John's list of recommended freeware applications
(updated Sept 2015)
A WORD OF CAUTION
Many installers are now using the installation of freeware to add the ASK toolbar or similar by default, although you CAN refuse. READ THE SMALL PRINT! If you DO have strange unwanted toolbars on your browser Junkware removal tool (JRT) will take them off.
Free Operating System!
UBUNTU: * * Having tried Linux I will never be without some version of it - UBUNTU or Linux Mint. Free, powerful, easy to use, it can run from a bootable cd, hard drive, a memory card or usb memory stick - so you can carry your computing environment around with you and use it on any PC! Its fast, compact (under 2G, including open office!) and a lot like windows to use; able to run most common applications, including those below and also many open-source (free) apps that WONT run on Windows. It NEEDS no anti-virus software or malware detectors. You get free updates and a new release every 6 months. And you can put it on as many PC's as you like - whereas you pay for every PC thats running Windows - and again when you need to update.
Linux Mint is probably the easiest for Windows users to use
Sometimes its best not to install apps unless you need them frequently. For "one off" applications check my list of FREE "portable" applications that run WITHOUT installation so dont "clog up" your machine.
Anti-virus and firewall:
Anti-malware: (run one of these about every month)
Internet and Email:
Free online email & webmail: useful for registrations etc so you don't get spam
Office applications - word processor, spreadsheet, calculator, drawing, presentation and PIM:
Graphics: Drawing and diagrams
You will need to choose based on your own applications as they all have strengths and weaknesses.
Graphics: Creating and managing images (painting)
Graphics: Adjusting photographs and printing
Audio: ripping, formats, playing, sound recording editing and analysis
Maintenance and repair: Registry cleaners and other utilities
Backups and recovery
Zip tools (compressing and decompressing downloaded files – ESSENTIAL)
get 7-zip * cos its open source, fast and handles most formats including msi (Microsoft installer) and iso (on cd's) http://www.7-zip.org/
PDF documents: reader and creator
Adobe Reader is free and the most compatible; however it's big and slow. However others can have compatibility issues.
Sumatra PDF Viewer * is extremely compact and very fast to load, but has few other features, while
Nitro PDF Reader * supports editing pdf documents. Also adds a printer driver so you can make your own pdf's.
Foxit PDF Reader supports editing pdf documents, and offers a pdf reading capability for your browser
Ableword is a new program that combines word processor and PDF functions and also supports converting pdf files to a word format
PDF Creator *(Sourceforge) installs as a virtual printer that outputs to a .pdf file
Website editing: HTML code
Arachnophilia * http://www.arachnoid.com/arachnophilia/index.html (a java application) and
Dreamweaver * - not free (not even cheap) but by far the best.
IF ALL ELSE FAILS:
HIRENS boot cd: http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd a collection of very useful tools - get the latest version!
UBUNTU a free and powerful operating system that can run from a bootable 2G USB flash drive to test your system or copy files when windows is dead!