I’m going to keep a running list of Windows programs (along with links to) -both freeware & commercial software that I use and recommend here. I spend a pretty good amount of time looking for new apps and trying them out. So check back here often as it could save you some time. Also feel free to email me if you know of any better choices than what I have listed.
KeePass Password Safe – Utility – (Freeware)
KeePass is a rather perfect little piece of OpenSource Freeware that helps you manage, maintain and secure all your passwords. You do use different passwords for the hundreds of websites you buy junk from don’t you? If you don’t you have a lot of work to do! KeePass can help with that! And it will even generate the password for you if you’re the unimaginative sort. There are also versions for OSX, iOS and Android. So you can make a list file on your laptop, desktop/whatever and then view it on another device (smartphone, tablet/whatever). Nice. Get it.
BitMeter – Utility – (Freeware)
BitMeter is a System Tray app that monitors your Internet/Network connections. It’s tray icon is a two sided red & green bar that animates with activity. It’s pretty cool. If you point at it a pop-up informs you of the download/upload speeds. You can also have it display the total downloaded for the day. It has lots of options. Check it out. It’s FREE.
Outlook.com – Online App – (Freeware)
Outlook.com is Microsoft’s free email service. This thing is SLICK. The shiny is strong with this one! The UI is such a joy to use that you will almost forget you are using a website. It’s very desktop app-like…I mean if you hit the delete key on your keyboard it will actually DELETE an email from the list. Amazing. It also has right click functionality for replies just like a real desktop program. I should also point out from my initial testing that MS’s mail servers seem to be VERY FAST for both internal addresses and forwards from my other accounts. Microsoft really hit it out of the park with this one.
Check it out.
MS’s Internet Explorer has come a very long way & is getting better all the time but the fact is the freeware & open source Firefox is the better browser. It’s fast, thoroughly customizable and relatively safe. Most of the malware that targets Internet Explorer does absolutely nothing to Firefox. The app is constantly being improved by an enthusiastic community of programmers and users helping users.
It’s a beautiful thing.
EditPad Lite – Text Editor – (Freeware)
EditPad Lite is a free text editor from Just Great Software. This is quite simply the finest text viewer/editor available. It has a tabbed interface so you can load multiple files at once. It has a handy search panel you can toggle on and off as needed. It’s REOPEN menu lists the last 16 files opened. It has unlimited UNDO & REDO. EditPad can do upper and lowercase conversions. It can even do ROT-13 if you wanna go old-school. Who needs EditPad? Anyone who does a little HTML or works with a lot of text files will enjoy EditPad. People who do a LOT of coding and/or programmers may like the commercial version EditPad Pro even more as it includes ‘Clip Collection’, ‘File Navigator’, built in FTP and Syntax Coloring.
Adobe Photoshop -Graphics Editor – (Commercial) – (free trial)
Adobe Photoshop is the best graphics/photo editor available. It’s a big, powerful complex program and it’s not cheap. But it is the choice of professionals everywhere. If you do a lot of graphics work -photos or otherwise and you want to learn how to do it the industry standard way, there is no substitute for Photoshop. Because it IS the industry standard there is a plethora of tutorials available as well as tons of books to help you learn how to use it.
Paint.NET -Graphics Editor – (Freeware) – (Open Source)
Paint.NET is a very promising free mostly open source alternative to Adobe Photoshop. It does layers, cropping and lots of other stuff. Give it a try and you will probably be astonished to see what an app with a 1.5 meg installer can actually do! I’d probably be using this as my main graphics editor if I wasn’t already used to doing all my editing the Photoshop way for the last 6 or 7 years.
Microsoft Office – Office Suite – (Commercial) – (free trial)
Like it or not Microsoft Office is still the standard for business use and by extension any of us that need do any of that sort of work. As much as I advocate and love the idea of a free and open-source Office suite (see below) if you need absolute zero compromise compatibility with the business world it begins and ends with Microsoft Office. And don’t forget to take advantage of any educational pricing that may be available to you as a teacher or student. This can save you HUNDREDS of dollars.
Open Office – Office Suite – (Freeware) – (Open Source)
Open Office is a fairly amazing thing -a 100% free alternative to MS Office. It’s individual apps correspond to MS versions like this:
MS Word – OO Write
MS PowerPoint – OO Impress
MS Excel – OO Calc
MS Access – OO Base
Like Word 2007 Open Office Write can save to PDF. It should also be noted that Open Office Impress and Draw can both save to Flash format (.swf).
ImgBurn – Disc Burning/Imaging – (Freeware)
ImgBurn is a freeware CD/DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-ray Burning app. It’s a really nice alternative to many of the commercial Burning apps that have become very bloated over the years. It’s a great app. I find myself using this for not just ISO stuff but also for every day data burns (build mode). Highly recommended.
InfraRecorder – Disc Burning – (Freeware) – (Open Source)
InfraRecorder is another great free burning program. This one has a really easy to use interface. It has a simple Explorer like view that should be intuitive to anyone at all comfortable with Windows. It’s quick and lite -nearly perfect.
HandBrake – Utility – (Freeware) – (Open Source)
HandBrake like the logo says is an Open Source Video Transcoder. It’s a great little app for converting various kinds of video files (Blu-ray rips for example) into other formats. A lot of people use programs like this to get nice compact files (HD or SD is supported) for use on portable devices like the iPad or various smartphones. It’s also pretty great for HTPC (Home-Theater-Personal-Computer) stuff -which is what I use it for. It’s available for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux.
Comic Collector – Comicbook Collection software/Database – (Commercial) – (trial version available)
Comic Collector is a great multi-platform (Windows, Mac OSX, Android, iOS) database/catalog program for organizing your comic collection. After trying numerous other solutions including some VERY expensive options I returned to Collector Z’s stuff after several years. I’m very happy with it -and it plays NICE with my iPad!
All program names, logos, and other art are copyrighted and trademarked by their respective owners. All
usage here is strictly to promote and advocate purchase/usage of said software…so hopefully all parties are cool with it!