Essential freeware for Windows

Media Viewing

  • Music: Foobar2000
    Remember Masstag,  SACD, TAK, TTA, Monkey (APE), Free Encoder Pack (includes FLAC), rename FreeDB server configs (text replace all phrases “freedb” to “gnudb”)
  • Pictures: IrfanView (fast),
    XnViewMP (thumbnail, good use of screen estate)
  • Image in archive: CDisplayEX (fast)
    Remember to set “Automatically load next file” and “Include archives when loading next file”)
  • Video: Media Player Classic BE (efficient)
    PotPlayer (~Superset of MPC-*). Remember to enable Playback/Thumbnail
  • Codes: Shark Codecs

Media Conversion

Media Authoring

Productivity / Tools

  • FreeOffice
  • Groupware (Email, Calendar, Contacts): Mozilla Thunderbird / Windows Live Mail
  • Acrobat Pro 8.0 (There’s an official giveaway version if you caught it long time ago)
  • Nicer Calculator: Qcalculate


  • QCircuit Simulation: TINA-TI, QUCS
  • EDA / PCB Layout: KiCad


  • Remote Desktop Clients: mRemoteNG (saves password & config)
  • Remote support: TeamViewer
  • Block ad & scams: HostsMan
  • Wake on LAN: Aquillia WOL (installer), Nirsoft WakeMeOnLAN (loose files)
  • FTP: Filezilla (supports Unicode properly. No multi-part transfer)
    Use BitKinex for free Multi-part transfer, but no Unicode.
    SmartFTP does both brilliantly, but it’s too expensive for occasional use.
    LFTP for Windows is promising. Basically hacked WinSCP’s FTP client to use LFTP’s guts which support multi-part transfer.
  • Multi-part download: uGet (can replace BitKinex or SmartFTP if you have a few big files. It’s basically a wrapper around aria2 which supports 16 simultaneous threads parallel download)
  • Remote repair only the corrupted portion of file: FileRepair
  • SSH/Telnet/Serial: PuTTY (use this mod so you can choose to have ENTER key do CR+LF which is necessary for talking to a variety of test instruments, which demands at least an LF to terminate the command)

Dealing with files

  • Compression: 7-zip
  • Find files: AgentRansack
  • Floppies & VHD: WinImage
  • Advanced Renamer, Bulk File Changer
  • CRC Check: Hashcheck Shell Extension
  • Secure Wipe: Eraser Portable
  • geteltorito – an El Torito boot image (boot sector of CDs) extractor, command line

System Utilities

  • Temperature & health: Speedfan, CrystalDiskInfo, Open Hardware Monitor, HWInfo64
  • Registry tweaking: – Simple System Tweaker
  • SpeedGuide TCP Optimizier: mucking with MTU and other TCP settings
  • Enable/disable drivers & Services: Serviwin
  • Convert executable to Windows Services (headless): NSSM
  • Eject USB drives when Windows won’t: USB Disk Ejector, ProEject (obsolete), EjectUSB by William Hedrick (obsolete)
  • Check which program locks a file/folder (and unlock it): LockHunter
  • Systray menu for removing SATA drives live like USB: HotSwap!
  • ProcessExplorer: Pimped up Task Manager with a lot more details about process

Disk Virtualization

  • RAMDisk: SoftPerfect v3.4.7 (last free version), ImDisk
  • ISO Virtual Drives: WinCDEmu, Kernsafe Total Mounter
  • VHD mounter (persist between boots): Kernsafe Total Mounter, Simple VHD Manager
  • Linux Partition on Windows: DiskInternals Linux Reader

Windows User Experience

  • Multiple Monitor: WinSplit Revolution v11.06 (last free version)
  • WinXP Start Menu feel: Classic Shell
  • Screenshots: Greenshot/Flameshot
  • Concurrent Sessions: RDPwrap updated by sebaxakerhtc

Windows Privacy

  • Privacy settings: Privatezilla (scans for missing settings)
  • Shellbang (tracks all open file names): Shellbag Analyzer


  • Change codepage on the fly: piaip AppLocale,
  • Locale Emulator
  • pAppLocale (improved appLocale with right-click menu integration)


  • VirtualBox: Easiest to use
  • Hyper-V: Good for Windows guest on Windows host
  • QEmu on Windows has trouble with TAP networking

Out of band Management (Intel vPro/AMT KVM-over-IP)

  • MeshCommander

Software for test instruments

  • Agilent MDI, Acqiris
  • Agilent Intuilink (Newer 54600), Benchlink XL (Older 54600)
  • Keysight BenchVue, Connection Expert
  • AlazarTech DSO
  • Gage Compuscope
  • Plotter emulator, GPIB Toolkit by John Miles
  • Lecroy: ScopeExplorer


  • Slipstream: nLite / ntLite
    Downloading all updates for offline install: WSUSoffline
  • Bootable USB Stick: Rufus

One-use gadgets

  • Discovering command line switches: USSF (Ultimate Silent Switch Finder)
    Useful for finding undocumented switches for silent installation
  • Set boot menu: EasyBCD
  • Urescue – USB Pen Drive (Corrupt Firmware) Repair
  • PE Builder: build bootable recovery utility discs

Software Engineering Developer’s Software:

  • Compare files: WinMerge
  • Text Editor: Notepad++
    Programmer’s Notepad if you need to print on 11″x17″ paper
  • Hex Editor/Analyzer: HHD, HexProbe, FlexHex for Home, ImHex
  • Source Control: Github Desktop

Programming Languages and IDE

  • C++ IDE: U++
  • Python IDE: Spyder

Analyzing Programs, expert level debug

Old computer gadgetry


  • IntelBurnTest
  • LanBench, iperf3, NetIO
  • AS SSD