Must Have Software

Here is a list of Windows applications that everybody who’s interested in computers must have aside. And they are FREE! I do not have any connections with any of these software developers and I do not provide any warranty using them. Also, I don’t claim any of these software is the “best”. This is just a useful list of applications that I like to use and find helpful. Also these being free does not mean you should not donate the developers… There is no priority or order of awesomeness in the following list;

FreeFileSync [http://sourceforge.net/projects/ freefilesync/]

File and folder comparison and synchronization.

Automatically compares (according your setup) folder contents and synchronizes folders you’ve selected. File comparison method can be selected among size/date or full file contents. Also there are multiple sync methods including an option allowing no file deletion. I’ve been using this for my backups for years and It never failed me. (BTW I work with at least 3 copies.)

WinMerge [http://winmerge.org/]

Intelligent file comparison and editing. 

Compares two text files (at least I’ve used it only for text files) and displays them side-by-side as in a source control system. You can easily navigate and choose from left or right pane using arrow keys and save your changes. Save lifes if you’re a programmer.

VirtualDub & AviSynth [http://www.virtualdub.org/ and http://avisynth.nl/]

Video capturing and editing.

AviSynth is a video scripting tool, which is quite useful. Works like a frameserver and you can grab the edited/merged frames from another application. VirtualDub is a very powerful and lightweight video capture tool with some video editing capabilities. You can do anything you want (capture/edit/merge) with these two and a little patience. Do not expect excellent UI ease-of-use but these can quickly process your avi files and make miracles happen.

CCleaner [http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner]

Filesystem & registry cleaner (also have a paid version).

Easily clean your registry and file system from unnecessary junk. Have a broad list of advanced customization options so you are sure what you’re cleaning. And yet if you are a standard user, you can just click “Clean”. Also includes an uninstaller which is way too much practical than the Microsoft’s.

I don’t recommend this anymore.

ImgBurn [http://www.imgburn.com/]

CD/DVD/BD burner.

Lightweight and powerful but not so-easy-to-use Disc burner. A must have.

Virtual Clone Drive [https://www.redfox.bz/en/virtual-clonedrive.html]

Virtual CD/DVD/BD drive.

Here is a powerful virtual Disc drive, which was part of CLONE CD way back then. Still distributed free and separately under this name. Just associate with the image files and double click to mount! Never used any other tool for this purpose. I’ve rarely (maybe once) seen it failed to open an image file.

Update: SlySoft goneski, redfox maintains the software now.

FileZilla [https://filezilla-project.org/]

FTP server/client.

Simply said. Maybe the most popular among these.

AIMP [http://aimp.ru/index.php]

Audio player.

Audio player. IMO the BEST audio player in the market considering its ease of use and capabilities.

I no longer use audio players thanks to the streaming services.

SpeedFan [http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php]

Fan control and temperature monitor.

I haven’t tried the fan control section (I just know its there somewhere) but it serves as a very useful temperature monitor when set to start automatically with Windows (cannot do this on its own you should put a shortcut under startup). It displays a little temperature value in the tray.

AutoHotkey [https://autohotkey.com/]

Macro / Windows scripting.

Very powerful, you can assign any key, any job, literally. Can even control window size and create a custom UI etc. Further you can compile your scripts into .exe files and use as is.