Over the past few years working in the P.C. Support field I have found that there are a ton of free software utilities on the web. I have “collected” these utilities on CD-R and I always bring them along with me when ever I go out to a service call. These utilities will help you lead a more productive day and allow your computer to remain clean and speedy. All of these utilities work under Windows 9X/NT/2000/XP
Trillian ( http://www.trillian.cc ) Trillian combines all of the major IM clients in to one easy to use program! A must if you use multiple clients!
AVG Anti-Virus ( http://www.grisoft.com ) AVG Anti-Virus is a free for personal use anti-virus program with all features found in Symantec’s Norton Anti-Virus.
Virtual Network Computing ( http://www.realvnc.com ) VNC is open source software that allows you to take remote control of a computer anywhere on the Internet.
Adobe Acrobat Reader ( http://www.adobe.com ) Recently a lot of software and hardware vendors have been cutting costs by producing their documentation in Adobe’s PDF format.
WS-FTP LE ( http://www.wsftp.com ) WS-FTP LE is a handy File Transfer Protocol utility that will allow you to transfer files from your computer to server.
Ultimate Zip ( http://www.ultimatezip.com ) Free Zip Compression Program, Handy for managing compressed files.
Mail Washer ( http://www.mailwasher.net ) Free Anti-Spam Tool compatible with POP/STMP accounts.
SiSoftSandra ( http://www.sisoftware.net ) Benchmarking and burn-in utility helps diagnose system problems.
SpyBot Search & Destroy ( http://security.kolla.de ) My favorite to rid your P.C. of those nasty spy ware programs! It is constantly updated with new anti-spy ware definitions!
Zone Alarm ( http://www.zonelabs.com ) Zone Alarm is a great personal firewall that stops nasty hackers from breaking in to your system.
Xteq Systems ( http://www.xteq.com ) A registry and System tweaking tool, I recommend this for experienced users.
RegClean ( http://download.com.com/3302-2094-881470.html?tag=mta ) The Windows registry can become clogged up with un-installed programs and registry errors. Use this program to clean up and speed up your system.
Google Toolbar ( http://www.google.com ) Google toolbar is the only search engine tool that I use! It puts the Google search right your Internet Explorer Tool bar! It also has a pop-up stopper in the advanced settings!
Decoder ( http://www.tsware.net ) A free WYSIWYG HTML editor has many features of those included in Macromedia Dreamweaver and Microsoft Front Page.
IrfanView ( http://irfanview.com ) A great image viewer and editor that can also create thumbnails
MaxMem ( http://www.analogx.com ) A great free memory management utility, I recommend it for low memory systems.
PuTTY ( http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty ) A Free Win32 Telnet/SSH Client
Knoppix ( http://www.knopper.net ) Knoppix is a CD Bootable version of Linux. I find it a great trouble shooting OS/hardware issues if one of my client’s Windows partition is unbootable.
Editor’s note: When I saw this collection of useful, free tools, I knew that it was worth sharing with you all – I especially liked the way that Gumby burned them on to a CD (bootable under Linux, no less). Whether you need to make a service call, either professionally, or just to help yourself or a friend, having such an array of tools (plus any additional ones required for your own specific purposes) will make your life that much easier. If there are other free tools that YOU think would make a great addition to Gumby’s PC Survival Kit, add them to the thread below!