Windows Based Free Software List
On this page I wanted to include links to the free software I can’t live without. I often get asked what tools I use and I thought I would share them here. Most of them are not photography specific, but every one of them is invaluable to me. So without further ado here they are:
Paint.NET – This one is actually a pretty good image editor, but not really a Photoshop alternative. In a pinch though I rely on Paint.NET.
Hugin – With Hugin you can assemble a mosaic of photographs into a complete immersive panorama, stitch any series of overlapping pictures and much more.
Picasa – This is the image management/editing program I recommend to all my non-photograhper friends. That said, I use it to manage the massive library of pictures of my family and friends. In conjuntion with the online Picasa image galleries, this free software helps keep my family (which is all over the country) in touch and up to date on the latest and greatest that is going on with our little one.
Stuff that Should be on Every Windows Computer
Antivir – Antivirus is an oft debated topic, but I use Antirvir, that is my preference and it is free. I find AVG too intrusive, and Antivir is just the right amount. I also rarely have issues with viruses using it and when I do it lets me know about them. – Antivir got real spammy. I now use:
Microsoft Security Essentials – It does the job and is lightweight with no spam. No reason to use AVG or other free spammy anti-virus anymore.
Foxit Reader – Adobe Acrobat sucks, it is bloatware and takes way too long to start. Foxit handles PDF files the way they should be handled, quickly with no fussing around.
Imgburn – If you know what disc images are (ISO) than Imgburn is the tool for you. If you are unfamiliar with ISO’s but still burning CDs and DVDs than you should get rid of that Roxio crap and get with Imgburn. It’s lightweight and straightforward, the way all software should be.
VLC Media Player – This should be the only software you use to watch videos on your computer. Anything is just…well…uncivilized.
Audio Video Tools
Audacity – The most awesome free audio file editor out there.
Cam Studio – The best free screen capture utility I have ever found. All my video tutorials are made with Cam Studio and other utilities. I highly recommend this software if you ever need to create a video of what you are doing on screen.
DVDFlick – If you have a pile of video files that you want to prepare as a DVD than DVD Flick is the way to do it. Free and easy to use, I highly recommend this one.
VirtualDub – Free Video Editor with an admittedly steep learning curve but very powerful.
Kuler – Kuler is where I go to make and find ready made colour swatches for any graphics I do. I even use it to help pick paint schemes for painting my house. Specifically I use the colour editor, but it has a wide selection of other tools related to graphics and digital creativity that might knock your socks off.
Chrome Web Browser – I use Chrome and Firefox browsers interchangably for different things, but for the non web programmer I recommend the chrome browser. It is fast, and has all the features of Firefox (excluding some awesome addons for firefox which is why I still use it). I just find it a little slicker and faster than firefox. If you use Internet Explorer still (*shudder*) you should only be using it to download firefox or chrome.
Filezilla – If you upload/serve/download anything using FTP than Filezilla is probably the best way to do it.
Gmail – If you aren’t on Gmail yet you need to be, and changing over is easy, you just have gmail check your old inbox and it will show up in gmail. Gmail can check multiple email addresses and consolidate them and it has the best spam filter I have ever seen. And you can also use custom domain name email adresses with it if you’re super techy!
Super Geeky Stuff
GParted – Gparted is a partition editor, and is also very good at imaging computers to make reinstalling your OS and software very easy.
G-Spot – Want to know what the codec of that video file that won’t play is? Use G-Spot to find out.
MiniTool Data Recovery – If I had to pick one data recovery tool for rescuing my RAW or JPEG files it would be this one.
Notepad++ – Think of Notepad++ as windows notepad on steroids. If you do any programming in a windows environment, whether it’s web design or Python, Notepad++ is great!
Open Office – Hate Microsoft Office? Can’t afford it? Than use Open Office, the alternative to the Microsoft giant. it works just as good and is free. It also opens and saves all Microshaft file types so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues.
TrueCrypt – Encrypt, files, folders or your whole computer.
If you have any tips, software, correction or other suggestions, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org