Five All-Time Favorite Free Utilities

It's that time of year when everybody is making lists so here's one from me. Here are my five all-time favorite free utilities. They have been stalwarts on my systems over the years and are still going strong.  Except for the last one on my list they are all actively updated. They may not be new but they are tried and true performers.


Almost everybody needs a good text editor and my favorite is Notepad++. I use it almost every day. Not only does it have the standard useful editorial features like "search and replace" but also it has plug-ins that add functions like a spell checker. It also has a macro feature. I also use it frequently for HTML coding. It's a workhorse on my systems. 


Another utility that gets a lot of use is the file archiver 7-Zip. It has been my zip utility for a long time. It's fast and versatile and works for a variety of archive formats.


Another  long-time favorite is IrfanView. This graphics editor and viewer may be venerable but it has been continuously updated over the years. It comes with an assortment of plug-ins. Photographers and artists might want something with more features but this program satisfies the needs of many PC users. I upload a lot of graphics to Internet pages and I use IrfanView for editing and resizing graphics all the time.


Not everybody needs  FTP software but, if you do, Filezilla is hard to beat for that occasion when you need to upload something to the Internet.

Karen's Replicator

The late Karen Kenworthy was the developer of many useful utilities and this folder backup utility is one I use all the time. It is no longer supported but it works just fine in Windows 7 64-bit.

And there you have it - my favorite all-time utilities. Yours are probably different so why not tell us your favorites in the comments?

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by nurmiroad on 28. December 2012 - 0:03  (104029)

As an alternative to Windows Live Mail, I highly recommend DreamMail.

by Yankiwi on 24. December 2012 - 2:32  (103910)

For Firefox users who need an FTP function, I've found the FireFTP add-on to be superb, very simple and easy to use.

by nslopeofw on 22. December 2012 - 10:46  (103864)

winpatrol..........always first utility after firewall, and antivirus

secuniaPSI.........Keeps me secure and up to date

Glary utilities....Lots of good stuff in here

tinyspell..........Awesome spell check that integrates into any program, very small.

Superantispyware...Obvious reasons.

I actually pay for most utilities that i use a lot, which is everything here but SecuniaPSI. I believe in paying for products and rewarding the developer because their programs are so good. But, each one has a freeware that is awesome as well. Just have to put up with some ads occasionally.

by woodsikov on 21. December 2012 - 23:22  (103850)

Does Filezilla still store passwords as plain text?

by v.laurie on 22. December 2012 - 0:13  (103851)

Not in the Site Manager

by lesam on 21. December 2012 - 12:23  (103831)

The late great Karen Kenworthy ( Karen's Replicator and many other useful apps ) was, and Irfan Skiljan ( Irfanview ) is, indeed " old school ".
They developed and freely shared great apps which they constantly updated and improved.
As a novice of advanced age in 1999 I installed both apps and have used them ever since. I had occasion to seek advice from both and my emails were answered promptly with simple explanation and great patience.
Both apps deserve top billing on any recommended freeware list.

by George.J on 20. December 2012 - 22:52  (103809)

This is my list:

1. Linux Operating System [Wonder how could anyone forget it ;)]
2. CCleaner
3. WinPatrol
4. Audacity
5. MalwareBytes

Honourable Mention:
Sandboxie (A Shareware having free version)

by v.laurie on 20. December 2012 - 23:32  (103810)

Linux?! You and I have a different notion of what constitutes a "utility".:} I deliberately omitted big programs like browsers. I also omitted security software, otherwise my list would have included WinPatrol and MalwareBytes also.

by George.J on 20. December 2012 - 23:50  (103811)

I was just being enthusiastic about Linux, :) and moreover I thought you were referring to "Top 5 Free Products".

I chose programs that has alternatives only way behind it in it's league, or is a unique product in itself.

Top Browsers has alternatives that's as good as them. Firefox has Chrome and Opera etc. About Security softwares, Avast has AVG, MSE and Avira. So it all gets cancelled out, because if you wish to include one then there's another :)

by mikmik on 20. December 2012 - 20:12  (103804)

I use PSPad. Two things bug me about it, and that is that word wrap can only be set to specific lengths, and the file compare could be better. Has anyone used PSPad and can compare? I'm going to try Notepad++ anyways, but I seem to recall not liking it as much as PSPad.

Jeeze, that Karen Kenworthy sure wrote a lot of simple but handy programs, not to mention registry edits. Reminds of a guy named Jan 'something' that I can't recall at the moment.

The basic difference for me from the list is that I install Comodo program manager at #5.

by pottster on 20. December 2012 - 16:45  (103798)

I didn't know about Karen Kenworthy. That's very sad to hear. She was "old school" in the best sense of that expression. Karen's Directory Printer has been useful for me since early windows days.

Agree wholeheartedly with N++.

My favourite utility is probably SlickRun - so versatile and powerful I can't imagine my pooter without it. I find that it's even more versatile and powerful when used to run specialised AHK scripts which I don't use frequently - only have to remember the name and not the key combination.

by Jojo Yee on 20. December 2012 - 15:47  (103795)

A good choice of five all-time favorite utilities Vic. I use these free tools almost daily and have two same as yours:

1. Notepad++
2. 7-Zip
3. Paint.Net
4. Core FTP LE
5. SyncBack (The latest version is SyncBackFree version 6 at 10.9 MB, but I'm keeping and running the old version 3.2.26 as it's light at 1.9 MB and works well for me.)

by v.laurie on 20. December 2012 - 17:10  (103801)

Paint.Net is a good choice instead of IrfanView. If I weren't so used to Irfan, I might switch.

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