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The 40 best free software applications

Everything you could ever want... for free

There's a wealth of free software and applications available so we've taken a look at the best ones that won't crash your system.

System tools


Winzip or Winrar have always ruled the roost when it comes to compressing and extracting files. A very good but free alternative is 7-Zip, an unassuming yet powerful tool that combines the best of WinZip and WinRar. It has WinZip's selection of tools with WinRar's versatility.

7-Zip extracts and compresses files as fast as WinZip and Winrar and handles the main archive formats such as ZIP, TAR, RAR, ISO and various other formats. Its compression ratio is very high compared to other archiving tools. The archiving process is where 7-Zip differs most from its rivals. Where WinZip lets you compress only to ZIP and WinRAR to RAR or ZIP, 7-Zip offers you up to five different archive formats to choose from. The application lets you choose the update mode, depending on whether you want to add and replace files, refresh the archive or just synchronise files. If you don't want somebody opening up your archive, you can set a password to protect it.

For a situation where you want to cut down large archive files into smaller chunks, there is a split tool which lets you do just that. Other notable features are self-extracting capability for 7z format, Integration with Windows Shell, Powerful File Manager and a command line version. It also supports WinZip-compatible AES-256 encryption for .ZIP archives.


If a lot of unwanted junk has been congesting your system, CCleaner might just be the tonic it needs. It offers a plethora of features that not only helps you clean up but also helps optimise your PC. CCleaner searches through a number of programs and removes useless files. Highly configurable, it allows you to select which problems to look for and which items to ignore.

Many cleaners scrub out just your browser cache or your temporary files folder, but CCleaner goes further. It cleans temporary files from common third-party applications as well. CCleaner is so much more than the basic wash and polish with extra mini-tools. A registry scanner removes old and unused entries, including ActiveX Controls, fonts, installers, shared DLLs, fonts, help files, application paths, icons, unused file extensions and invalid shortcuts. CCleaner also includes an uninstaller and a list of deletable startup entry keys.

The most impressive thing about it is the speed at which it carries out the various scans and fixes. And another good thing about it is that it will always ask for your confirmation before it carries out any action.

Download CCleaner here.

Google Desktop

Google Desktop is a nifty program to search your desktop content quickly and easily. However, it is much more than a search application.

NEXT PAGE: The best free social networking solutions available online.

  1. Free security software
  2. More free security software and office applications
  3. Email tools
  4. Web browsers and internet tools
  5. Photo-sharing freebies
  6. Free photo editors
  7. Audio-editing tools
  8. Open-source operating systems and video tools
  9. Desktop software utilities
  10. System tools
  11. Social-networking solutions
  12. More video tools
  13. Home entertainment freebies
  14. Blogging fun
  15. For the best free software, visit PC Advisor Downloads

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