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Top 10 Freeware Programs I Couldn’t Live Without

by James 14 November 2012 36 Comments

Hello there my freeware friends! Last week I was thinking about how many freeware programs I have installed in my PC, after the first batch of 51 free programs and the second one of 72 programs installed in the Freeware Mission. I have over 80 freeware programs installed in my Windows XP PC right now, but which of these programs are the ones that I like the most? Or maybe the correct question would be which are the freeware programs that I couldn’t live without? I thought about picking my favorite 10 freeware programs, the programs that I use daily, even several times each day. Let’s see which ones I picked for the top 10…
(you can click on each program name to read a full review of the respective freeware program)

1.Β Launchy – Almost every time it’s the first program that I run after starting my PC because it makes it a lot easier for me to launch the programs that I want to run. It’s a free lightweight program launcher and I definitely couldn’t see my computer life without it.

2.Β Chrome IconΒ Google Chrome – Can you live without a web browser? I surely can’t. I noticed that the first thing that I do after starting my PC is opening Google Chrome and answering your comments and emails πŸ™‚ Chrome is my favorite web browser, mainly because it’s faster than my former favorite, Mozilla Firefox.

3.Β Β Picasa 3 – Another crucial program for me is the image viewer, because I have some photos to see every day. Picasa is my favorite image viewer because it’s fast, reliable and offers me the features that I need.

4.Β Β PicPick – When I test freeware programs for this blog I always need a program that can make screenshot captures for me. The program that I’m using for this purpose (and not only for this) is PicPick. It’s a sort of Swiss Army Knife program, including a color picker and pixel ruler along with the screenshot capture capabilities.

5.Β Β GOM Media Player – Next up, video files. I guess you play a few video files every day too, so a video player is a must have program in any PC. My favorite is GOM Player – it can handle various file types and subtitles too.

6.Β SongBird IconΒ Songbird – I couldn’t live without music, and since I’m listening my music almost entirely on the PC I must have a good free audio player. My favorite is Songbird, much more than an audio player, highly customizable and expandable with addons and all sorts of plugins. If you didn’t use it until now you should definitely try it.

7.Β Β Glary Utilities – I have to keep my PC running smoothly, so I need a reliable free maintenance program. My pick is Glary Utilities, a powerful all-in-one utility that offers you a registry cleaner, disk cleaner, file splitter, memory optimizer, process manager, and I could go on and on for at least a few minutes. A must have for any Windows powered PC.

8.Β Β StarBurn – After eliminating the paid programs from my PC one of the programs that I found difficult to replace was Nero, the DVD burner. I’m glad I found StarBurn, a good free DVD burning program that offers all the features that I need in order not to miss Nero.

9.Β Β OpenOffice.org – Microsoft Office? I really don’t need it anymore since I installed OpenOffice.org, a great open source office suite. Don’t even think about buying Microsoft Office, download and use OpenOffice.org for free, it really works very well.

10.Β Β Avast – I guess you can’t even think about having a PC without an antivirus program installed. I’ve been using Avast for almost a whole year now and I had absolutely no problems with viruses or with the program. It has a small memory footprint and it did the job for me.

Whoops! Did I pick 10 already? Damn, I would have another 10 or twenty I couldn’t live without. Or maybe even 30 or 40, or maybe even more… πŸ™‚

Do you want to download the Freeware Mission Top 10 right now? Well, first download OpenOffice.org from here. And now download the other nine programs πŸ™‚


What about you? Which are the 10 freeware programs you couldn’t live without? You can vote here in the poll and add your own favorites to be voted by the others! I’m really looking forward to reading your comments too and finding out about your favorite freeware programs. Remember, running a Windows XP PC with only freeware programs is more than possible πŸ™‚




  • Gerald said:

    How interesting, being a fan of your freeware mission but ending up with quite a different list:

    – colibri for launching programs (has some nice tweaks, like googling through it or opening favourite maps or documents in stead of only programs);

    – opera and firefox for browsing (opera is the fastest and most powered browser around, but has sometimes problems with certain websites);

    – irfanView as image viewer (never really tried picasa);

    – mediaplayer: still looking for a decent one that does not start to annoy me after some time.

    – screamer radio for webradio;

    – dropbox for project work (i’m a student and have to work cooperatively a lot – dropbox is a must have then)

    – truecrypt and keepass for security reasons.

    But well, a lot depends on taste – I love your list too!

  • Johnny Karp said:

    Gerald, thanks for posting your favorites! It depends on taste and priorities I think. For instance I’m using Dropbox too, it’s a very good program, but I wouldn’t put it in the top ten because I’m not using it that often. That’s why I posted this list after all, to get to compare it with your top tens and maybe find out about good freeware programs that I (we) didn’t know about.

    EDIT: I added your favorites in the poll so that people like the same programs can vote for them. You can do that too πŸ™‚

  • Dusan said:

    Mine top ten list is:
    1. Opera (web browser)
    2. KMPlayer ( all format player)
    3. Aimp (audio player)
    3. Cryptload (for rapidshare,megaupload and similar downloads)
    4. Free download manager
    5. Gadwin Print Screen
    6. XN View (picture viewer….and more)
    7. 7 zip ( for archive files)
    8. Unlocker ( http://ccollomb.free.fr/unlocker/ )

  • Johnny Karp said:

    Thanks a lot for your input, I’ll add your favorites to the poll as soon as I can.

  • joppe said:

    Hi, first, I absolutely love your site and your mission, I recommend your site to as much people as I can.
    Second, can you put the ‘entire list’ option back on the site? the seperate categories are nice, but I really liked to have the entire list to look at and to think: ” can I use this? it looks interesting and I would’ve never thought of it being useful, but Johnny put it up there with a reason.. hmmm, ok I’ll try it! ”
    keep up the good work!

  • Johnny Karp said:

    Thanks a lot for your kind comment. Dividing the list into categories was made because there were many users that requested it. Actually you’re the first one that says it was better before πŸ™‚ I’ll think about your suggestion and maybe put the whole list back up again along with the nice categories, so that everybody would be happy.

  • hack said:

    nice list but I couldn’t live without mozilla firefox

    Mine top ten list is:

    1. Mozzila Firefox
    2.VLC media Player
    3.Nero Burnig Rom
    4. Microsoft Office
    5.Windows Live Messenger
    8.Win Zip
    9. Ad-Aware 2007
    10.Desktop Manager

  • Johnny Karp said:

    You have a nice list too but Microsoft Office or Nero are far from being freeware, I can definitely live without those πŸ™‚

  • hack said:

    @Johnny Karp
    I forgot which are free and which are not πŸ™‚
    Let¨s say , this is my top 10 software , which I
    most often use
    Fortunately, today we can find almost everything on internet for free katz, torrent …..cracking…

  • Johnny Karp said:

    I prefer using freeware instead of grabbing cracked versions of paid software. Since I’m using only freeware programs in my PC I can’t say I miss any of the paid programs I was using before, including Nero or MS Office.

  • Peewee Cruz said:

    Instead of Launchy and Colibri, i use Find and Run Robot. Its faster and doesn’t makes my slow pc slower. Still sticking to firefox even Chrome is a tempter. I now use Internet Download Manager instead of FDM because its faster. Instead of Keepass i use Lastpass. Still using MS Office. 7-zip is the best aswell as WinRar. Currently using AVG which is fine but not so. I use GOM before but now i use VLC version 8. I hated the latest version of VLC as its slow to launch.

  • Johnny Karp said:

    @Peewee Cruz
    Thanks for your comments (not only on this post) and for your suggestions. I’ll keep an eye on the programs you recommended.

  • S. Phibber McGee said:

    CHeck out Drive Sentry for inclusion in your list.

  • thebluejay said:

    My favorite freeware app is now LastPass. It’s just as good if not better than Roboform. I couldn’t live without it. Really!

  • Brian said:

    I like you list. I’ve never used GOM before and I just grabbed it based on your recommendation and I like it much better then VLC. Thanks. πŸ™‚

  • Johnny Karp said:

    I’m very happy that my recommendation was useful, I hope that my future reviews won’t be disappointing πŸ™‚

  • Cokehead said:

    I absolutely LOVE Terracopy. You should take a look at it. It makes copying/moving files MUCH faster; I’m not 100% sure exactly how it works; I believe it places files next to eachother on the hard drive, making the head having to move less; plus it seems to precache files in advance as you copy them.

    Overall, it’s just faster, and it’s one of those tiny programs you don’t notice until you need to use it πŸ™‚

  • Johnny Karp said:

    Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll give Terracopy a try soon.

  • Tino Didriksen said:

    GOM Media Player is a really bad choice. It violates the GPL and is in the ffmpeg Hall of Shame for doing so (see http://ffmpeg.mplayerhq.hu/shame.html ). VLC is the better player.

  • Johnny Karp said:

    I’m not going to explain again why I prefer GOM and not VLC. About the whole hall of shame thing, in my view it’s more of an error from the people who make GOM than a crime.

  • gman said:

    No vlc or pidgin?

    1. Pidgin (IM program for AIM and others)
    2. Firefox (web browsing)
    3. VLC (plays prety much any media file)
    4. Winamp (music)
    5. OpenOffice
    6. Daemon Tools
    7. Foxit Reader (pdf reader, faster than acrobat imo)
    8. ImgBurn (burning isos)

  • Johnny Karp said:

    Thanks for sharing your favorites, I added them to the poll.

  • lvleph said:

    You certainly can have a PC with out virus protection. I use Linux, so I don’t have to worry about viruses on my computer.

  • Johnny Karp said:

    I have enough virus protection, don’t worry. I didn’t have virus problems over the past 2 or 3 years, but I agree that Linux is a way better solution if you want to stay virus free.

  • Tisi said:

    I use Flock for a browser. It was also made by Mozilla.
    Digsby is an awesome IM program that covers a lot. Last I checked they had it for windows and were working on the mac and linux versions.
    Open Office is awesome except for the lack of OneNote, which I love.

    Also, Gimp should REALLY be up there.

  • Johnny Karp said:

    Hey Tisi, thanks for sharing your favorites. I’m also using Digsby and I’m a little bit surprised myself that Gimp isn’t up there. I’ll be adding your favorites to the poll a.s.a.p.

  • Tisi said:

    oh, and lvleph, that’s not very nice. I have Linux and Windows, and while most viruses that you can pick up on Linux without being totally stupid don’t do anything on your Linux, many of them can easily spread to your friends and coworkers who use windows. Avast ftw!

  • shiyon said:

    may know why opera is given times?
    it will split the number of votes for my favorite browser, although it is still not at the top πŸ™

  • Johnny Karp said:

    I really don’t understand your question πŸ™‚

  • shiyon said:

    Mr. Karp, thanks for considering my comment. sorry that i missed the word ‘two’ in it… πŸ™‚
    actually my question was that why was opera given two times in the polling list. i split the votes into two.
    but im happy that it appeared in the final top ten. πŸ˜€

  • Johnny Karp said:

    I got it now. Don’t worry, the votes were counted πŸ™‚

  • Phaoloo said:

    It’s a little bit weird that a blogger dislike Windows Live Writer πŸ˜€
    Thanks for a great list. I love Picasa and Avast.

  • Johnny Karp said:

    I don’t dislike Live Writer, I just don’t like it enough πŸ™‚ I prefer using the plain normal WordPress features, it’s more than enough for me.

  • tf76 said:

    Mines listed on my site

    Nice work πŸ™‚

    Where the best is free

  • DVDSoft said:

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