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  • Home > Links > Tech > Freeware

    Freeware links

    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
    - Antispam
    - Antispyware
    - Antivirus
    - Audio
    - Burning and Drive Emulation
    - Desktop Applications
    - File Management
    - Firewalls
    - Graphics
    - HTML/Website Development
    - Internet
    - Kid's Activities
    - Movie Making
    - Networking
    - Remote Access
    - Text
    - Utilities
    Freeware Gaming
    - Specific Games
    - Game Listings
    Freeware Listings

    Freeware Programs

    AntiSpam
    Canit Antispam
    Magic Mail 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, too.
    xTerminator - 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.

    AntiSpyware
    AdAware - 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.
    a-squared 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."
    Hijack 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.
    Spybot Search 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
    Spycatcher 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.
    Spyware 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.

    Antivirus
    Antivir
    AVG antivirus
    Bit 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 updated.
    MWAV virus scan

    Audio
    Anvil Studio
    Audacity - 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 freeware version.
    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 wav editor.
    HardDiskOgg* - 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.
    Media 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.
    OpenSebJ - 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.
    PyMusique - DRM free iTunes
    Quartz Audio Master free version - Freeware midi sequencer that also does audio mixing, sound recording and editing, all in one.
    Real 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 time.
    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.

    Burning and Drive Emulation
    Burnatonce - The original site for this program appears to be down, but the software lives on. This free burning program handles DVD's and CD'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 criminal behavior.
    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.
    InfraRecorder - Open source CD and DVD burner for Windows, only. Looks very robust and has all the major features one would expect. Very nice.
    ISO Recorder - Freeware powertool for Windows XP, 2003 and Vista that taps into those operating systems' native recording ability. Good stuff for burning ISO's.

    Desktop Applications
    The Sage (Dictionary/Thesaurus)
    Ebook Librarian
    ProgeCAD
    Wordweb
    208 Free Powerpoint Templates
    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.
    Keynote - 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.

    File Management
    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 one.
    PowerDesk 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.

    Firewalls
    Comodo Free 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 here) also looks very good. Worth a look.
    Jetico Personal Firewall
    Safety.net firewall
    Sygate 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.
    Zone 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.

    Graphics
    ArtRage - 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.
    Autostitch
    GreyCStoration - Magical plugin (there are standalone versions, as well) that denoises pictures with impressive results. Open source.
    Irfanview
    Paint.net - 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.
    Photowipe - 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 well.
    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 commercial software).
    Pixia
    Rasterbator Image Ennlarger
    Redfield Plugins - Small collection of Photoshop/Paint Shop Pro plugins. Some are freeware, some are not, but it is worth looking.
    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.
    XnView - Free image viewer, browser and converter, which can import 400 file types and export 50. For Windows and Linux.

    HTML/Website
    Kompozer* - Based on the open source NVU, but with bug fixes, this WYSIWYG html editor has a lot to recommend it.
    Simple CSS
    REL Link Checker Lite

    Internet
    Fasterfox - A great way to tweak and speed up certain aspects of Firefox.
    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 time.
    Firefox Menu Editor - Right click menu on Firefox not to your liking? Change it a bit with this useful plugin.
    Free Parental Filter
    Grabit* - Binary newsreader that is awesome at pulling in the big binaries one might find on the "other" side of the internet.
    Groupmail Free Edition
    Halite - Small, free, open source bit torrent client that looks good.
    JAP anonymous proxy
    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 browser.
    Shareaza - Best all-around file downloader. Open source, friendly, does it all. Torrents, Gnutella1 and Gnutella 2, as well as eDonky2000 protocals.
    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. 170k download.
    iPig VPN
    Win SCP (secure ftp client)

    Kid's Activities
    GCompris - Suite of games and learning activities for children, 2 to 10. Open source, fully useable under Linux, somewhat scaled back for Windows.

    Movie Making
    ASF Recorder
    ASF Tools
    Avid Free video editor
    AVI Utility (site non-English, software fine)
    BBMpeg
    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 subtitles.
    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.
    Freeware Mpeg Encoders
    Slide Show Movie Maker
    Tinra, RM to AVI converter
    Video Help
    Virtual Dub

    Networking
    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 cool.
    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.
    Softperfect 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.
    UltraVNC - 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.

    Remote Access
    NoMachine* - Only for Linux and Solaris, this site offers free and business versions of their terminal services software and remote access.

    Text
    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.
    Angelwriter - 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 in handy.
    Damn 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.
    Metapad - 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.
    SSuite 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.
    Yankee Clipper 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.

    Utilities
    3D State
    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.
    CloneDrive* - 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 to delete.
    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.
    Firetune - Speed up your Firefox illustration with this little gem.
    Handy Recovery - 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.
    I8kfanGUI - Superb fan control for laptop users. Allows you to monitor and make quick adjustments.
    LCP password auditing
    Memtest 86 - Checks out your memory from a floppy disk. Priceless for those bad times when you need it.
    Mmm Free (context menu editor)
    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, only.
    Multimon 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.
    Open Expert - 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.
    Partition Logic
    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.
    PC Inspector
    Remote 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.
    Speedfan - 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.
    Speedswitch XP (CPU Frequency control)
    Startup CPL - 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.
    Syncback 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.
    TestDisk* - 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).
    Unlocker - 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.
    Weather 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.
    Windows Memory Diagnostic
    Windriver 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.

    Virtualization
    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 tool.
    Virtual 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.
    VMware 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 are free.
    Xen 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."

    Freeware Gaming

    Freeware Games
    Alien Arena - First person shooter, multiplayer only. Based on the Quake engine, beautifully rendered. High end graphics that make for good looking fun.
    Armagetron Advanced - 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, either.
    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.
    Frozen Bubbles (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 here.
    Future Pinball - 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
    - Roney Pinball - Spanish speaker who makes gorgeous pinball tables for the Future Pinball game engine.
    - Timoff's 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.
    The General - 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. Open source.
    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.
    Liquid Wars - 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 on.
    MahJohngg 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.).
    N - 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.
    Neverball - 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
    Open Quartz - 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.
    Penumbra - 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.
    Runenlegen - 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 hog.
    Shisen-Sho - 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.
    Steel Panthers - 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.

    Freeware Game Listings (open source, abandon-ware, just plain free, and retro remakes)
    3d Realms 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.
    DigiPen 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.
    Freeware Gaming.com - 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 found here.
    Gamer's 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 more.
    Liberated Games - Great place to find formerly commercial games that have been "liberated" by their creators, and are hence, free for downloading.
    Mahjongg 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 done.
    Megalast 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).
    Planet Freeplay.com* - 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.
    The Underdogs - 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.
    Wikipedia 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.
    XP 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 up).

    Freeware Listings
    100 Essential Freeware Downloads
    321 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.
    The 46 Best Freeware Utilities
    A Plus Freeware
    Arjan's Freeware
    Audiosoft Freeware - Freeware software listing site that specializes in audio software. MP3's, converters, editors and more.
    Benchmark HQ* - 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.
    Datapol Freeware - Windows security and recovery experts offer two freeware programs, including NTFS4DOS, which offers read/write ntfs access on a floppy disk.
    Dir File
    Downseek freeware
    Emm.ie Freeware* - Nicely organized but spartan website that lists tons of great freeware for Windows. Short reviews included.
    File Hippo
    Freebyte - 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.
    Free Codecs
    The Free Country
    Free WR
    Freeware Alternatives
    Freeware Graveyard
    Freeware Home
    Free Serif Software
    The Free Site
    Freeware Land - 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.
    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.
    George Dillon's 50 Favorite Freeware Favourites - This guy ranks his top 50 favorite freeware programs and why he likes them.
    Hushpage Freeware
    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.
    JoeJoe.org download section* - Visual modifications for XP to make it more Vista-like, Vista mods, tweaks and other goodies can be found here.
    John Hood's Best of Free Software
    Karenware
    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
    LurkHere Nicefiles
    Magic Jellybean Software - Home of the Windows Keyfinder and other useful software.
    Major Geeks
    Memecode Freeware
    Microsoft 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.
    Nedwolf's Windows Freeware Listing - This guy has a collection of his favorite freeware. Also talks about portable freeware and free online applications.
    Nirsoft Freeware Utilities
    No Nags
    Old Version
    Only the Best Freeware
    Only 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."
    Portable 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.
    Portable Apps - Free portable apps suite. Runs on a CD, USB drive, etc. Lots of handy programs that don't have to be installed.
    Prospector Freeware
    Real Free Site free software
    R2 Studios
    Shell Extension City
    Singer Creations - In addition to the Weather Watcher program listed above, Singer has several other small, useful freeware programs to check out.
    Snapfiles freeware
    Sofotex Freeware
    Softpedia Freeware Games
    Softpedia OS Enhancements
    Sysinternals - 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).
    Terabyte Freeware - From the makers of BootIT, these guys provide a bunch of small, low level utilities for hard drive usage.
    Tiny Apps.org
    Top Freeware
    Tranglos Freeware
    UR 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 list.
    Vallen Freeware - Includes some handy freeware items, including an image viewer and a file comparison utility.
    Warsoft - No frills site that lists tons of freeware with mini reviews and download links. Broken down into several categories.
    Wounded Moon Freeware That Went Commercial
    Xteq 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.

     

    Copyright © 2007 Matthew Rutherford
    My Other Projects
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