Free download of essential programs for Windows

I’m a big fan of open source software because it’s free and usually has the same features as commercial software! One of the downsides of open source software is the lack of support, but this problem usually comes from active forums and community threads created by avid subscribers.

There are tons of free downloadable programs for office productivity, web, multimedia, drawing, Windows utilities, and more, but if you’re new to open source software, you may not know which program is best among the many options. This is the only drawback of free software: some of them contain unwanted software, such as bundled programs or annoying toolbars.

In this article, I will mention a few websites that I visit quite often when looking for safe and clean free software downloads.

Gizmo Freeware Reviews

The Gizmo Freeware Review site has to be the best site on the net to find great freeware. There are tons of sites that have huge lists of free apps with tiny reviews of each app, but Gizmo is insanely popular because they take the time to write detailed reviews and test every app they review to make sure it works properly.

You can go directly to a category at the top of the page, such as Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone/iPad, etc. They used to only cover Windows and Mac, but recently they’ve expanded to cover all the most popular operating systems.

You can also scroll down and click on the panels: Top Freeware Lists, Freeware Categories, and Security Wizard. I would highly recommend going through the security wizard, as it provides you with a list of security software tailored to your operating system, your level of computer experience, and your propensity for risky online activities. The wizard will also show you how to make sure your computer isn’t already infected, and give you tips on how to protect yourself from malware, spyware, and viruses in the future.

In addition to all this, the site has a blog with a huge number of articles on various useful technical topics. Many of the articles they link to from their review pages give you a very deep understanding of the topic.

Ninit

ninit

Ninite is another very popular service that I often use with friends and family when setting up new computers or when I need to reformat and reinstall the operating system on a computer. Basically, it’s a program that allows you to download multiple free programs at once and install them without clicking Next, Next, Next!

Just select the apps you want to install and click Get the installer button

ninite programs

Apart from simply creating free apps, it also has several other important benefits. First, all the software is extremely safe and clean. Even if an application has the toolbar enabled, such as Java, Ninite will not allow it to install the toolbar. It also downloads the latest versions of apps directly from official websites and checks hash values ​​to ensure integrity.

Second, you should save the installer somewhere on your computer and not delete it, as restarting will automatically check for all free programs and download newer versions if available. If you already have the latest version installed, this program will simply skip it. So using the installer is like having a free app that will automatically update all your apps!

What I like the most is that it will install the 64-bit version of the software if I run the installer on a 64-bit operating system. This program is simply awesome and will save you tons of time.

NirSoft

nirsoft

If you’ve read a decent amount of my previous posts, you know that I just love the people at NirSoft. It’s basically a site with a bunch of tiny utilities designed for very specific tasks.

Want to copy video files stored in the browser cache? There is a utility for this. Want to control your computer’s volume with a mouse wheel? There is a utility for this. Want to see all the passwords stored in your browser? There is a utility for this. You get the picture! There are over a hundred of these really useful utilities that work extremely well. They also don’t contain crapware packages or anything.

PortableApps

portable programs

Do you have a USB flash drive? So why not install PortableApps there! It’s all your free apps stored on a USB stick that you can use anywhere on any machine. They have up to 300 legal versions of applications that have been upgraded for portable operation on a USB stick.

The programs are updated frequently and have no ads, spyware, adware, time limits, etc. It’s just free and can be very convenient if you travel a lot. What’s really great is that you can drop it all into a Dropbox folder and run everything right from there! You don’t even have to worry about carrying a flash drive with you.

FileHippo

filehippo

FileHippo has been around for a long time and is still one of the best sites to find good free software. I end up using FileHippo more than anything else for downloading older versions of apps. It’s rare, but there are times when you don’t need the latest version of an app. Maybe because it can’t run on an older system, or because it has a bug that’s causing problems on your system, so your only option is to download a previous version.

filehippo version

The only issue I’ve seen with the site lately is that some programs, but not all, now come with FileHippo’s own downloader instead of a direct download of the program. This package tries to install adware on your system, so you need to be careful and uncheck the box while installing the program. I could only find it with a few programs, so the vast majority still link directly to the program files, but with this new behavior and too many ads on the site, I can’t recommend the site completely.

Memorial sites

Besides these, there are a few other sites I visit, but they tend to be shorter reviews without actual reviews or anything. However, you won’t find any spyware or malware on these sites.

MajorGeeks – Looks like it was developed in the 90’s and has probably been around since then, but a great site for lots of tech tools. Lots and lots of tech utilities that are hard to find anywhere else.

SnapFiles – A nice clean site with minimal ads and clear categories of freeware, shareware, etc. I usually refer to user ratings and comments to determine the worthiness of a free app.

FileForum BetaNews – This is usually where you can find the latest freeware before it hits other download sites. Not sure how they do it, but here you will find the latest software.

Sites to avoid

You might be wondering why I didn’t mention free software sites like SourceForge and CNET? Well, that’s because I no longer recommend these sites. They’ve gone the money-making route and don’t link to the actual official downloads, instead forcing you to download their own installer.

CNET is the worst because it makes you go through multiple screens trying to get you to install unwanted software before you can install the actual app you want to download. In my opinion, it’s easy to avoid all the junk, but many people end up with adware on their computer and they don’t know why. Unfortunately, sites like Download.com, which is the same as CNET, appear high in search results, making them harder to avoid. You can find almost everything on CNET at one of the sites I mentioned above. Enjoy!

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