Top Free Software

Free Software

Welcome to the Top Free Software Report. There are two problems with free software. First off, there is a lot of free software and it is hard to know what free software is the best. Secondly, because it is free, free software makers can’t spend money on advertising to get the word out on their cool creations. We hope that this new feature in TechTalk will solve both of these problems.

We have created a new popularity measurement that is the percentage of PC’s that have that particular software installed. Each newsletter we will update the list with more and more free software in rank order. If you have any suggestions, just leave them in the comments section below and we will continue to build out the list of the world’s best free software.

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128 thoughts on “Top Free Software”

  1. wondering why you do not mention OovoO in your top 100, its free to use and twelve people can chat at the same time.Its not better than Skype but it is as good.

  2. Not a bad little list if I may say so, even though some things on it are only free on a technicality, that is, they are free trials or in the case of some antivirus software, free scans that you have to pay for to remove any virus found.

    Anyway, that being said, I wasn’t happy to see Google toolbar at the top or indeed, any of the other toolbars near the top, for that matter. Toolbars are an annoyance and just another form of spam that we could all do without. In addition, Google are nothing more than a CIA front who have already been caught downloading peoples wfi data as well as helping the communist state of China keep all its dirty little secrets inside. I just wouldn’t have anything more to do with Google, period. I don’t trust them anymore and have changed my search site accordingly…talking of which…try this……I just wish more people would see Google for what they are and boycott them.

    Abobe reader is another menace and I am glad to see Foxit reader so high on the list and I have to say its (Foxit Reader) much, much better than Adobe hands down. No contest!

    I’m also glad to see FileZilla there at #64. A great little FTP Client and I’m sure that the only reason it’s not higher on the list is because it’s not something the average person will use.

    Also, people may like to look up something called Libre Office. Its a great alternative to Open Office…although I’ve had it on my machine for a few weeks, I haven’t explored it properly yet, but it seems much more…slick than Open Office. Maybe it’s just me….I don’t know. Check it out!

    Anyway, as a result of this list I downloaded Audacity, and the ‘Everything’ search program…what a great little find. As a Win 7 user I am deeply unhappy about the pathetic search facility, if you can call it that…personally I call it a total abortion. So to find a search program on par with the XP search facility was great.

  3. freeware my hiney, free download , then try to use it, without paying an arm and a leg for it, hah.if you are going to advertise freeware, then make damm sure it is freeware and not just a come on. personally I am going to stop all info, from pitstop, a place I once used all the time,

  4. @ alaine n others
    hey guy i tried avast earlier but i had a lot of problems with it…..since my laptop had a lotta viruses a msg kept poppin up on ma screen n i had to clik on move to vault or remove or …..(atleast a 100 times or more) which got me frustrated n decided to uninstall n get avg….n is workin fine…..

  5. This article certainly caused a response! I must say that even though I have been around pc’s for a lot of years it is only this year that I had heard about Foxit Reader. Being busy doing work I still haven’t got round to trying it and have continued to use Adobe reader. This forum has prompted me to get off my “A**” and try it. Similarly the programs many other respondents have listed is also of great value. Agreed the original concept of the list may be flawed but the benefits of such open discussion far outway the limitations of the intial list. PC Pitstop keep acting as devil’s advocate!

  6. Comodo Security
    Secunia PSI
    BonkEnc Audio Recorder
    Are great and “Priceless” free programs for personal use.

  7. I agree with others, i hear that Audacity is great but i haven’t been able to use it because there are no instructions and it is very confusing!!!!???

    1. @Charlie: It works in pretty much the same way as other programs such as Gold Wave and others. If you know how to work one, you know how to work them all, give and take a few little differences here and there.

      If you really don’t know how to use this software, then you shouldn’t really be downloading it…and that’s the bottom line.

    2. @Charlie: You people really are morons aren’t you. There are plenty of instructions if you had been bothered to click on the help and go to either the online manual or the quick help.

      Since so many of you are mentally retarded and are incapable of clicking on the help menu…here is a link:


      1. @Neil: Please be aware that this is not an external link and you actually have to have the program installed on your machine for it to work.

  8. Secunia PSI- Scans your system for installed software and reports back if there are any software exploitations on the software installed. If there are any exploitations it provides you with a direct link to fix the problem, if available

  9. Dear Webmaster,
    While your willingness to abide by the basic tenets of “free-speech” is, in itself, admirable, I think many would appreciate a heavier editorial hand, in dealing with material written by individuals whose sole intent is to vent spleen, BEFORE this medium goes the route taken by CB-radio, in the 60’s. Readers, for their part, should lean back, take a deep breath, and THINK, before clicking the “Submit Comment”-button, below. The “great philosopher” Charlie Papazian says it best: “Sit back. Relax! -Have a homebrew.” -And, just chill out.

    1. @Kendall J.T. Walls: Why don’t you clear off you horrid little man. Who on earth do you think you are, telling the webmaster to censor comments.

      You are totally missing the point, the idea of comments attached to articles is for people to vent their spleen in relation to the article or article matter.

      I would advise you to get off the internet as this is clearly not a medium for you. You would be more at home listening to Radio 4 where everything is nice and dumbed down and pre-censored for you so you don’t have to worry.

      Your outro comment says it all. First off, Mr Papazian has never been a philosoper, great or otherwise. Secondly, it seems he was little more than a piss-head who founded the Association of Brewers and the fact that you regard this man as some sort of philosopher is very telling and you are probably nothing more than a piss-head yourself. Albeit one who thinks he is a bit upper class.

      Listen up Kendall-boy, get back to radio 4 where you belong, the internet is not the place for you type of people.

  10. WOW, all this information on one site. For all the crab’s remember these were computers brought in for repairs!!!!

    If you have the right stuff you do not need repairs until your hardware breaks down. So stop bitching.

    I trust the following:

    Spybot – Search & Destroy- have use it for many years and gave them a donation a few month ago as thanks.

    Open Office – is a great option for Microsoft Office though the latest update is very “Fat”, it maybe the next Adobie.

    COMODO- I have the the firewall and the antivirus installed my system. The big issue for Newbies with this program is download mode is total protect mode (no microsoft update etc) it treats your computer as a virus, if you take the time to go through all the allow/…/never option / Or the brain to use a built in program that will review your programs on your computer.

    Defragglar from Pinform is great, also from Pinform:
    Ccleaner I have use this program for years, might be advance for Newbies, for all others if you use/like Pinform freeware check the website (this true freeware looks like it may change? (update now)

    1. @Debbie: Try Libre Office instead!It’s good…although I haven’t tried it out to its full extent yet or played around with it for any significant amount of time.

      I do still have open office but, if over the next few months I find Libre office better than Open Office I will just get rid of Open Office and keep Libre Office.

  11. Good grief – AVG is HORRIBLE! When will people realize this? Avant Home is soooooo much better, and it’s also free – doesn’t clog up your system doing unnecessary scan all the time.

  12. It really is a matter of semantics and nothing more than a quick editing of the words used in the two paragraph description of what it is that pcpitstop is attempting to accomplish with this survey of installed software on computers that run tests at pcpitstop. When Kevin set out to glean this data from users of the pcpitstop website, he made a simple error–easy to do for a person sampling any sort of population or statistical data. The statement that “there is a lot of free software and it is hard to know what free software is the best” is a terribly inaccurate statement of purpose if indeed the aim is to merely list the most installed free software on computers that have used pcpitstop’s suite of tests. Which, of course, in and of itself, could not possibly garner an accurate list of “the world’s best free software” There is no statistically accurate method to acquire the data for that specific statement of purpose. And to further the confusion as to what the purpose of this sample data is, Kevin goes on with the statement that “Secondly, because it is free, free software makers can’t spend money on advertising to get the word out on their cool creations. We hope that this new feature in TechTalk will solve both of these problems.” Unfortunately, it is clear to many readers that TechTalk cannot begin to solve both of these problems without a revision of the original statement(s) of purpose. This is simply because the method used to gather the sample data (“We have created a new popularity measurement that is the percentage of PC’s that have that particular software installed.”) cannot possibly give us anymore data than the “rank order” of installed free software–which is accurately mentioned in an obfuscated way with “…we will update the list with more and more free software in rank order.” But to finish the descriptor of the statement of purpose with “we will continue to build out the list of the world’s best free software,” completely violates (again) the parameters of the sample data and the method used in gathering that data. Nothing more than a semi-decent editor (perhaps with more experience wording a statement of purpose in a survey group) could clear all of this fuss up. As many readers have pointed out, this list does not fulfill the statement of purpose nor can it without a revision thereof. All that said, Kevin, thank you for providing a platform for some very constructive commentary and useful suggestions, programs and lists by the readers. You did a superb job of getting a quality, worthwhile and useful discussion going on. Thank you.

  13. for all that use a 3rd party ZIP utility.why do you need one???…Windows have included it since Win XP….on a folder, right click and got to “send to” then “compressed (zipped) folder”…it will compress a folder and if you need to unzip one, just double click…MS has been taking the “rocket science” out

  14. No one above has mentioned the VERY BEST file compression utility, ZipGenius. I’ve tried ALL the ones mentioned above and found ZipGenius to be the easiest to use and the most complete.

  15. Thanks PC Pitstop, get um fired up, like coal in a boiler firebox. It puts more power to the task. I’m a newbie and I need all the help (power) I can get. Article OK, response great!

  16. Gosh! The list is kind of crappy but the article does say that it is a list of software found on most computers that they scanned so all this frogginess is unnecessary, guys! But I will say that from reading this article and the comments, however heated they are, I have found out some other great software that I otherwise did not know of, lol.

  17. I always find it interesting at how worked up some folks get — I have had a ball checking out all the alternate suggestions and have found some great freeward that I didn’t know existed. Yeeeeeeh!! for getting rid of Adobe Reader! And many, many thanks for the lists others have provided. I do think PcPitstop could have differentiated between “free to try” or genuine freeware. But whatever their ultimate goal for their article, it surely brought lots of useful information to the surface and that I truly value.

  18. For those who don’t know (there seem’s to be a lot) has lots and lots of freeware … most is tested and rated by the editor … reviews are posted for you to read… for windows users try this link:

    Thanks PCPITSTOP for your list … those who read clearly fully understand it is based upon your testing data of installed software … as is the ranking of each pc you allow tested here. To all those who listed favorite freeware they enjoy … cudo’s to you for helping the users who did’nt know … we were all newbies at one time or another … Happy Summer everyone!! =D

  19. Suggestion: Instead of listing just the top overall free software (continue to do this, but), also make individual lists by software category. This way you will have a huge list of software and people can find the type of software they need.

    Kinda bland suggestion but it should help.

    Top free Anti-Virus Software List
    Top free Photo Editing Software List

    You could show it in little tabs like the Overdrive scanner has.

  20. I can’t believe it. The fact that software is on most computers does in no way indicate that it is either the best or the most popular. I’ve been in IT for 25 years, and I find that people will download just about anything that is free, be it good or bad. Then once they have it, they aren’t savvy enough to know that leaving it on their computer wastes space and resources. Much of it is preinstalled bloatware that came from the manufacturer. Some evens comes on “free” CDs from magazines. Why not call the list “Crap People Downloaded and Forgot”? It’s closer to the truth.

  21. Well, at least this caused some discussion. I got some good ideas from the comments about programs to check out. I, too, never thought much about Adobe Reader, never seemed that slow to me, but I will look at Foxit and some other programs on here.

    And, hey, if you don’t agree with the list, why not start your own tech blog site? At least the article providing a jumping-off point for an exchange of ideas.

  22. i agree with your venting but back to the subject pc pitsop should make alist most recomended by readers

  23. Take me off of your mailing list.
    Any one who would tell anyone else that Adobe Reader is good, are IDIOTS of the 1st magnitude

  24. Ccleaner (General cleanup tool)
    Avast (Antivirus) Better than the rest
    Wordweb (dictionary) nice
    Glary Utilities (General utility tool)
    File Shredder ( It works very good)
    Bible Explorer 4 (Education 200+ free books)
    Stellerium (Education/toy)
    Opera (#1browser)I did not care for FF or IE just my preference.Both are most likley fine programs for some.
    Google Chrome (#2 browser)Very clean and fast
    Ubuntu (secondary OS)
    Open Office (free, close version of MS office)
    XnView (Photo viewer +)
    WinDirStat (Graphical Drive viewer)
    Aida32 (system viewer)
    Windows live mail (again just preference)
    Easeus partition manager (Not needed on if vista is the os)
    Macrium Reflect (disk image creator/backup utility. A must have.)
    Password container
    There are many good freeware programs out there.
    The ones I listed are just my preference. I have used and tested I have found no issues with them.

    As far as the article: Thanks PC Pitstop for putting it out there!
    Please Read:from article
    “If you have any suggestions, just leave them in the comments section below and we will continue to build out the list of the world’s best free software.”
    Sounds to me like a work in progress!

  25. I think we are all missing something that the cat draged in.
    I belive the reason that sites like this are pushing this type of software (good or bad) is mainly because if they can get you to grab something and then when you install it, free or free to try. Then they have what they want. A chance to add a toolbar to your browser and make a penny or two on each one. times millions of users. they have there real goal accomplished. A big few bucks and a very big list of supposed new toolbar or freescan or whatever junk program/add on program users to submit to there next potential paying advertisers and cohorts or other questionable pundants. Whats the old addage? Follow the money. Live in a town with more than one big newspaper? Ever try to switch papers.. They dot give up trying to get you back as a subscriber.. Same deal with this crap. In the last 4 days I have tryed a few things online I normally dont touch ex: Free scans, Trial Programs. etc. Before I knew it I had 4 Browser add ons on my explorer. I had forgotten how to remove them. The installed either stealthalie in the case of two or sneeky in the case of 2 others. (In my rush to get something done I had little time to pull out a giant magnifyer and read every last character of text.) Well soon those 4 Browser add on’s had a battle for supremicy on my PC. and slowed it to a crawl on bootup and with minor bugs adding up to the Ant that eats pittsburgh. I finally got frustrated and took the time to remove them with extreem prejudice. Now I am left with my original search engine “Google” toolbar. I dont really need or want it as a toolbar but hey, They have been around so long that I left that toolbar up for prosperity. I had always loved Yahoo IM and still have use for it and woo hoo not it updates automatically and I’m a power User thanks to some new hyped upgrade. Just the respect is gone now not the devotion for what I actually did like and need from them. Cant say I blame them for wanting what the Google founders got for thier brilliant Idea and implimentation. But hey by a 40ft. Boat and be happy with it.. the 120 footer will never happen.. Unless of corse you Invent something New and exciteing of true value, done in an inovative way. The 120 Footers get bought by the people who maintain respect for there roots in Hard work amd passion for thier Ideas Validity Value and inovation. NOT BY THOSE WHO SCRAPE THE STEAK BONES OF OTHERS AND SELL IT AS STIR FRY BEEF.
    There was a day when you paid Money for a shovel and not only would it shovel dirt but when your kid bought his first house it became his new shovel. a little fileing the edge and a maybe some paint and it was as usefull as the day it was first purchaced. ALL be it an inch shorted it maintained value. And when that shovel went out to grandkids 3rd generation and finally became impractical to use a a shovel its handle was cut off and made into a harwood stick for holding up that recently planted Cherry tree that got unrighted by last springs storm. Still had value.
    Today I buy a $59.99 game and get it home only to find out it sucks and had no value from day one. in fact a negative value from day one, because of the oversise Tree/oil wasteing packageing used to make it stand out on the shelf at some overpriced retailer.
    No wonder the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Greed rules in todays world. It always did I guess but the means to the end was different in some way.
    When we figure out which way and what we might do about it we might just make it through. But prolly not before that Cherry tree shades the house with 150 years growth.

  26. Just do a search for free software in google and you will be surprised what you might find.
    Be aware that you may find more than you bargained for.
    Be cautious and do your research ie. google any software you may find and include the key word reviews in your search and see what others have to say about the program you are interested in.
    Do it right and there is no need to pay for any software. There are free versions of any type of software that will enable you to do anything.

  27. > COMODO Internet Security
    > PhotoFiltre 6
    > Media Player Classic
    > Azureus
    > Spybot – Search & Destroy
    > Winamp
    > Mozilla Firefox
    > Mozilla Thunderbird
    > Fast Stone Image Viewer
    > CDex
    > Nexus Radio
    > Terragen 2
    > Wise Disk Cleaner

    There are the best and really freeware softwares. Highly recommended!!!!!!!

  28. I must say I am a neo-byte.
    The title of the article caugt my eye cause:
    I would really like to know what is the best FREE anti virus to load on my old machine? I think I’ve got that ‘trojan’ from the old UPS tracking code email.
    any help is appreciated, in neo terms please.

  29. It should be mentioned that PC-Pitstop is not a random sampling of the computer universe. The computers included in the survey are, for the most part, from individuals who are careful about computer safety and actually want to maximize the potential of their systems. Slightly elitist. Might I even say the geeks of this world. Even with the elite status of this sampling we are surprised to find that pre-installed software is most popular? I think it demonstrates that what we have always used will still be used until something much better and well-marketed will take its place. Inertial is a powerful force. Thanks, PC Pitstop.

  30. Portable Apps lets you use your Pen Drive to do dozens of different things from run your favorite program on any computer without having to install it, to syncronizing files from the computer you are on to your pen drive, to auto changing the desktop background when you plug it in. The list of Programs keeps growing. Well worth the download.

  31. Actually there is a very good reason why CCleaner should be considered the best Registry Cleaner and Junk File Remover for non-expert users. All-In-One Programs like

    Advanced System Care 3,
    Glary Utilities and
    COMODO System Cleaner

    include both Registry Cleaner and Junk File Remover, but you may find that they are not the safest programs for these purposes. If you insist on using a Registry Cleaner and Junk File Remover, you had better first backup your registry and key files. You have been warned!!

  32. Like the list or not, I’m glad that it was published, if only for the responses it has generated. I’ve learned about more software choices in 5 minutes, than any other time I can remember. Thanks for posting the eReplies!

  33. I agree with many of the points that are stated above. To create a true list of Best Free Ware programs you should split into categories and list 5-10 in each and invite people over a 1 month period to download and try the ones they are interested in then submit their list, that way you will get a list that removes the issue of Installed on Most PC’s, just because software is installed doesn’t they use it.

    What do people think of this type of List.


  34. Thanks for the article and all of the responses that it generated. I enjoyed some of the outraged responses mainly because I was able to learn about Foxit Reader and some other freeware. Maybe your next article could not focus on popularity of freeware but safety of various types of freeware, such as antivirus, registry cleaning, etc. etc.

  35. > I have started losing all respect that I had
    > for PC Pitstop…Adobe Reader at No 1??? You
    > guys are out of your geeky mind. You have
    > completely lost it. Period.”
    > When I see that excellent freewares like PDF
    > Xchange and even Foxit is not even
    > mentioned, then I know somethings really
    > rotten in this apple…”

    I think you’ve completely missed the point – it’s a “league table” – it reflects what people have got installed, not what’s best.

    Complaining that Foxit isn’t mentioned is a bit like complaining that your favourite local football team isn’t at the top of the national league.

  36. I use advanced System3 & smart Defrag both from Iobit which are free & good plus I also use 2 free progs from Glary utilities

  37. I use some of the programs on this list, but I have to agree with everyone else that Adobe’s PDF viewer is bloated junk. It’s loaded on most preconfigured computers as default, and it’s included on most of the game discs that I have that include a .pdf file.

    Foxit is amazing, and isn’t bloated. But, you never hear about it.

    I’ve been using Kantaris for my media player. It comes with most codecs already so it plays just about every media file, and it’s based on VLC. I highly recommend it.

    I ditched AVG and started using Avast! recently. Much better so far.

  38. Reading all these post reminds me greatly of something my father, may be rest in peace, used to tell me all the time. “You’d complain if you got hung with a bran new rope.” I usually don’t read blogs for the reasons above. My mother had a phrase she told me quite a lot and it still sticks with me. “If you don’t have sometime conscrutive to say the keep your mouth shut.” My parets got a lot smrter the older I get.

  39. I was pleased to see OpenOffice so high on this list. Also, ZoneAlarm, Skype, AVG Antivirus, Firefox, Audacity, and several others. It seems that quite a few Windows users know about several nifty free alternatives to more expensive programs.

    I use Irfanview most often, which I consider indispensable for cropping and resizing pictures, renaming picture files, and making minor red-eye corrections. It also has a pretty good automatic color correction feature. I like it so much that it’s the first software that I install on any new computer that I get.

    I use Inkscape for drawing, and GimpShop for more detailed picture editing. GimpShop is simply Gimp with a user interface more like Photoshop, which makes it easier for me to follow Photoshop tutorials.

    Although I haven’t uninstalled Adobe Acrobat, I use PDF X-change Viewer as my default PDF reader. It allows me to make annotations and notes on PDF files, which are very handy for my work. Other useful software for working with PDF files that I use is doPDF (which sets up as a printer on your system and can be used to create PDF files from other software), PDF Split and Merge, which allows me to do just what the title suggests, and PDF Word to Doc Converter (which also does exactly what its title says).

    I use the venerable old Keynote for taking and keeping notes. It has been out of development for years, but I’ve found nothing else that is as useful, as flexible, and most importantly, as easy to learn to use as Keynote is. (And for free, too.) I use TiddlyWiki if I want to keep notes with extensive tagging features. I use NoteTab Light for plain text notes and any html editing that I want to do. (I do very little of that, but enough to find it useful to have a text editing software with the html commands built in, and I really like the tab feature.) Finally, when I need to do brainstorming, I use Compendium, which I found easier to learn to use than the more frequently recommended FreeMind.

    The absolute best resource on the web for finding great free software for Windows is Gizmo’s Freeware Reviews. It has now been set up as a Wiki, and there is a users forum as well, so you can seek out opinions from other software users. Another great resource for free software is Donation Coder. They specialize in creating useful little utility softwares, and you can even make a request for something specialized. (Donation Coder does ask for donations, but they’re not obnoxious about it, and you are not required to donate in order to benefit from its resources.)

    By the way, I found out about PC Pitstop from Gizmo’s newsletter.

  40. Grannylee (Leota M Palmer)

    Thank you PC Pitstop for allowing your readers to read this article. I agree that it should be titled ‘most installed’. The comments have informed me of free programs that I was not aware of. I compared AVG and Avast and chose Avast for it’s features and have been very satisfied with it’s performance. Advanced Windows Care Pro is wonderful; I chose to pay for the upgrade and agree that IOBIT is a very good freeware site. Having only Social Security and what aide I receive from SRS and low income programs, I have been searching for freeware to keep my computer safe and up-to-date. Do not let anyone say that any Microsoft products are free!! I am still using Windows 2000 and Office XP as it is too costly to upgrade. I need to learn more about freeware to replace these.

  41. I’m agreeing with what people are saying about how terrible Adobe Reader is. Foxit Reader is infinitely better, and free, of course.

    I’d like to add PeerGuardian 2 to the list, as well.

  42. Only having 43 years experience with personal computers going back to the IBM 1130, really the first, I agree with

    Oldodger Says:
    Reading through the replies has certainly given food for thought. I had never before even considered an alternative to Adobe, (like thousands of others I suspect) but I shall be looking now.

  43. I think it would be better to put this list next to a list of software that people choose to install. You have enough opinions on this topic that you could create a list and let people vote on their choice of top software.

  44. yeah, I agree with ya all this list is silly. I get the newsletter in my email and expected somethign interesting that I didnt know about. instead I find a list of programs I avoid like the plauge with the execption of 2 ( spybot & VLC ). Adobe #1 – why not just slap us all in the face. Why the hell isnt Avast on here? thanks for wasting 6-mins of my afternoon Kev 🙂

  45. Wow!! Haven’t I seen some of you guys on other forums bitching and spewing forth with all your so called knowledge that amounts to nothing in the end??

    Just goes to prove out the old addage that you “can’t please all the people all of the time!”. I say keep hanging in there PCPitstop and don’t let the naysayers get your goat!! You are bound to tweak this concept into a useful list of programs that we all can benefit from if given enough time to get it right.

    It’s like walking up to a guy in a gas station and saying, “What are all those bugs on your windshield?”. Well, given enough time and trial and error on the driver’s part, he could most likely come up with a comprehensive list of every critter smashed on that windshield!! But, on the outset, he would probably just reply, “That’s a beetle and that’s a moth and the rest are just BUGS!!” and reach for the windshield squeegie! Yeah, I know, it requires some brain activity to understand the analogy, more effort than some are willing to expend.

  46. You list products that are incredibly buggy/dangerous, like Adobe, RealPlayer & Skype? I have just lost all confidence (along with many others in previous posts) in Pitshop’s advice. And there are a LOT of better vid/photo editing sites who apparently do not pay you to advertise.

  47. foxit is far more secure than adobe i found an article when browsing saying as much foxit is faster loading than adobe as well so dume adobe and use foxit

  48. I’m happy Pitstop made this list because with all the responses i can now check out nearly a dozen freeware programs of which i admit i would know about less than half of.

  49. Please Be nice People , this IS a popularity based review. I like Avast, and like other people was dissapointed about not seeing it up there BUT, if you spend less time and money on advertising, nine times out of ten you get less popularity. Plus quality of the product has almost has no meaning in maketing ie. like William Hung bombed American Idol, but still made and sold a cover album that put him through college and was dubbed the first breakout star that season.All thanks to marketing.

  50. Just because its installed doesnt make it good. I have programs installed that I think suck. I do agree with everyone about adobe reader, it TOTALLY SUCKS. Way to big.

  51. Neil Doughty,

    Windows in not “FREEWARE” in any way shape or form.

    You are paying for it in the cost of the computer.

    It does not void your warranty if you remove it.

    Many, many people refuse to accept it’s very restrictive license agreement and have taken the pains to get a refund for the cost. $100 or more in some cases.

    Needless to say, anyone who thinks windows is freeware, has no concept of the computer software industry.

  52. I was sorry to see that the CCLEANER was like most “free” software I have tried, it runs a check for free, tells you there are 697 (actual numbers from my scan) problems, but it can only fix 6 of them with the free need to buy to full version.

  53. I think there are two major omissions, both with literally millions of downloads for their current versions (and new versions/updates occurr several times a year).

    IOBit Smart Defrag – defrags in the background when your system is idle. Using it, my system is always 99+% defragmented.

    IOBit Advanced Systems Care Free Edition – (I know that I sound like a shill, but their products are great). Automatically does registry cleaning, file cleaning, etc. and has dozens of intuitive easy to use functions built in.

  54. While I find all the vilifying utterly unnecesary and of-putting, thanks to all those who have told us of useful programs. I was totally unaware that there is an alternative to Adobe Reader. I’ll most certainly follow that up.

    Please everyone, there’s really no need to be so rude and unpleasant about the PCPitstop list. No it’s not very useful, but by writing in a positive way about your favourite free programs and being supportive while disagreeing about the value of the information, it’s much more likely they will rejig the idea to give us various useful ways of using it. Shouting at them will simply make them reluctant to continue to provide new ideas, however imperfect.
    PCPitstop people, although you didn’t intend it that way, the majority of people will read this list as some sort of endorsement by you of these programs. The concept is very good but needs tweaking. Please don’t be put off by the unpleasant attitudes, but also, please can you develope this idea until it become really useful. I have never even heard of something like 85% of the free programs mentioned by comment writers positive and negative. I’m saving this mail complete simply to have time to investigate all the useful sounding programs.

  55. There’s absolutely no requirement to compare IQs , I’m sure. Several of us ‘morons’ pointed out that Internet Exploiter was also ‘free’, preinstalled and yet doesn’t appear on the list, a point that many non-morons appear to have missed.
    Folks looking for a useful graphics freebie might try FastStone Viewer. It has useful editing tools.
    Those looking for a free burner could give Deepburner a whirl.
    TinySpell is a user-freindly ‘ on-the-fly ‘ spellchicker .

  56. “This is not a list that PitStop recomends but a list that they have gleaned from the thousands of computer scans that they do daily. This IS software that people have installed on their computers.”

    What about windows? Any version… Isn’t that installed on more computers than Adobe Reader? Why is it not listed? And dont start that “it isn’t freeware” garbage… a great number of the programs listed above require some amount of payment to unlock all of the features, including Adobe Reader, and most of them are not pre-installed. Windows comes pre-installed on almost every over-the-counter computer sold, and if you uninstall it, you void the warranty on the computer (as i understand it). And with computer prices around $250 or so (sans monitor) at Walmart, how can you say Windows isn’t freeware?

    1. @Neil Doughty: Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…seems you need a little lesson on ‘Windows’ and also the word ‘free’. Firstly, the cost of the operating system is passed on to the customer. In other words, it is part of the price you pay for the computer and if it (Windows) wasn’t installed, the actual cost of the computer would be a lot less.

      It doesn’t matter how cheap the computer, part of the cost goes to Microshite and to say otherwise is a no-brainer. As for what you said about PC Pitstop getting the list from other peoples computers? Yes if you actually read it, they say that up-front and quite what your point is, I don’t know.

  57. One of the responses was lauding Picasa. I lost over 300 photos that I stupidly did not copy before uploading to Picasa. I waited too long to log back on and my account had been deleted. I will never get the pictures back. My e-mail account is a better photo program!

    I’m a Stardock fan myself.

    1. @nir: The program was only doing its [email protected]Linda rousay: Why oh why do people continue to use these so-called file/image storage sites. They are a menace and a scourge and more importantly, a security threat.

      With external storage devices so cheap, there really is no excuse and I have no sympathy for you or others when you loose your files to these fly by night outfits that do nothing more than invade your privacy and foist countless spyware programs on you through advertising ect.

      You get what you deserve!

  58. Some people just want to bitch don’t they. Here are a few people bitching that Adobe Reader is listed as the number one installed free application – they bitch because it’s not that great a product but they even bother to read the sentence that reads “We have created a new popularity measurement that is the percentage of PC’s that have that particular software installed.”

    So quit your bitching and read the article first. PCPitstop scans numerous computers and from all those scans it has been determined that Adobe Reader is the number one installed free software product. Gawd – can’t you morons read?

    1. @Matthew: How ironic…morons being called out by the biggest moron of them all. You!

      Whilst you may have a point in what you say, you fail to realize that Adobe Reader comes pre-installed on almost every new computer. Therefore, it doesn’t come as any great surprise that it is at the top of the list.

      Therefore, it is not the number one installed product by choice, it is the number one installed product by default. It’s a bit like saying that Internet Explorer is the number one browser because it is on every machine. No sh*t Sherlock!

      If you are going to berate others, then you need to understand what you are on about and see the bigger picture. I agree people need to read the article properly. As for people wanting to bitch? So what!

      You had your bitch and now I’m having mine.

  59. My 3 top free programs are not even on the list….Advanced System Care (much better that CCleaner)….SUPERAntiSpyware….Online Armor (firewall). These programs always find more that any of the other free programs….even some pay ones! I have others, but these 3 are my key ones.

  60. Oh, ExtractNow is an excellent decompressor, but doesn’t go the other way. & the venerable Irfanview is good, too, as an image viewer/editor.
    Also, I often use Revo uninstaller & Format Factory, & think they are great.

  61. I agree w/ Mike about Foxit reader.
    To Douglas, I say, Comodo FW, best for free & for pay.
    I like Avast AV, & Super AntiSpyware & Malwarebytes Antimalware are both better scanners than Adaware & SpyBot, though I still use the latter.
    I’ve tried Opera & it is a pain; Ff is better, but must be properly configured for top speeds in broadband, which most folks don’t do.

  62. What a great start, if only to establish the how superficial so many of your readers are. They read one thing and see another. At least you have shown a real need in the community. The suggestion to be very careful what you download was the best general response. I’ve found a goldmine in the responses so far. Keep up the good work!!

  63. I am a big fan of Avast. I use it in both MS Windows and Linux.

    The best way to get free software is to install a Linux OS – my favourite is LinuxMint (Based on Ubuntu)

  64. I found very nice pdf reader and it’s free and very ‘light’. Only about 7.2MB’s!! I’m now using it exclusively on all machines I work on. It’s called FoxitReader. Cheers

  65. Thanks to PitStop and all those who LamBlasted them over so-called free programs. It was an education.
    Wish there was such a thing in politics. Why dont all you people run for Congress or even city council.

  66. While this is interesting, I think a more valuable list would be the top 3-10 programs in each category. And perhaps include some sort of indicator as to which are PC pitstop staff and user favorites.

  67. Maybe you should distinguish between preinstalled and user
    Some of the programs would not have been installed if the user had a choice.

  68. Have enjoye all the discussion Keep making your point bacause guys lik me me look at the comments and then go searching at suggested individuals preference. What anoys me is the amound of so called free ware which in the end you click on and its free to download but u need to pay to use. There should be a law to that. bWhat we need is a site where all the good software on it is freeeee.

    My suggestion to PCPit stop is they have another techitalk that allows the likes of you all to make suggestions of your popular chioces and have a rating by that us by users only. I agree that alot of programs are pre installed and people use them because they are there and they know no better. Why is the many microsoft pragrams not at number one?


  69. To quote the article’s lead-in:
    “… it is hard to know what free software is the best. … We hope that this new feature in TechTalk will solve both of these problems.”

    When I read that, I could hardly wait to read on! But noooo – that’s not really what the list is about. Just an incomplete compilation of most-often installed software.

    How about future revised features that really do list the good stuff (with ratings)? Looks to me like your fathful readers have already given you a good head-start on that one!

  70. @ Charley
    Re: P2P downloads

    IMHO do NOT download from these sites, especially if you are non-tecchie as (perhaps) 75% WILL be carrying a payload that you were not expecting or wanting. IE virus, ad/spyware or worse. Go to the author’s sites for these excellent freeware programs and NEVER, sorry, NEVER click on a link that says something along the lines of “your PC has a virus. Click here to download our free tool”…

    Try and use the same “sixth sense” (you probably use when walking down your street at night) when downloading freebies from the ‘net…

    Happy surfing!


  71. @ Oldodger
    Excellent! Then our work is done!!

    A couple more for my “free” list which I forgot earlier:

    General system analysis tool: pcpitstop!!
    Tecchie system analysis tool: sandra
    Task manager: Sysinternals process explorer (now microsoft – but still free)
    File compression/decompression: 7-Zip
    System monitor: Speedfan



  72. Reading through the replies has certainly given food for thought. I had never before even considered an alternative to Adobe, (like thousands of others I suspect) but I shall be looking now.
    Running Windows XP I have never had any problems with the following freebies which are well worth a look.
    Secunia PSI

  73. I can’t believe how many have jumped on PCPitstop for publishing this list!! Perhaps the title should read “most installed”… PcP has obviously a large database of our machines and installed software. Fair swap for their free utilities, don’t you think?
    Anyway, my “free” list is as follows:

    Firewall: Comodo
    A/V: Avg
    Grot remover: AdAware
    Image editor: Gimp
    Image resizing tool: PixResizer – brilliant!
    Office: Open office
    PDF viewer: Foxit
    Browser: Google chrome
    Tecchie editor: Notepad++
    HTML editor: Max’s HTML beauty for quick and dirty edits (old but still valid…)
    audio player: winamp
    image viewer: irfanview (great plugins available)
    General system utilities: Glary utilities
    Defrag tool: JkDefrag – brilliant!!
    System de-crapper: Ccleaner!
    Operating system: Ubuntu

    Hope the list is helpful to the “noobs” out there!

    Best regards and happy downloading!


  74. To be of real service, PCP should publish a list of legitimate freeware ie programs that are free of adware, virus, etc. Many sites publish lists but no evaluation of legitimacy. Possibly bad example but P2P sites. All I have tried are loaded with virus’s etc. Have had to reinstall several times after using. Are any safe to use? That would be a great service. Also other computer sites “experts” can never finalize the “best” one freeware to use ie Comodo or Zone Alarm. Your the experts, evaluate, agree and tell us who are not very literate. I assist free many senior citizens and would like some info.

  75. I agree that Adobe Reader is ‘for the birds’ AFAIAC. Ditto for Real Player. Seems that Adobe has to issue security patches even more often than Micro$oft has been doing over the past decade or so.

    However, there is a lot of stuff in the list that I have personally tested that is quite worthy of mention.

    Nothing is perfect in this world and my respect for PC Pitstop is unflagging.

  76. Lots of great free stuff out there on the Web. If you want a really fast file finding tool (and I mean faaaaaaaaaaast)
    then go to Gizmo’s site and download Everything (name of the program!)
    Beats waiting for the Windows pooch to stop wagging its tail.

  77. Ellen Brantley

    Now I’m really confused. Do I delete Adobe and fearfully install Foxit Reader? I had already changed from AVG to Avast. Picasso 3 was a lifesaver when I had to do 2 slideshow presentations. As a senior who has had computers since 1990, I try to guide other seniors on how to manage their computers. Keep on trying guys, I still like the information in PC Pitstop.

  78. Words count. To add my two bits. As others point out, P.S. writers confuse “best” with “most popular” and “most popular” with “most installed”. This is clearly a list of the “most installed” and carries no (or should carry no) implication of “popularity” or “quality – poor, fair, good, best, etc”. Regarding popularity, even if that were the criterion, “pop” should carry no necessary implication of quality as pop usually appeals to the lowest common denominator and, whatever virtue that might have in democratic elections and celebrity fan bases, as often as not, it comes with little or no quality – i. e., there’s zero correlation between popularity and quality. So to repeat some of what’s been said by others and add my bit, have three categories, “Most Installed”, “Most Popular”, and “Best Quality”. The first is the list provided compiled by the means used by P.S. here. The second and third would require a pole of users with the third requiring added justification beyond “I think it’s cool” or a simple star-rating. Additionally, breaking all three into two categories – “Systems/Systems-related” and “Applications that let you do productive things”. That would get rid of silly comparisons such as that between Adobe Reader and Audacity – arguably the worst and best of two completely different programs for completely different purposes.

  79. I am surprised at the cutting criticism this article received. I guess it shows a real love affair that people have for their computers and software. but I appreciate the article; at least PCPitstop does share this type info. And believe it or not, I appreciate the responses of users who know the products and other programs they recommend.

    I hope you all keep up this type of service.

  80. Whether you agree with the original list or not, this entire thread has been very informational and given me the names of a lot of additional programs to check out. I run Avira AV, but it really seems to slow my system down and misses most of the spyware that my Spyware Terminator catches.

  81. It’s interesting that six of the entries in the list are anti-virus/anti-malware/clean-your-registry programs. That’s Windows for you. It would be nice to see PC Pitstop be a bit less Windows-centric or perhaps just change the name of the Web site to “Windows Pitstop”.

    And, by the way, the vast majority of software available for Linux is free, so maybe this list should be called “Windows Pitstop Top Free Windows Software”.

  82. everybody quit your complaining. just remove adobe reader and real player and what remains is a nice top 20 list of good freeware. btw, utorrent should be on the list.

  83. To all those who felt/feel it necessary to flame on this simple attempt to provide a list of POPULAR freeware: take a pill. If you’d read the very concise intro, you’d realize that this is a quantitative list based on the number of installations encountered, not a subjective, qualitative list – which is virtually impossible with all the different opinions out there.
    Most people understand this, and so don’t feel the need to “open their mouths and remove all doubt.” Sheesh!

  84. Right on Londonsid, Take out “PC Pitstop” and insert Most Popular. Title implys PC Pitstop’s approval of list and take out “best” in text. How about you guys go out on a limb and run a parallel list of what your in house consent is as to the real BEST alternatives are.
    It will take alittle more effort but will really help the Nubees out there that will take your misnamed title and text as gospel!

  85. As most of us know, it is not possible to express an opinion on the internet without attracting a certain number of trolls. While I agree with some of the quibbling over ‘best’, I agree that popularity is one measure for software. Also agree that logic says that IE should be on the list somewhere but then there would also be notepad and a host of the other Windows utils and all of the top 50 or so would be things supplied by the most popular OS. Even though the percentages are getting pretty small, I would be interested in seeing the top 100 or so.

  86. You missed a biggie.. Internet Explorer. Installed on every PC and it is free. whether you use it or not!!!

  87. I have to agree that this article misrepresents the data. It does not denote the “best” software… Not even, really, the most popular. It just lists the most installed. I think that metric can have value but I think you should rethink the presentation. You should also consider not listing commonly pre-installed software such as Adobe Reader.

  88. Well, Robert Fishwick, first question is what is the use of this list? It doesn’t help anybody find good free programs (except by chance). And a list of the crap that is on most computers is like asking all their owners their opinion on quantum theory or the relative merits of Mozart and Hyden.
    And, to cap it all, to say that if a program is not on a large percentage of computers then it must be useless is the stupidest thing I’ve read for ages. I’d guess that less than one percent of computers have a music sequencing program; but that doesn’t necessarily make them all – including the free ones – crap.
    As I’ve told many people (unless they’ve seen ms coming), the biggest BS I’ve heard in my life has mostly been from ‘experts’.

  89. Avast has clearly become the most effective freeware A/V (it not just my personal favorite,but tested as superior to AVG) Real-time protection and boot-time scanning the others do not offer.

  90. If, as Chengrob says, “The reason that Adobe reader is #1 is NOT because we think it is the best. It is because it is found on the most computers.”, then maybe Pitstop should change the title in it’s newsletter from “The World’s Best Free Software” to “The World’s Most Popular Free Software”.

  91. Robert Fishwick

    Wow, I am stunned by the negative responses, I am also puzzled as to why you did not read the article to find out how the list was compiled. This is not a list that PitStop recomends but a list that they have gleaned from the thousands of computer scans that they do daily. This IS software that people have installed on their computers. The reason that your favourite software is not listed is because nobodys computer that PitStop have scaned have it installed, sorry guys, if no one else has it installed on their computer, the software that you love so much must suck.

  92. Before it became a marketing tool, PCPitstop used to promote and discuss the very best of genuinely free software . Simple tools such as ‘ Startup Monitor ‘, ToniArts ‘ EasyCleaner ‘, ‘ RegCleaner ‘ and Karen Kenworthy’s remarkable range of free ‘ Karen’s Power Tools’ kept everybody up, running and interested in the concept of a free internet. Philanthropic developers were almost folk heroes. Now the excruciatingly sluggish and petulant ‘ Adobe Reader ‘ appears top of the list because it ‘ comes preinstalled ‘ ? What happened chengrob ? Where is PCPitstop’s essential pre-installed free browser, Internet Exploiter ?

  93. The article is mis-titled. Most used would be a more appropriate name. I don’t know how you equate “best” with being on the most computers. Many of these “best” programs are pre-installed. Many users use them because they don’t know any better or can’t be bothered to change. If you want the best, you should have considered some of the recommendations above, as well as Sandboxie. But if the criteria is on most computers, then you should have included IE as well.

  94. AML registry cleaner
    eusing free registry cleaner
    K meleon (browser)
    auslogics disk defrag
    I like these ones

  95. Hi,

    Just to be clear. The reason that Adobe reader is #1 is NOT because we think it is the best. It is because it is found on the most computers. The rankings are by popularity not our preferences. Thanks for reading.

  96. You guys forgot one of the best free programs out there for protecting your system and keeping your software up to date.
    Secunia PSI [ Personal Software Inspector ] Please check this program out and add it to your list.

  97. I agree totally with Jerry. For years I have uninstalled Adobe on every computer I owned. Foxit is far superior and a tiny fraction of the size of Adobe. Audacity is certainly one of the best music recording and editing programs. I used to use Cool Edit until it priced itself out of the stratosphere. For me the best Firewall is Online Armour. The free personal version is excellent. I also use ‘Updater’ which is unbelievably quick to recommend updates for your installed programs and the lightening fast search program “Everything”.

  98. Adobe Reader just sucks big time, every experienced user removes this slow bloated program from their systems. Foxit Reader is the best in that category. WinRAR is NOT free, just a free trial and should not even be listed. Real Player?? what about WinAmp, GOM Player or JetAudio, they are all much better and can play any formats. Ccleaner is excellent but it is NOT a registry cleaner, it is a system “junk file cleaner”, it registry cleaning is very limited. No uTorrent or BitComet?? everyone knows that they are both top freeware programs. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware?? have you ever reviewed anti-virus tests of this program?? It is highly over-rated, nothing more than a rogue remover. What about a-squared Anti-Malware Free or Avast Home Edition?? COMODO Internet Security is the only totally free security suite. Spywareblaster and SuperAntiSpyware are other free programs that should be listed. Online Armor Firewall Free Edition, Outpost
    Firewall Free and PC Tools Firewall Plus are the best free firewalls. All much better than ZoneAlarm. I’m sorry but this list just sucks.
    Good Day.

  99. After installing “audacity” i then remembered why I deleted it once before: There is absolutely no clue given as to how to use it, or what to do when audacities window comes up. This sucks!!!!

  100. I have started losing all respect that I had for PC Pitstop…Adobe Reader at No 1??? You guys are out of your geeky mind. You have completely lost it. Period.

    When I see that excellent freewares like PDF Xchange and even Foxit is not even mentioned, then I know somethings really rotten in this apple…

    The saddest part is, so many noobs like me tend to visit you site, read your newsletters and believe in them…

    Really really sad, not to mention, pathetic.

  101. This article should be renamed “Preinstalled Software” otherwise it is nonsense! Adobe Reader at no 1? The only reason this software is no 1 is because it comes already installed on 99.99% of computers that are sold. It is one of the first bits of useless bloated software that I remove from any computer that I work on. I replace it with Foxit Reader, a fraction of the size and yet it does exactly the same thing. And as for Adobe not having the money to advertise their software? Please!!

    Quote- “we will continue to build out the list of the world’s best free software.”

    What a joke!

  102. Photofiltre 6.3.2, Xn View, Context Magic, Open Expert, Send To Toys, MWSnap, (MS Powertoys XP Image Resizer), VSO Image Resizer, Free Digital Camera tools/utilities,
    Revo Uninstaller, Jet Photo Studio, Microsoft ICE, Pictomio,
    These are just a few of the excellent programs and utilities I have used for a few years and found indispensable. All the Photo software is updated periodically.

  103. Hi! Thanks for your great website and services.

    I use Microsoft’s free SynchToy 2.0 to back up my daily work and keep my home computer synched to my work computer. I have used both 32 bit and 64 bit versions, and have been happy with both.

    1. @douglas mcmillen: To my knowledge the best firewall is Comodo, especially if you have a network going on.

      I used to use the free version of zone alarm but its absolutely crap with networks, in that, it was constantly blocking traffic from my network and in the end I got fed up with it and decided to look for something better.

      Just get the Comodo firewall though and don’t fall for them security suites.

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