If you use Microsoft Windows (which you probably do — Bill has got us all over a barrel), there are a number of amazing free software programs that you absolutely shouldn’t be without.
Here’s my top ten of absolutely top-quality free software programs.
Top Ten Free Software Programs
1. Open Office
While Microsoft charges a small fortune for their Office suite, you can download Open Office for free; it’s almost completely compatible with Microsoft Office, and in my opinion a lot nicer and easier to use.
Skype makes it possible to call other Skype users, either using a webcam or just using a microphone and speakers, like a telephone — absolutely free. Plus you can call phones and use it exactly like a telephone if you’re willing to stump up some cash. Especially great for long-distance calls, since their call charge doesn’t depend on where you are in the world.
Maybe it’s just me, but Windows Media Player never seems to play my video files correctly. I also dislike the way it takes ages to load and witters about media libraries, when all I want to do is play an mp3. For that reason I was delighted when I discovered VLC. It’s free, open-source, and it seems to play just about anything with no hassle.
Chrome is certainly one of the fastest browsers on the market. I also love the discreet browsing feature that allows you to view pages without recording them in your history (known to some as “porn mode” …)
Excellent free email client. You can even connect it to your (free) Google Mail account and make it backup all your emails!
If you like to download free stuff, doubtless you’ve encountered all kinds of weird zip file formats. 7 Zip handles most of them – and fast.
7. The Gimp
Superb image editing software with a strange name. Can’t afford Photoshop (or can afford it but just don’t want to pay for it)? Gimp’s what you need.
Want to make backups of your DVDs? Prefer to watch your DVDs from your computer instead of messing about with discs? DVD Decrypter can rip your DVDs to .iso files, which you can play directly with VLC; you can also use DVD Decrypter to rip your DVDs to VOB format, which another program (such as AutoGK) can convert to video files.
Audacity is an excellent free multi-track sound editor. If you ever need to record anything (podcasts, for example), Audacity will do the trick. You can edit your recording, remove background noise and even add special effects like echo.
Let’s face it, we all need anti-virus software. Avira is the best free anti-virus that I’ve found. OK, they want you to buy their non-free version, but that’s fair enough considering how much they give away for free.
You may also be interested in ….
Blender: free 3D animation software
Psycle: free music creation software; download free VST instruments and use them with Psycle to create your own electronic synthesizer orchestra!
Mu Torrent: Download videos, music and everything else using torrents. The idea behind torrents takes a little getting used to, but once you start you’ll be hooked … Don’t download anything that violates copyright law though, I wouldn’t recommend that!!
Real Alternative: Play RealPlayer files without having to download the awful and (in my opinion) intrusive Real Player.
Firefox InLine Translator: If you use the free Firefox web browser and you’re interested in foreign languages, Inline Translator enables you to translate words by simply selecting them. Amazing!