We've featured quite a few Windows downloads throughout 2010. Here's a look back at the most popular free applications to help you tweak, customize, and enhance your Windows experience
Photo remixed from an original by Matt Katzenberger
The following applications, like all the articles in our Best Of series, are selected by the amount of traffic each article gathered over the course of the year. Some of the applications are brand new, some are reincarnations of older tools, and some are updates and enhancements to existing applications. Here's a look back at the 16 most popular free Windows applications of 2010.
Soluto tracks your boot time and gives you the break down on what applications are causing hang ups-including grouping them into 'No-Brainger' and 'Potentially Removable' groups for easy weeding.
LookInMyPC is an at-a-glance tool that puts all your system information-in detail-right in front of you. You can find all this information by digging through your computer with various Windows tools, of course, but it's extremely convenient to have everything in one place.
You like the look of Mac OS X but you want to stick with windows-for work, for gaming, for a deep seated sense that Steve Jobs is out to get you. Snow Transformation Pack overhauls the Windows interface to look like OS X. This isn't just a lame icon pack, this is a total transformation.
You wouldn't think it would be so hard to enjoy flash video in full screen on your secondary monitor, but without tools like FlashHacker it's quite a headache. Enjoy South Park in full screen on your extra monitor while working in your primary.
What could make the popular computer cleaning and tweaking application CCleaner even better? CCleaner Enhancer extends the reach of CCleaner by expanding its database of programs and the digital debris they leave behind.
If you love open source apps and you want an easy way to download them in bulk (or introduce a friend to the gift of open source), ZeuApp makes it dead simple to batch download 82 great open-source applications.
Google Map Buddy is a free and portable application with a singular focus: leaching high-res captures from Google Maps. If you've ever wanted to wallpaper your office with a map of the downtown, now's your chance.
Steam Mover is a handy application, originally designed for gamers, that makes it dead simple to move infrequently used applications from your primary drive to a secondary drive. It's not 100% foolproof but it works really well for most applications.
Windows 7 install discs are edition specific-unless you use Ei.cfg. If you've got a valid disc but the wrong edition key you can still use the disc to install the right edition for the key you have. It's an invaluable tool when you've got valid discs, valid keys, but not in matching editions.
ToneCheck is an Outlook plug-in that checks the tone and word selection of your email and warns you before you fire off an email you might regret. Although the idea is promising our testing yielded mixed results-human emotion and intention are, after all, quite difficult for a computer to analyze.
If you're a big fan of the HTC mobile phone interface HTC Home puts the clock and weather widget from HTC phones right on your desktop.
uTorrent is a wildly popular BitTorrent client, earlier this year it updated to version 2.0 and brought a host of new features including bandwidth management, UDP support, and other improvements.
If you love Firefox but you'd like it to be a little snappier, Pale Moon is a Firefox clone optimized for speed. It's a Windows-specific build and it clocks in at 25% faster than a stock Firefox install.
Your hard drive is full again and you're not sure why. Out of control temp files? Overly complete Hello Kitty collection? Disk Space Fan gives you a quick and dirty visual analysis of your hard drive usage. Once you scan a drive you can drill down quickly to see what folders and sub-folders are sucking up what disk space.
There are a lot of video conversion apps floating around. Freemake stands out thanks to a dead simple interface that guides even the greenest video converting newbie through the process without a hiccup. Whether you're converting for your iPod, your cell phone, or burning to a DVD, Freemake has a simple workflow you can follow.
If you're up in the air on which OS you want to run off your thumb drive MultiBootISOs enables multi-boot support on your USB devices. You can load as many operating systems as your thumb drive can hold and select between them at boot.
Have a favorite Windows download from 2010 that wasn't featured here? Just because it wasn't the most popular download of the year doesn't mean it wasn't useful; sound off in the comments to share your favorite download and why it was useful. And while you're in a retrospective mood, you may want to check out the most popular new downloads of 2009 and 2008—still a lot of great ones in there.