Here are 10 12 14 15 17 18 of the BEST shareware and freeware software packages every produced! Try them: you won't be disappointed!

2019 NOTE: This document is archived and not updated as of about 2012. Many of the software offerings here are still the cat's meow, such as Audacity, Winamp, and CCleaner. Others have been folded into larger firms and of little value now, and others are defunct.


Zone Alarm

Free and VERY effective firewall for your laptop for PC -

2. Spyware Search and Destroy

Free spyware removal tool with other useful little utilities - Use this software at the same time as Ad Aware (noted next). Both clean out spyware, but they seem to do so differently. Using both will mean you clean out all the spyware on your computer (run them weekly)


Ad Aware

Free spyware removal tool - keeps your Internet use private! Use in conjunction with Spyware Search and Destroy (noted above) -


Password Safe

Free high encryption mini-safe for your passwords or other private information based on the Blowfish encryption algorithm -



Shareware (30 days) trial version - draw diagrams, maps, layouts in a flash! -


Paint Shop Pro

Shareware (30 days) trial version - everyone has their favourite photo/image editing program. But try this one, it won't disappoint -


Yahoo IM

Free Instant Messaging software - just keeps getting better and more fun.



Freeware - The "skins" and ad-free simplicity make this music and video player software awesome - now in version 3 and getting even better!



Shareware (30 days) trial version - screen capture and annotation software - a narrow interest software package? Surprisingly useful for capturing error screens, web pages, and more!



Shareware (30 days) trial version - why pay big money for Flash when you can create those text effects and more in a simple, cheap, easy-to-use package?



Freeware / Demo - The grand master of file compression, file splitting, archiving, and file bundling. Still free to try, but nice to pay the owners a small "Pro" version upgrade fee for their long history of supporting this software -

12 Eraser

Eraser is freeware - Erase files permanently from your hard drive. I bet you didn't know that files could be recovered from your hard drive even after they were deleted, the recycle bin was emptied, AND the original file was overwritten on the tracks on the hard drive. It's true. But this beautiful little free app overwrites the tracks 35 times with random data to ensure that your files can not be recovered.

Download it here:

Eraser - Version 5.3 - .zip package - By Sami Tolvanen, Finnish Computer Science student. GNU Public License. Now being maintained by Garrett Trant (Garett's web site)

13 CCleaner

CCleaner - or "Crap Cleaner" in not so polite terms, removes all kinds of litter from your computer: Recently visited web site lists, recently used files, caches of images that browsers automatically store when you visit a web site, etc. Freeware, but donations are appreciated to help the author of the software.


14 Open Office

Open Office is Sun Computer and the open source community's answer to MS Office. Free, powerful, easy to use, and up-to-date. Word processor - that edits ".doc" files and can output directly to ".pdf" - spreadsheet, HTML editor, presentation software, and more. A super package - did I mention it was FREE (!) . Suggestion for including this package in the list by Marc Donovan. Thanks, Marc!


15 Avast

Avast virus protection and cleaning software is free to personal / home users. Not a bad deal considering that competitors make you pay for their software and then set you up for automatically "dinging" of your credit card every year. Suggestion for including this package in the list by Milan Frankl. Thanks, Milan!




Still have a modem in your computer? Need to fax a resume? Sometimes you still need to. If you have a faxmodem and need some good, free fax software, check out CallCenter. The free basic version probably will do the trick for those odd times you need one. Suggestion for including this package in our list by Tracy Seelye. Thanks Tracy!


17 SyncBack

Doing backups is like flossing your teeth. Would be good if you did it, but who has time? With SyncBack, the backups are done regularly for you automatically. To a backup hard drive, tape drive, network drive, FTP location, ... Nice software. Takes a bit to configure it, but otherwise, a great kit for doing automatic backups of your data.




NEW ADDITION! You can use Windows' sound recorder to record from a microphone. But very quickly you will get frustrated. You need an powerful but easy to use open source recording/editing/mp3 converting software package. Audacity is just the package. The two really useful parts to this software is that you can test the volume coming in from your microphone and you can edit the sound files using a bunch of effects such as equalization, reverbs, fades, and tons more.


Do you know about a "killer app" sharware / freeware software package that I missed in this list?

Please and let me know about it. Thanks!

Home | Last update to this page: April 2005.

© 2001-2005, Paul Kurucz. Any information may be copied from this page for your personal use, but please reference this page as your source in any publication, either off-line or on-line. Thanks!