The best Freewaregenius articles of 2012

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We published many articles that we’re very proud of this year, and we’ve updated some older ones that we like a lot.

In retrospect, our best articles seem to predominantly be about answering the question: what is the best free tool to do something (e.g. best ZIP program, best Data Recovery, best Disk Imaging, best Free PDF to Word, etc), and generally speaking articles where we don’t just compare features but measure performance data.

Despite being hit by Google Panda not once but twice in the span of 6 months, we believe that some of the articles we published are best in class for both style and substance. For the purposes of this post we will roll some article ‘series’ into one, and present our TWELVE favorites in ascending order.

1. The best free data recovery tool: 14 undelete tools compared

This is my favorite article of the year because the results were somewhat of a surprise, but, more important, because I imagine that this article might help some reader in distress recover their data from a faltering hard drive or accidental format, etc.

2. The best free disk imaging program: a comparative analysis

Another comparison article, this time to determine the best FREE disk imaging program. Once again, we measured performance as well as compared features. Overall, we present some great programs.

3. A comparison of FREE Cloud Storage Services

Everyone wants in on the cloud storage bandwagon, with Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and many others all following in Dropbox’s footsteps. But which service provides the best FREE plan? This article compares all free options and lays them side by side for you.

We will be updating this article in 2013 with more cloud storage options and up to date feature comparisons.

4. The Best Free Compression / ZIP program: a comparison

Quick: what is the best FREE zip/compression program for Windows? Whatever your answer, you are likely to be surprised by our choice in this article.

This article was our most ambitious program comparison ever, just in terms of the data collected (is there such a thing as too much data?). I am planning to update the article in 2013 with some new programs and a more reader friendly analysis.

5. Must Have Free Android Apps (parts one, two, and three)

Three articles, not one, which I think every Android user will find quite interesting. Look for more in this series in 2013.

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  • Part 1: relatively unknown but terrific must-have staples for your Android.
  • Part 2: apps that will make you happy as an Android user.
  • Part 3: apps that are a little bit more esoteric and unusual.

6. Take FREE online courses from the TOP 40 colleges in the US

college-logo-grid

This post started when I wanted to answer the question: is it possible to get an online degree from one of the top 40 universities in the US, for FREE? The answer turned out to be a definitive: No; they will not grant a degree without tuition. However, most of the top 40 universities have extensive online course offerings that can be taken completely FREE, from open source courseware and books to video lectures to iTunesU multimedia offerings.

The article is simply an extensive directory of links, but I am really proud of it because of its scope, which turned out to be rather ambitious.

7. How to install freeware cleanly – a catalog of the most dubious crapware installation methods

With so many free programs adding undesirable bundled installs and ‘offers’ that piggyback on the main installer, I felt a need to write a good, up-to-date resource on the various not-so-above-board practices that crapware installers use, and this is the result.

8. Supercharge your right-click menu with these ten UNIQUE utilities: Part 1 and Part 2

I love the Windows right click menu, even as I wonder if it will ultimately disappear with the migration of computing interfaces towards flickable touchscreens.

Right-Click-functions-illustrationRight-Click-functions-illustration-part2

But in any case I enjoy posting this series, which consists of interesting collections of useful functions to have in the Windows right click menu. The response to these posts hasn’t been as enthusiastic as I expected, but nonetheless I am always looking for interesting right click tools to feature in the next installment of these. Check out parts ONE and TWO.

9. Twenty five FREE online tutorials for learning iOS and Android programming

Two articles that aren’t much more than directories of listings, meant to be resources for those who want to learn iOS or Android programming, and want to do it via FREE online courses.

iOS programmingAndroid-light-bulb2

Still, if you are interested in programming apps for Android or iOS, you will likely appreciate these quite a bit. Check out the iOS post; the Android post.

10. Do copy acceleration utilities actually lower file transfer speeds? Our tests say yes

I like this one because it involved (a) collecting data, and (b) because the findings were not what we expected, and were in fact surprising to many readers.

If you didn’t catch this one the first time around, its worth looking at.

11. The best FREE ‘send large files’ services: Ten file hosting options compared

There are many ‘send-large-file’ services that will let you send large files, but which ones are the most suited for your purposes? This article attempts to present the most worthy of these in a single page, and make it easy to find the one you seek.

 

12. How to convert PDF to Word DOC for free: a comparative test

We first published this one in 2010, and updated in in 2012. It remains one of the best articles we’ve ever published, and a definitive resource on comparing free PDF to Word conversion options (we would have listed this at number one in this list, but it is very well known and we decided to give the limelight to other posts). This post will surely be updated in 2013.