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Get five free Windows programs from Ashampoo

These productivity tools and utilities have a combined value of $130. The only catch is that you'll get lots of spam from Ashampoo after you register.

Screenshot by Rick Broida

This is an update of a deal from last year. Also, I'm on vacation this week, so deal posts will be few and far between.

Could you use a good tool for sharing and organizing your photos? How about a utility that optimizes Windows? And maybe something that helps with home design?

Software developer Ashampoo is giving away all that and more. Specifically, you can get five Ashampoo programs (Windows) absolutely free. Just enter coupon code ASH-3BGO, click "Get downloads now," and then download whichever program(s) you want.

Your choices are as follows:

  • Burning Studio 2010 Advanced (for CD, DVD, and Blu-ray burning projects)
  • Home Designer (a 3D home-planning tool)
  • Photo Commander 7 (for sharing, organizing, and managing photos and videos)
  • Snap 3 (a screen- and video-capture utility)
  • WinOptimizer 6 (a Windows tuning, maintenance, and optimization utility)

Important: When installing the programs, uncheck any extras Ashampoo tries to slip in there, like the Ashampoo Toolbar. Also, after installation, you should be immediately taken to a Web page where you'll enter your e-mail address to receive a registration key. (That was my experience with the two programs I grabbed.) YMMV, but, please, don't e-mail me that "These are only trial versions!" They're not. If you're seeing a message like that, it just means you haven't completed the registration process.

Why is Ashampoo once again giving away software with a combined value of about $130? To build brand awareness, no doubt, but also to get your e-mail address: After the last time I took advantage of this deal, I got a deluge of promotional e-mail from the company. (Thankfully, it's easy to unsubscribe.)

Also, the last three products on the list are not the latest versions (i.e. there's already a Photo Commander 8, a Snap 4, etc.), so the company is hoping you'll pay to upgrade.

I have no problem with that. In fact, I'd like to see more software companies give away earlier, discontinued versions of their products. Otherwise it's just wasted code, right? (I'm looking at you, Microsoft. You'd earn an awful lot of goodwill by giving away, say, Office 2003.)

I'm not sure when this promotion is scheduled to end, so if you want to stock up on some or all of these freebies, get 'em while you can.

Bonus deal: Speaking of freebies, Amazon is currently offering five free business books for your Kindle (or Kindle app). Some really good stuff there for anyone who owns a business--or aspires to. Two top picks: "The Lazy Project Manager" and "Marketing in the Moment."