Best of the free…

What’s the best freeware for ___?
This list is being compiled on a gradual basis. Suggestions are welcome; feel free to leave a comment below.

  • Freeware
  • Free online tools
  • Free WordPress plugins

Freeware: Best, by genre

Here is my list of preferred software; see below for the preferred online tools


AVG Free

AV Comparatives – Antivirus comparison site, technical

Rootkit detection, removal
Kaspersky TDSSKiller

Art, 3D
Google Sketchup

HTML-KitHTML-Kit 292, the version before HTML-Kit Tools, is available for free with all of its original features. No ads. No nags. Find out why it has become a recognized application among web developers with millions of downloads and 200+ book mentions.

Notepad++ – Notepad++ is a free source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages. Running in the MS Windows environment, its use is governed by GPL License… Based on the powerful editing component Scintilla, Notepad++ is written in C++ and uses pure Win32 API and STL which ensures a higher execution speed and smaller program size. By optimizing as many routines as possible without losing user friendliness, Notepad++ is trying to reduce the world carbon dioxide emissions. When using less CPU power, the PC can throttle down and reduce power consumption, resulting in a greener environment.

Komodo Edit for Perl, Python, Tcl, PHP, Ruby, Javascript – Free Code Editor for Windows, Mac and Linux – ActiveState, the dynamic language experts

File compression, archiving

  • 7-Zip – A file archiver with a high compression ratio; open source software; most of the source code is under the GNU LGPL license; the unRAR code is under a mixed license: GNU LGPL + unRAR restrictions [ 7-Zip page on Sourceforge ]
  • WinRAR – A powerful archive manager; can backup your data and reduce the size of email attachments, decompress RAR, ZIP and other files downloaded from the Internet and create new archives in RAR and ZIP file format; try WinRAR before buying

File sharing hosts
No comment


Freeware (see Freeware resources, below)

Graphic design
GIMP – GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program, a freely distributed application designed for photo retouching, image composition, and image authoring; has many capabilities: it can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, and much more; expandable and extensible – designed to be augmented with plug-ins and extensions to do just about anything; advanced scripting interface allows everything from the simplest task to the most complex image manipulation procedures to be easily scripted

Picnik – Picnik makes your photos fabulous with easy to use yet powerful editing tools; tweak to your heart’s content, then get creative with effects, fonts, shapes, and frames

Graphics, wallpaper
For us, the first destination for all kinds of imagery is Google Images.

  • 123-Wallpaper (Blogspot) — Large selection, HQ, free images from many categories (Nature, birds, horror…); I happened to find this excellent wallpaper site while searching for large horror movie images to edit into header graphics for the Supernatural Horror blog.

Office productivity

PDF, conversion to
Download PrimoPDF (CNET)

PDF creation
PDF Creator (NOTE: Some reviews indicate the installation is bundled with unwanted spyware)

Photos, digital: Organization

  • FastStone Photo Resizer — An excellent image converter and renaming tool that intends to enable users to convert, rename, resize, crop, rotate, change color depth, add text and watermarks to images, etc. in a quick and easy batch mode.
  • FastStone – FastStone Soft specializes in graphics and image processing research. We are developing programs to share our ideas with people worldwide.
  • Picasa 3 – The best overall digital photo organizer freeware so far, as far as being able to add tags and such…

    PicaJet – good; includes tagging feature

    BatchBlitz – organizing your digital photos from a messy My Pictures folder; CNET: one of the best we’ve tried, simple process, flexible capabilities, useful extras, all free [ download BatchBlitz at CNET ]

    Remote login

    Spyware & malware detectio, removal
    Spybot Search and Destroy

    System utilities
    Determine hardware, technical specs
    Speccy (by Piriform) – Creates a highly detailed list of specs re: your computer – very useful

    Video conversion freeware
    Hamstersoft free video converter – haven’t needed it yet

    Video downloading freeware
    RealDownloader — I’ve come to depend on being able to download streaming video from virtually any site (especially free movie sites!) IDM is great but costs $30 after 30 days. Thanks to Kelly Stewart, I learned about RealDownloader. Excellent!

    Internet Download Manager/IDM on CNET (Free 30-day trial) — A full-featured package that automatically sorts incoming files by file type and puts them in the appropriate folder; supercharges download speeds (it doubled ours); interface is clean and easy to understand; power users can use the command line interface…

    Video player freeware
    VLC media player – excellent for playing media
    (Screenshot of video: To take a snapshot of the video displayed by VLC, you just need to press the pre-defined snapshot hotkey:
    Windows / Linux / Unix: Ctrl+Alt+S
    Mac OS X: Command+Alt+s
    To change it, go to Preferences -> Interface -> Hotkeys settings, check Advanced options, and set Take video snapshot.
    You can also take a snaphot via the menu Video -> Snapshot.
    To change the snapshot format or directory, go to Preferences -> Video.
    Source: VLC FAQ at

    Video-making, editing, movie-making freeware

    I was surprised to find that Microsoft’s own Windows Movie Maker, which comes with Windows, is among the most recommended movie-making freeware.

    • Windows Movie Maker
    • Avid FreeDV
    • Cinefx (formerly known as Jahshaka)

    Freeware resources

    Most Popular Windows Downloads – Shows number of total downloads, downloads last week;contentNav

    SourceForge Projects of the Month: Each month, a project is chosen from the many thousands on to be our Project of the Month. If you are a power user or tech buff, this is a great site to browse — you’re sure to find lots of great freeware you’ve never even heard of!

    Best freeware review sites

  • Tech Support Alert – Gizmo’s Freeware: The Best Freeware Reviewed and Rated
  • Notable links at Tech Support Alert

  • Articles and Lists – This is a list of articles and list on our site, sorted with the most recently updated items first. Some of the articles on this page have been contributed by site visitors however they have been looked at by our site editors prior to publication and considered to contain material that is useful and informative.
  • Best Free Microsoft Downloads – When people set out to look for freeware, a lot of times they specifically look for free alternatives to Microsoft products – free office suites, free alternatives to built-in programs like Paint, Notepad, Internet Explorer, Windows Explorer… even free alternatives to Windows itself. However, Microsoft does provide a collection of free software that is definitely worth checking out. This article is designed to provide an overview of the best free Microsoft programs, some of which are featured in other articles on this website.

    Best Free Software to Cut or Merge Audio Files

    Freeware database +

    100 essential downloads for Windows – IT Management

    FileHippo – Freeware categories

    Free online tools: Our favorites

    This is related to the list of preferred freeware (see above). Some are suggestions that I’ve read about but not yet tested.

    Antivirus, spyware (free online scanning)
    Panda ActiveScan

    TrendMicro Housecall

    Pingdom Tools

    Punch list, to-do lists

    Resources: Online tools

    Best free online applications, servicesTech Support Alert

    Preferred WordPress plugins: Free WordPress plugin standards

    Caching plugin: WP Super Cache
    Contact form plugin: Contact Form
    Google Analytics plugin: Google Analytics for WordPress
    Polling plugin: WP-Polls
    Popular posts plugin: Popular Posts
    Real-time visitors plugin: WassUp
    Related posts plugin: Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARP)
    SEO plugin: SEO Ultimate
    Sharing plugin: AddToAny
    Sitemap plugin: Google XML Sitemaps
    Spam prevention plugin: Akismet