30 Best Free WindowsXP software

Every couple of years or so, I format my PC’s hard drive, reinstall Windows, and start again with a clean slate.  Instead of automatically reinstalling all the programs I had running before, I start working, and reinstall applications on an as-I-need-them basis. Here are the Windows apps I run on my clean new Windows desktop now.

Primarily I use Windows XP Pro; never quite made the full-time switch to Vista. Many of the apps below are directly related to what I have do to as a tech writer, so as always, your mileage can and will vary. All items are free to download unless otherwise noted.

Web Browsing software for Windows

  • Firefox (primary web browser) with many extensions:
    • Foxmarks (bookmark synchronizer)–must-have for anyone who uses more than one computer
    • Adblock Plus (advertisement blocker)
    • Auto Copy (skip Ctrl+C)–saves keystrokes while blogging
    • Better Gmail 2 and friends–these are extensions I authored, so I dogfood ‘em
    • CoLT (link copier)–another blogging timesaver
    • Evernote Web Clipper (web clipping)
    • FireFTP (FTP client)
    • Google Gears (offline webapp access)–use this for WordPress and other webapps
    • Greasemonkey (user script manager)
    • Read It Later (web page reading shelf)
    • Ubiquity (universal browser commander)–here’s a little of what Ubiquity can do
    • Web Developer (webdev tools)

Windows Enhancements and Utilities

  • FileBox eXtender (open/save dialog customizer)–ugly as sin, but great for making your file list also show in details view, sorted descending by date (for example)
  • TeraCopy (better file copying)
  • Google Desktop (file search)
  • FoxIt (PDF reader)–lighter than Adobe
  • 7-Zip (archive manager)–handles more archive file types than Windows built-in ZIP extractor

Backup software for Windows

  • Mozy (online backup, offers limited free storage, with paid subscription options)
  • SyncBack Freeware (local backup)

Media software for Windows

Remembering Crap

Getting Things Done

  • EditPlus (text editor, $35)–fell in love with EditPlus years ago, paid for a license, and never looked back, even though there are strong free alternatives
  • Microsoft Office 2007 (office suite, not at all free)–use only when absolutely necessary


  • Digsby (instant messenger)
  • Thunderbird (email)–I use Gmail’s web interface for email, but POP my mail to Thunderbird once a month so I have an offline backup


  • Synergy (keyboard/mouse sharing software)–there’s a MacBook and a PC at my desk; Synergy lets me share a single mouse and keyboard between them
  • WinSCP (SCP and SFTP client)

Blogging Apps for Windows

  • SnagIt (screenshot-taking utility, $49)–lots more options than Alt+PrintScreen
  • Camtasia Studio (screencast-taking utility, $299)–excellent screencasting software
  • Texter (auto-text replacement utility)

via Gina Trapani

3 thoughts on “30 Best Free WindowsXP software”

  1. well some of the softwares mentioned are not as good as you say, for example VLC is a good media player but it doesn’t support very large number of formats. And the IM client you specified is not that much preferred as it requires more memory usage and is heavy on start-up, i prefer Pidgin with support a large number of IMs and is low on memory usage.
    7-Zip provides more powerful compression but it doesn’t support split files (well that’s my opinion as i always download stuff that are chopped up in large number of files), well it depends on every person’s perspective that what software he likes. So its hard to say that the specified softwares are optimum.

  2. Yeah, I agree with you. In fact, for IM I use digsby. Its cool. I guess even better than Pidgin.
    No media player is good without codec packs so its even!

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