Tuesday, 7 June 2016

10 Free Software Packages I Cannot Live Without - #TipsTuesdays 31

There are some pieces of software that run on my computer on a daily basis that are not simply the obvious ones like Word and Photoshop and McAffe. I find them very useful, so I thought I would share.. What's even better is all of them are FREE :).

10 Free Software Packages I Cannot Live Without

Some of these I use solely for work, some solely for pleasure, but nearly all of them are all started up almost every day.

Calibre - eBook Management Software

Calibre not only manages all your ebooks for you, including your devices if you wish, but it also converts between formats that do not have DRM. If you wish to read your Kindle books on your PC in PDF format, Calibre can convert them for you in a flash. It will even do them in bulk, just leaving out the ones with DRM.

It has a very use friendly interface and it updated regularly. There are also plugins, for example, one that can help you keep your Goodreads profile up to date or another that can download fanfiction for you etc.

It is completely free to download and use, with a donate button for those who can afford to give a little back to the creator.

PSPad - Text Editor

PSDPad is a freeware editor that allows you to edit all sorts of text based files. For example it is very good at HTML editing and CSS editing as well as simple text file editing. It allows you to have as many files open as you wish at a time and it's search functions are very easy to use. This is my go to text editor.

As you can see it has a great coloured interface and you can have the text wrap or continue all on one line as I have in the above image.

As I said, the software is free and they also have a donate button for those who can afford to give a little for such a useful program.

Audacity - Recording Software

This is the software I use to make all the recordings for SoundCloud and Youtube. It has a very user friendly interface, everything is easy to adjust and understand. Best of all it has a really useful noise removing filter that comes in very handy when recording anything. All you have to do is remember to record some silence at the beginning of your recording and then it can remove the underlying hum from everything.

It's completely free, with the usual donate option and it has all sorts of plugins, including saving to mp3. This is a great piece of software for those new to recording and those who have been doing it for a while.

Malwarebytes - Anti-Malware

This piece of software is brilliant. It is the only one that is not 100% free, but the premium version is well worth it.

If you download it for free it will scan your computer and remove any malware from it. It is a good idea to do it twice or even three times the first time you use it, because malware can be tricky, but it is very good at disinfecting any machine.

If you pay for the premuim version it also runs realtime and prevents any new infections. It blocks malicious sites known for trying to add malware to your machine and it also scans once a day like a virus checker to make sure nothing slipped past. It even warns about software that isn't technically malware, but that you might not be aware of or want on your system.

yWriter - Novel Writing Assistant

Now if you've been here before I know you've heard me mention yWriter before. It is a great free novel writing package which is being updated all the time. I love it so much I wrote an entire post about it here, last year.

Once again it's free, but you can register it for $11.95 to help the developer spend more time making it even whizzier :)

FileZilla - FTP Software

With the cloud and Google drive and everything else out there these days, FTP seems a bit old and clunky, but I still use it regularly. Well, these days sFTP - so it's secure. I use it to update our Wittegen Press website and to upload files for use in posts on sites that do not offer large storage space etc.

I've been using FileZilla for years now and it's a very reliable FTP solution. It has a nice site manager functionality and it has clear and precise error messages if anything goes wrong. Best of all it's free. As ever there is a donate option to help the developers keel developing.

VLC Media Player

VLC is quite simply the best media player for just about everything and it's free. It will play everything; it plays most codecs without needing to fiddle around and download anything; it can repair files; it runs on literally everything.

I have never looked back since I first downloaded this player and I have never needed to look for anything else. It is distributed and maintained by a non-profit org which you can donate to if you wish.

Nitro Reader - PDF Reader

The simple reason I love this PDF reader is one function it has that is so very, very useful. You know when a friend of a colleague sends you a PDF and you need an image from it? Nitro lets you export all the images from any PDF document. It's brilliant.

There seems to be a pro version and a free version of this now. I have the free version and it's really good, does everything I wish it to.

KeePass - Password Safe

This program helps generate safe passwords and then keeps them for you so that you don't have to remember them all. It's really useful - just never, ever lose your master password :)

It's completely free and even open source, with the usual donate button if you feel so inclined.

DVD Profiler - DVD library

When I first used this software it was completely free, these days it's free up to 50 DVDs, but then you have to buy it. Since it's only $14.95, it doesn't exactly break the bank :).

I've been using this for a long time and it's very, very good and I couldn't keep track of my DVDs and Blu-rays without it. You can add you DVDs in several ways - the easiest being by EAN (barcode), but you can do it by title and inserted disc as well. The database online is huge and many users help to keep it up to date as well, so it's forever growing.

You can also upload your collection so that you can give the links to friends so they can see what you have. It even has borrowing facilities for you can keep track of who has what. I wouldn't be without it.

Do you have any little gems of free software you use all the time?


  1. Hi Tasha - thanks for these ... I may not use them - but they're always interesting to read up on and look at/check out ... cheers - Hilary

    1. The one I really recommend to everyone, even if to just scan your computer from time to time with the free version is Malwarebytes - it is so good. I've seen it save a couple of computers after something has started to foul up the browsing.

  2. Thanks for these. Not sure which ones I will use, but saving this post for a snowy day.


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