OK, every now and then I’ll probably post an entry concerning a really neat application, product, or service. Something I think will help people out.
So let’s start with Freeware and where to get it.
Freeware I Use
Here is a list of freeware I use and a few notes on each app.
Firefox: I actually usually use MS Internet Explorer; but every now and then when I have a problem with IE I like to browse a page with something different. And of all the other browsers, I like Firefox the best.
Thunderbird: I don’t like Microsoft’s Outlook Express app. I think it had something to do with years ago MS not letting me save bulk emails as text. That was Microsoft’s way of trying to force me/you to use their product by not giving you any way to convert your legacy emails into something searchable. Fascist crap like that is the quickest way to lose me as a customer. Anyway… Thunderbird is pretty well the best 3rd party email app out there.
iTunes: OK, I have an iPod (and now an iPad). You just about have to have this to manage either. I don’t use it as my default player. I just use it to load my stuff.
K-Lite Codecs: Codecs are files that allow you apps to play various formats of audio and video. This collection goes a long way in letting you play various formats.
QuickTime: Only because it’s Apple’s format and I run across a video in this format every now and then.
Adobe Flash: Obviously you need this to access various content on the web.
Java: Again, you need this to access various content on the web.
.NET Framework: Currently on version 3 as I write this. Another package needed to access certain web content and well as run certain apps.
Paint .NET: This is a nice little image editor, that’s better than the Paint program that comes with Windows. It doesn’t have everything I want, but it’s good in a pinch. I actually use Paint Shop Pro as my main image editor. But boy do they annoy the %$*& out of you with their start-up pages. Paint .NET has 90% of the basic functionality found in Paint Shop Pro.
FastStone: This is an image viewer kind of like ACDSee. It’s good for viewing and moving image files around.
Adobe Reader: Need to read them PDFs. I’ve actually purchased a copy of Adobe Standard since I do a bit of work on PDFs. But this reader works fine and there are plenty of free PDF creators available.
Cute PDF: See, I told you there are plenty of free PDF creators available; and this is one of them. It acts like a printer on your PC. Print to it and it will ask you where to save the printout as a PDF file.
AVG Anti-Virus: One of the best antivirus programs out there. And their free one is all most private personal accounts should need. Now if you’re frequenting the back alleys of the internet… and you know who you are… all bets are off.
Malewarebytes: One of the best virus removal programs out there. I use it almost exclusively when I want to remove a virus or other malware.
Google Earth: This thing is just too neat.
Everything: I like this tool for searching for files. I’ve had a bit of trouble on my 64 bit machine, but it could just be me.
ImgBurn: A nice little CD/DVD program that will burn images of disks onto CD/DVDs
CDBurnerXP: Same as ImgBurn, this is a nice little program for burning CD/DVDs
DVD Shrink: A great program for copying DVDs. Your own… not the commercial ones of course.
TeraCopy: This utility takes control the process of copying or moving files on your PC. It’s much faster and robust for these types of tasks.
CCleaner: I’ll probably do a separate blog in this little app. You know all those advertisements for services that will “speed up your PC”; well all they are doing is cleaning up your registry and hopefully deactivating some of the crap that load automatically when you boot up. This free app, whose name is short for “Crap Cleaner” does that for you.
Defraggler: Made by the same guys as CCleaner, this is a nice utility to defrag your computer. Defrag is just moving your data around so files are accessed easier and quicker.
Speecy: Another program made by the same guys as CCleaner, this utility goes through your system and documents all your hardware.
7-Zip: Have an archive like ZIP and ARC. This utility will create, read, or extract it.
FileZilla: The best FTP utility out there. FTP is file transfer protocol and a way to move and share files. If you still don’t know what it is… then you don’t need it.
Where To Get It
Man is that a list of freeware. Just imagine the headache of installing and keeping track of all those titles. Well now we come to the main point of my post. There exists a service/site that will load and later update almost every title I listed.
That site/service is called Ninite.com and is free (for non-commercial users).
To use their service:
- Go to their website at http://www.ninite.com
- A list of all the applications they support comes up with check boxes. Now this list has a lot more titles than I mentioned above because I don’t use everything here.
- Check the applications you want to install. Don’t get greedy… just check the ones you know you need and will use.
- At the bottom of the web page, click on the “Get Installer” button.
- Ninite will do its thing for a while and then download a small executable.
- Save this executable (and remember where you save it).
- Then run this executable.
- This program will download each app you selected one at a time and install it. The installer will say “NO” to all the toolbars and “extras” these apps sometimes push. The installer will always grab the latest versions of these apps. The installer looks at your PC and installs the correct version (32 or 64 bit).
- When it’s done… you apps are installed.
- NOW… If once a month you would like to have ALL these apps checked to see if there are any new versions out there. Just keep that installer somewhere and run it again. It’ll check and update those apps that need updating.
Now that I’ve extoled the virtues of this great service; let me remind you that it does not support all the apps I mentioned that I use. There are two or three missing. Those I get at one other location; and that is www.filehippo.com.
Like Ninite, Filehippo keeps the latest versions of the apps for download. But at Filehippo, you’ll have to download them one at a time and install them separately. BUT… it’s a good place to find these programs.
“Free Download” Warning
One Warning… sure look at Filehippo advertisements, but be careful not to install the apps. Right now I’m looking at Filehippo and I’m seeing a PDF Creator ad with a “Free Download”. Anytime you hear or see the words “Free Download”… run.
“Free Download” means just that. We won’t charge you to “download” this application. But once you try to use it or soon after, you’ll discover that only the download was free… now it’s time to pay. It’s a very dishonest form of marketing and you should avoid any company that uses it.
So now you have a list of all the freeware I use and where to get it. I hope you find this post useful. I know there are thousands of cool tools out there that I’ve missed. Feel free to share any you think are must-haves.