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10 Must-Have Free Applications for the Windows PC

written by: sammy•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 2/6/2012

Here is the list of the ten most useful free software applications, and the links to download them, that every computer enthusiast should have.

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    Software can be expensive – expensive enough that the user is forced to cough up potentially hundreds of dollars or be tempted toward obtaining the software by piracy. What some folks don’t seem to realize is that a lot of really good software can be downloaded for free online. This class of software is called “Freeware.”

    Have you heard about Open Source Software? This is software in which the programming code – the instructions to create the application – is available free for anybody who would like to examine the code, make modifications and corrections, and then compile and share the changes and improvements.

    You can get free software for almost any type of application, right from the operating system to software used to watch movies. This saves you money and sweat, and keeps you from following the path to piracy. This is the world of free downloads, my friend, and you are welcome to it.

    1: Ubuntu: It is another Linux based operating system and incorporates all the applications you need just like Windows XP or Windows Vista, except it comes free. There is a bit of a learning curve. It’s not too difficult, though. You just have to get a bit of hands- on practice to become familiar with it.

    Get it from: http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download

    2: Mozilla FireFox: The next generation browser is here. It is much faster than Internet Explorer, and once you try it, you are definitely not going to like any more.

    Get it from: http://www.mozilla.org/download.html

    3: K-Lite Mega CODEC Pack: A complete codec (compressor-decompressor algorithm, or programming method for compressing and decompressing video or audio streams) pack that is available free. This can help avoid the missing codecs problem in Windows Media Player, and there’s a good chance you won’t need to install any other codecs for playing the most common formats of video and audio files you find online.

    Get it from:

    http://www.free-codecs.com/k_lite_Mega_Codec_Pack_download.htm

    4: OpenOffice.Org: You don’t have to buy expensive office suites like Microsoft Office because OpenOffice.Org is capable of opening all MS Office-based file formats. In functionality, it rivals Office, and it’s open source software that comes free.

    Get it from: http://www.openoffice.org/download/index.html


    5: Video LAN Player or VLC player: Apart from Windows Media Player, the VLC player is hassle free and supports a massive number of video and audio formats. Surprisingly, it even plays unfinished torrent downloads. Believe me, it is very good and you ought to have it.

    Get it from: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-windows.html

    6: AVG Antivirus: Antivirus software can be expensive, but there is one which does not compromise on features and still comes free. The AVG Antivirus guards and protects your system without displaying any annoying messages that pop up from time to time as with other antivirus products. Try it – it’s really good.

    Get it from: http://free.avg.com/download?prd=afe

    7: Bit Comet: A superb Bit Torrent download client, Bit Comet is an application for downloading an unlimited number of movies, applications, songs, and much more.

    Get it from: http://www.bitcomet.com/doc/download.htm

    8: Daemon Tools: if you’re a PC gamer, then Daemon tools is a must have. It is a virtual CD/DVD-ROM emulator for CD image files and it supports a wide variety of formats.

    Get it from:

    http://www.daemon-tools.cc/dtcc/download.php?catid=5&mode=ViewCategory

    9: Wordweb: WordWeb is a one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows that can look up words in almost any program. It contains a huge number of word definitions, and is very simple and easy to use.

    Get it from: http://wordweb.info/free/

    10: Lavasoft Ad-Aware: One of the anti-spywares you can have for free is Lavasoft Ad-aware. It can clean your system easily, allowing you to maintain the highest degree of privacy while you surf the Web.

    Get it from: http://www.lavasoft.com/

    Note: Since I am using Windows XP Professional, the software I mentioned here are for XP and Windows Vista. Most will also be available for Linux, and perhaps Mac OS, versions. Also, if you found this article helpful, kindly provide feedback.