh, Simple Dollar:

    I like your innovative IT wit. Keep up.
    By changing the rule, you can change the world.

  128. I’m really surprised MediaMonkey isn’t on the list as a music player. It is by far the best music management software I’ve seen. I’ll be checking out MusikCube to see if it comes anywhere close. Nice list though :-D

  129. Thank you for the list! It will definatly help with software costs!

    I truly enjoy your site, your ideas and your passion.

  130. heh. the gimp vs ps ‘controversy’. luckily for me, i don’t have to use either. both have nasty uis. way too much trouble for the negligible value of output.
    wget in batch or script files is good.
    irfanview, always lightweight, can view or play almost anything (w/ the plugins pack), but player controls are very limited.
    for editing, it’s biggest lacks are layers, import/export of “presets” for various edits (eg. color corrections” of selections) AFAIK. it can run 8bf (whatever) plugins, but those tend to be near useless (emboss, pixellate, etc.). has 90° and other lossless jpg “transforms”. slideshow options, etc. sequential twain naming sequence (increment option).
    foobar2000 is decent (music, not vids). ff2 may have had ram “leaks” but i often had over tabs open on 512mb. functionality and consistent methods of (extensive) customization blows away all other win32 browsers. (i’ve never tried safari, icab, camino)
    similarly, crimson editor is the best text editor, tho regex, ui, macros are inflexible. metapad3.5 as plain notepad (displays rtf, had faves list, etc)
    proxomitron: the best web garbage-filter/fix tool.
    xplorer2lite. winmerge. doublekiller [free ver]. imgburn. regshot (intend to use output to create merge files, but haven’t yet confirmed this is practical.)
    hijackthis to help clean out runonce junk. (or at least list junk so can disable otherwise). avira av. Hostess (by ray marron. but there are similar apps.) k9. 7zip. pdf creator. virtual clone drive. reshack. aicon sushi. privoxy. tor. xnews. agent ransack. utorrent. cobian backup. fsum (as batch. though sum checks are built into various apps).
    these tend to be immediately useful apps, but many have more usability as you dig into them and find info on the net.

  131. I know this post is a bit old but people are still reading it so… why not just use an operating system that is free/open source? at the very least, ubuntu has developed a rather simple-to-install distribution or head over the the GNU website to find versions of linux that are entirely free (as in free speech and free beer).

  132. And for those interested in converting to Mac, I can tell you I can’t believe I waited as long as I did. My computer always starts up as fast as it did when I bought it 2 years ago even though I’ve tried out tons of software. I don’t worry about backups anymore b/c they are always there (and I’ve used them to recover files I mucked up with my fat fingers and it worked beautifully), I don’t worry about virus scan bogging down my computer, and the whole interface is so much more pleasing on the eyes. So here you go potential converts, new Mac heads, and old alike:

    My free Mac software list:
    Adium – awesome multi instant messenger software (does everything but skype)
    Skype – I use it for calling friends abroad and video conferencing
    Yuuguu – free screen sharing. its like GoToMyPC but free
    Firefox of course
    Remote Desktop Connection – remote control your Windows computer that is on your network
    Time Machine!!!! – drop dead easy, extremely reliable hourly backups
    Disk Inventory – shows you a graph for locating which files and directories are very large and taking up too much disk space
    VLC – plays every video format you can imagine

  133. Great post, and great blog!

    GOM PLAYER is the by far the best media player I’ve ever used. Check it out at http://www.gomplayer.com

    I’m downloading gnuCash right now, definitely was looking for a suitable alternative to Money and Quicken!

    Thanks!

  134. I downloaded cyberdefender from the clamwin.com site; that turned out to be a mistake!

    A dialog box appears on the center of the screen, suggesting I subscribe to the service, and I absolutely cannot get rid of the box.

    When I try to click out to the box, another pops up, insisting I must either pay for the service or uninstall it from my computer. I’ve uninstalled dozens of programs before, but this program I am unable to install.

    I called all of the numbers given on the site for assistance, but the numbers all reach the same recording placing me on hold. After calling the numbers several times and being placed on hold for more than an hour each time, I realize the site is set up so you have to subscribe and pay for the service to have the dialog box removed from the screen.

    I even turned off and rebooted my computer several times in an effort to remove the dialog box, but that technique hasn’t worked.

    I’m going to take my computer to work tomorrow and ask the computer tech guy there to help me remove the program. Wish me luck. I’ve learned a lesson: nothing is free.

  135. Try smplayer to play virtually any format on mother earth. Its plain vanilla interface is soothing.

    smplayer is basically an opensource frontend to mplayer and comes with a installer for windows, bundled with mplayer ofcourse.

    http://smplayer.sourceforge.net

    -cheers

  136. Domain Change! TrueCombatElite.net -> TCElite.net
    Written by diane
    Monday, 28 April 2008
    This is just a reminder to let everyone know that as of May 1st 2008, truecombatelite.net will officially be changed to tcelite.net. Thanks & happy gaming! :)

  137. I found a really good website with latest football video highlights, Allfootballgoals.com
    it’s highly updated and it has the premier league, la liga, serie a, german league + all national cups and european cups and national teams.

  138. Formidable compilation! Simply outstanding. By the way, what program replaces winzip. My free trial period is up and I’d rather not buy. :)

  139. My father-in-law is the type of person who wants the latest and greatest of everything. He touts how he has this premium software or whatever. I can always respond with I have the same thing, runs just as good, if not better and didn’t cost me a dime!

  140. I have most of these programs and I too love open source, not because it’s free, but also because a lot of people work together to get it working. I am very late with this post, but now GAIM is renamed Pidgin and it’s not the best program anymore. I am not going to be too technical, and not trying to start arguments, but I used GAIM a few months before it turned into Pidgin and I have to say it’s awful every time it updates. It has crashed on me MANY times and unexpectedly closed on me too many times, not to mention how rude the developers are (you will see everytime they respond to users about suggestions and problems, they would say things like “that’s not what we think.”) They do not set an idea about how open source is about EVERYONE and customization, not only them.

    As for Firefox, I love Firefox. But when you mentioned it blocks popups, I have to say it blocks only SOME popups. Occasionally it misses quite a few, IE6+ blocks ALL popups. You are right, it does have a lot of plugins and it’s amazing.

    uTorrent is also very good.

    Here’s a few suggestions though..

    AVAST! and AVG are both free antivirus programs even though they may not be open source, they still function greatly.

    Image editing tools include PAINT.net, GIMP, Inkscape and Foxit reader is a very lightweight PDF reader :)

  141. Might I also suggest CutePDF writer, which installs as a ‘printer’ and changes whatever form of document into a PDF? Very handy when you’re sending something to someone with a different word processor (I’m on Ubuntu, this happens often).
    Also, AdAware and Spybot are free and fabulous anti-virus softwares that are OpenSource.
    If anyone doesn’t want to install a program like Pidgin or Gaim go to http://www.ebuddy.com and you can sign into your chats through the web browser – genius!

  142. HI there!

    I wanted to let you know about a free (there is a caveat though) faxing service on the internet.

    http://faxzero.com/

    I use this service instead of driving a half hour to send 3 faxes for jobs that I am applying for.

    I was hoping there was a better fax service that was free that uses the internet. This one has 1-2 caveats: Can only send 2 free a day and advertisement on the cover page. Any suggestions?

    Thanks so much for all you do!
    AK

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  144. I am one of the several hundred of your readers. I recently stumbled on xpenses.com. I instantly liked it. I have written my first reaction in my blog. I would be delighted if you could read it and leave any comments.

    Keep up your good works
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  145. Another alternative office suite is the enhanced version of Open Office that is offered by Novell. The graphics are more akin to Microsoft Office applications and it has enhanced PDF capabilities compared to the standard Open Office fare. Because it is open code, it is offered for free as well.
    Highly recommend Firefox for web browsing and Thunderbird with the Lightening Calendar extension for E-Mail management.

  146. Just like yo do, I like RSSOwl to keep up to date with all the blogs that I read regularly whenever I have a free time. How can I subscribe to your blog using RSS? I can not find the feed link.

    I noticed that you provide email update, but email is push technology. I use it as a replacement of IM. I stop almost whatever what I’m doing to check a new incoming e-mail on my smartphone. So, I do not appreciate having every blogger sending me updates to my personal email.

  147. That’s a pretty nice list, but there are some important alternatives to be considered:
    - Avast is a better antivirus than ClamWin, or even other free/open source alternatives ( Comodo, AntiVir, AVG )
    - Opera is the best web browser since ages
    - µTurrent is I think better than BitTorrent

  148. Great information! It’s always good to find new ways to save. I don’t know where to start, I guess starting at the top is always best.

  149. Thanks for the information. Even after a few years, most of these downloads are still great to use.

    Thanks!!

  150. Superb article! Very informative and very helpful indeed for people who may have/not have the budget to buy the legal software. OPEN SOURCE can compete even with these “branded” software leaders.

    Thanks Trent for sharing this article to us! Do continue to make article like this one.

  151. Instead of handbrake, you might try AutoGK, based on the GordianKnot collection of free / open source tools for ripping / compressing video & audio. It compressed in divX/Xvid, and you can choose image quality, sound quality, etc., without too much trouble. Saves a bit of space.

  152. MPCStar is a fantastic media player. Super Video Converter (erightsoft) will convert just about anything to anything. PDF-XChange is an excellent free PDF reader, as CutePDF is a writer.

    And http://www.osalt.com if you want to look at a host of other open source alternatives.

    But this is a great list and I have five tabs open for programs I’m now going to try out.

    Thanks a lot!
    Harry

  153. Instead of handbrake, you might try AutoGK, based on the GordianKnot collection of free / open source tools for ripping / compressing video & audio. It compressed in divX/Xvid, and you can choose image quality, sound quality, etc., without too much trouble. Saves a bit of space.

  154. Another vote for Spiceworks – http://www.spiceworks.com/

    I couldn’t manage my company’s help desk without it. And because it’s free, I was able to reinvest budget I would have spend on a help desk solution into other parts of the business (like buying a new server we desperately needed).

  155. great article! would love to see an updated article with programs that have come out in the last 4 years (though many of these are still good!).

  156. Thank you so kindly for all the advice, i have just recently changed to windows 7 64bit and can not get handbrake to run on it. I have tried to run it under admin. as well and still pops on the desktop and disappears.

  157. Do you know if instead of Handbrake, which does not officially support windows I would highly recommend Ripit4me, a great tool that will rip any dvd. Awesome post, PDFCreator is a great tip thanks. Adam-

  158. I have to agree with BobH – even in the wildest dreams you cant expect me to believe you would use Gimp over PS if PS was free. The differences are huge, particularly if you are a serious photographer.

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