Welcome to Topher's Castle - A Great Site for Everyone!


Topher's "Incredibly Useful Information"

Our Favorite Free Software Programs and Tweaks for Windows 7

There are a few incredibly useful high-quality software programs available free for personal use. We use every one of these free programs, and highly recommend you consider downloading them for use on your computer. [It is usually a good idea to reboot your computer after each installation].

All of these programs are complete, non-crippled, programs. Some are upgradable to versions chock full of extra features. A few of the programs are considered "freeware" which means that if you like the program, you should send the author a few dollars for their hard work.

Caution: too many websites have lots of links that try to get you to download programs other than the program you want. Be vigilant. Also use caution when installing programs. Many try to get you to install other programs and search bars during the installation process. Simply uncheck the boxes. Jump to Tweaks.

Any Password
What this does: Any Password is an easy-to-use tool that lets you store and arrange all your passwords, user IDs, and related information in an encrypted file which itself can be protected by a password. Freeware. Option to donate.
Website: Any Password at RomanLab.com
What to do: A) Click the download "here" link.
B) Click on "apw.zip" download link.
C) Select "Save". (Remember the directory where you saved this file).
D) Double-click on the saved file. It will automatically walk you through the install process.


Glarysoft Utilities
What this does: Several handy utilities. My favorite is the registry cleaner which quickly cleans useless entries, references, and links out your Windows registry to allow it to run more efficiently. Suggestion: uncheck "shortcuts".
Website: Glarysoft.com
What to do: A) Click the "download" link (three times on separate pages).
B) Select "Save". (Remember the directory where you saved this file named "gusetup.exe").
C) Double-click on the saved file. It will automatically walk you through the install process.


PC Decrapifier
What this does: You just bought a new computer. You start it up and it is filled with trialware, bloatware, internet service programs, and other junk. This program helps to identify all of the crap and uninstall it. Start it up and it will make a list that you can review before it uninstalls any program. Simply uncheck any program you wish to keep and decrapify the rest! Free.
Website: PCDecrapifier.com
What to do: A) Click the "Download Now" link.
B) Save As... (and remember where you saved the program).
C) Locate the saved program and launch it.
D) It will automatically walk you through the quick install process.

Auslogics Disk Defrag
What this does: Speeds up your computer by optimizing the file system. It will defragment files, consolidate free space and move system files to the fastest part of the disk. Best of all it does it VERY quickly! Settings include an option to ignore Solid State Drives (good idea). Free.
Website: Auslogics.com
What to do: A) Click "Free Download" button.
B) Click "Download Now"
C) Click "Download Now" again.
D) Select "Save". (Remember the directory where you saved this file).
E) Click on the resulting file to install and run the program.
Note: Do NOT defrag solid state drives (SSD). Auslogics has a menu setting option "Do not show solid state drives". Check the box if you have an SSD.

Ultimate Windows Tweaker
(TweakUI for Windows 7)
What this does: Similar to Microsoft's TweakUi "PowerToy" for XP, it gives you access to quick access to a lot of system settings including mouse settings, Explorer settings, taskbar settings, and more. Freeware.
Website: Ultimate Windows Tweaker
What to do: A) Locate the light blue "Download Now" bar with the windows logo.
B) Select "Save". (Remember the directory where you saved this file).
C) Double-click on the saved file to unzip and install.

McAfee SiteAdvisor
What this does: Program will integrate itself with your Internet Explorer browser and provide color-coded icons to signify risk factors for sites that appear in your Google, Bing, and Yahoo web search results. It is intended to help keep you safe from spyware, spam, viruses and online scams. Free.
Website: SiteAdvisor.com
What to do: A) Click the "Download SiteAdvisor Now" link.
B) It will automatically walk you through the quick install process.


CCleaner
What this does: CCleaner is a freeware system optimization and privacy tool. It removes unused files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history.
Website: CCleaner.com
What to do: A) Click the "Download CCleaner Now..." link and proceed to download site.
B) Click the "Download from FileHippo.com"
C) On the right hand side, click on the big green down arrow to "Download Latest Version"
D) Select "Save". (Remember the directory where you saved this file).
E) Double-click on the saved file. It will automatically walk you through the install process.

PrimoPDF
What this does: Allows you to install a PDF printer so you can create PDF files. Instead of printing to a paper printer you can create a PDF file to email or print later.
Website: PrimoPDF.com
What to do: A) Click the "Download Free" bar under "Try Primo". It will take you to the CNET Download site.
B) Click the green "Download Now" bar. Select "Run".
C) Follow the install process. Accept or decline Nitro at your option.

Skype
What this does: Program will allow you to make free PC to PC calls (with or without video) from your computer. For a small fee you can also make PC to landline and PC to mobile phone calls as well. Free.
Website: Skype.com
What to do: A) Click the "Download Now" link.
B) It will automatically walk you through the quick install process.


Adobe Reader
What this does: Adobe Reader is free software for viewing and printing PDF (Adobe "Portable Document Format") files. PDF is format you want to be able to open. The IRS, most manufacture's product manuals, and business research reports are all available predominately in this format.
Website: Adobe.com
What to do: A) This screen has 1 box in it labeled "Step 1 of 2".

B)In Step 1 enter which language you'd like to use (English default), which operating system you have (Windows 7) and your connection speed (dial-up or broadband. Broadband is another name for DSL or Cable, like RoadRunner).

C) Step 2 will appear below Step 1 once Step 1 completed. If there are checkboxes in Step 2, I recommend you check the first box, and leave the second box unchecked for now --- otherwise move on to instruction "D".

D) Click on the red box labeled "download".

E) When the next window comes up choose "Run this program from its current location", and then click OK. (Takes 15 min with 56K Modem or less than 3 min with RoadRunner).

F) When finished, a new window will appear. When prompted, click YES, (new window) NEXT, (new window) NEXT, (new window) OK.

Adobe Acrobat Reader is now installed on the computer.

Notes: If any other windows appear, you can generally ignore and close them. I've seen one where they ask you for personal info and will enter you in a contest. It's safe to ignore it. I do not recommend giving anyone personal info via websites or email.

Audacity
What this does: Audacity is an audio editor. Open-source freeware.
Website: Audacity.sourceforge.net
What to do: A) Click the Download "Audacity Installer" link and proceed to download site.
B) Select "Save". (Remember the directory where you saved this file).
C) Double-click on the saved file. It will automatically walk you through the install process.
D) Now go back to the beginning, click on the Optional Download "LAME MP3 encoder" and follows the instruction to download an encoder to export MP3 files with Audacity.

VLC Media Player
What this does: The media player that fills all your needs. It can handle DVDs,(S)VCDs, Audio CDs, web streams, TV cards and much more. It seems to be able to play everything. Free.
Website: Videolan.org
What to do: A) Click "Download VLC" button.
B) Select "Save". (Remember the directory where you saved this file).
C) Click on the resulting file to install and run the program.

Ninite Easy PC Setup
What this does: Allows you to select from a list of over 75 free software programs that Ninite will automatically install very quickly and efficiently without having to click "next" and no fear of toolbars or other crap being loaded. The list includes several of the programs we recommend on this page! Free.
Website: Ninite.com
What to do: A) Check off each program you wish to load on to your computer.
B) Click "Get Installer"
C) Site will automatically walk you through the quick install process.

This utility is for experienced computer users only...
HijackThis!
What this does: A computer hijacker detector and spyware remover. Lists legitimate and illegitimate programs currently running on your computer, but does not differentiate between the two. A great program for unloading hijackers which most other programs miss. Unless you are sure what you're doing, you should always consult with knowledgeable folks (like the forums) before deleting anything. HijackThis was sold to TrendMicro in 2008. Freeware.
Website: Trendsecure.com
What to do: A) Click on "Download".
B) Click on the "Download HijackThis Installer" link.
C) Select "Save". (Remember the directory where you saved this file named "hijackthis.zip").
D) Click on the resulting file "HJTInstall.exe" to install and run the program.

Here's a handy piece of hardware...
Connect a Parallel Printer to a USB Port
What this does: I've got a great old workhorse HP LaserJet printer that I can still use on my Windows 7 computer due to this great cord! CablesToGo and a couple other manufacturers make a cable which will allow you to connect older printers (which only have a large parallel port connection) to your computer's USB port. It's called a USB to DB25 IEEE-1284 Printer Adapter. You can find them on eBay and Amazon.

Windows 7 Tweaks

WebsiteNotes
Black ViperOptimize Windows 7 Services (via services.msc)
How-To GeekNumerous tips, tricks, and tweaks
Pacman's PortalCheck out and optimize your startup applications and slim down your system tray applications (via msconfig)

Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed. The information presented is intended to assist site visitors in quickly finding "must have" software programs for their computer.

Since we do not have complete control over the "Ads by Google" appearing on this page, we do not directly endorse their sites or products. Please notify us if you find any of the advertisers to be misleading.

Feel free to contact me to correct any information in this article or to alert me to additional information one should consider.

© 2013 Topher
Updated 2016

Thank you for visiting. Aloha!

Did You Find This Information Useful?

(Consider a donation).

rainbow line

[ Incredibly Useful Information Index | Topher's Castle Home | Privacy Policy ]