Recommended List of Free Software on Windows

Yes! They are all free (freedom to use, and 0 cost)! - Last major update in Sept 2011

Normal menu: A. For common users | B. For techies | C. Resources | [View all in one page]
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A. Free Software on MS Windows for Common Users

These programs are for everyone and very useful. Most of them should be compatible for Windows 7.

7-Zip logo 7-Zip is a very good file compression and decompression program. It supports the common .ZIP, .RAR, and .ISO format. I have been using this to replace WinZIP and WinRAR for quite some time now. Strongly recommended!

Daemon Tools Lite

This one is a very good CD/DVD simulation tool. You can use it to load CD/DVD images directly from hard drives; so that saves a lot of CD/DVDs. I use it all the time on every one of my computers. Strongly recommended!

Screenshot and screencast tools

  • Greenshot: open source; can be integrated to the "print screen" key on the keyboard.
  • CamStudio: an open source screen recording application.
  • If you are using Windows Vista/7, there is a nice Sniping Tool with Tablet PC features (but it is not just for Tablet PCs).

Desktop management tools

  • Desktops from the Windows Sysinternals: many Linux GUI provide multiple desktops so you can better organize task bars and Windows. If you always open too many Windows but don't have enough big monitors, this tool is for you.
  • MultiMon Taskbar: want to have a task bar on the second monior? Don't know which application on the taskbar will show on which monitor? Try this.
  • App Launcher gadget.

Notepadd ++ is an enhanced text editor to replace notepad http://notepad-plus-plus.org/

KeePass:

A great password management too which I use it myself. A green version (no installation required) is available.

Microsoft Security Essentials

It provides real-time protection that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It's free for genuine Windows.

FlashGet

It is a downloading manager tool. It supports multi-thread downloading which makes downloading faster if the server sets max bandwidth. It also can resume broken or paused downloads.

Any Video Converter

I use this to convert my screencast videos for my online classes.

Foxit PDF Reader

This is a free reader/viewer for PDF documents. It is a green application, with one .exe file and needs no installation. It is super fast to open PDF files. Of course, Adobe Reader is also free.

Media Player Classic

This compact player mimics the look and feel of the old Windows media player. The best of all is that it is a green application - just one .exe file, no installation, and very portable. It supports .mkv files and multiple audio tracks (great for multi-linguists). A great supplementary tool - recommended!

Graphics Tools

open office logo Apache OpenOffice

It is a open source office software which is an alternative to MIcrosfot Office.

LibreOffice: deviated from the OpenOffice project when Oracle took over the OpenOffice.

Others

I know these are good programs, too. But I just haven't got a chance to test them.

  • Thunderbird and Sunbird/Lighting: a great alternative for MS Outlook and Windows Mail/Calendar, from Mozilla. I am not using them because I have been a long time user of MS Outlook (and Outlook Express, which is also free).
  • Eraser: will completely remove sensitive files.
  • TrueCrypt: encrypting files, folders, and drives.