Best Free Windows Desktop Software

The Editors' Choice List - Page Index
   5. Best Free Image and Photo Freeware for Windows


Best Free Screen Capture Utility for Windows

Product ScreenshotScreenshot Captor -- Download | Review

"It supports multiple screens, full screen, window, rectangular area, and fixed area captures from either hot keys or from the programs menu. The cursor can be included or excluded. It's the only capture facility that can take a self-portrait. The software can acquire images from a scanner."

What's it for? - As an alternative to the utilities that come with windows, free screen capture products often cover many useful features and functions: capture full or selected areas, auto detect windows, snap scrolling windows, allow delayed captures, etc.


Best Free High Dynamic Range (HDR) Software for Windows

Product ScreenshotLuminance HDR -- Download | Review

"Luminance HDR is the best option if you want to experiment. Nine different tone-mapping algorithms, that means - if you want 'that' particular HDR look - there's a fair chance you'll achieve it with Luminance HDR. More realistic? Sure. A little like a drawing? Sure. Maybe surrealistic? It's all here."

What's it for? - HDR photography combines several photos of the same scene, taken at different exposure settings, into one photo. The result is a correctly exposed and more dimensional single photo.


Best Free Digital Image Viewer for Windows

Product ScreenshotZoner Photo Studio Free -- Download | Review

"With an intuitive and customizable interface, it's perfect for the needs of average users. It can seem a bit professional and daunting with many menus, tabs, and icons. But it comes with comprehensive help and numerous tooltips.

It has the ability to temporarily rotate pics and straighten them by drawing a horizontal line. It supports geotagging, reads many formats, generates thumbnails in a blink, stitches panoramas, makes 3D pictures, and much more."

High Quality Image Viewer Alternatives:

  • XnView: "It's probably the most versatile of all viewers because it can read nearly 400 types of graphic files and convert any of these to more than 50 formats."

  • IrfanView: "This is a first-class product, an amazingly capable application and quite fast at displaying images. It offers plenty of functions for editing, converting, batch processing, slideshow exporting, etc."

What's it for? - Apart from the basic viewing and browsing functions, digital image viewers offer loads of features like editing, filtering, batch processing, organizing, publishing, etc.


Best Free Digital Image Editor for Windows

Product ScreenshotLightBox Image Editor or -- Review

"Lightbox is my top pick for basic image editing because it has an attractive user interface and it's simple and straight forward to use. is a very good choice for mid-level photo retouching because of its excellent design and attractive interface. It also has options and tools comparable to commercial software, but it requires you to install Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 or newer."

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

What's it for? - Basic editors like Lightbox allow you to quickly make small adjustments to the overall lighting, colors, and tones of your images (along with other tools: cropping, sharpening, red eye correction). But editors like offer more advanced tools (layers, captions, shapes, selective adjustments, artistic effects, etc.). Read the review for editors like GIMP that are comparable to professional programs.


Related Image Top Picks and Hot Items

  • Best Free Paint Program for Windows -- Project DogWaffle -- Download | Review. "Any one of these in the review will definitely satisfy the inner artist in you. My requirements include graphic tablet support and the feel of natural paint on a digital canvas, but support for animation or booklet pages is a plus."

  • Best Free CAD Program for Windows -- Google Sketchup -- Download | Review. "Affords the novice designer a veritable dream come true of innovative tools and pre-programmed add-ons. It allows you to create surfaces from lines, and extrude 3D solids from surfaces. If you are willing to learn insatiably complex software, CAD (or Computer Aided Drafting and Design) lets you see your imaginings materialize."

  • Best Free Photo Slideshow Software for Windows -- Photo Story -- Download | Review. "Both rich in features and easy enough for most average users to create a slideshow of photos. Turn multiple images into a standard video file and make your still photos come to life with animated transitions, colorful text, background music or voice narration."

  • Best Free Photo Organizer for Windows -- FastStone -- Download | Review. "Organize photos and videos, import photos from cameras, send photos to many devices, and make quick edits (sufficient for what amateur photographers need)."


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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

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