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7 Free and Open Source Software for Windows PC

Alfred is a long-time teacher and computer enthusiast who works with and troubleshoots a wide range of computing devices.


Free and Open source software are available even with or without its source code: Source code means the list and compiled code used when designing the software. Open source software is available as operating system e.g Ubuntu or as application e.g Libre Office, for various Linux Distros and Windows operating systems.

Worth noting is that most open source and free software are designed and made available for free to the general public. Availability of open source software implies that users who cannot afford, do not have to spend money for proprietary off the shelf software. The purpose of open source initiative is to avail and spread open source and free software to everyone.

Another feature that open source movement is proud of is that open source software is based on trusted reliability and stability. This explains why Linux operating systems are the most trusted and recommended in configurations that demand utmost stability, reliability and security, like for servers and critical mission systems.

7 Free Software for Windows Operating Systems

There is unlimited collection of open source software in the market that should suffice to serve the ever growing number of users who do not want to purchase off the shelf software.

Operating system software are not listed below just because the collection is meant to work under windows only operating system.

It is important to note that most of the software mentioned below are released and licensed under the GNU General Public License.

1. ClamWin Antivirus

ClamWin Antivirus is totally free open source software for your Windows computer. Apart from Windows, ClamWin can be run in Mac OS X and Linux OS platforms.

Like most antivirus software in the market ClamWin Antivirus protects your computer all kinds of malware and even more.

ClamWin will give:

  • Normal real time scanning.
  • Scheduled daily or other scanning.
  • Smart scans.
  • Archive and encrypted scanning.
  • And quarantine.
  • A noted excellent email server scanning

Once installed in your computer, ClamWin AV will automatically update several times each day, in a bid to keep your computer safe against new and opportunistic malware.

In antivirus statistics conducted by Shadowserver Foundation, ClamWin AV performed fairly well against other known antivirus software in yearly ratings.

ClamWin AV can be downloaded from its website or via CNET.

ClamWin antivirus

ClamWin antivirus

2. Chrome Browser

One area in which open source software has thrived is definitely the browser market. Two popular open source browsers of choice for most users include Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Google Chrome in particular has prioritized making online surfing a great and productive experience. Google Chrome was much like a bonus browser to Google’s very successful search engine. A combination of the two was meant to make browsing even better and it has not disappointed.

Chrome has a lot of advantages and greatly favors anyone that owns a Gmail account. It has the ability to sync seamlessly across devices like mobile phones and desktop computers, keeping users at the ready with synced data, bookmarks and documents created on Google docs and other compliant web apps.

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Google Chrome browser

Google Chrome browser

3. LibreOffice Suite

Office applications today have become synonymous with Microsoft Office Suite and one may erroneously believe that nothing else works just as fine.

Matters are probably complicated with Apple’s adoption of Microsoft Office Suite, which kind of gives Redmond a thumbs up rating.

Nobody denies it but that does not mean the competition, especially in open source arena is no good.

Open source boasts of two popular brands; Libre Office and ‘OpenOffice’ which do just as much.

LibreOffice suite

LibreOffice suite

LibreOffice is now the preferred office suite in new Linux distros and despite the old MS Office 2003 interface, does just as much.

Applications embedded in LibreOffice include:

  • Word Processor: LibreOffice Writer
  • Spreadsheet:LibreOffice Calc
  • Presentation: LibreOffice Impress
  • Database: LibreOffice database
  • Drawing: LibreOffice Draw
  • Formula: LibreOffice Math

From the above list you can see that Drawing and Formula features are not well represented in Microsoft Office, but are taken as standalone applications within LibreOffice suite.

Another advantage Libre has over Microsoft is its the inbuilt PDF exporter which saves you from acquiring the paid for commercial PDF convertors.

LibreOffice also boasts of a portable version of its software and allows you to carry and edit your work in a flash drive, wherever you go.

4. Gimp Photo Editor

GNU Image manipulation Program – GIMP, is an open source image editing software which does more than basic photo editing. It allows you to paint, draw and create animation.

It is the open source equivalent of commercially available Adobe Photoshop.

GIMP does all the basic editing features like drawing, cropping, resizing and conversions.

Gimp photo editor

Gimp photo editor

5. VLC media player

Windows operating system comes pre loaded with its own version of media player which does quite good work. It however shows lots of weaknesses when handling multiple video formats.

VLC media player

VLC media player

The good news is that VLC kind of starts where other media players stop.

It has a rich collection of encoding and decoding libraries which makes it possible for it to play almost any video codec and format immediately following its installation.

This explains why you do not need to install additional plug-ins in order to play stubborn music files.

Despite its guts, VLC is Interestingly lightweight and above all, it is totally free.

6. Ultra Defrag utility

The portable Ultra Defrag software is a free open source disk defragmenter for Windows operating systems.

Among other things, Ultra defrag:

  • Automatically selects between 32 and 64 bit systems.
  • Identifies and separates files by name and size
  • Has very easy to use interface.
Ultra Defrag

Ultra Defrag

7. Pea zip utility

PeaZip is a free open source Windows file manager utility for zipping and unzipping files and folders for archive purposes.

PeaZip handles over 150 file types and should work as a fine replacement for Winzip and WRAR utilities.

Example of what PeaZip can do the following:

  • Compress files.
  • Share files.
  • Protect your privacy.
  • Extract Archives.
PeaZip the zip and unzip utility

PeaZip the zip and unzip utility

© 2012 Alfred Amuno

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