Ask Dave Taylor: Our Favorite Freeware Apps

Note from PC Pitstop: We recently asked our TechTalk contributors to recommend a favorite FREE application or tool that they currently use. This post is the response from our friend Dave Taylor.

Our Favorite Freeware Apps

By Dave Taylor

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


Ubuntu Installer

GroupMail — 

jZip, and I’ll also add filezilla and putty…

Article Continued Here

This post is excerpted with permission from Dave Taylor.

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3 thoughts on “Ask Dave Taylor: Our Favorite Freeware Apps”

  1. I am running Win7 x64 on a Gateway FX6000 with 6GB of RAM. When I use Firefox (latest version) I sometimes have the screen go black and a message floats around: “Our of Range”. I have to reboot. I cannot find any help by looking around the web using Google or the Mozilla site. Do you have any familiarit with this problem? BTW – I have the most recent drivers on my video card, an ATI Radeon HD 4800 series card.


    Fred Ames

    1. @Frederick Ames: You might try changing drivers…if you are using ATI’s dump it and let windows load theirs…if you don’t have ATI download it and let it install itself using express install.
      I had a similar problem once and that was the solution that worked for me…today I use MS’s driver on my ATI 4650 card.
      Good luck with it…

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