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Windows Software

When installing much of the free software below for Windows, a great place to get the software is FileHippo.

Note: When installing free software they will often try to get you to install Google Chrome Browser or other unnecessary software. During the installation process look carefully for and deselect any automatically selected software that you don't want.

Some great software that is freely available for Windows (the number of stars after an entry represents its rating from * to *****) :


  • Avast Antivirus
    • Free for home users. Only requires a annual registration which is free
    • Far better than any of the Symantec Products. Barely noticeable when performing real-time protection


  • CD/DVD Burner Software
  • Media Player Classic Home Cinema
    • Media Player, including DVD Player
  • FastStone Image Viewer ****
    • Fast full-screen viewer for Images
  • ITunes ***
    • Manage your music library
    • Supports MP3. Converts WMA to MP3.
    • Only supports Apples own loss-less codecs
    • Works better on a Mac
  • Picasa *****
    • Easily organize and search through your photographs and videos
    • Makes changes to viewed images without modifying the original. New algorithms are constantly being developed for modifying images, your originals have not been modified so you can always use the latest corrections
  • PDF Creator ***
    • Print to PDF
  • Scan to PDF
    • Usually included with Scanner
  • Video Editing Software
    • Comes with Windows
  • DVDShrink
    • Backup older DVD's
  • Adobe Reader
    • Read PDF documents

Office / Collaboration Tools

  • Open Office *****
    • Office Suite of products
      • Writer - (Replaces Word)
      • Calc - (Replaces Excel)
      • Impress - (Replaces PowerPoint)
      • Draw - (Replaces Visio / Corel Draw)
      • Base - (Replaces Access)
    • Supports saving directly to PDF without having to buy Acrobat Pro
    • Directly supports reading existing MS Office documents
    • Can save as or export to the MS Office document formats so that you can send it to your friends / colleagues still addicted to MS Office
  • Email client
    • Google Mail Web Interface ****
      • Check your email anywhere anytime that you have an Internet connection
    • Thunderbird Email Client ****
      • Uses IMAP to connect with Google Mail
  • Google Calendar ***
    • Share Calendar with others or just for private use
    • Accessible from smart phones using the Exchange protocol
  • Google Mail *****
    • Online Mail, address for life
    • However, Google scans all your email and targets advertising at you based on this and other information gathered about you
      • Good: At least advertising is relevant. Google services are excellent
      • Bad: What profile are they building on you? Do you care?
  • Google Sites *****
    • Easily create an online web site for collaboration or just a web presence
    • Supports private and public sites
  • Google Voice ****
    • Call forwarding, voice mail, screening, no need to change your phone number ever again
    • Keep your cell phone and home phone numbers private
    • Converts your voicemails to text and emails it to you ( not accurate )
  • XMarks *****
    • Keep your bookmarks synched up across computers and between IE and Firefox
    • Accessible online when away from your computer


  • Google Reader
    • BBC World News, Technology etc..

Online Communication

  • Firefox Web Browser *****
    • Internet Browser - Faster and Much safer than IE
    • Recommended Add-ons:
      • XMarks Sync - Synchronize Bookmarks across computers
      • Adblock Plus - Block those annoying ads while surfing the web
      • Download Status Bar - Keep file download status on the bottom of the existing browser window
      • Video DownloadHelper - Download YouTube videos - Also works with many other video sites
      • Web of Trust - Warns you before entering hoax sites or those with a bad reputation. Protect yourself!
    • Other Extensions
      • Adobe Flash - Play flash content
  • FileZilla ****
    • FTP client
  • Pidgin
    • Instant Messenger
  • Skype *****
    • Internet Calls & IM


  • Mint.com *****
    • Manage all your accounts online
    • Excellent interactive reports
      • Determine where you spend your money
    • Compare monthly spending against your budget
    • Not only covers bank and credit card accounts, tracks your 401K, Mortgage, House Value etc.

System Tools

  • 7-Zip
    • Read and Write Zip files. Read RAR files
  • Avast Antivirus
    • Excellent Virus Scanner. Free for home use
  • CCleaner *****
    • Clean up old files to return Windows to a fresh cleanly installed state
  • Recuva
    • Recover accidentally deleted files including pictures on SD/Flash cards
  • TrueCrypt *****
    • Manage encrypted archives or entire disk volumes
    • Ideal way to keep files safe on portable drives
    • Supports Windows, Mac and Linux
  • SyncToy
    • Synchronize files between directories - great for synching files with removable drives
  • Virtual Box **
    • Virtualization Software
    • USB Support is very slow (even with supposed support for USB 2)
    • Runs on Windows, Mac and Linux
  • VMWare Player ****
    • Virtualization Software
    • Does not work on Mac
  • Windows Registration Key
    • Winkeyfinder
    • Forgot which Windows VM is using which of your keys?

Development Tools:

  • NetBeans IDE
  • Ruby & JRuby
  • WinMerge

Software Worth Buying:

  • Acronis True Image Home
    • Backup entire computer to external drives. Supports Linux partitions