GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) – Image Editing
Sometimes MS Paint or Paintbrush just aren’t enough for your images. Enter GIMP, a powerful image editing program that can handle nearly everything that Photoshop can. Whether you are touching up existing images or creating entirely new ones, GIMP is flexible enough to meet the task. It is also supported by an active open source community, who are continually improving it. Download GIMP here.
Audacity – Audio Editing
Audio recording and editing is best left to the professionals – at least it would be without Audacity. With this program you can record audio on your PC, and then make any edits you like. Podcasters and musicians alike are using Audacity for free instead of needing to use a studio for recording. Download Audacity here.
AVG Anti-Virus – Anti-Virus Protection
Free software is occasionally better than the paid version, and there’s no better example of that than AVG Anti-Virus. This program is consistently ranked as some of the best security software out there. Only one catch – it is only free for personal use, not for businesses. Download AVG Anti-Virus here.
7-Zip – File Archiving
Packing, unpacking, encrypting and decrypting files can be confusing and time-consuming, but 7-Zip makes it free and easy. Most users will only ever use it for extracting or compressing files, but it does that very well – its compression ratio and speed are excellent. If you need encryption, it does that as well. It even will let you compress and email a file with just one click! Download 7-Zip here.
Dropbox – Storage and File Syncing
Dropbox allows you to have your files in a central location, accessible from multiple computers, tablets, or even smartphones. Having files safely stored online in case of hard drive failure - or loss of your phone - is valuable already, but being able to instantly access those files across all your devices (or even with your friends with the public storage section) is invaluable. Up to 2GB is free, then you need to start paying. Download Dropbox here.
With these five free programs you’ll be able to do more than most computer users can, and you’ll be doing it for free!