PC's sold today come bundled with name brand software that get you
going for a few weeks or months then they expire and you have to either
pay for the full upgrade or stop using the software. The
following software packages are all completely free and full
unrestricted versions in most cases.
Some of the authors do ask for a voluntary donation for their efforts.
be lulled into free or greatly reduced cost name brand software
packages or OEM packages. Many of these are pirated (illegal copies), not full
versions, or outright scams.
There may be different free software out there that may even be better I don't know but these are ones that I use.
kind of software would the average home user need to have? Most
everything a person could need to use is available for free with the
possible exception of the operating system (Windows) itself. Even the
OS can be free if you want to venture into the Linux world. If I
were building a system from scratch then I would definitely go that
route as it is very expensive to buy the OS alone without the PC. It is
way cheaper to buy a PC's bundled with MS Windows than it is to buy
Fedora is my favorite Linux distribution but there are dozens just as good.
Many of the following can be found at SourceForge.net. There are thousands of free programs here to download.
Many of the projects are muli-platform running on Window's, Linux and/or Mac. All the programs found on Source Forge are 'Open Source'
and free to download and use. Some have optional registration but not required to use the program. Unlike many 'Shareware'
or 'demo/trial' programs, the Source Forge projects are fully
functional programs and have no paid upgrade versions. Many of the
program authors do ask for donations but do not actively solicit from
the user. No 'nag' pop-ups etc.
Another site with useful computing information and free software downloads. Kim Komando
HTML and Office Software
Web page HTML coder Was originally NVU which is still
available but is no longer being developed. KompoZer is based on
the original NVU code.. KompoZer is
being actively updated and developed with lots of bug fixes to the original NVU code. I used KompoZer to do this page.
Open Office.org Suite.
This is a package of 6 office products very much similar to Microsoft
Office products. These can open, edit and save in Microsoft formats
such as Word, Excel, Access etc.
The following are included:
Write- Word processor
(like MS Word)
Calc - Spreadsheet (like MS Excel)
Impress - Presentation (like MS PowerPoint )
Base - Database (like MS Access)
Draw - Drawing program
Math - Equation editor
Versions for Windows, Linux. and Mac
LibreOffice - A spin-off of Open Office.
Automatically check your spelling as you type in any program. You can
select a replacement word and have it replaced if you choose.
are 2 versions The free version is very useful as is an is all I have used. An upgrade
version is available for $7.00 min donation which adds some more features.
Word Web A 150,000 word dictionary. Instantly check words definitions and synonyms.
are 2 versions The free version is very useful. An upgrade
version is available for $29 which adds some more features. Other
optional dictionaries are available for a fee.
Anti Virus and Firewall Software
AVG - Anti Virus Software. Be sure to use this link to easily find the free version: http://free.grisoft.com/ The free version is hard to find with other links like: http://www.avg.com/ Also if you want the free version note that the Free Trial versions are NOT the same as the FREE Version.
Zone Alarm - Software 'Firewall'. Note: free version hard to find unless you go here: http://www.zonealarm.com/security/en-us/zonealarm-pc-security-free-firewall.htm
Comodo - Comodo offers a suite of several useful and free programs.
I vault - Password & username database. Tracks your web sites and
automatically enters logon information for you.
Drawing and Photo Editing:
Paint.net - Full featured photo editing and drawing program. (raster based).
- A vector based drawing package similar to VISIO. Can download more shapes or create your own.
Inkscape - A vector based drawing package with capabilities similar to
Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable
Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.
Can export to PNG. No JPG export.
Scribus - Desktop Publishing software (vector based)
AutoRealm - Create you own virtual maps for 'role play' game players. Also useful for basic mapping or vector based drawings..
Tux Paint -
A drawing package for children. With realistic looking stamps, audio
clips etc. Don't forget to download the optional Rubber Stamp add
Raster Based Graphics = Pixel based or items can be
placed, added to or drawn on on the canvas or added to an existing drawing or photograph etc. But once placed
become part of the drawing or picture. Difficult to impossible to edit once saved.
Vector Based Graphics
= Line based or the properties and
attributes of each component of the drawing can be individually edited
, moved, scaled, resized or deleted without disturbing the rest of the
drawing. A component can be lines, circles and other shapes as well as
Some programs may allow both types of graphics. For example a desktop
publishing program will allow you to import a raster graphic into the
drawing canvas. The graphic then in itself becomes a component which
can be moved around, annotated with text, arrows etc.
Music, Video and Audio
MuseScore - Create, Edit and Print sheet music. Has basic MIDI functions as well.
Audacity - A real time music editor.
Video and audio file format converter. Note you will need to click and
scroll down several times to find the real Super program to download.
Do not be fooled by all the banners Free Down load this... Free download
that with the large buttons!..
Go here: From top menu bar choose: FreeWare --> SUPER --> Download
Scroll down to and click on: Start Downloading SUPER. Now click
on..... download and use.. Scroll down and click on Download
SUPER Setup file
During installation be sure to un-check the browser toolbar add on if you don't want that.
Well worth all the trouble...
- CD ripper - Convert Music CD tracks to MP3 or other formats. Can pull text info from on-line database.
Burn4free - CD DVD burning software
E-Mail and Web Browsers
Firefox - Web browser
Thunderbird - Email client program.
Lightning - An add on calendering program for Thunderbird. Runs inside of Thunderbird as a tab
. Additional calender files can be downloaded - US holidays and many
international holiday calendars can be integrated into your own
- A stand alone
calendar program identical to Lightning but a separate program. Sunbird
uses the same calendar files as Lightning and can be used concurrently
with Lightning/Thunderbird. Sunbird is no longer
Microsoft Calculator Plus - Enhanced
calculator with Standard, Scientific, Conversions, also has currency
converter. New look or you can display in classic look.
Conversion calculator has 100's
of different TO: - FROM conversions for lengths, area, weights,
temperature etc. Currency converter has
instant exchange rate updater built in. 34 countries built in
more can be manually added. If link does not work go here and then search for Calculator Plus
. Note if you have Windows 7 then you already have a calculator with similar functions.
This is a basic password
database program. Highly encrypted login with option to have a 'key'
file stored in a different medium such as a thumb drive. Just one
password to remember. You can organize and retrieve information
logon ID's passwords, bank accounts or anything. This program is not as
sophisticated as some other similar programs but it is a step above
using a spread sheet or word processing document to store your
passwords. Keepass does not keep track
of your various web sites that require login information and
automatically log you in. It does however allow you to copy user names
and/or passwords from your Keepass database to the clipboard. You can
then put your cursor on the appropriate field and paste. (Clipboard is
automatically cleared after a few seconds). Keepass
also can keep
notes, URL's or other information you may need to be stored along with
each entry. Those annoying security Q's and A's etc. The Keepass program and
data is very small and compact and can
fit on a floppy or thumb drive. There is an optional
program does not require
installation on any of the computers you use it on. Just copy the files
and run the keepass.exe file. Can from a floppy or thumb drive or any
storage media without installation.