Friday, June 20, 2008

The Best Freeware List

For those, like me, who love free software (who doesn't?), it can be hard sometimes finding a good piece of software that does a certain task, especially since these freeware products appear and disappear all the time. This is one scenario that has happened to me personally too many times: I find a nice freeware program, and I use it for a long time. Then at some point, I recommend it to someone, only to find that it has now become a commercial software (and not free anymore), so I have to go and try to find a good freeware product to replace it. If this has ever happened to you, then you know what I mean.

That's why I was very glad when I found Gizmo's Tech Support Alert. This site offers a list of the top freeware products out there. It is classified into categories like:

  • Security / Privacy / Encryption

  • Internet: Email / IM / FTP / File sharing / Download managements

  • Enhancements to Windows / Desktop

  • Computer maintenance / Performance

  • System utilities / Backup / Data recovery

  • Audio / Video / CD / DVD

  • ... and more.

Each category is further divided into subcategories for easy navigation. Each sub-category usually features 3 or 4 products, with a full review showing the pros and cons of each product, so that the reader can make an informed decision of which product to use. The list is also updated constantly, removing products that are not freeware anymore, and adding new software that just proved itself to be worth mentioning. The website also provides a free monthly newsletter (with a paid version that has more stuff in it), and a forum where visitors discuss freeware programs and computer problems.

This site used to be a lone effort by Ian "Gizmo" Richards, who created and maintained a highly popular list of the "46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities", but over time that list grew well beyond 46 and reached the point where it could not be maintained by one person. So, now the website has changed to wiki-style, where it relies on the contribution of dozens of volunteer editors who edit and moderate suggestions from thousands of site visitors. As a result the range of software covered is ever increasing and quality of the reviews ever improving. In some sense, some might think of it as a Wikipedia for Freeware.

At this point, whenever I am looking for a software product in a certain category, this is the first place to check. I wonder how many others do the same. Again, the URL of the website is


helghareeb said...

Thank you for such a nice post and generally I am really amazed about the blog. I remember I once tried establishing a similar thing with my colleges in the faculty but it did not work. I am glad about what you are doing here people. Hope you will continue to do so.

Amr El-Helw said...

Thanks for your comment, and for reading this post. I hope you found it useful.