My 5 Most Useful Freeware Windows Utilities

I've decided to serve up a heaping helpful of my five "most useful" Freeware Windows utilities. Now, notice that I didn't use the word "favorite" or "best". These are simply the five PC utilities which I feed upon the most. Your list may of course vary, and if it does, then please be sure to tell me about your own "most useful" Windows utilities in the comments.

1. MOZILLA FIREFOX - This is one such browser of which I can't get my hands off. In many ways, Firefox is the ultimate Web utility, opening up the vast majority of content on the Internet to your personal desktop. With a huge amount of impressive add-ons, it can be customized by a user as he likes. Firefox is your own personalized browsing experience; ambitious users can fine-tune it to their hearts' content.

2. VLC MEDIA PLAYER - There was a time when you had to add a new codec nearly every time you downloaded a video because of the vast array of file formats available. Sometimes, you even had to download a separate application just to watch a specific movie file.

My favorite for a while has been VLC Media Player, a smallish program that doesn't look like much at first glance, but includes all of the playback options you need hidden under its surface.

3. PIDGIN - The battle of the multiservice instant-messaging clients is far from over. The popular app Trillian is currently the king of the hill for Windows, and the online client meebo is impressive too. Right now, however, I prefer the open-source program Pidgin, formerly known as Gaim.

There's not a huge difference in functionality--all three of the mentioned multiservice clients work well. However, Pidgin's open platform makes it very easy for third-party developers to provide plug-ins. Based on the limted amount of valuable plug-ins created so far, it's not a huge advantage for Pidgin. There are several features in Trillian that aren't available in Pidgin by default--docking buddies or transparent interface, for example--can be accomplished via plug-ins.

4. PICASA - It's not just free, it's better than ever. Picasa is a free software download from Google that helps you:
* Locate and organise all the photos on your computer.
* Edit and add effects to your photos with a few simple clicks.
* Share your photos with others through email, prints and on the web.

With its latest release, Picasa stands toe to toe with Photoshop Album, and unlike ACDSee, it's intuitive enough for even the greenest of computer newbies. Novices may be intimidated by the breadth of tools on offer, but when they get over that hump, the app is wonderfully easy to use.

5. AUDACITY - If you like editing music and are searching for a Freeware to fulfil your needs, then here is something for you. Audacity can record and play sounds and import and export WAV, AIFF, MP3, and OGG files. Edit your sounds using cut, copy, and paste features (with unlimited undo functionality), mix tracks, or apply effects to your recordings. The program also has a built-in amplitude-envelope editor, a customizable spectrogram mode, and a frequency-analysis window for audio-analysis applications. Built-in effects include bass boost, wah wah, and noise removal, and the program also supports VST plug-in effects.

These are my top 5 Windows Utilities. Which tools do you like ? Tell us in your comments.


web tools

November 28, 2007 at 7:07 AM

My top three will be...
1. Firefox, off course
2. Google Reader
3. Windows Live Writer


December 14, 2007 at 9:26 PM

My Top will be
1- Firefox
2- XNeat
3- TreeSize