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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. Some notes before proceeding: 1- Everything: desktop file search that will transform the way you use your PC Sounds hyperbolic, perhaps, but I stand by it 100%. Right clicking “search everything” on folders will soon become your method of choice when seeking, well, anything. “Everything” is relatively low on resource consumption (11 megs on my PC). > Go here to download.

The best freeware virtual PDF printer: a comparison PDF Virtual printers are a convenient way of creating PDF files. These programs can save any kind of printable document as a PDF file; all you need to do is to select ‘print’ from your favorite program, then select the virtual PDF printer and get a PDF file. There are many excellent free virtual printers. The virtual printers that we tried but decided to exclude from the comparison were Bolt PDF Printer, CutePDF Writer, ImagePrinter, pdf995, PDFlite and Primo PDF, mainly because they were inferior by functionality, configurability, or ease of use. [Note: this post was written by Freewaregenius contributor Priit L.] PDF is one of the most widespread formats for document exchange on the internet. PDF printers can differ in functionality; however, we have identified some of the essential features as follows: The user interface: varied greatly, from no user interface at all to complex interfaces cluttered with configuration options. Some programs offer additional functionality like: #2: doPDF

The best freeware file manager: a comparative analysis File management in Windows (browsing, viewing, copying, deleting files etc) is an area where Windows Explorer is not sufficient for many people. Explorer lacks several functions such as a tabbed interface and multiple panes for organizing files easily, quick file viewing, sorting folders by folder size, enhanced archive management, multiple file renaming, to name a few. One of the major shortcomings is Explorer’s tendency to stop ongoing file operations if one of the files is locked or not available because of security settings, which makes it unclear which files where copied and which were not. There are several freeware file managers that address this gap in Windows’ file management functionality. We looked at 17 of these and found 10 that had many of the advanced features we were looking for. [Editor’s note: this post was written by Freewaregenius contributor Priit L.] What are the criteria to evaluate a file manager? In this comparison the criteria are: The Evaluation The User Interface

Another Forty-Three of The Best Free Windows Enhancements That You Should Know About (part 2) I’ve been meaning to publish a follow up to my first “43 must have Windows Enhancements” posting forever, but it’s taken a long time simply because I wanted to stick with the completely arbitrary “43″ number of entries, and of course I wanted to only post apps that are worth writing about (as it turned out, I had many more than I needed). The common theme here, as with the first one, is that these are all cool free Windows “enhancements”: i.e. apps that tweak or change the way we work with the system environment itself, whether it is working with files, folders, or applications; they are, to quote my first post “apps that brings functionality to the Windows environment that could or should have been built-in options in Windows”. A caveat: I wouldn’t recommend that you install many of these on your system at the same time, so as not to overburden your PC, but also because some of these have overlapping functions. Here’s the list: 1. 2. 3. This app is for those who use multiple browsers. 4.

Forty-Three of The Best Free Windows Enhancements That You Should Know About There is an impressive range of excellent freeware Windows enhancements and tweaks. This posting will present forty three excellent additions to Windows that you will like. When I first thought of this post, I more or less knew what programs I wanted to list here. The common theme that brought these together was that they were all really cool Windows “enhancements”: i.e. apps that tweak or change the way we work with files, folders, applications, or the system environment itself (or, apps that brings functionality to the Windows environment that could or should have been a built-in option in Windows Two more things to say before presenting the list itself; the first is that this list might not include some well known titles because in some cases I shied away from Windows enhancement apps that try to do many things at once in favor of simpler, more straightforward ones. Note: this post took a long time to write, so please Stumble or Digg! Here’s the list: A clone is NOT a copy.

The best free antivirus: a comparison This posting will discuss which of the following three programs deserves the title of “best freeware antivirus program”: Avira Antivir, Avast, or AVG. My conclusion: all three are very worthy contenders that can hold their own or surpass any heavyweight for-pay antivirus; however Anitvir and Avast are definitely in the first tier, while AVG is a close second tier. There’s been a vigorous debate going on in the little “cbox” message box (in the sidebar) over which freeware antivirus program is best. This posting will explore this issue more closely. The objective is to go beyond the ubiquitous “I have used program x for y years now and it has kept me completely virus free” to a more substantial comparison. The findings presented here are not my original work but come from a single source: AV-comparative.org’s antivirus comparison tests conduced in Nov 2008 (test #20) and Feb 2009 (test #21), which are the latest as of this writing. Antivir is my favorite freeware antivirus. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Ten lesser known “must have” free Programs, part 1 A reader sent an email to ask about a list of “ten must-have” free programs that I would recommend that everyone immediately download and install on their computers, and this is one I have come up with. These 10 are to be the first installment (part 1), with additional “must have” freeware program lists to be amended to this one.Check this list out, download and install – these programs are solid gold. When creating this list I kept my focus on general use programs that everyone might need rather than specialized programs that have a smaller audience. I thought about programs that I always will install on all my computers no matter what, but also about lesser know programs that are not the typical freeware lists keep instinctively repeating (e.g. OpenOffice, Audacity, GIMP, Paint.Net, VLC, Firefox, CCleaner, etc.) Want to share your own lesser known top-10 “must have” freeware list? The list : Descriptions, screenshots and mini-reviews provided below. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Reinstall Windows and outfit your system with all freeware programs I recently clean installed Windows XP on my laptop, and this meant that I had to re-install all the essential software that I use. It also presented an opportunity to write a posting about how you can outfit your computer with all the essential (and non-essential) software you need using strictly 100% freeware and/or open source titles.This posting could have been titled any of the following: Pre-installation: before reformatting my hard drive, I used the following programs: Installation: re-installed Windows XP on the re-formatted primary partition. Post installation: now the fun begins.

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