Who doesn’t love free stuff? Even better, who doesn’t love free stuff that actually works? Here’s my Fab 5 list of Freeware programs, in no particular order. The quotes are from the respective Web site for each program. While I’ve found all of these programs helpful in one way or another, make sure you’ve read and understand my Web site Terms of Use before visiting any of these links.

  • CCleaner - “CCleaner is a freeware system optimization and privacy tool. It removes unused files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. But the best part is that it’s fast (normally taking less than a second to run) and contains NO Spyware or Adware!”
  • VirtualDub - “VirtualDub is a video capture/processing utility for 32-bit Windows platforms (95/98/ME/NT4/2000/XP).”
  • 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. “
  • IrfanView - “IrfanView is a very fast, small, compact and innovative FREEWARE (for non-commercial use) graphic viewer for Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003. “
  • MMCompView - “The MMCompView utility displays the details of all installed multimedia components (Codec and ActiveX filters) and allows you to disable and enable specific components.”

Believe it or not there are a few other noteable mentions, such as Ad-Aware SE Personal, Wireshark, and NetStumbler to name a few. So while it pays to be very cautious and skeptic when it comes to freeware, it’s nice to know that there are still some great freeware apps out there that actually work and don’t innundate you with spyware or ads. Imagine that.

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