10 Freeware Recommendations

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 1, 2007
Updated • Mar 4, 2013

I had the chance to test hundreds of freeware and open-source software programs in the last months and would like to list 20 of them that I would recommend. I'm actually using half of them on my Windows XP computer right now and I'm glad that I made the change from some respected popular programs to lesser known but better alternatives.

I'm not saying that you should make the switch as well but if you find a software interesting give it a try, you might be positively surprised and make the switch as well. Every software has been tested on my Windows XP system which does not necessarily mean that it is working on your computer and operating system as well.

Audio, Video and Pictures

  • MWSnap - An excellent free screen capturing utility which I use to create most of the screenshots for Ghacks.
  • SMPlayer - an mplayer frontend that supports most video formats right out of the box without installing codecs. Lightweight resource friendly alternative to VLC.
  • XMPlay - more than an alternative for Winamp. Offers all the important features of Winamp, plugins, skins plus the ability to save audio streams. Lightweight using less resources. Only thing missing is AAC+ support. Anyone know of a plugin that adds that support ?

Files, File Handling

  • IZArc - I have been using WinRar for a long time but decided to give the free IZArc a try and was pleasantly surprised by the archiver. It supports a multitude of formats and offers all the features that I need. Best of all it is free like all the other programs here.
  • My Uninstaller - we all that the Windows uninstaller offers a pretty basic functionality. My Uninstaller is able to uninstall multiple softwares at once, remove dead entries and provides additional information about the entries as well.


  • Giganews Accelerator - downloads compressed headers from the Usenet with a speed gain of about 800%. Works only with Giganews.
  • Grab++ - If you are serious about downloading multimedia files from websites that do not offer that option you should give Grab++ a try. It tries to capture the direct link to the media file which can then be pasted in a download manager to download the file.


  • Folder Guide - quickly access drives, folders and files from the right-click menu. I have added every folder and file that I use on a daily basis there.
  • QT TabBar - adds tabs for the Windows Explorer. Instead of navigating with one window only or dozens of open windows you can now use tabs to have everything accessible in one window. Can't live without it anymore. (Update: Original version no longer updated, developer took over, now available as a Sourceforge project)
  • Wallpaper Juggler - This program changes your wallpaper automatically after a given time making it a nice program if you have more than one favorite wallpaper.

Please feel free to add programs that you like and use (but not the popular ones such as Firefox, Open Office and the like). I'm always looking for more great programs to replace existing ones.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. em said on July 18, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    weird popup at locate32 webhop url.

    besides that. 1 minor and 1 medium vulnerabilities in izarc

  2. archer said on July 9, 2007 at 1:05 am

    terrence, i had seen kmplayer around for a while but for some reason passed on trying it–i try everything. well i just installed it and its ribs with extra sauce! very nice. thanks for the mention.

  3. Terence Hill said on July 7, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    There’s also KMPlayer, a great media player (all codecs included, like vlc) that replaces even Winamp, if you want (but for that I prefer Foobar2000).

    Me too, can’t live without QT TabBar anymore.

    A very useful software: Bit Che for searching torrents in all sites do you want. It is comparable to Torrent Hrvester.

  4. TBIRD7777 said on July 2, 2007 at 3:56 am

    Wallpaper Juggler has some great Wallpapers to choose from, but just grab them and put them into your Webshots Desktop program like any other sites that have neat Wallpapers. So what! CNET bought Webshots and went with God Awful Orange for a background, still one of the best for rotating 1000s and 1000s of of Wallpapers effortlessly……………..

  5. Martin said on July 1, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    hehe that one is nice, her reactions are sometimes a bit harsh, don’t you think ;)

  6. archer said on July 1, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    hey, martin, have you met ms. dewey?

  7. archer said on July 1, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    ah, yes, re the stop button… i have been using the sleek and simple ixmplay skin for so long that memory of a stop button in the default was gone. thanks.

  8. archer said on July 1, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    of all the freeware that i have found recently (within a year or so) i think that locate is probably the most useful for the greatest number of people.

    it will find anything on your computer with incredible speed. very small and efficient. can’t remember how i came across it. can’t imagine being without it.

  9. Martin said on July 1, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    Archer I do have a stop button in XMPlay. Which skin are you using ? The default skin has a stop and pause button.

  10. archer said on July 1, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    don’t know about an aac+ plugin for xmplay, but it is excellent, with one strange and annoying exception: no stop button. and, when you hit pause the buttons flash back and forth between pause and play continuously. very annoying.

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