Adobe Flash Player - http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/download/download.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash
A browser add-on that allows you to watch videos online in your web browser.
Adobe Reader - http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2_allversions.html
A PDF file viewer that also installs a add-on for your web browser.
Adobe Shockwave Player - http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/download/
NOTE: For more information on this, see the FAQ's page.
The Shockwave Player is a web browser add-on that allows you to view interactive web content like games, business presentations, entertainment, and advertisements from your web browser.
A-Patch - http://apatch.org/downloads.php
To customize all versions of Windows Live Messenger. 71+ features.
A-Squared Free - http://www.emsisoft.com/en/software/free/
This program helps to remove infections of Trojans, Spyware, Adware, Worms, Keyloggers, Rootkits, Dialers and other malicious programs.
ASTRA32 - ASTRA32 - Advanced System Information Tool - Free Download
NOTE: You have your choice of just a stand alone or installing program.
ASTRA32 (Advanced Sysinf Tool & Reporting Assistant) performs computer configuration analysis and provides detailed information on your computer hardware and its working modes. This is an alternative to Vista's System Information.
Audacity - http://audacity.sourceforge.net/about/
Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder. You can use Audacity to:
Record live audio.
Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files.
Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
And more! See the complete list of features.
Auslogics Disk Defrag - http://www.auslogics.com/disk-defrag/index.php
Defrags your hard drive. It has a progress graph so you can see what is going on. Also gives you a full detail report with a percentage of performace increase.
Auslogics Registry Defrag - http://www.auslogics.com/registry-defrag/index.php
NOTE: Don't forget, if Windows Defender pops up while installing to click "Apply Action".
Defrags your registry. As a result the registry is defragmented and compacted as small as possible, thus improving your computer performance. This will be less Vista will have to read at startup.
AutoRuns - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963902.aspx
This utility shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and shows you the entries in the order Windows processes them. These programs include ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys. You can configure Autoruns to show other locations, including Explorer shell extensions, toolbars, browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications, auto-start services, and much more. Autoruns goes way beyond MSConfig.
Avast Antivirus Home Edition - http://www.avast.com/eng/avast_4_home.html
NOTE: You must register this program even though it's free. The registration will ve good for a year. After that, you must re-register. It is still completely free though.
Very good antivirus program that auto updates the definitions and optionally the program itself. Has a VRDB (Virus Recovery Database) that you set to help in recovering from a VIRUS if infected. Full of options.
Avira AntiVir Personal - http://www.free-av.com/en/download/1/avira_antivir_personal__free_antivirus.html
Another good antivirus program.
AVG Antivirus - http://free.grisoft.com/doc/downloads-products/us/frt/0?prd=aff
NOTE: Do a custom install and do not install the email scanning option. Otherwise it can corrupt Windows Mail.
Another great antivirus program that auto updates.
Belarc Advisor -http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html
Builds a very detailed profile of your hardware and software with serial numbers and product key numbers. Very informative.
CCleaner - http://ccleaner.com/
Cleans junk and temp files for Vista and most other programs. It is also a registry cleaner, cookie manager, program uninstall manager, and a startup program manager. A all in one utility program basically.
ClipMagic - http://www.clipmagic.com/more.html
ClipMagic is an information manager which provides extended clipboard capabilities to save all clips for later use. A major shortfall in Vista is that the clipboard can only store one item at a time, each new item deleting the last. This free clipboard program stores clips in a convenient categorized format with information; about the window the clip came from, the URL if it came from a web page and the time and type of clip.
Comodo Firewall Pro - http://www.personalfirewall.comodo.com/download_firewall.html
NOTE: See this leak test comparison, MatouSec.com: Leak Tests Results
This is an alternative firewall program instead of using Windows Firewall. It is far better in my opinion. You can set it up for the beginner or advanced firewall user.
CPU-Z - http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php
NOTE: Click on the version number towards the bottom to download. This is a standalone EXE program.
CPU-Z is a freeware that gathers and displays information for you on some of the main devices of your system. EX: CPU, Mainboard, Memory, and System. See the link for full details on what is does.
D-Color XP - Dindo Liboon's Website
NOTE: This program was made for XP, but I have not experienced any problems with it yet.
D-Color allows you to change the appearance of the desktop icon text foreground and background colors. It also allows you to change the view of your desktop icons from Large, Small, and Tile view icons.
DreamMaker - http://dream.wincustomize.com/dreammaker.aspx?c=1
Stardock DreamMaker allows you to create your own animated .dream wallpapers for DreamScapes. DreamMaker is a free utility for Windows Vista Ultimate only.
DeskScapes - http://dream.wincustomize.com/deskscapes.aspx?c=1
NOTE: See this tutorial: How to Enhance Windows Vista DreamScene with Stardock DeskScapes
Stardock DeskScapes extends Windows DreamScene with the ability to run .Dream animated wallpapers. .Dream files can be looped video, or dynamically generated in 3D, or change based on a set of triggers. DeskScapes turns Windows DreamScene into something more. DeskScapes can only be used with Vista Ultimate.
FileMenu Tools - http://www.lopesoft.com/en/index.html
This program by LopeSoft lets you customize the right click context menu of Windows Explorer. It configures the following aspects:
Add some build-in utilities in order to do operations over files and folders.
Add customized commands which let run external applications, copy/move to a specific folder or delete specific file types.
Configure the "Send to..." submenu.
Enable/disable the commands which are added by other applications to the context menu.
FileTypesMan - http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/file_types_manager.html
NOTE: This is a standalone EXE file, and does not install. Be sure to download the correct version for your 32 bit or 64 bit Vista.
FileTypesMan is an alternative to the File Types tab in the Folder Options of Windows XP. It displays the list of all file extensions and types registered on your computer. For each file type, the following information is displayed: Type Name, Description, MIME Type, Perceived Type, In New Menu, Excluded, Flags, Browser Flags, Default Icon, and more. FileTypesMan also allows you to easily edit the properties and flags of each file type, as well as it allows you to add, edit, and remove actions in a file type.
Foxit Reader - http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php
A PDF file viewer and browser add-on like Adobe Reader.
GPU-Z - http://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/
NOTE: No installation required, this is a standalone EXE program.
GPU-Z is a lightweight utility designed to give you all information about your video card and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit).
HijackThis - http://www.trendsecure.com/portal/en-US/tools/security_tools/hijackthis/download
Trend Micro™ HijackThis™is a free utility that generates an in depth report of registry and file settings from your computer. HijackThis makes no separation between safe and unsafe settings in its scan results giving you the ability to selectively remove items from your machine. In addition to this scan and remove capability HijackThis comes with several tools useful in manually removing malware from a computer.
Iconoid - http://www.sillysot.com/download.htm
Save and Restore Icon positions for each (or every) screen resolution
Transparent icon backgrounds or use any color
Select any color for icon text
Automatically hide icons when you don't need them and show them when you do
Automatically or manually select the best color for the text background
Quickly minimize all windows so that you can see your desktop wallpaper.
IconViewer - http://www.botproductions.com/iconview/download.html
IconViewer is a Windows Explorer extension that lets you easily view, copy, and save icon and PNG files contained within .EXE programs and .DLL libraries. Open a file's Properties box, select the "Icons" tab, and view the icons contained in the file.
IE PassView - http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/internet_explorer_password.html
IE PassView is a small utility that reveals the passwords stored by the Internet Explorer browser per website.
ImgBurn - http://www.imgburn.com/
ImgBurn is a lightweight CD / DVD / HD DVD / Blu-ray burning application. It supports a wide range of image file formats - including BIN, CUE, DI, DVD, GI, IMG, ISO, MDS, NRG and PDI. It can burn Audio CD's from any file type supported via DirectShow / ACM - including AAC, APE, FLAC, M4A, MP3, MP4, MPC, OGG, PCM, WAV, WMA and WV.
InstalledCodec - http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/installed_codec.html
NOTE: This is a stand-alone exe file that does not install on your computer.
InstalledCodec is a small utility that displays the list of all Codec drivers and DirectShow filters currently installed on your system. For each component the following information is displayed: Display Name, Type, Disabled Status, Installed/Modified Time, File Description, File Version, Company Name, Product Name, Filename, File Size, CLSID, Driver Key, and Filter Merit. It allows you to easily disable or enable any Codec or DirectShow component, or export the list into a text, xml, or html file.
IrFanView - http://www.irfanview.com/
A great graphic viewer and editor like Paint, but a whole lot better. It has a ton of ptions and is fully customizable with plug-ins and skins. You can use transparency to for thumbnails, etc...
LogonStudio Vista - http://www.stardock.com/products/logonstudio/
NOTE: See this tutorial: How to Change the Logon Screen in Vista
Stardock LogonStudio will allow you to change the logon screen to whatever you want. You can download from a ton of already created logon screens or create your own from any .jpg, .png, or .bmp file.
MozBackup - http://mozbackup.jasnapaka.com/
MozBackup is a simple utility for creating backups of Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, Mozilla Suite and Netscape profiles. It allows you to backup and restore bookmarks, mail, contacts, history, extensions, cache etc.
Mozilla Firefox - http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/
This is an alternative web browser other than Internet Explorer.
Mozilla Thunderbird - http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/thunderbird/
This is an alternative email client program other than Windows Mail.