Freeware has been something of a passion of mine for . . . many
years (at least 10 or 11). I'm not a rich person, so I have long
looked for alternatives to paying for expensive software. And why
pay, when there are so many awesome free titles out there? Well,
here's the deal. Not all freeware is created equal. Some has what
has been dubbed spyware or adware, little nasties that either spy
on your computer usage (duh) or serve up ads, in exchange for using
their software for "free." So, when I include freeware
here, I try to make sure it is truly free to use. Sometimes, that
means a "lite" version is appropriate, as long as it is
not crippled (aka "crippleware") are constantly nags you
to register or buy the full version. Open source is always welcome
here. True freeware is welcome here. I play many free games, too.
There are so many options, so give them a try, see what you think.
Last updated 06/10/07
Newest items marked with a *
Specific Freeware Programs
- Burning and Drive Emulation
- Desktop Applications
- File Management
- HTML/Website Development
- Kid's Activities
- Movie Making
- Remote Access
- Specific Games
- Game Listings
Monitor 3 - Similar to the old Mailwasher, this programs
is open source, free and has a lot of promise.
Popfile - This
is the one I currently use. I like it's learning system and
after just a short while, it seems to catch most of the crap
sent to me. It doesn't delete the spam on its own, though.
But it is a simple matter to set up a filter in your email
client that sends the spam to its doom. Free and open source,
- Claims to be the ultimate antispam solution. Works on a
filter system, claims to learn what is spam very quickly.
Is shareware, but they say you don't have to register and
it has no crippling effects.
- One of the granddaddies of antispyware. I remember the glory
days of AdAware, when it was considered the premier way to
remove bad programs. It has been surpassed in some ways by
newer programs, and the free version does not have real-time
monitoring capabilities, but it is still a great little tool
to have around.
Free - I recently discovered this nice little antispyware
gem. From the site: "it is not a very limited version,
it is a full tool to clean your computer from Malware. Not
only Spywares, as detected by classic Anti-Spyware programs,
but also especially Trojans, Backdoors, Worms, Dialers, Keyloggers
and a lot of other destructive pests, which makes it dangerous
to surf the web."
This - A homepage hijacking detector. From the site: "A
general homepage hijackers detector and remover. Initially
based on the article Hijacked!, but expanded with a lot of
other checks against hijacker tricks. It is continually updated
to detect and remove new hijacks. It does not target specific
programs/URLs, just the methods used by hijackers to force
you onto their sites." Many other useful programs on
the site, as well.
and Destroy - Another oldie but definitely goodie. This
and AdAware are the two I've been using the longest. The interface
is better than it used to be, and it does not catch everything,
but it does have some useful tools, like the ability to immunize
your system from certain known threats. No antispyware program
is perfect; that's why I use several. This is a great tool
to add to anyone's arsenal
Express - Nice little program that runs in the background,
monitoring your system for spyware the way antivirus programs
monitor for viruses and trojans. Although the free version
(Express) seems a little buggy and has some dodgy behavior,
it really is a great little scanner. I use it on my laptop.
Blaster - Wonderful program that has one purpose, to stop
certain known spyware from installing. It does not run in
the background. Rather, you run it, allow it to update, then
tell it to protect you from the new threats it is able to
block. That's it. But it does the job well.
Defender Free Edition
ClamAV - Open Source
Antivirus solution. Doesn't have realtime scanning, but can
scan on demand. Frequent updates and completely free.
Clamwin - Windows implementation
of ClamAV. I use it as my primary antivirus, these days. Frequently
Freeware, open source software project that allows one to
edit and record audio. Can handle quite a few formats and
has all sorts of effects and such. Very handy.
DB Poweramp - Swiss
Army knife of music and sound file conversion. Indispensible.
Here is a link to the last
Exact Audio Copy
- Don't know why it took me so long to add this program. I
use it all the time. Out of all the audio extractors/rippers
I have tried, this is the best and most accurate. And it's
free, but for the cost of a postcard. Also has a built in
- Realtime recorder that encodes the recording in ogg (by
default), mp3, wave and monkey's audio.
Hymn Project - Open
source way to liberate your legitimately-owned songs from
the oppression of iTunes.
Player Classic - Are you sick of the bloat of Microsoft's
Media Player? Media Player Classic may look like Microsoft's
older version (6.4 or thereabouts), it has greater capabilities.
It can play songs, movies, even handle DVD's with ease. I
use this for most of my multimedia needs.
Bills itself as a free, real time audio sample mixer for Windows.
It's open source and has a bunch of features. Odd interface,
still in beta, but it works. Requires .Net framework.
- DRM free iTunes
Audio Master free version - Freeware midi sequencer that
also does audio mixing, sound recording and editing, all in
Alternative - Hate Real Player? Me too. Use this instead.
Great program. Of course, nowadays, I usually don't even touch
Real files, but if I have to, this is what I use.
Winamp - If you haven't
heard of Winamp, where have you been? I have been using Winamp
since 1998, if I remember correctly. Although there was a
period that I didn't care for (and refused to upgrade to,
back when they were in the 3.x days), the Winamp team has
gone back to their roots, making the best multipurpose player.
Although I have tried many players, I use this one all the
XMPlay - For those who
do not want a heavy-duty music player on their machine, but
still want a lot of great features, Xmplay is just your thing.
It is stripped down, avoiding feature bloat, and does not
need to be installed. Priceless.
and Drive Emulation
- The original site for this program appears to be down, but
the software lives on. This free burning program handles DVD's
CDBurnerXP - There's a
lot to recommend this CD and DVD burning program. It appears
to have a great deal of capability in it, but this freeware
package does not allow you to copy audio CD's at this time.
The most recent version relies on .NET 2.0, however, there
is a way
to do it without.
Daemon Tools - This
is the best drive and copy protection emulator out there for
free. Bar none. And it keeps getting better.
Deep Burner - There
are only a few quality, free CD/DVD burning packages out there,
and this is one of the best. It does not have every feature
in the world, but you might be surprised how much you can
do with this. If you are looking for a replacement for the
bloated junk that got bundled with your CD or DVD burner,
this is a great alternative.
Doom9.net - Ultimate resource
for DVD backup information and downloads. Seriously. They
also keep up on the current laws and politics behind such
DVD Fab Decrypter
- DVD decrypter, kind of a lite version of DVD Fab Express.
Express Burn - Although
limited to CD burning, this freeware package has some nice
features, and claims to be the fastest burner out there. Of
course, they would love for you to upgrade to their "plus"
version, which is commercial software (and handles DVD formats),
but even the free package is worth a look.
- Open source CD and DVD burner for Windows, only. Looks very
robust and has all the major features one would expect. Very
Recorder - Freeware powertool for Windows XP, 2003 and
Vista that taps into those operating systems' native recording
ability. Good stuff for burning ISO's.
Foxit pdf Reader
- Ever get sick of the bloat and long-load times of Adobe
Acrobat Reader? Well, I did. This little reader does not even
need to install. It is a standalone .exe file that loads even
huge pdfs rapidly. I almost never use Acrobat anymore. Get
this one now.
- Currently development has halted, but it doesn't matter.
I use this one all the time. This little program holds snippets
of information in a flexible way. I use it for all sorts of
stuff. It is like a slim version of Onenote, I have heard.
I love it and constantly have it open.
Google Earth - If you
don't know what this is, shame on you! Explore the world through
the computer. Really, you have to try it.
Scribus - Open source
page layout application. Desktop publishing is what this is.
This thing runs on Windows, Linux and on Macs. Seems very
easy to use, but has decent documentation. Requires Ghostscript
to make pdfs. Good for newsletters, fancy layouts Word can't
do, and more.
Simple OCR - If you
have a scanner, you may not like the OCR software that came
with it. For those who don't know, OCR means Optical Content
Recognition (I think) and is used to scan text on paper documents.
This is a good free replacement for what came with your scanner.
Par2 - If you download
anything from usenet, this little program will help correct
troubled downloads by using Par files. These files that have
redundant data that can be used to fill in download holes.
If you don't follow usenet at all, don't worry about this
Free version - Although the website calls it a trial,
that is because they want to sell you the full version. The
free version is just fine for my needs and has a great file
search utility (much better than the one that comes with Windows
and without the security issues of the Google desktop search
and similar products). This is a replacement for Windows Explorer
and has integrated zip (and other compression) ability, as
well as renaming and a bunch of other cool features. It's
worth a try.
Renamer - I've
tried a bunch of file renaming utilities, but this is by far
my favorite. Why? Well, I like the interface. It's simple
but elegant, does the job I want and doesn't complain at me.
What more can I ask?
Xplorer2 - This
is the lite version of the "bigger brother" version
of the Xplorer2 file manager. Despite its "lite"
status, the creators insist you don't knock it until you try
it. They only leave out a few of the "advanced"
features of the full version, and give you a table that lets
you know exactly what you get. Pretty nice.
Firewall - Making their money through the sale of SSL
certificates, these guys give away free security software
to build up their brand, like antivirus and antispam. Their
firewall is the main one I use, but the other stuff (found
also looks very good. Worth a look.
Personal Firewall - This is one of two firewalls I use,
the other one being Zone Alarm. Sygate has a smaller footprint
and is designed specifically to be used with VNC and similar
programs, which is a plus. However, it's interface is a little
funky and it sometimes is hard to configure. Despite that,
I love it and keep it on my main PC.
Alarm - The old standard of free firewalls. This is one
of two I use regularly. While there are multiple pay versions
of ZoneAlarm, which you are welcome to try if they suit your
needs, the free one is just fine for me. Despite sometimes
having a big memory footprint, it is a solid firewall and
I keep it on my laptop. It has just enough flexibility and
protection to keep me happy. Note: the link takes you to the
email entry form. You give them your email, and they send
you the download link.
- Paint like a champ on your computer. This programs comes
in two flavors, the pay version and the free version. Both
allow you to paint without the mess. Very fun to use, but
can be a serious art tool, as well.
Artweaver - Freeware
program still in the early stages of development but nonetheless
highly usable. Aims to simulate natural brushes. Also takes
some plugins and has scripting support.
- Magical plugin (there are standalone versions, as well)
that denoises pictures with impressive results. Open source.
- Powerful image editing tool that doesn't have the bloat
of some of the bigger, commercial offerings out there. Requires
the .NET framework for installation.
- Amazing piece of software that allows you to "erase"
portions of a picture that are in the way, interpolating what
should be behind the erased objects. Not perfect, but works
Picasa - Formerly
commercial software purchased by Google and turned into freeware.
Has an album feature that allows you to organize pictures
and videos, and has some editing tools, including automatic
color balance and the best red-eye remover I've seen (including
Plugins - Small collection of Photoshop/Paint Shop Pro
plugins. Some are freeware, some are not, but it is worth
Sketchup - by Google,
this is a 3D rmodeling program that is easy to use and free.
Of course, they have a commercial version, but the free one
is fine for home use.
- Free image viewer, browser and converter, which can import
400 file types and export 50. For Windows and Linux.
Kompozer* - Based on
the open source NVU, but with bug fixes, this WYSIWYG html
editor has a lot to recommend it.
REL Link Checker
Fasterfox - A great
way to tweak and speed up certain aspects of Firefox.
- Really, I hesitated to put this up. I mean, who hasn't heard
of this browser, by now? If you haven't, shame on you. Go
get it. Really! Stop trusting Internet Whorer (I mean Explorer)
for your internet needs. Even version 7 is not worth your
Firefox Menu Editor
- Right click menu on Firefox not to your liking? Change it
a bit with this useful plugin.
Grabit* - Binary newsreader
that is awesome at pulling in the big binaries one might find
on the "other" side of the internet.
- Small, free, open source bit torrent client that looks good.
K9 - email filter
Off by One - Smallest browser
around, can fit on a floppy (you remember those, don't you?).
Supports frames, cookies, SSL and is really fast. An amazing
little browser in a small, compact package. You can even download
the installable or zip version.
Opera Web Browser - If
you haven't used this browser, you are in for a treat. This
is a great browser, that doesn't have a lot of the problems
of Internet explorer. One of the first out there to have tabbed
browsing. Has a lot of extra features (torrent manager, RSS
reader, email, etc.), but you can just use it as your web
- Best all-around file downloader. Open source, friendly,
does it all. Torrents, Gnutella1 and Gnutella 2, as well as
Soulseek - For music,
this is the one. Lots of obscure and popular stuff
you can try out before buying.
Trillian - For
all those who use chat programs, please do yourself a favor
and ignore the commone downloads from Yahoo, MSN, AOL and
ICQ. Trillian connects to all of these networks, and IRC,
at the same time. There is a free and a paid version, but
the free one is more than what I need, and it does its job
very well. Worth your time if you use this kind of program.
UTorrent - Best, smallest
and lightest-weight torrent downloader. Recently bought out
by Bit Torrent, so the future is uncertain, but still good.
Win SCP (secure
GCompris - Suite of
games and learning activities for children, 2 to 10. Open
source, fully useable under Linux, somewhat scaled back for
(site non-English, software fine)
Codec Guide - Home
of the K-Lite Codec pack. Codecs are the way to watch movie
files. With this pack of codecs, you can watch just about
anything thrown your way.
DVDx - Open source
DVD backup software solution. Very versatile, even supports
Free Codecs - Codecs
are programs that allow your operating system to decode and
encode audio and video files. In other words, they allow you
to listen to music or watch movies and whatnot. This site
has information and downloads to keep your multimedia playing.
Lots of freeware found here.
Show Movie Maker
Tinra, RM to AVI
Hamachi - A UDP based
virtual networking system. What that means is you can create
a virtual network across the web. Think of a LAN that extends
to your friends in other cities or even countries. Pretty
Look@Lan Monitor -
Funky interface, but useful tool to monitor your lan. Now,
if you only have two computers on a lan, it may not do as
much for you, but if you have several, give this a try and
see if it makes your administration duties easier.
Netstumbler* - For
both wardriving and checking out your own network, this is
a handy tool. It gives you all sorts of information about
all the wireless networks available to your machine, verifying
network configurations, finding locations with poor coverage
in one’s WLAN, etc.
Network Scanner - Freeware network scanner that does not
need installation. Just unzip and go. Works very well, discovers
your network resources.
WiPeer* - Smart little
program that allows to wireless-enabled computers to share
files without needing any kind of wireless router or whatnot.
True peer to peer networking. Was a student project.
After trying all the VNC clients and other similar remote
PC access programs, this is the one I like the best. It has
a plugin for encryption that keeps your data safe, even if
you are accessing your PC over the web. Far from perfect,
but my favorite.
NoMachine* - Only
for Linux and Solaris, this site offers free and business
versions of their terminal services software and remote access.
Abiword - I already
have Angelwriter on this list, and now I'm adding Abiword.
Both are great little word processors. What distinguishes
Abiword is that it can handle more file formats and has a
bunch of cool plugins to extend its capabilities. And it's
still lightweight. Great stuff.
- What? A word processor without the features of Word? Why
put that up? Well, I'll tell you. Because it doesn't have
the features of Word, it is a lean, mean, word processor/text
editor. Because I'm the kind of guy that has dozens of programs
running at any given time, there are times I just don't want
Word running, eating up resources. Angelwriter really comes
NFO Viewer - From a hosting site, "DAMN NFO Viewer
is an utility for viewing text files containing ASCII Art
(e.g. nfo files)." If you have no idea what that means,
this may not do much for you, but for people who deal with
NFO files a lot (I do), this is a godsend.
- Notepad replacement that has a lot of useful features. I
use it all the time.
Pure Text -
Very small program that has one task; to remove any formatting
in a group of text currently residing on your clipboard. May
not sound like much, but when you manipulate a lot of text,
like I do, it is worth it to have something like this. Sits
in the system tray, just waiting to do its job.
Office Software* - Not sure how they make money, but these
guys (it is a programming duo, I believe) make office software
that is light, free, has a unique interface and is compatible
with their competitors (namely, Microsoft). Give it a try,
and see if you like it.
III - Seriously, I install this on every computer I set
up. It is the best free clipboard extender I have found, bar
none. It does what it's supposed to do and gets updated often
by the developers. They do a great job, in my opinion.
7Zip - Wonderful utility
to compress files. Replaces Winzip, Winrar and a host of other,
similar, for-pay utilities. Handles tons of compression formats,
including the 7z format. Another great, open-source project.
AnyPassword - Nice,
simple program that allows you to store passwords securely.
Also helps generate passwords based on all sorts of specifications.
- Freebie that allows you to mount an iso and similar formats
of CD's and DVD's without needing to burn the actual disk.
CPU-Z - Handy little program
that allows you to see exactly what processor is inside the
case. Can also provide motherboard and memory information.
Small, useful and does not need installation.
Crap Cleaner - Modern
computer use creates a lot of junk. Hard drives fill up quickly,
even with mammoth sizes. They also slow down with certain
junk. This program takes out the guesswork on which files
Cute Partition Manager
- Yes, it's true. There really is a piece of partition managing
software that is truly freeware. This one boots on a CD, DVD
or floppy and seems to have all the important functions. As
is often the case, there is a professional version that you
may want to try, as well.
Darik's Boot and Nuke
- Hard drive eraser. Powerful, automated, and deadly to the
drive you want deleted.
Don't use unless you are really sure of what you are doing.
Drive Image XML
Driverguide Free Scan
- Active X or downloadable version that scans all your PC's
drivers (for Windows, of course), and lets you know if there
are updates. Pretty handy.
- Speed up your Firefox illustration with this little gem.
- Great little program for those times when you accidentally
delete a file from your recycle bin and need to retrieve it.
If it hasn't been overwritten, it can be recovered by Handy
Recovery. Works with all types of NTFS and FAT formatted drives.
There is a pay version of the program now available, but the
programmer has kindly left the free version on his site.
- Superb fan control for laptop users. Allows you to monitor
and make quick adjustments.
Memtest 86 - Checks
out your memory from a floppy disk. Priceless for those bad
times when you need it.
Mmm Free (context
MouseImp Pro Live!
- This program has gone through a few incarnations and even
disappeared entirely for a while. It is one of my most used
programs, period. It changes the right mouse button into a
scrolling button, making it easy to get to any part of the
page without using the scroll bar on the side of any Windows
window. It recently resurfaced as an open source project that
supports Opera and Firefox. I cannot explain how excited I
was to rediscover it under this new incarnation. I thought
it was dead and I was stuck with scrolling in Internet Explorer,
Task Bar* - Very handy utility for those who have multiple
monitor setups. I use two and disliked not having a taskbar
on the 2nd monitor. Well, this program allows me to have a
task bar that only show the programs open on that screen,
and adds buttens to each window bar that allows you to switch
which monitor will host the window. Very nice.
- Another one of those little utilities that I don't like
to live without. This small program gives you the ability
to right-click on any file and open it with any number of
programs you want. Don't want textpad to open up your text
document? Right-click on it and choose another option.
PC Decrapifier - Ever
buy a new computer from Dell, Gateway and the like, only to
find a ton of software you neither want, nor do you need?
PC Decrapifier to the rescue. This software helps you to remove
the most common junk tossed on a machine by OEM manufacturers.
Queue Manager - One of those programs that you don't know
you need (if you have a lot of computer users and one main
printer). From the site "effectively manage(s) printout
workload. It ensures timely detection of printer errors and
overloads and helps redirect print jobs elsewhere. Remote
Queue Manager v3.0 provides the user with a visual management
tool to control print workload across networks. Centralized
real-time monitoring and workload management are available
from anywhere in a network."
SandboxIE - Interesting
concept. This program acts as a "sandbox" area for
software to run, so that it doesn't directly talk to the operating
system. While this is most useful for secure web surfing,
there are probably a bunch of useful reasons to use this program.
Send to 1.6 - Program
that lets you right click on a file and send it anywhere you
want, greatly extending the "send to" functionality
built in to Windows.
- This utility is just for geeks who care what goes on underneath
the hood of their PC. It tells the user several stats about
their hardware, including temperature, fan speed, and hard
drive performance. Useful and a good indicator of problems.
XP (CPU Frequency control)
- Every machine I ever set up gets an install of this program.
Sure, there are a bunch of startup watchers for Windows out
there. However, I like this one because it doesn't take over
your machine and force its own agenda on you. It is lightweight
and just does what it's supposed to do. And, it sits in your
control panel, where it should. Mike Lin is to be congratulated.
Freeware - Handy little program that will syncronize or
backup your folders from one location to another, even over
a network. One of my favorite features is its scheduling ability.
Of course, there is a pay version that you may also be interested
in. This works very well for me.
- Open Source and free data recovery software. Can be used
on almost any type of format and quite a few operating systems
(see site for details).
Ever have those times when you want to move or delete a file
that is "in use" by Windows? Well, this gem of a
utility helps you "unlock" the file so that you
can do what you want to do. Best of its kind, and I've tried
a few of these.
Watcher - I've tried several, and this is my favorite
weather program for Windows. It just sits in your system tray
and updates every so often. The temperature is represented
with a number, but if you hover over it with your mouse, more
information will pop up. It also expands to a complete weather
information center, including wind speed, daily and hourly
reports, and more. The site also contains several other useful-looking
freeware programs, from the same developer.
Expert Free* - Windows driver backup at its best. Of course,
there is a pay version, but the free version does well enough.
This is a wonderful way to back up your drivers if you do
not have the install disks (or can't find the drivers on the
web). Perfect for right before reinstalling Windows.
XP Antispy - Don't like
some of (or most of) the phone home features of Windows XP?
Feel like Microsoft should mind their own business? Well,
then, this little gem is a great way to turn off such invasive
"features" of this OS. Maybe a Vista version will
be developed, some day.
NX Free Edition* -
Developed by No Machine, this is virtualization package is
only for Linux or Solaris. Easy to install and run.
Virtual Box - Virtual
Box is a free, open source virtualization solution that allows
the user to use remote desktop control and shared folders
between host and guest operating system. Very nice looking
Iron - From the site: "Virtual Iron’s approach
to virtualization is efficient, easy to manage and based on
open source virtualization. The software dramatically streamlines
virtual infrastructure management and reduces operational
costs . . ." These guys have a lot to offer in the virtualization
world, and their solution has some unique features. The free
version allows you to host 5 virtual desktops.
free virtualization products - Now this is just cool.
You can run other operating systems under your current OS.
Want to try out a new linux distribution? Just do a virtual
install and see what you think. Testing programs under multiple
operating systems? Wanting to try a piece of software but
don't want to install it on your main OS? Want to stealth
surf? Disposable installations that can be deleted without
a second thought if they get infected with spyware? All this
and more can be yours if you use these programs. And they
Express - Another virtualization option to try out for
free. From the site: "Ideal for developers and technology
enthusiasts, XenExpress is a free, production-ready virtualization
platform that enables everyone to quickly get started with
Xen virtualization. Easily installed and seamlessly upgradeable,
XenExpress is your on-ramp to Xen."
Alien Arena - First
person shooter, multiplayer only. Based on the Quake engine,
beautifully rendered. High end graphics that make for good
- Remember the old movie Tron? How about the arcade game inspired
by it? Well, the light cycles were the coolest thing to hit
games in a long time (I was pretty young at the time, but
had a definite appreciation). Now, there is an open source
version of the light cycle game, where you try to take out
your competitors by forcing them to crash into your trail.
Lots of options, can be played alone or online. Good fun.
Action Cube - Based
entirely on the Cube FPS engine, this is a more "realistic"
shoot-em-up. Doesn't let me custom map my keyboard, but has
some decent game play. Graphics are a little old, but the
engine itself is a little old. Still, worth a download (small
download, too, at about 18 mgs. Doesn't hog system resources,
Battle for Wesnoth -
This free and open source game is a labor of love for those
who work on it. In fact, they tell you in their FAQ that they
are working on it for themselves. If you want a feature, make
the game any way you want. They will only do what they want
to do. Despite the attitude, it is a fun turn-based game that
can be played over the web or on a lan, as well as single-player
campaigns and skirmishes. No resource management, this is
about building your army and killing the other guy.
Bontãgo - Deceptively
simple-looking game. You build towers to gain control of the
circular board. But strategy comes in to play. Build faster
than your opponents. Taller towers gain more control. Watch
out for special blocks, etc. Really fun and addictive real-time
strategy game that doesn't take all day to finish a round.
Code Red - This
is not just one game, but a series of first-person shooters,
the most recent of which being Alien Arena 2006. Based on
the Quake open source 3D engine, these games look gorgeous.
There are two single-player games with full storylines, and
Alien Arena 2006, which is all multi-player.
Cube - Cube is an
open source, first person shooter with both multi and single
player options. Graphics are top-notch and it has a level
editor for level creation. A little awkward, doesn't let me
remap keys, haven't figured out saving the single player game,
but still worth checking out. Not a system hog.
(enhanced) - Originally made for Linux, this fun little game
is a remake of the old Bust a Move game (if I remember correctly).
Lots of fun, not too difficult, good way to kill time. You
just point with the keyboard where you want to shoot a ball,
and try to pair up three or more bubbles together, to clear
the board. You can download the Windows port of Frozen Bubbles
- Real time pinball simulator. Wow. If you enjoy pinball,
you have to check out this sucker. Lots of very realistic
pinball machines to download, including original creations
and replications of real-life machines. Realistic noise, physics
and play give a very satisfying experience. Be sure to check
out the table download pages:
- Future Pinball
Release - Unofficial table list
Pinball - Spanish speaker who makes gorgeous pinball tables
for the Future Pinball game engine.
pinball tables - This guy has a small collection of tables
(he made them?) on this page and a link to 18 more, off site.
They are pretty good.
- Russian developer worked on this turn-based strategy game.
You play at war, kind of like Risk, with the intent of taking
over the world. The emphasis is on multiplayer games, but
you can also play single player against the computer. Simple
graphics but great gameplay. Has not been updated in years,
perhaps because updates are not needed.
Glest - Glest is a pretty
sweet-looking real time strategy game set in a fantasy world
and uses 3d graphics. Really, I have been impressed by what
I've seen in this game. Gameplay is intuitive and you don't
need a manual to figure everything out (although I'm sure
it would help). Top-notch work. French and English versions.
Globulation 2 - Real
time strategy game that doesn't emphasize micro-management
of units. Instead, you set certain tasks, and whatever unit
is available does the job. Also, the units are all . . . well,
globs of something. Unfortunately, this game only plays in
a window and not fullscreen (or I couldn't figure it out if
it does otherwise), but I really liked playing it, nonetheless.
Invasion: Battle of Survival
- Real Time Strategy game set in the future (think of a Command
and Conquer type setting) in which you grow your armies and
battle others. My biggest complaint is that they don't have
a full-screen option (only windowed), but it is a fun game
to pass the time away.
The Keep - Freeware
game written by one author. Your task is to defend a castle.
Real-time strategy with good graphics.
King's Quest I and
II VGA - These old games have been remade with updated
graphics, but the gameplay remains the same. No original source
code or original graphics were used. These guys just wanted
to remake the games so newer computers could play these classics.
- Oldie, but goodie. This is a strange game that you have
to see and play to understand. You control an army of liquid
and you try to take out another army of liquid . . . yeah.
Weird, but addictively fun. The author is working on a newer,
updated version, but even the old one is worth spending time
Solitaire 3D - I like this game, but it has been hard
to find a really good freeware version of it. Well, I found
one I keep returning to. Yes, 3D sounds odd, but it is nice
to be able to rotate the board and look at it from any angle
(especially when it's hard to tell if two tiles are on the
same level, whether it's open or not, etc.).
- Short name, great fun. This game reminds me of Loderunner,
but with cooler death scenes. You play a ninja who runs around
and does stuff. And you jump around a lot. The physics of
the game are great fun, but as I said, the death scenes are
the best part of an all-around great game.
Nexuiz - I
must say, I enjoyed playing this first person shooter. It's
free, the graphics are great, and the play is sweet. Warsow
was OK, but this was wonderful, harkening back to the early
days of Unreal Tournament. Has a single player campaign and
online play. Despite better graphics than Warsow, it plays
better on my machine. Really well done game. No installation.
just unzip and play.
- Fun but frustrating game, where you roll a ball and collect
coins to advance to different levels. The weird part is, you
tilt the floor to move the ball, and never directly move the
ball. I'm only so-so at it. The download also contains Neverputt,
a minigolf game. Doesn't require an install, just unzip
- In 1999, Id Software released the source code to their hit
game, Quake. However, the artwork and music were still copywritten.
The Open Quartz project is "a replacement for the Quake
1 game data under the terms of the GNU General Public License,"
allowing anyone to download and modify or play the game.
- First person horror adventure game. Nice graphics. The developers
are calling this a technology demonstration, a preview, if
you will, for a soon-to-be-released larger game.
- Similar to Mahjongg, but instead of removing tiles, you
add them, one at a time. The trick is, each tile has to match
the ones next to it, either in shape, color or image on the
tile. Gets very tricky, at the end. This is my favorite freeware
version. Does not need to be installed.
Sauerbraten: Cube 2
- As the name implies, this is the heir to the Cube development
throne. All I can say is, "Wow." This is cool. For
such a lightweight engine, the graphics are great. Really!
It's only about 130 mgs to download this first person shooter,
but the graphics are tight. Not as good as, say, Unreal Tournament
2004 or something, but remember, that game takes gigs to install,
and was put together by a large team. This one is free, open
source, and fixes several of the things that bugged me about
Cube. I hope these developers keep it up. Also, not a resource
- This game is like Mahjongg, in that you pair tiles together
to remove them from the board. It also uses a Mahjongg tileset.
However, the pairs you remove have to be "connected"
by an invisible line that contains no more than 2 turns to
it. Sound confusing? It's not. Good, challenging, thoughtful
game. This is the best freeware version I've found. It's open
source, too. Unfortunately, there are no screenshots for it,
but it plays beautifully.
- Free edition - This is a turn-based strategy game set
in WWII. Up to 4 players, light hardware demands.Full "General's
Edition" is pay only, and has four full campaigns, but
the free version is very much a fully playable.
The Universal - From
the site: "The Universal is a free, massively multiplayer
online game in which you explore a virtual galaxy with worlds
owned, run and populated by other players. Each world in the
galaxy is different, with different themes and gameplay styles
- from persistent economies to arcade-style blasters."
Warsow - First person
shooter, akin to Unreal Tournament. Graphics had to be scaled
down a bit for me to play, but it had a lot of appeal to it.
No single-player option, but online play was painless. I,
of course, joined the newbie game, but you can join up with
experts or hardcore players, too. Good fun. No installation
necessary. Just unzip and play.
Warzone 2100 - Originally
a for-pay game, this code for this title was released into
the wild in 2004. The Warzone Resurrection Project was born
to do something with this released code. The new releases
have improved on the original, real time strategy game. Has
good graphics and decent game-play. A worthy title.
Game Listings (open source, abandon-ware, just plain
free, and retro remakes)
old game download page - Some oldies but goodies. Many
of these games have been released as freeware, including Beyond
the Titanic, Bio Menace, Caves of Thor, Puzzle Fun-Pack, Stargunner,
Supernova, Trivia Whiz, and others. Shareware versions of
Duke Nukem 1, 2 and 3D, Blake Stone and other games are still
listed as shareware, but there is enough freeware here to
qualify this page as a freeware game page. No support is offered
on any of these older games.
Caiman.us (free games)
Classic DOS Games
- This site focuses on one thing, collecting all the versions
of old games released in the late 80's and early 90's for
DOS. All of them are freeware, shareware or released by the
original copyright holders, so these are all legal, according
to the site admin.
Classic PC Games
- Good place to get your old game fix. This site hosts a lot
of the game files, but also attempts to direct the reader
to places where they can buy these old games.
Student Games* - DigiPen is an Institute of Technology
that trains game programmers (among other things, I'm sure).
All the student projects are available for download, and there
are some very fun games in here. Bontãgo
came out of this institute, but there are other great ones,
like Toblo and Rumble Box. Be prepared to spend some time
checking out the projects on this site.
Free Lunch Design
- Small, independent developer of fun, free games that are
worth your time.
- Selective lists of games and with full reviews of each game,
including a star ranking. Only true freeware listed here.
Game Hippo - Absolutely
huge collection of freeware games from all over the web. There
are several categories and a review for each game. While there
are a lot of lower-quality games, some real gems are to be
Hell Fullgame Download Archive* - Gamer's Hell is a nice
gaming site with tons of demos, reviews, gaming news and more.
For the purposes of this page, I am linking directly to their
archive of full games. Some of them are ones I had seen before.
Others were completely new to me. Good games here.
Giulio Ferrari's Freeware
Games* - Contains small, simple but fun games to download
and pass the time away. Othello, Yahtzee, Super Memory and
- Great place to find formerly commercial games that have
been "liberated" by their creators, and are hence,
free for downloading.
Freeware - Large list of known freeware versions of the
populare solitaire-type game, Mahjongg. Actually, the entire
site is great for information about this game. Has other games
similar to Mahongg listed on the site, as well. Very well
Free Games - Independent game coder that has written a
few simple but fun Tetris-like games for everyone to enjoy.
Included on this site are: Monster Pile 1-3, Push Push 1 and
2, Bobble Bins, Push Pull and 3 pinball tables, Ghouls,
Ghosts and Goblins, Dungeon Master and Splatterhouse..
The pinball game runs on the Visual
Pinball Engine (seperate download).
- Unique site that includes free online and freeware (downloadable)
games. This is a one-man show, but he has categorized all
the games and gives a small review for each one.
Old School Dos*
- Site dedicated to old DOS games, including downloads. I
recognize a handful of freeware games in there, but also some
commercial games. I think the commercial games are demos,
but I only checked out a handful, so I can't be sure about
all of them.
OS Gamer -Site about
Open Source games. Still small, but growing. Features screenshots,
reviews, links, downloads and more.
- Absolutely superb site. A bunch of old games are remembered
here. Many of them are put up for downloading. All of them
have reviews, sometimes screenshots. They choose to list mostly
forgotten programs, the old (and sometimes new) games that
are overlooked, gems in the rough, so to speak.
list of open source games - All games here are open source
and free. Check them out.
World of Free Games
- Ad heavy site that lists tons of free games. Of course,
free might mean free trial (for at least one game I saw, it
used to be shareware, but may have changed recently). Nonetheless,
a good source.
Games - Listing of "the best" freeware games
available, according to this site. Of course, most of these
will also work on non-XP Windows computers, too (Win95 on
Essential Freeware Downloads
Download Last Freeware Version - Site that lists the last
freeware version of many a good freeware program that went to
shareware or pay models. Beautiful work.
46 Best Freeware Utilities
- Freeware software listing site that specializes in audio software.
MP3's, converters, editors and more.
- Russian site (has English portion, too) that deals primarily
with understanding the workings of your hardware. My favorite
portion is the list of (mostly) freeware software tools.
- Windows security and recovery experts offer two freeware programs,
including NTFS4DOS, which offers read/write ntfs access on a
Freeware* - Nicely organized but spartan website that lists
tons of great freeware for Windows. Short reviews included.
- Yes, they list their own for-pay software. However, they also
have excellent guide lists of various aspects of the web, including
freeware. Lots of freeware.
The Free Site
- Nice interface, good collection of stuff I haven't seen elsewhere
(as opposed to a rehash of every other freeware listing out
there). All in all, a great place to find freeware.
Wiki - This site is a wiki, or user-editable site, devoted
to freeware reviews. Anyone can join in the fun and talk about
their favorite freeware programs. Nice concept with a lot of
good freeware finds.
Dillon's 50 Favorite Freeware Favourites - This guy ranks
his top 50 favorite freeware programs and why he likes them.
Jans Freeware Collection
- Dutch programmer that offers his skills for free. A paint
program, a diagramming program, a gif animation program and
much more are available. Very nice.
download section* - Visual modifications for XP to make
it more Vista-like, Vista mods, tweaks and other goodies can
be found here.
Hood's Best of Free Software
Kool Lite Tools - Calls
itself the home of freeware. Has some nice finds. Seems to focus
on P2P a lot, but is not limited to that type of freeware.
Links to Freeware
Jellybean Software - Home of the Windows Keyfinder and other
Powertools for XP - Yes, even Microsoft can do something
right. These powertools extend XP beyond it's out-of-the-box
capability (and probably should have been included in the first
place, but that's another story). My favorite is TweakUI, but
there is an Alt-Tab replacement, a slideshow creator and much
more. Worth a look.
Windows Freeware Listing - This guy has a collection of
his favorite freeware. Also talks about portable freeware and
free online applications.
Only the Best
Tools and Horses* - Blog formatted listing of freeware with
reviews and a sense of humor. On the site comes a warning: "May
NOT contain traces of horses."
The Open CD - Not strictly
a directory, this site is all about a big collection of open
source software that sits on a CD Rom. Not just any open source
programs; these are the ones they felt were the best. Downloadable
in iso format.
PC-Tools Freeware* -
Makers of several freeware tools for Windows and Linux, with
an emphasis on "file, system, security, and internet tools
and utilities for both PCs and larger scale systems."
Freeware - From the site: "This site is dedicated to
the collection and cataloging of Windows freeware that can be
extracted to any directory and run independently without prior
installation. These can be carried around on a memory stick
/ USB flash drive, or copied / migrated from PC to PC via simple
copying of files. Hence the term portable freeware." If
a program is not "portable" already, they show you
how to make it so.
Apps - Free portable apps suite. Runs on a CD, USB drive,
etc. Lots of handy programs that don't have to be installed.
Free Site free software
Creations - In addition to the Weather Watcher program listed
above, Singer has several other small, useful freeware programs
to check out.
- Formerly independent, now owned by Microsoft, these are the
guys who wrote all the original great utilities that didn't
come with Windows (which is perhaps exactly why they were purchased).
Freeware - From the makers of BootIT, these guys provide
a bunch of small, low level utilities for hard drive usage.
I.T. Mate Freeware - Fine little collection of this group's
favorite completely free software, hosted on their
servers (unless explicitly asked not to). Has many different
categories and gives ratings and reviews of everything they
- Includes some handy freeware items, including an image viewer
and a file comparison utility.
- No frills site that lists tons of freeware with mini reviews
and download links. Broken down into several categories.
Moon Freeware That Went Commercial
System Freeware - The makers of X Setup changed their software
to a pay program, but still have a lot of other goodies that
are completely free.