Freeware Top 30

The following is a list of 30 freeware programs that I cannot live without.

I wanted this to be the one page a reader can turn to get all the essential free programs they need to install on a new computer.

This list doesn’t cover the best free program in every conceivable category, but for those categories that are represented the programs showcased here in most cases, I would argue, are best-in-class.

This list last updated July 17th 2010:

1- Everything: desktop file search that will transform the way you use your PC
2- Launchy: my favorite launcher
3- LastPass: centralized, cloud-based password manager
4. Dexpot: the world’s most advanced free virtual desktop app
5- Imgburn: simple yet powerful CD/DVD burning software
6- Avast: solid, effective free antivirus
7- ThreatFire: powerful, memory-resident AntiSpyware protection
8- Mikogo: easy screen sharing and remote access application
9- Sizer: right click “minimize” to snap windows to pre-defined sizes
10- PeaZip: powerful archiving tool to manage ZIP, RAR, and more than 120 compression formats
11- VUE: a visual environment for ideas, notes, thoughts, and everything else.
12- SuperCopier: accelerate, pause, and resume file copying and moving operations
13- FastStone Image Viewer: a versatile, practical image viewer
14- uTorrent: powerful, lightweight Torrent client
15- Q-Dir: small yet versatile multiple-pane file management app
16- PDF-XChange Viewer: the best free PDF document viewer
17- The KMPlayer: the only media player you will ever need
18- Partition Wizard: partition manager and hard drive maintenance tool
19- Send to Toys: add any folder to Windows’ send-to context menu
20- excellent free MS Office alternative
21- FileMenu Tools: enhance your right-click context menu with a wide range of tools
22- Handbrake: converts DVD’s to media files for your PC, iPhone, or portable media
23- Revo Uninstaller: removes all traces of an uninstalled program
24- Mp3Tag: powerful audio tag management tool
25- DVDFlick: convert video files to DVD
26- WinSCP: powerful FTP client
27- CCleaner: reliable hard drive and registry cleaner
28- FeedDemon: excellent RSS reader with Google Reader support
29- PDFCreator: convert any document to PDF or image formats
30- FreeFileSync: powerful folder comparison and synchronization tool

Some notes before proceeding:

  • Download links: for each program are provided at the end of each mini-review.
  • Installing software: a lot of software tends to bundle other software, typically Yahoo, Bing, and Ask toolbars, in their installers; the good news is that you can always uncheck these options during the installation and disallow this, so pay attention when you install and uncheck anything you don’t want.
  • The sorting order: don’t put too much meaning into it, as comparing most of these programs to each other is very much an exercise in comparing oranges and apples.
  • Windows 7 64 bit: all programs listed here are guaranteed to be 64bit Win7 friendly (as well as 32bit XP, Vista, or Win7). In the case that they may exhibits some quirks or incompatibility it is indicated in the text below.

1- Everything: desktop file search that will transform the way you use your PC

Sounds hyperbolic, perhaps, but I stand by it 100%. “Everything” is a super fast desktop file-search that integrates in the right click context menu. It is fast for the simple reason that it does not scan the hard drive to build its database, but rather uses the raw Master File Table for NTFS drives, which logs all changes made on the partition.


This means that you as the user do not have to worry about whether the database you are searching is up to date, about doing manual re-indexing operations, or about areas on your hard drive that are not included in the database; you just use it and it works. The down side is that “Everything” will not work on non-NTFS formatted drives (take my advice and convert your FAT32 drives to NTFS anyway). It also will not search network drives (although it will search extrenal NTFS formatted drives).

Everything-Screenshot-context-menu2Right clicking “search everything” on folders will soon become your method of choice when seeking, well, anything. And I am happy to report that the context menu entry works on both 32 and 64 bit systems.

“Everything” is relatively low on resource consumption (11 megs on my PC). It works on Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7, 32 and 64 bit.

> Go here to download. Also see my original Everything review.

A close second choice: Locate32; in contrast to “Everything”, Locate32 scans your drive to index, but is super powerful desktop search all the same.

 2- Launchy: my favorite launcher

If you hear “launcher” and the image that comes to mind is stacks of organized shortcuts, this program will be a revelation. Launchy looks like a floating search box on your desktop (which is exactly what it is, see screenshot).

To use, simply invoke Launchy (by default, using the Alt+Space hotkey combination) and type in the name of the app you seek in the search box. For example to run a program you would type in the first few letters and Launchy will interactively display matches for programs found on your computer. You are unlikely to need more than a few keystrokes before it narrows down the list of results to the program you seek.


Launchy will index the start menu and quick launch folders for shortcuts (i.e. files with .lnk extensions). You can add places as well as file extensions you want it to further index (e.g. look in “program files” for .exe extensions or a folder where you place portable apps). You could tell it to index any type of extension; for example indexing “my music” for .MP3 files will turn Launchy into an instant local music lookup and launch tool. It can also be used to launch Google searches and do a number of useful tasks. Once I got used to this one I began to wonder how I ever managed without it.

> Go here to download. Also see my original Launchy review.

3- LastPass: centralized, cloud-based password manager

LastPass-ScreenshotThis program will store all of your passwords in encrypted form in the cloud (i.e. on a remote server supplied by the developers), and then let you retrieve them securely when you need them via its Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome extensions. Which is to say it will lock away all your passwords for all your online accounts in a centralized place, and allow you to access them via a single password that unlocks them all.

The reason LastPass is secure is that the data stored remotely is encrypted, which means that it is worthless to anybody who might access it (e.g. the LastPass developers, hackers, etc). The encryption/decryption is done locally on your computer. I am very comfortable recommending this after almost two years of using this and after seeing the kind of critical acclaim it has received (among which is a PC Magazine Editor’s choice award and other accolades). If you need to know more about how secure LastPass is I suggest Googling it, as this discussion has taken place in many a forum and this is not the place for it.

LastPass supports multiple profile for a single page (e.g. multiple Gmail accounts), and will interactively detect any passwords manually entered and ask if you would like to store them in LastPass. It can also optionally detect and fill in forms for you. The last word on LastPass is that at this point I cannot live without it and I install it on all my computers.

> Go here to download. Supports major browsers, including IE, Firefox, and Chrome; alas no Opera support as of this writing.

4- Dexpot: the world’s most advanced free virtual desktop app

How would you like a ’tabbed desktop’ where each ’tab’ displays its own programs, files, and icons or even its own wallpaper and display resolution. That’s pretty much the idea behind virtual desktops, and Dexpot is the best freeware virtual desktop program around.


And while most virtual desktop apps will let you relegate specific windows and programs to specific virtual desktops, what I like about Dexpot is that it lets me relegate icons across my different desktops as well, something which no other free virtual desktop app will. This means that I can keep all of my work icons on my first desktop and shift all of my personal icons to the second desktop (as an example). This is managed via hotkeys; e.g. select files and folders and click shift+alt+3, and they will be instantly be teleported out of sight to your third virtual desktop.

Dexpot has a breadth of functionality and is expandable via a plugin architecture. A favorite plugin of mine is SevenDex, which places my virtual desktops as thumbnails on the Windows 7 launchbar (and is simply awesome, see screenshot to the right). For more on SevenDex check out my article entitled “Seven Apps that work really well in the Windows 7 taskbar“.


> Go here to download [portable version also available]. Also see my original Dexpot review.

5- Imgburn: simple yet powerful CD/DVD burning software

Imgburn gets the job done, and offers unmatched simplicity in interface. It may not be the most full-featured so-called “Nero replacement” out there, but it will cover all of your CD and DVD burning needs, including burning to CD, DVD, RW, Dual layer, even HD DVD and Blu Ray disks. Imgburn can create and burn disk images in most formats (BIN, CUE, ISO and several others), can make bootable disks, can burn music CDs from audio files (via CUE images, see here), can burn DVD’s from VIDEO_TS folders, allows overburn, just to name several of its features.


Imgburn is also lightweight and offers a portable version. The only drawback it has is that it may require users to be somewhat technically savvy at times in its reliance on building images to perform some operations. It also cannot build multi-session discs (i.e. add data to a disc that already has some data burned onto it), although it can add tracks to image files.

> Go here to download [portable version also available]. Also see my original Imgburn review.

Related: If you want a more user friendly and a more “typical” experience then by all means check out my other favorite CD/DVD burning software: CDBurnerXP.

6- Avast: solid, effective free antivirus

I had previously written a freeware antivirus comparison article, and two programs stood out, Avira Antivir and Avast. To be sure, this antivirus program comes in at a close second to Antivir for most metrics; however, the differences in performance between the two are so slight as to (probaby) not be statistically significant. Avast presents an advantage in that you do not have to think about the (non)issue of email scanning that comes up with Antivir or worry about any type of nag screen. I feel it easier and more reliable to recommend Avast as my free antivirus of choice because the recommendation comes with less caveats and qualifications, and the program is world-class.


With Avast you can be sure that you very well protected. You will need to register the free version of Avast by obtaining a (free) registration code using a valid email, and the registration process has to be repeated annually. The last thing to mention about Avast is its rather unique interface, which some users find quirky and unintuitive, but which for me is a non-issue.

> Go here to download.

7- ThreatFire: powerful, memory-resident AntiSpyware protection

ThreatFire is a memory-resident antispyware protection software that protects in real-time and is low on system resources. This program is geared towards behavior-based protection, which means that it kicks in whenever it senses something suspicious is taking place. Thus is it is (a) less dependent on constant system and hard drive scans and (b) provides good protection against unknown, brand new and (so-called) zero day threats. It is also very effective and provides excellent protection.


The bottom line: use ThreatFire and one of the two antivirus programs mentioned above and you will have all the protection you need, guaranteed, whether or not you also use a firewall program. I will say however that adding a firewall would be a good idea; see below for a free Firewall recommendation.

Note: ThreatFire now works on both 64 bit and 32 bit machines.

> Go here to download (get the free version). Also see my original ThreatFire review.

8- Mikogo: easy screen sharing and remote access application

Mikogo is the kind of software that will leave your colleagues, friends, customers, and collaborators extremely impressed. I say this because it has been both my experience as well as that of friends whom I recommended it to.

What it is is a free program that will let you share your screen remotely with one or many remote collaborators. It also provides remote access to their computer, whereby you can take the driver’s seat remotely if they give you permission. You can also switch roles at a click of a button such that you are broadcasting your screen or your computer is being accessed, if that is what you need. It also offers the option to video record your session for later playback, send files to participants, and even share a virtual whiteboard for shared scribbles and illustrations.


The main reason I like this software is that you can perform the screen sharing or remote access functions without requiring that your collaborators install software on their machine or register for an account. All they need to do is visit a URL which you send them and enter an access code, which the program will generate for your session. And although your remote collaborators will have to allow a small executable to run on their machine, the entire platform is otherwise browser based .

The other reason I like Mikogo even when such free screen sharing tools have been proliferating is the sense that this software is constantly being improved (while some others seem to have burst into the scene and kind of languished).

Also worth noting is that Mikogo is multiplatform, and is available for PC, Mac, or Linux, so you can share your screen with anyone regardless of the OS that they are using. You will need to create an account using a valid email address.

> Go here to download. Also see my original Mikogo review.

Related: a close second choice: TeamViewer; highly acclaimed, versatile, powerful.

9- Sizer: snap windows to pre-defined sizes

sizer-screenshotSizer lets you right-click on the “minimize” button of a window to select a number of pre-defined window sizes that you can choose from, then instantly resizes the window for you. It is useful for all sorts of everyday, ad-hoc use, but also especially useful if you are a web designer who, say, would like a quick and handy way to resize the browser window to pre-defined sizes.

This may seem a a bit of an odd choice in a “favorite freeware” list, but the reason it is here is because after almost two years since I originally reviewed it, it is still one of the first things I install on my computer (I now firmly believe that this function should have been built into Windows).

Sizer offers a portable version, although it may be that the installer version offers better compatibility with Windows 7 64bit (I’m not quite sure).

> Go here to download [portable version also available]. Also see my original Sizer review.

10- PeaZip: powerful archiving tool to manage ZIP, RAR, and more than 120 compression formats

I am often surprised as to how frequently I am asked about a good free archiving software, just because there are so many excellent ones (some of my favorites are TUGzip, JZip, and 7Zip). Yes there are still people out there paying for Winzip (I work with some of them), but for the rest of us I would recommend PeaZip, completely free and open source, looks good, integrates well in the Windows context menu,and is quite powerful.


The reason PeaZip is featured on my “best of” page rather than any of the others is that it offers excellent compatibility with both 32bit Windows as well native 64bit Windows 7, whereas some of the others are stuck in a 32bit world and are yet to offer 64bit context menu support (note: 7Zip also offers 64bit support; in fact . And aside from its support for a vast range of compression formats, it is also a full featured archive management program offering archive splitting, joining, conversion, encryption, self-extraction (in 7Zip and Arc formats), and even command line support.

An interesting and easily overlooked feature of PeaZip is the fact that it is a fairly sophisticated file browser, offering advanced filtering, bookmarking, and the ability to “flatten” subfolder views, to name a few features. PeaZip is multi platform (Windows/Linux), and offers a portable version as well.

> Go here to download [portable version also available].

11- VUE: a visual environment for ideas, notes, thoughts, and everything else.

VUE is one of the most interesting free programs I’ve seen in a long time. Although you properly classify VUE as a mind mapping program, it is more accurately a visual environment for working with many different types of information. It also encompasses a Powerpoint-like presentation engine that can create presentations out of mindmaps on-the-fly.


I’ve never really quite understood mind mapping programs, no’r have I ever had any inclination to use them; however, this program has become indispensable to me as a platform for organizing notes and thoughts visually.

It is by no means a perfect program is, and in fact could and should become much better; however, it is innovative in many ways and the more I use it the more I like it, and the more I see the potential that it has to offer. Try it out; chances are you will like it and, like me, come to depend on it.

Note: you will need to register with a valid email to download.

> Go here to download. Also see my full VUE review.

12- SuperCopier: accelerate, pause, and resume file copying and moving operations

SuperCopier can significantly speed up the process of copying or moving files across drives. This tiny utility (less than 2 megs in memory) runs in the background and kicks in automatically whenever file copying or moving operations are initiated in Windows explorer. Aside from speeding up these operations it will let you pause a copy or move operation and resume it later on, when its convenient.


Once you start using this it is hard to go back. This is especially the case if, like me, you use external hard drive and/or high capacity USB drives to backup your data; in which case SuperCopier can be particularly valuable.

I have previously mentioned a couple of other similar programs in this blog (Copyhandler, TeraCopy), but SuperCopier is the one I would recommend in hindsight. I actually did a little test, transferring about 5 gigs and hundreds of files to an external hard drive using TeraCopy and timing it, then immediately deleting and repeating with SuperCopier; the latter was approx 15% faster.

SuperCopier works well on Windows7 64bit, although I did encounter one minor glitch in that if the files you are copying or moving require administrative privileges the program will likely fail your operation rather than simply ask for a user confirmation.

> Go here to download [portable version also available].

Related: for another similar software that is excellent check out the aforementioned TeraCopy.

13- FastStone Image Viewer: a versatile, practical image viewer

First off, if you’re wondering why I am featuring this program rather than Google’s Picasa, the reason is that although I am quite fond of the latter program I personally prefer a straight image viewer minus Picasa’s image library management/web album functionality.

I’ve reviewed quite a few image viewers on Freewaregenius, including many with stylish interfaces and 3D effects (eg. here, here, and here); however if you want a reliable, “workhorse” rather than “showhorse” type image viewer then FastStone Viewer is the program I would recommend.


One of the reasons this makes my top list is that, when viewing images, FastStone employs a simple yet brilliant device in it’s user interface: it displays images using 100% of your screen area, but move your mouse to any of the 4 sides of the screen and various controls appear, only when you need them. Extremely simple but very practical and effective.

FastStone Image Viewer also offers an excellent set of image editing tools and filters, including drawing and annotation tools (the options available for annotation of images are especially useful). It also supports a wide range of image formats.

> Go here to download.

Related: although I prefer FastStone, for other excellent free image viewers (which incidentally are amongst the most powerful you could find), check out IrfanView and Xnview. For other interesting image viewers, check out Viewer2 (with intuitive tagging functions), Vjpeg, and the lightweight First Impression.

14- uTorrent: powerful, lightweight Torrent client

uTorrent is a powerful and feature-rich BitTorrent client that nonetheless manages to be very light on resources (less than 11 megs in memory). It has also been recognized for its stability as well as possibly being the fastest out there in terms of downloading performance

I’ve reviewed a handful of Torrent clients on this blog and flirted with a number of other clients; however, this is without a doubt the best torrent client available (free or paid).


Aside from its simple user interface, its stability and reliability, one of its strengths is that it is constantly being developed, and that it has emerged as the de-facto, multi-platform Torrent client that developers of, say, mobile apps and remote-control client use when developing apps that interface with a desktop-based Torrent client.

> Go here to download.

Related: you might want to use PeerBlock, in conjunction to uTorrent. It is designed to make it less likely that your downloads might be tracked back to you if this is something you might be worried about.

15- Q-Dir: small yet versatile multiple-pane file management app

Q-Dir is a free file manager /Windows Explorer replacement that provides dual and multiple pane file management and a nice set of features. This program’s strong suite is the very nice user experience it provides (I particularly like the way you can quickly shift across different window pane setups using tiny buttons on the program toolbar). Some of the features it provides include folder and file filtering via search box, saving favorite folders, saving entire “views” (i.e. folder and pane combinations), and browsing compressed archives as folders. Q-Dir can integrate within Windows’ right-click context menu and can be used as a direct Windows Explorer replacement. And although Q-Dir is not as full featured as some other file management programs (such as UltraExplorer for example), I actually used it as my default Windows Explorer replacement on XP because I like its interface and because it is relatively light on resources. Q-Dir can also be run portably from USB.


> Go here to download [portable version also available]. Also see my full Q-Dir review.

Related: for another recommend file management program, check out the above-mentioned UltraExplorer.

16- PDF-XChange Viewer: the best free PDF document viewer

Every PC needs a PDF viewer, and PDF-XChange Viewer without a doubt has emerged as the best free alternative to Adobe Acrobat Reader. Skip Adobe’s free reader altogether and use this one. Aside from integrating with internet browsers, and meeting all your PDF document reading and form-filling needs, this program provides a good array of PDF annotation tools forms), such as a typewriter tool, text boxes, sticky notes, shapes and lines and even a “stamp” tool to name a few. These tools work with any PDF document, even PDF’s that are not designed to be interactive, and will invariably prove extremely useful.


Note that the free version of PDF-XChange Viewer includes inactive entries in its menus and interface for some of the paid version’s offerings, as some sort of teaser. These can be somewhat annoying and I recommend you go to the settings to remove them (the program will look and feel much better). Go to the “Edit” menu, then preferences then registration, and check the box that reads “Hide restricted ’PRO’ functions in the free version”.

> Go here to download [portable version also available]. Also see my original PDF-XChange Viewer review.

Related: for an alternate excellent free PDF reader, check out Nuance PDF Reader, which includes a PDF to DOC conversion option via uploading to an online conversion engine. Also check out my article on free PDF to DOC/Word conversion options if that’s something you need.

1t- The KMPlayer: the only media player you will ever need

The KMPlayer is a feature-rich, free media and DVD player that will handle any media format that you throw at it.

What’s interesting about The KMPlayer is that it comes with self-contained, internal filters, commonly known as codecs, that it uses to decode and play media files without having to install these system-wide on your machine (which is something that most media players do and which results in these filters taking up resources on your system, sometimes unnecessarily). On the flip side, The KMPlayer can take advantage of any codecs which may be independently installed on your system, if need be.


> Go here to download. Also see my full review of The KMPlayer.

Related: VLC Media Player is another super awesome media player that will play and stream most everything, and is multiplatform.

18- Partition Wizard: partition manager and hard drive maintenance tool

This is simply a must-have hard drive partitioning tool. It offers compatibility with both 32 bit and 64 bit systems as well as a bootable rescue version on CD on USB. It is easy to user, has a nice interface, and can perform all the usual hard drive partitioning related tasks, such as creating, resizing, moving, deleting, merging, hiding, and deleting of partitions.


But Partition Wizard also performs a slew of other hard drive maintenance tasks that I appreciate, such as changing drive letters, converting file systems (such as FAT32 to NTFS, etc.), checking file systems, and performing hard drive surface tests, to name a few.

> Go here to download. Also see my original Partition Wizard review.

19- Send to Toys: add any folder to Windows’ send-to menu

Once I accumulate too many items on my desktop or in my download folder I typically go on a cleanup spree, moving all of these items into appropriate folders on my hard drive. “Send to Any” allows you to add any number of folders to Windows’ right-click send-to menu, allowing you to quickly move or copy items to your favorite folders no matter where you are or what files or folders you are working with, and making the “send to” menu infinitely more useful as a consequence. Also, the “send to” menu seems to be exactly where these folders ought to be.


Why am I including this program in my list of must-have freeware? Because I have been using it for a number of years now and it still is one of the first things that I seek when I install software on a new machine. It also works well on both 64 bit as well as 32 bit OS’s.

> Go here to download. Also see my original Send to Toys review.

20- excellent, free MS Office alternative

Let’s face it: everyone needs either MS Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, or all of them. Except MS Office is not free, and while web-based solutions such as Google Docs or Zoho may or may not be the wave of the future, we live in the present and most of us need a good, desktop-based office suite.


Enter OpenOffice, an excellent Office Suite developed by Sun Microsystems that delivers elegant, powerful alternatives to all of the MS Office programs and, moreover, offers full compatibility with MS Office, being able to both read and write MS Office document formats (including the newer Office 2007 formats).

If you’re familiar with MS Office programs you will be able to be up and running with OpenOffice in no time at all, as most operations will be intuitive and the learning curve minimal.

> Go here to download [portable version “”” also available; Italian & English]. Also see my full review.

Related: another good free Office suite: Lotus Symphony, developed by IBM.

21- FileMenu Tools: enhance your right-click context menu with a wide range of tools

Is there anything better than having the tools you need in the right-click context menu right at the moment that you need them? The answer: probably, but not too many things.

Not only does FileMenu tools give you a wide range of tools that you can install in your right-click context menu, but it will let you pick and choose precisely the ones you want. The list of available tools and functions keeps growing, with new and innovative tools and functions being added on a regular basis; moreoever, if you have a command line function you can use that in conjuction with FileMenu Tools to add your own custom command in the context menu.


I personally like to have the “Advanced renaming”, “File Search and Replace”, “Attributes Changer”, “Shred files”, “Show folder sizes”, “Change Folder Icons” and various path-copy tools in my context menu. Other available tools: split and join files, register and unregister DLLs, move/copy files to favorite folders, and a handful of others.

Last but not least, FileMenu Tools will also let you manage the other entries in your context menu generally that are unrelated to it, very handy when uninstalled programs leave behind entries in the context menu that you do not want.

> Go here to download. Also see my full FileMenu Tools review.

Related: also check out an excellent alternative to FileMenu Tools with menu of the same functions, Lammer Context Menu.

22- Handbrake: converts DVD’s to media files for your PC, iPhone, or portable media device.

This is another program that has withstood the test of time. Handbrake is the real deal and is easy to install and use. Handbrake’s interface is very user friendly while not shirking in terms of features and power under the hood. But best of all it simply works (and is optimized for dual core PC’s).


Two things to note: one, is that Handbrake converts to MP4 and MKV media formats only, and the latest version has dropped support for AVI files which it had offered at one time, because of the relative superiority of the other two formats which it supports in comparison. The second thing is that Handbrake will not remove the encryption from commercial DVDs when you convert them, which is an important step that has to be done via another program. Good free DVD decrypters are DVDFab HD Decrypter (the free edition is all you need), and RipIt4Me (which is no longer in development but works well). Another excellent DVD decryption option is DVD43, which only works on 32bit PCs and provides on the fly decryption, letting you plop a DVD in and convert is with Handbrake instantly while decrypting in real time as if the encryption did not exist in the first place (and without having to rip the DVD to your hard drive)

For a how-to guide on how to use Handbrake with DVD43 to convert DVDs to media files check out my “How to Convert DVDs to iPhone” article. Note that the article was written before support for AVIs was dropped from Handbrake as mentioned above.

> Go here to download. Also see my full HandBrake review.

Related: also see VidCoder, an excellent program based on the Handbrake engine but which tries to further streamline it’s interface.

23- Revo Uninstaller: removes all traces of an uninstalled program

Revo is a replacement for Windows Add/Remove programs utility that filter your installed programs via a searchbox or sort them by column to see what the latest installed programs were. But what really makes it useful is its ability to scan the hard drive and Windows registry for things that the uninstalled program has left behind and remove them.


Revo Uninstaller offers three levels of intervention: safe, moderate, and advanced, which determine how comprehensive or conservative it is going to be when going after items that an uninstalled program might have left behind. (“Moderate” scan has always worked for me, and I pretty much trust it blindly; however, you always have the option to look into what it is going to delete before approving it).

Revo also does a great job removing apps that have a corrupt uninstaller or simply do not offer one to begin with. I have used this probably more than the average user would and it has always delivered (note: you can perform these uninstalls via the so called “Hunter Mode” or “Drag and Drop” mode).

> Go here to download [portable version also available]. Go for the free version, not the trial version. Also see my full Revo Uninstaller review.

Related: also see my article entitled How to uninstall anything: free apps that get the job done

24- Mp3Tag: powerful audio tag management tool

In the age of digital music everyone needs a audio tag management app, and as far as free (or non-free) programs go Mp3Tag is one of the best, if not THE best.

Mp3Tag combines a simplicity of interface with powerful functions. It supports every audio format under the sun and will perform all the usual mass renaming and tag manipulation operations. It will also look up track information from several online sources; freedb, Amazon, Discogs, and even the community-based MusicBrainz database (alas it does not perform digital fingerprinting via MusicBrainz, like a program such as Picard does, which is a strange omission). It also downloads cover art and can save it n the ID3Tag itself.


One feature of Mp3Tag which I am personally quite fond of is the Windows explorer context menu integration (available on both 32 bit and 64 bit OS’s). This simple option lets you right click on a folder or folders or even a selection of audio files to open the audio files in Mp3Tag. After using this program for a few years, I’ve found this option to be invaluable.

> Go here to download. Also see my original Mp3Tag review.

25- DVDFlick: convert video files to DVD

While there are a number of free apps that can author video files to DVD, DVDFlick provides one of the nicest, most user-friendly experiences. What’s more, it is able to process a very wide range of audio and video formats (45+ file formats, 60+ video codecs, and 40+ audio codecs), which is to say it will transfer any media file to DVD, and is nothing short of fantastic.


DVDFlick will also easily add menus and subtitles (if any) and will burn to DVD or ISO at the end of the conversion process. The bottom line: it’s simply brilliant.

> Go here to download. Also see my original DVDFlick review.

26- WinSCP: powerful FTP client

If you’re looking for a powerful free FTP client this is the one I would recommend. WinSCP is feature rich, has a built-in text editor for on-the-fly edits of file right on the remote server, offers a portable version, and (for the non-portable version) integrates into the Windows’ send-to context menu.


WinSCP supports FTP as well as SFTP and SCP protocols over SSH-1 and SSH-2. It offers a two-pane file-management view, supports drag and drop from Windows explorer, is open source, and supports a number of advanced functions such as directory synchronization, batch file scripting, and a command line interface.

> Go here to download [portable version available].

Related: my second choice for free FTP client: FileZilla

27- CCleaner: reliable hard drive and registry cleaner

CCleaner is simply a must on any PC. Not only does it provide excellent hard drive cleanup of all kinds of junk that invariably accumulated in and clogs up the system, but it’s one of only two or three program whose “registry cleaning” functionality I would use without reservations (I personally think “registry cleaning” should be a very rare occurrence in the course of using a PC, but that’s another story for another post.

CCleaner is also excellent for cleaning up your internet tracks, history, and all the junk files that get downloaded during the course of surfing the internet.


One thing that annoys me about CCleaner is the strange frequency of its program updates; if I had a dollar every time this program got updated I would be buried in a little mountain of cash. Also, when installing, make sure to be mindful of what is checked by default and to uncheck the Yahoo toolbar option (ironic that a hard drive cleaning program would foist a toolbar on unsuspecting users, but even free software developers have to make a living).

> Go here to download. Also see my original CCleaner review.

28- FeedDemon: excellent RSS reader with Google Reader support

In this age of information everyone needs an RSS reader, right? If you are looking for a desktop-based RSS reader I would recommend either FeedDemon or RSSOwl. The reason FeedDemon makes this list and RSSOwl does not is that FeedDemon can function as an excellent desktop client for Google Reader, which I use and recommend.

Some pros and cons. PROS: Google reader integration; the ability to quickly post to Instapaper, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and delicious; newspaper style layout; system-tray notifications of new articles; content filters (e.g. give me all articles with the word “freeware” in the title or body); saved searches (called “watches”); the ability to categorize post via user-defined tags; quick switching between full, summary, and headline based listings.


Cons: does not function as a podcast receiver. Also, technically FeedDemon is adware. However, the small square ads placed in the bottom left of the screen are unobtrusive and low-key, and really do not affect the user experience (note that no ads are displayed in the screenshot above).

> Go here to download.

Related: check out my article entitled “Nine ways to check RSS feeds (including some unusual ones)”

29- PDFCreator: convert any document to PDF or image formats

This software can convert most any document to a PDF document or, alternately, to image(s) of various formats. It installs a so-called virtual printer driver on your machine whereby a new printer appears in your PC’s printers list. To convert any document to PDF or image format simply print it using this virtual printer.


While there are many good PDF virtual printers are there, PDFCreator is my top pick because (a) it can create image documents as well as PDFs; (b) it does not require the seperate installation of Ghostscript, and (c) it is open source (in contrast to many of the others which have gone adware over the years).

> Go here to download. Also see my original PDFCreator review.

30- FreeFileSync: powerful folder comparison and synchronization tool

This open source folder comparison and synchronization tool will compare files by scanning their contents or by file size and date; it can synchronize files and subfolders, process multiple pairs of folders at once, load/save folder comparison sessions, create batch jobs that can be run from the command line, and can handle cloned files (i.e. symbolic links or junctures). It also allows for custom syncing rules and command line option.


But the reason I like it is the excellent, intuitive user experience it provides. The two-pane “visual comparison” simply makes sense. I use FreeFileSync as a backup tool and it has become one of the first programs that I install on a new computer. (It also offers a portable version, a very handy addition to your USB stick)

> Go here to download. Also see my original FreeFileSync review.

  • Jacques DUMAS

    Nice site. Nice comments. Keep testing for us!

  • Dan

    Thanks for all the excellent info on this site, I download quite a bit from your reccomendations! – Keep up the great work.

  • Dear Sir,

    It is a great pleasure to contact you, and I sincerely thank you and your team in your dedication to guide us to stop walking in the darkness, specially with your wise selection of the best and most protective freeware.

    I have also copied some of the games for my son and he is now so happy.

    If you ever come to Western Australia, please drop me an email. I owed you a nice cold beer.

    Kind regards

    Nelson Dickens

  • wow, Amazing work! – I am loving this site, fast, clean and simple, BlackCrunch theme looks sweet too 😀 – wanted to say keep up the great work.

  • nitzan

    Can u pls test Advanced windows care (free and helpful!):

    And pls test Avira antivir and Avast pls.

    great site!

  • Anonyomous

    Please offer Full RSS Feeds

  • Dear Sir,

    Yesterday, when I was lazily fiddling with my computer, suddenly I came across to your site. I’m really like this freedownload site. Thanks very much and keep it up.

    Babul Gupta

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  • Dee Ceetwo

    Right on the spot with AVG. I like that they have purchased EWIDO. Makes my choices easy. I did try your first choice spyware, works nicely. Thanks.

  • JK

    Thanks for putting up this website – Great site!!! Now I dont need to search other downloads’ websites for freeware.

    Also wanna thank, for recommending this website.

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  • Aaron D’Souza

    Fantastic site.Excellent stuff to download. Thanks a lot and god bless 🙂

  • fantastic site….fantastic programs

  • Steve Bradley

    Thanks very much for all your work. I’ve downloaded and used several programs from this site, and all work exactly as you say.
    Steve B.

  • Greenwire

    Awsome list…how about updating it?

  • Bill Smith

    Sweet list. I’m trying a few out right now, and it all looks good.

  • Another Aussie who will buy you a drink though you’ll have to come to South Asutralia for this one:) Thanks for the info

  • midopido

    free ware genius

    …..the best we can have…..

  • Matthew Bonner

    Try Jzip, it is 7zip with a user-friendly GUI

  • Ash

    I have your site set oin one of my laptop’s quick-keys. i cannot live without this site anymore!!

    Thanks for making it all so much easiar for those of us who want to learn alot but don’t have the big budget for it.

    Best regards

  • Hey, nice collection. Bookmarked this page. Also, just wanted to add that I use Orca MSI ( resource hacker ( quite a bit as well. Very powerful free downloads!

  • jacksg

    you have a pretty decent site for software, but piss poor judgement for political candidates.

  • Trev Beard – Toronto

    Like so many others, I came across this site of your by happenstance and glad I am to have done so! You’ve got yourself a key to Heaven.

  • Anonymous

    Hello, interested to know if DVD43 will work for other programs such as Nero vision? Please advice

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  • After the Ten Commandments, ths is the most important list I’ve found. Great site! I love it!

  • Thank you for sharing of the list of your preferences. I featured Unlocker today on my blog…

  • Darkou

    Nice site indeed ,

    I may have a suggestion for you about free video converter, you should perhaps also review Quick Media Converter from cocoon software it is really cool. you can find it on

    Keep up the good work ..

  • Paul Hargreaves

    I suggest switching from FlashGet to FreeDownloadManager – having installed Peerguardian recently I found that FlashGet was continually connecting to various blocked locations when not actively downloading something and if you google for flashget peerguardian you’ll see that this is a known common issue.

    I’d also suggest installing peerguardian anyway especially if you’re in an environment where you’ll be installing lots of apps all the time.

  • June M.

    Wow! Website is a year behind but still offering great freeware. Thanks for this website. I am tired of “Freeware” that is “Trial-ware” in disguise.

    Don’t overlook: They offer many excellent programs, for FREE, that can be quite expensive to buy. A new program is offered daily! The program must be downloaded and activated during the 24-hr offer period.

  • mike

    what about firefox i use it everyday surly it sould be in top 20

  • ork

    One of my recent killing productivity tools is keybreeze for launching anything and more. I’m about to adopt it in substitution of Launchy, tray commander and Start++. This is the best i’ve seen in months.

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  • Misty

    Thanks for posting top 20 free software, real nice list. I found iSpring free ( a while ago and should say that if you are looking for powerpoint to flash converter and don’t want to pay money for it. This is what you need.

  • Thanks for posting! This is a really nice and complete list, thanks for sharing!

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  • Herb

    RE: Backup of files:
    FileHamster from

  • thanks a lot…Keep up man

  • karin

    a good site.thanks a lot.keep up the great work.

  • ignacio heinzmann

    this page is bulls**t

  • tit4tat

    great website. I’ve downloaded several of your recommendations. May I ask if you have any suggestions on a FREE CD data rescue software that actually work? I have pictures on them that I can’t see. Thanks.

  • Samer

    Check out unstoppable copier:

  • Giveawayoftheday would be a great site to link to. They have a program every day that is free, that would normally cost money.

  • felisgris

    I use unlocker and 7-zip and they are great. 7-zip is just sooooo much better than WinZip. Spyware Terminator is good but I think some things, like the KVR trojan, can probably disable it. I have been a Flashget user since the very early Jetcar days, but I think now it is loaded with Spayware. I also found it less fast than Download Accelerator Plus, which was blindingly fast, but was an incredible annoyance to use, so I uninstalled it.

  • Alan

    My experience is much better with Avast anti-virus sw over AVG. Much easier interface, updates & integration with Outlook. Very seamless & refreshing. AVG’s new version was a major pain, so I switched.

  • Hitendra

    JZip is great, and so is JK Defrag. I tried Easy CD/DVD Burner, but I think I prefer ImgBurn

    Surprising thatFirefox doesn’t make your list…

  • belgske

    ever tried FARR as a launcher ? even with default settings amaing results: you get the feeling the pc knows what you want to do..
    it is donationware but free to use.

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  • Is Comodo Firewall better than ZoneAlarm Free Firewall?? Thanks.

    BTW, nice list.

  • Fred Astaire

    Just found you, I’m addicted (good or bad?) to finding new freeware that’s useful, I have most of your list, can’t wait to try the others, thanks!!

    /currently testing Returnil, and liking it!

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  • malikor

    Spyware Terminator is good, but seems to tell me about every little thing that is happening on my computer so it is not for those who are less tech-savvy. I like using SUPERAntiSpyware for scanning, as it as one of the best detection engines out there. Also, I like Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware (free, yes, but there is a paid version as well). I have had some viruses that AVG simply could not detect so I use Avira AntiVir Personal now and I have yet to have an issue with it. I prefer Winamp to MediaMonkey. Interface looks better imho and seems to run better. Also, RipIt4Me is good but I don’t like how it require DVD Shrink and Decrypter. Instead, I use bitRipper to convery my copy-protected DVDs to AVI and DVDSmith to convert my DVDs to backup VOB files.

  • JoWazzoo

    YO – Samer?? Has this been updated? If listed above, I am sorry as I skimmed the posts fairly quickly.

    BTW – Kudos for a great site (nearly one-of-a-kind) that I have recommended to others, but do not visit often enough. :-))

    Cheers JoW

  • The best is 7Zip (for me)

  • Thanks for the great freeware!
    that really took a lot of time on your part!

  • RoninV

    Either these apps have withstood the test of time (2+ years) or a new Freeware Top 20 is secretly in the works.

  • Avs

    Well where is Firefox and VLC

  • Roy

    I recommend TheSearchMan.

    unlike Everything , TheSearchMan’s database is encrypted and it doesn’t show ALL files at the startup.
    The database of Everything is on the most wanted List of hackers as it lists all your files.

    TheSearchMan is a mere 30 KB download.
    It is portable also. That means NO INSTALLATION.

    Unlike Everything or Locate32 which can only search in the index, TheSearchMan can do real searching,ie, in the drive with a super fast speed.

    It searched my 50GB Seagate drive in a little over 2 seconds.
    It has bagged many 5 stars and Top Software awards.

    The interface of TheSearchMan is extremely simple.
    Just enter the path and search criteria

    TheSearchMan’s database is updated on the fly.

    The home page is:

    Its also been reviewed by ghacks and addictivetips.

  • I use many of these tools, great post I also wonder what my life was before i came across these tools, thanks great post.

  • Hi
    Why dont you mention something about Microsoft security Essential.Its a very good anti virus in the free category.

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  • Khali

    another free software for windows 7 at

  • Samer

    @Mark: I agree on both counts. Everything is one of my favorite apps, and the list is out of date and irrelevant. I am hoping to update it “soon”.

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  • Dave

    I use a lot of these but the outstanding one for speed and ease of use, in my opinion, is “Everything”. It’s blazingly fast and, what is more, all the usual file manipulations (delete, copy, drag/drop, etc.) can be done from within the program, which is not emphasised. Just click on the file to highlight it and away you go. I use multiple drives for back-ups and (provided you have the relevant volumes checked in options) the program shows all the duplicate entries, which is comforting! Although I have a dedicated mp3 management program, “Everything” also has its place in handling mp3 files for a quick duplicate check. As the saying goes, I don’t know how I managed without it!

  • kelltic

    RE: VUE

    It’s always worried me that I can’t quite wrap my mind around mindmappers. I’ve tried a bunch of them but to me its sheer chaos. Can’t ever find anything. Just looking at them bobbles (not a typo) my brain. Nope, just don’t get it. BUT when I saw the your screenshot of VUE, I thought, WOW, I think I could understand that! However – when I traveled to their website I was confronted with shots of chaos and confusion again. I had to get out of there. Quick.

    I did notice that the latest version came out on the first of this month. I was wondering if your version is an earlier one?

  • mchlbk

    My list would include Dropbox, Picasa, Sumatra, doPDF, DriverMax, Prey and Microsoft ICE.

    Also, I prefer Microsoft Security Essentials + Immunet Protect to Avast + Threatfire.

    Good list, though.

  • Fabregas

    How come no folder monitoring freeware is here?

    However, I found one on Lifehacker.
    heres the link

    Here are some key features of “TheFolderSpy”: (from softpedia)

    · Specify what type of detections you want.
    · Command line parameters can be added.
    · Auto deletion of detection list removed.
    · Multiple detection of same actions minimized.
    · Small size (50 KB download).
    · Simple to use.
    · Portable (No installation, carry in your thumb drive).
    · Attractive interface.
    · Monitor any number of folders in real-time.
    · Execute a file when a change is detected(plays wav files, executes other files).
    · Fully automated (Run and forget).
    · Monitor many types of changes: Creation,Deletion, Attributes changes, Access date, Filesize changes etc.
    · Auto start (optional).
    · Can run in background.
    · Can write logs.
    · monitor specific files in a folder.

  • roger

    I use several of the named programs but here’s a couple of alternatives I like:

    I am always trying new (to me) file managers and at the moment I am using, and very much liking, explorer++. Only a single pane but tabbed and a very useful bookmark function. Available free from

    I have tried several virtual desktops and the one I like the best, at the moment, is Sysinternals Desktops, freely available from the Microsoft subsidiary Sysinternals

    For zipped files I have been using 7-zip for a while with no hassles

    A couple of other programs that I find invaluable:

    For converting e-books of various formats into various other formats I use Calibre freely available from

    My favourite reader is Kindle For PC ( uses the .prc and .mobi formats which Calibre deals with ) available from

    And finally what I think is my joint favourite (with Everything) freeware- Jumplist Launcher, a Windows 7 (only) launcher that can be pinned to the taskbar. You can add as many files, folders or programs to as many instances of Jumplist Launcher as you like. Available from


  • dan l


  • Hey Samer,

    Thanks for the updates.
    I always refer co-workers and family to your listing as I agree with it and am thankful for the clear compilation of this list.

    Regarding the posting in general, could you tweak your site so that when one clicks on the associated image and then exists the image, the page relocates to the thumbnail image instead of the top?
    Nothing big but as this list grows, it will become inconvenient.

    Thanks again…

  • Well, i would not dare . Now 6 engines flag it as viral :

    Very sad as I so badly miss FlashFolder on my new win 7 machine.

    If so, it is rather clever distributing it by forcing a twitter / facebook-posting. (I imidiately removed mine)

    So anyone please: Is there ho hack for FlasFolder on Win 7 (64bit)? Or an alternative? I would be very happy!

  • Mario

    12. SuperCopier x Teracopy
    try to invert the order and time again. You first teracopied and then supercopied. Files could be pre-fetched or in memory and the second copy operation could be much faster without beeing that much faster at all.

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  • JFJB

    Good to hear from you, Samer.

    Looks like the ‘Says” family is growing larger than yours! Ah-ah-ah!
    I am so happy about the ‘mise à jour’ of your top programs.
    Not wanting to sound like a broken record, but I do appreciate your efforts into propagating the news about what’s going on. Many folks out there and here have no idea where to look nor what to look for. I believe you have answered both questions with a pertinence that sounds often right on the money — I know, quite an oxymoron when talking about free programs.
    Nonetheless — or however — (ahem) have you ever played with the Emerge Desktop shell?
    It adds tons of (free and built-in) add-ons to any MS OS past Win95, including 64-bit, that should have been included up front by the designers in Richmond.
    It is a very minimalist environment, no bells and whistles, which does NOT misdirect the user from he/she wants to do.
    A knee way, my two cents. I maybe wrong, as my wife reminds me in the evening before the apértif.
    Send me a note if you’re visiting south Florida.
    Surf’s up, dude.

  • pdn

    the best free total commander alternative (speed, options, OS compatibility)

    also XNview, AIMP, 1by1 should be in this list

  • JFJB

    From the dates of the comments, it looks like some folks are still living in :
    — 2007 (Jacques Dumas, Dan, Nelson Dickens, dot18, etc…)
    — 2008 ( too many )
    — 2009 ( Roy Geoffrey Satya )
    and Khali’s coming to us from January 8, 2010, and you, Samer, responded to a Mark on March 26, 2010. a Mark who doesn’t show up in the comments of this very article.

    Are we in a time capsule, or does WordPress capture the past with an acute precision that is from another world?

    Lots of smileys to the Said family.

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  • Toni

    Thanks for updating the list. Many programs made it to my harddrive, I especially love ‘Everything’.
    I saw Threatfire is still on the list. I had problems with it in the past bringing my machine sometimes almost to a standstill. Updates claimed to solve the problem but never did.
    But with so many recommendations I thought I give it another try, and hey… it works without problems! Note however that the link doesn’t allow you to download a standalone free version of the software anymore. Instead you must download a trial version of the PCTools security suite. So I downloaded from CNet instead. Works fine.

  • Samer

    Ok, let’s get some quick responses out 😀

    @ Dave/Toni: I agree re:”Everything”. I now cannot live without it.

    @ Kelltic: I kind of feel the same way about mind mappers in general. But am using VUE in an entirely unique way (maybe) that really works for me, hence it made it to the list. My wish list for the program is pretty long though. I am using the latest version from a couple of weeks ago or so.

    @mchlbk: I am working on making this a “Freeware Top 50” list and will defitinely add Dropbox to the list, and Picasa as well probably. I need to read more on MS ICE and Immunet project (I used immunet for a while but had no way of determining how effective it was).

    @Fabergas: I will look into “The Folder Spy” for a possible review on Freewaregenius. No plans to add a directory monitoring software to this list though.

    @Roger: I too like Explorer++, but not as much as I like Q-Dir or UltraExplorer. With respect to virtual desktops, I like Dexpot because it can also send icons to different desktops (the only one that does this in a way that half-works). Jumplist launcher spent some time on my desktop but no longer (I am now using StandAloneStack2 instead). Looking into Calibre for a possible review.

    @NotePad++: I agree. This one will be on the list eventually. Not being a coder I kind of steered away from text editors.

    @Ton Williams: what browser are you using? When I click out of a screenshot the posting stays put and doesn’t jump to the top. I tested on IE8, Firefox, and Chrome. Anyway, I may change my image viewing plugin as I think there are better ones out there.

    @Fredrick: I didn’t realize Flashfolder wasn’t Win 7 compatible. Too bad, since its a good one. I think it out of developement, unfortunately.

    @Mario: interesting. I thought something like this might be going on (file caching) when testing SuperCopier vs. Teracopy, so I cleaned my system using CCleaner before I did the second test. It may be that that wouldn’t suffice on its own and I may go back and redo the test. However, I also prefer SuperCopier’s interface. On the other hand, I recently saw that there’s a 64bit version of TeraCopy, which might therefore require a retest.

    @JFJB: nice to hear from you again. That “JFJB” joke never gets old ;). I did try Emerge desktop and a host of other desktop replacements. Have shied away from writing these up for some reason.

    Also, the reason the comments span 3 years is that this page was started in 2007 and just updated. I removed a whole bunch of comments that were either spammy or simply said “please update this post”.

    @pdn: looking into Double Commander. I mention XNview in the text above, and as for AIMP, I kind of prefer MediaMonkey, which was in the original list and will probably make the expanded “Top 50” list when I get to it.

    @Toni: glad Threatfire worked for you. There’s a “get free” download button under the “free” column in the comparison. It may be that that simply sends you to CNet though.

  • jfjb

    Pas de problème, mon ami.
    You go, man, no worries about the Says family, I’m one of the clan. I do like what you’re doing to and for the community — Emerge or not.
    Again, let me know when you’re around south Florida.
    Surf’s up, dude.

  • Steve

    Keybreeze has now gone open source. I have tried Launchy but found Keybreeze runs rings around it. The reason is that most of the time you do the same tasks and with Keybreeze you can quickly use hacks for names of programs or scripts. So if you tend to forget the programs’ names or don’t like to see long lists you can create long pseudo names with several keywords in them to access a program (you can also make multiple entries for the same program using different names). I have many autohotkey scripts that are so quick to launch by being able to customize their names. I changed the hotkey to CTRL+SEMICOLON so it doesn’t accidentally trigger. As for google searching (and quickly creating your own hotkey searches) just use the preset letter functions (or easily create your own). For example, type ‘s:’ followed by a google search and you will automatically do that google search in your browser. Nothing could be easier or quicker. That ‘s:’ function is already preset in keybreeze. When you get used to this technique of hacking names for your favorites programs (or folders or websites etc.) you will see that Launchy cannot compete in speed or ease of use.

  • acr

    Nice list. I like a few alternatives to some on your list. For instance I like Ashampoo free burning studio instead of Imgburn, Zoner free instead of Faststone image viewer and Abiword instead of the word processor in Open Office.

  • acr

    @ Roy. TheSearchMan looks interesting. I did some google searches for reviews and it’s amazing but nearly every review from users is written exactly with the same words used in your post. See this google search-,+TheSearchMan%E2%80%99s+database+is+encrypted+and+it+doesn%E2%80%99t+show+ALL+files+at+the+startup.The+database+of+Everything+is+on+the+most+wanted+List+of+hackers&btnG=Search&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

    TheSearchMan may be a nice tool but the spam you post does not help its cause.

  • lunaticprophet

    Seems I’m always waiting for your next list of “Top Freeware” and I’m never disappointed as I always find something new and useful.

    Questions – I like to start “Everything” at startup. Which workaround did you use to prevent Windows 7 UAC from bugging you each time you start Everything? I’ve seen a number of workarounds, but haven’t tried them as of yet.

    I’ve been using Launchy for years, but I never upgraded from ver 1.25 because when I tried 2.0 it was too resource hungry and buggy. I never tried 2.5. but since moving to Win7, i’ve noticed a display bug in 1.25 where the background image/window for launchy is cut in half. Have you seen this? Have you compared launchy versions and if so, which do you prefer?

    Never heard of Mikogo — will love using that! KMPlayer totally RULES them all! I like Q-Dir, ultraexplorer, cubic explorer and explorer++ but have found nothing that beats DirOpus!! Just wish it were freeware!

    I use about 60% of what’s on your list and many other freeware that you’ve recommended that didn’t make the list. Thanks for that!

  • lunaticprophet

    as a side note — I can’t do without clipx (clipboard manager), process explorer, SIW (system info wizard), stickies (desktop post-it notes), magicdisc (.iso mounter -freeware version), Ant Movie Catalog (which gets no love!) and the ever present Irfanview. Just mention them because they didn’t make the list.

    currently trying out RunIt and Keybreeze (since I’m having trouble with launchy 1.25)

  • Samer

    @ Steve: I tried Keybreeze and liked it, but stuck with Launchy on account of my familiarity with it. My feeling re: user defined keywords is that in an indexing launcher I am disinclined to do the work precisely because that’s what the launcher is there to do, is find the keywords interactively from the name of the app.

    @acr: those are good suggestions! I think many users would like Ashampoo burning studio. Zoner is a good program that I reviewed favorably on this blog, but after having it installed on my machine for some time I eventually reverted back to FastStone.

    Re: The SearchMan, I too get peeved when I see developers masquerading as “normal” users and plugging their wares in the comments, but am willing to give the guy a break: after all, he created this software that he is giving out for free, and just wants users to try it.

    @ Lunaticprophet: glad you like the list. You may be surprised to learn that I have NEVER had any problems with any version of Launchy, and I have been using it for more than two years (and now on Win7 64bit for about 6 months).

    BTW: I am currently trying out clipx, after using ArsClip, Ditto, YC3, and others. I have a persistent problem with all of these: they all break down when I work with massive amounts of data on SQL/Excel. I am looking for one that would simply ignore huge clipboards rather than get bogged down by them. Clipx has a plugin for exactly that situation, but sadly doesn’t seem to solve the problem.

    Re: Ant movie catalog; have you seen GCStar and myCollections? Looking into these for a possible review.

  • Samer

    @ Lunaticprophet: forgot to add, I usually tone down the UAC in Win7, which makes Everything run without the prompt. I use the settings that are provided by this little tool:

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  • citi3

    Is The KMPlayer still being developed?
    There hasn’t been a new version in a while, and I read a number of comments on the site saying Pandora TV was no longer developing it.
    There have also been posts re: KMPlayer installing adware (Ask toolbar and Pandora TV toolbar) even if the option to do so is unchecked. Can anyone confirm this?
    Just curious.

  • Samer

    @ citi3: Pandora TV has, according to Wikipedia, released a couple of updates, the last of which was on September 2009. This is apparently because they now have only a single developer working on it. So we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

    But as it is the current version is excellent. And no, it will not install other stuff without giving you an option to opt out. I just rebuilt my PC and installed it, and did not have any junk installed that I didn’t want.

  • Bilderin

    Consider including following items too:

    Photo management & light-editing: Photoscape
    File management: Xplorer Lite
    Sync and backup: pureSync

  • Wrong link for XnView.

  • blooper

    IMHO, those who favor Revo have not yet ried ZSoft Uninstaller (the v2.5 beta) OR the freeware version of Advanced Uninstaller (the Innovative Solutions one, not the IOBIT one). ZSoft cleans up every bit of install remnants much better that Revo and Advanced Uninstaller has an install monitor like Revo Pro (but better; at least it has never failed me).

  • blooper

    IMHO, those who favor Revo have not yet tried ZSoft Uninstaller (the v2.5 beta) OR the freeware version of Advanced Uninstaller (the Innovative Solutions one, not the IOBIT one). ZSoft cleans up every bit of install remnants much better that Revo and Advanced Uninstaller has an install monitor like Revo Pro (but better; at least it has never failed me). Both are free.

    UltraSearch is a new alternative to Everything (and whoever said Everything is a hacker target CLEARLY does not know what they’re talking about since ALL that it does is read the NTFS file system (like Ultrasearch). That’s why it is so fast.)

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  • Yuanted

    What about glary utilities free, photofiltre free and format factory?they’re very good freeware too

  • Rick

    Love Freewaregenius. I use many of these programs. I would like to recommend PDF Redirect for creating PDF documents. I have tried 3 or 4 others including your recommendation, but I’ve stayed with this one.

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  • Dsquared

    Wow…i Love Freewaregenius. I use many of these programs. Can´t live without!!!

  • Juan Zecua

    Another excellent freeware search file is Agent Ransack. Check the site at:

    If you register you obtain the serial number for future free support and updates. That’s freeware too.

  • Joshua

    Great site, real, not like some fake freeware sites running loose on google search nowadays.

    Anyway, just wanna share my collection :

    MS Sync Toy : for syncronize files
    Net Set Manager : switch beetwen Wifi networks that use fixed IP and DNS
    MP3 Gain : batch normalizing mp3 files sound loudness
    WindowPaper XP : add picture on explorer background easily
    Macrium Reflect Free : backup and restore partition flawlessly
    and MiniLyrics (for AIMP2) : i just love it!

  • reddragon696

    I really liked the list and have incorporated several onto my comp.
    One freeby I really like that is for people who want a ‘lojack’ for their laptop/desktop is: Prey.
    You can find it at the following URL:
    It appears to work pretty well and is supposed to be almost undetectable once it is installed but allows you to track your comp whenever it is stolen in a variety of different ways plus allows you to remotely lock and/or erase all data that you have on your system.

  • Wow, this is the list I have been searching for, but piecemeal. I appreciate your compiling and testing these programs. There are a number I’m going to grab.

  • “The SearchMan” seems to be a very good program, and I like that it is portable, but there are a few notes, both good and bad that I have listed below. The documentation is very limited, both on the website, and in the download itself.

    1. Cannot use wildcards if using the index search.
    2. Cannot use wildcards for the search within the search feature.
    3. Crashes on “Index All Drives”, when accessing some mapped network drives, but as near as I can tell, any files already indexed remain in the index, so it is not a complete waste of time.
    4. The brief docs mention auto-update of index, but the settings (also brief) do not clearly have that option. There is a checkbox for “Watch for changes in the hard drive”, and a button for “Check index for missing links”. Could one of these be the same thing?
    5. Every new search defaults to normal search when you first start the program. There is no option to either start in indexed search, or start in last-used search. If the program is still running, however, it seems to keep the last used settings for folder name, file name, and indexed or normal search.
    6. There is no option to start search in the last-used folder when you first start the program.
    7. Indexed search does not require anything in the “Folder Name” field, but normal search requires that field to be filled. If you do put anything in the “Folder Name” field, and select indexed search, then the “Folder Name” field will be ignored.
    8. There is a checkbox in the settings for “Extensive Search”. What is this?
    9. Can search, and to some extent even index, networked drives. I think this may only work for those that have been mapped to a drive letter.
    10. Fast, but not nearly as fast as Everything (, which does NOT index networked drives. There are other alternatives also, a few of which are listed below. Some of these may also be faster, but I have not tested this. Some use indexing and some do not. Some can search networked drives, and some only local drives. Some are portable (or can be made portable), and some require installation. All, however, are free, and worth checking out.

    A few other free search tools:
    * Agent Ransack (
    * BareGrep (
    * File Hound (
    * Locate32 (
    * NirSoft SearchMyFiles (
    * Snowbird (
    * Super Finder (
    * Ultra File Search (
    * UltraSearch (


  • Abed

    Great help! Thanks

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  • Hi all;
    Especially to the developer. I have downloaded (D/L) ccleaner the latest version here. Later on I D/L the CCEnhancer, yet, still cannot add it to the ccleaner.

    Could u please guide me HOW to ADD the enhancer to the CCleaner?

    BTW, thanks for the many freewares available here. May God Bless u for the freewares.

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  • pjcamp


    The database of Everything is your file system. It does not maintain its own database. It uses the NTFS file system in a way that Microsoft should have thought of but didn’t. That in turn is why it only finds file names, not file contents. That’s also why it imposes zero load on the system. There is literally nothing for it to do in the background.

    So there’s nothing there really to hack. Hacking Everything is equivalent to hacking your file system.

    Everything suits my needs. 99% of the searches I do are for something I know the name of but I’ve forgotten where I put it. Everything suits that need admirably.

  • herve

    i would like to get a software that can convert my hard copy from the scanner into word doc…
    please if you know any one let me know.

    best regard

  • Papoulka

    Please take a look at FastCopy, from a Japanese author. This is a really well-designed and efficient tool. I frequently use it to copy / move terabytes of data and it has never failed me. I like the click-and-forget approach, and the fact that it will verify every transfer. I had previously purchased TeraCopy and finally gave up on ever seeing a bug-free product. After finding FastCopy I haven’t even looked at the others.

    AND… Magic File Renamer. I run the purchased Pro version and can’t remember the freeware limitations right now, but this is champion software. Really industrial strength renaming for your biggest jobs. I can truthfully say I haven’t looked at another renamer since I married this one. And I do a lot of renaming.

    And thanks for a very useful site. I will certainly be trying some of your suggestions. I greatly prefer freeware not only because it saves me money – though of course it does. But I always donate anyway on the “must-haves”. The other major benefit is not having to register copies for every computer at home. That’s such a hassle that I just can’t imagine keeping up with it.

  • Thanks! for your offer dear

  • phil

    Great work!
    Thanks to you I am completely dependent on everything, and I use faststone as my primary image viewer (picPick is doing great as a screen capture/markup tool though).I love pdf x-change viewer, and my computer is never complete without 3rvx.

    I have a couple suggestions for the next installment. First is ResophNotes. It is a great little note taking app that syncs with simplenote. live search of all text files including content.

    Second is softmaker office 2006. This suite includes a word and excel alternative. I starting using it after getting frustrated with OpenOffice. It’s fast and so far works well. Basically they offer the free version in hopes that you will like their work enough to buy their 2010 suite.

    • Samer

      @ Phil: Thanks. Looking at both programs you mentioned.

  • Joazito

    Some freeware I love that I didn’t see mentioned:

    * LibreOffice (OpenOffice fork)
    * Stickies (post-its on the desktop, but much better than Win7’s)
    * Link Shell Extension (creates Symlinks/Junction points)

  • Zohaib Mushtaque

    Remarkable collection of superb free softwares. Great work team (

  • Nick

    I like your selections of freeware. Definitely going to check some of them out!

    One program I would recommend adding to the list is WinSplit Revolution. Winsplit allows you to easily organize windows around the screen using the keyboard, which is a must nowadays with higher resolutions. In addition to having windows side by side, as in Windows 7, Winsplit allows you split the screen in 4 or 6 sections, and is easily customizable. It is always one of the first programs I install on my Windows machines!

  • Thank you for the super cool collection of freeware displayed on your website,it really proved to be very helpful.I only didn’t get a nice audio/video converter utility,so please work on that.

    • Samer

      @ saikat: thanks for your kind words.
      I am working on entries 31-60. For an excellent video/audio converter try Freemake.

      Note: requires MS .NET Framework 4.00 (which is pre-installed with Windows 7)

  • Hi Samer,I have recently found an excellent PC maintenance tool named “Advanced System Care-4″which is better than ‘CCleanar’and I am using it at present,its a freeware and provides amazing features.Its available at ‘’.I recommend you to use it and give related info in your future comments.
    I hope you will like my suggestion.

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  • great collections. All software are useful to increase efficiency of computer and make work on computer easy.

  • daniel

    Threatfire free version does not allow:
    “On-demand scanning to clean an infected PC”
    “Run scheduled virus & spyware scans”

    To get either of these functions you must purchase the software. I’m not sure what good this software does if it only tells you it thinks it has found something but you can not scan on demand and clean it.

    Seems to me that this is very limited freeware.

    • Samer

      @ Daniel: I just checked, ran Threatfire, did an on demand scan. Works just fine. Free version.

  • Pieter

    I would suggest Pot Player as a replacement for The KMPlayer, which is awesome but getting a bit dated (hasn’t been updated in ages). Enter Pot Player, written by the same guy who brought us The KMPlayer. You’ll immediately feel at home… with added stability, display quality (in my experience) etc, etc, … and of course it’s easy to run portable, woohoo!. There are some great skins to take it to the next level as well.

    • Pax

      I didn’t use the link provided on this site (lead to a dated forum) but did a search for KMplayer. This lead me to the main (?) site at:

      Many updates including Pandora integration. FYI… move slowly with the installation because there are some add-ons (toolbars for and other apps) you may want to uncheck.

  • such an excellent collections. its really great to use the pc.

  • J

    What about IZarc ??? can u do a review about it??

  • You forgot the most excellent auto clicker –> Auto Keybot –

    Check it out!

  • Excellent colletion of all applications at one place. Great work. keep it up.

  • Since the time I read of Launchy in your blog post I have not used any other launcher. This was a few years ago. Thank you for the review.

  • shirley

    i notice the date at the top of this page is july 2010. do these stiill work today and when last was the list updated.?

    • Samer

      @ Shirley: yes, this list is as valid today as in 2010. In my next update, I will add a number of new titles, and only replace a handful of these (2-3) with other programs that I would prefer to recommend instead.

  • ilovefreeware

    personally, i think libre office is better than open office. and its ubuntu’s official office replacement, so development on it is continuous.

  • Cool list. Everything is my everything 🙂

    Can’t imagine a desktop without it. Spotlight does this for Mac users.

  • anothergeek

    simply gr8 collection of apps that to freeware

    i use just a few of those u mentioned(KMP, supercopier)
    but now i am going to use more of ur suggestion
    good work! keep it rolling!!

  • MAC

    Wow. What a great list! Thanks for sharing this. i think Handbrake as a DVD and video conversion software is some kind of out-dated. It works pretty well for Apple’s products, bu the others not. There are many great free alternatives coming out these days, Freemake video converter is the best among them.

  • hangdawg

    do you still recommend pdf creator i researched and decided to stay far away from some commenter s labeled it a male ware factory and also this

    especially this part malware toolbar is proprietary software

  • Hello!
    You forgot the best freeware GIF Animator:

  • Seun

    I just discovered ur site and i absolutely love it!! Ur reviews are great nd very detailed!! I live in africa where affordability of paid software for one’s pc is so difficult,so i really appreciate ur downloadlinks to the freeware u reviewed. Keep up the good work bro,u just won another’m recommending u to all of friends

    • Samer

      @ Seun: I am happy to hear it. Greetings to all friends in your part of the world!

  • Mayank

    Awesome collection
    Notepad2 will be a good addition

  • Ram Das

    Best Free Video Converter is => No.1. internet_video_converter_hd_5.50_en_std_setup.exe (Open Source and absolutely Free) and No.2. AllFreeYouTubeDownloader.exe (Absolutely Free)

    Best Free Windows System Care is => No.1 Advance System Care V.5 from and No.2. 360 Amigo System Speedup and No.3. ToolWiz Care 1.0

    I used all of them and generating these comments out of end user experience, which is very pleasant.

  • Robert

    Thank you for good listing.
    I have a question.
    13- FastStone Image Viewer:.
    How do I make viewer arrange like the picture of yours.

    Thank you.

  • spookyfox

    I have been using KMPlayer for years, until recently I discovered that the guy who developed it abandoned the project and made another player called PotPlayer. It’s even better than KMPlayer, I really really really suggest you try it and change it on the list.

  • Anonymous

    I love your site.
    You are great.
    Thank You

  • vion77

    I want to point out other interesting freeware here:


  • If you need web based team collaboration, crm, helpdesk and ip pbx suits try up 10 users absolutely for free

  • Freeder

    I feel fortunate to have come across your site, thanks for your list. I use RevoUninstaller allot but, have found FullUninstaller to be good also. CCleaner was/is my goto but, SlimCleaner is great too. For finding files on your system FileSeeker is on the top of my list, it’s very fast. I hope these are useful. Thanks again.

  • Reena


    I am looking out for free online ebook and CD/DVD cover creator software. Would highly appreciate if you could email me some sites.

  • Tony Questar

    RE: Threatfire recommendation

    After being unable to download the stand-alone Threatfire from the publishers site, I found this comment on the PCWorld site. Are you sure you want to recommend this?

    quote form PCWorld:

    fastbullet avatar


    10/20/2012 11:21 AM PDT

    I’m more than a little skeptical of this review and ThreatFire.

    This review is dated 4/30/2012, which is recent enough except that nowhere does it mention that this is an antique as far as technology goes. The last version of ThreatFire I can find mentioned anywhere, is version 4.7, which dates back to 2007. How is it possible, in this age of ever evolving technology, for a 5 year old application to be current and effective?

    What is more, the owner of this software, PC Tools, has made the following statement regarding ThreatFire:

    “PC Tools ThreatFire™ has been retired as a standalone product”.

    What PC Tools has done, however, is incorporate some form of this program (so they say) into a $55 yearly subscription product.

    How safe are you feeling about this product now?

    end quote from PCWorld site

  • Ahmed Sako

    I think that you need to look into Daum PotPlayer as a replacement for KMPlayer in this list. In my experience it pretty much beats it in all the key areas: footprint (machine, resources consumed, etc.), performance, robustness, codecs, ability to read damaged files, ease of use and on and on

    Love the site and have used it for years now.

    Keep up the good work!

  • lp009

    Just FYI.. at beginning of article is states, “This list last updated July 17th 2010:” but the byline indicates it was updated in November 2012. Might be a bit confusing for new users who might assume the article is out-of-date if all they notice is the “… July 17th 2010…” reference.

    • @ lp009: we update links or correct errors in the text or grammar sometimes, and the byline reflect that. The content of the article proper is updated in the date stated within the article.

      • Fredxyz987

        Updates are fine, but I think a completly new review of would be preferable, considering it’s been about two and half years since this list was made. A lot of new players in the game and some other changes. For example, SuperCopier is now being developed by – and from a quick look I think Ultracopier may even be better than SuperCopier.

        Two things I really like about TeraCopy are the options to over-ride the 255 character limt in file/ folder names and also the ability to perform a full verify of the files copied.

        • @ Fredxyz987: I have this article on my list of posts to update, sometime in Jan 2013 hopefully!

  • Freeder

    Hi. I agree with Ip009. Any time you make a change to the list the should reflect that in the date. It is the list update that caught my eye at first and I had a thought to leave but I was sure that the date could not be correct. And I’m glad I stayed. I think you should change the update year. Thanks for your freeware work.

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  • Iqbal

    Great Freeware List.
    I am looking for the Partition Recovery Freeware to recover the data from the accidental formatted drive partition.
    if you could, please help.

  • jorma

    Yo, you should make new top 30.. this 3 years old 🙂

  • Lars

    I was excited to discover this website, but I am disappointed that so much of the information I am seeking is not available. It doesn’t promote confidence to have such a major aspect of the site out of date.

  • amanda

    Yes, technoligies developes fast and changes a lot in 3 years. And if you want to renew this article, Sammer, I would recommend Aun Player if someone who are looking for a free Blu-ray, DVD disc Player and free video player. It supports playing BD/DVD movies not only from BD/DVD Rom, but also from BD/ DVD folder. And it’s also a free MXF player, MTS player, and any non-protected video player. It offers options to choose subtitle, audio track, chapters, and titles for BD/ DVD movies. It is the only freeware that helps that. And it plays smoothly.

  • braiuk

    I want to suggest one more file search software: FileSearchy.
    It is also very fast and is able to search file contents.

  • Sanguals

    Hello, i want to recommend 2 free programs: free desktop translator and voice changer.
    free desktop translator:
    voice changer:

  • Ron Starc

    FTP Manager Lite is one of the best free FTP and SFTP client software. The clean interface is super easy to use. It will perform your files transfers quickly and efficiently. It also supports FXP for superfast server to server transfers.

  • Doug Börebäck

    PDF reDirect combines multiple PDF files. The best PDF creator program