Best Freeware Picks – 2023 Edition

It’s been quite some time since we last published our “best of freeware” list but, in all honesty, with new and/or innovative freeware as scarce as rocking horse manure, nothing much has changed. In most cases, the old staple favorites continue to dominate their genre. Still, here is an updated list relevant to today:

Best Free Image Backup

Best Free Backup

NOTE: Macrium Reflect Free edition is no longer recommended because it is due to be retired as of 1st January 2024

Best Free Junk File Cleaners

Best Free Junk File Cleaners

  • PrivaZer – Top-notch free cleaning and privacy tool. Deep cleans many areas. Securely erases all traces for enhanced privacy. Portable version available
  • Wise Disk Cleaner Free and effective junk file cleaner. Safe to use. Portable version available

Best Free Uninstallers

Best Free Uninstaller

  • Hibit Uninstaller – Excellent free uninstaller, portable version available. Includes a nice range of additional tools. Read my full review
  • Revo Uninstaller Another excellent free uninstaller that goes above and beyond Windows uninstaller. Portable version available
  • Geek Uninstaller Terrific free and portable uninstaller. Fast scan and removal of leftovers

Best Free Image Viewers

Best Free Image Viewers

  • FastStone Image Viewer – Excellent free image viewer, organizer, editor, and converter. Nice array of features such as image comparison, red-eye removal, resizing, cropping, etc
  • IrfanView – Excellent free image viewer, editor, and optimizer. Lots of features and plugins

NOTE: FastStone is a personal preference. There is very little to pick between these two excellent image viewers which have yet to be surpassed

Best Free PDF Readers

Best Free PDF Readers

  • PDF-XChange Viewer – Excellent PDF reader which provides additional features over and above your ‘average’ PDF reader. Portable version available
  • Sumatra PDF – Ultra lightweight and portable. An excellent choice for basic PDF viewing

NOTE: PDF-XChange Viewer is no longer under development but is still available to download from Major Geeks

Best Free System Info & Monitoring

Best Free System Info and Monitoring

  • HWiNFO – Free portable system information and diagnostics utility. Displays information relating to the system’s hardware. Real-time monitoring, including core temps. Available in 32-bit and native 64-bit portable editions
  • MooO System Monitor – Comprehensive free system monitoring tool with more than 70 fields to choose from. Extensive, portable, and highly customizable

Best Free Screen Capture Tools

Best Free Screen Capture

  • PicPick Screen Capture – Excellent screen capture tool with a superior range of editing and annotation tools built-in. Portable version available
  • SnipTool Screen Capture – Lightweight and versatile screen capture tool with built-in editor. Portable version available

Best Free Password Manager

Best Free Password Manager

  • Bitwarden The very best free password manager. Login credentials are saved in a secure online vault making it very easy to share across devices. Super secure and easy to use with extensions available for all popular browsers
  • KeePass – Free and open-source. Passwords are secured in a database using high-level encryption with master key access

Best Free Miscellaneous Utilities

You will notice that the majority of my selections are either portable or have a portable version available. That’s because, in my book, portability adds a lot of appeal. Make sure to check out my full list of portable applications.

Have I missed something? Let me know via the comments.

14 thoughts on “Best Freeware Picks – 2023 Edition”

    1. Hey Nicke,

      You mean in the weekly newsletter? That’s my fault, I redesigned the intro. Sorry about that, I’ll see what we can do to put that back in.

  1. Johnny R Bravo

    Interesting list; I use the Revo uninstaller (and have upgraded to the Pro edition) and I use the PDF X-Change Editor. Both great products!

    Several freeware applications that I use and enjoy:
    * Attribute Changer:
    * Bulk Rename Utility:
    * Crystal Disk Info:
    * File Seek:
    * Free File Sync:
    * Open Shell:
    * Sync Back Free:

    And what list would be complete without:
    * VLC Media Player:

    1. Yours is an interesting list too, if somewhat a little out of mainstream.

      Attribute Changer: what do you use that one for, specifically?
      Bulk Rename Utility: Again, what do you use that one for, specifically?
      Crystal Disk info: Nice addition, nice software
      File Seek: doesn’t appear to be freeware
      Free File Sync & Sync Back Free: I prefer to simply copy and paste to external drive. I don’t have enough personal data to warrant using these types of tools
      Open Shell: As much as I dislike the direction in which the Windows’ native Start menu has taken, I prefer to try and get used to any new UI elements. That said, I do recognize that plenty of users prefer the older (traditional) Start menu style and Open Shell is a very good option
      VLC Media Player: Agreed, an excellent free media player

      Thanks for your input here., appreciated.

  2. Jim, I might add the following:
    Greenshot to the Best Free Screen Capture Tools,
    Speecy, WAU Manager and HWiNFO to the Best Free Miscellaneous Utilities.
    Other than that, you have a great list, Mindblower!

  3. Johnny R Bravo


    Attribute Changer allows modification of file properties, such as various dates, compressed, archive, etc. [] I use it to fix the Office problem of not creating compressed files on a compressed disk, as well as, modifying dates and the archive flag to force desired backups.

    Bulk Rename Utility allows name changes to a group of selected files and folders. The changes can be made by text substitution, regular expressions, case changes, date insertion, and many more edits. It also allows you to save a pattern of changes and recall it later. I have a library of these patterns. []

    There is a free version of FileSeek [] as well as a “Pro” edition.

    I find FreeFileSync invaluable in comparing potentially duplicate folders and consolidating the latest versions in one folder. There is a “donation” version that allows automatic download and installation of updates. []

    I use SyncBack to automate backups to my NAS device. I started with the free version and later I purchased the SE version, as it contains additional useful features []

    Love the sharing about utilities!

    1. Aha, the NAS explains a lot.

      I’ve toyed with the idea of setting up a NAS but the meagre amount of data I accumulate doesn’t warrant the outlay. A couple of external drives suffices for my requirements.

      Thanks for the reply and explanation, appreciated.

  4. Why is Foxit reader not on the list?? By far the best free pdf reader. A wealth of tools and services.

    1. Hey Al,

      First off, Foxit is from China, not that being from China concerns me all that much. However, it also has a checkered past: some time back the developers started bundling the Ask Toolbar, Open Candy (advertising module) and the browser hijacking-malware Conduit with the installer (all very nasty stuff). Foxit was also caught out transmitting users’ data to remote servers based in China. I believe it has since cleaned up its act but the trust factor remains problematic. I certainly would not recommend it, based on its nefarious history alone.

  5. Nice choices!
    And if you ever decide to add a clipboard manager to your list, be sure to investigate CLIPDIARY.

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