CNET Download.com served up more than a billion software downloads in 2010, and the 10 products listed below made a huge contribution to that delivery load. To recognize those software programs that have dominated the Most Popular list for this year, we've compiled the total download counts for the products in the Download.com catalog in the year 2010, and we've ranked the top-10 biggest, for both Windows and Mac.
One notable program not on the list deserves mention. The popular file-sharing program LimeWire has been a staple of the Most Popular list for several years, but the controversial software met its end in 2010. Amid legal pressures and a court injunction, the LimeWire service shut down October 26, apparently for good. Although LimeWire saw enough downloads to be considered a Top 10 Download of 2010, we have removed it from the list based on its end-of-life status.
Software publishers who receive the Top 10 Download of 2010 distinction will have the privilege of displaying their accomplishments to the world with a special badge designed to commemorate the achievement. Look for this badge around the Web.
From free security tools to innovative screen-sharing apps and Web video software, this year-end list of the most popular Windows software on our site packs a mighty collective punch. Learn more about the top-10 biggest downloads of the year and download them yourself, and find out at the bottom which honorable mentions barely missed the cut.
No. 10: Camfrog Video Chat
Launched in 2003, Camfrog Video Chat has pioneered a number of innovations in instant messaging over the past decade. Camfrog users can chat with text, audio, and/or video, and can directly share picture files of up to 100MB. Most distinctively, Camfrog lets users join thousands of public chat rooms to chat and interact with other people.
Camfrog Video Chat received 14,155,432 downloads in 2010, making it the 10th most popular Windows software on CNET Download.com.
No. 9: TeamViewer
This screen-sharing and file-transferring utility makes it easy for you to cede control of your screen to a helpful IT assistant anywhere in the world...or take over Uncle Bob's computer to clean it after he loads up 39 forms of adware. Logging in to TeamViewer gives you access codes and passwords that let you easily set up a shared connection for remote support, presentation, file transfer, or VPN. Completely free for personal use, the program vaulted up the Most Popular list in 2010 and may be headed for an even higher rank next year.
TeamViewer received 15,722,955 downloads in 2010, making it the ninth most popular Windows software on CNET Download.com.
No. 8: WinRAR
What's a RAR file, you ask? Well, it's a roshal archive file, of course. Originally developed in 1995, Eugene Roshal's compression software, WinRAR, has emerged from back channels in recent years to become the most popular archiving software on the site. The term "WinRAR" has even become Internet slang for "winner." The RAR file became popular with multimedia users for its better compression ratio for certain music and photo file types, and the shareware WinRAR application itself has evolved into full-featured archive software. Despite the explosion in popularity, WinRAR is still developed by Eugene Roshal. His brother Alexander runs the business side of Win.rar GMBH.
WinRAR received 19,431,244 downloads in 2010, making it the eighth most popular Windows software on CNET Download.com.
No. 7: Advanced SystemCare Free
Formerly known as Advanced WindowsCare, this suite of utilities from IObit offers scads of options for clearing out the detritus that can accumulate on Windows machines. Registry cleaning was the original focus of the app, but the program also removes other junk files and detects and removes spyware. A particularly helpful feature for some is Smart RAM, which lets users monitor and manage their RAM usage. The program also lets users scan for hijacked Windows settings, and the premium version adds scheduled scans to the mix.
Advanced SystemCare Free received 19,544,950 downloads in 2010, making it the seventh most popular Windows software on CNET Download.com.
Originally released in 1999, Lavasoft's Ad-Aware software has achieved an indelible presence on the Download.com site, immediately attracting users with its straightforward approach to detecting and removing adware. The flagship software was No. 1 on CNET Download.com's Most Popular list for a good while in the 2000s. The platform has expanded in recent years and now offers three main versions of its original protection--Ad-Aware Free Internet Security, Ad-Aware Pro Internet Security, and Ad-Aware Total Security--as well as variants for businesses and gamers.
Ad-Aware Free Internet Security received 20,375,957 downloads in 2010, making it the sixth most popular Windows software on CNET Download.com.
No. 5: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
As the new kid on the security block, Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware has made a big splash in a short time. Released in January 2008, the free software has already become one of the "go-to" tools of savvy Windows users. It was designed to find malware and rogue software that other security programs often miss, and based on its growing user base and adoption as a backup security service, it seems to be very successful so far. Comprehensive definition files and speedy, accurate scans kept the program in the top 10 of the Most Popular list for most of the year.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware received 25,799,006 downloads in 2010, making it the fifth most popular Windows software on CNET Download.com.YouTube Downloader
It may not look like much, but this niche application certainly does what it says on the tin. YouTube Downloader transfers video from the YouTube Web site to your local drive, then converts those videos into formats you can enjoy on your desktop, notebook, iPad, phone, or whatever fancy device you've got that plays video. The program stays in sync with changes to the YouTube service, updating quickly after major site updates. The simple and effective nature of the app has made it a recent mainstay on the Most Popular list.
YouTube Downloader received 30,068,100 downloads in 2010, making it the fourth most popular Windows software on CNET Download.com.Avira AntiVir Personal Free Antivirus
The first product from the big A-list top 3 security apps is Avira AntiVir Free Personal Antivirus. Created in Germany back in 1988, Avira's scheduling features led the way for user customization, and now the program allows users to tweak it even more to get a personal solution that works for them. The Premium version of Avira adds useful features such as e-mail scanning and a Webguard system for detecting malicious Web sites, but tons of users find that the free version suits them fine.
Avira AntiVir Free Personal Antivirus received 42,165,868 downloads in 2010, making it the third most popular Windows software on CNET Download.com.Avast Free Antivirus
The longtime music-player look might be gone, but the reliable protection of Avast antivirus software keeps going strong. Avast has been around for more than 20 years now, and it has been a big user favorite on Download.com for most of those years. Known for providing a strong level of security on Windows machines for free, Avast took on a whole new look in the beginning of 2010 with version 5, along with new community features that take advantage of the power of its huge user base. Through the year, Avast challenged AVG for the top spot on the Most Popular list.
Avast Free Antivirus received 52,648,408 downloads in 2010, making it the second most popular Windows software on CNET Download.com.AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition
AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is the biggest program in the CNET Download.com universe right now, commanding well over a million downloads every week. It has become a ubiquitous presence on Windows machines around the world. AVG started out in Czechoslovakia as a small program from Grisoft named Anti-Virus Guard, and it has slowly and surely become one of the global leaders in the security industry. Although it has a bevy of worthy competitors in the security category, AVG reigned supreme in 2010 and shows little signs of slowing down.
AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition received 84,317,112 downloads in 2010, making it the most popular Windows software on CNET Download.com for 2010.