software awards 2010

Best software programs for Windows in 2010 by Download3k's Editors

With 2010 already behind us, it's time to award the programs we believe to have been the best in the past year. For this top we have chosen the most common categories where begginers and expert users alike look first when adding essential software programs to their Windows OS.

Without further ado, here are our 2010 Windows software picks, by category:

Best Antivirus Programs

  • Avira AntiVir Personal Free Antivirus (freeware) offers basic protection against viruses, worms, Trojans, rootkits, adware, and spyware that has been tried and tested over 130 million times worldwide.
  • AVG Anti-Virus 9 Free Edition (freeware) is a popular anti-virus and anti-spyware protection tool that provides basic internet security. Includes LinkScanner Active Surf-Shield that checks web pages for threats at the only time that matters, when you're about to click the link.
  • NOD32 Antivirus 32bit (shareware) provides fast, well balanced, state-of-the-art protection against threats endangering your home PC and enterprise systems.
  • Comodo Antivirus (freeware) is the way to get rid of viruses, malware, Trojans, worms, hackers, and other Internet threats from your computer.
↑ back to top

Best Anti-malware Software

  • Spybot Search & Destroy (freeware) detects and removes spyware, a relatively new kind of threat not yet covered by common anti-virus applications.
  • Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware (shareware) is an easy-to-use, simple and effective anti-malware application.
  • Emsisoft Anti-Malware (shareware) is a premium malware scanner to clean and protect your PC from viruses, spyware, trojans, bots, adware and worms.
  • Trojan Remover (shareware) is designed to automatically remove malware (trojans, worms, adware, spyware, etc.) from a PC when standard anti-virus software has either failed to detect the malware or is unable to effectively eliminate it.
↑ back to top

Best Firewalls

  • ZoneAlarm Free (freeware) can barricade your PC with complete and immediate port blocking. And, then runs in Stealth Mode to make your PC invisible on the Internet - if you can`t be seen, you can`t be attacked.
  • Online Armor Personal Firewall Free (freeware) is a powerful Windows Firewall. Provides a blend of usability and hard-wired PC security to ensure a good user experience.
  • Agnitum Outpost Firewall Free (freeware) is a basic Internet protection tool for your Windows-based computer, a good starting point to navigate the Web in a safe way.
↑ back to top

Best System Information Viewers

  • SIW Freeware Version (freeware) is a System Information tool that gathers detailed information about your system properties and settings.
  • System Information Viewer (freeware) is a general Windows tool for dumping lots of useful Windows, Network and hardware info - CPU info, PCI info, USB info, Machine Info, Hardware Sensors, Networked computers, Operating System Information and more.
  • Auslogics System Information (shareware) provides you with computer and Windows details, installed devices, running processes and services, memory and CPU usage and other information.
↑ back to top

Best CD/DVD/BluRay Programs

  • DAEMON Tools Lite (freeware) is an advanced application for Windows which provides one of the best optical media emulation in the industry. DAEMON Tools enables you to convert your physical CD/DVD discs into "virtual discs" so called "images". It also emulated up to 4 virtual CD/DVD drives, so you can mount (insert) and unmount (eject) images.
  • ImgBurn (freeware) can write most types of CD / DVD images and it supports all the latest writers (including booktype / bitsetting on many of the major ones - i.e. BenQ, LiteOn, NEC, Plextor, Sony).
  • Alcohol 120% (shareware) is an emulation software allowing users to play CDs & DVDs without the need for the physical disc.
  • CDBurnerXP Pro (freeware) is a an application to burn CDs and DVDs, including Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs. It also includes the feature to burn and create ISOs, as well as a multilanguage interface.
↑ back to top

Best Audio players

  • foobar2000 (freeware) is an advanced audio player for the Windows platform. Developed by Peter Pawlowski who also worked on Winamp3, it uses a plain and simple UI - no skins, no fuss. Filesize is 200 kb, while in playback mode the player approximately consumes 1.9 Mbyte of your RAM which is so much less compared to Winamp or MS Media Player.
  • Winamp Lite (freeware) is a fast, flexible, high-fidelity media player for Windows. Winamp supports playback of many audio (MP3, OGG, AAC, WAV, MOD, XM, S3M, IT, MIDI, etc).
↑ back to top

Best Video players

  • Gom Player (freeware) is a video/audio player with additional multimedia functions. GOM uses low CPU utilization while giving you the best possible image and subtitle quality and plays incomplete files without buffering.
  • VLC Media Player (freeware) is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework, that plays most multimedias files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD, and various streaming protocols.
↑ back to top

Best Codec packs

  • Windows 7 Codecs (freeware) is an audio and video codec package for Windows 7, an 'out of the box' working solution.
  • K-Lite Mega Codec Pack (freeware) is a collection of DirectShow filters, VFW/ACM codecs and tools needed for encoding and decoding audio and video formats. The K-Lite Codec Pack is designed as a user-friendly solution for playing all your audio and movie files.
↑ back to top

Best Text editors

  • EditPlus (shareware) is a text editor, HTML editor, PHP editor and Java editor for Windows. While it can serve as a good Notepad replacement, it also offers many powerful features for Web page authors and programmers.
  • Notepad++ (freeware) is a free source code editor which supports several programming languages running under the M$ Windows environment. Notepad++ is more than just a great freeware replacement for Notepad.
↑ back to top

Best Browsers

  • Google Chrome (freeware) is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.
  • Mozilla Firefox (freeware) is a small, fast and very easy to use browser that offers many advantages over other web browsers like a popup blocker, tabbed browsing, a smarter search, hassle free downloading, and improved privacy and security.
↑ back to top

Best Compression tools

  • 7-Zip (freeware) is a file archiver with a high compression ratio. Usually, 7-Zip compresses to 7z format 30-70% better than to zip format. And 7-Zip compresses to zip format 2-10% better than most of other zip compatible programs.
  • WinRAR (shareware) is a 32-bit/64-bit Windows version of RAR Archiver, the powerful archiver and archive manager.
↑ back to top

Best Messaging, Chat and VoIP clients

  • Digsby (freeware) is a multiprotocol IM client that lets you chat with all your friends on AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, Google Talk, and Jabber with one simple to manage buddy list. Then you add Email Notifications and Social Networking to it.
  • Camfrog (freeware) is a Free Webcam Chat Software that allows you to join video chat rooms where you can use video, audio or text to socialize online.
  • Ventrilo (freeware) is the next evolutionary step of Voice over IP (VoIP) group communications software. Ventrilo is best known for it's superior sound quality and minimal use of CPU resources.
  • Yahoo! Messenger (freeware) allows you to quickly exchange messages with your online friends. One of Yahoo!'s best product.
↑ back to top

Best FTP clients

  • WinSCP (freeware) is a SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol), FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and SCP (Secure CoPy) client for Windows using SSH (Secure SHell).
  • Filezilla (freeware) is a fast and reliable FTP client with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface.
  • Core FTP LE (freeware) is a secure FTP Client with SSL/TLS, SSH/SFTP, HTTP, HTTPS, IDN, ModeZ, fxp, dragdrop, browser integration, user-friendly interface(s), FTP/HTTP Proxy, Socks 4/5 support and much more.
  • FlashFXP (freeware) is a powerful and easy to use FTP, SFTP, FTPS client for Windows with a familiar Explorer-like interface that even the most novice user can master in minutes.
↑ back to top

Best Download managers

  • DAP (freeware) accelerates your download speed so you can get all your favorite files, applications, and videos as fast as possible. Additionally, DAP features powerful privacy, security, and file management tools letting you download with confidence and flexibility.
  • Internet Download Manager (shareware) accelerates downloads by up to 5 times, schedules downloads, recovers and resumes broken downloads while featuring an adaptive download accelerator, dynamic file segmentation, high speed settings technology, and multipart downloading technology.
↑ back to top

Best Password managers

  • KeePass (freeware) is a free open source password manager which helps you manage your passwords in a secure way.
  • LastPass (freeware) is the last password you will ever need. It makes your web browsing easier and more secure, supports IE and Firefox, allows you to import from every major password storage vendor and export too, captures passwords that other managers won't including many AJAX forms and allows you to make strong passwords easily.
↑ back to top

Best Data recovery program

  • Recuva (freeware) is a new file recovery tool that will unerase files that you have mistakenly deleted from your computer.
↑ back to top

Best Backup programs

  • Acronis True Image (shareware) assures that all your important data, including photos, videos, music, documents and applications, are fully protected and can be recovered quickly in the event of any disaster. Use the intuitive graphical user interface to easily define where you'll be backing up your PC and how often.
  • GoodSync (freeware) automatically analyzes, synchronizes, and backs up your emails, precious family photos, contacts, MP3s, financial documents, and other important files locally - between desktops, laptops, servers, external drives, and Windows Mobile devices, as well as remotely with FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3 servers.
↑ back to top

Best Remote Control Utilities

  • TeamViewer (freeware) is a solution for easy and friendly desktop sharing. You can remote control a partner's desktop to give online assistance or you can show your screen to a customer - all without worrying about firewalls, IP addresses and NAT.
  • Radmin (shareware) enables you to work on a remote computer in real time as if you were using its own keyboard and mouse. You can remotely access the same computer from multiple places and use advanced File Transfer function, multi-user Text and Voice chats, Remote Shutdown and Telnet.
  • VNC (freeware) allows you to view and fully interact with one computer desktop (the "VNC server") using a simple program (the "VNC viewer") on another computer desktop anywhere on the Internet. The two computers don't even have to be the same type, so for example you can use VNC to view a Windows Vista desktop at the office on a Linux or Mac computer at home.
↑ back to top

With so many good programs available it's hard to only pick a few, the very best of 2010. However, you can always count on our Editors' Pick award image as being a marker to our extended list of current software picks and consider those programs highly recommended as well.