Isn’t it annoying that the utility programs bundled with Windows are so basic?
A great thing about Windows is that it comes with a .zip file handler, photo viewer, media player and a CD/DVD burner included. The annoying thing is that these programs are too basic. Then, when you go searching for alternatives, they are often so complicated you need a degree to use them.
These free utility programs for Windows are both feature rich and easy to use.
Each of the 6 programs below I use on a daily basis, either because the version loaded with Windows is too basic, or because programs I could use has a steep learning curve when I want to do something simple.
7-Zip is a free open source file archiver and extractor (zip program)with a high compression ration. You can use 7-Zip on any computer, including a computer in a commercial organization, and you don’t need to register or pay for use. It is quicker and easier to use than the Windows zip program, and more versatile than WinZip.
7-Zip supports the following formats:
- Packing / unpacking: 7z, XZ, BZIP2, GZIP, TAR, ZIP and WIM
- Unpacking only: ARJ, CAB, CHM, CPIO, CramFS, DEB, DMG, FAT, HFS, ISO, LZH, LZMA, MBR, MSI, NSIS, NTFS, RAR, RPM, SquashFS, UDF, VHD, WIM, XAR and Z.
IrfanView is a fast, compact, freeware image viewer for that can view, edit, and convert a wide range of image files. IrfanView has some limited image creation and painting capabilities and is free for non-commercial use. Commercial use requires a paid registration.
Probably the most useful feature of Irfanview is the ability to easily resize images and to save them in a variety of formats. These tasks can also be set-up for batch processing of images. Very useful for manipulating images for websites and blogs. IrfanView beats the Windows photo viewer hands down.
Format Factory is a free, ad-supported, full featured audio and video converter that can convert video, audio, and picture files between the most popular formats. I have reviewed this program previously as free-audio-and-video-converter
Advanced Systemcare Free
Advanced System Care is a protection, cleanup and maintenance tool created by IObit software. Regular use of ASC helps improve computer performance and speed. Advanced System Care includes a free and a PRO version.
The Free version includes basic system clean, fix, and optimization such as registry cleaning, privacy sweep, disk defragmentation, and junk file cleaning; and basic protection from security threats. The Pro version includes more tools and a higher degree of automation.
Unlike many similar products ASC actually does what it says, does NOT include constant pop-up ad’s and weird components, and uninstalls completely when asked. When activating the program it DOES hit you with ads to buy the Pro version, which I can highly recommend.
Are you tired of complicated disc burning software that constantly tries to get you to buy a Pro version?
BurnAware Free is full-fledged free burning software which allows you to write all types of files to CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray Discs. The free version can perform all basic burning functions and is super-easy to use, even for the the non-technical and is much quicker than the Windows Disc Burner. For more complicated burning and commercial use, there are Premium and Professional paid versions.
BurnAware Free has no ad’s or pop-ups
ALShow is part of collections of programs called ALTools written by ESTSoft Corp. ALShow is the media player of the collection. It has simple controls, making it easy to use, and supports a wide range of formats.
ALShow is a freeware, but many of the other (very clever) ALTools are only free for limited use or demo’s.