Update 02.12.11 - My guide for a free and awesome Windows 7

My guide for a free and awesome Windows 7

image: win7-klein

For a more detailed guide visit:

1. Security

Comodo Internet Security Suite includes a very lightweight Anti-Virus & Firewall aswell as the best (if not the best) HIPS and proactive security. It was tested in serveral tests against 0-day malware and was rated as the best product. Comodo is on the first place in the matousec.com tests for years already. Besides that it is free and very lightweight. The AV uses even less ressources than MSE (which was together with Comodo Free Firewall my previous choice). It offers alot of options to customize it for all your needs but at the same time it is very user friendly (every tab/window in Comodo has a little "What do these settings do?" button which explains all settings very detailed).

See more in the "Windows Tweaks" section.

EMET is a run-once program (every program you want to protect with EMET will load a small emet.dll when running that program.. EMET.exe itself won't run in the backround) that forces programs to adhere to security standards / protocols. It's essentially a system hardening tool aimed at protecting you from certain types of attack methods.

For more information read this:

Mostly your ISP's standard DNS sucks like hell. No malware & phishing blocking and often the speed is slower compared to others. Since ClearCloud is down I would suggest Norton DNS. Simply go to your network adapter (network and sharing center, left site: Change adapter settings, then right click your adapter) properties, open the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) settings and for the DNS-Server use the following IP`s:

Norton DNS offers malware & phishing protection (so it will prevent you from loading links with malware & phishing sites) but won't block any sites with inappropriate content.

KeePass isn't just a perfect tool to save all your passwords (and syncs them for you on all your devices via your dropbox/ftp/sftp/what-ever) but also replaces pretty much every not-so-secure built-in password managers in your browser,ftp-client,messenger,... I open KeePass, choose the ftp-folder, right click an entry -> open and Filezilla will start and automatically logs into the ftp account without having any data/information saved in Filezilla. Same with putty. I also use KeeFox (and addon for KeePass which replaced LastPass on my sytem). It completely replaces the browser built-in password manager. As KeePass 2.x also support synchronisation I will always have my passwords on every computer without paying anything.

Some very good scanners in case you got infected/feel like you are infected:
1. Malwarebyte´s Anti-Malware
2. AVZ - Antiviral Toolkit
3. Dr.Web CureIT
Some usefull tools to find out if some malware got onto your pc:
1. CurrPorts (shows all open connections and their process. Similiar to netstat but with a nice gui)
2. TCPView (shows all open connections and their process. Similiar to netstat but with a nice gui)
3. Process Explorer (Shows all information about a running process)
4. Secunia PSI (Checks for security problems and old software)
5. Filehippo Update Checker (Checks for old software)

2. Browser,Mail,Messenger,RSS

I think everyone knows enough about it. Here are some add-ons I like alot:
Adblock Plus (Filters: Malware Domains, EasyList Your_Country_Here + Easylist, EasyPrivacy)
Adblock Plus Popup
AutoPager (automatically adds the next page e.g. in a forum when you come close to the end of the site)
Download Statusbar (Shows a little statusbar when downloading something.. so instead of a pop-up window you get a statusbar)
DownloadHelper (Lets you download all flash videos, music,...)
DownThemAll! (Just in case you want to download a whole folder with 7800 files)
Extended Statusbar (Gives plenty of information when loading a page)
FcChrome (Lets you decide what should be in the context menu of Firefox)
Flagfox (Shows in which country the server is)
Flashblock (won't load flash plugins on a site until you allow it or whitelist the page)
FoxyProxy Standart (Lets you easily switch between proxys)
Greasemonkey (Scripts: FFixer, Google Image Relinker Mod, Show Just Image 2, Unfriend Finder, YousableTubeFix)
HistoryBlock (won't show certain sites in the history/adress bar -> no more youporn getting displayed when writing "you" for youtube :P)
HTTPS-Everywhere (will use https automatically instead of http on some sites)
HTTP-Finder (will notify you when there is https available and lets you automatically add it to HTTPS-Everywhere)
IE View (Right Click -> open site in Internet Explorer)
KeeFox (a KeePass plugin + Firefox addon. Safer than storing passwords in Firefox. You can also sync all your passwords an all your devices - Windows,Mac,Android,iOS - with your own ftp/sftp/dropbox/... )
Redirect Remover
StartupMaster (Wont let you start Firefox without the right password)
Stylish (Firefox 4 About:Blank Glass, Transparent DL-Manager -> check below (part 6.) for code)

Adblock Plus (Filters: Malware Domains, EasyList Your_Country_Here + Easylist, EasyPrivacy)
British English Dictionary
Lightning (Calender inside Thunderbird)
StartupMaster (Wont let you start Thunderbird without the right password)

Windows Live Messenger 2009 (I prefer it over the 2011)
Pigdin (for ICQ,Yahoo,Xfire,....)

NNScript is dead and often won't work with the new mIRC 7.x. I found nbs-irc to be even better than NNscript and I think it was the first script that got updated for mIRC 7.x.

After several programs & tests I will use:

If you want a program I would recommend: FeedDemon or RSSBandit.

3. Working, Archives, FTP, Remote Desktop, CD burning & mounting, Video & Audio, Picture editing

Free, way more features than MS-Office and also more lightweight.

Adobe Reader is too heavy, Foxit PDF Reader is too buggy... PDF-XChange Viewer is just awesome !

For coding and pretty much everything "notepad" related I use and love this tool. I also use it to replace the standard notepad.exe.

Its free, its the fastest and most lightweight archiver you can get and it support all kinds of formats. I have been using WinRAR for ages. Then searched for a free solution and tried Izarc.
It didn't have as much options as WinRAR and so I moved on to 7-Zip. It really has everything that WinRAR has but at the same time it's more lightweight, faster, has a better compression rate and is free.

For everything FTP related.

Pretty useful. You can control your PC with iPhone / Android. So lets say you are at work and want to download something. Your PC is running at home.. just connect to it via TeamViewer and start the download.

In my opinion its the best free burning solution you can get. Offers all the features of Nero and other known programs but is free.

To mount e.g. .iso files.

The Mega Pack with "Lots of Stuff and MPC" lets you play everything. Even on low resource systems you can watch high quality movies. Be sure to select the "MEGA" pack when downloading.

Lightweight, ALOT of features and the sexiest gui of all audio players.

image: foobar

foo_ac3.dll (2010-09-07 12:10:58 UTC)
AC3 decoder 0.9.5
foo_adpcm.dll (2010-10-23 20:54:44 UTC)
kode's ADPCM decoders 1.9
foo_albumlist.dll (2011-02-27 19:42:12 UTC)
Album List 4.5
foo_cdda.dll (2011-02-27 19:42:04 UTC)
CD Audio Decoder 3.0
foo_converter.dll (2011-02-27 19:41:48 UTC)
Converter 1.5
foo_dsp_skip_silence.dll (2009-01-05 18:44:30 UTC)
Skip silence 0.1 (SSE)
foo_dsp_std.dll (2011-02-27 19:42:22 UTC)
Standard DSP Array 1.0
foo_dumb.dll (2011-03-19 17:00:58 UTC)
DUMB module decoder
foo_fileops.dll (2011-02-27 19:40:50 UTC)
File Operations 2.1.3
foo_flv.dll (2011-03-19 17:15:59 UTC)
Flash Video Decoder 0.9.3
foo_freedb2.dll (2011-02-27 19:40:56 UTC)
freedb Tagger 0.6.3
foo_input_adplug.dll (2011-03-19 17:00:58 UTC)
AdPlug 1.39
foo_input_alac.dll (2011-03-19 17:00:58 UTC)
ALAC Decoder 1.0.7
foo_input_avs.dll (2009-07-30 16:04:24 UTC)
AVS input 0.2
foo_input_dts.dll (2010-09-03 10:18:04 UTC)
DTS decoder 0.3.0
foo_input_ht.dll (2009-08-16 14:16:42 UTC)
Highly Theoretical 2.0.10
foo_input_hvl.dll (2011-03-19 17:01:00 UTC)
Hively Tracker decoder 1.6
foo_input_monkey.dll (2011-03-19 17:01:00 UTC)
Monkey's Audio Decoder 2.1.5
foo_input_qsf.dll (2011-03-19 17:00:58 UTC)
Highly Quixotic 2.0.19
foo_input_shorten.dll (2009-11-15 20:46:36 UTC)
Shorten decoder
foo_input_std.dll (2011-02-27 19:41:24 UTC)
Standard Input Array 1.0
foo_midi.dll (2011-03-19 17:01:00 UTC)
MIDI synthesizer host 1.131
foo_psf.dll (2011-03-19 17:00:58 UTC)
Highly Experimental 2.0.22
foo_rgscan.dll (2011-02-27 19:41:56 UTC)
ReplayGain Scanner 2.0.9
foo_runcmd.dll (2010-01-07 18:32:34 UTC)
Run Command 1.1
foo_ui_columns.dll (2009-08-30 15:21:36 UTC)
Columns UI
foo_ui_std.dll (2011-02-27 19:42:12 UTC)
Default User Interface 0.9.5
foo_uie_albumart.dll (2007-12-15 22:22:24 UTC)
Album Art Panel
foo_uie_albumlist.dll (2009-06-13 16:49:18 UTC)
Album list panel 0.3.5
foo_uie_biography.dll (2010-09-19 20:52:16 UTC)
Biography View
foo_uie_elplaylist.dll (2010-10-30 19:51:16 UTC)
foo_uie_graphical_browser.dll (2009-08-23 13:26:46 UTC)
Graphical Browser rev014
foo_uie_lyrics2.dll (2010-04-12 19:19:24 UTC)
Lyric Show Panel 2
foo_uie_panel_splitter.dll (2009-12-09 23:16:12 UTC)
Panel Stack Splitter
foo_uie_playlists_dropdown.dll (2009-09-23 22:44:46 UTC)
Playlists Dropdown 0.7.6
foo_uie_quicksearch.dll (2007-05-17 23:31:10 UTC)
Quick Search Toolbar 2.8l
foo_uie_textbox.dll (2009-03-26 21:49:28 UTC)
Textbox 0.0.7
foo_uie_vis_channel_spectrum.dll (2008-05-18 02:02:12 UTC)
Channel Spectrum panel 0.17.2
foo_unpack.dll (2011-02-27 19:41:36 UTC)
ZIP/GZIP/RAR Reader 1.6
foo_unpack_7z.dll (2010-12-10 20:23:24 UTC)
7-Zip reader 1.5
foo_unpack_lha.dll (2009-08-12 20:17:20 UTC)
LHA reader 1.4
foo_unpack_unix.dll (2010-12-10 20:23:24 UTC)
Unix archive reader 1.5

Best free alternative solution to Adobe Photoshop.

4. Other useful stuff

Lets you make your desktop even more sexier.

image: desktop-win7-new

Free and at the same time it has all the features of VMWare. You can even open VMWare OS-Sessions with it.

Lets you crypt any file/folder you want.

Cleans the system and is probably the only program with an good registry cleaner.. however, cleaning registrys isn't needed at all and could be more of a curse than a blessing.

Lets you restore already deleted files. Free as always.

I prefer uTorrent because it's the most lightweight and most supported torrent program I know. Newer versions of uTorrent often aren't supported on private trackers (Torrentleech,Bitsoup,Bitfactory,..). uTorrent 3.x also uses much more ressources than uTorrent 2.x or 1.x.

I have made a custom uTorrent.exe which mainly is the 2.2.1 (build 25534) uTorrent.exe but without any "home-calling". Some people say that uTorrent started to add some home-calling and spying stuff with version 1.6.1 (build 490) (thats the reason why many 2.x and 3.x uTorrent clients are banned on private trackers). I removed everything spy & home-calling related (not even the "go to uTorrent forum" buttons work anymore) and uploaded it uncompressed & compressed:

For me, the uncompressed file needs less ressources.

Why not sticking with 1.6.1 (build 490) ? Some private trackers say its the best uTorrent version.. other priv. trackers completely banned it. uTorrent 3.x needs way too much ressources.. so 2.2.1 (build 25534) is the latest lightweight uTorrent version as well as I found it to be supported on more trackers than 1.6.1 (build 490).

So I recommend: My non-spy uTorrent.exe 2.2.1 (build 25534) or the uTorrent.exe 1.6.1 (build 490)

Copy/Paste 7800 1-click-hoster links (e.g. rapidshare) and it will download them automatically one by one.

An all in one solution with Mumble,TS2,TS3 and all versions of Ventrilo.

Lets you convert all kind of files. E.g. downloaded videos from youtube into .mp3.

Probably the only tool which isnt free (it has a 30 day trial). The best tool for multiple screens.. I prefer it much more than UltraMon or anything else. Full version costs ~20€.

So that's pretty much all you would need as a standard user who is running Windows 7. All that software is free (except DisplayFusion) and pretty much the best pick of its category.

5. Windows tweaks

Probably the best security solution on windows 7. And no it is not annoying. UAC only prompts when running a setup file or when you try to change some sensitive data. And in that case you just type in the Admin´s password and press "Enter". When using it at max. level and a standard user UAC will prevent any malware from doing something bad unless you allow it when UAC asks. From my list of programs above, there is no program which asks for admin rights when starting it (only when installing it). And no well-coded program should need admin rights anyway. So whenever UAC gives you a prompt be careful.

Change the time windows needs to display the thumbnail when moving the cursor over a program in the taskbar.

WinKey + R -> regedit -> enter
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Mouse
Modify "MouseHoverTime" (25 is a good value)

WinKey + R -> msconfig -> enter
Select "Boot" Tab -> Advanced Options -> Numbers of processors -> select the amount of cores your have.
In "Boot" Tab check "Make all boot settings permanent".
Apply and you are done.

WinKey + R -> msconfig -> enter
Select "Startup" Tab
On my system the only programs I have checked are:
Microsoft Security Essential
Java Update Scheduler



Lets you change the backround of the log on screen.

- Added KeePass
- Replaced LastPass with KeeFox (Plugin for KeePass / addon for Firefox)
- Fixed uTorrent download link
- Added my edited (removed spy/home-calls) version of uTorrent 2.2.1 (build 25534)
- Seems like some admin deleted the Adobe Photoshop & GIMP part without telling me? I added the GIMP part (legal) again
- Replaced RSSBandit with google.com/reader
- Added Norton DNS for more security
- Added mIRC 7.x and replaced NNscript with nbs-irc
- After several tests I now recommend and use Comodo AV instead of MSE. So basically remove MSE and upgrade Comodo Free FW to Comodo Internet Security Suite
- Added uTorrent 1.6.1
- Added EMET 2.1 to the security list
- Added Process Explorer to the security list
- Updated Firefox addons (https-everywhere, https-finder, HistoryBlock, Flashblock, Adblock Plus Popup)
- Added GIMP as free and legal replacement of Photoshop CS5
- Added a second method to get Photoshop CS5 for free
- Updated foobar2000 component list & Firefox addons
different type of tutorial but interesting and i'll probs go through the links over the next week days/weeks
it took me a long time to replace every non-free/paid software with something free which is better or at least comparable. So yesterday i replaced the last non-free software on my system and found that there is for everything a free solution. and mostly they are even better (7-zip, comodo free firewall, mse, openoffice, foobar, ...) . I thought people should know that.

So maybe that "tutorial" is going to help some people at choosing what software to use and safes them some money :)
only thing i don't like is the CS5 thing coz thats illegal really
true.. but i couldn't find a program to fully replace photoshop for free and legal :/ if you can recommend something let me know.

i tried paint.net , gimp, picasa but nothing was comparable.
GIMP > photoshop apart from 1 or 2 things like macros

but thats a personal choice and it took me 2 years to reach it
well actually i´m a noob at photo editing.. i just use it to improve some camer shots (remove blur and other simple stuff).

maybe i will give gimp another try :) will add gimp to the tutorial too !
ah ye there is one main thing why i didnt like gimp and prefered photoshop cs5.

when re-sizing images (especially when making images bigger) the quality with gimp is way worse than with photoshop. i even made a thread about this in the gimp forum but no one could help me out.
I'd add Tab Mix Plus to Firefox add-ons, really useful
really good tutorial, gonna check that foobar skin :)
<insert name of random linux distro here>
use whatever repository your distro came with...

Awesome dude, well done!
I can straight away say that I use more than half of the things that you already recommended. Good job ;)
WLM is resource sucking tool.... amsn beats it in every aspect
when i tried it, i wasn't able to go webcam chat with someone who had WLM? Can you test that out and lmk?
@edit: WLM is running for 2 days and atm uses 13 MB RAM
worked for me :o , configration proper?

WLM is personally messy for me :)))

/e gonna jack some foobar addons from you , mines looks too default -:/
hmm will try out amsn later again (it was ages ago when i tried it) to see if it works fine & uses less ressources than WLM :)
hmm amsn seems to be dead? last update was in 2010 ? :S
pidgin can also be used for xfire with gfire.
"no more youporn getting displayed when writing "you" for youtube" hahaha so true
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