Free Tools for Windows

December 29th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Everyone seems to have their list of free Windows applications they can't do without, and here's ours.  All of these are free for the download and their authors deserve a serious hat tip for all of their excellent work.  We list them in alphabetical order:

AutoHotkey is the quintessential automator that you really must try to see just how powerful it is.  You can automate almost any program by sending it keystrokes and mouse clicks.  You can remap keys on your keyboard or mouse.  One of our favourite features is that you may compile your finished script into a single EXE that may be run on any Windows computer.

ffmpeg is our favourite tool for audio and video conversion.  Though there are several third-party GUIs available, we prefer to use the original command line version.  Scripted with a simple batch file, ffmpeg is an excellent tool for organizing music libraries.

Hidden Start
Hidden Start is great tool that allows you to run any Windows program, without a window or taskbar icon appearing.

Media Player Classic Home Cinema
This is our favourite media player.  It plays a wide variety of media formats, is simple to use, and best of all, it uses just a few megabytes of RAM.

Mp3tag is excellent software for bulk editing of metadata in not only MP3s, but many other types of audio files as well.

PuTTY is an excellent Telnet/SSH client.  If you currently use the Windows Telnet program, you will no doubt consider PuTTY a breath of fresh air.

SmartRipper is an excellent tool for ripping MPEG video from DVDs.  We found it difficult to find a free program that would rip the original MPEG video into a single file without transcoding.  SmartRipper does.  Unfortunately, its author no longer offers it for download but it is easy to find with Google.

TreeSize Free
TreeSize Free is excellent software to show you which folders on your hard drive are using the most disk space.

UltraVNC is our favourite flavour of VNC and is excellent and highly configurable remote desktop software.  If we need to be able to use a computer that is in a different location as if sitting in front of it, or if we need to use a computer that has no keyboard, mouse, or monitor, UltraVNC is our tool of choice.  For technical support purposes, we like UltraVNC SC, a tool that allows us to build a single EXE file that we may send to a client.

Gone are the days of multiple partitions and having to reboot to switch operating systems.  With VirtualBox, you can operate nearly any operating system virtually in a window.

Windows Grep
Ever need to search through a large number of files for some specific text?  Windows has a built-in tool to do this...but it doesn't always work.  Enter Windows Grep, the Windows version of the popular Grep tool.  It even supports regular expressions.

WinSCP is a great companion to PuTTY and is the best FTP/SFTP client we've ever found.

XYNTService Project
With the XYNTService Project, you may start any program (including PHP or AutoHotkey scripts) as a Windows Service.  It has more features and is easier to use than srvany.exe!

The free version of this excellent VoIP softphone supports up to three SIP accounts.  It also supports IAX!


If you would like a reply to your comment, you must leave your email address! We receive dozens of questions every month from people who don't leave us with any way to contact them, so we have no choice but to ignore the question. We try to reply to as many questions as we can, if we know the email address of the person who asked the question. Thanks in advance for writing in :)

Allowed HTML: <b>, <i>, <em>, <strong>. All other < and > will be replaced with &lt; and &gt;.