I didn't see this mentioned. Xchat for Windows is free
. The zed version, official now as it may seem on xchat.org, is in violation of the GPL, and you do *not* have to pay to use Xchat for windows. An equally legitimate and open-source version is available at silverex.org
and it's free. The author prefaces by saying "I am making..." but the client is functionally complete, and I have used it exclusively for years without any problems whatsoever.