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With a few exceptions, if a program is listed here, I use it currently, or have used it at one time and liked it.

Currently, my only use of Windows is at work and occasionally in a virtual machine. I still help friends with Windows, but I don't have the exposure I did in the past. I'll keep this list up to date as much as possible.

NVIDIA Mobility Modder (nvmodtool)
Does your laptop manufacturer only offer outdated drivers for your video card? The NVIDIA Mobility Modder lets you use the latest drivers available from NVIDIA. Before I used this, some games wouldn't even run on my laptop.
ATI Mobility Modder I haven't had an opportunity to use this, but if it works as well at the NVIDIA version, it has to be good.
Omega Drivers I used to rely on these drivers for my laptop, but the author hasn't updated in a while and I have since moved to using the NVIDIA Mobility Modder instead.
kX Project Drivers for all EMU10K1 and EMU10K2-based soundcards (Sound Blaster Live!, Audigy, Audigy 2, and E-mu Audio Production Studio (APS) cards).

AVG Free Edition

"AVG Free Edition is the well-known anti-virus protection tool. AVG Free is available free-of-charge to home users for the life of the product! Rapid virus database updates are available for the lifetime of the product, thereby providing the high-level of detection capability that millions of users around the world trust to protect their computers. AVG Free is easy-to-use and will not slow your system down (low system resource requirements)."

I used to recommend AVG over the other free anti-virus offerings, but it has become too bloated. It still works, but when you install, pay attention to the options and don't choose everything the installer prompts you to install. You may want to remove the ad after istallation.

avast! Free Antivirus

"avast! antivirus is based on the comprehensive ALWIL Software scanning technology available since 1988. Featuring fast incremental updates and advanced multi-layer real-time protection of all infection vectors, it safeguards against virtually all kinds of malware."

Avira Free Antivirus

"You'll be amazed how thoroughly AntiVir protects: The resident Virus Guard serves to monitor file movements automatically, e.g. downloading of data from the internet. Scanning and repair of macro viruses. Protection against previously unknown macro viruses. Internet-Update Wizard for easy updating. Protection against previously unknown boot record viruses and master boot record viruses. Support is free of charge via AntiVir Bulletin Board."

BitDefender Antivirus Free Edition

Bitdefender has been ranking near the top compared to the other antivirus solutions in independent tests. This is a highly simplified version of their paid offering with almost no configuation, but it uses the same definitions. Being "cloud-based," it will not have the same performance as the paid version.


"ClamWin is a Free Antivirus program for Microsoft Windows 7 / Vista / XP / Me / 2000 / 98 and Windows Server 2008 and 2003. It provides a graphical user interface to the Clam AntiVirus engine."

Please note that ClamWin Free Antivirus does not include an on-access real-time scanner. You need to manually scan a file in order to detect a virus or spyware.

For other operating systems, including MacOS X, Linux, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD, you can download ClamAV.

Kerio Personal Firewall

"Kerio Personal Firewall (KPF) helps users control how their computers exchange data with other computers on the Internet or local network."

After version 2.1.5, this program started a downward spiral. It was completely transformed and eventually sold to another company. Version 2.1.5 does still work and it is what I use. This helpful forum is evidence that many people do use it.

Since Kerio no longer offers a download for any version of KPF, I have decided to host the file locally. If for some reason, my local copy doesn't work, you can turn to Google: kerio-pf-2.1.5-en-win.exe.

MD5: 0da51e1414eb4622860795278ac756be *kerio-pf-2.1.5-en-win.exe

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall

"Easy-to-use firewall blocks hackers and other unknown threats. Stealth mode automatically makes your PC invisible to anyone on the Internet."

ZoneAlarm lacks some of the advanced features of Kerio Personal Firewall, but it has a "friendlier" interface.

Windows Firewall

It comes with Windows and it works. This really isn't a bad solution for a basic firewall.

Spyware Removal/Prevention
Spybot Search & Destroy

"Spybot - Search & Destroy can detect and remove spyware of different kinds from your computer. Spyware is a relatively new kind of threat that common anti-virus applications do not yet cover. If you see new toolbars in your Internet Explorer that you didn't intentionally install, if your browser crashes, or if you browser start page has changed without your knowing, you most probably have spyware. But even if you don't see anything, you may be infected, because more and more spyware is emerging that is silently tracking your surfing behaviour to create a marketing profile of you that will be sold to advertisement companies. Spybot-S&D is free, so there's no harm in trying to see if something snooped into your computer, too :)"

Update, then Immunize, then "System Scan," and then "Rootkit Scan."


"SpywareBlaster can help keep your system spyware-free and secure, without interfering with the 'good side' of the web. And unlike other programs, SpywareBlaster does not have to remain running in the background."

SpywareBlaster is more of a preventive program that should be run before anything goes wrong.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

"Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free utilizes Malwarebytes powerful technology to detect and remove all traces of malware including worms, trojans, rootkits, rogues, dialers, spyware and more."

This is a littler newer than Spybot (to me at least), but it is very effective.


"CryptoPrevent is a tiny utility to lock down any Windows OS (XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1) to prevent infection by the Cryptolocker malware or ‘ransomware’, which encrypts personal files and then offers decryption for a paid ransom."

Run this before it is too late.


"CCleaner is the number-one tool for cleaning your Windows PC. It protects your privacy online and makes your computer faster and more secure. Easy to use and a small, fast download."

This isn't quite the same as the other anti-spyware programs, but there is some overlap. CCleaner deletes a lot of useless files and your history in many programs.

Lavasoft Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ Anti-spyware

Ad-Aware used to be only an anti-spyware solution. Even then it started to get bloated and I stopped recommending it. I have not used it since it gained anti-virus abilities, so I can not really comment on it.

OS Customization
Classic Shell

"Classic Shell adds some missing features to Windows 7 and Vista like a classic start menu, toolbar for Explorer and others."


This is another option to restore the classic start menu, but I recommend Classic Shell over this.


"Firefox empowers you to browse faster, more safely and more efficiently than with any other browser. Join more than 16 million others and make the switch today - Firefox imports your Favorites, settings and other information, so you have nothing to lose."

Firefox Addons
Adblock Plus Annoyed by adverts? Troubled by tracking? Bothered by banners? Install Adblock Plus now to regain control of the internet and change the way that you view the web.
Flashblock Never be annoyed by a Flash animation again! Blocks Flash so it won't get in your way, but if you want to see it, just click on...
IE Tab 2 Updated and enhanced version of the classic IE Tab that includes support for FireFox 3.6 and beyond.

"The most full-featured Internet power tool on the market, Opera includes pop-up blocking, tabbed browsing, integrated searches, and advanced functions like Opera's groundbreaking E-mail program, RSS Newsfeeds and IRC chat. And because we know that our users have different needs, you can customize the look and content of your Opera browser with a few clicks of the mouse."

Google Chrome

"Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier." Think of this as a more limited Firefox. It isn't as customizable, but it isn't bad either.


When it didn't crash, it worked fairly well for me.

Media Players/Browser Plugins
K-Lite Mega Codec Pack

"K-Lite Codec Pack is a collection of codecs and related tools. Codec is short for Compressor-Decompressor. Codecs are needed for encoding and decoding (playing) audio and video. The K-Lite Codec Pack is designed as a user-friendly solution for playing all your movie files. With the K-Lite Codec Pack you should be able to play all the popular movie formats and even some rare formats."

This codec pack replaces dozens of individual programs/codecs, including (but not limited to) DivX, XviD, 3ivX, Media Player Classic, QuickTime Alternative, and Real Alternative. Simply put, install this and you should be able to play almost any video you come across.

Combined Community Codec Pack (CCCP)

This has been recommended to me, but I haven't had a chance to try it yet.

If you do try this instead of the K-Lite Codec Pack, you will likely also want:

VLC Media Player

"VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network."

A lot of people tell me they prefer VLC for playing DVDs.

Winamp 2

I can't find a better MP3 player for Windows.

The newest versions are too bloated. I currently use version 2.91. Versions 2.92 and 2.95 are available, but they have a very annoying bug when resizing the playlist window. You may also be able to find v2.96, v2.97, v2.98, or v2.99 if you're lucky. I never used anything after 2.95. Nullsoft removed the old versions from their site, so try the following Google searches to find these versions or check out's Winamp page.

Get this plugin to play m4a(mp4) files.

I don't care for Mac OS, but the Aqua X skin is one of my favorites.


"foobar2000 is an advanced freeware audio player for the Windows platform. Some of the basic features include full unicode support, ReplayGain support and native support for several popular audio formats."

Prepare to be unimpressed with the default GUI. You have to customize it. Or, just search for an existing skin.

Sun Java

"Java allows you to play online games, chat with people around the world, calculate your mortgage interest, and view images in 3D. These applications, written in the Java programming language and accessible from your browser, are called 'applets'. Corporations also use Java applets for intranet applications and other e-business solutions."

Macromedia (Adobe) Flash Player
Flash player for:

If those links should fail, try the alternate page.

Macromedia (Adobe) Shockwave Player

The Flash Player and Shockwave Player are not the same thing. I recommend you get both.

Image Viewing/Editing

IfranView is an amazing freware graphic viewer and editor. It can do batch conversions and effects. Photoshop plugins will also work with IrfanView. A complete list of features would take up far too much space on this page, so check it out for yourself.

Animagic 1.22

Optimizes files 10% to 80% smaller than the original and is good for making animated GIF's. This program is no longer supported, but is still usable.


"Pngcrush is an optimizer for PNG (Portable Network Graphics) files." I haven't seen anything that can make a smaller PNG file.

File Sharing

µTorrent has all of the features that the popular BitTorrent clients have plus some that they don't. The best features are the scheduler and the overall size of the program (170KB as of version 1.6). You can find out more about BitTorrent itself at the official BitTorrent site.


Unlike some of the other file sharing programs out there, LimeWire just works. LimeWire has a feature to detect corrupt downloads, although it doesn't usually detect corruption until the file is about 98% complete.


"WinMX is a FREE file-sharing program like no other. It allows you to connect, download, and share files with MILLIONS of other users through the decentralized WinMX Peer Network. Once WinMX is installed, you'll have access to one of the largest and most diverse networks of shared media files in the world. And unlike many other 'peer to peer' software providers, we respect your privacy and will never sell you out to spyware. When you download WinMX, you're getting WinMX and only WinMX, no bundled spyware, no ads, no B.S."

Frontcode Technologies, the company that created WinMX, officially shut down in September, 2005. The network does still exist, but is now run by various third parties. You will need the MXPie Patch and the WinMX executable (Available on the MXPie page).


BitTornado used to be my preferred BitTorrent client. It is still a wonderful client, but I have started using µTorrent instead.


"As of today, eMule is one of the biggest and most reliable peer-to-peer file sharing clients around the world. Thanks to it's open source policy many developers are able to contribute to the project, making the network more efficient with each release."


I have very little experience with this program, but I've heard good things.

File Transfer

"FileZilla is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface."

FileZilla uses part of PuTTY for SFTP transfers. You do not need to install PuTTY in addition to FileZilla for this use, however.


"PuTTY is a free implementation of Telnet and SSH for Win32 and Unix platforms, along with an xterm terminal emulator. It is written and maintained primarily by Simon Tatham."

Free Download Manager

"Free Download Manager (FDM) is a full-featured download accelerator and manager. It is absolutely free! Using this software product you can easily download a list of files and whole web sites from any remote server via HTTP, HTTPS and FTP. With FDM the downloading process will be as easy as never before!"

This program is approximately equivalent to GetRight. I'm not sure if it has the ability to download from multiple sources.

Productivity/Office Type Programs

"LibreOffice is the power-packed free, libre and open source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and GNU/Linux, that gives you six feature-rich applications for all your document production and data processing needs: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base."

Most users can use LibreOffice as a drop-in replacement for Microsoft Office without any issues.

  • Microsoft Word = LibreOffice Writer
  • Microsoft Excel = LibreOffice Calc
  • Microsoft PowerPoint = LibreOffice Impress
  • Microsoft Visio = LibreOffice Draw
  • Microsoft Access = LibreOffice Base
  • ??? = LibreOffice Math

"OpenProj is a free, open source project management solution." Think of this as a replacement for Microsoft Project.

Foxit PDF Reader

A great free alternative to Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing PDF files.


PDFCreator is a free program that will allow you to create PDF files from almost any program that can print.

MDI Viewer

Viewer for .MDI (Microsoft Document Imaging Format) files.

MDI2PDF Converter

"MDI2PDF Converter is an easy-to-use package that allows you to quickly convert MDI files and a range of image files (JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, BMP) to a more accessible format (PDF, TIFF, JPEG, BMP). These files can then be opened in Adobe Acrobat Reader or any other free viewer."


"MagicDisc allows you to use almost all CD/DVD image without burning them onto CD or DVD in order to easily access your favorite games, music, or software programs ---- It works like a real CD/DVD-ROM: You can run programs, play games, or listen to music from your virtual CD-ROM. Allowing you to run your game images at over 200x faster than from a conventional CD/DVD-ROM."


A wonderful lightweight replacement for the standard Notepad that ships with Windows. It adds many features like line/column numbers (in the status bar), the ability to jump to a certain line number, the ability to set the tab size, and much more.


If you find yourself working with multiple text files at a time, Notepad++ provides a convenient tabbed interface. If you don't use a programming IDE, this is a must have. Syntax highlighting for dozens of languages is included.


A free hex editor for Windows. I have used several hex editors over the years and this is my faorite. After installation, you'll probably want to go to the options and change the font to one of the other fonts. For some reason, the default is ridiculously small. Depending upon your screen resolution, you may want to change the number of columns per row to a larger number. Also, consider checking the "Show offsets" checkbox.

Executable Packers/Compressors/Encrypters

tElock is a PE-File Encryptor/-Compressor which is designed to process most .exe, .dll and .ocx files.

It compresses and encrypts those file types while leaving them executable and protects against patching and disassembling.


Ultimate Packer for Xecutables (UPX) is an extendable software high-performance executable file compression packer for a number of diverse executable file formats. It achieves an excellent file compression ratio and fast running decompression. The UPX executables suffer no memory overhead or negatives. An audit of compressed and uncompressed files is maintained.

UPX can easily compress these executable file formats: atari/tos, djgpp2/coff, dos/com, dos/exe, dos/sys, linux/i386, rtm32/pe, tmt/adam, watcom/le and win32/pe.

Windows XP NetBEUI Files Installer
76.5KB I made this installer to install the files needed for Windows XP to be able to install the NetBEUI protocol. Too many times I have found myself at a client's house with no Windows XP CD. Even if I did have the CD, it was time consuming to look up which files were needed and where they needed to go. I hope this will make many lives easier.

Visual Basic & .NET Runtime Files
859KB Visual Basic v4.0 runtime files.
(VB40016.DLL and VB40032.DLL)
970 KB Visual Basic 5.0 Run-time Files
1.0 MB Visual Basic 6.0 SP6: Run-Time Redistribution Pack (vbrun60sp6.exe)
Version 4.6.x of the .NET Framework includes version 4.0. Version 3.5 includes versions 2.0 and 3.0. You do not need to separately install version 2.0/3.0/4.0. Version 1.1 is completely separate, however.

With a few exceptions, all you need to install to support any application developed with .NET is .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 and .NET Framework 4.6.x. If you're confused, Microsoft expected that.

23.1 MB .NET Framework 1.1 Redistributable Package (CLR 1.1)
10.2 MB .NET Framework 1.1 Service Pack 1 (CLR 1.1)
23.8 MB .NET Framework 2.0 SP2 Redist. (x86) (CLR 2.0)
46.3 MB .NET Framework 2.0 SP2 Redist. (x64) (CLR 2.0)
52.2 MB .NET Framework 2.0 SP2 Redist. (IA64) (CLR 2.0)
50.3 MB .NET Framework 3.0 Redist. (x86) (CLR 2.0)
90.1 MB .NET Framework 3.0 Redist. (x64) (CLR 2.0)
25.0 MB .NET Framework 3.0 Service Pack 1 (x86) (CLR 2.0)
47.5 MB .NET Framework 3.0 Service Pack 1 (x64) (CLR 2.0)
231.5 MB .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 (Full Package) (CLR 2.0)
48.1 MB .NET Framework 4 (CLR 4.0)
59.1 MB .NET Framework 4.6.2 (CLR 4.0)

Windows ISO Images
2.4 GB Windows 7 Ultimate SP1-U x86 Retail (X17-59463.iso)
SHA1: 65FCE0F445D9BF7E78E43F17E441E08C63722657
3.1 GB Windows 7 Ultimate SP1-U x64 Retail (X17-59465.iso)
SHA1: 36AE90DEFBAD9D9539E649B193AE573B77A71C83
2.4 GB Windows 7 Professional SP1-U x86 Retail (X17-59183.iso)
SHA1: D89937DF3A9BC2EC1A1486195FD308CD3DADE928
3.1 GB Windows 7 Professional SP1-U x64 Retail (X17-59186.iso)
SHA1: 0BCFC54019EA175B1EE51F6D2B207A3D14DD2B58
2.4 GB Windows 7 Home Premium SP1-U x86 Retail (X17-58996.iso)
SHA1: 6071B4553FCF0EA53D589A846B5AE76743DD68FC
3.1 GB Windows 7 Home Premium SP1-U x64 Retail (X17-58997.iso)
SHA1: 6C9058389C1E2E5122B7C933275F963EDF1C07B9
varies Windows 8.1 Basic and Professional
varies Windows 10 Home and Professional
The Microsoft PIDX Check or Windows 7 Product Key Checker programs can be used to determine what type of key is on a COA sticker. There is also an Online PID Checker. The ei.cfg Removal Utility will convert a specific Windows 7 ISO to a universal ISO, which can be used to install any edition. This is handy if you support clients with various editions on their PCs.

This is how we (partially) recoup costs

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