Eight Free Windows 7 Tools You Have to Try

The smartphone marketing phrase "there's an app for that" got me thinking: Isn't there an application for pretty much anything and everything I need on my PC? And aren't those apps typically free? Yes, pretty much.

Here are eight of my recent Windows tools discoveries. Let other readers know the ones you've found in the comments section below.

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Windows 7 tool No. 1: Evernote
This tool is one that even Mac users will appreciate. I've been using Evernote for the past few weeks to take notes. I brought it to Microsoft's campus for the recent MVP Summit, for example, and CEO Steve Ballmer's keynote even included a reference to note-taking applications. OneNote is the main Microsoft app for that purpose, so it's funny that a Microsoft guy like me has taken up the Evernote flag.

I first discovered Evernote for my Android smartphone, and I found that it let me easily add recorded sound, pictures, and videos to my notes, then sync them to my laptop back at the hotel and to my PC at home. In fact, you can capture pretty much anything you see or hear in the notes, and then access the notes from nearly every computer, smartphone, and tablet on the market: Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, and so on. And your notes are searchable. Great job!

Windows 7 tool No. 2: Easy Duplicate File Finder
How many copies of the same picture, file, or video do you have on your PC? In my case, I must have two or three copies of some items, but I have no idea where the extras are. I'm also afraid if delete it in one place, I'll later discover that was my only copy of that particular file -- so I keep adding copies. I also have copies on one external drive after another because I gotta have backups. Easy Duplicate File Finder helps locate all those duplicates quickly and lets you resolve them easily and safely.

Although it's not free, you might consider instead DataStor's $99 Professional Desktop Protection 2010, which both backs up and deduplicates those files on your desktop and any external connected drives.

Windows 7 tool No. 3: FastStone Photo Resizer
When I move pictures off my camera, I know I could (and should) rename them, but I don't do so a lot of the time. With FastStone Photo Resizer, I can rename and resize pictures. Plus, I can add watermarks and text, as well as crop, rotate, and change the color depth of my photos.

If you simply want to rename files, you might try File Renamer Basic instead.

Windows 7 tool No. 4: Desktops
Created by Microsoft engineers, Desktops lets you take better advantage of your monitors by providing as many as four virtual desktops to work with.

In addition, you might like some of the other tools that cocreator Mark Russinovich has developed, including ZoomIt (for an easy zoom teaching application) and BgInfo (to show details about the system right on the desktop with an overlay of text).

Windows 7 tool No. 5: TeamViewer
I stumbled upon TeamViewer at a download site. It's a screen-sharing and file-transfer application that provides remote access to a second computer so that you can help tech-challenged relatives. You can find other tools like this on the market, but TeamViewer is easy to install and work with; plus, it's free.

Windows 7 tool No. 6: ClipTraining
This is my company's tool, but it's worthwhile. ClipTraining has 100 videos (5 hours' worth) on Windows 7 task-based training, plus instructions for Office and other applications.

Windows 7 tool No. 7: AllMyApps
Here's a good idea: Take all the applications you normally need to download and install one by one, but instead, choose them all from one source, then download and install them in one group. AllMyApps has more than 1600 apps available.

Windows 7 tool No. 8: Dropbox
The cloud-based Dropbox tool lets you access its included free 2GB of space (you can rent more if needed) to establish offsite backups and transfer data easily from one system to another. Dropbox is also a great collaboration tool; unlike with an FTP site, you can simply drop a file in the Dropbox folder on your system and have it sync with others to which you've granted access. It works in Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, and other platforms.

There are, of course, many tools available for Windows users. My InfoWorld.com colleagues and I have covered some of them in other stories:

And you may have your own to suggest. Please do!

This article, "Eight free Windows 7 tools you gotta try," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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