Freeware is awesome. Great freeware is even better. Finding useful software at no cost is often hard to find. However, if you look hard enough, you might just stumble upon that diamond in the rough. With the following ten apps, you can be sure that each will drastically improve your computing experience and help you realize the meaning of life. (No guarantee on the latter)
10 – Advanced SystemCare (PC Maintenance)
A utility to clean up, repair, and improve the performance of your computer. Conducting scans last on average 5-10 minutes but may vary depending on how regularly you fix and monitor the health of your computer.
The utility comprises of two primary options: Maintain Windows and Diagnose System. The Maintain Windows option focuses on spyware removal, registry cleanups, privacy sweeps, and junk file removal. The Diagnose System looks at system optimization, spyware prevention, disk defragments, and corrects hijacked Windows settings.
It is important that you create a system restore point before using Advanced SystemCare. According to CNET, it is recommended that you regularly run this program to keep your PC running smoothly.
- Windows only
- Version 3.4.1
- 8.49 MB
9 – Youtube Downloader (No explanation necessary, right?)
If you ever wanted to watch your favorite Youtube video on your iPod, cellphone, PSP, etc., Youtube Downloader will allow you to do just that. The program is comprised of two primary functions: download FLV files from Youtube and convert them to a selected file format. It’s as simple as that. Currently, it has been downloaded on Download.com nearly 21 million times.
- Windows only
- Version 2.5.3
- 2.95 MB
8 –Google Earth (Personal Spy Satellite)
Sure, you’ve seen your house probably a gazillion times; but have you ever seen it from the eyes of a satellite? For geography nerds, you can use Google Earth to travel to anywhere on the big blue planet. Travel to the outskirts of Afghanistan and locate Osama bin Laden(for Obama’s sake, please), expertly map out the surroundings where the person you stalk is living, and finally travel to Mount Everest and later tell your gullible friends how you climbed the behemoth on your own. The possibilities are endless with Google Earth.
7 – FileHippo UpdateChecker (Software Update Checker)
FileHippo’s Update Checker is freeware that makes it a simple chore to keep your software fresh and up-to-date. When you run the program, Update Checker scans your PC for installed software and quickly reports a list of applications in need of an update. On top of that, it even displays a list of beta releases available to download.
The Settings options are quite simple. You can customize search results such as hiding the beta updates, displaying the installation path, and listing all programs besides the ones that have updated versions ready.
In addition, if you happen to store your applications in different locations, you can specify the directories to which Update Checker can scan for updates.
Update Checker is a fast and easy-to-use application that makes the task of updating your computer’s software a fun time. Ok, maybe not. It works only for Windows PC and requires Microsoft .Net Framework 2.0 to run.
6 – PhotoScape (Photo Editing Software for Newbs)
Too poor to afford Photoshop? I completely understand. With PhotoScape, what you get is a free photo editing utilitythat is so easy to use and requires little time to fully understand the ins-and-outs (That’s what she said!). It allows you to crop photos, resize images, add text and objects, and more. Heck, it even lets you create an animated GIF. Comment below if you love the dancing cat.
5 – AVG Anti-virus Free (Killing Trojan horses since 1991)
AVG Anti-virus is what you expect from an anti-virus software program: protection from viruses. The free version comes with anti-virus, anti-spyware, LinkScanner, and e-mail scanning. Updating your virus definitions is automatic, allowing you to install AVG once and never have to worry again about your computer’s security. Version 9 was recently released and focuses on performance and is apparently faster.
- Windows only
- Version 9.0.704
4 – doPDF (PDF Converter)
With doPDF, you can convert web pages, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations to PDF documents. Enter the Print option on any program and you will see doPDF among the Printer options. Select it, name the file, and hit enter. The newly-created PDF document can then be viewed in a PDF viewer.
A few of the features include: modify the page size, modify the resolution(72 to 2400 dpi), and change the page orientation.
- Windows only
- Version 7.0
- 2.99 MB
3 – TweetDeck (Quenching your Twitter Addiction)
TweetDeck is the best desktop Twitter client available. You won’t ever need to use the web version of Twitter and with a TweetDeck application on the iPhone, that day may never occur. Features include:
- Update Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and LinkedIn
- Manage conversation with @replies and direct messages.
- Robust retweeting
- Customizable notifications
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Multiple accounts
- Built-in URL shortener
- Create and manage Twitter lists
- Locate your friends
- Customizable colors
2 – DropBox (The Flashdrive’s Killer)
Dropbox is an online storage backup tool that allows you to manage files, photos, and other media across multiple computers. Adding any file to a Dropbox folder will automatically be synced across other computers’ with the Dropbox client installed. If you are away from your computer, you can also access your Dropbox folders from the web on another computer.
Dropbox also makes it easy for you to share your folders with your friends and family. Any person you add to a shared folder will automatically have any uploaded file synced to their own Dropbox folder.
If you accidentally delete an important file, crying is fortunately unnecessary. Dropbox creates a “snapshot” of your most recent activity, allowing you to restore any deleted files.
Dropbox is also a useful tool for handling group projects. Any person with access to a shared folder can personally edit and revise documents, removing the necessity of constantly sending emails with attachments back and forth. In addition, since all revisions to a file are recorded, previous versions of a file can be retrieved.
Are you always on the go? Do you also happen to own an iPhone or iPod Touch? Well, then you’re in luck because there is also a Dropbox application you can download for free. Use it to take photos or videos and sync it to your Dropbox, share links to your Dropbox files, and download files for offline viewing.
You can store up to 2 GB of data at no cost. Upgrading options include a 50 GB and a 100 GB account, costing $9.99 and $19.99 per month respectively. Dropbox is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. If you want to stay updated on the latest regarding Dropbox, head over to the blog here.
1 – Google Chrome (The Web Browser You Should Use)
Google Chrome is my current web browser of choice and may remain that way with the arrival of the Google Chrome Extensions beta. Though carrying 300 at the start and not even close to FireFox’s impressive library of extensions, it won’t be long before Chrome will match its competition.
The main thing I expect when I surf the internet is speed. Chrome delivers that, though it is arguable whether it is the fastest browser currently. Among the four web browsers I have installed on my computer, which includes Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer, Chrome is the fastest browser to launch.
The interface is orderly and provides plenty of space to view web pages. The coolest feature I find in Chrome is that you search and navigate the web in the same box. It took some getting used to, especially coming from other browsers, but it quickly becomes second nature while using the internet.