Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Necessary' Freeware

I use all of the programmes below. Each of the highlighted headings are links that, when clicked on, will take you to the download area and description of the programmes. They are, in my view, stable, and on my machine as ‘must have’ pieces of freeware. This does not necessarily mean they are the ‘best’ of freeware. Before you comment – no they do not slow down my machine (an Asus A2H/L notebook with an Intel ® Celeron® CPU 2.40GHz with 512 MB RAM and 30GB drive). I should add that I am a stickler for daily computer disk maintenance. What maintenance takes in time is saved in the speed at which my machine subsequently operates. I use the hibernate feature and only do a full startup when new programmes are added or updates are downloaded. Each programme has been placed in a category for convenience. Minimal information is provided here – look at the site quoted for full information. Click the category below to go to the link for the software. Take particular notice of the size of the download – some programmes are large – don’t say you weren’t warned! If you are on a capped dialup it may be wise to go to your local Internet cafĂ© and download to a flash drive or CD. I have also included in this posting some free newsletters I find useful. In a few cases more than one programme is used and recommended.

Office related is a free and open source office suite, including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, vector drawing, and database components. It is compatible with Microsoft Office. It is available at (176 MB).

Money Management

Cashbook Complete includes cashbook, invoicing, statements, contacts, budgets, projects, timesheets, graphs and a report writer. Imports bank statements. Free for personal use at (5MB)

PDF Reader

Foxit is a free reader/viewer/printer for PDF documents. The programme is only 1.5 MB vs. Adobe at 28 MB. It runs instantly without installation. Get from

Sumatra PDF (800 Kb) is a slim, free, open-source PDF viewer for Windows. Sumatra at has a minimalistic design. It's small and starts up very fast.

PDF Creation online

Quickly and easily convert your documents into PDF on-line from anywhere in the world at Converts most common file formats to a PDF in minutes.

Desktop Publishing

PagePlus SE is versatile and simple to use... With preset document layouts, automated templates, color schemes and artistic effects, this free download (19.5MB) from produces professional looking results.

Image Edititng

PhotoPlus at is a 36 MB free, powerful, user friendly, photo editing software program. You can enhance and alter the on screen appearance with a diverse toolkit of functions and effects. A full range of export options, plus powerful optimisation capabilities, round out this high performing photo editing software.

Image Management and Manipulation

Picasa (4.56 MB) at helps you instantly find, edit and share all the images on your PC. Every time you open Picasa, it automatically locates all your pictures (even ones you forgot you had) and sorts them into visual albums. Picasa also makes advanced editing simple with one-click fixes. Picasa lets you email, print photos, make gift CDs, and post pictures on your blog.


ArtRage (2.74 MB) at is a fun and easy to use painting tool that lets you play with realistic paints on your computer. You can create your own paintings, load in photos and recreate them with oil paints, pencils, felt pens, or the other tools ArtRage has to offer.

Online Image Storage

Yahoo! Photos at lets you arrange photos into albums and share them with nominated friends. You can E-mail pictures and send pictures as e-postcards. All for free.


Legacy 6.0 Standard Edition at allows you to preserve your genealogical information. Family trees can be recorded, displayed and reported in a variety of styles and formats. Legacy includes all standard genealogical reports, as well as calendars, timelines, questionnaires, research logs and a multitude of blank forms.

CD Burning

Ashampoo Burning Studio Free (5.6 MB) at is a full featured CD/DVD/Blu-Ray burning suite that enables you to create data, music, video and audio discs. You can also create backups that span across multiple discs, rip music tracks from Audio CDs and create or burn disc images in ISO or BIN/CUE format. The task oriented interface makes it easy get started and spares you most of the technical details. Other features include automatic audio conversion from WAV, MP3, FLAC, WMA and Ogg files, disc copying, compressed file backup and restore, disk erasing, VCD/SVCD support, project burning and more. Free registration required after 10 days.

Sound Recording

Audacity (2.5 MB) at is a free audio editor and Audacity can record live audio, convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CD, edit many sound files.

* Cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together.

* Change the speed or pitch of a recording.

* And more! See the complete list of features.

Internet Browser

Firefox (5 MB) at has an intuitive interface and blocks viruses, spyware, and popup ads. It delivers Web pages fast. It’s easy to install and import your favorites. Useful features include tabbed browsing, Live Bookmarks, and an integrated Search bar.

Internet Search

Google at stands out. Spend some time looking at the search rules. For random searching the Stumbleupon toolbar at is unsurpassed as an extension for your toolbar.


Thunderbird (6 MB) at delivers safe, fast, and easy email, with intelligent spam filters, quick message search, and customizable views.

Email Reader

The Natural Reader (9 MB) at free version allows you to experience listening to emails, web surfing, reports or text on your PC.

Alternate Email

Gmail is a great way to use an alternative email address. Find out about it at . You have a massive (7 MB!) free storage capability. It is useful for holding files e.g. bookmarks and mail you wish to access from anywhere other than your own machine. Gmail is invitation only.

Voice over Internet (VOIP)

Skype (9.5 MB) at simple bit of software that lets you make free calls, via your computer, to your friends all over the world (if they also have Skype installed). It also allows cheap computer – land line or mobile calls from your computer at low per minute cost. Just plug in your headset, speakers or USB phone and start calling your friends. The calls have excellent sound quality and are secure. Best with broadband. The latest version also has video capability (requires a webcam).

Web Design

Nvu (7.6 MB) at is a web authoring system to rival programmes like FrontPage and Dreamweaver. Nvu (pronounced N-view, for a “new view”) makes managing a web site simple. Needs no technical expertise or HTML knowledge.

URL converter

TinyURL at is a free service that makes posting long URLs easier. By entering in a URL in the text field in the page address above, it will create a tiny URL that can be copied and pasted to your emails, web sites or blogs. No more long addresses to copy and paste.


Legacy Family Tree Maker (25.2 MB) at free version, includes all standard genealogical reports, as well as calendars, timelines, questionnaires, research logs and a multitude of blank forms and more.


Avast! 4 Home Edition (8.81 MB) at is a free complete antivirus solution for non business computers, fully able to find computer viruses, to create and check the integrity of programs installed, to test executed programs and opened documents, to test and check email and other functions.


The free SUPERAntiSpyware which checks for spyware and other malware on your system. NOTE thta the free version does not provide resident protection. For preventing spyware and other malware entering your system. Use as a backup to Windows Defender, software that helps protect your computer against pop-ups, slow performance, and security threats caused by spyware and other unwanted software by detecting and removing known spyware from your computer. Windows Defender features Real-Time Protection, a monitoring system that recommends actions against spyware when it's detected. It is automatically provided with Vista. Download from

System Information

Everest Home Edition (4 MB) at is a freeware system information, system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for home PC users.

Registry Cleaner

CCleaner (529 KB) at is a freeware PC optimization tool that removes unused and temporary files from your system and cleans the registry automatically - allowing Windows to run faster, more efficiently and giving you more hard disk space.

Disk defragmenter

JK Defrag (367 KB)

JK Defrag at is another free defragmentation programme that has excellent reviews.

File recovery

PC INSPECTOR™ File Recovery (5.8 MB) at .This programme recovers lost files and finds partitions automatically, even when the boot sector of your machine has become damaged or erased. Even when a file's header entry is no longer available, PC Inspector File Recovery can recover the file. It recovers files with the original time and date stamp.


7-Zip (821 KB) at is a file archiver with high compression ratio.

Optical character recognition (OCR)

Use SimpleOCR to add accurate character recognition capabilities to your custom software. Find it at and NOTE – if you have Office 2003 it has a built in scanner and OCR component.

Selection of free newsletters

There are many other free newsletter sites but you can only handle so many.

Support Alert newsletter at each month reviews dozens of tech utilities in Gizmo Richards’ free Support Alert newsletter. Each month in Support Alert, you'll find some remarkable freeware as well as very best shareware and tech web sites. There is also a very useful low cost pay version.

Internet Fixes at is a hard to describe site but the name says it all. A bit difficult to find your way around but the newsletter is useful.