This will be the first of an ongoing series on free software that I find I can't live without. Whenever I set up a computer, these are the things I want on it.
Irfanview is right up there. It's free graphics software that lets you do simple display and manipulation of images. Once installed, you can click on any image and display it almost immediately. For that alone, it is well worth having.
But it has some very nice features. The one I use most is resizing of images. Say that picture you took is too big to put on your web page. Irfanview will shrink it down or make it bigger in a couple of mouseclicks.
It also gives file information, and can scan images from a scanner or take screen shots. File conversion is simple and there are some basic filters to let you change the look of the image.
Other programs give you more options, and may be better for professional work, but Irfanview is a must for quick editing of graphic files.