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Free killer apps for your HTPC...

237045 Views 398 Replies 131 Participants Last post by  joeydrunk
Over the years I have found these to be my favorite free software programs to keep my PC/HTPC running "like a top", and/or are very useful. If you have any other free ones to recommended, please post and share your wisdom - or comment on the ones I've listed...

Utilities, tune-up, maintenance & useful PC information
1-4a Rename - batch, mass file renamer & other useful utilities (2/18/04)
[email protected] Kill Disk - free powerful hard drive eraser (11/7/04)
Add/Remove Pro - useful Add/Remove Programs utility
AnswersThatWork.com - ultimate online HelpDesk for PC problems (5/17/04)
Auslogics' Registry Defrag & Disk Defrag – free defragmentation utilities (1/24/09)
AutoPatcher - install all the updates & registry tweaks (6/22/04)
AutoRuns for Windows – shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup (8/15/08)
BartPE - Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live windows CD/DVD (10/6/04)
Batchrun - create batch files Win 95/98/ME/NT/2000
Batchrun XP alternative - create .cmd files (using Notepad) (6/21/04)
Black Viper's web site - Windows configurations, setup, tweaks...
Black Viper archived - archived site (5/10/05)
Black Viper archived - archived site for XP SP2 (5/10/05)
Boot Log Analyzer - looks at your Windows BOOTLOG.TXT file for startup issues (5/21/05)
Boot Log XP - the best Windows boot analyzer (5/21/05)
BootVis - performance trace visualization tool for faster boot-startup times (8/1/04)
Ccleaner - freeware system optimization, privacy & cleaning tool (9/12/08)
CDCheck - utility for prevention, error detection & recovery of damaged files (6/30/04)
CodeStuff Starter - view & manage all the programs that are starting
ComputerUser.com - very complete and updated high-tech dictionary for computer users (9/20/04)
Darik's Boot and Nuke - self-contained boot floppy that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers (11/7/04)
ExplorerXP - innovative FREEWARE file manager for Windows 2000/XP (5/20/05)
FARR (Find And Run Robot) – rapidly find programs & documents on your computer (1/27/09)
File Management in Windows XP - a lot of info & tips from The Elder Geek (5/20/05)
FileAnt File Manager - Windows file manager on tabs, FTP client (5/20/05)
Filex - complete reference on File Extensions & associated applications
freeCommander - dual pane, “swiss army knife” replacement for Windows Explorer (12/17/04)
freshdevices - excellent utilities like Fresh Download, Fresh Diagnose, Fresh UI, Fresh View... (5/21/05)
HDD Scan and Restoration Program - free HDD repair & data recovery software (11/7/04)
Help2Go - committed to offering free computer help & tutorials (6/23/04)
Index Your Files – search with file name indexing, smaller footprint (1/27/09)
Iobit SystemCare – System Care, Computer Scan, Computer Repair, PC Maintenance (6/4/09)
KatMouse – mouse wheel utility for Windows (1/27/09)
Lavalys - freeware system diagnostics & benchmarking solution (6/30/04)
Lockergnome Tips - “Your Top Technology Information Resource”
Low-Level Format, Zero-Fill & Diagnostic Utilities - info on HDD (Hard Disk Drive) utilities & formatting (11/7/04)
Low-Level Format, Zero-Fill & Diagnostic Utilities - manufacturer links for HDD utilities (11/7/04)
How to permanently erase data from a hard disk - site about permanently erasing data on a hard drive (11/7/04)
MagicISO Virtual CD/DVD-ROM – designed for creating & managing virtual CD drives & CD/DVD discs (11/25/08)
Motherboard Monitor - manage your fans, resources & alarms
MSFN's Unattended XP CD - create XP CD with Critical Updates, tweaks, drivers... (5/27/04)
MyCoolTools - real useful tools: VisualRoute, MySpeed, Visual IP Trace, eMailTrackerPro... (8/20/05)
nLite - excellent free Windows Installation Customizer, remove unwanted Windows components (8/28/04)
Oscar's File Renamer – rename files in a full featured text editor (8/12/08)
PC INSPECTOR File Recovery - data recovery program for FAT 12/16/32 & NTFS file systems (6/30/04)
PC INSPECTOR smart recovery - File Recovery companion for digital camera media... (6/30/04)
PC Pitstop – free PC scans & tune-up utilities (9/12/08)
PowerToys - Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP, TweakUI...
PrcView - explore & debug, process viewer for Windows (7/1/04)
Process Explorer - advanced task manager (6/26/04)
RegClean - cleans & repairs Windows Registry errors (9/12/08)
Regcompact.NET - registry compaction program that cleans empty values (5/3/2004)
RegEditX - unsurpassed RegEdit productivity
Registrar Lite - powerful & flexible freeware registry editor
Registry Guide for Windows - (formerly RegHelp, RegEditX, RegEdit.com)
RegShot - small & open-sourced registry compare utility
Restoration - restore files that are deleted accidentally & not in recycle bin (6/30/04)
Revo Uninstaller – make sure those programs are uninstalled (1/27/09)
SiSoftware Sandra Standard - The Diagnostic Tool
SpeedFan - monitors fan speeds, temperatures & voltages in PCs...
Startup Control Panel - easily configure which programs run when your PC starts
StartupList - WAY better than msconfig lists all auto starting programs (5/17/04)
Sysinternals Freeware - free very professional/quality system utilities (6/26/04)
Sysinternals RegMon - Registry monitoring utility
TeraCopy – copy & move files at the fastest possible speed (8/12/08)
Textractor - captures text from screen
The Elder Geek on Windows XP - very useful free information site like Black Viper's
ToniArts EasyCleaner - very useful program to clean PC & registry (5/20/04)
TreeSize - tells you where precious space has gone to
TweakHound - Super XP tweaking guide (1/31/04)
TweakTown WinXP Tweaking - From Reformat to Relax (1/31/04)
TweakTown WinXP Tweaking - From Relax to Righteous (1/31/04)
Ultimate Boot CD - boot CD for any OS, also WinUBCD & other free apps (10/6/04)
UltraExplorer – ultimate file manager for Microsoft Windows (8/12/08)
UnH Solutions - free excellent system utilities (6/26/04)
User Profile Deletion Utility - Delprof.exe - get rid of old User Profiles that are no longer needed (5/14/05)
Visual Task Tips – thumbnail image of things in your taskbar (1/27/09)
Vista Start Menu – alternative start menu for XP & Vista users (1/27/09)
Win XP Virtual CD Control Panel – lets you mount one or more .iso files as virtual drives (11/25/08)
Windows MultiEnhancer - remove Windows DialogBox, Outlook Express & Internet Explorer annoyances (12/8/04)
Windows Registry cleaners, downloads - search, delete & cure invalid references to Windows Registry (5/6/05)
Windows Search – instantly find documents, e-mail, attachments, & more (1/27/09)
Windows service packs & updates - OS and application patch repository, no need for Windows Update! (8/16/06)
Windows Services - a list of all standard Windows Services for NT, 2000 & XP (6/22/05)
Windows update driver site - latest secure Windows certified hardware drivers (6/30/04)
Windows XP Home Edition Utility - setup disks for floppy boot install (6/30/04)
Windows XP Installation - Step-by-Step Windows XP install
WinFlip – alternate window-switcher to the standard Windows Alt-Tab (1/27/09)
WinMerge – visual text file differencing & merging tool for Windows (11/25/08)
Winuscon -unearths many Windows's most useful features (6/30/04)
Xteq X-Setup Pro - 1 of most powerful free tweakers, utilities in 1 program
Yahoo Widgets – put items on screen such as CPU meter, volume control, weather, etc. (1/27/09)

Tweaks & overclocking
ABXZone.com - Windows XP tweaks (1/31/04)
ClubOC.net - the original overclockers club (1/31/04)
Extreme Overclocking - tweaking PC hardware to the max (1/31/04)
Overclockers Club - XP Services removal guide (1/31/04)
Overclockers Online - news, reviews & the kitchen sink (1/31/04)
OverClockers.com - push system performance to limit (1/31/04)
TweakTown - overclocking, tweaking... site (1/31/04)

Security, adware, spyware, spam, cookies, pop-ups...
AnalogX Script Defender - intercepts all requests to execute a variety of script types (.VBS, .JS, .WSH...) (5/15/05)
Anti-Virus freeware - free anti-virus software from TheFreeSite.com (8/11/04)
AxCrypt – free file encryption software (9/12/08)
avast! 4 Home Edition - free antivirus software
AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition - free antivirus software
bartdart.com - “freeware for you” site, apps like Toolbar Chest, 2 tools below... (6/30/04)
CachePal - dump your IE cache files, browser history, & cookies quickly (6/30/04)
ScrubXP - cleans out temp files, cookies, history & Windows XP opened/searched files (6/30/04)
Bazooka Adware & Spyware Scanner - detects a multitude of spyware, adware, trojan... (2/11/04)
Browser Hijack Blaster - stop anyone from hijacking your home page + other features (6/30/04)
CastleCops - formerly ComputerCops, security professionals (9/5/04)
Comodo Firewall Pro – protection against identity theft hackers, Trojans, scripts... (5/12/07)
Cookie Viewer - discover info that websites leave on your computer (5/7/05)
CWShredder - small utility for removing CoolWebSearch & associated spyware apps (9/7/04)
Eraser - secure data removal tool for Windows (6/22/04)
Eraser - SourceForge open-source site for Eraser (6/22/04)
F-Secure – free online virus scanner (9/12/08)
HijackThis! - powerful spyware tool, many other useful downloads (5/17/04)
IE Privacy Keeper - simple & fast browsing history cleaner for Internet Explorer (6/26/04)
IE-SPYAD - Restricted Sites block list file download, Registry entry (5/14/05)
LeakTest - test for any leaks in your Firewall (6/22/05)
MVPS Hosts File - Restricted Sites block list file download, Registry entry (5/14/05)
MVPS Hosts File - info & help for Restricted Sites block list/Hosts file (5/14/05)
Junkbusters home page - dedicated to fighting junk inside the PC (7/1/04)
Kaspersky – free online virus scanner (9/12/08)
Lavasoft Ad-Aware - useful adware/spyware scanner removal program
McAfee FreeScan – free online virus scanner (9/12/08)
Microsoft Windows XP - site for latest updates, Service Packs & utilities (5/23/04)
Microsoft Security FAQ - FAQ about Microsoft Software & Internet Security
Panda ActiveScan – free online virus scanner (9/12/08)
Password Safe – easily create a secured & encrypted user name/password list (9/12/08)
PGP Freeware - encrypt messages & keep e-mail confidential (6/30/04)
Pop-Up Stopper Free Edition - pop-up blocker with history, cookies... "privacy report" (6/30/04)
Privoxy - proxy web filter download & choice of OS's
Privoxy home page - web filter home page (based on Internet Junkbuster & updated)
Privoxy sources - IE6 enhancements, future versions...
Proxomitron - proxy web filter, similar to Privoxy - not sure of updates (5/7/05)
RegistryProt - compact, low-level realtime registry monitor and protector (5/15/05)
Sam Spade - network-query tool that can help you locate bulk mailers, spammers... (6/30/04)
ScriptSentry - specify which scripts/files should be allowed to run, like AnalogX Script Defender (5/15/05)
SECRETMAKER - handle spam, plus 6 other useful tools (2/23/2004)
SpamAssassin - excellent e-mail SPAM filter that's very flexible... (6/15/05)
Spy Sweeper - free Spyware removal tools & info (9/5/04)
SpyBot - Search & Destroy - powerful spyware/adware... detector & remover
Spyware Doctor - new version very effective for spyware detection (7/6/05)
Spyware Warrior Forums - help with Spyware, Hijackers & other Internet nuisances (9/7/04)
SpywareBlaster - + SpywareGuard, MRU-Blaster... prevent spyware from installing
SpywareInfo - online spyware remover, doesn't scan cookies (5/31/04)
StartupMonitor - notifies you when any program registers itself to run at system startup (5/15/05)
Sygate Personal Firewall - excellent secure Firewall, user friendly (5/12/05)
Symantec Security Check – free online virus scanner (9/12/08)
SwatIt - scans your computer for Trojans, Worms, Bots and other Hacker programs (9/30/04)
ThreatFire – free protection for viruses, spyware and identity theft (3/15/2008)
Trend Micro HouseCall - online virus scanner (2/21/2004)
TrueCrypt – free open-source disk encryption software (9/12/08)
Wilders.org Security Advisors - website is totally devoted to security
WinPatrol - spyware program launch alert (6/30/04)
ZoneAlarm - excellent free firewall

Internet browsers & other web surfing software enhancements
AltaVista Toolbar - toolbar w/Google like features + Babelfish translator button (6/30/04)
Avant Browser - versatile tabbed browser using IE engine (5/29/04)
Copernic search engine - allows you to search ALL search engines at once (11/9/04)
Gaim - multi-protocol instant messaging client for Linux, BSD, MacOS X, and Windows (6/30/04)
Google Deskbar - search using Google without opening your browser (6/30/04)
Messenger Plus! - the most popular add-on for MSN Messenger (6/30/04)
Googlebar - search bar plug-in for Mozilla (6/30/04)
Mozilla Firefox - Mozilla's next generation browser (5/28/04)
Mozilla Firefox Extensions - Most popular Firefox Extensions (5/13/05)
Mozilla Firefox Extensions - Free Download Manager: FULL of features, works w/FlashGot Extension (5/16/05)
Mozilla Firefox Extensions - Download Manager Tweak: still adds features, but smaller alternative (5/16/05)
Mozilla Firefox Extensions - fireFTP: cross-platform FTP client for Mozilla Firefox (6/8/05)
Mozilla Firefox Installation Guide - very useful simple guide & tips for Firefox browser (5/13/05)
Mozilla Messaging – free E-mail client (9/12/08)
Mozilla Suite - web browser, advanced e-mail... all-in-one Internet application suite (5/13/05)
Mozilla Thunderbird - Mozilla's e-mail & newsgroup client (6/30/04)
MyIE2 - tabbed interface solution for browser Windows filling taskbar (6/30/04)
Opera - full-featured web browser - surf the web faster, safer & easier (5/14/05)
SeaMonkey - from Mozilla.org, all-in-one Internet application suite (4/25/06)
Toolbar Chest - for OE - save window positions, layout & many more settings (6/30/04)
Trillian Basic - multi-network IM client - IRC, AOL, ICQ, MSN, or Yahoo... (6/30/04)
w00t! - counter-strike search engine (11/14/04)

Useful software & links for freeware
100best FREE web space Providers - The Truth About Free Web Hosting
7-Zip - versatile zip extractor
AceFTP 3 - FTP client for creating/exchanging web pages
AceHTML 5 - web page creation, validation (6/19/04, no more updates)
AceMoney Lite - freeware manages your finances (6/30/04)
Adobe Acrobat Reader - useful Internet .pdf file viewer, other features... (6/30/04)
AnalogX - free Network utilities (8/12/04)
André Bacard's Privacy Page - Protect Your Computer, Financial, Internet & Political Privacy (11/29/05)
AutoHotKey - create Macros, automate tasks (6/11/04)
Bart's Network Book Disk - professional network boot disk (2/12/04)
Blender – free feature filled 3D animations software (9/12/08)
Blogger.com - create your own blog/web page
Blowfish - The Blowfish Encryption Algorithm, useful for SFTP server transfer... (5/20/05)
CadSoft Online - Eagle Light Edition: free circuit board, electronics... CAD (7/3/04)
CORE FTP LE - FULL FEATURED FTP, SFTP... client for PC... website file transfer (5/17/05)
Cryptainer LE - award winning encryption package is totally free & never expires (11/29/05)
CutePDF – free PDF writer (5/12/07)
DC++ - free ultimate file sharing client for Direct Connect Network (5/5/05)
Dir to HTML Wizard - Advanced Directory Manager (2/10/04)
DNSstuff - useful tools for network administrators, domain owners, users of DNS hosting services, etc. (6/23/05)
Eclipse – free HTML editor (9/12/08)
EventGhost – open-source automation tool for MS Windows (5/12/07)
extendedPDF - make your documents much easier to read w/PDF's navigation (11/29/05)
FileZilla - FTP client for web pages, lots of useful features
FinancialFate – free do-it-yourself financial planning software (9/12/08)
Foxit Reader - free reader for PDF (eBook) documents, small
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FileZilla http://filezilla.sourceforge.net/

an FTP/SFTP/SCP client

RealVNC http://www.realvnc.com/

to remote control your HTPC from another PC on your network

FLAC http://flac.sourceforge.net/

A free lossless audio encoder. Quickly becoming the standard for audiophiles.

DVD Profiler http://www.dvdprofiler.com/

Catalog your DVD collection
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jathos mentioned RealVNC, and I'd just like to note that

TightVNC is a wonderful alternative that because of its added compression schemes, can really speed up your PC control. If your only goal is to remote control, you don't need an uber pretty screen to do work.

TightVNC has shown in tests, and in my personal usage of it for probably 1.5 years or more over 10mbit/100mbit and cable @ 2mbit to be wonderfully fast.

I can work from home thanks to the program
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Speedfan http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php

great for controlling the sound level coming from all of the cooling
Thanks jathos & M.S.-Ohio (and I thought DirectParallel, USB, Laplink... cable was cool)!
They also have some free downloads...

Added those apps in above & gave you credit.

PS - Thanks HookedOnTV for SpeedFan & JeffY for DScaler (WHAT WAS I THINKING?).
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Thanks Tracie, added CDex & BootXP above & gave you credit.
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Also, LAME from http://lame.sourceforge.net/

Useful in both Windows and Linux (and Macs?).

Sorry if i missed it in the list.

I should have said in my post above, great idea for creating this thread. Hopefully the mods will make it a sticky - very useful thing to point newbies to. Also, do you think it would be a good idea to post the links to both Karnis's mega-thread on Powerstrip timings as well as the ffdshow FAQ? Just a thought.

I can't find links up there to downloads for both ffdshow & Powerstrip:

http://www.entechtaiwan.net/ps.htm (Powerstrip site)
http://sourceforge.net/project/showf...group_id=53761 (ffdshow site)
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=206854 (Karnis's super-guide for custom timings in Powerstrip)
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ht=ffdshow+faq (ffdshow FAQ)

Another thing I just thought of - how about the Ripping 101 & 102 threads? I wasn't sure if this is just a thread for downloading software or for how to use that software as well. If so, here are the links:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ht=ripping+101 (Ripping 101)
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ht=ripping+101 (Ripping 102)
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Great security site is www.wilders.org with lots of free downloads and a complete guide to security on your PC...Enjoy!


Originally posted by PGw
DVDRegionKiller www.elby.ch/download/SetupRegKill.exe

DVDRegionKiller is no longer available. It has been superseded by AnyDVD which is not free anymore. However there is still freeware application for keeping your HTPC region free called DVD43 (read 'DVD for free'). Here is the link:


Just an fyi.

1st Page 2000 was pulled from some shareware websites because many anti-virus programs thought one of it's program files was a virus.

It used to be listed on www.cnet.com but got pulled.

I'm not sure if this was version 1.0 or 2.0.

Sis Sandra.

Originally posted by Tracie
Also, do you think it would be a good idea to post the links to both Karnis's mega-thread on Powerstrip timings as well as the ffdshow FAQ? Just a thought.

I can't find links up there to downloads for both ffdshow & Powerstrip:

Tracie, good idea - posted PowerStrip and ffdshow w/corresponding AVS links right below each one. I put the Ripping 101 & 102 links in a new "heading" (trying to keep this organized) and gave you credit. Thanks!

pcdoctor, good observation - about 1st Page 2000 - "Turns out there is a harmless HTML script in this old program that makes modern virus checkers think it contains a virus ("false positive")." However "The setup file is dated 1999." It might be good still - but it has some EXCELLENT new version competitors.

Also thanks to nuthead, SmithMK (Mark), tj21 (Tomas) - yes I removed DVDRegionKiller and added DVD43, automagic, pcdoctor. Added all yours in and gave you all credit at bottom of start of thread.

I added The Elder Geek on Windows XP (where he talks about the recent Beagle-A Worm) and Black Viper's web site . Both sites are also very useful for tweaking and tuning your HTPC.
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OK, added Zoom Player & removed 1st Page 2000 (which is a bit outdated). Also removed Lavasoft RegHance as it appears not to be true freeware but a shareware trial version. This does not apply to Lavasoft Ad-Aware, which is excellent freeware and I left in.
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Where is Netremote?

Thanks all for this enlightening thread. A definite Keeper!
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