About this site

Gizmo's Freeware

Gizmo's Freeware is a non-commercial community website staffed entirely by volunteers.

Our primary function is to help you select the best freeware product for your particular needs.

The best freeware programs are as good as or better than their commercial counterparts but finding the most appropriate program can be challenging.

Sure, there are dozens of freeware download sites on the web, but few of these actually help you select the best program for your needs.

That's what we do here. No downloads, just honest advice and useful guidance.

It's honest because this is a community-based site staffed by volunteers and we have no commercial affiliations.

In August 2010, PC Magazine included Gizmo's Freeware in its "100 Top Websites of 2010."


How to use this site

Let's say you want a free firewall. That's not a problem as there are over thirty available.

The real problem is which one you should choose to meet your needs.

At this site it's easy; just go to our review of free firewalls. There you will find recommendations for average users and advanced users as well. And although there are no downloads on this site we provide links where you can safely and securely download the product you want.

To find our firewall reviews and recommendations just type in "firewall" into the search box that appears at the top right of every page. Alternatively select the "Security" category from the home page and then select "Firewalls" from the list of security products presented to you.

Once you've found the firewalls review page you'll be quickly able to find the product you want.  Furthermore you will know that what you have selected is the best available.

Site History and Origin:  "The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities"

This community-based site is operated by Ian "Gizmo" Richards with the able assistance of over 90 volunteer site editors.

Until July 2008 Gizmo was the editor of "Support Alert", a  highly regarded monthly technical newsletter that was distributed to over 150,000 subscribers. This site is an evolutionary development of an earlier site associated with the newsletter that was started in October 2000.  This site was the home of Gizmo's highly popular list of the "46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities."   Over time that list grew well beyond 46 and reached the point where it could not be maintained by one person. 

The current community site started operation in May 2008.  It utilizes the contribution of dozens of volunteer editors who edit and moderate suggestions from thousands of site visitors.  As a result the range of free software covered by this site is ever increasing and quality of the reviews ever improving.

The quality of the site's content and its lack of commercial affiliation have contributed to its skyrocketing popularity.  As of  November 2011 it was rated by Alexa in the top 3000 sites in English speaking countries and in the top 5,000 worldwide with more than 100,000 people visiting the site every day. It is also the most bookmarked site under "freeware" at most of the web's major bookmarking services.


Do I have to register?

No, site registration is only necessary if you wish to post to our forum or leave comments at the end of our reviews. Apart from that, there is no need to register as all the freeware information on this site is publicly accessible.

Registered users are never emailed. If you want to be emailed with our latest finds you need to be separately signed up to our RSS or email notifications - see below.

How do I post a question to your freeware forum?

You can find full instructions how to post here.

Do you have premium content?

No, this is a free site and will remain that way.

I'm a software developer, how can I get my product listed?

Easy; make it one of the best products in its class.

Here at Gizmo's Freeware we only list the top products so if your product is good enough it will be listed for free.  You cannot pay to get listed at Gizmo's Freeware.

If your product is free and of sufficient quality then you may bring it to our attention by contacting the editor of the software category to which your product belongs. To do this:

1. Go to our home page and login. If you are not yet registered then create an account. It is free and immediate.

1. From the home page identify the correct software category for your product

2. Go to the review for that category

3. Click on the editor's name that appears at the top of the review and select "Contact"

4. State what your product does and what features it offers that you consider superior to our current recommendations for products in that category.

The editor will contact you if he/she considers the product to be of interest. If it cuts the mustard it will be listed without charge.

Note that if a particular software category does not currently have an editor you can use the site contact form to let us know about your product.

How do I advertise my products on your site?

You can't as we don't accept ads from individual advertisers. The only ads we run are via Google AdSense. This is done to maintain our independence as our only relationship is with Google not the individual advertisers who use Google's AdSense/AdWords service.

You are of course free to buy advertising from Google but that is no guarantee that Google will choose to run your ads on our site.

How is this site funded?

This is a community based site and our aspiration is to keep the site independent and non-commercial. We are not affiliated with any commercial site or software developer.

We try to fund this site by donations from site visitors and selling "Gizmo's Freeware" branded merchandise. Any shortfall is funded with advertising.

We only carry advertising from Google AdSense. That way we have no dealing with advertisers just with Google. This means we are totally free of any advertiser pressure and able to maintain total independence.

How can I find out about your latest freeware finds?

Sign up to one of our RSS feeds or subscribe to our email notifications from the RSS feeds. Full details of the various feeds we offer can be found here.

You can sign up to any of these services using the form at the top left of every page on the site including this page.

You can also "like" our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter, both of which contain the same information as our RSS feed and email notifications.

Is this site related to Windows Secrets?

No, Gizmo and this website have no ownership in Windows Secrets newsletter or their website and vice versa. Additionally we don't have any co-operative arrangements with Windows Secrets; both sites are totally independent.

People get confused on this as the Windows Secrets website does contain many freeware articles and recommendations that were originally published in Gizmo's old Support Alert newsletter. Windows Secrets obtained this material as a result of the merger of Support Alert with Windows Secrets newsletter in July 2008.  Please note that some of this material has not been updated and may no longer reflect the view and opinions of Gizmo or this website.

Additionally, as part of the newsletter merger, Gizmo agreed to write two new articles per month for Windows Secrets newsletter for a period of two years until July 2010.  He no longer writes for Windows Secrets and has no connection with them.

Gizmo's Freeware does not publish a newsletter but does publish a RSS feed that lists recent freeware finds, Windows tips, informative articles and more. 

If you do not have an RSS reader you can subscribe to the feed by email, via Facebook or Twitter. You can subscribe to the feed using any of these means by using the form at the top left of this page.

Where can I find back issues of Gizmo's newsletter?

The newsletter ceased publication in June 2008 but all back issues, including the premium paid edition, are freely available on this site here. This includes a search facility. From the same location you can also download a searchable archive of all back issues.

Is there a foreign language version of your site?

No but our volunteers have hand translated a number of our most popular articles into Spanish and Chinese. You can find a full listing of the translated articles here:

Spanish articles

Chinese articles

Where can I find your old forum?

Our new vBulletin based forum was introduced in February 2009 but the content of the old forum can still be accessed here.  The old forum is no longer active and posts will not be answered.


Gizmo can be contacted using the site contact form.

Individual editors may be contacted by clicking on their names that appear on their review pages. Note that only registered site users can contact individual editors. Anyone can register by creating an account from the left sidebar. It is quick and immediate.


Gizmo Richards is available for press, radio and TV interview by phone or in-person.

You can listen to a one hour radio interview Gizmo did with PodNutz in Oct 2010 here.

Or another longer interview in May 2011 on the nationally syndicated "Computer America" radio show here.

A background article about Gizmo and techsupportalert.com was featured in Ziff-Davis Innovations in December 2008 and can be viewed here. (PDF file)

Gizmo can be contacted using the site contact form.

Press releases

How can I help?

You can help this site in four ways:

  1. Help spread the word by telling your friends and colleagues about the site. Better still include a link to our site in your blog, website, forum or newsgroup using these instructions.
  2. Become a volunteer software reviewer and help make the site even better.
  3. Suggest a hot product or contribute an article or review.
  4. Help keep this site independent and as ad-free as possible by buying a Gizmo Cap or T-shirt or by donating.

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