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The web's top 20 open-source downloads

Download guide: Free open-source tools

ClamWin Free Antivirus: Antivirus software tends to be big and bloated, use plenty of RAM and system resources, and generally clog up your system. Worse is that increasingly, antivirus vendors make it difficult to buy antivirus software by itself, and include firewalls, antispyware and other software with it.

If you want a clean, mean piece of antivirus software that does just one thing - protect against viruses - you'll want this program. It has a small footprint, and doesn't take up much system resources.

It will scan your entire hard disk at once for viruses and spyware, or can scan individual files and folders. It also includes a Microsoft Outlook add-in to remove virus-infected attachments automatically from your e-mail. The program has one drawback, though: It doesn't include real-time virus protection.

Download ClamWin Free Antivirus

FileZilla: FTP lives! This file transfer protocol may seem old-fashioned and ancient, but the truth is, it's often the simplest way to transfer files between PCs, or between a PC and a server.

It's especially useful for transferring large files, because ISPs often block email attachments over a certain size. And it's great for transferring groups of files. FileZilla has just about every FTP feature you need. It's a breeze to set up and edit new FTP connections.

The interface is particularly easy to use, so that you can easily navigate external FTP servers and your local hard drive, and transfer files between then. You can also use multiple simultaneous connections to speed up file transfers.

Download FileZilla

TrueCrypt: Do you have files that you want to keep safe from prying eyes? Then you need this program. It lets you create special, encrypted volumes on the fly, and then place files in those volumes. It uses powerful encryption technology to keep them safe.

This program differs from just about any other encryption program you've used, because of the unique way it creates volumes and protects data. When you save a file to an encrypted volume, you're actually saving it to RAM, rather than to disk, making it even more difficult for anyone to view the volumes or files.

When you turn off your PC, the files become inaccessible, but are encrypted and stored on disk. When you turn your PC back on, you have to remount the volume and type in a password for them to be visible to you again.

Download TrueCrypt

7-Zip: Windows includes a built-in archiving utility that can compress and decompress files in the .Zip format, but it's not particularly useful.

If you need to do more than the most basic of archiving tasks with the Windows zip tool, you're out of luck. 7-Zip comes to the rescue. It offers you considerable power over compressed archive creation and extraction, including several different archive formats and compression methods and levels, and lets you create encrypted, password-created archives. The interface is quite configurable, and can even create a two-pane view, which is rare in archiving programs.

Download 7-Zip

And the rest...

AbiWord: Tired of paying megabucks for Microsoft Office when all you need is a good, solid word processor? Then you're in luck.

If you've got straightforward word processing chores, including inserting and handling images, you'll want this freebie. It features a simple, straightforward interface; you won't need to spend hours trying to wrangle your way through ribbons or multi-level menus.

What you need is right in front of you: simple icons and menus line the top of the page, with no clutter. You'll most likely be surprised by the amount of features this free word processor packs in. For example, it handles mail merges; will insert pages numbers, date and time; supports other auto text functions; and has some very nice tools for handling tables. Use this program enough, and you'll find that it's not just a money-saver, but a time-saver as well, because of its utter simplicity.

Download AbiWord

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