Once you use Gizmo's to find the best freeware for your purposes, you need to download it from somewhere. Generally, I recommend that you use the software developer's site but that is not always possible. In that case, you have to go to one of the many repositories of freeware to be found on the web.
Here I list six of the largest and best. The ranking is subjective so keep in mind that your personal experience may be different. There are a lot of download sites and you may know of one worth a mention. Let us hear your ideas in the comments.
Special warning: The practice of bundling adware or other unwanted additional applications with freeware has become widespread. Please exercise vigilance about what you click on and read all screens carefully during the download and installation process of any freeware. More about this problem is here.
[Doakio Editor's Note: This article was restored from Gizmo's Freeware archives as a service to the freeware community. Gizmo's Freeware provided high-quality, volunteer freeware reviews for decades. They shut down in July of 2021.]
FileHippo Offers a wide collection of clean software with fast download rates
More Specialized Sites
In addition to the generalized sites with freeware of many sorts, there are numerous places with freeware in specific categories. Here are some of my favorites.
- NirSoft Developer Nir Sofer has created a large assortment of small useful utilities for helping with many of the tasks of managing Windows systems. A treasure-trove of useful free apps can be found on his site.
- Free Microsoft Downloads The Microsoft site is full of free stuff but finding it isn't always easy. Fortunately, there is a an article here at Gizmo's that tells what there is and where to find it.
- Last Freeware Version If one of your favorite programs has gone commercial, you may be able to find the last free version at this site. Some of the things there are so old that they won't work on more recent versions of Windows so be careful about what you try.
- OldApps.com A place to find free older versions of many applications. A Website of the Week selection.
- The Portable Freeware Collection Do you like programs and utilities that don't have to be installed and can be run from anywhere? Then head over to this site for a big selection of portable freeware.
Special note about Cnet/Download.com
These two sites are just different faces of the same site, which is the the biggest collection of software on the web. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend it unless there is no other option. The site is laden with misleading ad download links and often requires you to install their proprietary downloader. This downloader is not only unnecessary but also intrudes into your privacy. See our information page at this link.