9 Great Freeware Programs that Should be on Every PC


One of the most common questions we get here at Gizmo’s Freeware is “What freeware programs do I really need?”

So here are our suggestions for the free programs you should consider installing on your Windows PC. And to make things easy for you we have not only listed the programs you need but provided full download and installation instructions, all contained in a free, downloadable, 44 page PDF report.

This report is provided free as a service to our readers and contains no advertising. No registration is required or any data collected. It is what it is: a genuine freebie with no strings attached.

What's in the report:

  • Our selection of the nine best freeware programs for average users (see list)
  • What these programs do and why you need them
  • Full download instructions for each product
  • Full installation and usage guidelines including dozens of screen shots
  • How you can get free support for these products

The products have been chosen because they are useful, work well and you don’t have to be an expert to use them. For expert users we’d probably change some of our recommendations but these suggestions will hit the sweet spot between power and ease-of-use for most people.

All these programs are from reputable companies and are free of viruses, trojans and other nasties

How to get the free report

1. Clicking your right mouse button on the following link and then select “Save as..”

http://download.techsupportalert.com/9-great-freeware-programs.pdf  (0.77MB)

If you encounter problems saving the PDF file try clicking the following link which is the same PDF report enclosed in a ZIP file.

http://www.techsupportalert.com/download/9-great-freeware-programs.zip (0.71MB)

2. Once you have downloaded the PDF file, locate where you saved it on your computer and then double click to open the report.

The report is in Adobe PDF format so to read it you need a PDF reader. Most people already have a PDF reader installed on their PC but if you don't you can download the standard Adobe Acrobat Reader from here or the smaller and in some ways superior, PDF-Xchange viewer from here.  Both are free.



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Thanks. Can't wait to check these out.

Just to point out to people before they download the document that it is dated January 2011, and some of the programs have not performed well subsequently, notably Microsoft Security Essentials, which has now failed AV-TEST certification twice in a row, and has received generally very poor reviews from a number of different sources in recent times.

Auslogics, whilst being my personal favourite defragmenter, was completely missing from Gizmo's recommended list for nearly a year until it crept back in a couple of months ago.

Any chance of an updated list?

As Gizmo's own list, this is independent of and not influenced by our existing review content. The AV-Test results are only relevant to those who use their computer (of which I know none) in exactly the same way as described in the tests. These things also need to be taken in context. http://blogs.technet.com/b/mmpc/archive/2013/01/16/lessons-learned-from-... MSE is widely used in my own circle, including for business use, and no one is getting infected. The same goes for the AV Comparatives so called Real World Protection Tests. If you read the full description, you come across this: "Tested on Winxp SP3. Initially we planned to test this year with a fully updated/patched system, but we had to switch back using older/vulnerable/unpatched OS and software versions due to lack of enough exploits in-the-field to test against”. So, they used an out of date system + programs that were neither updated nor patched, and folks using the current Microsoft system, and the last, are using these stats to choose their antivirus??? :) How on earth can they call this a “real world” test? MC - Site Manager.

I have to say my own experiences with MSE were rather different. Things were fine for about a year and then it let through the Clean This ransomware variant, masquerading as MSE. Instead of killing the process I clicked on the close button and the resulting carnage was a nightmare to clear up. I've been using Avast for over 18 months now and I've had no problems at all.

How did this manage to bypass UAC? MC - Site Manager.

Unwisely I had it disabled at the time. So, yes, there were contributory factors, but I would still have expected MSE to deal with it. Now I think of it, there were a number of other problems. MSE fairly regularly failed to block various trojans over the period I was using it which only became apparent when I scanned with MBAM.

To be exposed to "various trojans" suggests high risk browsing. No antivirus will protect users in this category, whereas far more simple measures will reduce the risk considerably (including not disabling UAC). I've tried to cover this in a bit more detail here. http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/safe-computing-under-hour.htm There are of course different combinations that users may prefer and since I wrote the above article I've been using ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus and Firewall over an extended period with no problems and no infections. I have this paired with WOT, Norton DNS and the free version of WinPatrol. I test Windows software extensively, often in response to visitor comments, and I always check what each program is trying to do to my system with ToolWiz Time Freeze before committing to a full install. MC - Site Manager.

Thanks for the info. Very useful article too which I hadn't seen before. I wouldn't say my browsing is high risk but after the 'Clean This' incident I enabled UAC, ditched MSE, disabled Windows (Vista) firewall, stopped using IE and replaced them with the following: Avast free AV and Comodo firewall with D+ enabled (Chiron's guide made installation and setup simple). Like you I also use WOT, Norton ConnectSafe and WinPatrol free. I mainly use Chromium based Comodo Dragon browser with many of the extensions you recommend in your article, and this setup has served me very well for some time now. MBAM and Hitman Pro haven't found a single nasty.

I'm pleased you found the other article useful. True PC security will always be about risk management (as opposed to hunting for stuff after it has arrived) and in this respect a combination of tools will always be preferable to relying on a single program to do everything. Unfortunately, due mainly to the marketing of various programs, many users are lulled into a false sense of security when they see security programs labelled for example as "total" or "360". The setup you describe now is absolutely ideal for someone who is knowledgeable enough to maintain it. This refers mainly to Comodo but as you discovered already, Chiron's guide makes this a lot easier. MC - Site Manager.