Free Internet Stuff – The stuff I like and recommend and is truly free
Not all “Free” software on the internet is actually free. Most come with some type of ad-ware and worse that installs with it. Or the software is time limited, or even just a lie that forces you to end up paying in order to fix or make work correctly. This list is a set of software I’ve found to be as close to 100% free as you can get. At worst it might need consideration during install in order for it to not load your computer with something you don’t want. (i.e. UNCHECK those toolbar boxes, etc etc…)
http://lifehacker.com/5966706/most-popular-windows-downloads-and-posts-of-2012 - a great list of info and tools for Windows 7/8
http://ninite.com/ – pick what you want on a new system and one click install them all. And, they uncheck the add-ons for you so you get no crap ware. (Don’t forget that Windows 8 doesn’t need Flash or Anti-Virus installed…)
Sites for Freeware: – Good starting points but be carefull, they tend to go quantity over quality.
http://maximillianx.blogspot.com/ Confessions of a freeware junkie (Good lists for freeware)
http://www.freewaregenius.com/ <- first stop (for all below and more)
http://www.digitaldarknet.net/thelist/ <- another list
http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority.html Free Software Foundation
http://itsamples.com/index.html – Good for techies, lotsa utilities.
http://kishan-bagaria.deviantart.com/art/7-Taskbar-Thumbnail-Customizer-156609502 – Windows 7 Tool bar customizer.
http://www.fantasticfreeware.com/ – Looks good, but haven’t tried it much yet…
http://www.nirsoft.net/ – Quite a few utilities and such
Apps for a USB stick
http://ubcd.sourceforge.net/ – Ultimate Boot CD
http://download.live.com/ – Live Essentials Microsoft freebies for Vista. Good stuff, including parental control stuff, movie editing, blogging, etc etc.
http://www.thewindowsclub.com/ultimate-windows-tweaker-v2-a-tweak-ui-for-windows-7-vista Super Tweak program for Windows.
http://www.free-ocr.com/ – If you know what OCR is, this is a great service.
http://defaultprogramseditor.com/ – Use to edit file associations with ease.
http://www.lookinmypc.com/ – PC inventory
http://www.stardock.com/products/Fences// – Keep Windows desktop organized.
http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/ – Turn an .iso file into a bootable USB stick.
http://tinychat.com/ – Free video conferencing.
http://www.piriform.com/speccy – System Information Tool. Speccy!
http://www.uderzo.it/main_products/space_sniffer/index.html – Space Sniffer. See what’s taking up space on your hard drive.
http://www.cheatengine.org/ – Game cheating tool :)
http://camstudio.org/ – screen capture to video software.
http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/ - put iso files on a sd card/usb drive.
LABS – These are web pages for testing concepts of software. Really cool stuff on some pages.
http://www.officelabs.com/ – Microsoft Office Labs
http://www.googlelabs.com/ – Google guys. Lots of good stuff.
https://mozillalabs.com/ – Mozilla (Firefox browser) test software
http://www.hulu.com/labs – Hulu’s experiments
http://labs.reuters.com/ – Fun stuff for news gathering
AV - Windows 7 will automatically install Security Essentials, and Windows 8 has Defender already there, which is also Security Essentials, but only in Windows 8. But if you want to try others…
http://www.microsoft.com/Security_Essentials/ – Microsoft’s Free AV for home use. GOOD STUFF!
http://avast.com/ – large foot print, but easy to use.
http://www.cloudantivirus.com/ – Rated to be good, I’ve not tried it yet.
http://www.superantispyware.com/download – Rated good for spyware removal.
http://www.superantispyware.com/portablescanner.html – portable version of above.
http://www.f-secure.com/en_EMEA/security/security-lab/tools-and-services/blacklight/ – Rootkit finder.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963902.aspx – Find all auto starting processes.
http://www.iantivirus.com/ - Yes, Macs get viruses too. So do Linux boxes, but I haven’t found a good Linux AV yet.
http://antivirus.comodo.com/ - Some folks are liking this new one. Basic is free, advanced is not.
P.S. AVG was removed due to problems and toolbar issues.
Security – Various other security related web sites.
http://www.virustotal.com/ – online AV
http://virusscan.jotti.org/ – online AV
https://www.startssl.com/ Free SSL for web site/e-mail etc. Helpful if you admin smaller sites.
http://www.threatfire.com/ - Firewall, not really needed in Windows 7
http://virtualrouter.codeplex.com/ – Really cool tool to turn any Windows 7 PC into a wireless router.
http://openoffice.org/ – OpenOffice is da bomb! Don’t forget to turn on “save as .doc” in settings or you get their weird format.
http://www.libreoffice.org/ - An extension off Open Office. Some say it’s better. Don’t forget to turn on “save as .doc” in settings or you get their weird format.
http://fonts500.com/ – free fonts without spyware threats.
http://www.officelabs.com/ – Cool demos and experimental software for Office/Windows
http://freshmeat.net/projects/dia/ – Microsoft Visio replacement.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290301 - Uninstall Office completely. Needed if you get stuck with a new install or re-install.
https://outlook2013addin.codeplex.com/ - Outlook 2013 removed the upcoming events in the side pane, this re-adds them.
http://www.puresoft.at/Live/OutlookTodoPane_de.Puresoft - …or this one, seems to be better.
http://www.hmailserver.com/ - Full e-mail server and totally free.
http://www.kerio.com/ OK, this one is not free. But if you are a small business, you can’t do much better. It’s almost 100% like Exchange, even cell phone sync OTA to it as if it were Exchange. 1/2 the cost of Exchange too.
http://www.zimbra.com/products/zimbra-open-source.html - really looking good these days. They have paid services too that compete quite well (I’m still a Kerio fan tho…)
Online file type conversion
http://www.piriform.com/defraggler – This one seems to be the best, but it’s slower.
http://www.emro.nl/freeware/ – Gui over an older command line defrag. Does some things different.
http://ultradefrag.sourceforge.net/ – nother good 1
http://www.iobit.com/iobitsmartdefrag.html – as good as diskeeper?
http://www.auslogics.com/en/software/disk-defrag/ – Newer and seems to do a better job than all the above. I’m currently using this one.
Hard Drive Cleaner
http://www.ccleaner.com/ -Good, but be careful what you clean, it does too much sometimes.
http://www.dban.org/ – Completely erases old hard drives by writing zeros, etc to drive surface.
Hard Drive Recovery
http://www.dfsee.com/dfsee/download.php – Free sector by sector drive scraping.
http://www.partitionwizard.com/download.html - Partition fixers
Free PDF Printer – All have pluses and minuses. Not sure which one to recommend.
http://www.primopdf.com/ – new, might be very nice.
http://www.nitropdf.com/free/index.htm same as above…
http://www.cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp – new and has a good paid version too. I usually install this one on every machine I build. (through ninite.com)
http://freemypdf.com/ – unlocks protected PDF files. Use with discression.
http://www.a-pdf.com/number/ – little utility to put a page number on all pages of a PDF file.
http://www.pdftoword.com/ – convert most PDF files so you can edit them in word.
http://majorgeeks.com/Adobe_Reader_Lite_d5915.html – Adobe without the trash!
http://www.docu-track.com/downloads/users/ – Blows Adobe PDF Reader outa the water! 64-bit too! I’d use this one over Adobe Reader any day.
http://www.pretentiousname.com/adobe_pdf_x64_fix/index.html – Fix the 64-bit OS preview problem for PDF files.
http://pdfeditor.me/ - Free PDF Editor.
http://www.pdfescape.com/ - another editor, this on 100% online.
Folder/File admin -
http://www.codesector.com/teracopy.php – Much better copying than basic Explorer can do.
http://zornsoftware.talsit.info/?p=3 – Windows 7 Library tool, adds network locations to Win7 libraries.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2009.04.utilityspotlight.aspx - Microsoft’s Rich Copy utility.
http://www.mindgems.com/products/Fast-Duplicate-File-Finder/Fast-Duplicate-File-Finder-About.htm - Find duplicate files!!!
http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/index.html - classic shell for Vista, 7 and YES FOR 8!!! Woot!
http://better-explorer.com/ Just what the web site says…
Video players -
http://www.gomplayer.com/main.html – Easiest, Fastest. There are others, but they are too geeky for most. This one is the best IMHO.
http://boxee.tv/ – a new concept in media center software. Works fantastic with a remote.
http://xbmc.org/ – Similar to Boxee.
Video DVD Ripping – Anyone have anything better than these? If so, comment to let us know.
one recommended way: http://www.anders.com/guides/convert/video/iPod/windows.html
http://handbrake.fr/ – New, very popular right now (slow development though…)
http://www.videohelp.com/tools/DVDFab_Decrypter – not free some new formats need this.
http://makemkv.com/ – new beta does DVD and Blu-Ray
http://www.freemake.com/free_video_converter/ – simple converter
Audio players/converters -
http://winamp.com/ – of course My favorite.
http://mediacoder.sourceforge.net/ – converter
http://www.getsongbird.com/ – iTunes replacement – Still need iTunes unfortunately. My recommendation? Don’t buy an iPod. Sansa or Creative are much better, AND much cheaper!
Security Video Motion Capture -
http://www.multicamserver.com/en/download – many settings, but difficult to use.
http://www.yawcam.com/index.php – Super simple, but not many settings.
http://www.ispyconnect.com/ – Full featured and free. Charges for remote and e-mail features though.
CD/DVD ISO Image burning – Since XP, Windows had a lot of burning ability built in. These add to that. W7 also has ISO burning as a feature, so these may not be needed any more.
http://isorecorder.alexfeinman.com/isorecorder.htm – dirt simple ISO burner. W7 has built in.
http://www.nero.com/eng/downloads-nero9-free.php – Nero free version. Use fake e-mail to download. Watch and turn off tool bar install.
http://www.imgburn.com/ – Rated very high, very simple image to disc to image to whatever tool.
http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/ – Putty, does it all.
I.E. stuff -
http://backsettings.com/internet-explorer-backup.html – BackRex I.E. settings backup
https://lastpass.com/ – Password keeper for I.E.
http://www.freedownloadmanager.org/ – normally i hate these, but this time I.E. 9′s download methods stink, so this is a temp fix.
http://xpwasmyidea.blogspot.com/2011/04/minipost-classic-shell-310-released.html – classic shell for I.E. 9. Yes I.E. 9 works fantastic, but is annoying to use.
TV Tuner Software – A little more featured than most that come with TV tuners.
http://boxee.tv/ – Doesn’t tune a TV tuner (yet), but streams a LOT of TV content over the net. Makes for an excellent Media Center PC.
Graphics/Drawing/Photo Editing -
http://www.paint.net/ – I install on all machines I build
http://www.inkscape.org/ – Vector drawing.
http://www.gimp.org/ – Good 2nd place one.
http://www.photosynth.com/ – really neat idea
http://home.hccnet.nl/s.vd.palen/index.html – Photolapse, for turning multiple photos into animation.
http://faststone.org/ – My fav pic viewing and simple editing program.
http://picasa.com/ – Google’s attempt, Extremely good for beginners, and those who want to post on web sites for families or businesses. I recommend highly!
http://download.live.com/photogallery – Even MS is getting into freebies… Includes more stuff too, like family safety stuff. Worth a check!
http://tiltshiftmaker.com/ – Really cool picture effect for making a picture look toyish.
http://www.photo-freeware.net/mosanick.php – Cool software all over this site, this link is for their free MOSAIC software.
http://qtpfsgui.sourceforge.net/ - HDR processor, not friendly but powerful.
http://lightzoneproject.org/ - LightZone is professional-level digital darkroom software for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
http://www.darktable.org/ - darktable is an open source photography workflow application and RAW developer.
http://www.binaryfortress.com/displayfusion/ – Some swear by this, I don’t use but does give a LOT of control over multiple monitors. What? You don’t use multiple monitors? Why not? Windows has been able to control multiple monitors since Windows ’95. Use this software only if needed, which 99% of you probably won’t need.
Online Money Manager
http://www.mint.com/ – Very nice and easy. Access anywhere! (now owned by Quicken, go figure!)
http://quicken.intuit.com/ – You know these guys had to get into it. So if you’re used to the Quicken style, this is where to start. Free for now…
Remote Desktop Support
http://logmein.com/ – Requires an account to be setup, but is the best I’ve used. I use it both for personal and work. They do push a 1 month trial of the paid version when you first install, but you can update the options after the install to set it to free. It also has a paid iPhone/iPad app for remoting to your computers.
http://join.me/ – From the logmein.com folks. Awesome quick screen sharing, view only. I use it for allowing 2 people, one with logmein, and a view only with this.
http://www.crossloop.com/ – help friends a family, no login required for them
http://www.teamviewer.com/index.aspx – some say better than crossloop.
http://mremote.org/ – Manage remote desktops (RDP, VNC) on your LAN in one app.
http://www.mikogo.com/ – Free for personal AND business.
http://www.showmypc.com/ – Haven’t tried this one.
http://backup.novosoft-us.com/ – My favorite for simple PC to whatever type of backups.
http://mozy.com/ – online up to 2 gig free
https://spideroak.com/ – online up to 2 gig free
http://www.clonezilla.org/ – disk partition ISO file.
http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptreplicator.asp – Said as good as Apple’s Time Machine
http://www.miray.de/download/sat.hdclone.html – H.D. Close Simple Windows Imaging Tool.
http://www.roadkil.net/program.php?ProgramID=29 – Roadkil’s Unstoppable Copier. Simple yet works.
http://redobackup.org/ – Clone to USB disk
http://www.truecrypt.org/ – simple, clean. I normally just use 7-zip, but this seems to be stronger.
Password recovery/Product Key recovery for Windows/Office
http://ophcrack.sourceforge.net/ – Get the ISO, burn it to a CD and boot from it.
http://www.magicaljellybean.com/beta/ – Key finder will display your product key for most software.
http://www.dbf2002.com/ – DBF Viewer for viewing a lot of older database files.
Windows 8 New stuff for the new OS MS is creating…
http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/ - OK, I like metro, but not that much. Here’s the old start menu. :)
http://lee-soft.com/vistart/ - Another old start menu replacement for Windows 8. (Decline the crapware!!! during install. GRRR!)
http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/ - yet another start menu for Windows 8. It’s installable from http://ninite.com
http://www.nextofwindows.com/how-to-retrieve-windows-8-oem-product-key-from-bios/ - get the OS key from an OEM BIOS…
http://www.7tutorials.com/how-recover-your-lost-windows-7-or-windows-8-product-key - get your old key back
http://win-experience-index.chris-pc.com/ - Get the Windows Experience back in 8.1
How To articles and other info…
http://www.howtogeek.com/tag/windows-7 – Windows 7 stuff
http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/ntp.html – Time Servers to keep your computer clock correct.
http://www.techradar.com/news/software/operating-systems/50-windows-8-tips-tricks-and-secrets-1028220 - Windows 8 tips
Setting up a flash drive for an OS install
Run CMD.EXE and type the following. Note: This set of commands assumes that the USB flash drive is addressed as “disk 1″. you should double check that by doing a list of the disks (type “list disk”) before cleaning it. If you have multiple hard drives, like an SDFlash drive or a Multibay drive, you could end up wiping your second drive using this command.
2. select disk 9 (or whatever the number is)
4. create partition primary
5. select partition 1
7. format fs=fat32 quick
Copy Windows Vista’s DVD ROM content to the Flash DriveSimply issue the following command to start copying all the content from the Windows Vista DVD to your newly formatted high speed flash drive.
xcopy d:\*.* /s/e/f e:\ (drag and drop seems to work too)
OR use this
http://store.microsoft.com/Help/ISO-Tool much easier to transfer and ISO to USB.
Also, to figure out what version of Windows is on a USB stick: http://www.waynezim.com/2012/10/how-to-determine-the-version-of-your-windows-iso-file/
dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:E:\sources\install.wim /index:1
Most of all, HAVE FUN WITH COMPUTERS!
(after thinking about the above statement, here’s some free games I’ve found that are worth your time.)
http://www.lotro.com/ – One of my FAVORITE games is now free to play!!!
http://www.neverwinter-online.com/ - Spending way too much time here. :)
https://www.digipen.edu/gallery/games/ – From game maker students. Interesting stuff (the above came form here)
http://www.battlefieldheroes.com/frontpage/landingPage – Fun stuff for FPS fans.
http://www.americasarmy.com/ – an FPS made by the US Army. Actually extremely good.
http://www.runesofmagic.com/ – A good free MMORPG
http://www.wizard101.com/ – Another good free MMORPG
http://www.pogo.com/ – Paid games, but free if played online. Board style and older types, but good.
http://www.agame.com/ – filled with all types of flash based games.
http://www.evony.com/ – Build an empire online.
http://www.mektek.net/projects/mw4/download.html – Mechwarrior 4. Now free. Good old 3d combat game.
http://kagdev.tumblr.com/ – fun 2D game.
In the name of Science!
http://folding.stanford.edu/ – Folding@Home, help cure stuff!
http://fold.it/portal/info/science – A protein folding game? Yep.
http://boinc.bakerlab.org/rosetta/ – Rosetta@Home, more protein folding.