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)


  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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 v11.04 (last free version)
  • WinXP Start Menu feel: Classic Shell
  • Screensots: Greenshot


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

Specialty Software

  • VirtualBox

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

One-use gadgets

  • Slipstream: nLite / ntLite
    Downloading all updates for offline install: WSUSoffline
  • 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
  • Shellbag Analyzer

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: HHD, HexProbe, FlexHex for Home
  • IDE: U++

Analyzing Programs, expert level debug

Old computer gadgetry

One use tool (like benchmarks, system info)

  • CPU-Z
  • IntelBurnTest
  • LanBench, iperf3, NetIO
  • AS SSD

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