Chances are you spent a decent penny on your computer, and you don’t feel like spending any more on it. Why should you have to spend your hard earned money for a few programs? The good news is, there is tons of free software out there. If there’s a paid version, chances are pretty high that someone has come out with a free version. From managing your computer to editing music and photos, there’s a free piece of software for everyone.
Free Audio Editing Software
Audacity- Audio recording & editing software
Audacity is a free, easy-to-use, audio editor and recorder. It is compatible with most operating systems, including Linux. You can download Audacity from the Audacity website
Reaper- Audio recording & editing software
Reaper is another great audio software, and a great alternative to Audacity. This allows you to record and edit audio, including layering tracks and using processing effects. You can download Reaper from the Reaper website.
Free FTP Software
Filezilla (FTP Client / Server)
FileZilla Client is a fast and reliable FTP, FTPS and SFTP client, straight from the Mozilla team. You can download this software from their website.
Cyberduck (instead of Filezilla)
Libre FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, S3 & OpenStack Swiftbrowser
WinSCP (another alternative to Filezilla / FTP Clients. It supports SSH)
WinSCP is an open source free SFTP client, FTP client, WebDAV client and SCP client for Windows. Its main function is file transfer. You can download this from the WinSCP website.
Hard Drive Utility Software
Space Sniffer-Finds lost space on your drive
SpaceSniffer is a free software and portable tool application that lets you see how folders and files are structured on your drives. It uses a “Treemap” visualization layout, making it easy to use and understand. You can download this software from the SpaceSniffer website.
WinDirStat (Manage harddrive space)
WinDirStat is a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool. Download this software from the WinDirStat website.
Scan and manage your PC. Copy, move, and delete files quickly. Like SpaceSniffer, it has a treemap architecture to help you see the big picture of your computer. You can download it from the Space Monger website.
GParted (Tool to manage your hard drives. It allows you to format / change the size / partitions of your drives. Allows cool things as make partitions in a pendrive with several formats and sizes. It has to be mounted / burned into a pendrive / CD)
GParted is a free partition editor for graphically managing your disk partitions. You can resize, copy, and move partitions without data loss. You can download this software from the GParted website.
Speccy- Shows system information (cpu, ram, etc.)
Speccy gives you information on all pieces of hardware in your computer, including your CPU, motherboard, RAM, graphics card, etc. You can download Speccy from the Speccy Website.
Renamer- Renaming tool
ReNamer is a powerful file renamer. It offers all the standard renaming procedures including prefixes, suffixes, replacements, case changes, as well as removing contents of brackets, adding number sequences, changing file extensions, etc. You can download Renamer from their website.
Putty (SSH / Serial client)
PuTTY is a client program for the SSH, Telnet and Rlogin network protocols. These protocols are all used to run a remote session on a computer, over a network. You can download Putty from their download page.
CPU-Z (To see your hardware specs [Really detailed])
CPU-Z is another free software that gathers information on some of the main devices of your system, like your CPU, Mainboard, RAM, etc. You can download CPU-Z from their website.
YUMI (To make bootable pendrives)
It can be used to create a Multiboot USB Flash Drive containing multiple operating systems, antivirus utilities, disc cloning, diagnostic tools, and more. You can download Yumi from the YUMI website.
WinMD5free (MD5 Checker)
WinMD5Free is a fast utility to compute MD5 hash value for files. It works with Microsoft Windows 98, Me, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista and Windows 7. You can download it from the WinMD5Free website
smcFanControl lets the user set the minimum speed in fans. You can set the fan higher than normal to keep your computer from overheating. You can download this software from the SMCFanControl download page
GPU-Z (As CPU-Z but for your GPU)
GPU-Z is a lightweight utility designed to provide vital information about your video card and graphics processor. You can download GPU-Z from the GPU-Z website.
KiTTY (Alternative to Putty but Portable)
KiTTY is a fork from version 0.64 of PuTTY. Download from the KiTTY website
Putty Tray (An updated version of Putty with more features)
PuTTY Tray is an improved version of PuTTY. It features some cosmetic changes, and a number of addons to make it more useful and much more fun to use. Download Putty Tray from the Putty Tray website.
Defraggler (Defrag Program.)
Defraggler speeds up your PC by assembling fragmented files on your machine and organizing them more efficiently. Download this software from the Defraggler download page.
CCleaner (It cleans temporary files and trash from Windows registry. Really cool and useful)
As it (your computer) gets older it collects unused files and settings which take up hard drive space making it slower and slower. CCleaner cleans up these files and makes it faster. Download from the CCleaner download page.
Ninite- Background app updater
Ninite is a program that automatically installs and updates multiple programs on your computer. This is all done in the background, and saves you tons of time. Download from Nanite website.
f.lux- computer lighting control (reduces blue light on computer)
f.lux fixes this: it makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. f.lux makes your computer screen look like the room you’re in, all the time. This decreases the amount of “blue light” coming from your computer, making it easier for you to sleep at night, and reducing strain on your eyes. Download f.lux from the f.lux website.
7zip (Windows) for opening and creating compresses files
7-Zip is a file archiver with a high compression ratio. Download from the 7zip website.
Easy BCD (Windows): Program that allows you to make changes to your bootloader.
Boot into XP/Vista/7/Ubuntu/OS X. Boot from USB, Network, ISO images, Virtual Harddisks (VHD), WinPE. Repair the Windows bootloader, change your boot drive, create a bootable USB. Rename entries, set default boot target, change BCD timeout, hide the boot menu. Download from Easy BCD download page.
UltraUX Theme Patcher (Windows): Allows you to install custom themes to Windows 7 or 8. This does replace system files so be careful, but it never has given me problems
This program patches Windows OS to enable it to accept 3rd party themes, as it will not allow you to without patching some files. Download from UltraUX Theme Patcher download page
Moo0 system monitor: system resource monitor
Moo0 System Monitor lets you monitor system resource usages of your PC. It currently supports 43 kinds of information including CPU, Memory, Network, and detailed HDD usages. Download from Moo0 website.
Ghostery: In your browser, it lets you turn off trackers. Beacons, analytics, advertisements, widgets, even font systems and videos.
With the free Ghostery Add-on, you decide which companies to trust and which to block. It lets you turn off trackers, and other annoying little things in your browser. Download from Ghostery website.
GeekUninstaller: uninstaller, clean remover
GeekUninstaller will help you keep your computer clean and organized. Instant startup, minimalist, and efficient. Download from GeekUninstaller website.
PC Decrapifier: cleans bloatware off of PC
It’s a free tool for you to use that helps remove programs, unnecessary startup items and icons that can slow down your PC. Great for when you get a new PC that has bloatware on it. Download from PC Decrapifier website.
MythTV- Open source DVR
Watch and record TV. Allows you to pause and rewind live TV shows. Schedule recordings seamlessly. Download from MythTV website.
KODI- Media player
Kodi is an award-winning free software media center for playing videos, music, pictures, games, and more. Kodi runs on Linux, OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android. Download from KODI website.
MPC-HC- Media Player
MPC-HC is an extremely light-weight, open source media player for Windows. It supports all common video and audio file formats available for playback. Download from MPC-HC website.
VLC- Media Player
VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. Download from VLC website.
Plex- media server
Plex is a centralized home media playback system. Upload your media to the server from your “home” computer, and access it on other computers and even other devices (other devices are a paid feature). Download from Plex website.
Unity- Open source game engine
Unity is a flexible and powerful development platform for creating multiplatform 3D and 2D games and interactive experiences. Download from Unity website.
Netbeans (Development tool)
Quickly and easily develop desktop, mobile and web applications with Java, HTML5, PHP, C/C++ and more. Download from Netbeans website.
IntelliJ IDEA (Develop. tool, alt. to Netbeans and Eclipse
In addition to being the most intelligent Java IDE, IntelliJ IDEA does provide out-of-the-box support for web. Download from IntelliJ IDEA website.
Resharper (Develop. tool, meant to work with C#)
Eclipse (Development tool, alt. to Netbeans)
Tools for Java developers creating Java EE and Web applications, including a Java IDE, tools for Java EE, JPA, JSF, Mylyn, EGit and others. Download from Eclipse website.
Calibre (e-Book management)
Calibre is a free and open source e-book library management application. Download from Calibre website.
Anki- Study/Flash card program
Anyone who needs to remember things in their daily life can benefit from Anki. Since it is content-agnostic and supports images, audio, videos and scientific markup. Download from Anki website.
Oracle VM Virtualbox (Virtual Machines)
Going beyond simple server consolidation, Oracle VM server virtualization is a free piece of software that allows much more. Download from Oracle website.
DOSBox (Windows, Mac, Linux): Program that emulates DOS and allows you to run old programs
DOSBox is a DOS-emulator that uses the SDL-library. Download from DOSBox website.
PCSX2 (Windows, Mac, Linux): A good PS2 emulator. Can run games as ISO or off the original disk BIOS
PCSX2 is a Playstation 2 emulator, a free program that tries to replicate the Playstation 2 console to enable you to play PS2 games on your PC. Download from PCSX2 website.
Dolphin (Windows, Mac, Linux): A good GameCube and Wii emulator
Dolphin is an emulator for both the GameCube and the Wii. It allows PC gamers to enjoy games for these two consoles in full HD. Download from Dolphin website.
Project 64 (Windows): Nintendo 64 emulator
Project 64 is an emulator that allows you to emulate the Nintendo 64, and play those games on your computer. Download this program from the Project 64 website.
Virtualbox (Windows, Mac, Linux): Open source virtual machine program developed by Oracle. To me, it runs as well as VMWare Workstation but it doesn’t cost anything.
VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware, targeted at server, desktop and embedded use. Download from VirtualBox website.
Remote Desktop Software
Teamviewer (Remote Client)
Remote control any computer or Mac over the internet within seconds or use for online meetings. Download from Teamviewer website.
VNC (Another Remote Client)
VNC enables you to remotely access and control your devices wherever you are. Download from VNC website.
Remote assistance (Windows Feature for Remote Connection)
Windows Remote Assistance is a Windows feature that allows you to view/control a remote Windows computer over a network or the Internet.
Security, Anti Virus, Adware Removal Software
Avast (free, nice Anti vVrus)
Avast is a free Antivirus program that provides you with the essential security needed to keep your computer running top-notch. Download from Avast website.
Panda USB – Vaccine (Kind of Anti-Malware. It prevents files to be automatically executed from an external drive. A must have if people usually plug their pendrives to your computer)
Many viruses can spread via USB devices within the autorun feature. This program prevents this by creating a “vaccine” on your computer, disabling any autorun software from USBs to run automatically. You can download this program from the Panda USB website.
Free- Free version, malware fighter
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware’s detects and removes malware like worms, Trojans, rootkits, rogues, spyware, and more. Download from Malwarebytes website.
AVG (Windows, Mac): Good free anti virus that does a good job at protecting your computer from malware. Has a paid version, but free does fine for general use
Blocks viruses, spyware, and malware. Also includes link protection, including Facebook and Twitter links, and warns you of shady email attachments. Download AVG from cnet.
UltraISO (It mounts CD / DVD images as it were physical CD’s inside your PC)
An ISO program that not only mounts images, but can also create, edit, and burn them onto CD/DVD discs. Download UltraISO from their website.
Hiren’s Boot CD (Burnt into an actual CD / DVD. You will want to have it near when things start breaking / a computer doesn’t boot [It can also be made into a Pendrive with tools such as YUMI]).
Hiren’s Boot CD is another ISO program, but they specialize specifically in boot CD’s for backup and recovery purposes. It can also help with creating and managing partitions in drives. Download Hiren’s Boot CD from their website.
Free Photo Editing Software
Gimp (Windows, Mac, Linux): Free photo editing software and lightweight compared to Photoshop
GIMP is a GNU image manipulation program. If you don’t have the money for Photoshop, this is what you want. It’s compatible on almost every OS, and is even able to take add-ons and plug-ins to help enhance your experience. You can download GIMP from their website.
Pixlr is another photo editor capable of great things. This won’t have as many features as Photoshop or GIMP (at least in the free form), but it’s great for basic photo editing. Download Pixlr from their website.
Free Office Alternatives & Text Editors
Open Office (Windows, Mac, Linux): Good MS Office alternative as it allows you to create documents, spreadsheets and slideshows. It can also open up Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint’s and most other MS Office files.
A great little tool if you don’t want to shell out the money for MS Office. Includes programs to read/write documents, powerpoint presentations, spreadsheets, databases, and more. Download Open Office from their website.
While not an “office suite” per-se, Notepad++ is a great Notepad replacement, and can even edit source code. It is also available in many different languages. Download Notepad++ from their website.
Free Operating Systems
Ubuntu is a free and open-source Linux based OS that’s been around for over a decade. It’s a favorite among Linux users, and is much more user friendly than it was 10 years ago, with much more support and a big community. You can download Ubuntu from their website.
Windows 10 is the first version of windows that Microsoft is giving away for free. There are some strings attached, though. You can only upgrade to Windows 10 if you currently have an approved version of Windows 7 or 10. Also, you can only download it within the first year of release. Even with all of the hoops you gotta jump through, this is an entire OS that has been tested for months by real consumers (including me), and is sure to be a great download.
Blender is an open source, free, rendering software. You can render photos, 3D models, animations, and more. Download Blender from their website.
Transmission(Mac OS/Linux) /Transmission QT (Windows)
Transmission is a bittorrent client that is a great easy alternative to Utorrent, or other well known clients. You can download Transmission from this page.