Windows Desktop Software - Editors Choice Selection

 File and Desktop Utilities

Best Free Backup Software for Windows

Product ScreenshotComodo Backup -- Download | Review

"Comodo does offer full backup, incremental and differential as well as Shadow Copy. There are options to choose the level of compression from none to maximum, and the backup format. Types of backup formats include CBU file, simple copy, ZIP file, ISO file, self-extracting CBU file and file sync. "

Related: See here or here for related online apps and services.

What's it for? - The intention of file based backup software is to backup important data you create. Use backup software to save document files, browser favorites, pictures, videos and other data, documents and media. Some may perform imaging or cloning, most will not create a system startup disk to restore from.


Best Free Data Recovery Utility for Windows

Mini Tool Power Data Recovery -- Download | Review

Recover data after accidentally deleting it.


Best Free Desktop Search Utility for Windows

Locate32 -- Review

"Locate32 uses databases to store information about directory structures and uses these databases in searches."


Best Free Drive Imaging Software for Windows

Product ScreenshotMacrium Reflect Free Edition -- Download | Review

"A very solid application that is great at what it does. It offers a convenient and easy way to schedule backups with the XML definitions files via the GUI. The program now has capability, the possibly unique of free imagers, of cloning your working, running system, very very handy. It's already made my life easier."

Related: For guidance on drive imaging, see Gizmo's three part article, encouragingly named "Never Re-install Windows Again" -- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

What's it for? - Disk Imaging has rapidly become a must have tool for most users because of its convenience, speed, and ease of use. It nearly eliminates any reason at all for going through the painful process of completely reinstalling, re-updating, and re-customizing Windows. A user can quickly recover from a system crash or a bad virus infection by simply restoring to a backup image.


Best Free File Archiver or Zip Utility for Windows

7-Zip -- Download | Review

Archive files/folders to better transfer, store, and organize your data. Chosen for Gizmo's 9 great freeware.


Best Free File Comparison Utility for Windows

WinMerge or KDiff3 -- Review

"Compare and merge the differences between two (or more) versions of the same text file, or detect variations between two different sets of data."


Best Free File Copy Utility for Windows

FastCopy -- Download | Review

"FastCopy is the Fastest Copy/Delete Software on Windows."


Best Free File Encryption Utility for Windows

Axcrypt -- Download | Review

AxCrypt provides secure AES-128 encryption of single files using passwords, and optionally key-files as well, which AxCrypt can generate for you. Usage is wonderfully simple. To encrypt a file or files in a folder, just right-click the file or folder and select "encrypt". Simply double-clicking an encrypted file lets you edit or view it with the program of your choice (you must supply the password). Closing an open file automatically re-encrypts the file. Self-decrypting files are also supported, removing the need to install AxCrypt to decrypt.

Related: Learn about other important steps/cautions beyond encryption here.

What's it for? - Encryption is normally used to protect highly sensitive documents, but it's a good way to stop people from looking at your personal stuff.


Best Free File Manager for Windows

FreeCommander XE -- Download | Review

"The Beta version of the new FreeCommander XE is the top pick for this year. FCXE has an elegant and user friendly UI. With a 2 pane interface and shortcuts available along the vertical and horizontal toolbars, there’s a lot to love here. The file manager provides one touch access to most of the system directories, desktop items, start menu and control panel items."

What's it for? - Replaces the simplistic Windows Explorer, allowing for better customization, tabbed browsing panes, and more features.


Best Free File Rename Utility for Windows

File Renamer Basic -- Download | Review

"Rename your files for organizational purposes, including your MP3 libraries and digital image collections."


Best Free Folder Synchronization Utility for Windows

Product ScreenshotFreeFileSync or Allway Sync -- Review

"FreeFileSync is a solid contender here. The thing I like the best with this utility is its very clear and informative interface. The preview is very easy to understand, and file collisions and deletions are more readily recognizable than many other sync programs.

Allway Sync is my second recommendation. It is a very well rounded product with loads of features. It has a very robust filter and rule set and definitely has the edge here over the other previously reviewed products. It also offers support for FTP, scheduling, and auto syncing."

What's it for? - Synchronization utilities are important in helping you keep identical versions of your files or folders, say, on both your home computer and office computer.


Best Free Onscreen Keyboard for Accessibility for Windows

Click-N-Type -- Download | Review

"An excellent free OSK that rivals many commercial OSKs in the accessibility space. It is highly functional and very customizable, but isn't terribly pretty and the breadth of options may be a little daunting for some users."


Best Free Onscreen Keyboard for Security for Windows

Neo's SafeKeys -- Download | Review

"A virtual keyboard for security. Security-focused OSKs offer protection against malicious software, but read the article for accessibility OSKs that offer more functionality as keyboard replacements (without the security features)."


Best Free Partition Manager for Windows

Product ScreenshotMiniTool Partition Wizard -- Download | Review

"With an easy to use interface and fast performance, it aims to be a one-stop application. Performs many basic tasks of resizing, creating, deleting, moving, formatting, copying (disks or partitions), etc.

Also includes extra features like wiping (disks or partitions) and recovering partitions (detects previously deleted partitions and restores them with all data intact)."

What's it for? - Some uses include (1) separating user files from system files, so you can image the operating system (reimaging or reinstalling when needed) and leave the user files intact. (2) Creating a multi-boot computer (that has an option, say, between Linux or Windows) with separate partitions for each operating system.


Best Free Virtual Desktop Manager for Windows

Dexpot -- Download | Review

Organize your applications over several virtual desktops or work spaces, and work more efficiently and comfortably.


Best Free Program Launcher for Windows

Launchy -- Review

"Provides a more efficient way of running programs than by using the Windows Start Menu or having your desktop littered with icons."



Please rate this article: 

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Average: 4.5 (848 votes)



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.

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.

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 :)

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.