A Smart List of Free Desktop Software

Firewalls, email, IM, FTP, graphics, RSS readers, video tools and much more. Start downloading!
Posted September 10, 2008

Cynthia Harvey

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Downloading free software is one of the great uses of the Internet. The Web is like one vast smorgasbord of free software – just fill up your plate with tasty downloads.

All your desktop needs are addressed in this list: firewalls, email, IM, FTP, graphics, RSS readers, video tools. Start downloading!


1 avast!
A fairly complete anti-virus/anti-spyware/anti-rootkit package with automatic updates--free for single, home, non-commercial users.

2 Avira AntiVir Personal
Live, continuous anti-virus scanning with additional security features available for a fee.

3 AVG Free
Anti-virus and safe search package with more than 70 million users.

4 Ad-Aware
Anti-spyware and rootkit removal tool that does not include real-time detection or automatic updates in the free version.

5 ClamWin
A free, effective anti-virus scanner based on the well-known ClamAV engine; however, it requires you to scan files manually.

6 a-squared Free
The free version offers anti-malware/anti-spyware capabilities with manual scanning; live scanning is available in the paid version.

7 Spybot-Search & Destroy
Award-winning software that finds and removes spyware and adware.

Audio Tools 8 MediaMonkey
This all-in-one audio software includes a media player, a recorder, conversion capabilities, and some very good tools for organizing your music collection.

9 Audacity
Open-source audio recorder and editor that supports multiple operating systems.

10 MusicBrainz
Free software for updating the metadata on audio files, plus a huge database of music-related information.

11 HammerHead
Create your own drum tracks.

12 Be Sweet
Convert audio files to any of the nine most popular file formats or encode them to burn a CD.


13 Firefox
The tabbed, super-fast, open-source brower from Mozilla.

14 Chrome
The jury's still out on this brand new work-in-progress from Google, but it's worth a look.

15 Internet Explorer
Still the first choice of 75 percent of all Internet users.

16 Opera
The "world's fastest browser" now also has lite versions for mobile devices.


17 7-Zip
This open source project offers a high compression ratio, plus the ability to utilize multiple file formats.

18 ZipGenius
ZipGenius supports more than 20 file formats, and it can pre-compress zip files so they take up less space.

19 SecureZip
Award-winning SecureZip adds digital certificate capabilities to standard compression capabilities.

Desktop Enhancements

20 Stickies for Windows
Place virtual yellow sticky notes on your screen.

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