Windows Applications

Got a new computer or reformat your old one? Ninite Easy PC Setup is a free tool that will download and install many of the programs on this page. It downloads and installs the programs you select with the default options minus any browser toolbars or other junk. It is simple, automated, and silently (no popup dialogs or option screens), so check it out and save some time.

Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is a web browser. It is immune to most spyware and blocks viruses from downloading automatically. I haven't had a single piece of spyware since I switched from Internet Explorer. It has built-in filtering for cookies, scripts, and popups. If you need even more privacy, you can go into a "private browsing" mode that allows you to browse the web without leaving any traces on your computer. It has a built-in download manager, an automatic updater, supports tabbed browsing, supports program extensions, and many more features. It even has a Google Toolbar. I definitely recommend that you try it out and spend some time learning how to configure it to keep out unwanted internet junk.

Most spyware is written in a technology created by Microsoft called ActiveX. Firefox does not support ActiveX, and so it is automatically immune to most spyware. This lack of support will cause some incompatibility with some rare websites like Windows Update, but it was not included because ActiveX is a bad technology that allows programs to install themselves without your knowledge and change settings on your computer without your permission.

5
Average: 5 (2 votes)
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AVG AntiVirus

AVG Anti-Virus features automatic updates, a real-time email scanner, always on protection, a virus vault, manual and scheduled testing, and more. You need anti-virus protection, there is no exception. Luckily however, you can get quality protection for free. I previously used AntiVir but switched to AVG and recommend it because it is easier to use and has a better auto-update program.

As of version 8, AVG Anti-Virus now includes some components that I don't like. Linkscanner looks at all of the links that come up in a search result when you do a search on Yahoo, Google, or MSN (maybe more?) to see if they are safe. This causes increased traffic for these websites and wastes your bandwidth. If you are using Firefox, you are already reasonably safe with their reported attack site protection. Fortunately, you can install AVG without linkscanner or disable it if you have already installed it. I also do not install the AVG Security Toolbar by simply unchecking the checkbox during the install.

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
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Spybot Search and Destroy

Spybot Search and Destroy is an anti-spyware program that can remove spyware (bad software similar to viruses that hijacks your computer) and immunize Internet Explorer and Firefox to prevent it from coming back. Do not use Internet Explorer without this program! It also has many other valuable utilities like a secure file delete and Windows startup editor. Take lots of time to go through this program to turn on all of its features. You can start by going through the official Spybot tutorial.

4
Average: 4 (3 votes)
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VLC Media Player

The VLC Media Player is an excellent multimedia player that is capable of playing most types of audio and video files without the need to install separate codecs (like DivX, QuickTime, and Windows Media). It has the ability to stream media files and convert files to different types. It has a huge number of features, like full support for DVD and VCD menus and colored ASCII art video output. Woohoo!

4.5
Average: 4.5 (2 votes)
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Comodo Firewall

Comodo Firewall will close open ports on your computer, which stops hackers from being able to break in. A firewall stops hackers from being able to access your computer. You need to run some sort of firewall!!! Comodo Firewall has many advanced features, such as pop-ups that give you information on risks, component authentication that tests to see if your programs have been modified, and shutdown protection that prevents spyware from stopping the firewall. When you first run Comodo Firewall, be sure to click the "Security" button and run the "Scan for Known Applications" wizard that will scan your computer for thousands of known applications and will automatically assign access rules to them. Comodo Firewall will also alert you to programs that use other programs to access the internet. Be sure to take time and read the manual.

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Dropbox

Dropbox is an online backup / synchronization utility that synchronizes any files inside the Dropbox folder to Dropbox's servers and any other computer linked to your account. It uses SSL and encryption when it transfers your files to protect against interception. It keeps revisions of changed files for 30 days which allows you to easily restore a previous version or undelete a file. You can also access your files from the Dropbox website, allowing you to access files on a computer connected to the Internet without needing to install Dropbox on that computer. You can put files into a public folder which allows you to share them over the Internet, allow only certain users (collaborators) to edit files, and create photo galleries. For a better overview of how Dropbox works, take the tour on their website. Dropbox has clients for Windows, Macs, Linux, and more. Sign up using my referral link and we will each get an extra 250 MB.

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Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware

Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware is a free on-demand anti-spyware application that is capable of detecting and removing some of the worst malware that other programs miss, including MS Antivirus (also known as XP AntiSpyware 2009). It also bundles a utility called FileASSASSIN that can delete locked files from your computer.

The non-free pro version allows real-time monitoring that can stop spyware as it trys to install itself on your computer. It also allows you to schedule automatic updates and scans. The license is a one-time $25 fee, which according to the Malwarebytes forums is a lifetime license that will be valid for all future versions.

Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware screenshot

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Picasa

Picasa is a picture viewer that has some simple editing tools built in to do tasks such as removing red eye and cropping photos. It is great for computer novices to use to manage all of the photos they take with their digital camera. Picasa is no Photoshop killer, but I put this software on my father's computer and he was able to use it without any problems. Give it a try and I don't think you will be disappointed.

Picasa can syncronize your photos to Picasa Web Albums, it can create slideshow movies and upload them to Youtube, and add text and watermarks in your pictures.

4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
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CDBurnerXP

CDBurnerXP is a freeware CD/DVD burning program that supports CDs, DVDs, HD-DVDs and Blu-Ray. It can create boot CDs, erase discs, and convert .nrg and .bin CD images to a .iso CD image. It can also create audio CDs from mp3, flac, ogg, wav, and wma files.

3.5
Average: 3.5 (2 votes)
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Pidgin

Pidgin is an instant messaging chat client that can log you in to multiple accounts at the same time, such as Google Talk, AOL instant messenger, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, IRC, and more. It supports tons of smiley faces, WYSIWYG editing, away messages, buddy icons, a spell-checker, plug-in support, and file transfer capability. The only feature I wish it had is profiles, where different people could use Pidgin on the same computer.

4
Average: 4 (2 votes)
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IZArc

IZArc is a compression / archiving program that supports more than 30 formats. Many files on the internet are compressed to make them smaller so you can download them faster. IZArc will allow you to open and edit these files. This program will open .zip, .rar, .ace, .cab, .tar, .tgz, and many other files. It will also open CD image files. I think this is a quality program that is every bit as good as WinZip. Not to mention free.

5
Average: 5 (2 votes)
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Google Earth

Google Earth takes satellite imagery and combines it with the ability to tilt, zoom, search, create driving directions, measure distances, and show some buildings in 3D with textures to create a realistic 3D model of the earth. They also allow you to load in sophisticated overlays like terrain, roads, borders, airports, etc. Google Earth also allows you to insert content from other sources, allowing other people like Wikimapia to insert their data into Google Earth.

4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
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OpenOffice

OpenOffice is a direct competitor of Microsoft Office. It is even mostly compatible with Microsoft Office. It has a word processor, a spreadsheet, a drawing program, a database program, and a presentation program. It has many advanced features, like wizards to guide you, spellchecker, autocorrect, and it can save documents as PDF files. And it's free.

How to switch from Microsoft Office to Open Office
Sharing files between OO.o and MS Office
Also try LanguageTool, an open source grammar checker for OpenOffice.org

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
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Winamp

Winamp is an audio player (it does have some video playback capabilities) that has to be one of the best Windows programs ever. If only all Windows programs were this cool, no one would complain about Microsoft having a monopoly. The first thing you should do is enable the milkdrop plugin for the visualizations.

2
Average: 2 (1 vote)
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uTorrent

uTorrent is a lightweight BitTorrent client for Windows. BitTorrent is a peer to peer file sharing network. It features low memory usage, speed throttling, supports different skins, and can be controlled remotely through a web-based interface. It allows you to specify which files you do not want to download, it has an automatic update feature, and it has a built in search feature that allows you to search several torrent websites.

Please use this program responsibly. Remember to look for freeware programs before you steal a commercial program. That is why I created this website.

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KeePass

KeePass is a free, open source program that stores your passwords securely using two different encryption algorithms: AES and Twofish. It is customizable and has many thoughtful features like automatically clearing the clipboard after pasting your username or password. There are also many plugins you can get to extend the functionality of KeePass. KeePass allows you to set expiration dates on passwords, generate random strong passwords, organize passwords into groups, as well as keep notes and website links stored under each password. KeePass runs on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, the iPhone and Android phones. You can use Dropbox to synchronize your passwords between different computers.

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PhotoFiltre

PhotoFiltre is a graphics editing program is by far the best and easiest to use out of all of the freeware editors that I have tried. It has a good selection of filters and many nice additions like 'autocrop' that make image creation and editing easy. You won't have to spend much time trying to figure out how to do something because the interface is well designed and clean. I would not recommend it to replace Adobe Photoshop for professional users, but for most people it should do fine.

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
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Recuva

Recuva is a file undelete utility that allows you to recover deleted files as long as they have not been over-written on your hard drive. It includes a recovery wizard to help guide you through the process of restoring your files. It can even scan for non-deleted files, which is useful for recovering files from a damaged or formatted drive.

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XnView

XnView is a picture viewer and converter. It supports over 400 image formats, so it is very unlikely that you will come across a picture that you cannot open. It also has some basic editing options, such as rotate, crop, brightness, contrast, filters, effects, and more. It can also rename and convert images in batch. I personally think this program is better than IrfanView, which is another freeware picture viewer.

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Amphetype

Amphetype is a layout-agnostic typing program aimed at people who don't need an on-screen keyboard, but would still like to improve their speed and accuracy. Layout-agnostic means it doesn't care if your keyboard is set up as a QWERTY, Dvorak, or Colemak. It creates graphs of statistics such as WPM, accuracy, least fluid words, most missed words, and viscosity which is a measure of breaks or pauses in your typing. Amphetype generates lessons from plain text files such as books from Project Gutenberg. It can also generate custom lessons that focus on problem areas in your typing.

4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
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Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird is a mail client that allows you to check your email (pop and imap). It has built-in encryption, junkmail filters, anti-phishing protection, a spell checker, and supports extensions and themes. Thunderbird only replaces the email functionality of Microsoft Outlook, if you need a calendar, I suggest Mozilla Sunbird.

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XBMC Media Center

XBMC Media Center turns your PC into a media center capable of playing all types of videos and music. It can retrieve thumbnails and info for movies, album info and cover art for CDs, and play slideshows of pictures. It is fully skinnable, can run plugins and addons, and can even get the weather from Weather.com. It supports the ProjectM visualization, which is a based on my favorite visualization Milkdrop for Winamp.

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Restoration

Restoration will restore files that have been deleted from your computer, even if you have emptied your Recycle Bin. It has the best success rate of any file recovery program I have used. It can run from a floppy disk or USB key, which is probably a good idea so you don't accidentally overwrite the files you are trying to restore.

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DVD Shrink

DVD Shrink allows you to easily back up a big DVD (9 GB) onto a smaller DVD-R (4.7 GB). It does this by allowing you to remove unwanted stuff (like different languages and special features) and compressing everything left.

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CDex

CDex is a program that allows you to rip (encode) a CD as MP3 files using the Lame encoder, or to another format like Ogg Vorbis, Ape lossless format, etc. It can also convert a wave to a compressed format or vice versa. CDex will also automatically insert ID3 tags from the CDDB. It is one of the most downloaded programs on SourceForge for a reason.

3
Average: 3 (1 vote)
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Sunbird

Mozilla Sunbird is a standalone calendar program that uses the open iCal standard. Don't forget to grab the Holidays of your choice and check out the many calenders you can download from iCalShare.com. Sunbird only replaces the calendar functionality of Microsoft Outlook, if you need an email client, I suggest Mozilla Thunderbird.

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AceMoney Lite

AceMoney Lite is a personal finance manager that can track your investments, bills, credit and checking accounts, and provides charts for where your money is going. It can import and export files into multiple formats which is useful for online banking. It also has some support for importing transactions from online e-businesses such as eBay. AceMoney Lite only supports one account.

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ArtRage

ArtRage is a painting program where you can paint with oils, chalk, pencil, knife, eraser, and markers. It does an excellent job of emulating the look of the real art media and you can control many aspects such as the size and wetness of the brush. It has support for drawing tablets, multiple undo/redo, zoom, custom canvases, and multiple monitor support. The interface is simple, self-explanitory and does a good job of staying out of your way.

ArtRage also comes in a pro version that only costs $25 dollars, which is much cheaper than the real world costs of paint, brushes, and canvas. The pro version comes with more brushes, metalic paints, rulers, stencils, support for layers and Photoshop documents.

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