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Old 03-19-2007, 02:30 PM   #1
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Mike's guide to useful, free Windows software

Volume I

AVG Anti-Virus

AVG is one of the best available free anti-virus software packages. As full featured as any commercial product, AVG can run scheduled tests, runs in the background to detect new virus threats, and has daily virus database updates available.


Crap Cleaner, or CCleaner as it's also known, is a great program that you can run every few weeks to clean out the cobwebs from your PC. It can do everything from deleting old temporary internet files, old lists of frequently used documents, and less-routine stuff like removing remnants of old, uninstalled programs.

If you frequently install and uninstall programs as you try them out, this is a great tool to clean up your PC's registry.

Foxit Reader

For those annoyed with the shitty, bloaty Adobe Acrobat PDF reader, Foxit is a slim, quick-launching alternative. It's a great free application.

Gaim Instant Messenger

Gaim is a multi-service instant messaging client. Basically, if you have friends on AIM, MSN, and other services, Gaim lets you consolidate all of them into one program so you only need Gaim open to chat with everyone. It's a lot like other multi-IM programs such as Miranda IM and Trillian, except very clean and not bloated.


Launchy is absolutely amazing. For those good with the keyboard, Launchy is a new way to launch programs without searching through the Start menu. By hitting ALT+Spacebar, a small window will pop up where you can enter a few letters of a program name, and then hit enter to launch it.

For instance, I have a folder full of shortcuts to frequently used programs, and have Launchy monitor it. To launch iTunes I simply hit ALT+Spacebar and type "iT" and it automatically brings up iTunes.

If you're good with the keyboard this is a big hassle-reliever compared with using the Start menu.

Power Calculator

Microsoft has an alternative to the shitty default Windows calculator called Power Calculator. It's capable of more awesome calculatin', as well as having an attractive interface (thank god).


PowerFolder is a great, free solution for those who have home networks setup. Basically, in my situation, I have a folder for my University files on my desktop PC as well as on my laptop PC. PowerFolder will track changes to either folder and update the other immediately.

Great program for those who have folders for the same purpose on multiple PCs, and who want to keep them in sync.


Skype is a service which allows you to make voice calls for free to other Skype users with good-to-great voice quality. For a nominal per-minute charge (about 0.012 USD/minute), you can also make calls to landlines and mobile phones worldwide. A great alternative for those who move around a lot or students who don't want to get locked into a landline phone service contract.

Taskbar Shuffle

By default, Windows XP won't let you drag open program buttons around the taskbar, but Shuffle allows you to arrange them however you like.


TweakUI has a lot of neat-o options for customizing your Windows PC. Things that are left out of the normal Control Panel can easily be accomplished, such as hiding the recycle bin, tweaking the start menu, and other neat functional stuff. Definitely worth a look.


It's happened to everyone with a PC... You try to delete a file, and a window pops up telling you the fucking thing is still in use by a program, even when you don't have any programs open. Unlocker remedies this common pain in the ass, allowing you to delete the file in question - no queshions axed, yo.

Yahoo Widgets

Yahoo Widgets, for Mac users, is basically a Windows version of the Dashboard. You can have various widgets run on your desktop - everything from notepads, weather information, clocks, buttons to turn off your PC - anything really. There is a huge gallery with home-made widgets ready for free download as well.

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Old 03-19-2007, 02:35 PM   #2
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Old 03-19-2007, 03:58 PM   #3
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Old 03-19-2007, 04:11 PM   #4
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Excellent, thanks.

I need a couple of things for my new Windows partition.

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Old 03-19-2007, 05:13 PM   #5
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May I also recommend...

SoulSeek for P2P filesharing

VLC Player for avi files w/ subtitles. For some reason, Windows Media Player is now doing tiny little skips with my avi files, and I now have a few that come with subtitle files. They play fine in VLC AND it takes about two seconds to point it at the subtitle file.

Picasa for basic photo editing (crops, straighten, red eye, changing contrast, tint, b/w, sepia, sharpen, glow, saturation, etc)

JAlbum for generating your own web photo albums.

CDex for ripping audio from CDs - allows you to choose various formats and bit rates.

SmartFTP ftp client - there's really not one that's that much better than the other, but I've been using this for 5 years and it works fine for me.

╬╝Torrent - I don't know much about torrenting and this is what my friend said to download. I still don't know anything about torrenting but I've used this for a few months and it's been easy enough for me.

I use these on pretty much a daily basis.

A few other I use are a Boggle game, a batch renaming program, and a thumbnail generator.
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Old 03-19-2007, 05:18 PM   #6
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I like using Yahoo Widgets.
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Old 03-19-2007, 10:50 PM   #7
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Thank you! A couple of these will be very helpful for me.
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Old 03-20-2007, 10:49 AM   #8
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Old 03-20-2007, 03:14 PM   #9
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Mike, you are a god.
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Old 03-22-2007, 05:35 AM   #10
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Old 03-22-2007, 08:15 AM   #11
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Queen Bee, you are a queen.
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Old 03-22-2007, 08:31 AM   #12
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Mike - you're awesome
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Old 03-22-2007, 11:57 AM   #13
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Originally posted by Queen Bee


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