We’ve featured hundreds of free Windows applications over the course for 2009 that we hoped might bolster your productivity, workflow, or your PC usefulness in one form or another. Here’s a look back at the most popular Windows downloads of the year.
As with 2008’s most popular free Windows downloads, keep in mind that the apps featured here are chosen by the popularity of the associated post we published in 2009. Many were new, some were improvements to already loved apps, and others were simply new-to-us. Here’s a quick look back at the 19 or so most popular Windows downloads of 2009:
Windows 7 — from Beta to Release Candidate and So On
Enigma Desktop 2.0 Released, Adds Installer, Widget Manager and Templates
One of our very own readers released his popular desktop configuration as a installable utility that brings a handful of great customisation and productivity tools to your desktop. It’s called Enigma 2.0. Then Rainmeter, another very popular desktop customisation tool, set Enigma as its default desktop. Fancy pants.
Ever wish you could enjoy some of the finer tools available to Linux but stay comfortably in your Windows desktop? Sure you could run a virtual machine, but Portable Ubuntu for Windows runs an entire Linux OS as a Windows application. Better yet, it’s portable.
The release of Windows 7 left a lot of XP users wishing they could get in on some of that snazzy new eye candy. Seven Remix XP is a free utility that does its best to bring Windows 7 comely looks to XP.
Apart from all the new eye candy, Windows 7 really tickled our fancy with tons of incredible new keyboard shortcuts. For folks still chilling out with XP or Vista, we released Windows 7 Shortcuts, a lightweight utility developed to bring some of the best new shortcuts of Windows 7 to previous versions of Windows.
By virtue of reading Lifehacker, you’re more likely than not the most schooled person among your friends and family when it comes to fixing a bum PC. It’s a dubious honour, because it also means you generally are the person who gets called when something goes wrong. Computer Repair Utility Kit puts a handful of useful PC repair utilities in one handy, portable suite.
Like to keep items you want to access frequently easily accessible on your desktop but don’t want to deal with the added clutter? Fences arranges your cluttered desktop icons into containers so you can clean up the mess into useful groups of shortcuts — or optionally hide them altogether.
Safari‘s move to Windows came with a lot of bugs and some serious eye candy, but despite the interest at release, we can’t imagine many people still stick with Safari on Windows over, say, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, etc.
We’re sort of junkies for maps and 3D, so when Google Earth 5 was released, we were pleased as punch. The update featured historical imagery, ocean maps and improved world touring capabilities. Maybe we just like saving ourselves some dough in these tough economic times with a little Google Earth sightseeing.
Free, open-source DVD ripping and encoding tool HandBrake released a pretty saucy update last month with a ton of fixes and improvements. It’s no coincidence that it’s always been one of our favourites, and this year’s big-ish (but still not 1.0) update should only help keep it there.
Linux users have a killer desktop management tool called Compiz Fusion that puts multiple desktop management on a 3D cube that we’ve always been jealous of on Windows. Open-source application DeskHedron brings a similar three-dimensional desktop management tool to Windows users.
Got a favourite Windows download from 2009 that you’d add to your list of favourites? Let’s hear about it in the comments. If you’re craving still more popular Windows downloads, you can also take a look back at the the most popular free Windows downloads of 2008.