I'd like to add Focus Writer to my previous list, I use it all the time now :)
Taking screenshots is quite a hassle with you needing to press it, then open say paint, and then save it /firtworldproblem
This little program however solves that problem and allows you to simply press prtscr and save the screenshot directly. It can do full screen shot, boxed and even allows you to rope cut.
You can actually take a screenshot with your mouse on it. Not that important but it's a feature.
The big plus of this program is that you can configure it to your liking. By default it will pop up a window asking you where and how you want to save it but you can also set it up so that there is now window that pops up when you print screen and that it automatically saves a lossless .png file in a folder somewhere.
There is a lot more that you can do with it but i think that this is a pretty good global overview.
download link: http://www.fiastarta.com/PrtScr/index.html
Here is a video of it in action (with a very odd choice of music... link for those interested )
TuxGuitar- it's an open source version of the popular Guitar Pro program. A tablature and standard notation editor with midi playback. Similar functionality in a cleaner, more efficient design. Lacks a couple features of Guitar Pro but overall I find it very handy. And free is nice.
Programs I use daily:
F.lux- Ever since i heard about this program on tested it's been the best thing I've put on my laptop. It changes the color temperature according to what time of day it is. So warmer at night to replicate a light bulb and cooler during the day to mimic natural light. http://stereopsis.com/flux/
Libre Office- It's a great alternative to Office and it's free. I used to use Open office, but that team left and went on to create Libre Office. Any way it's great. https://www.libreoffice.org/
LastPass- great password keeper, works great and it can generate a real good password for you https://lastpass.com/
CCleaner- Helps clean up crap on your computer like temp. internet files and what not. http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner
Some of the programs already covered so I won't cover the details
Other free software worth mentioning.
These are a few I've stumbled upon that have potential, but can't recommend (yet) due to not spending enough time with them yet.
Google calendar desktop notifier, I use it everyday and it really is invaluable program I use despite the simplicity of it.
Twitter desktop notifier. Much like Atchoo it's simple but invaluable program
Ultra Hal Text to Speech Reader
Text to speech reader. Anything you copy to your clipboard is then read out to you. You can adjust the pitch & speed to your liking. Sometimes I multitask such as read articles while playing a game & I use this.
These are the only program I see haven't been mentioned yet that I would recommend.
Window manegment software that is especially useful if using multiple monitors. You create a short cut key of your choice to quickly go into grid mode where you select the exact size and place you want the window much faster than resizing windows the normal way.
The Free version works fine you just need to wait to click demo each time you boot it up.
This utility, which has the most comprehensive knowledge of auto-starting locations of any startup monitor, shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and shows you the entries in the order Windows processes them.
I use this to disable or delete auto-running programs like iTunes Helper, Adobe Speed Launcher, QuickTime task and all sorts of crap these people think they need.
NetSpeedMonitor is a lightweight Network Monitoring Toolbar for your Windows Taskbar designed to be used on computers that run Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista or Windows 7. With NetSpeedMonitor you can monitor the current speed (up- and downstream) of your Network Interfaces and the amount of data transferred. In addition to the Connection Table with all TCP/UDP endpoints and the Toolbar Tooltip with a quick and short traffic overview, you can also see detailed daily and monthly Traffic Statistics.
It's like having speedtest.net running real-time on your taskbar. It does a bunch more that I don't really use, but check it out. It's a nice little utility.
DeskPins allows you to keep any window on top of others with a few clicks. While many programs offer this as a feature, others do not, and in such cases DeskPins comes handy. In addition, you can also define rules that use the window title (with wildcard support) and can automatically keep any window on top that matches your rules. The `on top` window is marked with a colored pin that can be quickly removed by simply clicking on it, returning the window to its normal state.
Click the system tray icon, click the window you want always on top. Done.
A program that lets you size any window on your desktop you want, down to the pixel.
A free and simple timer that allows you to see how far ahead or behind you are of checkpoints set by you.
Free and easy to use streaming program that allows alot of customization on what on your desktop you can stream
Best coding program in my book.
A great tool for designers and developers.
Been covered on this site and elsewhere. Great e-mail program.