The best freeware applications
PanuWorld's top picks for Windows®
This page lists the best "free" (freeware, GPL, etc.) Windows
applications. I use these, some of them daily, some
others not so regularly. Finding a good free application is a hard
Therefore I have created this list to help you. These applications are
reliable enough, professional-looking, and suit well in their purpose.
Most of them are even better than their commercial counterparts.
Note that the license terms differ from program to program. Some of
these are free only in uncommercial use. Please check the license of
the particular application before using.
Firefox (Mozilla Foundation)
- The best choice as a web browser. The new industry
standard in the web world.
- Mozilla Thunderbird (Mozilla Foundation)
- The best choice as a email client.
- Kompozer (Fabien Cazenave)
- The Mozilla-based WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor. Works well with the PanuWorld Layout Manager.
- Very professional-looking, light-weight, and Windows-like SCP
client. Stop using the unsecured FTP transfers provided by Windows
- Small and lightweight SSH client than can be customized to look
your old SSH/Telnet client.
- Google Earth
- Great satellite image tool for browsing the earth. Helps planning
outdoor events and allows attaching placemarks on web pages and email.
Still in beta (forever?) so some bugs are present. Difficult to optimize
the performance. The free version also lacks the ability for drawing
paths on the earth.
Programming tools and other utilities
- Simple and working hex editor for general use in programming, etc.
Setup (Jordan Russell)
- The legendary free setup generator for creating
professional-looking setup programs. Simple-to-learn and very effective
setup script language. Used nowadays also in many third-party
applications. A real alternative for InstallShield and other commercial
- PatchWise Free
- Self-executable setup-like patch file generator. Effective
built-in 'diff' function which includes only the changed parts of the
files in the patch file. The shell function allows running any
application/script included in the patch file which can then do even
more than PatchWise Free can do by its own.
Hacker (Angus Johnson)
- Simple and small Windows resource editor which does not need to
be installed, just drop a Win32 PE file on the Resource Hacker
- 7-zip (Igor Pavlov)
- Full-featured free WinZip clone for Windows.
Supports TAR archives and files compressed with GZ, BZ2, RAR, etc.,
are not supported by the Windows XP's built-in Compressed Folders
- WinMerge (WinMerge development team)
- Professional-grade merging program for file/folder comparison and merging.
(Christian Bauer, J. Richard Sladkey)
- The great Commodore 64 emulator also for Windows. Simple and
effective: full pixel-exact emulation with the SC version of Frodo.
Download also PanuWorld's Commodore
64 games from 1980's!
- Atari 2600 emulator for playing the old good games. For easy use,
associate the .BIN file format with Z26.EXE -v1 -M0 -iMS "%1".
Include the options on the command line because using the options file
seem not work.
- Emu48 (Christoph Gießelink, Sébastien Carlier)
- HP48 emulator which can be used also as a substitute for the Windows calculator in daily work. See also PanuWorld's Emu48 Turn-Key Calculator for easy-to-install Emu48 package designed especially for daily calculator use.
- Good-looking photo managing program / viewer / browser for
standard home use with
lossless JPEG rotations and EXIF data viewing. Automatically transfers
images from the camera (supports many camera brands and interfaces), so
it can replace completely all other programs, including programs
supplied with your camera.
- Saatavilla myös PanuWorldin
epävirallinen suomen kielen kielipaketti cam2pc 4.5.2:lle!
PhotoPlayer 2.8.0918 (UniDream Marketing
- A small slide show EXE. It is a good idea to include it on all
your picture CD-ROMs so the pictures can be viewed on any Windows PC.
Note that the new versions of the Unidream PhotoPlayer (e.g.
"PhotoPlayer Plus") are are clumsy and slow on many computers.
Therefore I recommend only the old version 2.8.0918.
Studio (Willow Software)
- MIDI file editor with staff view. Suitable for editing and
cutting MIDI files to be used as ringing tones on a mobile phone.
- VirtualDub (Avery Lee)
- Efficient video clip processing software. Best choice for editing
and re-encoding the video clips taken with a digital camera. Allows
full control, so needs some knowledge of the compression formats.
- K-Lite Codec Pack (Codec Guide)
- Complete package for most of video and audio processing needs.
Includes Xvid and MP3 encoders and many other codecs that are needed
occasionally, e.g. FLV codecs needed to play YouTube videos off-line.
- Paint.NET (dotPDN LLC)
- Free image and photo editing software. Suitable for basic
image operations needed for web design and software development.
Replacement for Adobe Photoshop if only basic functionality is needed.
- NextPVR (Menten Holdings Ltd)
- The best free choice for TV watching on PC/laptop/netbook. Does
not need a resource-wasting background service (can be disabled) and
works also on slow netbooks. DVB subtitles work, although they must be
enabled manually; teletext does not work practically at all. EPG mixes
languages badly. However, much fewer bugs and crashes than on other
similar software. Stays running very well also with EC168 DVB-T chip
and weak signal, while most other software crashes the whole system all
- DVD Flick (Dennis Meuwissen)
- Free easy-to-use DVD authoring tool, allowing conversion of
almost any video format to DVD-compatible MPEG-2 and building a
DVD-VIDEO-compliant disc image. Quick predefined menus to choose from.
- DVD Styler (Alex Thüring)
- Free visual tool for building custom DVD menus, from basic ones
to more complicated scripting. This tool does convert videos to MPEG-2
but you can for example build temporary DVD-VIDEO image with DVD Flick
(or with your desktop DVD recorder) and the re-author the disc with DVD
Styler to get your customized menus.
- ImgBurn (LIGHTNING UK!)
- Freeware CD/DVD authoring software. Great tool to build specific
types of CD/DVD discs, e.g. burning extra data files with DVD-VIDEO
keeping the disc still playable on standalone DVD players. Such simple
thing cannot be done with Nero Express, bundled with many DVD writers!
Includes also basic functionality to build data discs from files,
so other data burning software is usually not needed.
- MagicDisc (MagicISO Inc.)
- Free virtual CD/DVD-drive software. Use this tool to test your
discs before burning them on a physical disc. Useful for testing
AutoRun functionality, special disc formats etc., that may behave
unexpectedly in Windows. There is no need to keep MagicDisc constantly
in the Startup folder, you can start the software from Start menu only