'Must-have' Freeware

Who says you need to spend a lot on essential software for your PC? There are a lot of free solutions available.
twitter-logo Nidhi Singal        Print Edition: March 2014
'Must-have' Freeware

Who says you need to spend a lot on essential software for your PC? There are a lot of free solutions available.

DOCUMENTATION

Open Office:
One of the best alternatives to MS Office, this offers a lot of similar features for free. It is available for download for almost all platforms including Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. It has a word editor, spreadsheet maker and even a presentation creator. It supports a large number of equations and languages. Files are stored in international open office formats, which can be edited using other programs.

LibreOffice:
Created by the developer of Open Office, the LiberOffice suite runs on the same code with similar six applications as on the Open Office. These include - Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Base and Math. The LibreOffice standard package offers PDF import, a presentation minimizer and a Wiki publisher. Users can expand functionality with extensions and templates as well.

 


SPEED UP WRITING

Phrase Express:
This is a powerful text expansion tool to enter commonly used phrases. It expands text abbreviations into full snippets. For instance, one can set the keyboard shortcut for "DCT", which automatically expands to "Dear Customer, Thank you for contacting us." It also provides Autotext feature in Windows Program. This is handy for those who continually type the same things over. It even recognises repetitive text input automatically and offers to auto-complete full sentences.

 

 


NOTE TAKING

ATnotes:
It also gives access to options such as insert file, URL, or program shortcut in the note and schedule reminder alarms

 

 


AUDIO EDITOR

Audacity:
Available for Mac OS, Windows and Linux, this is one of the best audio editing software. This editor can record and play sounds, import and export WAV, AIFF, MP3 and OGG files. Its interface is simple and uncluttered. One can edit sounds using cut, copy and paste features, mix tracks, or apply effects to recording. Built-in effects include bass boost, noise removal, reverb, delay and compression.

 

Wavepad Sound Editor:
This is another popular easy-to-use sound editor. It is a feature-rich software that supports most commonly used audio formats such as MP3, WMA, WAV, FLAC, OGG, Real Audio, etc. This utility can be used to edit sound (cut, copy, paste) and add audio effects (reverb, echo, reverse)

 


VIDEO EDITOR

Windows Movie Maker:
This software can be used to easily edit videos whether professionally made or otherwise. Compatible with various Windows operating systems, it has a convenient drag-and-drop feature. It supports a wide variety of media files and one can practically drag any video file to the timeline and start editing. One can also add effects or text to the compilation that can be later saved or burnt into a CD or a DVD.

 

 


PHOTO EDITOR

Pixlr:
Professionals prefer Adobe Photoshop but that comes at a cost. Pixlr is a free solution that offers similar features. This online tool can take care of most image editing needs of both amateurs and professional. To use it, just go to the site. No signup is required. You can start using it instantly. The editor even allows you to create a new image, open images from a computer, URL or library. This editor can be used on mobile devices, too.

 

IrfanView:
This power image editing software can take care of the needs of both amateurs and professionals. Easily available as a free download, it has multiple format support and has features like support for Adobe Photoshop filters, batch conversion, multiple TIF editing, lossless JPG rotation and more.

 


MEDIA PLAYBACK

VLC Player:
You might be using Windows Media Player but I personally prefer VLC player to be the best. This player can play any audio or video format without worrying if it has the necessary codecs to run them or not. It virtually can run most of the latest AV files with ease.

 

 


SECURITY

Microsoft Security Essential:
Don't be fooled by numerous free and paid software for enabling virus security on your PC. Simply install Microsoft Security Essential for free and run a full scan. This free software will prevent your PC from all the potential threats without costing a single penny. The software doesn't use much resources and hence doesn't interfere with the performance. There are three scans - quick, custom and full. You can also schedule a weekly full automatic scan when the PC is not being used.

 

 


FILE TRANSFER:

 

Hightail:
Popularly known as Yousendit in the past, Hightail addresses the issues concering limited attachment file support. This online data sharing website has both free and paid versions. The free version is basic and allows you to share files of up to 250MB. One can also send files up to 2GB from a computer or mobile device with Hightail.

 


DATA RECOVERY

 

Pandora Recovery:
Deleted some important files by mistake? Use Pandora Recovery, an excellent free file recovery software. The software is easy to use. A more advanced "Surface Scan" is available that should recover more files than the standard search as long as they are of a popular format. This can be used to undelete files from hard drives, memory cards, etc.

 


PC CLEANER

 

CCleaner:
Just as our health demands regular monitoring, so do our PCs. More so, if we are connected to the Web. And CCleaner is what the PC doctors ordered. This has been specially designed for Windows PCs. It speeds up the performance of the system by freeing up the hard disk space. It also protects the privacy of its user online by removing temp files, history and cookies, etc., from the browser's history. Above all, it doesn't consume much time. It works smoothly within a minute.

 


CD BURNER:

 

CDBurner XP:
While some CD writers come with their PC for later use. It even has Lightscribe integration that can be used for LS disc writers to etch titles on discs. A neat feature of the software is that it can add audio tracks directly to your compilation without ripping them down as MP3.

 

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