Click on a link to download an app that looks interesting to you. Time flies, and recommendations get outdated as technology advances. Some apps have review dates. A recommendation without a review date may be as old as 5 years, and thus may no longer be relevant or useful.

Be careful when going through the install steps. Free software is often ad-supported. Ads deliberately try to mislead you into clicking on an oversized download link that is other than the one desired. You must carefully examine the text surrounding a link, and also hover over the link to review the name of the target to decide if the link is the correct one. Avoid clicking on offers to download and install third-party components, or make changes to web browsers, as they are not needed for the basic software package.
Google
A growing number of Google products are available, more than 100 according to Wikipedia.

The design of the Downloads and Links web pages is to group apps by function. Grouping these Google apps, both downloads and links, in one section on this page departs from that design, but there is a commonality of popularity, quality, limited advertising and often the requirement of a Google account that is used as an argument for this grouping.
Gmail - A "google account" or gmail is often your ticket to other google services. A gmail email account is not tied to your computer, your gmail account will not change if you change internet providers, your mail is not lost when your computer crashes, and gmail is accessible from any computer.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Google search - Considered by many to be the best search engine. Does not require a gmail account. Click on Settings (lower right?) to explore extended functions of this app.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Google Earth - Satellite views of the planet. Zoom into a view of your house, your birthplace, your gradeschool, the Pyramids, Easter Island, the Great Wall, NYC. Fly over the Rockies or follow rivers in the flight simulator (Tools, Enter Flight Simulator).
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Google Calendar (link) - Recommended and popular calendar app. Optionally sync with your desktops, tablets, phones and share with family and friends.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
YouTube (link) - Videos including learn by watching, movie trailers, full length movies, concerts. Type in movies to search. Google acquired YouTube in 2006.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Google Drive - See Cloud Storage below.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Chrome - See Browsers below.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Photos (link) - See Google Photos Workshops.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Maps - Google Maps has lots of options.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Docs - Free alternative to Microsoft Word. Plus provides ability to collaberate online.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Sheets - Free alternative to Excel
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Slides - Free alternative to PowerPoint
Reviewed Oct 2016.
News - Google news aggregator.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Keep - Free alternative to Microsoft OneNote
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Blogger.com - Free weblog publishing tool from Google, for sharing text, photos and video.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Flights - Find airline tickets.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Translate - Translate a phrase or a website.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
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Antivirus
Antivirus software is as important as ever. You can find products that score higher in testing, but running any antivirus software including the free Microsoft offerings is much better than nothing.
For Windows 7, Microsoft offers free downloadable antivirus software called Microsoft Security Essentials
Reviewed Nov 2016.
In Windows 8, Security Essentials is pre-installed.
Reviewed Nov 2016.
In Windows 10, the pre-installed antivirus software is called Defender.
Reviewed Nov 2016.
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Browsers
Internet Explorer is pre-installed on Windows computers. IE 11 is the latest and probably the last version.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Microsoft Edge is Microsoft's replacement for Internet Explorer. It is intended for Windows 10 and is pre-installed.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Chrome - Google's browser
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Firefox - browser from Mozilla. Depending on who's doing the measuring Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer may be the most popular or best browser of the three.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Safari - Windows version of Apple's browser. Lots of ads on the downloads page - carefully check before you click.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Opera - Has a history of being first with new browser features. Or if you just want to buck the popular trend in browsers.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
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Photo/Video
Picasa has been retired. If you previously stored photos in Picasa, the link will show you how to access them.
Reviewed Sept 2016.
IrfanView is a free, popular, fast image viewer with options to rotate, compress, crop, convert format, edit brightness, contrast, and tint, create a stand-alone slideshow that can optionally be copied to a CD, and more.
Reviewed Sept 2016.
PhotoRazor - Easily reduces photo file size; saves resized photos to a separate folder so you do not lose your large original photos.
PixResizer - Resizes single photos and multiple photos in batch mode; converts between image formats (JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG, and TIFF); rotates images; converts to gray scale. Be careful! Most of the "download" buttons on the page are designed to trick you into downloading an app other than PixResizer. Hover over a button and examine the target url.
Reviewed Sept 2016.
AVC Video Converter - This video Converter performs almost every task for video conversion. Easy-to-use graphical interface, Any Video Converter Freeware provides the ability to convert into almost any format. Awesome Duplicate Photo Finder - Simply select the folders you want to scan for duplicates and then click the Start Search button. Awesome Duplicate Photo Finder will scan your hard drive quickly and then displayed the results as a list of file names, with duplicates listed side by side. A preview pane lets you visually compare each set of images it supports JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP images
FastStone Image Viewer- A fast, user-friendly image browser, converter and editor. includes  red-eye removal, e-mailing, resizing, cropping and color adjustments and much more. Simple to use but also offers a 95 page pdf help guide. Windows Essentials-
Photo Gallery: Everything you need to organize, edit, and publish your photos
Movie Maker: Tell your story in style. Make a polished movie from your photos and videos in just a few clicks.
Other programs: Create blog posts with Windows Live Writer, and keep your mail organized online and off with Windows Live Mail.
Microsoft's essential apps to get you started-
This update package includes a ton of apps including Messenger, Mail, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, OneDrive, and Writer. Windows Movie Maker and Photo Gallery received the most substantial updates with Windows 8 optimization.
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Cloud Storage
Cloud storage is useful for sharing - among your devices or among friends and coworkers.

Three cloud providers are discussed. When you sign up for cloud storage, a folder is created in the directory "Users/[username]/" with the folder name of Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. You copy a folder to the cloud by moving it to this local directory.

By default files are SYNCed, meaning cloud storage mirrors storage on your computer. A file changed or deleted on one device, or by one person, is changed or deleted on all devices and the cloud.

You can save drive space by offloading big folders to the cloud. Do not rely on cloud storage as your only backup of important files.

The three named providers support an option to unSYNC specified folders. If you unsync a folder, the folder will be deleted from the local directory, but remain in the cloud. To retrieve a folder from the cloud, you reSYNC the folder. Each of your devices can have its own sync scheme. For example, you might leave all files synced with your desktop, but unsync some files on a laptop with less hard drive space.
Google Drive - Google offers 15 GB of free storage.
Check if any Google Drive Workshops are currently scheduled.

Reviewed Nov 2016.
OneDrive -  Microsoft offers 5 GB of free storage. Caution: The general cloud storage description above applies to Windows 7 and Windows 10. Windows 8.1 behaves differently.
Reviewed Nov 2016.
Dropbox - Dropbox offers 2 GB of free storage. It's popular because it may be the easiest to setup and maintain.
Reviewed Nov 2016.
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Internet Tools
AM-DeadLink - AM-DeadLink detects dead links and duplicates in your Browser Bookmarks. Works on Win. XP, vista, 7 and 8. Pop-Up Stopper - Blocks ads from the Internet but allows you to decide whether or not you want the
ad blocked.
RoboForm and RoboForm2Go -
Password manager stores passwords on USB flash drives. Fills forms with a single click, all your login's in one place, saves passwords, access from anywhere.
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Office Programs
LibreOffice - LibreOffice is the power-packed free, libre and open source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and GNU/Linux, that gives you six feature-rich applications for all your document production and data processing needs: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base.
 
Serif Software - A free software that covers just about every thing you could imagine from desktop publishing, drawing and digital imaging to 3D design and web publishing.   WPS Office  - Formally Kingsoft Office, a great alternative to Microsoft. Available for Apple, Android, Windows and Linux. Open almost any file type, fully compatible with Microsoft Power Point, Word and Excel built in PDF converter.
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Office Tools
Acrobat Reader -
Supports viewing, printing and annotating PDF (Portable Document Format) files created by Acrobat. Before clicking "Install Now", you probably want to decline the optional offers. Remember this each time you install an updated version.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
Cute PDF Writer - Convert to professional quality PDF (Portable Document Format) from almost any printable document. Free for personal, commercial, Gov. or edu use. No watermarks! No popup Web ads! Microsoft Office Converter - Use to convert files and images for Microsoft Office programs, from Office 97 to Office 2003. These additional converters and filters are for older or seldom used documents or image formats.
PDF995 - Creates professional-quality documents in the popular PDF file format. PDF to Word Converter - Free PDF to Word Doc Converter is a desktop document conversion tool to convert Adobe PDF file to a Microsoft Word document file Duplicate Cleaner - Find and delete duplicate files, music, photos, documents and much more. This fully featured program will work at home or in a networked environment. Get Duplicate Cleaner free, " as per instructed "always back up your computer
Foxit Reader V7 - The Best PDF Reader-
The Microsoft Office 2013 STYLE Ribbon makes it easy to navigate. Familiar
quick access tool bar.
Create, view, print PDF. Read out loud option while you’re multi- tasking Rotate pages between landscape and portrait. Configure zooming or adjust magnification using the marquee, loupe, and magnifier tools Configure page display with full screen, single page, continuous scrolling, split, two page facing,  auto-scroll, and page transition options. Display a ruler, guide, grid, and snap to grid on your page. View, print, and search
for text in PDF
portfolios. Includes a
spell check.  This
FREE version is loaded.
Office Tabs - Is a powerful office addin to view, edit and manage documents, workbooks or presentations etc via a Tabbed View in Microsoft Office 2003, 2007 and 2010. Microsoft Office has not supported tabbed view by itself yet. Office Tabs solves this issue. With Office Tabs, you can manage multiple documents within a single window easily and quickly. Gadwin PrintScreen - PrintScreen sits in your System Tray, and you can set a number of options when you hit print screen. You can choose to save the screen directly to a specific folder. You can also choose to save just a window, or a specific area of the screen. The application also gives you the option of sending the screen capture directly to your printer or as an email, and it will even automatically resize the picture to specified dimensions. You can select the type of image you want to save.
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System Tools
CCleaner - A freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning 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. Additionally, it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. Belarc - The Belarc Advisor builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, including Microsoft Hotfixes, and displays the results in your Web browser. All of your PC profile information is kept private on your PC and is not sent to any
web server.
AOMEI - Create a backup copy of your system and data.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
CookieWall - Analog CookieWall allows you to quickly and easily decide which cookies can stay on your system and which cookies should go.
  
SIW - A system information tool, that gathers detailed information about your system properties and settings. Revo Uninstaller Freeware -
Search and remove all remnants of programs you want to uninstall. Scroll down to the Freeware download.
Reviewed Nov 2016.
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Social Media
Twitter -
Discover a faster, simpler way to stay close to everything you care about. Click to find out how it works  and sign up.
Tango - free mobile video communications service that allows you to connect with friends and family via your computer with people on the internet, 3G ,4G Wi-Fi android smart phone, android tablet, i phones, i pad to touch or windows 7 phones Skype - Video chat with family or friends. Also available for android phones.
Reviewed Oct 2016.
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Miscellaneous
Billy Audio Player - A lightweight, no nonsense audio player that allows you to quickly play an entire directory of MP3 files. Virtual Magnifying Glass - Simple, customizable, easy-to-use, screen magnification tool. Microsoft Expression Web 4
a full-featured professional tool for designing, developing, and publishing compelling, feature-rich websites that conform to web standards.
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Windows 8 Systems
Pokki - A modern windows 8 start button with a lot of free extras. get that familiar windows functioning start menu to access all your files, apps and control panel . This free download also comes with hundreds of free apps and games. Classic Shell - A customizable start menu with multiple styles and skins
Start button for Windows 7 and Windows 8
Toolbar and status bar for Windows Explorer
Caption and status bar for Internet Explorer
VLC - Windows 8 Media player does not support DVD playback If you want that you will need the Window 8 Pro and pay 10 dollars or you can download a free version. "VLC Media player " Allows DVD playback and ripping
Another Win 8 Start Menu-
There are many start menus for the new win 8 here is just one more with many levels of customization to uniquely meet user needs
   
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