Free Resource Directory
Sometimes, you need better tools to do the job.
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- Legal? All the tools here are merely links to free resources, and thus perfectly legal.
- Link to x is broken! Please let me know if any links are broken by submitting a ticket.
- Why don't you include x? Feel free to shoot me suggestions by submitting a ticket.
- Why are you helping competition? What the mainstream calls 'nerd' culture today is really an offshoot of the original 'hacker' culture. The term 'hacker' didn't always have a negative connotation -it was about open sharing of knowledge. I wouldn't have been able to do what I have done without these open-minded communities. I want to give back.
- What's the goal of this page? I want to build a list of the best resources out there. A list that would make younger me say,
"Wow, nice! Bookmarking that!"
Amazing Communities, Learning, and Top Links
- Bleeping Computer - One of the best computer forums, malware databases, process databases, etc. A go-to resource for malware research.
- StackExchange - StackExchange maintains quality answers to things in nearly every category (unlike Yahoo Answers... *cough*) by gamifying and setting in place policies to ban low-quality answers and duplicate questions. Definitely search for questions like your own before posting!
- /r/techsupport - Reddit's tech support forum.
- /r/thinkpad - Reddit's ThinkPad forum, my go-to community for arguably the best line of laptops ever created. See here for the Used ThinkPad Buyer's Guide (Probably why you're here to begin with!).
- GEGeek - An organization featuring an even bigger reference of info and tools than I have here. It's a bit overwhelming.
- DTNS - The Daily Tech News Show is a one-stop-shop for tech news, and has a great Reddit community.
- Breaking Your Addiction & I Hate P-rn - Excellent articles on breaking addictions to online content and the side-effects of p-rnography.
- Free classes through GCF, TechTalk, and Lynda - and tutorial articles on nearly anything with HowToGeek. Free lessons on LibreOffice from Sapentia Open Learning.
- The 'Awesome Sysadmin' resource and education list.
- The 'Awesome DevOps' resource and education list.
- The 'Python Cheatsheet' - Really a great, extensive list.
- The 'Python Beginner's Guide' - Official source.
- 'Automate the Boring Stuff' - Free and practical book on using Python.
- Ops School Curriculum - Get started with Ops/System Administration, fast.
- More secure router list
- Windows 10 Update Blocker
- TechSoup - Reduced price software for Non-Profits
- Everyone On - Affordable technology and internet service if you can't afford much.
- IT Educational Goldmine - Looking to get into IT? This is a jumpstart.
- LappyList - Find the right laptop for you. (PS: I think ThinkPads are hands-down the best for everyone - so you may want to look into them.)
- Are you a parent too, and want technology advice? Check out this article I wrote.
- Where and where not to get free/cheap Windows licenses.
- ExplainShell - Explains what complex linux/bash commands do.
- PrivacyTools.io - privacytools.io provides knowledge and tools to protect your privacy against global mass surveillance.
Free Software and Simple Tools
Misc Free Software and Utilities
- Revo Uninstaller - Helps with uninstallation of buggy applications on Windows.
- F.Lux - Makes the screen easier to look at after extended periods of time. Apple and Microsoft have both recently built this feature into their operating systems, but this software allows you to have blue-light filters on earlier releases - or, if you wish, more granular control.
- PC Decrapifier - Heard of Microsoft Signature? It's basically just a PC confirmed by Microsoft to have no included junkware. This is the closest thing to automating the process of removing said junkware from your store-bought PC.
- Shutup10 - An attempt to make Windows 10 serve the user.
- Defraggler - Best tool for defragmenting that aging harddrive. Have an SSD or Windows 10? You probably don't need this.
- Speccy - Need to know the specs of that machine? Gotcha covered.
- MyDefrag - Advanced defragmenting tool with a unique 'defrag on screensaver' option. Not really needed if you have an SSD, or Windows 7 and above.
- Joy2Key - Great to map keyboard keys to joysticks and controllers/pads.
- x360ce - Great to do the reverse of the above - make up a virtual controller from any combo of buttons.
- ColdTurkey - Keeps you productive by blocking the things that aren't.
- Adobe Flash Uninstaller - Remove a vulnerability.
- Ninite's quick, easy software bulk install tool.
- KeepassXC - A great, open-source, password manager.
- Glass Browser - A simple Picture in Picture (PiP) alternative for Windows and online video content.
- Peace APO Equalizer - A free equalizer software for Windows.
- JDownloader- Cross-platform download manager.
- TransparentTB - Gives you more theme options for the Windows 10 taskbar.
- H264ify - h264ify is a Chrome/Firefox extension that makes YouTube stream H.264 videos instead of VP8/VP9 videos. Try h264ify if YouTube videos stutter, take up too much CPU, eat battery life, or make your laptop hot.
- QBittorrent - In my humble opinion, the best torrenting application. Runs on nearly everything, and is an Open Source, ad-free alternative to uTorrent.
- LibreOffice - Microsoft Office alternative. Change the file save defaults to Open XML, and it's not as bad as you thought.
- GIMP - A Photoshop alternative.
- Krita - Professional painting program.
- Discord - Video, audio, and text chat program. Extremely good video and audio quality. TeamSpeak alternative.
- Jami - Open source and P2P video, audio, and text chat app. Focused on smaller groups, works similar to a phone call or text.
- Hyper - An Electron (yeah, ik) based Terminal application. Works well in Windows for properly displaying SSH sessions to *nix environments, and is just a prettier CMD/PowerShell.
- B00merang Themes - Need Linux to look like another OS for some reason? Here you go! Here's one more too.
ProTip: Need to backup your most important documents, automatically? Check out the free or paid versions of Dropbox!
Video/Audio Editors and Media Tools
- ShotCut Video Editor - A free and simple video editor.
- VSDC Free Video Editor - Another free and simple video editor.
- LightWorks Video Editor - A video editor with free options.
- OpenShot Video Editor - Another free and simple video editor.
- Flowblade - A Linux-only free NLE video editor.
- Davinci Resolve is a free(for the standard version), high-end and powerful video editor. It seems they're targeting those who want to stop stealing Adobe's suite or FinalCut, as it really is that powerful. Cross-platform! Free guide. Technically works on Linux, but really only on CentOS at the moment.
- Freemake Tools - One stop shop for downloading and converting videos from and to any format. Watch out for malware in the installer - uncheck everything!
- Combined Community Codec Pack (CCCP)
- ImgBurn - Free, full-featured burning software.
- Ardour - Free DAW for audio engineers and musicians. Audacity is a great tool if you need something more simple.
- LMMS - Another free DAW.
- Tracktion T6 DAW - Free digital audio workstation software.
- YouTube-DLG - For video downloading. Fast, and supports more than YouTube.
- 4K Downloader - Very efficient and simple YouTube video grabber. Feemium, but with few restrictions. I hate to say it, but it seems to work better than the other two open source options at times.
- AVC Free Software - Free video/audio/DVD converters etc. iOS/Android media managers as well.
- HandBrake - Convert any video file to another.
- DVDStyler - Make and burn DVD's with custom menus.
- MKVToolNix - A set of tools to create, alter and inspect Matroska files under Linux, other Unices and Windows.
- Flat Remix Theme for gtk-based Linux DE's/WM's - My absolute fave theme/color style for Linux.
Teamviewer Cross platform!
Chrome Remote Desktop Free, nag-less and crossplatform-ish!
Microsoft QuickAssist - Built in to all x86 Windows 10 devices.
AntiVirus | Security
Third-party antivirus utilities are effectively obsolete.
Alternatively, use CloudReady or other Linux variants rather than Windows if you're willing to put in the time to learn. Linux Mint Cinnamon is a great place to start for any Windows' user, Pop!_OS is more familiar to Mac users.
- Norton Removal Tool (SYMNRT)
- Mcafee Removal Tool (MCPR)
- Avast! Removal Tool
- AVG Removal Tool 32-bit / 64-bit
- Removal Tools for Other Common AV Programs
AntiSpyware / Antimalware
Email | Office | Productivity
- YunoHost - Want to have your own server, as simple as possible? YunoHost is a server operating system aiming to make self-hosting accessible to everyone. Runs on the cloud, raspberry Pi dev kits, other ARM kits, normal x86/amd64 hardware, and has prebuilt VirtualBox images.
- Mailspring is a fork of the discontinued Nylas/N1 email client. Cross-platform and free for all standard features.
- eM Client - Outlook alternative.
- Wox - Open Source Windows Search replacement.
- Microsoft To-Do - Microsoft acquired Wunderlist - this is the result.
- Sumatra PDF - Read near every type of image-based file.
- Franz - Pidgin for the modern world. Franz is your messaging app for WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, HipChat, Telegram and many many more. Just need Facebook Messenger? Try Caprine.
- Beeftext - Open Source text expansion, kinda like LH Texter or Phrase Express.
- digiKam - Open source photo manager, somewhat like Picasa.
- RawTherapee - A photographer's tool - an open source photo manager with some oomph.
- ImageGlass - A simple photo viewer. Want something even simpler, like Picasa's photo viewer? Try nexusimage.
- Ditto Clipboard Manager - Windows clipboard manager. Must have.
- CopyQ - CopyQ is advanced clipboard manager with editing and scripting features, and is cross-platform.
- WizTree - Find what's taking up space on your computer, faster than WinDirStat.
- MarkText - A next-gen Markdown editor for Mac, Windows, and Linux. It is a concise text editor, dedicated to improving your editing efficiency. A beautiful and distraction-free way to write.
- FreeCommander - Total Commander/Windows Explorer alternative for Windows.
- Listary - This tool makes file-browsing in Windows a breeze for keyboard-players. Allows you to open a prompt anywhere.
- DeskDrive - Finally, a tool that shows plugged in storage media like Mac OS and Linux DE's.
- dupeGuru - Get rid of duplicate files. Cross-platform!
- Windows Live Essentials 2012 - Includes Windows Live Mail, Movie Maker, and so on. Functions in Windows 10(as of January 2018), but you might need to reinstall after every major update. Other things in this list work better than the stuff in Essentials (due to age and compatibility) but I am including for those who need it.
- Greenshot - FOSS screenshot tool for Windows.
Advanced Tools Section
More technical resources for experienced users. Use at your own risk!
Manual Malware Removal
- RKILL Malware Process Killer
- GMER Easy Rootkit remover, directions included on website
- SMITFRAUDFIX For removal of smitfraud variants
- Combofix For removal of a number of malwares
- HijackThis For manual removal of malware
- VundoFix For manual removal of vundo (WinFixer, Amaena, WinAntiVirus, ErrorSafe, SystemDoctor and DriveCleaner)
- SDFix For manual removal of Trojans and Worms. Must be logged on as admin in safe mode to work properly. If still not working, refer to this page for info.
- VIPRE Rescue Installable rootkit and malware scanner that can be run from command line
- Hitman Pro is one of the best in this list.
Hardware Tests and Utilities
- Memtest86+ - Memory test
- Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostics - WD HDD Test (Like GWSCAN, but runs in windows)
- HDDScan - Generic Hard Drive Test tool. Quite powerful.
- SD Card Fixer - This can fix cards that can no longer be read in some circumstances. Life saver.
- SpeedFan - Control your computer's fan speed, and keep on eye on temperature.
- iFunBox - Gain access to the iOS filesystem for manual recovery.
Legacy Direct Updates
- Windows Repair Toolbox - A portable program that helps you repair a Windows system, by making the process faster, easier and uniform.
- PortableApps - A full-featured portable software system that lets you build your own custom portable app suite for use use in your synced cloud folder, on your local PC, or on a portable USB drive.
- MEDICAT Bootable Toolkit - The full MediCat USB aims to replace Hiren's Boot CD/DVD, for bleeding edge computers.
Misc. Resources and Fixes
- Macrium Reflect Free - Free backup, disk imaging and cloning solution for personal and commercial use.
- Windows 10 Debloater Script / Windows 10 Reclaimer Script / Windows 10 Initial Setup Script (Enterprise use) - Don't just run these! Read what they do, comment out what you don't want.
- EasyBCD - Used to modify the Vista/W7 boot configuration database.
- EASEUS Partition tool - Simple partition manager software. Minitool is also good.
- Windows XP File Association Fixes
- Microsoft's own General Help Page
- Windows Vista / 7 File Association Fixes
- Windows Update Online
- LSPFix - repair LSP and winsock - For XP networking issues.
- Blank Host file - Place into C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc if you can't access websites you used to in Windows 7 and earlier.
- MSKB: Messages stuck in Win Mail - Howto fix for a common problem on Windows Vista.
- Reset Registry Permissions - Used to fix "Access Denied" errors installing Service Packs and updates (XP only). Extract, run MSI file, then run CMD file. If window opens then closes right away, copy to and run from C:\Program Files\Windows Resource Kit\Tools
- RunOnce Remover - Removes the "Welcome to IE7" on first run
- IE6 Reset Tool - Resets IE6 somewhat like hitting "Reset" in IE7
- Windows XP Installer Fix - Resets and re-registers Windows Installer components (WinXP/2k 32-bit only)
- Windows XP Installer Reinstaller - Removes all versions of Windows Installer, restarts, and starts install of Installer 4.5 (WinXP SP2+)
- Group Policy Installer/Repair for XP Home/Pro
- DriverMax - Copy drivers from one machine to another.
- Kelly's Korner - XP Registry fixes
- Microsoft FixIt Center - Diagnoses common issues and offers solutions.
- Fast Fix For "Admin set policies to prevent this installation" Error - Win XP Only
- Alternative Fix "Admin set policies to prevent this installation" Error - Win XP Only
- Print Spooler Reset Tool - Run, choose "Light Mode" to just reset spooler, choose "Full Mode" to reset everything relating to printers, *Will need to reinstall all printers afterwords*
- Enable Task Manager - Download and run
- Show all Hidden/Nonpresent Devices
- Fix add/remove administrative error
- Autoplay Repair Tool
- Upper/Lower Filter Fix - If your CD/DVD drive won't work in Windows inexplicably, try this.
- CompactGUI - Shrink application file sizes in Windows.
- Legacy ASIO Behringer USB driver - Better than the newer stuff. 32-bit / 64-bit
- EasyCAP drivers for Windows 8, 8.1 and 10
- BIOS password revealer for Dell Latitudes
- Copy iPhone text messages to PC
More advanced tools.
- Falcon Four UBCD
- Hiren's BootCD
- OpenDiagnostics Live CD
- Phoronix test suite Desktop Live
- Ultimate BootCD
- PLD RescueCD
- Plop Linux
- RIP Linux
- Trinity Rescue Kit
- Boot Repair Disk - Perfect and simple solution for Linux/Windows MBR/GRUB issues. Allows you to 'uninstall' operating systems without breaking boot.
- Windows ISO Database <- This is a goldmine. All legal ISOs from Microsoft, archived.
- Windows Defender Offline
- Windows PE
- Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (English, 64-bit) Direct iso link.
- Windows 7 Professional SP1 (English, 64-bit) Direct iso link.
- Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (English, 64-bit) Direct iso link.
- Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (English, 32-bit) Direct iso link.
- Windows 7 Professional SP1 (English, 32-bit) Direct iso link.
- Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (English, 32-bit) Direct iso link.
- Windows Vista 64-bit & 32-bit & Alt-Language Versions
Alternative Operating Systems
Multiboot ISOs and Tools
- Daring Rescue * Note that this is an *.img bundle with some duplicate ISO's.
- Virtual Clone Drive