Tagged With freeware

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There is not shortage of free mobile and desktop applications available on the internet. Unfortunately, most of them are either rubbish or trick you into parting with your cash via in-app purchases. But if you take the time to sort the wheat from the chaff, you'll find plenty of excellent apps that truly are free.

We're thankful every day for all the free apps out there that improve our lives (and the developers that make them!). Here are 50 our favourites.

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Windows: In OS X, you can select a file and press Space for a quick preview of it. You can't do that in Windows -- at least not without Seer, a free utility that gives you the same power. Tap the space bar to bring up an image, video or audio file in a quick view, and press space again to dismiss.

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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We feature downloads of all kinds every day at Lifehacker. Today, however, we're bundling all the best free downloads for new computer owners, re-installers, would-be geeks, or anyone who wants to save time installing the best stuff out there. This is our 2009 Lifehacker Pack for Windows computers.

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Windows only: The built-in tool for dealing with unknown file types in Windows simply doesn't work. Openwith.org does, and it points you, or your less free-software-savvy friends, to downloads that fit the bill. If you've ever received an urgent email reply (or phone call, or text message) from a parent, friend, co-worker, or anyone else who needs "HELP!" because "this file won't open when I double-click!"—you've turned to the right download. Openwith.org installs an option on the right-click menu for files without an icon and associated program, reading "Openwith.org - How do I open this?" Choose that option, and the Openwith app launches, showing a brief file type description at the top and offering links to download free applications to handle that file. If one is already installed on the system, but maybe not the default handler, Openwith.org knows that and offers to open the file with it.

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When finishing up a re-install, or helping out a friend, it stinks to find out your favourite free app is now a paid-for affair. The Last Freeware Version website can help. The site has one of those names that ruins our Lifehacker-style headlines, because it just does what you'd think it does. The organisation could use a little work, being a series of pages organised by an app's last update, but you can quickly scan or Control+F search the All LFV page to grab links to apps like IsoBuster, RegCleaner, FastStone Capture, and other apps that exist in the dual realms of free and licence-based. We've used LFV in our own features before to track down apps, and it's pretty handy when you just know a certain app is available gratis somewhere. Free to use, no sign-up required.

Last Freeware Version

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Whether you got a shiny new flash drive over the holidays or your old thumb drive is looking for a new lease on life, pack it full of goodness with these five killer portable applications.

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All platforms: Download your favourite online video clips from YouTube, 5min, Metacafe, and more than 50 other online video sharing sites with free open source application xVideoServiceThief. Enter a URL of nearly any online video and xVideoServiceThief will automatically download the video (unless you specify otherwise). Videos can be downloaded to either FLV or AVI formats. For an alpha build, xVideoServiceThief has a few bugs; not all services were tested error-free. The application does, however, accept anonymous bug reports automatically. Regardless, the interface is pretty slick, with options to pause, cancel, and to delete downloads from the queue. An indicator displays the download status and speeds of each video. xVideoServiceThief's open source approach should mean that downloading videos from your favourite sites should never be too hard to achieve. xVideoServiceThief is a free open source download for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

xVideoServiceThief

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Windows only: Freeware application John's Background Switcher automatically switches your desktop wallpaper at regular intervals using photos from your desktop or from online photo services, ranging from Flickr to Picasa to Yahoo image search. We've covered this application once before, but it's been updated significantly since then with support for more web services and way more features. Among them, the new version can embed a calendar on your desktop over the switchable wallpaper, apply effects to the photos, or limit photos you use to landscape mode so you've always got wide photos. John's Background Switcher is freeware, Windows only.

John's Background Switcher

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Windows only: Robust backup utility AceBackup offers a host of features missing in most freeware backup apps, like file versioning, secure FTP, file-specific encryption, Windows shell integration, and backup compression. To set up a secure backup job in AceBackup, create a new project, select the files, choose the level of security, tell AceBackup where to put the files—local hard disk, network disk, CD/DVD, remote FTP, etc—and how often, and bam! You get automated, secure, local and remote backup nirvana that rivals the current Lifehacker favourite, Syncback SE. Ace Backup is a free download for Windows only.

Ace Backup