Free Software (Win32)

Here is a gumbo of our favorite free software.

Firefox  --  This little open source browser based upon a Mozilla foundation has taken the world by storm.  Be sure to visit the Firefox extensions page because Firefox's add-on flexibility is where this browser really shines.

OpenOffice --  Started by a German teenager, StarOffice is now controlled by Sun and its freeware, open source version is OpenOffice.  This is a complete and powerful office suite that rivals and, in some cases, even exceeds MS Office.  OpenOffice is a fantastic free program and its once somewhat clunky interface has been improved dramatically with the upcoming version 2.  Although OpenOffice can read MS Office files and and this capability is improving with each new version.  OpenOffice also has handy PDF tools too.  There are OO versions for just about all major operating systems including Linux, Windows and Apple OS X.  StarOffice can still be purchased as well.  OpenOffice is COSBI's official office suite.

ZipGenius  --  This Italian made archiver is one of the best freeware products around and supports a multitude of file compression formats.

FileZilla  --  FileZilla is the official FTP client for COSBI.  The dual-paned SmartFTP is another good FTP client.

IrfanView  --  This is an absolutely fantastic file viewer that is essential if you manage lots of phots.  Even though it is free, IrfanView kicks around similar commercial programs.

Quintessential Player  --  This is one of the best MP3 players made.  Quintessential Player is free and it does not pollute your system with garbage like so many other players do.

Spamihilator  --  One of the better anti-spam fighters.  SpamPal is also good.  G-Lock SpamCombat is excellent, but the free version is limited to one email account. 

PowerDesk 6  --  This is a dual-pane file manager from VCOM with many features like an integrated ZIP manager.  There is a free version and an $50 pro version that I own.  PowerDeskPro 6 is probably the most comprehensive file management program ever made although it still contains a few bugs particularly related to network browsing and file previewing.

GXExplorer -- Although this program is a little tricky to set up, it is an impressive multi-view file manager with many extras.  Developed in Delphi, I contributed a little to the program early in its development.  It has a few bugs, but is still a very good program worth the trouble of installing it.  If you know Delphi, please consider contributing code to the project.  The project originator, Gerald Nunn, developed GExperts, a wildly popular set of open source Delphi add-in tools.

AD-Aware  --  If you install a lot of freeware/shareware software on your computer then you need AD-Aware.  This excellent program eliminates spyware, a new genre of software that is often silently installed.  Spyware will automatically connect to the Internet and some programs will reportedly send browsing usage information and perhaps even more nefarious information to data collectors who then sell this covertly obtained data.

FlashGet  --  This is my favorite download manager.  FlashGet has advanced options like "Download all using FlashGet" where entire sites can be quickly downloaded.  FlashGet can also spawn threads and download multiple parts of a file simultaneously, often accelerating downloads.  The free version of FlashGet also installs a program considered spyware, so keep this in mind.  The program costs $15 if you want to kill the ads.

Opera  --  Billed as the "fastest browser on earth," Opera is now offered in a free ad-based version.  Structured a little strangely, Opera is still a nice program, though not as svelte as it once was.

Crimson Editor  --  a nice little source code / text editor.

ExamDiff  -- If you need to compare files visually in a side-by-side interface, ExamDiff is pretty good.  WinMerge is another alternative.  If you are looking for a revison manager, take a look at CS-RCS.

WinVNC  --  Allows others to log in and control your Windows PC remotely, this program is small and easy to use. 

First Page  --  An outstanding HTML editor, one of the best examples of quality freeware.  Less buggy that Microsoft's FrontPage, although that's not saying much.

XVI32 --  a free hex editor developed in Delphi.

NoteTab Light  -- Very popular and powerful free notepad replacement.  EditPad Lite is an alternative, but is slow to start up.

Sonique  --  This MP3 player probably has the best visuals.  Nullsoft's Winamp, the grandpappy of MP3 players, is probably as good overall.  MusicMatch Jukebox Basic supports ripping and encoding.

SiSoft Sandra  --  A comprehensive diagnostic utility that also contains widely used benchmarks.

WCPUID  --  H.Oda's widely used CPU info utility.

HDTach  --  A drive benchmarking utility.

GIMP for Windows  --  A very powerful image editing program.

POV-Ray  -- A quality raytracing program capable of stunning 3d graphics.

Blender  --  For 3D creation software, take a look at this Dutch program.

Atomica (Now "1-Click Answers") --  This is one of the best, most valuable freeware programs anywhere.  If you have broadband, then you'll want Atomica in your system tray.  An <Alt>+<Left click> on any word in just about any program will fire up the Atomica's search facility.  It will automatically pull up what it determines to be the most relevant information.  Atomica, with investors like former Apple CEO John Sculley, is a dictionary, thesaurus, web search, news search, encyclopedia, atlas and more.  Atomica, formerly known as GuruNet, has no ads or spyware.  Atomica makes money by customizing their technology to poll against customized company databases.

PrettyCode.Print  --  VisualBasic has terrible source code printing.  This terrific VB add-in is a must have.

LCARS Editor  --  Editor for Trek fans, it can insert the stardate automatically -- woooo!


Freeware Sites

Here is a list of freeware only sites.

FreewareHome  --  An impressive and well organized freeware site.  Has user ratings for the software.  Very nice site.

thefreecountry.com  --  free stuff for programmers.

thefreesite.com  --  free stuff, not just programs.

Only Freeware -- pretty good.