Josh sent in an excellent list of his top ten recommended Windows programs… all of which are absolutely free! Here they are, for your use if you wish.
- Audacity is a free program that allows you to edit your music and sound files. It is open source and it is very to use. For someone looking to start podcasts, this program is for you. You will get used to the features it has in a matter of minutes. This is perfect for starting off in editing music and sound files.
- Winamp is a great music player for those looking for a alternative to the common “iTunes” software. It comes with many features and plug ins as well. You can play all your music files and save play lists as well. It also plays many music files that other music software cannot normally play.
- Trillian is an all-in-one messenger that uses very little resources. It includes, MSN, AIM, ICQ, JABBER(G-Mail Chat), YAHOO, and even IRC. This is for you if you are a person that always has at least 4 messengers running at a time. There is a Pro edition to this, which is sightly better, but the basic one is just as good because it is free.
- CPU-Z is a small program that displays your current computer specs. For example, it can show you your Motherboard name and even how much RAM you have. This is good to know when you are looking for those drivers and you forgot the name of your motherboard.
- WinRAR is a great program that allows you to compress your files to a smaller file size. I suggest using this as a default compression program. There are others such as Win7, but this does the same job.
- UltraVNC is a client to server based program that allows you to access another computer. Just start the server on the computer you want to gain access to, and then use the viewer on another computer to view that computer. I suggest getting UltraVNC and not RealVNC. It seems to be faster and overall more robust.
- TrueCrypt This software allows you to encrypt any drive you want to and as you move files to that drive, the files encrypt automatically. I suggest using this if you need to keep important information away from people that want to know things.
- Skype is a voice over IP program that allows you to communicate for free for pc to pc calls. The only downside to this of course is that you need credit in order to call to land line phones. However, the price is cheap to do so.
- HiJack This will search your registry for errors and possibly anything that could be wrong with it. Not only that, it logs all of the information it changed or found.
- SuperAntiSpyware scans your computer for known Spyware, Adware, Malware, Trojans, Dialers, Worms, KeyLoggers, HiJackers and many other types of threats, and allows you to remove or quarantine them. It offers daily (manual) definition updates, as well as home page hijack protection and customizable scan options. Furthermore, the program includes a Repair feature that allows you to restore various settings which are often changed by malware programs, but usually not corrected by simply removing the parasite. The free version lacks real-time blocking and protection as well as several other advanced options.
EDITOR’S NOTE: be VERY careful when using HiJackThis. It can be a very powerful tool, and do serious damage to your computer if you don’t know what you’re doing. NEVER fix “everything” that HiJackThis finds… most of it is harmless, and even essential system files.