There are millions of free and open source projects available, many of them better than any commercially available product. Below is a short listing of what we think is the best out there, broken down into ten categories.

Antivirus Software

Most PC users realize that they need protection on their computer or may have an installed antivirus program from their computer manufacturer. What most don’t realize is that there are free programs that are just as good and in some cases better than the commercial products. Personally I recommend Microsoft Security Essentials, for its always free status and it always runs in the background, with no annoying pop-ups or notifications.

Backup Solution

There are dozens of free and commercially available backup programs for computers. Unfortunately, many of those backups are stored locally, meaning if your house were to catch fire, get robbed, or if you lost your backup discs all your data would be lost. This is why when dealing with important data we suggest users use online backup services. Dropbox, I find is the best, with the cheapest of plans and 5GB free. You can even bag yourself an extra few GB by sharing on social networks!

Email

E-mail is yet another service that can be done freely. Most users today use online e-mail solutions like gmail. However, for those still using an e-mail client such as Microsoft Outlook we strongly suggest using Mailbird.

Email client: Mailbird

Office Suite

An Office suite such as Microsoft Office is often one of the most expensive programs that a user can install on their computer. Why install these expensive programs when there are free solutions that are just as good.

Office suite: OpenOffice

Notepad and Source code editor: Notepad++

Image Editor, Paint & Photo Organzier

There are many great free solutions for editing, creating, and organizing your images on your computer. Many of the programs capable of doing these tasks can be several hundred dollars, but all of the below programs are completely free.

Image editor: GIMP

Paint program: Paint.net

Picture organizer: Google Picasa

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Founder of TechFly - lover of technology, food and tea.

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