Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Freeware suggestions for Windows

Via Dave’s Rants is a list of freeware tools for Windows. It’s aimed at people who, after installing the OS, don’t have any money left over and want to freeload instead of buy software. You can actually get pretty far before needing to pay for anything these days, especially with the continual rise of open source software.
I will have to make one point about Firefox – the article’s author does not recommend because of its memory leak problems. Firefox, along with other products, does have issues with memory management and leaks, however I do contest his 60-70MB figures. I’ve been running this for the over 2 hours and the maximum it has used is 47MB, and that includes the Flash plugin. I have had it over 100 when a web page required Java, Flash and QuickTime but that was an extreme example. This isn’t just on my own machine, which has 512MB of RAM – I’ve had it run fine on a very underpowered 128MB machine.
I do hope that in time the memory issues will get alleviated. In the meantime, Outer Technologies‘ free CacheMan utility is worth running as it can return leaked memory to the operating system and offers better control of virtual memory on systems with only a small amount of RAM.


  1. Heh, that’s funny. He nixes Firefox for memory leaks but recommends Thunderbird, which likely has more because it’s nowhere near as polished as Firefox is.
    One great program I found he was missing, however, was Hotkeys. The author apparently no longer develops it, but I’m running Hotkeys 2000 beta 2 and it generally works fine for me at letting me create keyboard shortcuts for the apps I use most. Source is included, so if you wanted you could continue to develop it alone for your personal enjoyment. Distribution is a little iffy, tho, because the license is non-legalese, plain-English text. It’s easier to understand, certainly, but it’s full of ambiguities (such as whether I could pick up the code, edit it, and redistribute it as long as I mention the author’s name in the credits or about box for the modified application).
    Other than that, on the whole I’m liking his advice for the areas in which I actually use software.

  2. It’s really a shame he didn’t care (or know) enough to make the distinction between freeware and GPL licensed software, which are two entirely different things.

  3. my firefox consistently goes up to 60-65MB of memory. i dont like that it does that. it also takes longer than IE to start up the 1st page.