Scott Dunn over at Windows Secrets provides a list of the nine must-have freeware apps, based on the overlap in reviews from four respected publications. To make Scott’s list, an application had to appear on the list of three out of four of publications. You can read Scott’s methodology in picking the software, then download the apps. Most have been mentioned here before.
Avira AntiVir Personal is one of the most frequently updated free antivirus apps.
Comodo Firewall Pro is a solid upgrade to the Windows Firewall, providing protection for both inbound and outbound traffic.
TrueCrypt is my favorite disk encryption software. If you want to make sure files on your disk are locked down, use TrueCrypt with an external key on a USB drive.
CCleaner is a favorite registry cleaner and temp file remover.
Lightning for Thunderbird is a must-have because Thunderbird lacks a calendar.
Foxit Reader is a lightweight alternative to the slow-loading Adobe Reader for PDF browsing. It is free but the terms are confusing because Foxit tries hard to upgrade you to their “pro pack”.
Audacity is the best free multi-track audio recorder period. I’ve written several tutorials for audio recording and podcasting based on Audacity.
Wavosaur is the audio editor I affectionately think of as “Sound Forge lite”. It’s a great two-track audio editor with most of the functions you’d need from a pro app like Sound Forge.
Pidgin is my favorite unified instant messaging client. Since Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, Google, and numerous other messaging apps refuse to collectively play nice, Pidgin bridges the gap for you.
My own lists of best freeware solutions are much longer, but it’s excellent to see Scott’s distilled list of freeware featuring nine overlapping greats.