- VLC – Open source video player.
- Media Player Classic – Home Cinema – Light-weight media player for Windows. I personally like MPC-HC much better than VLC. Supports more codecs/formats and video looks better.
- Combined Community Codec Pack – A simple playback pack for Windows with the goal of supporting the majority of video formats in use today. Must have if you watch certain tv-shows or anime.
- Foobar 2000 – Extremely lightweight and customizable free audio player for Windows. Supports a wide array of different audio formats.
- Audacity – Free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds.
- Spotify – Listen to music for free.
- Grooveshark – Listen to music and radio stations for free.
- Songbird – Audio and browser software. For Windows and Mac. (Somewhat bloated)
- Pale Moon – Open Source, full-featured, speed optimized browser based on the popular Firefox browser.
- Chromium – Open source browser from which Google draws it’s source code. Not sure which OS’s this is for, but it was requested to be put on the list.
Extensions for browsers:
- Reddit Enhancement Suite – Make surfing Reddit so much more enjoyable. Highly customizable and easy to set up.
- Adblock – Blocks annoying ads on webpages and in videos. Surf faster and safer. (Better than Plus)
- Ghostery – Anti ad/tracking extension – Disables most scripts by default.
- ProxTube – Circumvent blocked Youtube videos.
- Speed Dial – Allows fast access to your most visited websites. Extremely useful if you visit or want to keep track off a lot of different websites.
- ScriptNo – Similar to NoScript only for Chrome instead.
- Search by Image for Google (Firefox) – Fast way to reverse search an image. Very handy if you’re looking for a source, more information or if anyone posts “original content“.
- Search by Image for Google (Chrome)
- HTTPS everywhere (Chrome) – Automatically encrypts connections through HTTPS.
- Hoverfree (Chrome) – See full sized image just by hovering over thumbnail (Hoverzoom collects data.)
- Thumbnail Zoom (Firefox) – Like hoverzoom, but for firefox.
- Adblock Plus (Firefox) – Block ads, just like Adblock only for firefox.
- Media Hint – Access restricted websites outside of the US.
- Microsoft Security Essentials – Lightweight antivirus software.
- Avast! Free Antivirus – Antivirus software.
- Malwarebytes – Anti-malware software.
- TrueCrypt – Free open-source disk encryption software for Windows 7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux.
- Keepass – Free, open source, light-weight and easy-to-use password manager.
- LastPass – Another password manager that makes web browsing easier and more secure.
System, cleaning and recovery:
- CCleaner – A freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. For Windows and Mac.
- Defraggler – Defragmentation software for Windows.
- Recuva – File recovery software for Windows.
- Speccy – Give you detailed statistics on every piece of hardware in your computer. For Windows.
- WinDirStat – Very useful drive visualiser, shows you all the folders that are taking up memory in a graphic. Available on Windows.
- Skype – Call friends/family on their computers or phones. For Windows and Mac and Linux.
- Pidgin – Open source chat client which is compatible with several different chat networks.
- Trillian – A fully featured, stand-alone chat client that supports several different chat networks.
- HexChat – IRC chat client for both Linux and Windows.
Documents, images and graphics:
- Foxit Reader – Free PDF reader for Windows, Linux and smartphones.
- Sumatra PDF – Free PDF reader for Windows.
- Open Office – Open source personal productivity suite.
- Libre Office – Open source personal productivity suite for Windows, Mac and Linux.
- GIMP – Free image manipulation software.
- Paint.net – A free image and photo editing software. For Windows.
- IrfanView – The best freeware image/graphic viewer for Windows. Extremely lightweight and supports a wide arrange of different formats.
- Inkscape – Open source svg graphics editor. For Linux, Windows, and OSX.
- WinRAR – File archiver (You can still use the software after the trial period has run out).
- 7-Zip – Open source file archiver.
- uTorrent 2.2.1 – uTorrent became extremely bloated after they released version 3.0 and on. Version 2.2.1 has everything you need without using many resources or having any ads.
- Transmission – Extremely lightweight BitTorrent client for Mac and Linux. There’s an unofficial Windows version which you can get here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/trqtw/
- Deluge – Lightweight, cross-platform BitTorrent client.
- qBittorrent – Free, lightweight cross-platform BitTorrent client.
- Trixati – Free BitTorrent client for Windows and Linux.
- ImgBurn – Good, lightweight burning application.
- CDburnerXP – Another good, lightweight burning application.
- Virtual Clonedrive – Free media emulation software.
- DAEMON Tools Lite – Free media emulation software. Monitors everything you mount
- PowerISO – Media emulation software.
- WinCDEmu – Lightweight media emulation software. For Windows.
- Dropbox – Cloud storage. For Windows, Mac, Linux and smartphones.
- Google Drive – Google’s cloud storage solution similar to Dropbox.
- Skydrive – Microsoft’s cloud storage solution. Now also available on Xbox360.
- Mega – Offers a free 50GB of storage.
- Bittorrent Synch – Automatically sync files between devices.
- Open Broadcaster Software – Free and open source software for media streaming/recording.
- FFsplit – A free front-end application that allows you to capture and record what is happening on your desktop. For Windows.
- Removed DXStory (Wasn’t free apparantly)
- Steam – PC-game client for PC, Mac and Linux
- f.lux – Makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. Must have if you have problems with going to sleep or have problems with eyes or headaches. For Windows, Linux and Mac.
- RedShift – Just like f.lux but for Linux (there exists an experimental Windows build though).
- Sublime Text 2 – A great text editor for code, markup and prose. For Windows, Mac and Linux.
- Notepad++ – Free source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages. For Windows.
- Rainlendar – A lightweight customizable calendar.
- Hamachi – A hosted VPN service that lets you create LAN-like networks. Very useful if you want to play older pc-games with friends.
- Tunngle – A p2p VPN tool somewhat similar to Hamachi.
- Evolve – Social platform for gamers. For Windows only.
- Blender – 3D computer graphics software product used for animating and 3D models. For Linux, Mac and Windows.
- Origin – PC-game client for PC and Mac. Like Steam only for EA games.
- Metapad – Lightweight notepad replacement with several extra features. For Windows.
- Rainmeter – Great program for customizing your desktop with widgets and meters. For windows.
[This good thorough list of free software appeared on reddit.com. It was created by user foamed and edited by HDScorpio.]