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.