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List of recommended Windows software

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Revision as of 04:46, 8 July 2015 by Gnuplus (talk | contribs) (Communications Software: (minor edits to the web browser section, explained chromium))
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This page is for good quality software on Windows, based on the contributions of /g/ users. This page is not for solidifying preferences or ideology; I consider it to be "value-free" and thus permitting of both reference to open source software and closed source software, for-profit and non-for-profit. This is not your soapbox, your ballot box, or pulpit. Stay constructive and avoid politics and arguments.

Package manager

You can (and should) install a package manager. It gives you the benefit of being able to download and install a lot of popular software via a single command on the command line, instead of having to navigate to a website, download it and run it. Take a look at Chocolatey NuGet and NPackd for more info. This is an advantage that OSX and Linux users have been enjoying for years, and now you should too.

For an all-at-once installation to install all of your selected favourite software in one go (useful on a fresh install of Windows), check out Ninite.

*nix environment on Windows

If you're feeling a bit limited or alienated with Windows' command line tools, you can set up a native *nix environment on Windows.

  • Cygwin – "Get that Linux feeling - on Windows." Basically the Wine of Windows, but without recreating system libraries and such. GOW is considered an improvement on it
  • GOW – GNU on Windows. It's like a much lighter Cygwin, it comes with a terminal option in Windows explorer, and also comes with over Linux 100+ binaries natively compiled for Windows.
  • MinGW – Another minimalist set of *nix binaries natively compiled for Windows.
  • Msysgit – Not as big a *nix environment like the others, this is the native Windows build of git, which also provides a shell with simple *nix utilities with cp, mv, rm, etc. and other basic coreutils you might need. Read the page for details
  • SSH

Communications Software

Before being v&, weeaboo nonces often use communications software to exchange nude images with police officers posing as kawaii lolis.

Web Browsers

For more detailed information see Web browsers.

Firefox.png Firefox

Firefox is free software developed by Mozilla. It is highly extensible via addons and included as the default browser in many Linux distributions. Regarded by many as the best browser

Software Chromium.png Chromium

Chromium builds are based off the underlying code of Chrome. While nearly identical to Google's browser, they lack proprietary components like automatic updating and flash player.

Opera.png Opera

Opera is a proprietary web browser that has pioneered open web standards for over two decades. It is notable for being the first web browser to sport a tabbed interface. It is developed and maintained by Opera Software.

Qupzilla-icon.png QupZilla

QupZilla is a FOSS web browser, built on the Qt and QtWebEngine (based on Chromium's rendering engine) frameworks. It supports extensions, ships out of the box with AdBlock, Mouse Gestures, GreaseMonkey, Speed Dial, Click2Flash, and more. It provides seamless integration with most desktop environments, and has several other distinguishing features. QupZilla is licensed under GPLv3.

Torbrowser.png Tor Browser

Tor Browser (formerly known as Tor Browser Bundle) is a package of a modified Firefox extended support release, NoScript, HTTPS-Everywhere, Tor, TorButton and TorLauncher. It automatically routes traffic through the Tor network and deletes history and cookies when closed.

Palemoon.png Pale Moon

Pale Moon is a fork of Firefox under a proprietary open source license. It has a familiar UI without the "Australis" redesign, but at expense looses compatibility with newer Firefox addons. Pale Moon tends to be behind on security updates, so use with caution.

Seamonkey-icone-6933-128.png SeaMonkey

SeaMonkey is a continuation of the Mozilla suite. Unlike most modern web browsers, it is an Internet suite, complete with bundled programs for email, IRC, and web design. It is compatible with most Firefox add-ons.

Midori.png Midori

Midori is a fast, lightweight, LGPL licensed browser using the WebKit rendering engine. It is the default browser in Elementary OS, Raspbian and Trisquel Mini.

Kmelogo.gif K-Meleon

K-Meleon is a FOSS web browser for Windows. It uses the Gecko rendering engine just like Firefox, but sports a native Windows UI. It is absurdly configurable.

Otter-browser-icon.png Otter Browser

Otter Browser is a FOSS web browser that aims to recreate the best aspects of the classic Opera (12.x) UI using Qt5.

Email Clients

Desktop email clients provide off-line email storage and additional features over most web-mail clients.

Icon Thunderbird small.png Thunderbird

Thunderbird is a free and open source email client based upon the Gecko rendering engine. Like its sibling Firefox, it offers the user extensive customisation options via third-party add-ons.

Opera Mail.png Opera Mail

Opera Mail – Formerly a component of the Opera browser, now a separate free product. This is based on Opera 12.6 and still uses the Presto rendering engine. Getting started. Doesn't have IRC and xmpp for whatever-the-fuck reasons.

Opera Mail is bundled in Opera 12.16 and several prior versions.

Instant Messaging Clients

Icon Pidgin small.png Pidgin

Pidgin, formerly known as GAIM, is a free and open source instant messaging client developed in C. It is based upon Libpurple and offers support for the AIM, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, Groupwise, ICQ, IRC, MSN, MXit, MySpaceIM, SILC, SIMPLE, Sametime, XMPP, Yahoo!, and Zephyr chat networks out of the box. Partial or complete support for additional networks like Xfire is offered through third-party plug-ins like Gfire. It also supports OTR encryption with XMPP via a plugin.

Retroshare.png RetroShare

RetroShare is an open source decentralized communication platform. It provides secure chat, photo and video sharing using OpenPGP to authenticate peers and OpenSSL to encrypt all communication.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Clients

Graphical User Interface (GUI)

HexChat.png HexChat

HexChat is a popular replacement for the XChat IRC client, a client which offered a free binary for Linux but charges money for the Windows version. HexChat is a continuation of XChat and makes both its source code and binaries available to users of all platforms it's created for. Like its parent software, HexChat is licensed under the GNU GPL. It includes all the basic features one would need, and can be ideal both for new users and IRC veterans.

Smuxi.png Smuxi

Smuxi is another crossplatform IRC client and uses the GTK. It has some scripting capability and looks about the same on all systems. It doesn't have many features but it does those that it has well.

ChatZilla.png ChatZilla

ChatZilla is an IRC client addon for Firefox. Great for people who want basic IRC features without having to install an additional application.

Terminal/Command Prompt

Irssi.png Irssi

Irssi – The father of rice clients and easily accessible for all systems. The author of the Metacity window manager for Linux describes his software as follows: "Boring window manager for the adult in you. Many window managers are like Marshmallow Froot Loops; Metacity is like Cheerios." Irssi is the terminal IRC client equivalent of that sentiment. Irssi is extensible through plugins.

Weechat.png Weechat

Weechat – Irssi + more rice, more scripting languages, some more ideal defaults, and more development. Rising in popularity as a preferred client on /g/. Weechat also includes plugin functionality.

Support By Browsers and Mail Clients

  • Thunderbird has support for IRC and other IM services.
  • Opera had similar chat support which was dropped in 10.10.
  • As mentioned above, Firefox can support IRC through an addon.
  • Chrome can also support IRC through extensions, although some of them are actually websites; 'CIRC' and 'Byrd IRC' appear to be native clients, but I have not tested them as you must be signed into Google in order to install them. They might be usable by loading their source. I'll test them eventually.

Voice-Over-IP Clients

Mumble.png Mumble

Mumble – Free and open source audio chat software. Superior in audio quality and latency by always being the first client to use latest technologies, such as the Opus audio codec.

Teamspeak.png TeamSpeak

TeamSpeak – Non-free and widely used for gaming. Lots of permissions/ACL tuning available. Servers must be often licensed to use without restrictions. Servers under the free license allow up to 32 clients. The client has a backdoor that allows TeamSpeak Systems GmbH. to blacklist any server and take full control.

Skype.png Skype

Skype – Botnet mode in full effect. No seriously. Also closed source and susceptible to state snooping. Not only bloated, buggy, and resource intensive, but the bloat and resource hogging only goes up with each major update. Absolutely unrecommended for privacy, and only recommended for normal non controversial conversations with your friends/family who wont settle for anything else.

Jitsi.png Jitsi

Jitsi – “A real Skype alternative using standards compliant FLOSS”. Supports text encryption with OTR and audio/video encryption with ZRTP. Downside is being bulky Java.

Google Voice.png Google Voice

Google Voice – The botnet never felt so good. Free phone numbers, calling, texting, and integration into Gmail. There does not appear to be official desktop software for this; it is run in a web browser and requires a plugin for full functionality.

Ekiga.png Ekiga

Ekiga – Open source SIP client. It is not entirely clear to what extent encryption is possible.

Tox.png Tox

Decentralized open-source alternative to Skype. In early alpha stage and almost has VOIP working.

File Compression Utilities

File compression software is widely used by various software distributors and archives to mitigate bandwidth and storage space requirements.

Icon 7zip small.png 7zip Archiver

7zip is a free and open source file archiver developed in C++ by Igor Pavlov. Its primary feature is lossless compression in the 7z format, based upon the Lempel–Ziv–Markov chain algorithm. In addition to the handful of formats it is capable of creating new archives in, 7zip can retrieve files from archives in virtually any format that one is likely to encounter.

Easy 7-Zip is an alternative build of 7-zip which has some extra features such as extra additions such as icons on the context menu, extra options in many dialogs and the ability to minimize to tray while extracting. It's licensed under the same license too.

Icon PeaZip small.png PeaZip Archiver

The PAQ and LPAQ methods are capable of an impressive degree of lossless compression, but the time and system resources required are equally impressive.

PeaZip is a free and open source archiver developed in free Pascal by Giorgio Tani. It is notable for its native PEA format and its support of cutting-edge compression technologies like PAQ and LPAQ that are not supported by other popular archivers. Like 7zip, it is capable of retrieving files from virtually any archive that one might encounter.

Icon WinRAR small.png WinRAR Archiver

Unless one has some specific purpose in mind, the use of WinRAR is not recommended.

WinRAR is a proprietary shareware archiver developed by the brothers Eugene and Alexander Roshal. Its once ubiquitous RAR format is still used almost universally by the Warez Scene, although it has falling out of favour with many other communities due to the growing popularity of 7z. Although it is only capable of creating new archives in the RAR and ZIP formats, WinRAR is capable of extracting files from archives created by many other compression tools.

File Sharing

BitTorrent Clients

Halite-200.png Halite

Halite is a FOSS, Windows-only BitTorrent client, based on the excellent libtorrent library developed by Arvid Norberg. The program also relies heavily on the Boost libraries. It is a fantastic replacement for the botnet client uTorrent, and shares many of the same features.

Icon qBittorrent small.png qBittorrent

qBittorrent is a libtorrent-based free and open source BitTorrent client written in C++. According to the its developers, the aim of the client is to provide a free software alternative to µTorrent.

Baretorrent.png baretorrent

baretorrent is a simple, minimalist BitTorrent client written in C++ which essentially downloads Torrents and nothing else. It's open-source and works on Windows, Linux and OSX. Useful for older machines and people who don't want extra bloat on their machines. It's also extendible but there's only a few extensions available at the minute.

Icon Deluge small.png Deluge

Deluge is a libtorrent-based free and open source BitTorrent client written in Python. It is highly extensible via its plug-ins system. Deluge is notable for having originated the particular method of protocol encryption that is currently in use by every major BitTorrent client. In can be a bit of a resource hog on Windows compared to other clients.

FTP Clients

Icon FileZilla small.png FileZilla

Filezilla is a free and open source FTP, SFTP, and FTPS client written in C++. Sourceforge downloaders should be advised that the installer offered there potentially contains adware.

Icon WinSCP small.png WinSCP

WinSCP or Windows Secure Copy is a free and open-source FTP, SFTP, and SCP client written in C++.

Direct Connect

Eiskalt.png EiskaltDC++

EiskaltDC++ is a cross-platform program that uses the Direct Connect and ADC protocols. It is compatible with DC++, FlylinkDC++, LinuxDC++ and other DC clients.


Disk Cleaners

Icon CCleaner small.png CCLeaner

CCleaner is proprietary freeware disk clean-up utility developed by Piriform. Its features at the time of this writing include automated deletion of unnecessary files, automated deletion of unnecessary registry entries, secure data erasure, program removal, system restore point management, start-up entry management, scheduled task management, context entry management, and web browser plug-in management.

Icon Revo small.png Revo Uninstaller

Revo Uninstaller

Wise Registry Cleaner

Wise Registry Cleaner Great tool that cleans the registry, combined with other software such as Malwarebytes and Wise Disk Cleaner it can do a ton to help a slow computer be less slow.

Disk Defragmenters

Icon Defraggler small.png Defraggler


Icon MyDefrag small.png MyDefrag

MyDefrag is a proprietary freeware disk defragmenter based on the standard defragmentation API by Microsoft. It also optimises file locations.

Wise Disk Cleaner

WiseCleaner great at removing a lot of unnecessary clutter on your install that tends to slow things down.

File Recovery Tools

Visit our Data recovery for further information.

Icon TestDisk small.png TestDisk


Icon Recuva small.png Recuva


System Information Tools

Icon CPUZ small.png CPU-Z


Icon GPUZ small.png GPU-Z


Icon HWMonitor small.png HWMonitor


Icon Speccy small.png Speccy



Video Players

Mpc-hc.png MPC-HC (Media Player Classic)

MPC-HC (main article: MPC-HC) is an extremely light-weight, open source media player for Windows. It supports all common video and audio file formats available for playback. No adware, spyware or any bloat included. Features countless different renderers and shaders from the community.

Kcp.png KCP (Kawaii Codec Pack)

KCP is a codec pack that contains the latest DirectShow components, utilized to decode an array of media types. Its basically a fork of MPC-HC, instead of manually installing the recommended filters, this does it all for you.

Mpv-logo.png MPV (MPV Plays Videos)

MPV is a fork of mplayer2 and MPlayer. It features ffmpeg playback, high quality scaling algorithms, opengl output and is completely open sourced.

Vlc-logo.png VLC (VideoLAN Client)

VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.

Media Center and HTPC

Kodi.png Kodi

Kodi (former XBMC) is a free and open source (GPL) software media center featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It is highly customizable via skins and addons. There are even addons available for streaming from internet services like YouTube and Twitch.tv. It plays nearly every video and music format out of the box. The built in scrapers can pull data from sites like IMDB and thetvdb to allow sorting media by actor, genre, rating, etc. It can export this data to local files for offline use.

Plex.png Plex

Plex is a fork of the former XBMC (now Kodi). It has separate front-end (player) and back-end (server) components. Plex Media Server, unlike the free frontend, is a combination of free and proprietary software, with the majority of the code being proprietary. It has many of the same features as Kodi, but focuses more on its web interface. It also excels at on the fly video transcoding to allow playback over slow connections.

Video Converters and Rippers

Handbrake.png HandBrake

Handbrake is a free and open source video transcoder with an easy to use GUI. It can rip and convert a variety of video formats, but can not break DVD or Blu-ray copyright protection.

  • MakeMKV - Converts video from proprietary (and usually encrypted) discs into a set of MKV files, preserving most information but not changing it in any way. It can instantly stream decrypt video without intermediate conversion and decrypt Blu-rays and protected DVDs.
  • ProjectX - Resyncs DVB (Digital TV broadcasts) ready for encoding.
  • Youtube-dl - Command line program for downloading videos from Youtube and similar sites.

Audio Players

Foobar-logo.png Foobar2000

Foobar2000 (main page: Foobar2000) is an advanced audio player for the Windows platform. Some of the basic features include ReplayGain support, low memory footprint, and native support for several popular audio formats. Supports ASIO output.

Musicbee-logo.png MusicBee

MusicBee is basically a souped version of Foobar2k, it supports everything that you want in an audio player plus more! The GUI is very different than most, but can be customized to your will. Supports ASIO output and provides some level of compatibility with WinAmp input plugins. Free as in free beer.

Musicpd-logo.png MPD (Music Player Daemon)

MPD is a flexible, powerful, server-side application for playing music. Through plugins and libraries it can play a variety of sound files while being controlled by its network protocol.

Icon Clementine.png Clementine

Clementine Great music player with many options and plugins available. Plays all the file types you might need.

Audio Editors

Icon Audacity.png Audacity

Audacity is an easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder. Support for LADSPA, Nyquist, VST and Audio Unit effect plug-ins. Support for adding VAMP analysis plug-ins.

Image Viewers

Honeyview-logo.png Honeyview

Honeyview is a very fast image viewer supporting various formats. It also supports viewing the images in compressed ZIP, RAR, or 7z files without extraction.

Irfanview-logo.png Irfanview

Irfanview is a very fast, small, compact and innovative freeware graphic viewer for Windows. It features an inbuilt editor along with many other extra tools that you may need or require.

Xnview-logo.png XnView

XnView is freeware software that allows you to view and convert graphic files. It features image manipulation tools, a batch renamer utility and support of up to 400+ image/file extensions.

Image Editors

  • GIMP - A popular Photoshop alternative. Is good if you know how to use it correctly.
  • Paint.NET - Started as a MS Paint alternative, now integrates plenty of features such as layers and effects
  • InkScape - Vector graphic editor. FOSS.

Video Editors

Shotcut-logo-64 400x400.png Shotcut

Shotcut is a free and open-source cross-platform video editing app for Windows, OS X, and Linux. Shotcut supports many video, audio, and image formats via FFmpeg and screen, webcam, and audio capture. It uses a timeline for non-linear video editing of multiple tracks that may be composed of various file formats.

3D Modeling

Icon Blender.png Blender

Blender is a 3D animation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation.


Document Readers

Icon SumatraPDF small.png Sumatra PDF

The majority of configuration for this application is done manually by editing its configuration file.

SumatraPDF is a free and open source PDF, ePub, Mobi, XPS, DjVu, CHM, CBZ, and CBR reader. Unlike most competing products for Windows, it is extremely fast and lightweight.

Evince.png Evince

Evince is a free and open source PDF, PostScript, DjVu, TIFF, XPS and DVI reader. While it is better known as a component of GNU/Linux's GNOME desktop environment, a Windows build is available.

Adobe Digital Editions.png Adobe Digital Editions

Adobe Digital Editions – God-tier book-reading application; displays ePub and PDF files, and maybe more but I can't be taxed to find out. Meant for reading books and does not serve well as a conventional document viewer for other purposes.

Word Processors

Icon LibreOffice-Writer.png LibreOffice Writer

LibreOffice - After Oracle acquired OpenOffice, it asked community members to GTFO [1]. Since everyone despises Oracle, the developers all jumped ship as well [2] and started LibreOffice.


Text Editors

Notepad++.png Notepad++

Notepad++ is free software written in C++ for Windows. It is fast, efficient and customizable.

Icon Sublime-Text.png Sublime Text

Sublime Text is a closed source, but sophisticated text editor for code, markup and prose.

Icon GVim.png GVim

GVim is a graphical frontend for Vim. An extremely feature-rich programmer's text editor with extensive plugin support.

Icon Emacs.png Emacs

Emacs is an extensible, customizable text editor and more. At its core is an interpreter for Emacs Lisp, a dialect of the Lisp programming language with extensions to support text editing.

Integrated Development Environments (IDE)

Icon Eclipse.png Eclipse

Eclipse is a feature-rich IDE with a major focus on its plugin system. Plugins are used for everything from language support (Java, C++, Python, C#, etc...) to adding additional features or aesthetics (Git integration, Vim keybindings, relative line numbers, CMake support, color schemes, etc...). It also has a reasonable set of built-in features as well. Some of the more notable of these include the plugin install/update tool, a highly configurable code formatter, and a customizable UI.

Idea icon.png JetBrains' IDEs

IntelliJ IDEA is the flagship IDE from JetBrains, and the Community Edition is FOSS. They have several IDEs for different languages, including PyCharm Community Edition for Python, which is also FOSS.

Visualstudio.png Visual Studio

Visual Studio is Microsoft's IDE for C, C++, C# and VB.NET. Express and Community versions are available for free. Full versions are usually free or discounted for MSDN members, students, etc.


For in-depth coverage of this topic, see our article on Security.


Avast-icon.png Avast! Antivirus

Avast! is a proprietary antivirus program which has both a free and paid version. It is adware which spies on your web browsing and injects advertisements, so installing for security is counterproductive. Recent versions interfere with posting images to 4chan. Frequent BSODs have been reported by users.

Comodo icon.png COMODO Antivirus

COMODO Antivirus is a module part of the proprietary, free Comodo Internet Security suite. There is a paid version called 'COMODO Internet Security Pro' but it is more designed for computer-illiterates with services such as 'GeekBuddy' which is a remote-support service.

Icon Malwarebytes small.png Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes is a proprietary antivirus program popular in various security communities as a backup scanner. It is offered both as freeware and as commercial software. The free version of Malwarebytes allows the user to manually scan for and remove malware, but a license must be purchased if the user wished to take advantage of its scheduled scanning and real-time protection features.

Clamwin logo.png ClamWin Antivirus

ClamWin is an open-source antivirus developed in C++ that focuses on being lightweight and efficient. Please note that it does not include an on-access real-time scanner. You need to manually scan a file in order to detect a virus or spyware.

Malware Removal

Main article: Malware removal.


Comodo icon.png COMODO Sandbox

COMODO Sandbox is a module of the COMODO Firewall; part of the proprietary, free Comodo Internet Security suite. There is a paid version called 'COMODO Internet Security Pro' but it is more designed for computer-illiterates with services such as 'GeekBuddy' which is a remote-support service.


Sandboxie is a proprietary shareware program for creating isolated virtual environments.

Software Firewalls

Software firewalls should not be viewed as replacements for hardware firewalls. The proper configuration of modem and router firewalls remains vital to securing one's network no matter what software solutions are employed.

Comodo icon.png COMODO Firewall

COMODO Firewall is part of the proprietary, free Comodo Internet Security suite. There is a paid version called 'COMODO Internet Security Pro' but it is more designed for computer-illiterates with services such as 'GeekBuddy' which is a remote-support service.

Tinywall logo.png Tinywall

Tinywall is a lightweight wrapper for the Windows firewall, providing a lot of new features like tampering protection, blocklists, or temporary firewall rules.

Password Managers

Keepassx.png KeePassX

  • KeePassX a light interface and cross platform password manager published under the GNU GPL.

Emulation and Compatibility

Virtual CD/DVD Drive

Virtual Machine

Icon VirtualBox.png

VirtualBox is free and open source (GPL) software. It was first developed by Innotek GmbH, then bought by Sun Microsystems and now continually developed by Oracle.

Virtual Desktop Manager

  • VirtuaWin - Allows you to use multiple virtual desktops

PC-98 Simulators

PC-98 is a series of computers by NEC, which was a popular computing platform in Japan. There were many interesting games created for the PC-98, including many of the oldest Touhou games. For better reference and understanding its recommended to see its page on Touhou Wiki and Wikipedia.

Since not ever one is real OG enough to have one of these computers from when they were first produced or buy one of the internet, here's a list of a few emulators for the PC-98:

And here's some games other than 2hus.

Unclassified Software

These recommendations will be classified soon.

Hex Editor

Comic and Manga Viewer

MComix.png MComix

  • MComix – I picked this up when I used Linux and it turns out to be at least decent on Windows. Supports manga view and other nice features. Requires some GNOME stuff but that's easy to provide (it may come with the installer, I don't recall). Has some shakiness and non-smooth transitions when dragging images; I do not get this while using MComix on lunix.

Screen Capture

  • Open Broadcaster Software - free and open source software for recording and live streaming.
  • GifCam - Record your desktop as a .gif
  • LICEcap - Free/open software to record your desktop as a .gif
  • ShareX - Free, open source and lightweight. Screenshot capture, screen recorder and file sharing tool.

Other Platforms

See Also

  • Prism Break - Lists software for different platforms that respect your freedom (and points out those which do not). Maintained by the EFF.