Sunday, September 6, 2009 | |

My Ten Favorite Free Windows Software

#1- Firefox- Firefox is better than internet explorer for one reason: extensions. The community that supports firefox and helps to develop the new versions is extremely active when it comes to developing add-ons to improve the program. Internet explorer has some of these, but you have to pay for the better ones.

If you download firefox, you need to make sure and search for Adblock Plus. This add-on will block almost all the ads that appear on web pages, meaning that you are less likely to run into dirty ads and that your pages will load faster. That alone makes firefox better than Internet Explorer

#2- Abiword. For just quickly typing up a document, I have yet to find anything that beats Abiword. It’s small and fast, but full featured, so it works on just about any system, no matter how old. IT saves files as .abw by default, but you can save files as .rtf or .doc. In fact, At their webpage, you can also download plugins that will let you read and write in the new .docx format of Microsoft Office 2007, so that’s a huge plus for those of you that don’t want to shell out the cash for Microsoft Word.

#3- If you need a full word processor, spreadsheet, database, presentation, and more, openoffice has it, and it’s free. I will admit that for hardcore Microsoft Office users, especially Excel geniuses, Openoffice is a tiny bit lacking. But those people probably already have Microsoft Office, so it doesn’t really matter. For the rest of us, there’s Openoffice, and it’s great. Why pay $300 for something you can get for free?

#4- The Gimp (Gnu Image Manipulation Program). Speaking of free stuff that’s almost as good as payed stuff, if you’re into Photoshop, but short on cash, you need the Gimp. Gimp was designed for Linux, but ported over to Windows because it’s just that awesome. If you dig around on the net for a little bit, you can find literally Hundreds of tutorials on how to make The Gimp work more like Photoshop. Again, if you don’t already have Photoshop, get the Gimp.

#5- Revo Uninstaller. After installing as many programs as I have, you tend to end up with leftovers after you try and uninstall them. Revo Uninstaller is like built in Windows one, if it were a ninja in a monster truck…oh, and the monster truck and the ninja were both on fire. Revo uninstaller is smart enough to find the leftovers and let you get rid of them. It’s a brilliant program, and I use it every time I clean up someone’s computer.

#6- Ccleaner. Short for Crap Cleaner, this program gets rid of all the junk files that your computer saves, giving you more space for your files, and getting rid of temporary internet stuff that you don’t really need. It also has a program to clean your registry, uninstaller for programs, and one to delete those annoying startup entries that launch programs when windows starts. In short, it’s priceless.

#7- MediaMonkey. This program blows every other music player out of the water. For one thing, it can search to find the album that you have in your collection, and get you the album art and tag all the files so they have the correct names. That alone made me switch, and I never looked back. Ipod support? Yup. Can it burn CDs? Yup. Can it level the volume of the tracks so they’re not too loud or too quiet? You betcha (best Sarah Palin impression). If you like music and you run Windows, you owe it to yourself to try this one out.

#8- KMPlayer. The KMplayer is far and above the best media player around. I haven’t found a file type that it can’t play. It’s fast, looks good, and just plain works. And I mean works, for every file type under the sun. Take a look at this Comparison of Media Players, and you’ll see what I mean. KMPlayer does it ALL.

#9- Foxit Reader. If you’re still using Adobe Acrobat, I feel for you. The program is now 8 times the size of the original Adobe Acrobat Reader, and has to install a program at your computer’s startup just to make it run fast enough to use. That’s pathetic. 95% of people open a PDF, read it, and then close it, right? So why does that require so much computer muscle?

Enter Foxit Reader. It’s simple, lightweight, and fast fast fast compared to Adobe. That’s really all you need to know about that (best Forrest Gump).

#10- DVDSmith movie backup. With today’s computers coming standard with huge hard drives, unless you’re a super music buff or have a collection of porn the size of Michigan you’ve probably got some unused space on there. Enter DVDSmith. This little tool is a one click to backup that movie that you just rented bought completely legally. From there you can watch it using KMplayer and then delete it at your leisure or burn it do a DVD with one of the dozens of programs out there (if it fits, that is). This program doesn’t shrink the file size to fit on a regular DVD, so if you’re going to try and burn it you’ll want to select just the Main Movie to make sure you stay under the 4.5 GB limit of a DVD. If even that doesn’t work, you might look into another free program called DVDShrink to get that file down to size.

So, that’s it folks. I know that I haven’t provided any links for this software. Well, that’s what Google’s for, and I’m lazy, so that’s all you’re getting. Have fun!


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