It’s no secret that we at AskDaveTaylor are a bit biased towards Apple products and the Macintosh, though we have a variety of PC gear too, running Windows Vista (yup, really), Windows 7 and even preview releases of Windows 8. There’s a lot to like about Windows 7 in particular — not quite as enamored of Win8 as of yet — if you’re coming from the Mac world, including a rich and impressive developer ecosystem that’s produced a wealth of great applications, utilities and freeware programs from both big corporations and developers working out of dorm rooms, basements and apartments throughout the world.
Problem is, since we don’t use the PC on a daily basis, we’re not as familiar with the best of class freeware apps out there, so when a query came in about the best and most popular freeware applications for Microsoft Windows, well, we were a bit stumped.
Fortunately, there’s social media…
To get a pulse of the Windows community, I posted the following query on Google Plus:
“Hey Windows users, what’s your favorite freeware application or utility? Doesn’t matter if it’s from Microsoft or someone else, just want to know some of your faves…”
The result was an outpouring of freeware apps from almost thirty different people.
Without further ado, then, here’s what people suggested:
PortableApps. I have it installed in Dropbox with some of my fave applications (portable Chrome, 7zip, SFTP, KeePass, etc.). Then I can run (and keep synced) on any Windows computer I sync with Dropbox. ?
Notepad++, Chrome, VLC.?
BgInfo. Essential in the Lab environment?
GroupMail — http://group-mail.com ?
jZip, and I’ll also add filezilla and putty…?
When you think about what I said “Ubuntu” and look into some of the popular apps for Linux you will find that many have made Windows versions.
Open Office (Office Suite, like Windows Office)
Apache (Web Server)
VLC Media Player
Gimp (Image Editor)
Audacity (Audio recording and editing)
nmap (Network scanning and much more!)
And much more….
Filezilla and crimson editor and Thunderbird are always open?
I love filezilla! Use it a lot with old skool friends who use ftp a lot still. To add to the list I started before, with credit to Cathy Tibbles is “Putty”. It’s used in enterprise situations to average users for connecting to telnet, SSH, FTP and more. ?
‘Everything’ from Void Tools.?
Wireshark?, and I should also include PostgreSQL and MySQL and Python, Perl and Ruby.?
Terminal Server Client :D?
and don’t forget Virtual Box?
OMGAWD I use Virtualbox for most of my work! How could I forget! Windows users should always have this in their arsenal!
If you have no interest in migrating to a new OS but want to use Linux or BSD for school or testing then Virtual Box is a great choice!
linuxcandy.com runs on Ubuntu Server on Virtualbox. ?
Some have already been said: Chrome, Notepad++, VLC, 7-zip, and Putty.?
Evernote; hands down winner. There is no second place for me.?
Almost forgot: Launchy! (ALT+SPACE!)?
Another couple votes for VLC, Notepadd++, Open Office, GIMP, EditPlus.?
Google Docs (or “Drive”) … does that even count? It’s so embedded in our lives these days… :)?
Blender 3D (Create 3D art and animations) Very powerful tool!
Netbeans IDE (Development Environment)
Deluge (Torrent Downloader)?
If it wasnt already mentioned: truecrypt, and inkscape?
A pretty epic good list, though a bit biased towards software developers. Still, a lot of interesting apps worth exploring if you want to improve your Windows experience! — DaveT