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I wanted this to be the one page a reader can turn to get all the essential free programs they need to install on a new computer. This list last updated July 17th It is fast for the simple reason that it does not scan the hard drive to build its database, but rather uses the raw Master File Table for NTFS drives, which logs all changes made on the partition. This means that you as the user do not have to worry about whether the database you are searching is up to date, about doing manual re-indexing operations, or about areas on your hard drive that are not included in the database; you just use it and it works.

It also will not search network drives although it will search extrenal NTFS formatted drives. And I am happy to report that the context menu entry works on both 32 and 64 bit systems. Also see my original Everything review.

A close second choice: Launchy looks like a floating search box on your desktop which is exactly what it is, see screenshot. For example to run a program you would type in the first few letters and Launchy will interactively display matches for programs found on your computer.

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You are unlikely to need more than a few keystrokes before it narrows down the list of results to the program you seek.

Launchy will index the start menu and quick launch folders for shortcuts i. You can add places as well as file extensions you want it to further index e. MP3 files will turn Launchy into an instant local music lookup and launch tool.

It can also be used to launch Google searches and do a number of useful tasks. Once I got used to this one I began to wonder how I ever managed without it.

Also see my original Launchy review. This program will store all of your passwords in encrypted form in the cloud i. Which is to say it will lock away all your passwords for all your online accounts in a centralized place, and allow you to access them via a single password that unlocks them all. The reason LastPass is secure is that the data stored remotely is encrypted, which means that it is worthless to anybody who might access it e.

If you need to know more about how secure LastPass is I suggest Googling it, as this discussion has taken place in many a forum and this is not the place for it. LastPass supports multiple profile for a single page e. It can also optionally detect and fill in forms for you. The last word on LastPass is that at this point I cannot live without it and I install it on all my computers.

Supports major browsers, including IE, Firefox, and Chrome; alas no Opera support as of this writing. And while most virtual desktop apps will let you relegate specific windows and programs to specific virtual desktops, what I like about Dexpot is that it lets me relegate icons across my different desktops as well, something which no other free virtual desktop app will.

This means that I can keep all of my work icons on my first desktop and shift all of my personal icons to the second desktop as an example. This is managed via hotkeys; e. Dexpot has a breadth of functionality and is expandable via a plugin architecture. A favorite plugin of mine is SevenDex, which places my virtual desktops as thumbnails on the Windows 7 launchbar and is simply awesome, see screenshot to the right. Also see my original Dexpot review.

Imgburn gets the job done, and offers unmatched simplicity in interface. Imgburn is also lightweight and offers a portable version. The only drawback it has is that it may require users to be somewhat technically savvy at times in its reliance on building images to perform some operations. It also cannot build multi-session discs i. Also see my original Imgburn review. I had previously written a freeware antivirus comparison article, and two programs stood out, Avira Antivir and Avast.


To be sure, this antivirus program comes in at a close second to Antivir for most metrics; however, the differences in performance between the two are so slight as to probaby not be statistically significant. Avast presents an advantage in that you do not have to think about the non issue of email scanning that comes up with Antivir or worry about any type of nag screen.

I feel it easier and more reliable to recommend Avast as my free antivirus of choice because the recommendation comes with less caveats and qualifications, and the program is world-class. With Avast you can be sure that you very well protected.

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You will need to register the free version of Avast by obtaining a free registration code using a valid email, and the registration process has to be repeated annually. The last thing to mention about Avast is its rather unique interface, which some users find quirky and unintuitive, but which for me is a non-issue. ThreatFire is a memory-resident antispyware protection software that protects in real-time and is low on system resources. This program is geared towards behavior-based protection, which means that it kicks in whenever it senses something suspicious is taking place.

Thus is it is a less dependent on constant system and hard drive scans and b provides good protection against unknown, brand new and so-called zero day threats. It is also very effective and provides excellent protection. I will say however that adding a firewall would be a good idea; see below for a free Firewall recommendation.

Also see my original ThreatFire review. Mikogo is the kind of software that will leave your colleagues, friends, customers, and collaborators extremely impressed. I say this because it has been both my experience as well as that of friends whom I recommended it to.

What it is is a free program that will let you share your screen remotely with one or many remote freewaregebius.

You can also switch roles upg a click of a button such that you are broadcasting your screen or your computer is being accessed, if that is what you need.

It also offers the option to video record your session for later playback, send vreewaregenius to participants, and even share a virtual whiteboard for shared scribbles and illustrations. The main reason I like this software is that you can perform the screen sharing or remote access functions without requiring that your collaborators install software on their machine or register for an account. All they need to do is visit a URL which you send them and enter an access code, which the program will generate for your session.

And although your remote collaborators will have to allow a small executable to run on their machine, the entire platform is otherwise browser based. The other reason I like Mikogo even when such free screen sharing tools have been proliferating is the sense that this software is constantly being improved while some others seem to have burst into the scene and kind of languished.

Also worth noting is that Mikogo is multiplatform, and is available for PC, Mac, or Linux, so you can share your screen with anyone regardless of the OS that they are using.

You will need to create an account using a valid email address. Also jpy my original Mikogo review. TeamViewer ; highly acclaimed, versatile, powerful. Freewaregeinus is useful for all sorts of everyday, ad-hoc use, but also especially useful jppg you are a web designer who, say, would like a quick and handy way to resize the browser window to pre-defined sizes. Also see my original Sizer review. I am often surprised as to how frequently I am asked about a good free archiving software, just because there are so many excellent ones some of my favorites are TUGzipJZipand 7Zip.

Yes there are still people out there paying for Winzip I freewaregnius with some of thembut for the rest of us I would recommend PeaZip, completely free and open source, looks good, integrates well in the Windows context menu,and is quite powerful. And aside from its support for a vast range of compression formats, it is also a full featured archive management program offering archive splitting, joining, conversion, encryption, self-extraction in 7Zip and Arc formatsand even command line support.


Although you properly classify VUE as a mind mapping program, it is more accurately a visual environment for working with many feeewaregenius types of information. It also encompasses a Powerpoint-like presentation engine that can create presentations out of mindmaps on-the-fly.

It is by no means a perfect program is, and in fact could and should become much better; however, it is innovative in many ways and the more I use it the more I like it, and the more I see the potential that it has to offer. Try it out; chances are you will like it and, like me, come to depend on it. Also see my full VUE review. SuperCopier can significantly speed up the process of copying or moving files across drives.

This tiny utility less than 2 megs in memory runs in the background and kicks in automatically whenever file copying or moving operations are initiated in Windows explorer. Aside from speeding up these operations it will let you pause a copy or move operation and resume it later on, when its convenient. Once you start using this it is hard to go back. I have previously mentioned a couple of other similar programs in this blog Copyhandler, TeraCopybut SuperCopier is the one I would recommend in hindsight.

SuperCopier works well on Windows7 64bit, although I did encounter one minor glitch in that if the files you are copying or moving require administrative privileges the program will likely fail your operation rather than simply ask for a user confirmation. Extremely simple but very practical and effective. FastStone Image Viewer also offers an excellent set of image editing tools and filters, including drawing and annotation tools the options available for annotation of images are especially useful.

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It also supports a wide range of image formats. For other interesting image viewers, check out Viewer2 with intuitive tagging functionsVjpegand the lightweight First Impression. It has also been recognized for its stability as well as possibly being the fastest out there in terms of downloading performance.

Aside from its simple user interface, its stability and reliability, one of its strengths is that it is constantly being developed, and that it has emerged as the de-facto, multi-platform Torrent client that developers of, say, mobile apps and remote-control client use when developing apps that interface with a desktop-based Torrent client. It is designed to make it less likely that your downloads might be tracked back to you if this is something you might be worried about.

And although Q-Dir is not as full featured as some other file management programs such as UltraExplorer for exampleI actually used it as my default Windows Explorer replacement on XP because I like its interface and because it is relatively light on resources.

Q-Dir can also be run portably from USB. Also see my full Q-Dir review. These can be somewhat annoying and I recommend you go to the settings to remove them the program will look and feel much better. On the flip side, The KMPlayer can take advantage of any codecs which may be independently installed on your system, if need be.

Also see my full review of The KMPlayer. VLC Media Player is another super awesome media player that will play and stream most everything, and is multiplatform. This is simply a must-have hard drive partitioning tool.

It offers compatibility with both 32 bit and 64 bit systems as well as a bootable rescue version on CD on USB. It is easy to user, has a nice interface, and can perform all the usual hard drive partitioning related tasks, such as creating, resizing, moving, deleting, merging, hiding, and deleting of partitions.

Also see my original Partition Wizard review.

Once I accumulate too many items on my desktop or in my download folder I typically go on a cleanup spree, moving all of these items into appropriate folders on my hard drive. Why am I including this program in my list of must-have freeware? Because I have been using it for a number of years now and it still is one of the first things that Freewaregennius seek when I install software on a new machine.

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