A friend asked me for a list of software which he could install on his PC for a worthwhile digital experience. There are so many of them out there and some cost a bomb, but thankfully free is not always a malicious word in cyberia – mind the ‘not always’ part.

Though it is obvious that I’m no Amit Agarwal, yet I attempted to put together a list of freely downloadable software which I personally use (plus a few more which I would recommend). Here’s an incomprehensive list:

1. AVG Anti-Virus: A must unless you wish to pay for the paid anti-virus software, which in some cases may provide you with better protection. There are other free anti-virus software available, but I personally rely on AVG.

2. Ad-Aware SE Personal: A reliable anti-spyware tool.

3. Firefox: A reliable, fast and secure web browser with a lot of features and tonnes of add-ons and themes. A must download. Highly recommended.

4. Google Talk: Suddenly I find other instant messaging systems losing their popularity. Though it is not necessary to install GTalk to be able to chat via Google, some people prefer it that way (as it has a few additional features).

5. OpenOffice: An open source alternative to Microsoft Office.

6. NoteTab Light: A free replacement for Notepad and a handy HTML editor with a tabbed interface.

7. PDFCreator: Lets you create PDFs.

8. Foxit Reader: A lightweight and fast PDF reader. Though Adobe Reader is also free, I prefer Foxit.

9. WordWeb: A wonderful and handy dictionary cum thesaurus to have on your PC. A personal favourite. Highly recommended.

10. 7-Zip: A free compression and decompression software. Alternative to WinZip and WinRAR. But 7-Zip can only unpack RAR files and cannot create them.

11. Winamp: Though basic but bloated versions Real Player, QuickTime and iTunes can be had for free, I like to listen to my music and watch some movies on Winamp. It’s better.

12. Democracy Media Player: It plays almost every kind of video formats and also subscribes to video channels through RSS feeds (and lets you download them too).

13. Picasa: That wonderful software from Google which lets you organise, share and also edit your photos.

14. IrfanView: A light and fast image viewer with some extra features which Windows Picture and Fax Viewer can’t boast of.

15. GIMP: Will perform the tasks that you usually would like to use Adobe Photoshop for.

16. Audacity: An audacious software that takes on the likes of Sound Forge.

17. Avid Free DV: A free basic video editing tool.

18. SUPER: It justifies its name (an acronym for Simplified Universal Player Encoder & Renderer). Basically the best conversion software around and that too for free. Try beating that.

19. Download Accelerator Plus: This is very handy especially with the internet bandwidth that we have access to in this country. The downloads are much, much faster. There are a few other features that might just interest you.

20. FileZilla: A fast FTPclient.

21. LimeWire: A fast and popular P2P file sharing program. The basic version is free and usually satisfies the basic needs.

22. DVD Shrink: Shrink those huge DVD files to suit your size.

23. CDBurnerXP Pro: Burn CDs and DVDs. More features coming in the next version.

24. ScreenHunter: How often we have to take a screen shot and the friendly Prt Scr button on the keyboard doesn’t always suffice. ScreenHunter is hassle free and also non-frilly.

25. Ubuntu: In case you are fed up with Windows OS itself there’s Ubuntu, Linux for humans, for you.

Note: All of the ‘free’ software listed above may not be free in the truest sense of the term. Some of the above mentioned items may not be the best free software to download and install on your PC, there might just be better stuff around about which I’m unaware of.