Best Free Windows Desktop Software

The Editors' Choice List - Page Index
Other Language?
  Read this article in Spanish
  Read this article in Chinese
How To Use This List

This is a multi-page article. To quickly find what you want, either:

  1. Check out the Page Index above, or
  2. View everything as one huge page by clicking here .

Gizmo's Freeware Top PickBest Freeware for WindowsWelcome to the Gizmo's Freeware Editors' Choice List, where you'll find a collection of the very best freeware for Windows from our site.

This really is a "best of the best" list for free Windows applications. Most of the products in this list have been awarded the coveted "Gizmo's Freeware Top Pick" award signifying they are the best free product in their class. We've also included some other outstanding products that have impressed our editors with their usefulness and professionalism.

We suggest you browse the whole list at your leisure as you may be surprised what freeware gems you will discover. The pathologically impatient can use the Page Index below.

Caution: Some of these recommendations involve advanced system tasks like cleaning the Windows registry so be sure to backup or image your system first.

What's New

Items added or updated most recently: NewComodo Backup NewFreeCommander XE  NewPrivateFirewall  |NewHWiNFO  |NewLocate32  |NewLaunchy  |360Amigo  |SearchMyFiles   |Axcrypt  | Fairstars CD Ripper


The Editors' Choice List for best free Windows apps now includes 103 applications in 82 categories. To read brief descriptions of the applications, click a page number or a category icon below.

  • Page 1. Introduction / What's New / Summary
  • Page 2. Security and Privacy
    Best Free Antivirus for Windows - Avast! Free Antivirus | Microsoft Security Essentials | Panda Cloud Antivirus
    Best Free Firewall for Windows - PrivateFirewall
    Best Free Adware/Spyware/Scumware Remover for Windows - Spybot
    Best Free Browser Protection Utility for Windows - Sandboxie
    Best Free Anonymous Surfing Service for Windows - CyberGhost VPN
    Best Free Software Update Monitor for Windows - Secunia PSI | Software Update Monitor (SUMo)
    Best Free Trojan Scanner for Windows - Emsisoft Anti Malware
    Best Free Rootkit Scanner for Windows - Kaspersky TDSSKiller
    Best Free HIPS for Windows - Malware Defender
    Best Free Site Link Adviser for Windows - WOT
    Best Free Parental Filter for Windows - Norton Safety Minder
  • Page 3. Cleanup, Tune and System Utilities
    Best Free File Cleaner for Windows - CCleaner
    Best Free PC Tune-up Utility for Windows - 360Amigo
    Best Free Registry Cleaner for Windows - Wise Registry Cleaner
    Best Free Disk De-fragmenter for Windows - UltraDefrag
    Best Free Secure Erase Utility for Windows - Eraser
    Best Free Startup Manager for Windows - Autoruns
    Best Free Duplicate File Detector for Windows - SearchMyFiles
    Best Free Disk Space Analyzer for Windows - SpaceSniffer
    Best Free Program Uninstaller for Windows - Revo Uninstaller
    Best Free System Information Utility for Windows - HWiNFO
    Best Free Process Viewer for Windows - SystemExplorer
  • Page 4. File and Desktop Utilities
    Best Free Drive Imaging Software for Windows - Macrium Reflect Free Edition
    Best Free Folder Synchronization Utility for Windows - FreeFileSync | Allway Sync
    Best Free Backup Software for Windows -Comodo Backup
    Best Free File Manager for Windows - FreeCommander XE
    Best Free File Encryption Utility for Windows - AxCrypt
    Best Free Partition Manager for Windows - MiniTool Partition Wizard
    Best Free File Comparison Utility for Windows - WinMerge | KDiff
    Best Free File Copy Utility for Windows - FastCopy
    Best Free Data Recovery Utility for Windows - Mini Tool Power Data Recovery
    Best Free File Rename Utility for Windows - File Renamer Basic
    Best Free File Archiver or Zip Utility for Windows - 7-Zip
    Best Free Onscreen Keyboard (Accessibility) for Windows - Click-N-Type
    Best Free Onscreen Keyboard (Security) for Windows - Neo's SafeKeys
    Best Free Desktop Search Utility for Windows - Locate32
    Best Free Virtual Desktop Manager for Windows - Dexpot
    Best Free Program Launcher for Windows - Launchy
  • Page 5. Image and Photo
    Best Free Screen Capture Utility for Windows - Screenshot Captor
    Best Free High Dynamic Range (HDR) Software for Windows - Luminance HDR
    Best Free Digital Image Viewer for Windows - Zoner Photo Studio Free
    Best Free Digital Image Editor for Windows - LightBox Image Editor |
    Best Free Paint Program for Windows - Project DogWaffle
    Best Free CAD Program for Windows - Google Sketchup
    Best Free Photo Slideshow Software for Windows - Photo Story
    Best Free Photo Organizer for Windows - FastStone
  • Page 6. Internet, Email and Networking
    Best Free Web Browser for Windows - Google Chrome | Mozilla Firefox | Opera
    Best Free Email Client for Windows - Mozilla Thunderbird
    Best Free Download Manager for Windows - Free Download Manager
    Best Free BitTorrent Client for Windows - Tixati
    Best Free Remote Access Software for Windows - Teamviewer
    Best Free HTML Editor for Windows - KompoZer
    Best Free Web Form Filler or Password Manager for Windows - LastPass
    Best Free Wi-Fi Network Finder Utility for Windows - Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector
    Best Free Telnet/SSH Terminal Emulator for Windows - Dave's Telnet
    Best Free FTP Client for Windows - Fire FTP
  • Page 7. Audio and Video
    Best Free CD / DVD Burning Software for Windows - ImgBurn
    Best Free Media Player for Windows - PotPlayer | VLC Media Player | The KMPlayer
    Best Free Music Player and Organizer for Windows - Jaangle
    Best Free MP3 Tag Editor for Windows - TagScanner
    Best Free Video Editor for Windows - VideoDub
    Best Free Audio Editing Software for Windows - Audacity
    Best Free Audio & Video Format Conversion for Windows - Freemake Video Converter
    Best Free Streaming Media Recorder for Windows - Jing
    Best Free CD & DVD Emulation Software for Windows - Gizmo Drive
    Best Free Music Creation for Windows - LMMS (Linux Multimedia Studio)
    Best Free DVD Ripper for Windows - HandBrake
    Best Free CD Ripper for Windows - Fairstars CD Ripper
    Best Free Media Centre for Windows - XBMC
    Best Free Online TV Viewer for Windows - JLC's Internet TV Viewer
  • Page 8. Office and Productivity
    Best Free PDF Tools for Windows - PDFill PDF Tools
    Best Free PDF Writer for Windows - Bullzip PDF Printer
    Best Free PDF Reader/Viewer for Windows - PDF-XChange Viewer
    Best Free Finance Software for Windows - GnuCash
    Best Free Office Suite for Windows - Kingsoft Office
    Best Free World Clock for Windows - Wim's World Clock
    Best Free Genealogy or Family Tree Software for Windows - Legacy Standard
    Best Free Project Manager for Windows - Open Workbench
    Best Free Word Processor for Windows - Jarte
    Best Free Text Editor for Windows - EditPad Lite
    Best Free Personal Information Manager for Windows - Pimero Free Edition
    Best Free Software Suite for Windows - LiberKey
  • Page 9. Still Reading?
    Basic Safe Computing Guides
    Top How-to Guides
    Most Unique Hot Finds!
    Top Daily Tech Treats
    Top Tech Tips
    Top Educational Articles
    Top Game Articles
    Visit Our Home Page or Find the Latest Stuff
Related Links


This software category is maintained by MidnightCowboy. Registered members can contact MidnightCowboy with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here.

Back to Page Index

Share this
Average: 4.6 (559 votes)
Your rating: None


by Babelbest on 7. April 2014 - 5:40  (115543)

Great, wonderful feedback

by nicholasbbyrd on 26. November 2013 - 18:17  (112554)

I was wondering if anyone has used any of the recent versions of Puran Utilities, especially Puran Defrag since they all became free for personal and non-commercial use? Now,it does bundle with an opt-out version of the Babylon Toolbar but then so do many free utilities these days, or at least some toolbar such as Bing or Google. The free version does include boot-time defragmentation of the MFT, Pagefile, and systems files. I'm testing it today, it seems like the site has a lot of useful utilities and I watched it carefully with a file monitoring program during install, didn't seem to bring anything unwanted in.

Edit: I also wanted to thank you and your team for this very useful website, it's allowed me to feel comfortable directing some of my less tech-savy, but curious to learn, friends and clients to a site that I know will give a thorough peer review before giving any piece of software the okay. I've found quite a few here myself, including ones I now own a small business license for, Teamviewer alone allowed me to expand my still small but growing tech service company.

by ejmfoley on 21. October 2013 - 6:34  (111630)

S.I.W. isn't free any longer.

by joeguru on 28. October 2013 - 3:47  (111820)

The portable version our link provides is free.

by RandyDoqa on 12. September 2013 - 1:14  (110660)

Can you please update this page and the pages "2 - 8" in a dynamic way, because i find differences in the best choices between those pages and the original page which have the review of the software, and in some reviews as "Best Free Antivirus for Windows" and "Best Free Firewall for Windows" i found that the best choices doesn't have the highest rate by the person who updated the reviews, so please i need a clear view to know what is the best choice in every category.

I rely on your website to get the best freewares for my PCs, and i am completely sure that other millions of users did too, so please keep all the reviews up to date and clear in the best choices.

By the way if you need a help in updating those pages i can do it for you, i noticed that the last update was in 8 of July and we are in 12 of September, it is a long distance, so if i can help i am ready for that.

And thank you so much for your reviews.

by joeguru on 15. September 2013 - 14:39  (110728)

Thank you again for pointing out the issues. As the new editor for this category I reviewed all the pages and Best Of entries finding a total of 6 issues. These will be resolved asap. Also thank you for offering to help. If you would like to be an editor, please see the link titled Become a Reviewer in the left hand sidebar menu.

by blaszta on 5. March 2013 - 9:34  (105920)

No review on AOMEI Backupper? I found it has very extensive feature for disk imaging software, plus it's free for personal and commercial use.

The product you posted has an overall poor WOT rating (Web Of Trust) and has been spammed here on numerous occasions therefore it will not be featured. MC - Site Manager.

by blaszta on 5. March 2013 - 9:40  (105956)

My WOT icon still green when I visit the website. That's very unfortunate.. looks like a good program but I can't find any review of AOMEI Backupper from reputable website yet.

by MidnightCowboy on 5. March 2013 - 9:49  (105959)

Two of the ratings are already at orange and the others are marginal. MC - Site Manager.

by blaszta on 5. March 2013 - 9:56  (105961)

Oh I see.. I only see the WOT icon at the end of the link (I'm using WOT extension in Chrome), never actually roll over on it to see the details :)

by MidnightCowboy on 5. March 2013 - 10:03  (105962)

Sometimes the WOT ratings can be manipulated maliciously by say rival vendors or fanboys of other products but this practice is not as widespread as the "knockers" of WOT would have you believe, and anyone so affected can have it rectified via dialogue with Web Of Trust. That said, we were inundated with Aomei spam here at one point which is no doubt where many of the adverse ratings stem from. MC - Site Manager.

by tberi on 27. January 2013 - 20:21  (104868)

I am unable to access my registry server license key # to complete/activate the initial scan/repair process for [name removed].

by MidnightCowboy on 27. January 2013 - 23:37  (104872)

Please contact the support service from where you obtained the product. MC - Site Manager.

by dbrew4 on 3. January 2013 - 13:36  (104197)

I think MalwareBytes Anti-Malware is great. Thanks for the review. I have been using Spybot and Avast for years and after a scan, MalwareBytes picked up several threats that Spybot and Avast missed. I know that MalwareBytes has a paid full time product but is using Avast and MalwareBytes (as on-demand) sufficient?

by MidnightCowboy on 3. January 2013 - 13:43  (104198)

No one or even two things are "sufficient" on their own or together. Rather, a layered strategy covering the whole Windows system and how it is operated is necessary in order to reduce your risk to the minimum possible. There is more here. MC - Site Manager.

by GeorgeH on 2. January 2013 - 16:46  (104168)

UltraDefrag doesn't say it will work on Windows 8 but I tried the portable version and it works quite well on Win8. The help says the optimizer part of the program put the most used files at the beginning of the disc and it seems to make my computer run faster. It did take a couple of hours to run although the disc had never been defragged before and was severely fragmented.

Thanks for the review,


by dlwatib (not verified) on 25. November 2012 - 10:03  (102875)

What I look for in a PDF reader is a lightweight program that will load quickly, yet support any PDF I throw at it, and let me edit any form in it. I would also like it to let me copy text and images to the clipboard and print or export portions of it. Foxit Reader performs admirably for me. The only time it doesn't do what I want it to is when the document author denied permission for certain functions. IMHO it should merit at least a mention on your list.

by MidnightCowboy on 25. November 2012 - 10:07  (102876)
by Brolly (not verified) on 21. November 2012 - 8:47  (102663)

I was coming here hoping to find apps for windows 8. Hopefully you will have a new section soon dedicated to start screen apps.

by GeorgeH on 2. January 2013 - 16:47  (104169)

See my comment on 1/2/2013.


by MidnightCowboy on 21. November 2012 - 8:58  (102664)

We are working on this at the moment. Progress will depend ultimately on how much time our existing team can devote to this project and/or if new volunteers come forward to help. MC - Site Manager.

by Brolly (not verified) on 21. November 2012 - 9:20  (102665)

I'll check back later then. It shouldn't be too difficult as the app store is pretty lacking at the moment, but of course they are adding new ones every day. Anyhow best of luck and thanks for all the hard work.

by Truhiphopdoll (not verified) on 19. October 2012 - 18:07  (101071)

Long time user, first time commentor.

This is going to get kick back from fan boys I imagine, but the squeaky wheel always gets oil right?

Please consider Wp7 and WP8 user in app recommendations. Though our community is small, we are growing. =)

by macsband on 7. October 2012 - 3:12  (100404)

Thank you for leading me to Macrium Reflect Drive Imaging Program!!

by theJman on 13. September 2012 - 7:53  (99195)

That's a good list! Cheers guys

by mouser (not verified) on 10. September 2012 - 3:34  (99028)

It's a real honor to have one of my program's on the list. Gizmo's site has become *THE* website I send people to when they ask me "what's the best free program to xyz". There are some great freeware blogs out there and some great software sites, but right now there simply is no one else that is coming close to providing the kind of serious recommendations that you guys are doing. It's been a real joy to watch the site evolve and grow.

-mouser from

by MidnightCowboy on 10. September 2012 - 3:58  (99029)

Thank you for the kind words. It seems to us that you guys over at Donation Coder are also doing a great job for the same cause. :)

by David Morgan (not verified) on 8. September 2012 - 0:49  (98939)

The best free site on the net; no need to search others! Great site. Thank you everyone. I also enjoy reading the Comments from others.

by Brooklynne (not verified) on 3. November 2012 - 13:12  (101792)

This website has all I need and I can find it easily. When I found this website I wouldn't go to another. I didn't go to another because well all I needed was right here. I was glad I found it and I want everybody to at least try it. It is an amazing experience and I hope this stays the way it is forever. I like everybody's post it shows how good this website is. I hope that everybody can find this website.

by Monamie12 on 4. November 2012 - 5:52  (101840)

Awesome feedback! Yes keep on checking and don't hesitate to throw questions anytime

Gizmos Needs You

Gizmo's Freeware is Recruiting

 We are looking for people with skills or interest in the following areas:
 -  Mobile Platform App Reviews for Android and iOS
 -  Windows, Mac and Linux software reviews       Interested? Click here