Here are a number of free and open-source programs designed to replace mainstream programs. These generally work faster, have many added features, and generally operate with less issues.

*Software performance and compatibility may act different between computers based on hardware or other installed software.

  • Firefox: Link
    • Replaces: Internet Explorer / AOL
    • Developer: Mozilla
    • Compatibility: Win98, WinXP, Vista, Win7, OSX
    • Reasons to Switch: Faster initial load, faster browsing, countless useful add-ons, much better internal security.
  • Foxit Reader: Link
    • Replaces: Acrobat Reader
    • Developer: Foxit Software
    • Compatibility: WinXP, Vista, Win7
    • Reasons to Switch: Faster and better compatibility with web browsers.
  • Pidgin: Link
    • Replaces: AOL Instant Messenger, MSN IM, Yahoo IM, Myspace IM, Meebo.
    • Developer: Open-Source
    • Compatibility: OSX, WinXP, Vista, Win7
    • Reasons to Switch: Support for 15+ IM protocols simultaneously, allows for multiple accounts to be signed on simultaneously, numerous plugins available including threaded chat logging and spam bot blocking. Low profile, takes up half the memory of AIM by itself.
  • ImgBurn: Link
    • Replaces: RecordNow, Roxio, Nero
    • Developer: Lightning UK
    • Compatibility: WinXP, Vista, Win7
    • Reasons to Switch: 3 click burning for CD images, fast and easy data disk burning. *NOT meant for audio or DVD burning*
  • VLC Media Player: Link
    • Replaces: Windows Media Player, Quicktime, DVD programs
    • Developer: VideoLAN Team
    • Compatibility: WinXP, Vista, Win7, OSX
    • Reasons to Switch: No security vulnerabilities like WMP, requires no additional plugins or codecs and plays every known filetype, requires less memory to operate.
  • OpenOffice: Link
    • Replaces: Microsoft Office, Corel Wordperfect
    • Developer: Sun Microsystems Java
    • Compatibility: WinXP, Vista, Win7
    • Reasons to switch: Free software capable of reading and creating MS Office documents, simple and familiar user interface (based on Office 2003), fully functional office software suite