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Five killer software freebies you've (probably) never heard of

These lesser-known programs offer great features for a truly unbeatable price.

Rick Broida

I don't know about you, but I'm getting a little spoiled by all the free software out there. Seriously, I feel for the developers working hard to make a buck when there's so much good freeware. Like these five gems, all of which I use almost daily and love dearly:

  • CrossLoop - Need remote access to another PC? It's hard to find a simpler solution than CrossLoop. Just run the small client app on your system, then instruct the friend/grandma/user at the other end to do likewise. Presto: You're connected, able to see and control the other PC and even transfer files.
  • Revo Uninstaller - If you routinely install and uninstall new programs, ditch Windows' crappy uninstaller and use Revo instead. It works faster and removes all traces of the selected program, leaving behind no system-clogging Registry debris, icons, etc.
  • SyncToy - One of Microsoft's little-known XP/Vista PowerToys, SyncToy offers soup-to-nuts folder synchronization between networked PCs. It's not particularly well-documented, nor does it come with technical support, but I find it indispensable.
  • Windows Live FolderShare - Another little-known Microsoft jewel, this free service not only keeps folders in sync between two or more non-networked computers (like, say, your home and work PCs), but also lets you share files with others and access them remotely.
  • Xobni - Best. Outlook add-on. Ever. Xobni can automatically extract names and phone numbers from e-mail messages, search e-mail in a flash, thread your e-mail conversations, and analyze your e-mail to provide all kinds of useful information.

Okay, your turn: What lesser-known freebies did I leave off the list? Hit the Comments and list your favorites.