Russ Harvey Consulting - Computer and Internet Services

Recommended Software

Internet | PDF | IrfanView | VLC Player | Office Suites | Editors | Utilities
Installation Hints

Recommended software for increasing productivity and security.

Avoid Problems

Downloading and installing software from third-party sites can put you at risk.

  • Only install software you've downloaded from the vendor's site.
  • Mirror sites should be avoided unless they are listed on the vendor's site.
  • See the Installation Hints for suggestions to avoid problems.

Many are available as apps in the Windows Store.

Install Security Software

Secure your computer with security software chosen with care.

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Internet Software

Firefox | Thunderbird | The Bat! | FTP

Firefox Web Browser


Firefox is a slim, standards-compliant browser that takes advantage of hardware acceleration.

It is the only major independent browser that protects and respects your private information.

You should be able to decide who sees your personal info. Not just among your friends, but with every advertiser and company on the internet — including us. — Mozilla
At Mozilla, we believe that privacy is fundamental to a healthy internet.

Updated Frequently

New versions of Firefox are released regularly which allows for new features and protections sooner.

Unsafe Addons Blocked

Firefox blocks unsafe content such as dangerous plugins and extensions.

  • Firefox blocks extensions that compromise your privacy.
  • Remove extensions that you don't use or need.
  • Ensure that “Update addons automatically” is checked.

Plugin Support Ending

Firefox has discontinued support for NPAPI plugins that often slowed or crashed your browser. Plugins are now blocked except Flash (soon to be discontinued).

Recommended Extensions

Extensions can help protect your privacy and security. There is more about extensions on this site. I recommend the following Firefox extensions:

  • Privacy Badger blocks spying ads and invisible trackers by enforcing the Do Not Track header.
  • HTTPS:// Everywhere looks for a secure (HTTPS) version on the site which encrypts your communications with the websites, making your browsing more secure.
  • LastPass password manager (disable the built-in password manager).

LastPass Recommended

LastPass is a free online password generator and manager.

LastPass — The last password you have to remember. Superior password protection.

A single LastPass account works on Windows, Mac, Linux and mobile devices and all your installed browsers. You use the same account for every device or browser.

I like LastPass because your sensitive data is encrypted locally before upload so even LastPass cannot access it.

Configure It Carefully

When registering LastPass during the setup process, be sure you know the LastPass master password and the email account you've used.

  • You can only set up one account using a particular email address.
  • Recovery is difficult (if you could easily recover it, so could anyone else).
  • Ensure the password is long and strong (you only need to remember one password, so make it a good one). Hints for remembering passwords.

Learn more about LastPass.


MozBackup is a freeware program which allows you to create backups of Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird profiles, including your mail, favorites, contacts, etc.

MozBackup Alternatives

Mozilla has documentation about dealing with Firefox profiles.

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The Bat! — Flexible and Secure

The Bat!

The Bat! Professional (US$59.99) and Home (US$49.95) are both flexible, secure email programs with an internal HTML viewer (for security), advanced message handling, OpenPGP encryption and more.

The Bat! is a secure desktop email client for Windows, built to protect your correspondence against third-parties. Continuously improving since 1998.

The Professional version (US$59.99), which includes message base encryption, is recommended for advanced email users requiring more customization and handling of their email. The lighter Home version is for personal use only.

Learn more….

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Thunderbird is a powerful, easy to use, stand-alone email program that works great for those with simpler demands.

Thunderbird is not recommended for those with high email volumes, including business users.

Learn more….

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FTP Software

FTP programs are used to transfer files to the Internet such as updating a website or hosted blog.

WS_FTP Professional

Progress WS_FTP Professional

Progress WS_FTP Professional (US$49.95–89.95) is the professional standard in file transfer and networking software and includes features like compression, security and automated processes.

WS_FTP Professional is the safest and easiest way to upload and download files. It provides SFTP transfers with the highest levels of encryption, is easy to use and customize, and reduces administrative burden.

While there are other FTP programs and FTP-capability is built into some web design programs, Progress (formerly Ipswitch) is the premium FTP product for security.




FileZilla (free) is a free cross-platform graphical FTP, FTPS and SFTP client with many features. It runs on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and more.

FileZilla Pro (US$19.99) is a professional FTP/S, SFTP client for Windows, Mac OS X or Debian Linux that can also connect with many cloud servers.

FileZilla Pro manages all of your transfers no matter how many files are in your source directory, it is heavily optimized for speed and you can also adjust the pace of your transfers at will.

FileZilla Server is a free open source Windows FTP and FTPS Server.

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PDF Software

PDF is a format invented by Adobe that allows files to be viewed anywhere with the proper fonts regardless of the software it was created with.

Adobe Reader | Able2Extract Pro | Nitro Pro | Alternatives

Browsers Natively Display PDF Documents

Modern browsers have moved away from plugins like Adobe Reader and have developed built-in PDF capabilities. Not all are as capable:

  • Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome display PDFs plus allow you to fill in PDF forms before you save or print them.
  • Firefox will display PDFs, but warns you when a PDF document contains forms and offers to open the PDF with a different viewer.

Even with this capability, you may require more features than your browser can provide. A dedicated PDF reader may fill your needs.

Adobe Reader

Acrobat logo

Adobe Reader was the gold standard for PDF software for many years. Unfortunately, the number of security issues has tempered that success.

The long-term examination carried out by AV-TEST…clearly shows that Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash and Java are together responsible for two thirds of the vulnerabilities in Windows systems exploited by malware. Users who rarely update their software and use insufficient security software have virtually no chance when faced with specially prepared malware. — AV-TEST

Because of those vulnerabilities, I recommend you look at alternative PDF readers.

Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat DC (Pro) has more capabilities than the Reader and can access documents from anywhere (including on portable devices) but requires a subscription.

Able2Extract Professional

Able2Extract Professional

Able2Extract Professional (free to try) is a powerful professional PDF program that allows you to do almost anything with PDFs.

  • A full license costs US$149.95.
  • A 30-day subscription costs US$34.95.
Get quick, accurate, transfer of native and image (scanned) PDFs into editable MS Word and formatted MS Excel spreadsheets for editing, analysis and other revisioning. Other conversions include PDF to PowerPoint (PPT), Publisher (.PUB), AutoCAD, HTML and Text. As a full PDF solution, Able2Extract Professional can also create secure PDF files, edit PDF content, fill in PDF forms, edit and create fillable PDF forms, and insert Bates numbering to PDFs. Convert, create, and edit your way to PDF productivity!

Able2Extract Pro is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

I strongly recommend Able2Extract Pro for users that need professional quality software. See my review of Able2Extract 12 for details.

System Requirements

Windows: Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/2008/XP SP3/2003 SP2, 32-bit or 64-bit edition. Microsoft Office 2003 and newer. 200 MB hard drive space.

Mac: MacOS 10.13 (High Sierra), macOS 10.12 (Sierra), Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan), 10.10 (Yosemite), 10.9 (Mavericks), 10.8 (Mountain Lion). 300 MB hard drive space.

Linux: Ubuntu 17.10/17.04/16.10/16.0415.10/15.04/14.10/14.04, Fedora 23/22/21/20, 64-bit edition. 200 MB hard drive space.

Additional specifications:

  • Memory: 512 + MB RAM.
  • Monitor: 1366 (Width) x 768 (Height) screen resolution.

Nitro Pro

Try Nitro Pro FREE

Nitro Pro (free to try; US$199.99 to buy) allows you to create professional quality PDF documents that anyone can view, with any PDF reader, on virtually any device.

Nitro Pro provides all the tools you need to create a paperless office at a price that is affordable.

I've used Nitro Pro from version 8 through 11. Unfortunately, Nitro Pro runs only on Windows and I found there were issues printing in 64-bit Windows.

NitroPro PDF Editor Software Reviews Infographic (click to view full infographic)
  • Create PDF files from scratch, or turn any kind of paper or digital file into a fully editable document.
  • Add, delete, replace, and correct text and images in PDF documents. Page editing tools let you insert, extract, and rotate individual pages, as well as copy and paste text from your PDF into Word and other MS Office files.
  • Convert files to PDF from virtually any application that can print, or create PDF files direct from your scanner in a single step.
  • Turn PDF files into editable MS Office files including: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint—all while retaining the original fonts, images, and formatting.
  • See the Nitro Pro features for more.
  • The Nitro Resource Center includes Video tutorials for Nitro Pro.

Learn why NitroPro makes sense for business.

From significantly reducing your costs to offering a partnership through every step of implementation and daily use, Nitro Pro is the first and leading Adobe Acrobat alternative for a long list of reasons. — Nitro Pro

Alternative PDF Readers

The alternatives include both free and fee-based software. If the extra features of the paid software meet additional needs, I would suggest investing in that software unless professional-grade software provides better value for you.

Free PDF Software

I found these free PDF readers added features not found in browsers:

Other free PDF readers and editors I tried were unable to fill forms or had an unusual interface. I recommend you stick with the browser rather than installing software that doesn't add any features.

PDF-XChange Editor/PDF-XChange Editor Plus

PDF-XChange Editor (US$43.50) is very small and fast PDF editor with features such as the ability to create, edit, annotate, OCR and digitally sign PDF files.

During installation you're asked if you'd like to use the free version. The extra features will work, but DEMO will be stamped on your documents.

PDF-XChange Editor Plus (US$54.50) adds the ability to create and edit fillable forms and customizable dynamic stamps.

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IrfanView: A Quick Graphics Viewer


IrfanView is a fast image viewer/converter that works with a whole range of the most common graphics formats and is free for non-commercial use.

  • IrfanView is available in both 32- and 64-bit versions (you can install both). The 64-bit version can handle larger files and is faster but not all plugins are available in 64-bit.
  • IrfanView is free only for private, non-commercial use (that means at home), for educational use (schools, universities and libraries) and for use in charity or humanitarian organizations.
  • A commercial license costs 10 Euros (US$12). If IrfanView freeware works for you, donations are encouraged to support continued development.


Download and install Irfanview from one of the recommended sites.

IrfanView can acquire images from a camera or scanner but viewing certain images may require plugins.

The Work Area

When you open IrfanView you see a black work area and several icons.

  • Click on the folder icon in the toolbar and select the directory to search for your image. IrfanView displays thumbnails of your photos — easier than choosing by filename alone.
  • Click on Print (View ⇒ Print) and another dialogue box comes up with options to print the image in original size, best for page, etc. and an option to centre the image.

Learning More

Check Irfanview's Frequently Asked Questions page for help, tutorials and information.

Professional Alternatives

IrfanView is designed to be simple for beginners and powerful for professionals. If you need to do intensive graphics manipulation, you might wish to consider the free, open source GIMP. Mac users should consider Affinity Photo and Designer.

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VLC Player

VLC Player

VLC Player is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework, that plays almost all multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD, and various streaming protocols.

  • No spyware, No ads, No user tracking.
  • You can use the software in the way you want (within the boundary of law), for personal, educational, research, military, governmental and/or professional purpose.
  • You may need to set VLC Player as the default player to allow it to appear when you put a DVD or CD into your computer's DVD drive.
  • Other than the process of rebuilding the cache each time VLC Player is updated, I've noticed no issues. A beautiful player that works seamlessly.

Check VLC's Frequently Asked Questions page for help or more information.

Microsoft Store

VLC Player is also available in the Microsoft Store but the app does not support DVD or Bluray playback.

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Office Suites

LibreOffice/OpenOffice | Microsoft Office

Office Suites

Microsoft Office has been the dominant office suite but it is both expensive and probably more than most people need outside of large commercial organizations.

Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice are both free to download, use, and distribute and provide the core features of Microsoft Office.

Download LibreOffice or Apache OpenOffice

LibreOffice Apache OpenOffice

LibreOffice Recommended

I strongly recommend LibreOffice because it is better maintained and more frequently updated. The most recent version is very close to Microsoft Office in its capabilities.

This latest edition of LibreOffice boasts much better file compatibility with Microsoft Office documents. In addition, you can now export Writer documents to the ePub ebook format. You can also import QuarkXPress files. In short, if you want to publish ebooks straight from LibreOffice, you can now. — Layerpoint
LibreOffice can freely incorporate code and features from OpenOffice, but OpenOffice can't incorporate anything from LibreOffice. This lets LibreOffice add features at an even faster rate, as it can adopt new features from OpenOffice as it adds them. — MakeUseOf

Install the 64-bit Version

The 64-bit version of LibreOffice will run faster and most people are now running 64-bit operating systems whether it is Windows, Mac or Linux.

System Requirements

LibreOffice runs on Windows, macOS (Mac OS X), and Linux. Java may be required for certain features of the software.

Apache OpenOffice runs on many operating systems including Windows, Linux and macOS (Mac OS X). Java is required for certain features of the software.

About the Java Requirements

Both LibreOffice and OpenOffice will run without Java for most users but certain features depend upon Java, particularly the database program.

For certain features of the software — but not most — Java is required. Java is notably required for Base. — LibreOffice System Requirements
Java is required for complete OpenOffice functionality. Java is mainly required for the HSQLDB database engine (used by our database product Base) and to make use of accessibility and assistive technologies. Furthermore some wizards rely on Java technology. — Java and Apache OpenOffice

OpenOffice requires a 32-bit version of Java even if you have 64-bit Java installed unless you discover, as I did, that Java wasn't being used. If you install both, you must maintain both.

The Windows version of OpenOffice is 32-bit and therefore it requires a 32-bit JRE. Even when you have a Windows version with 64-bit installed. Furthermore you have to install a 32-bit JRE - additionally or instead - when you already have a 64-bit JRE installed. — Apache OpenOffice

LibreOffice System Requirements

  • Microsoft Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, or Windows 10.
  • Pentium-compatible PC (Pentium III, Athlon or more-recent system recommended).
  • 56 MB RAM (512 MB RAM recommended).
  • Up to 1.5 GB available hard disk space.
  • 1024x768 resolution (higher resolution recommended), with at least 256 colors.

OpenOffice System Requirements

  • Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows 2012, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10.
  • Free memory of 256 MB RAM (512 MB RAM recommended).
  • At least 650 MB available disk space for a default install via download. After installation and deletion of temporary installation files, Apache OpenOffice will use approximately 440 MB disk space.
  • 1024 x 768 pixel or higher resolution with at least 256 colors (16.7 million colors recommended).

Other Operating Systems

Java is known to make Windows insecure and have done so for a long time. Mac users now share that vulnerability by running Flash and Java.

Remove Java if you don't need it. If installed, be sure to frequently update it and to remove older versions. The Windows Java updater told me that Java hadn't been used in over 6 months and that I should remove it.

Download Java. | Test your current Java installation. | Learn more about Java.


OpenOffice originally developed by the community under Sun (later acquired by Oracle). More recently, it has been maintained under Apache. LibreOffice emerged partly as reaction to the poor support open source software development received during the Oracle years.

Templates & Extensions

Both LibreOffice and OpenOffice provide templates as well as extensions to add functionality or slight tweaks.

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office has been the dominant office suite but it is both expensive and probably more than most people need outside of large commercial organizations.

Moving to the Cloud

Microsoft has moved away from 10-year Office installations to favour Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), an annual subscription product managed by logging into your Microsoft account. Businesses are being moved to Microsoft 365 packages.

No Installation Media

Office no longer comes with installation media like it did before. As with Microsoft 365, you need to log onto your Microsoft Account then install it from there.

Free Online Version

You can obtain a free online version of Microsoft 365 if you register for a Microsoft account.

Choosing Your Product

When deciding whether to use Microsoft Office or if LibreOffice/OpenOffice will work for you, consider:

Office 2019 or Microsoft 365?
Microsoft Office Microsoft 365
You'll need to replace your copy of Office when support expires. Microsoft 365 expires annually.
Office Home & Student 2019 allows for installation on one computer until product support expires. Microsoft 365 Home gives you up to 5 annual licenses.
Office Home & Student 2019 includes only Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Microsoft 365 Home adds Outlook, OneNote, Access and Publisher.

Business and Enterprise versions offer additional software and/or options.

Files Saved to OneDrive

Microsoft 365 files are saved on OneDrive (Microsoft's cloud service) by default rather than onto your computer's hard drive. You can change that default.

If you're using your files across multiple devices, OneDrive makes sense. However, you should ensure that your passwords are good enough to ensure your documents aren't being compromised and know that nothing online is truly hacker-proof.

Is it Safe to Use an Old Version of Microsoft Office?

All support for Office 2007 and earlier has expired. Office 2010 will only get critical updates until support expires October 13, 2020.

Even though you might not miss or want the new features found in later (and still supported) versions of Microsoft Office, and your version of Office 2000 (or whatever) still works perfectly well, you're putting your PC at risk by using it. —
[T]here are no new security updates, non-security updates, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates. — Microsoft

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Text Editors

There are a lot of programs that can handle basic text editing including Windows Notepad and similar products included with other operating systems.

While LibreOffice and OpenOffice will often set themselves up as the default text editor they are not as nimble as a text editor needs to be to be.

A more specialized text editor can be a better solution for specific requirements. I've used all of these editors:

  • Notepad++ is an excellent free editor.
  • BBEdit, a macOS editor, replaced the now-retired TextWrangler. A free lite edition is available.
  • Brackets is an open source text editor that understands modern web design. It doesn't require the extensive knowledge of HTML/CSS that using other text editors need, but may not provide the flexibility some people need.

Wikipedia has an extensive list of text editors including the default editors for various operating systems.


Tame your Text with NoteTab — a Better Solution

NoteTab Pro has been my primary Windows text editor for many years. It loads quickly and I find it extremely useful to have multiple tabs open at once to copy content back and forth.

It is simple yet continues to be an excellent HTML/CSS editor (I have made changes to accommodate HTML5 and CSS3).

NoteTab 7

NoteTab is available in three different versions:

I recommend NoteTab Light (Version 7: 100% free — no ads & no nags) as your default text editor.

If you're working with HTML, you'll want to check out NoteTab Pro. Discover why webmasters prefer NoteTab over other HTML editors.

  • Minor updates are free via NoteTab's “Check for Updates” feature (available from the Help menu).
  • If you own earlier versions of NoteTab Pro or Standard you can upgrade to NoteTab 7.

Check out some of the other software available from Fookes. Some of it is freeware, but all of it is quality software.

This site is carefully hand-crafted using NoteTab Pro.

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CCleaner | PerfectDisk | Defraggler | f.lux | 7-Zip

CCleaner Disk Cleanup


CCleaner is recommended for routine cleanup but these resources can help with year-end “deep cleaning” of unnecessary files (or when your computer is slow):

CCleaner provides an excellent set of tools for cleaning up the stuff left behind in Windows, Mac or Android. It protects your privacy and makes your computer faster and more secure.

Note: there are some, including Microsoft, that indicate cleaning the registry is unnecessary and can lead to problems. I've used CCleaner for years without issue. However, you should take advantage of its offer to backup the registry changes before cleaning so you can restore cleaned entries if there's a problem.

Free Version

The free version is licensed only for home use. Businesses will need to purchase a license.

When installing the free version of CCleaner, watch out for the “extras” you don't need (the Slim version doesn't contain these). The free version has no support.

  • I don't recommend selecting the two options related to the context menus for the Recycle Bin.
  • Deselect Yahoo! Toolbar, Google Chrome, or other optional addons before or during installation.
  • Do select the option to check for an update to avoid missing improvements available in newer versions.

Professional Versions

The Professional (a one-year renewable subscription) version adds automatic updates and premium support. The Professional Plus version also adds disk defragmentation and file recovery features.

  • Most users do not need the $9.95 backup CD (but backup your downloaded installer on an external device for future installations).
  • Notice the pre-checked automatic subscription extension.
  • Support options.

The Interface

There are six tabs at the right of CCleaner:

  • Easy Clean: analyzes and cleans your system of temporary content automatically. Recommended for folks that don't understand the options.
  • Custom Clean: cleans your system of temporary content, often removing megabytes of unneeded temporary files and log entries (don't delete these if you're experiencing trouble with a program). Essentially like the legacy CCleaner's Clean tab.
  • Registry: checks for issues within the registry. I suggest selecting only one option at a time and backing up before cleaning (CCleaner doesn't offer an actual repair; it simply removes the registry entry).
  • Tools: provide an interface to uninstall programs, change Startup programs and System Restore. I find the Startup most useful, but take care what you disable or delete or Windows may not start correctly.
  • Options: allows you to change the way CCleaner operates including how cookies are handled. Be sure you understand the implications and what changes will be made to your system when making non-standard choices. The Privacy sub-tab pre-selects the sending of anonymous data.
  • Upgrade: displays the advantages and cost of an upgrade to the Pro version.


Most users should run Cleaner using the default values except perhaps choosing the Custom Clean and deselecting the privacy option.

CCleaner is capable of cleaning Flash cookies, but this is not enabled by default:

To set CCleaner to clean Adobe Flash Cookies:
  1. In CCleaner, click the Cleaner icon and then the Applications tab.
  2. Under Multimedia, select Adobe Flash Player.

More about Flash cookies…

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PerfectDisk Defragmentation


Raxco PerfectDisk Pro (US$29.99/3 PCs or US$49.95/total home) can help to extend the life of your hard drives (including safe disk optimization for SSDs) by improving the performance speed and efficiency at the disk level.

Your hard drive can become a bit more fragmented — and unstable — every time you save a file, install a program, or delete something. Not only does this slow down the hard drive, it can also give your OS trouble when trying to find necessary files to function. So your system will eventually give up and try again—with a crash. — Raxco

PerfectDisk has been my defragmentation utility of choice for several years. I tested a number of different products before making this choice.

The PerfectDisk 14 added support for Windows 10 and has S.M.A.R.T. enhancements including better handling of SSDs and failure prediction.

  • Optimize Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista & XP
  • Faster web browsing and downloads
  • Better photo and video editing experience
  • Maximize streaming media performance
  • S.M.A.R.T. monitoring of physical drives
  • Advanced reporting and setting controls (including “boot time” defrag to deal with locked system files)
  • Designed for today's power user
  • Safe non-defrag SSD optimization
  • 30-day free trial

PerfectDisk 13 Pro customers need to upgrade to PerfectDisk 14 Pro PRIOR to upgrading to Windows 10.



Defraggler is a free defragmentation program from Piriform, the makers of CCleaner.

  • Download Defraggler (free but with no support).
  • The Professional and Business Editions provide support and additional features.
  • Defraggler allows you to defrag individual files, entire drives and free space.
  • It works with HDD and SSD and supports NTFS and FAT32 file systems.

Defraggler's slim installer (recommended) doesn't add extra software but the standard installer can install other software if you don't uncheck the option in the middle of the install (which is not always easy to catch).

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Download f.lux

We experience light differently at night. Light is warmer so normal computer screens can appear to have a bluish tinge while running after dark. This can affect our sleep.

f.lux fixes this. Tell f.lux what kind of lighting you have, and where you live. Then forget about it. f.lux will do the rest, automatically.

f.lux makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

Check out the FAQs if you have problems.

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7-Zip is a compression utility that works much the same way as the commercial WinZip product for .zip format files, but is free, even for commercial use.

In addition, 7-Zip has an enhanced 7z format which provides a very high compression ratio (smaller zipped files).

Windows can't deal with .7z, .RAR or .ARJ files.


Installation Hints

Most of this software works only on Windows. See my recommendations for Mac and Linux users.

Ensure a smooth installation experience and help avoid potential issues with “extra” software that you neither need nor desire.

Use Trusted Sources

Always download software from a trusted source (the advertising links at the top of the search results are seldom good choices).

Review The Options

Companies may include unrequested additional software bundled with their free software (PUPs).

The fees they collect help to keep this software free, but it is still optional.

Uncheck Optional Downloads

Watch for preselected options

Watch out for “pre-checked” options like this example from the Adobe Flash Player download page:

Adobe Flash Player download often prechecks their optional extras

  • The McAfee product simply adds to system resources without actually accomplishing anything.
  • LastPass is free and doesn't have True Key's hardware requirements.

Scan Download Options

Uncheck any pre-selected options before downloading the software (unless you truly want or need it).

You may not have an option to refuse the extra software during installation.

Uncheck Optional Installations

After downloading the software, you'll need to again be vigilant for unwanted options or software.

Review the Options

Carefully review the options, scanning for pre-checked addons or third-party license agreements or unacceptable terms.

  • Watch for any extra optional software during installation.
  • Uncheck those you don't want before clicking “Next”.

Some of this software may simply add unnecessary processes and slow down your system, but others have more sinister implications.

Assumed Consent Illegal

Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation, effective July 1, 2014, includes definitions for presumed consent and express consent. The Act has significant fines for non-compliance.

The manner in which you request express consent cannot presume consent on the part of the end-user.


Silence or inaction on the part of the end-user also cannot be construed as providing express consent.


For example, a pre-checked box cannot be used, as it assumes consent. — CRTC FAQ about CASL

Invest in Good Software

Much of the software listed on this page is free. You have no obligation to pay for or donate to the vendor.

But consider this:

  • The software developer will likely be making new improvements or fixes only if there is income as a result.
  • Free software is supported by sales of paid versions of the product.
  • Some free software, like Mozilla Firefox, is supported completely by donations.
  • The paid version of products usually have more features and are updated more frequently.
  • Purchasing shareware or providing a donation to the developer of useful software makes it more likely that it will be available to you in the future.

Avoid Subscription Services

I strongly recommend that you avoid subscription-based services like Adobe Cloud. While the lower monthly fee may be attractive, there is no incentive to continually improve the service.

Don't Use Pirated Software

Don't be tempted to download “free” copies of commercial software unless it is legal.

Pirated software usually contains malware (and if it doesn't, the site you obtained it from is probably infected).

  • There are free alternatives to most commercial software packages if you truly can't afford the purchase price.
  • Few people need the full functionality of commercial software outside of a corporate environment.
  • Some open source software, like GIMP or LibreOffice, compare very favourably with their commercial counterparts.

Related Resources

Related resources on this site:

or check the resources index.

If these pages helped you,
buy me a coffee!


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Updated: May 15, 2020