Our Lucky 13 Freeware Picks (PLUS)
We grew up with freeware. When we first jumped on the Web over two decades ago, almost all software was freeware. Things have changed. But we still use love freeware – not just because it’s free – but because it’s good stuff. And you can’t beat the price.
We have probably left off this list a lot of good freeware that we use, and if that’s the case, then let this be a good start.
So here it is Our first list (at least in a long time) of our favorite freeware. Most of these programs we use on our computers.
All of these programs work on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and all versions of Windows 10.
- Irfanview – A super-fast photo viewer and simple photo editor. Always one of the first things we install when we get a new computer. Sometimes the developer plays games with the installer, but there is always an option to install anything but Irfanview. If it were anything other than Irfanview it would not be on this list. Get more information about and /or download Irfanview here.
- MetaPad – It’s an oldie but a goodie. This little text editor leaves NotePad in the dust, But the next version of Windows 10 (version 1809) promises to update Notepad for the first time in over a decade – and it looks like it’s going to be good – but still not as good as MetaPad. You can get more information and download MetaPad here. Hint: You don’t want MetaPad LE – just Metapad.zip.
- LastPass – LastPass is a free password manager that works on almost any browser as well as on tablets and smartphones. If you don’t have a password manager you really should have one. You can’t go wrong with LastPass. You can read more about it and/or get it free here.
- HiBitUninstaller – an uninstaller on steroids. HiBit is not only a great uninstaller, but a great startup manager, disk cleaner, services manager, and more. It’s a Jack-of-all-trades that has mastered most of them. You can learn more about and/or download Hibit Uninstaller here.
- Geek Uninstaller – Geek does one thing well. It’s the fastest uninstaller around. If you don’t need all the features of HiBit and you don’t want to pay for an uninstaller (or get a free one that is bundled with no-no ware), Geek Uninstaller (Free) should be on your PC. Nope, it’s not as robust as paid programs like Revo Uninstaller, but it is more than good enough to be on this list. Learn more about Geek Uninstaller and / or download the free version from here.
- FastStone Capture (the last freeware version) – The last free version of FastStone is old and doesn’t have nearly the features of the paid version, but we’ll stack the old, last free version of FastStone Capture up against any free screen capture tool around today. Read more about and/or download the last free version of FastStone Capture (version 5.3) here.
- 7-Zip – Windows users don’t need a zip utility unless they need to unzip RAR files and/or need more flexibility working with compressed (zipped files). If we had to choose one zip utility for our computers, it’s going to be 7-Zip. Visit the 7-Zip web site for more information and to download it. Note: There are separate versions for 32-bit and 64-bit computers.
- AutoRuns – The all-time BEST Free startup manager – heck – it’s the best darn startup manager free or not free. But, alas, it’s not for beginners. But if you’ve been around Windows a while and you know the ropes, there is no better startup manager anywhere. If you’re not at least a moderately advanced Windows user, heed this warning: Be careful what you disable/delete with AutoRuns. Learn more about and / or get AutoRuns here.
- Privacy Badger – Not exactly an application – it’s an extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. This extension is a product of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) – an agency advocating for a free and unrestricted internet. Regardless of your political views, Privacy Badger is an excellent ad blocker, anti-tracker, and privacy extension. If you’re looking for a very good and thoughtfully crafted extension to block ads and increase your privacy, we think you’ll like Privacy Badger. A lot more information about Privacy Badger – and download links for Chrome, Firefox and Opera can be found here.
- VLC Media Player – Without a doubt, VLC deserves a place on your computer. It’s a master at playing all types of media files. VLC can play almost any time of audio and/or video file natively. It also deserves to be installed on your PC. It’s our default media player… if you give a try, it will probably be yours too. Learn more about and/or download VLC Media Player here.
- Everything Search – Everything search is a free Windows search tool that can find anything on your computer almost instantly. In our tests, Everything produced great search results and found “everything” we searched for almost instantly. In the first test, we looked for all files on my laptop with the “white.mid” in their names. Everything found, well, everything with “white.mid” in its name in the blink of an eye. If you’re looking for a faster way to search Windows, you’ll want to read more about and/or download Everything search. You’ll like it!
- FastStone Image Viewer – FastStone Image Viewer is a fast, stable, user-friendly image browser, converter, and editor. It has a nice array of features that include image viewing, management, comparison, red-eye removal, emailing, resizing, cropping, retouching and color adjustments. Other features include a high-quality magnifier and a musical slideshow with 150+ transitional effects, as well as lossless JPEG transitions, drop shadow effects, image annotation, scanner support, histogram and much more. Read more about and/or download FastStone Image Viewer here.
- Puran File Recovery – Most Windows users know that when you delete a file it’s not really erased. We found an excellent free file recovery program called “Puran File Recovery”. It can recover deleted files from any storage media including hard drives, external drives, flash drives, camera cards, smartphones, etc. It’s a great program and it is very robust; it can do almost any type of file recovery you would want or need to do, including recovering data from formatted drives. Read more about Puran File Recovery and/or download it here.
Libre Office & Open Office.
Both of these free Office suites can handle almost any Microsoft Office document. They can also create documents that can be opened in Microsoft Office.
If you don’t have extra money to spend on an office program, either of these will make a nifty addition to your freeware collection. Both are great.
Your suggestions & comments are welcome!
If you have any favorite freeware picks that you use and think most Windows users would enjoy or find useful, please tell us about it!