5 free programs you should install on all your Windows, Linux, or Mac computers [Tip]

Recently I was browsing through a list of all of the applications that I use, some of them are not very popular but they are very useful. I needed away to cut-down the list and so I decided to list cross-platform applications only. Each of these apps can be run from the major operating systems including Windows, Mac and Linux, and they are free to use.


Clementine is powerful cross platform music player. It supports a wide range of internet radio stations and it will even stream from Dropbox, SkyDrive (OneDrive) and a few others. Clementine also allows you to manage your iDevices and all for a whopping price of absolutely nothing.

In our tests the application performed very well with a large song library and performance was smooth. Clementine also has a few hidden features for the hackers, you can use a Wii remote to control Clementine (only if to have set it up)

Clementine also has an Android version and remote app, perfect for parties and media centre computers.

Download Clementine (Windows, Linux, Mac)


Plex is a powerful and fully features media centre for Windows, Linux and Mac. Plex has DLNA and cloud sync built-in for you have easy access to all of your devices and share those great pictures up on the big screen. You might be saying to yourself what sets this media centre apart from others and that is a great question with a great answer. Plex offers you a great mobile streaming option and when I say great I mean great. The buffering is minimal and there is little frame drop.

Plex only has one downside and that is some of the feature will require a subscription to access, but the free features and enough

Download Plex (Windows, Linux, Mac, NAS, Roku, Chromecast)


Linux has a great number of applications for managing and editing pictures and by far one of the oldest and best known is DigiKam. DigiKam offers you a great number of features like creating slideshows and calendars from your collection. DigiKam has the ability to handle RAW images and allow custom tagging of all your images for easy management.

DigiKam also offers you a great deal of plugins that allow you to export to Facebook and a few others. You can also create a KML map of where you took all your pictures.

Download DigiKam (Windows, Linux, Mac)


Everyone loves free software, especially free software that allows us to do something useful. LibreOffice is the most commonly used office suite  in the world of freedom-ware.  LibreOffice offices allows you to do quite a lot of impressive things. Yon create and edit advanced math formulae and you can even create posters with the awesome powers of LibreDraw. LibreOffice also has a great add-on framework for even further expansion.

Download LibreOffice (Windows, Linux, Mac)

32c2ca3a-4205-48c9-a970-01192d5d4638Manager (Accounting)

Manager is not quite a replacement for Quicken, but it does offer some great features. Manager makes invoicing and ledger management a snap. This amazing tool can manage your entire client base and all for free. You can easily calculate  GST or other use one of the many other reports available. If you need a tool to replace Quicken (with a few features missing) then this is the tool for you. Manager is a very small install and is very responsive on the slowest of systems.

Download Manager (Windows, Linux, Mac)

Other Software

If you have any cross-platform tools that you use, let us know in the comments below.

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  1. jmjsquared

    [@Bub] I see your point but disagree: When reading a review or article like this, it is refreshing to be offered a clear, unequivocal point of view, even if I don’t agree. I strongly dislike those namby-pamby, noncommittal reviews/articles that leave you wondering what the author really thinks; much like listening to most politicians. ;)

    @Peter – No sweat, guy. Yeah, WSSC is a great tool. My only nitpicking complaint is that their updater takes several days before detecting/offering brand new Nirsoft utilities.

  2. s

    Hello, “jmjsquared”.
    RE: percentage free space;
    15% may be enough for a defragger, but my experience is that at least 25-30% free space is faster than a lesser amount—YMMV, but as in most things computing, more is usually better.
    RE: Page File;
    I’ve been rocking huge page files since Win2k [now win7hp 64bit], & w/ a mini-page file on the C:\ drive & the main one on a separate HDD-current Page File = 34086 MB, [300 MB on C:\, 33786 MB on I:\].
    RE: Privazer;
    Sounds like a goodie, I’ll check it out even tho you directed that to “Henfracar”.
    Thanks much for sharing your insights, much appreciated.

    Have a GREAT day, Neighbor!

  3. jmjsquared

    [@Peter] NirLauncher ABSOLUTELY AND DEFINITELY can include Sysinternal tools. All you have to do is to create a “package” containing whichever individual tool you choose and then include that package in Nirlauncher exactly the same as one does with a Nirsoft package.

  4. Bub

    While I always like program suggestions, I think this article is a bit oversold by claiming that these five are the ones that should be installed on every machine. Sure, everybody will likely want a media player, but there are a number of decent competitors. Dottech’s own review of media players recommends VLC. LibreOffice is great, but many people will have reason to pony up the cash for Microsoft Office, or may find that Google Docs better suits their needs. Likewise, those who don’t want to pay for Quicken may prefer Mint over Manager.

    What we can more-or-less safely say is that everybody is likely to want a good media player, a good photo manager, and a good office suite. Many people will also want a good accounting program. And these five suggestions are worthy contenders for those spots.

  5. Peter

    [@JMJ] I’m not familiar with Apple’s OSX but under Linux I’ve never heard of QTTabBar, Listary, RoboTask (Lite), ProcessLasso, FastStone Capture, Sandboxie, VirusTotal Uploader, NirLauncher (including Sysinternals suite), simply because most of these do not make any sense when running Linux (b.t.w: NirLauncher did never nor will ever include Sysinternals-tools or vice versa).

    GIMP (a not too simple image editor)
    Octave, Scilab, Maxima, PariGP if you want your computer to compute ;)
    VLC Media Player if you prefer a player over a media centre.

  6. jmjsquared

    My pleasure, Neighbor. ;-)

    The only “guide” I’ve used in determining what amount of free space to maintain on a drive comes from the defragmentation softwares I’ve used. All of them, including Diskeeeper (pre-bloat versions and today’s), IOBit, O&O, Auslogics concur that ~15% free space is needed for them to do their jobs properly. How did you arrive at a the very large-sounding 30% ?

    Also, especially if you are on XP, consider moving the Page File to a drive other than C:. That should give you a nice increase in free space.

    My final 2-cents… (for now, anyway [sheepish grin]) : @Henfracar – Comment #2 mentioned Privazer. It does a great job of freeing up disk space similarly to CCleaner. If you try it, beware of its Registry cleaning function which, like all such cleaners, is sooner-or-later going to make a mistake.

  7. sl0j0n

    Thanks much, “jmjsquared”.
    That’s good news, it would get me the media server, & that would be an improvement.
    It still wouldn’t help gain the needed free space on the C: drive, but I can continue that effort independent of the media server install.
    Good idea, much appreciated.

    Have a GREAT day, Neighbor!

  8. jmjsquared

    [@sl0j0n] I’m also exploring @jayesstee’s suggestion which *appears* to focus on migrating Windows XP -to- Vista/7 but why not simply install Plex Media Server on a drive other than C:\ ? A quick peek at their Installation Guide says that is possible.

    They even provide a guide for moving an existing installation to a new location/system. https://plexapp.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/201370363-Move-an-Install-to-Another-System

  9. sl0j0n

    Hello, all.
    There used to be a freeware program [¿Change Of Address, or maybe COA?] that enabled you to move a program to another location [different path] & the program would still function normally.
    This was back in the win9x days, so there may not be a comparable, more modern version.
    I have 2 HDDs, a 500GB ST3500418AS, & a 1000GB ST31000528AS.
    According to Belarc,
    my box has “1504.59 GB Usable Hard Drive Capacity” [including a couple of flash drives],
    & “779.79 GB Hard Drive Free Space”, spread over 10 partitions as follows;

    c: (NTFS on drive 0) * 161.06 GB 42.56 GB free
    d: (NTFS on drive 1) 214 MB 183 MB free
    e: (NTFS on drive 1) 157.23 GB 55.42 GB free
    f: (NTFS on drive 1) 107.39 GB 78.58 GB free
    g: (NTFS on drive 1) 21.48 GB 14.80 GB free
    h: (NTFS on drive 1) 346.82 GB 37.07 GB free
    i: (NTFS on drive 1) 167.62 GB 111.26 GB free
    j: (NTFS on drive 0) 115 MB 90 MB free
    k: (NTFS on drive 0) 338.93 GB 299.87 GB free
    l: (NTFS on drive 1) 199.44 GB 135.85 GB free
    o: (FAT32 on drive N) 4.28 GB 4.11 GB free.

    My rule is at least 30% free on C:\ to maintain “reasonable” system speed.
    I’m now slightly under that standard w/ 27% free, & I’ve already deleted about 13GB.
    I *really* want to try Plex media server, to play computer files on TV.
    I can uninstall OpenOffice, keeping LibreOffice, & free up some more room, but I want to move some programs to k:\ to make room on c:\.

    Any ideas?

    I’m checking out “jayesstee’s” link, w/ one glaring problem; it won’t move a program to a separate drive.

    Thanks all, your suggestions are mucho appreciated.

    Have a GREAT day, Neighbors!

  10. JMJ

    RoboTask (Lite)
    FastStone Capture
    VirusTotal Uploader
    NirLauncher (including Sysinternals suite)

    [@sl0j0n] [@Henfracar] If I understand correctly, OP wants to move some installed, working programs to another drive and have them function exactly as though they were still located at C:Program Files.

    I have never tried to move selected Programs but I have migrated the entire C: drive to another HDD and had everything work exactly as before. Perhaps you could use hddguru.com/software/HDD-Raw-Copy-Tool/ to copy your C: drive to another disk and then point existing program shortcuts to the new location (or create HardLinks to them, if the shortcut method does not work); then simply manually delete whichever folders/files that you do not want located at the new locations AND delete the folders/files from the old/original location for those programs that you intend to keep only at their new locations.

    EDIT: On second thought, my suggestion is amended to have you retain locations of all those folders/files that the currently installed programs rely on; e.g., Windowssystem32; ApplicationData , etc. In other words, I don’t think it would work but will leave my comment for criticism and suggestions.

  11. Henfracar


    If it’s only the programs you need to move why not make your system drive larger, or;
    I have partitioned so that ‘E’ is a 20GB partition which holds all my downloaded software.
    When installing I can browse to ‘E:/Programs/’ or leave as is Typ: ‘C:/Programs/

  12. John Reeves

    I am really interested in a list of (genuinely) portable apps for Windows.

    Some of my friends use public-access computers on which they cannot install programs (sometimes because of no rights, and sometimes because the computer is virtual).

    Probably the easiest way for them to have access to programs is to use portable versions on a USB stick.

  13. sl0j0n

    Hello, Ashraf, & Mr. Leroux.
    GREAT list!
    Now if I could just find a freeware program to move some installed programs to another disk drive, then I’d have room to add *more* PROGRAMS! YYAAAYYYY!

    Have a GREAT day, Neighbors!