Freewares are always good even though all the features may not available like paid software. Here is the list of top essential freewares for Windows. This list consist of only the basic, but essential freewares.
1. AVG Anti Virus Free Version: One of the basic need for your Windows, an anti-virus software. AVG AV free version is a good one for this purpose. There are even other free AVs serving this purpose. Click here to get the complete list of free AVs.
2. Open Office.org 2.3: Open Office is an open source free office suite which can be used as a substitute to Microsoft Office. Open Office can also work on multiple platforms. It includes Word Processor, Spread sheets, presentation etc.
3. Firefox/ IE7: A good browser with lot of features and add-on support is required for browsing. Firefox is the best option available now, with 1000s of add-on support. IE7 is also pretty good with tabbed browsing.
4. Winamp 5.52: Winamp is the most popular software for playing songs and the new version has lot of new enhancements and improved interface ans skin. Winamp toolbar for controlling music playback from your browser.
5. 7Zip: 7Zip is an open source software for compressing and extracting files. It has a powerful file manager and supports zip and rar formats. Most of the source code is under the GNU LGPL license.
6. VLC player: VLC is the best player for playing video files of any format. VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, …) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.
7. Adobe Reader: Adobe Reader 8.1 is a free software for viewing PDF files. It also has a variety of tools to view and print PDF formats. It also supports multi platforms.
8. Paint.Net: Paint.NET is free image and photo editing softwarefor computers that run Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools.
There are still more useful freewares, if you feel that any more has to be added to essential list, please share in comments section.