The 20 (Mostly Free) Downloads You Can't Do Without

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Online Tools

To use a PC is to live online. To get the most out of your Internet experience, check out these must-haves.


FTP (file transfer protocol), one of the earliest protocols on the Internet, still lives. If you want to send large files, e-mail won't cut it, because so many ISPs limit the size of file attachments. And if you have a Web site, you typically must upload your files to it via FTP.

AceFTP is a very good, free, simple-to-use FTP client, and it'll handle pretty much any basic file-transfer job. Creating new connections and sites is easy, and browsing local and remote directories is a breeze. The program has a log for tracking your file-transfer activity. Also useful is the tabbed interface, which lets you maintain multiple FTP sessions on multiple servers.

Download AceFTP

Download Accelerator Plus

If you're reading this article, you're a downloader. And if you're a downloader, this program--which manages every aspect of the download process--will make your life much easier. It can do multiple downloads simultaneously, and it can turn individual download sessions on and off. The program accelerates your downloads in two ways, by downloading from the fastest servers and by establishing multiple connections to servers.

The utility can resume downloads if you lose your connection. It offers plenty more, as well, such as a feature that lets you limit the amount of bandwidth for downloads. Most convenient: It integrates with your browser, so when you initiate a download as you do normally, by clicking a link, this program springs into action.

Download Accelerator Plus


Despite what you might have heard, file sharing is alive and well. These days, it's done via the very efficient BitTorrent protocol. But while the BitTorrent protocol is effective and popular, the BitTorrent client leaves much to be desired.

Instead, grab BitZip, an excellent freebie that uses the protocol to download files. It does everything you need, including managing your downloads, halting and resuming them, and getting recommendations from other users about what files to download. You can also find lots of information about each file before downloading it, such as where you're downloading it from.

Download BitZip

CoffeeCup HTML Editor

If you create Web pages, you need a good HTML editor, and this program fits the bill. It's suitable for hard-core coders who want to create and edit code directly, but also for people who want a WYSIWIG, graphical interface. An all-in-one program, it lets you design, code, preview, and publish your pages.

CoffeeCup has plenty of features for both novices and advanced users, including templates and sample code, and a slew of widgets such as prebuilt calendars. You also get multiple tabs for working on several projects at once, and a visual editing tool that lets you easily place graphics onto a page, directly from your PC.

Note: Advertisements are parked along the top of the free version, and the program asks you to sign up for various added services. If you register for $50, they'll disappear.

Download CoffeeCup HTML Editor (trial version)


Instant messaging programs aren't only for kids and teens--they've made their way into the mainstream as well. They have one problem, however: They don't communicate with one another. If you want to exchange messages with people on AIM, MSN, Yahoo, and other IM services, you have to use multiple programs.

Or you could instead use this freebie, a universal instant messenger that communicates with all of those networks. It does a lot more, too, including letting you share files, pictures, and music with others, as well as place audio and video calls.

Download Qnext

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