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The Best Freeware for Windows

written by: Matthew Becker•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 6/23/2010

From word processing to e-mail, audio and video editing, to viewing various multimedia - there is a wealth of free software for Windows that a lot of users don't know about. Come see what you're missing!

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    Compilation

    Below is a list of compiled information of the best available freeware for Windows. On the first page, you will see a list of mostly internet-related applications, such as e-mail, instant messaging, image design as well as work-related word processing programs.

    The second page will focus more on multimedia, such as audio editing, video editing, music compiling and video playback.

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    Antivirus and Malware Protection

    There is a wealth of free antivirus protection that you can install on your computer. Bright Hub has published several lists that you can reference if you need options on what is out there, as well as reviews of certain applications.

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    E-mail Applications

    Thunderbird 3.0 has made it easier than ever to set up e-mail addresses, and has an impressive junk mail filter. It is fast, reliable, and in many ways comparable with the likes of even Microsoft Outlook.

    There is also Windows Live Mail, which is great for those who want to always have access to their Hotmail account. But utilities and features are not as prominent as seen in Thunderbird. How do these two compare face-to-face?

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    All-in-one Messaging

    If you have an account with any of these applications with which you use frequently, particularly Windows Live Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger (or AIM), or Yahoo Instant Messenger, then it’s possible that you are getting cluttered with the different variant programs being open at once. With Trillian, you can access all of these different messaging programs, as well as being able to access IRC chat rooms, if that interests you. However, for certain features, Trillian may not be able to fully compensate for any of the above programs mentioned.

    There is a guide for other free messenger services here.

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    Image Design and Editing

    Paint.NET comes equipped with various effects, utilities and other effects that allow for standard image-editing and creation. More powerful tools are not necessarily included with Paint.NET, but it is far better stacked than MS Paint. Better yet, we have many different guides in order to get the most use out of Paint.NET, such as:

    For a more powerful image creation, authoring and editing application, there is GIMP. This may be better suited for users looking for a more inclusive image-editing application, and is recommended for Photoshop users.

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    Word Processing, Spreadsheet Designing, Presentation Creating

    OpenOffice is Java powered, and comes equipped with a great word processor (Writer) as well as software for presentation design (Impress), much like Powerpoint. More so, there are other applications that allow for image editing, and well as the design and manipulation of calculations (Calc) – much like Excel. There is also a complex database program (Base) – much like Access. Best of all, it is entirely free and very powerful software. Great for students, casual users, and professionals alike. For frustrated users of Office 2007, OpenOffice carries an interface much closer to the likes of Microsoft Office prior to 2007. Read how these two programs face-off head to head.

    The next page will look at audio and video editing, as well as programs you can use to compile your music into a playlist as well as video playback.

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    Top Free Software Available for Windows - Editing Audio and Video, Watching Video, Listening to MusicWhether you use Windows XP, Vista, 7, or any other version of the operating system, there is a lot of free software that you can use in order to edit audio and video, as well as watch movies and play music. Yes, all of these programs are free. What are you waiting for?
  • slide 8 of 12

    Compilation

    Below is a list of compiled information of the best available freeware for Windows. On the first page, you will see a list of mostly internet-related applications, such as e-mail, instant messaging, image design as well as work-related word processing programs.

    This page will focus more on multimedia, such as audio editing, video editing, music compiling and video playback.

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    Music Playback

    There are dozens of free applications that you can use to compile a playlist of all of your favourite music. Windows comes equipped with Media Player, but there are also several other programs out there, such as iTunes and WinAmp.

    Reviews of the best audio and video players for PC can be found here.

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    Video Playback

    Because of the many different variable file formats for playing movies, you may require specific programs in order to view certain videos. In recent years, some programs come equipped with being able to view different formats, which is perfect as it limits the amount of software you will actually need on your computer. Windows will come equipped with Media Player, and some versions will even come with Media Center – a good program used to access any form of media (pictures, music, movies), as well as recording live TV. However, some other good alternatives are RealPlayer, which comes with an optional plug-in that allows users to download streaming video (i.e. YouTube videos) onto their hard drive. There is also QuickTime, which is great for accessing Apple .mov files.

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    Audio Creation and Editing

    Audacity is a standard audio-editing program that can be used to mix and edit audio. Its intuitive design makes it easy to add effects, insert silences and tones, and more. In order to export files as an MP3, an additional plug-in will have to be downloaded and installed. But it is easy enough. You can even export to OGG format. It is effective for recording podcasts, as it is easy to highlight and remove bits of audio that you do not want in the final version of a recording.

    Along with Audacity there are also other audio editors. Read the Top 5 Free Audio Editors here.

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    Video Editing

    Windows Live Movie Maker is free software available to users of Vista and 7. It has certain features that allow for quick editing and even some interesting effects. Feedback is instant, and the file can be saved for many different viewing formats. Great for standard users who want to add some flair to their videos.

    For alternatives, it is best to check out this list here, and this guide if you use more than one operating system and are looking for options.