TechSpot

List of Free Software and Utilities

By acidosmosis
Feb 25, 2008
  1. You can find the links to most of these applications on my website. I didn't feel like relinking everything again.

    http://www.chrisgrooms.net/blog/free/list-of-free-video-conversionencodingrippingviewing-software/
    http://www.chrisgrooms.net/blog/free/free-essential-software-everyone-should-know-about/

    * = I use and recommend this software

    WEB BROWSING AND EMAIL

    Mozilla Firefox* (web browser) [mozilla.com] - The award-winning Web browser is now faster, more secure, and fully customizable to your online life. With Firefox 2, we’ve added powerful new features that make your online experience even better.

    Mozilla Thunderbird [mozilla.com] - Mozilla’s Thunderbird 2 email application is more powerful than ever. It’s now even easier to organize, secure and customize your mail.

    Opera (web browser) [opera.com] - The award-winning Opera Web browser: The coolest, fastest, and most secure free Web browser available. Try it now to see just how great your Internet experience can be.

    INSTANT MESSAGING AND CHAT

    Pidgin [pidgin.im] - Pidgin is a multi-protocol Instant Messaging client that allows you to use all of your IM accounts at once (such as AIM and Yahoo).

    X-Chat2* [silverex.org] - Multi-platform IRC chat software.

    Trillian Basic* [trillian.cc] - Multi-protocol instant messaging client for Windows. Another application which allows you to use all of your IM accounts at once.

    Miranda [miranda-im.org] - A modular open-source multi-protocol instant messenger for Windows that maintains an database of community developed plug-ins that add functionality.

    FILE DOWNLOADS

    Utorrent* [utorrent.com] - µTorrent is a lightweight and efficient BitTorrent client for Windows with many features. This software is preferred over others (such as Azureus) by a lot of people that I know.

    Azureus [sourceforge.net] - Azureus implements the BitTorrent protocol using java language and comes bundled with many invaluable features for both beginners and advanced users.

    MEDIA CODECS

    Quicktime Alternative* [codecguide.com] - QuickTime Alternative is a trimmed down version of QuickTime that contains only the essential components needed for playing QuickTime content that is embedded in webpages.

    Real Alternative* [codecguide.com] - Real Alternative is a codec pack created for playing RealMedia files on Microsoft Windows operating systems without installing RealPlayer. The pack can be used with any DirectShow-enabled media player, such as Media Player Classic, which is included as part of the package. The pack was designed by KL Software using Real Media Splitter, an open source video filter, and Real Media Codecs.

    DISK UTILITIES AND RECOVERY TOOLS

    The Ultimate Boot CD* (UBCD) [ultimatebootcd.com] - Over 100 PC hardware diagnosis tools in one bootable CD to analyze and repair hard drives, hardware and boot problems. Includes TestDisk, Darik’s Boot and Nuke and the Offline NT Password & Registry Editor.

    TestDisk* [cgsecurity.org] - Recover lost partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again when these symptoms are caused by faulty software, certain types of viruses or human error (such as accidentally deleting a Partition Table). The only gripe I have with this application is that it is not very user friendly, but is helpful to experienced users.

    Darik’s Boot and Nuke* (DBAN) [sourceforge.net] - Self-contained boot floppy or CD that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction. DBAN is a means of ensuring due diligence in computer recycling, a way of preventing identity theft if you want to sell a computer, and a good way to totally clean a Microsoft Windows installation of viruses and spyware. DBAN prevents or thoroughly hinders all known techniques of hard disk forensic analysis. Using this boot disk you can perform a DoD 5220-22.M wipe, which adheres to Department of Defense standards according to the website.

    Offline NT Password & Registry Editor* [home.eunet.no] - Allows you to reset the password of any valid local NT account or unlock accounts. Also includes a registry editor. This application must be booted from a disk at startup and can not be run in Windows.

    HARDWARE AND NETWORK DIAGNOSTICS AND INFORMATION

    Memtest86+* [memtest.org] - Detects memory failure. This is useful if you suspect that your RAM is faulty. This application is started from a bootable disk.

    CPU-Z* [cpuid.com] - CPU-Z is a freeware that gathers information on some of the main devices of your system.

    GPU-Z* [techpowerup.com] - GPU-Z is a lightweight utility designed to give you all information about your video card and GPU.

    Windows SysInternals [technet.microsoft.com] - Whether you’re an IT Pro or a developer, you’ll find Sysinternals utilities to help you manage, troubleshoot and diagnose your Windows systems and applications.

    MALICIOUS SOFTWARE AND VIRUS DETECTION AND REMOVAL

    Lavasoft AdAware 2007* [lavasoftusa.com] - I personally use and trust this software to help remove spyware, adware and other malicious software.

    Spybot: Search and Destroy* [safer-networking.org] - detects and removes spyware. This is the primary tool that I use for malware removal, alongside AdAware.

    Hijackthis* [spywareinfo.com] - A general homepage hijackers detector and remover. Initially based on the article Hijacked!, but expanded with a lot of other checks against hijacker tricks. It is continually updated to detect and remove new hijacks. It does not target specific programs/URLs, just the methods used by hijackers to force you onto their sites. If you are not an experienced user, you will need to show the log generated by this software to a professional, so that he or she can tell you what needs to be removed.

    Avast! 4 Home Edition* [avast.com] - avast! Home Edition is now free of charge for HOME users for NON-COMMERCIAL use. To use the Home Edition, you should register it. After initial installation you have 60 days before you must complete registration. When you register, a key will be emailed to you. All you have to do is enter the key and the software is registered and free to use.

    AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition [free.grisoft.com] - AVG Free is available at no cost to home users and provides the high level of detection capability that millions of users around the world trust to protect their computers.

    SYSTEM CLEANUP AND OPTIMIZATION

    CCleaner* [ccleaner.com] - System optimization and privacy tool. It removes unused files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history.

    Auslogics Disk Defrag [auslogics.com] - Disk fragmentation leads to system slowdowns, PC crashes, slow startups and shutdowns. Auslogics Disk Defrag® is designed for fast optimization of modern hard disks.

    Wise Registry Cleaner 2 [wisecleaner.com] - A registry scanner and cleaner.

    Revo Uninstaller [revouninstaller.com] - Attempts to uninstall and remove all traces of an application (used instead of Add/Remove Programs or the applications own uninstall option).

    GRAPHICS SOFTWARE AND TOOLS

    Picasa2* [picasa2.com] - Picasa is software that makes it easy and fun to view, organize, edit and share the digital photos on your PC. Created by Google.

    Irfanview* [irfanview.com] - IrfanView is a very fast, small, compact graphic viewer for Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista. It has more essential features that Windows Picture Viewer and Paint does not have.

    GIMP [gimp.org] - A multi-platform image manipulation program. Mainly used by Linux users, though there is a Windows version. Personally, I prefer to use the other alternatives.

    OFFICE SOFTWARE ALTERNATIVES

    OpenOffice [opeoffice.org] - If you don’t have Microsoft Office and would like a free Office suite, OpenOffice.org is a multiplatform and multilingual office suite and an open-source project. Compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use, and distribute.

    Google Docs* [docs.google.com] - Free web-based office suite, much like Microsoft Office or OpenOffice, except your files are available and editable from any location. Supports Microsoft Office files. Also allows you to convert documents to PDF format, among other features.

    AUDIO AND MEDIA PLAYERS

    Winamp* [winamp.com] - WinAmp is highly customizable and user friendly. It is not bloated with useless software and features like most media players (such as Real Player). It supports numerous audio and video formats. It also plays streamed video and audio content, both live and recorded. It has an extremely customizable media library, and allows you to rip and burn your favorite music CDs. Winamp.com has thousands of skins and plug-ins that allow you to change the look-and-feel of the player, as well as add new features.

    NETWORK FIREWALLS AND SECURITY

    PeerGuardian 2* [phoenixlabs.org] - Phoenix Labs’ premier IP blocker for Windows. PeerGuardian 2 integrates support for multiple lists, list editing, automatic updates, and blocking all of IPv4 (TCP, UDP, ICMP, etc), making it the safest and easiest way to protect your privacy on P2P.

    Comodo Firewall [comodo.com] - Comodo Firewall protects against malware and is totally free for advanced users and beginners too. Rated as the top firewall by the independent testing site Matousec.

    FILE MANAGEMENT AND BACKUP

    HJSplit* [freebyte.com] - File-splitter and joiner for Windows XP, Vista, 2000, NT, 95, 98, Linux, MS-DOS, Java, etc. Split large files to fit on floppies or other media.
     
  2. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,350

    Video Conversion/Encoding/Ripping/Viewing Software

    AutoGK* - DivX / XviD backup utility. Support for DVD, MPEG2 (such as DVB captures and transport streams), MPEG1 sources, along with AVI/DV sources.

    DVDShrink* - Backup your DVD disks. You can use this software in conjunction with DVD burning software of your choice to make a backup copy of any DVD or create a DVD image.

    GOMPlayer* - GOM Player supports most popular codecs (AVI, DAT, MPEG, DivX plus many more) with its own embedded codec system that you won’t have to look for appropriate codecs every time. It also supports FLV files (for example: saved YouTube videos) and does the best job of any FLV player I’ve found. It’s hard to find a good FLV player, because most have lots of issues and will not allow you to maximize/resize the video.

    VirtualDub* - Video capture/processing utility for 32-bit Windows platforms (95/98/ME/NT4/2000/XP). It lacks the editing power of a general-purpose editor such as Adobe Premiere, but is streamlined for fast linear operations over video. It has batch-processing capabilities for processing large numbers of files and can be extended with third-party video filters. VirtualDub is mainly geared toward processing AVI files, although it can read (not write) MPEG-1 and also handle sets of BMP images.

    VirtualDubMod* - Based on the famous video editing software VirtualDub by Avery Lee. Born as a unification of several existing modifications, a lot of new features have been added, including support for the matroska container format.

    VLC Player* - Highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, …) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network.

    Daemon Tools* - Virtual CD/DVD-ROM-EMULATOR. Mount your images as a drive (one use would be to watch a DVD from a backup image).

    VOB2MPG - VOB2MPG goes through a whole DVD VIDEO_TS folder and joins up the various vobsets to produce mpgs for the different titles.

    Handbrake - HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded DVD to MPEG-4 converter, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows.

    iSquint - iPod video conversion app for Mac OS X.

    Any Video Converter - Convert video files from various formats. Video formats including DivX, XviD, MOV, rm, rmvb, MPEG, VOB, DVD, WMV, AVI to MPEG-4 movie format for iPod/PSP or other portable video device, MP4 player or smart phone. It also supports any user defined video file formats as the output.

    Videora Converter - A set of programs, each designed to convert regular PC video files into a format tailored to your favorite video-playing handheld device. The Videora program list includes iPod Video Converter (for 5th gen iPods), iPod classic Video Converter (for 6th gen classic iPods), iPod nano Video Converter (for 3rd gen iPod nanos), iPod touch Video Converter, iPhone Video Converter, Videora Apple TV Converter, PSP Video 9, Videora Xbox360 Converter, Videora TiVo Converter, and Videora PMP Converter.

    SMPlayer - Multimedia player. It uses MPlayer as its engine, so it’s able to play the most known video & audio formats without the need of external codecs. SMPlayer is available for Windows and Linux.

    DVDFab HD Decrypter - DVDFab HD Decrypter is a simple version of DVDFab Platinum. It copies entire DVD movie to hard disk, and removes all the protections (CSS, RC, RCE, APS, UOPs and Sony ARccOS) while copying. It also comes with full HD-DVD and Blu-Ray support (Removes AACS).

    Media Coder - Batch convert audio and video compression formats with the open source Media Coder for Windows, which works with a long laundry lists of formats, including MP3, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, AAC+, AAC+V2, MusePack, WMA, RealAudio, AVI, MPEG/VOB, Matroska, MP4, RealMedia, ASF/WMV, Quicktime, and OGM, to name a few.

    SUPER - Universal Player Encoder & Renderer. A GUI to ffmpeg, MEncoder, mplayer, x264, mppenc, ffmpeg2theora & the theora/vorbis RealProducer plugIn.

    DVD Flick - DVD Authoring tool. It can take a number of video files stored on your computer and turn them into a DVD that will play back on your DVD player, Media Center or Home Cinema Set. You can add additional custom audio tracks as well as subtitles of your choice.

    RipIt4Me - RipIt4Me is a freeware utility that helps you backup your copy protected DVDs. Recently released DVDs are now very often equipped with stronger copy protections - such as ARccOS and RipGuard DVD. Programs like DVD Shrink or DVD Decrypter cannot handle these types of discs. RipIt4Me is fully automated and the wizard will guide you through all the necessary steps involved.

    Zune Software Hack - This is a mod made so that the Zune program will support more types of video, audio, and image extensions.

    Encode360 - An application which will convert virtually any video format to high quality WMV’s which can be played by the X-Box 360, the Microsoft Zune device, or anything else that likes WMV format.

    Movie DVD Maker - Supports converting almost all formats of video files to make DVD. So you can convert AVI to DVD, MPEG to DVD, etc.

    All to AVI - Tool to convert especially ogm and mkv files to avi, with subtitle and audio track selection, video resizing, bitrate selection and codec selection. It is centered around mencoder, with a commandline tool as well as a GUI for Windows.

    MeGUI - GUI based ISO MPEG-4 solution. It suports MPEG-4 ASP (XviD & libavcodec MPEG-4) using mencoder, MPEG-4 AVC (x264) using x264 CLI or mencoder, (HE)AAC audio using BeSweet & Nero AAC encoder and MP4 muxing using mp4box.
     
  3. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Sweet list. :grinthumb
    I have these additions:
    AVG Anti-Spyware
    Spyware Doctor
    AVG Free Anti-virus
    Mozilla Firefox
    Opera
    K-Lite Mega Codec Pack
    Quicktime Alternative
    Realplayer Alternative
    iDump - Allows you to extract files from any iPod without having to sync it with your iTunes library.
    Free Linux distros
    Prime95
    SuperPI
    3DMark (all)
    Everest Home Edition
    SIW
    CPU-Z
    Mozilla Thunderbird
    uTorrent
     
  4. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,350

    Although I know what a lot of these are, can you edit your post and tell us what some of these applications are for? Such as SIW, SuperPI, etc.

    I will add some of these to the list on my site. A few of them I should have thought of but didn't think of when I was making the list. Thanks.
     
  5. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 1,980   +11

    Stickie ??

    SYSTEM BACKUP UTILITIES

    HDClone
    Comodo Backup

    VIRUS, SPYWARE, ADWARE and MALWARE PROTECTION, DETECTION and REMOVAL

    Spyblaster
    Comodo Firewall

    SYSTEM CLEANUP

    Wise Registry Cleaner

    SCREEN CAPTURE

    Faststone Capture

    SYSTEM INFORMATION

    EverestFree
    Belarc Advisor
    CPU-Z
    GPU-Z


    BTW, here is the index of the s/w in ultimatebootcd

    http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/index.html

    Some of the previously listed s/w are already in here (eg. memtest86+, hdclone, …)
     
  6. wanna be geek

    wanna be geek TS Rookie Posts: 80

    Good list and thanks for sharing the info... I have found a very usful website that has ALL free stuff on it. It has just about anything that you could ever need and is tested by the guy who runs the site. I have come to know him personally throughout the last year and trust him... You might want to check it out... WWW.bearbottoms1.com
     
  7. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 1,980   +11

    Thanks for the link. It is great!

    However:

    1) 'ALL' isn't quite true (at least not at level I)
    2) Some people are likely to be overwhelmed with the large list

    The idea is to offer a smaller (but effective) list for newcomers/newbs/first-timers.
     
  8. wanna be geek

    wanna be geek TS Rookie Posts: 80

    Absolutly right, I agree. However I was just trying to pass something on I found useful.
     
  9. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    Quote directly from Rage_3K_Moiz...

    Antispyware, Antivirus software that helps you remove those nasties.. self explainatory..
    Internet browsers as an alternative to Safari/Internet Explorer. Better and for most people more secure and easier to use..
    Codec pack to play various audio/video files, and in the case of the "Alternatives" are just that, compatible codecs so you don't have to install the real thing (which most comes with extra software you don't need)

    iDump - Allows you to extract files from any iPod without having to sync it with your iTunes library.

    Free Linux distros - Linux, knoppix, ubuntu, fedora red hat.. list goes on... linux being a free alternative to windows/mac OS etc, and such comes in different flavours (configurations and styles) to meet certain people's needs..
    Benchmarking programs for your pc. compare results with others that have the same version etc.. to see how well your pc is.
    Utilities to find out more about your hardware specs and how its running..
    Mozilla Thunderbird - email client as alternative to Outlook/Outlook express/Windows mail
    uTorrent - bittorrent program, although i'd prefer azureus.... :D

    edit: oh by the way.. nice list :)
     
  10. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    I prefer uTorrent solely because it's the only BitTorrent client I've used that has a small footprint and doesn't need installation (it's available as a small 400KB-ish executable). Azureus takes time to load and since its integration with Vuze, it's become more like LimeWire, which is a huge resource hog.
    And thanks for the detailed info on the items N3051M, you saved me some time mate. :)
     
  11. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,350


    Yea, I know those (TestDisk, Memtest86+, etc) were in the UBCD, but I listed them still because people might not know that and I didn't want to list everything that was included in the boot disk. :)

    TestDisk saved my life a few weeks ago. It would be nice if it was a little easier to use though. I was a bit confused by it's menus. I wasn't really sure how to start the recovery process for the partitions that I had lost. Though, considering what it does, it deserves a spot on the list since it works. :)

    Thanks for adding some things. I'll check out a few them sometime and add them to the list after I test them out and see if they survive quality control. :D

    Edit: I'm going to just start updating this from my site, so I don't have to update it here too. Check out the link at the top for any updates.
     
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