By Team FI
As we often receive requests for tips about the kind of software one needs to install on their Windows PC, we decided to compile a list of 10 best free Windows software. We welcome your feedback about this list.
1. CC cleaner: One of the best free software, it cleans up unwanted stuff such as your temporary files, cookies etc and helps your system run faster and more efficiently. Use the default settings while running the CC cleaner. Download here.
2. VLC: By far the best free (open source) media player. Light-weight with a simple interface, it has good technical support and frequent updates. VLC can play nearly all kinds of video/audio files with subtitles. You could make this your default media player. Download here
3. Avira Antivirus: There is always a big debate on which free anti-virus software to choose – Avira or Avast. Of late Avast has been bombarded with complaints of creating false alarms, so we choose to stick with Avira. Besides, Avira is lighter than Avast. The only catch with Avira is the annoying upgrade pop up. Download here
Tip : Do not run two anti-virus programs at the same time as it could conflict with your system.
Tip: If you cannot start your windows PC due to some virus attack, start your PC in safe mode. Keep pressing F8 key as soon as you turn the power button on. Windows will start in safe mode and do a virus scan.
4. 7-Zip: This hugely popular and light-weight software allows you compress or ‘zip’ up and of course unzip files and folders. There is also Pea Zip which is a good-looking alternative but 7- zip is lighter. Download here
5 BurnAware free CD/DVD Writer: Can’t afford the heavy duty NERO burning software? BurnAware is light and extremely user friendly. If you are unable to write CDs/DVDs with BurnAware, it means your installation was not successful. Uninstall and install it again. Some people prefer ImgBurn because of its advanced features. These software are however, slower than Nero. Download here
6. World web dictionary: The best free offline English dictionary/thesaurus. After downloading, it can be accessed by pressing control and right click on your mouse (default setting). You can change settings if you go to options. Download here
7. Light box Image editor: A great tool for basic photo editing – simple and user friendly. If you need advanced features, get GIMP, but it can be a bit confusing for beginners. If you intent take up photography as a profession, you will have to get Adobe Photoshop though. There is nothing that can compete with Photoshop! Download here
8. Unlocker: This software is the solution if you often get error messages like – cannot delete folder/ the file is currently in use etc – while trying to unplug your USB drive. (Mostly Window XP users face this issue). As the name suggests, unlocker unblocks your USB drive so that you can safely remove hardware. Download here
9. Dropbox: This is your online storage service. When you install Dropbox on your computer, it creates a Dropbox folder in My Documents and you can access this folder from any other computer which has Dropbox installed. You must have uninterrupted internet access and you must not forget your login details. However, it offers only 2 GB storage space. Dropbox is quite popular and has some 100 million users! Download here
There are other free storage services like Google Drive and Microsoft’s Sky Drive. Google offers 5 GB storage and Sky Drive offers 7 GB. We prefer Dropbox since it is an independent storage service and it specializes only in online storage. Besides Dropbox interface is simpler. If its 2 GB limit disappoints you, try Wuala by LaCie. They offer 5 GB space but with Wuala you can’t afford to forget your password as there is no password recovery.
Tip: Don’t use these services if your internet is limited. It would be best to carry your pen drive.
If you want to send large files online, try WeTransfer, DropSend (both 2 GB), File Dropper (5 GB) or Yousendit (1 GB).
10. Soluto: Nicknamed as anti-frustration software, this is basically a program that tells you how to speed up your system including the start-up. If your computer is taking too long to start up, download this program. The scanning starts as soon as you turn your system on. Once you are connected to the internet, click on the Soluto icon. It will take you to the Soluto online page where you can view your report. Follow the instructions. Before you disable some start up applications make sure your computer doesn’t require them to start. No need to keep this software on your system because it is annoying when the scanning starts every time you start your PC. You can run it once in a while. If you remove some start up applications using this tool, don’t disable /remove Solute immediately. Keep it for few days because by mistake if you have deleted some crucial start up application, you can restore them going to your solute online page. Download here
Warning: While installing free software, make sure you read the installation process carefully rather than clicking away the Next button during set-up. Some software install ad-supported tool bars on your browser and some change your browser settings. So make sure you install only the software not its associates.