Tens of thousands of sites offer free apps, free utilities, free wallpaper, and more. Unfortunately, a lot of that free stuff is worth exactly what you pay for it. However, if you look closely, you can find free programs that work as well or even better than those you have to pay for.
Here are 50 free downloads and services from A to Z that we think are worth a second look:
1. Alleycode This WYSIWYG html editor offers a whole host of features you might find in fee-based software, and is especially good at helping you set up cascading style sheets. The software is free, but the site does accept donations.
2. avast! anti-virus and virus cleanerThis robust anti-virus software has earned a number of awards. It's free for home and non-commercial users because the companies believes "It is possible to avoid global virus spreading by efficient prevention; however, many users are not able to or do not want to pay for antivirus software." Businesses and institutions pay a fee based on the number of users.
3. BloggerDying to share your opinions and the minutiae of your days with everyone in the world? Now owned by Google, Blogger helps you get started blogging very quickly with an easy-to-use interface and up to 300MB of photo upload space.
4. BossKeyThe boss key is an old ideawith a single keystroke you can hide whatever you are really doing on your computer and bring up a spreadsheet or something else that looks like work. This program takes the boss key to the next level by allowing you to create up to 10 virtual desktops at once. We're not sure why you would need that many, but it's a fun idea.
5. CDBurnerXP Pro CDBurnerXP Pro will burn any format of CD or DVD, except double-layer DVD (something that's promised in the next version). It will also rip audio CDs to your hard drive and obtain track information from the Internet.
6. Celestia The opposite of Google Earth (see below), Celestia lets you view any point in space as seen from Earth, or from other planets or starts. The Celestia Motherlode lets you add even more real and fictional celestial objects to the astronomy program.
7. ComodoThis free firewall bills itself as "The only firewall that doesn't leak." And in tests, it often performs better than firewalls that cost money. Unfortunately, it's only available for Windows.