Top Ten List of Free Windows Programs

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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

65 thoughts on “Top Ten List of Free Windows Programs”

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  4. I would also add VirtualDub for video editing, Firefox for web browsing, Miro for podcasts/videocasts, FileZilla for FTP, Thunderbird for e-mail, and Gom Player and Community Codec Pack for video playback. I hope this will help some people and maybe even you, Chris.

  5. Just a quick note, WinRAR is not (nor has it been that I remember) freeware. It is shareware that just “soft nags” forever instead of timing out. Other apps like Izarc can handle RAR to some degree w/o the cost.

  6. I think Avira’s free antivirus combined with PC Tools free spyware doctor are more likely to keep a PC free of spyware and viruses, because they have larger signature files. AVG is announcing a new version with significant capabilities but I don’t know if that extends to the free version. I would add
    *pdf creator
    *PDF X-Change viewer (replace acrobat)
    *media player classic
    *ccleaner (use with caution)
    *spyware blaster (prevents yucky cookies)

  7. Nice list, CPU-Z is a great little program, I use it on computers that people ask me to upgread to see what components it uses. Truecrypt is also a great program, stashing the porn and such…

  8. I would have definitely had VLC in my top 10, to me its just a fantastic piece of software and even better when you consider its free.

  9. Hey Chris

    I have had Vista for 6 months, lived with it , a total Windows fan. Last month, I got a Macbook pro and realized, despite some flaws, that the Mac runs way better and Im quite satisfied. Im not always waiting for the programs to load despite have an up to date Win laptop with 2 gigs and dual core. You were right and I was wrong. However, I think too much of the Geek computer coverage like on the Lab, is too much oriented to Macs, because of the PC still having the vast market no matter what Leo says. I find Jobs a bit more creepy than Gates, but its a good product

  10. I agree with this list. I should also add KeePass (To safely store password), Switcher (An exposè clone), ClipX (To keep more than a entry on the clipboard)

  11. Very good i love using most of these programs ive tried em out and skype i would use but i have a phone so not a point even know it is cheaper…WimRaR is the bets ever in the world so easy and better than winzip by 40000000 miles….Audacity is very god for audio converting and editing for sure…same with Goldwave…Cool list thanks!

  12. I would say that you have left out my favorite app i think i have ever used and have recently discovered because of you, chris, which is launchy, it’s just great. Hopefully you can make a top 11 apps.

  13. I have used winrar for years, that and winzip are the arc programs i use.
    I also have audacity winamp cpu-z for a long time too.
    these will help a lot using your computer to the fullest.
    I cant think off hand of anything I would add to it.

  14. I agree with many but not all of the programs in this list, namely WinAmp.

    As a media player I find it uses to much resources, a better alternative is XM player, or perhaps Quinnsential player, both are very low resource using players for all versions of Windows. I have used almost every player out there, including MusicMatch Jukebox. So I think my words can be trusted regarding this manner.

    Far as most the other programs, I have no ill words against them.

  15. I have been using some of these programs for years (Winamp, WinRAR, Audacity). But there is some on this list that I haven’t heard of that I will check out. Thanks for bringing us these Top Ten Lists Chris!

  16. Good list of programs! I have a few of those programs installed on my PC, and they are very good, I think the companies would make a lot of money if they set a small price for them. :)

  17. Thank you for the list. I like this top ten list it is great and It really shows me how much software is free. I do agree with the HJT log. It is very danerous if you don’t know what your doing. UltraVNC is a great program that works very well and I use it almost everyday. Free software is great and more companies should offer it for all users.

  18. i have use most of those programs listed

    their good programs to

    you should talk more about windows programs

  19. Great list. I use CPU-Z all the time at my job. I think you should add eurosofts PC Check to the list, it is the most usfull pc troubleshooter i have ever use, and it has got me out of trouble more offten then not.
    Keep up the good work.

  20. Skype is one of my favorite programs on my PC. I use it everyday even though I don’t purchase Skype Credit. It is very useful for calls to my friends when I don’t want to tie up the phone, and when I am playing online games with my friends. All the programs I have that are listed are very good, and I wouldn’t mind paying for them for the service.

  21. IrfanView is a free image viewing/editing program that I have installed on my computer. What is neat about IrfanView is that it has a built-in multimedia player, so you can play movies/sound files with it.

  22. well thats good i use all of those programs, but i probably use winrar the most it is the best unzipper ever (especially the password feature!)

  23. I really nice list of freeware.I also go to giveaway of the day where you can get free software that you would normal have to pay for legal.When the offers go up I would wait until the software gets some feedback from others,that way you can find out if its any good.

  24. A couple of programs have been good for along time and the one I like best is winamp. I had it on my old system and it would run alot of downloaded and even help the other players read and burn songs that windows nor itunes would. So thanks for refrshing my memory i had forgot to download it. :) The other is audacity. very helpful in editing.

  25. If you want to rar files and don’t want to pay, then WinRar is fine as long as you don’t mind the nagging. 7-Zip is a good free alternative but only if you don’t need to be able to to make rar files.

  26. Any good list of free software must include Mozilla Firefox. It must be the most downloaded piece of free software ever.

  27. Awsome list of freeware even though I use most of them. Other programs that also might want to add is CCleaner, Avira, A-square, AVG-antispyware.

  28. Awesome post Chris! Some of these free appz actually quite useful. I especially love WinRAR, Trillian, and Winamp.


  29. Sunbelt Personal Firewall uses the older Kerio engine, Before they were bought by AVG. And it is not only free but ROCKS. With Sunbelt Personal Firewall free edition you can decide whether one program is allowed to open another, whether a program is allowed to launch at all, whether a program can access the internet and by what protocols. You can also add custom in/out protocols and port ranges. For control over programs, no paid software can match it. Of course you have to run it in advanced mode for this functionality.

    Further Startup Monitor is a must have, its tiny and any time a program writes itself to startup with windows, it asks whether you’d like to allow it.

    7zip is the free compression and archive utility bar none. It won’t make rars but it will read and decompress them, along with dozens of other formats.

    GIMP is a closer to Photoshop level image editor.

    I use Avira for antivirus, Primo PDF maker to print form any app to a pdf, Open Office to read and write almost any other office, spreadsheet, presentation or document(word processor) editor.

    Trillian is really consumptive on resources and is no better than Pidgin in the end. Of course Yahoo messenger now lets you talk to MSN and windows live messengers people.

    Someday the chat apps will have a standard so we can also transfer files between apps, and voice chat and video chat across the board.

    Edit Pad lite is the best IMO free text editor,w ith great search and replace and mutli-document functionality.

    Audio Grabber is my favorite free CD ripper.

    XMPlay can use winamp plugins and it’s own and VST plugs and it is way nicer to your resources than winamp and has unmatchable sound quality.

    DirTree is awesome for seeing where your hardrive is clogged in a very visual way.

    Advanced Windows care from IO BIT is an excellent system and registry cleaner, spyware killer, temp file deleter etc…

    Io Bit also has Smart Defrag and excellent free alt to windows defrag.

    Regseeker is another great system/registry app.

    VLC player is the killer video playing app.

    Super© is bar none the best video convertor app.

    All these apps are free and top quality.
    I run with only Sunbelt personal firewall and antivira and startup monitor and haven’t been infected with virii or malware in over three years.

    Greta list Chris!

  30. Search-and-destroy Antispyware.
    Have you ever tried Search-and-destroy Antispyware? If you answered no, then you should give it a try. Over the years I have used many different types of antispyware and this is one of the best that I have ever tried. I was surprised and delighted to find that I could purchase it for a lower price than I could buy Norton and other similar scans that produce the same results. That makes it even better. Antispyware solution from Search-and-destroy can find the same kinds of bugs as these more expensive programs and is easy to get. Just click here Search-and-destroy and you can see how well it really works for yourself.

  31. Made myself, my own list. Very good list at that.

    (WinRAR is not free Chris, it just seems like it because the trail never leaves you out when expired)

    Pidgin is a much better all in one IM Client. It is also Open source which really helps.

    VLC Media Player in my Opinion is the best Media Player out there, at a first glance it looks simple but once you understand it you see that it can be used to DVDRip, Convert videos and other such things. It is a powerful but yet small Player. Much better than WInAMP.

    7-Zip is a much better alternative to WinRAR, it is open source and free and also the compression is better. It can handle a lot of extensions including .RAR.

    Gimp is a great alternative to Photoshop and rivals nearly all aspects of their features. If you want something like Photoshop but can’t afford it. Get Gimp.

    CCleaner is a great alternative to Disk Clean (windows program) Is cleans your system of almost anything, it even comes with a special feature which writes over files 32 times or less which is good when wanted to get rid of data.

    ClamWin is an Open Source antivirus. Which works great. Has less false positives and other such things.

    There is more. But this is my list so far as an experienced Windows user.

  32. its free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have it. From its website!!!!!!!!! Winzip is not free and winrar pro are not free but winrar is free!!!!!

  33. yes it is. I have it. And it is completely free. Maybe you were thinking of winrar pro, then you are right. But not winrar

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