The Best Windows Software

The Best Windows Software


As a Windows user, you have access to countless free applications. Which ones can you trust and which ones are the best?

Consult this list for ideas and discover apps you didn’t know existed. We’re continuously seeking out the best Windows software for all your needs. Most applications recommended here are free and you can quickly find what you need by browsing the listed programs by category.

Note that some installers pack bloatware


Begin The Fight Back Against Toolbar Installer Bloatware! [Opinion]




Begin The Fight Back Against Toolbar Installer Bloatware! [Opinion]

Recently I had cause to install some free video conversion software and was amazed to find so many attempts to fool me into installing additional software, not to mention attempts to upsell at the end…
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, useless adware that’s pre-selected to install. It’s the bane of freeware. Thus, Unchecky should be the very first app from this list you should install because it can help you catch checkboxes that commit you to downloading and installing bundled apps you don’t need.

Navigation: Antivirus | Malware Removal | Firewalls | Defragging | File Recovery | Uninstallers | Backup & Sync | PC Maintenance | Browsers | Email Clients | Communication Tools | Image Viewers | Image Editors | Audio Tools | Video Tools | Files & Drives | Online File Storage Tools | Text Editing | PDF Tools | Ebooks | Productivity | Optical & Disc Image Tools | Download Tools | Miscellaneous

Antivirus ^

Antivirus software is a cornerstone in protecting your computer


The Best Computer Security and Antivirus Tools




The Best Computer Security and Antivirus Tools

Need a security solution for your PC? Concerned about malware, ransomware, viruses, and intruders through your firewalls? Want to back up vital data? Just confused about it all? Here’s everything you need to know.
Read More

from external attacks. While it shouldn’t be your only protection, it’s important that you install a single antivirus application only! Installing several antivirus tools on the same computer can potentially cause issues, to the point where they lock your computer up.

Panda Free Antivirus

Panda offers a full antivirus, anti adware and anti spyware suite that is light on your computer’s resources. Like any good antivirus tool, it can scan USB devices and protect your web browsing. You can easily disable all of its pop-up reminders. Panda’s 2018 version came out first in AV-Comparatives’ “real world” protection test (December 2017 PDF report). It was the only software with zero compromises.

Download: Panda Free Antivirus (Free)

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Bitdefender features a simple and dark interface with no options overload. The Autopilot mode allows you to “be protected without being bothered.” You get to enjoy the best protection without having to make any decisions yourself. If you want to be completely hands-off with your antivirus protection, Bitdefender should be your #1 choice.

Download: Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition (Free)

Avira Free Antivirus 2018

A Lightweight and solid antivirus package, not just for Windows. Continuously awarded one of the best free antivirus suites by AV-Comparatives, including best overall speed 2016 and product of the year 2016. Security made in Germany. Like all of the antivirus solutions mentioned here, the 2018 version received an Advanced+ rating from AV-Comparatives.

Download: Avira Free Antivirus 2018 (Free)

Avast and AVG Free AntiVirus

Although AVG was aquired by Avast, Avast decided to keep both brands around. Both Avast’s and AVG’s free antivirus software comes with protection for your computer, web, identity, emails, and a firewall. While coming out as one of the best antivirus packages in AV-Comparatives’ “real world” protection test, they once more landed behind competitors like Avira and Bitdefender.

Since both clients are now based on the same antivirus backbone, they expectedly had the exact same test results. This gives you the chance to pick the interface you like best.

Download: AVG AntiVirus Free (Free)

Download: Avast Free AntiVirus (Free)

Do you think Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is missing from this list? It remains a popular tool. However, we strongly advise against using MSE. If you are running Windows 8 or up, use Windows Defender


4 Reasons to Use Windows Defender in Windows 10




4 Reasons to Use Windows Defender in Windows 10

In the past, Windows Defender was overshadowed by other options, but now it’s quite a contender. Here are a few reasons why you should consider dropping your security suite in favor of Windows Defender.
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instead of MSE and complement it with a third-party antivirus tool.

Malware Removal ^

The following tools complement your antivirus application


What Security Software Should You Be Using in Windows 10?




What Security Software Should You Be Using in Windows 10?

Despite being bundled with its own security tool, Windows 10 needs additional software to keep your data secure and make your online experiences safe. But which security software should you choose for WIndows 10?
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. While they might have overlapping features, both with your antivirus and each other, you can install one or more of these programs on a single computer.

Malwarebytes

The Best Windows Software Malwarebytes

The popular anti-malware scanner detects and removes worms, trojans, rootkits, rogues, spyware, and any other malware that infested your PC. If you’re not interested in the premium version, just do nothing after the free trial expires, but remember that you’ll have to manually initiate scans.

Download: Malwarebytes (Free)

Download: Malwarebytes Premium ($51.99 per device and year; steep discounts for more devices)

Spybot Search & Destroy

The Best Windows Software Spybot Version Comparison 670x410

Spybot Search & Destroy’s free version targets spyware only and compliments your main antivirus app. Home and professional versions include antivirus and other advanced features for a small annual fee. Spybot offers an ad-free download via its own mirrors.

Download: Spybot Search & Destroy (Free)

Should I Remove It?

Should I Remove It?

Should I Remove It? scans the software installed on your computer


Know What Software To Uninstall With Should I Remove It?




Know What Software To Uninstall With Should I Remove It?

Here at MakeUseOf, we’ve put out many articles reviewing and highlighting software that allows you to completely and cleanly uninstall applications from your system. One issue many of you run into is not knowing which…
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 and points out adware, bloatware, and other software worth tossing. It draws the information from a database of applications, fed with the wisdom of the crowd, to which you contribute by using the service. If you’re unsure which programs to purge, try this!

Download: Should I Remove It? (Free)

 

Beyond this set of anti-malware tools, you might want to try SUPERAntiSpyware for tricky cases.

Firewalls ^

A good firewall completes your basic security setup.

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall

The Best Windows Software ZoneAlarm 670x421

ZoneAlarm’s free firewall lets you control the traffic to and from your computer and protects you from malicious attacks. As a bonus, you get 5 GB of free online storage space, so you can create a secure backup of your most important data. You can also install ZoneAlarm’s free antivirus.

The pro firewall includes an advanced firewall, identity protection, online backup for your sensitive files, free updates for 12 months, free custom support, and a 30-day money back guarantee.

Download: ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2018 (Free)

Download: ZoneAlarm Pro Firewall 2018 ($24.95 per year for 1 PC or 29.95 for 5 PCs)

Note: This installer comes packed with Yahoo. Click on customize installer in the respective window, so you can deselect the Yahoo default search engine, new tab, and homepage option.

Comodo Firewall

Comodo continues to offer one of the best free firewalls on the market. You can monitor in/out connections and manage traffic on your PC through an intuitive interface. Comodo offers Default Deny Protection (DDP) technology, which ensures that no malicious connection attempt escapes your attention. The free firewall comes with antivirus and anti-malware protection, home network security scanners, easy browser cleanup, auto sandbox technology to isolate untrusted programs, and a game mode.

In addition to its free standalone firewall, Comodo also offers a complete internet security packet that includes additional features, like a silent firewall, anti-spam tools, spyware scanning, and one-click virus scanning.

Download: Comodo Free Firewall (Free)

Download: Comodo internet Security Pro ($39.99 per year)

Defragging ^

Fragmented data can slow your computer down. Defragging restores order on your hard drive. Note that defragging a solid state drive (SSD) can reduce its lifespan.

Piriform Defraggler

The Best Windows Software Defraggler

From the makers of CCleaner comes Defraggler, a portable defragging tool


Defraggler: Better Defragmentation Software For Windows




Defraggler: Better Defragmentation Software For Windows

Alternative defragmentation tools have been mentioned for years and years now, as most people deem the default defragmenter that comes with Windows to be insufficient. There are plenty of different solutions that try to out-do…
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, sporting solid features, paired with a pleasing and intuitive interface. You can benchmark your drive, view a file list and drive map, as well as examine drive health.

Download: Defraggler (Free)

Download: Defraggler Professional ($19.95)

An alternative to Defraggler is IObit Smart Defrag, which is easy to set up and runs in the background.

File Recovery ^

Did you ever wish you could turn back time to recover your lost files? With the following tools, you need neither a DeLorean nor a flux capacitor, a little luck will do. Just remember not to write any data to the disk you wish to recover files from.

Recuva

Recuva

The Recuva wizard can take you through the process of recovering files or you can manually pick drives to be scanned. Designed for intuitive use by the makers of CCleaner. The professional version also includes virtual hard drive support, automatic updates, and premium customer support.

Download: Recuva (Free)

Download: Recuva Professional ($19.95)

TestDisk

TestDisk

This open source tool is considered one of the best applications for recovering lost partitions or making non-booting disks bootable again. It’s operated through a command prompt window but comes with thorough documentation, which will allow even novices to compile information for recovery by a professional.

Download: TestDisk (Free)

To recover photos from digital camera memory, try TestDisk’s open source companion PhotoRec, which can recover a wide range of accidentally deleted files, including photos.

More recommendable applications in this category:

Uninstallers ^

Revo Uninstaller

The Best Windows Software Revo Uninstaller Hunter Mode

Probably the most popular tool in this category. Easy to use and thorough, even comes with a hunter mode that will track down and eliminate programs based on icons or shortcuts on your screen.

The pro version supports forced uninstall, bulk uninstall, extended scanning for leftover files, real-time change monitoring with log files, multi-level backup system, print and export a list of installed programs, and lots more.

Download: Revo Uninstaller (Free)

Download: Revo Uninstaller Pro ($27.47)

Download: Revo Uninstaller Pro Portable ($34.62)

See our review of third-party uninstallers


3 Best Third-Party Uninstallers & Why You Need Them




3 Best Third-Party Uninstallers & Why You Need Them

To uninstall a Windows program, you can’t just hit ‘Delete’ — you need to run the software’s uninstaller. Unfortunately, the ‘Uninstall a program’ option in the Windows Control Panel does not always completely remove it…
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for more details.

IObit Uninstaller

IObit’s Uninstaller sorts all your programs into categories that make it easier to find applications you installed recently, software that takes up a lot of space, or tools you barely ever use. This utility also allows you to quickly get rid of browser toolbars and plugins, and Windows apps.

The Pro version can delete bundled programs and plug-ins, uninstall malicious browser extensions, it features adware removal, 1-click updates for installed programs, free technical support, and more.

Download: IObit Uninstaller (Free)

Download: IObit Uninstaller Pro ($19.99)

Other tools in this category:

Backup & Sync ^

When your computer came with Windows 8 or 10, you don’t need a fleet of backup tools. The latest versions of Windows come with a built-in Time Machine backup


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Did You Know Windows 8 Has a Built-In Time Machine Backup?

We sometimes forget with all the focus on Windows 8’s new “Modern” interface, but Windows 8 has a variety of great desktop improvements. One of them is File History, a built-in backup feature that functions…
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 called File History. And with OneDrive, you can sync files and folders across devices. It never hurts to have alternative backup solutions


6 Safest Ways to Backup & Restore Your Files in Windows 7 & 8




6 Safest Ways to Backup & Restore Your Files in Windows 7 & 8

By now, we’re sure you’ve read the advice over and over: Everyone needs to back up their files. But deciding to back up your files is only part of the process. There are so many…
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though.

Macrium Reflect Free

Free for non-commercial and home use, this backup tool lets you save your disk clone or image to local and network-based storage media. To speed up regular backups and reduce storage space, you can use differential images. Use backup templates to set up scheduled backups without missing key files.

The Home version also packs incremental backups to save storage space, rapid delta cloning and restore for fast disk recovery, file and folder backup, backup encryption, ransomware protection, and more.

Download: Macrium Reflect (Free)

Download: Macrium Reflect Home ($69.95 for one license; 30-day free trial)

FreeFileSync

FreeFileSync

Open source folder comparison and synchronization tool optimized for ease of use. Also available for Linux and Mac and as portable Windows app. We thought it was a better sync tool


Is FreeFileSync Better Sync Software Than Microsoft SyncToy? [Windows]




Is FreeFileSync Better Sync Software Than Microsoft SyncToy? [Windows]

Sync programs make local backups a snap by copying only changed files. Dropbox and other cloud storage systems are great, but they aren’t as fast as a USB flash drive or removable hard drive to…
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than Microsoft’s SyncToy, which has since been discontinued. Be sure to deselect bloatware during setup.

Download: FreeFileSync (Free)

If nags are a no-go, try the following alternatives:

EaseUS Todo Backup

This is a free backup solution that includes a disaster recovery option. The tool can back up files and folders, create an image of the entire operating system, or clone disks to migrate data. Supports comprehensive full backup, incremental backup, and differential backup.

Download: EaseUS Todo Backup (Free)

Alternatives:

More apps in this category:

  • SyncBack supports scheduled backups to an FTP server.
  • Box, an online storage and cross-platform sync solution that includes 10 GB of storage space with a free personal account. File transfers are encrypted with high-grade SSL and stored with 256-bit AES encryption.

PC Maintenance & Security ^

Third-party applications can impact your system’s performance. They can accumulate temporary files and huge caches, launch with Windows and consume resources in the background while getting outdated over time.

PC maintenance tools can help you keep your computer running smoothly on the software side or analyze issues with your hardware. In addition, they can maintain your privacy by removing traces of your PC or online activities.

CCleaner

CCleaner

CCleaner is the PC maintenance gold standard


Optimize Your System To Run At Its Best With CCleaner




Optimize Your System To Run At Its Best With CCleaner

Over the last two years, CCleaner has changed quite a bit in terms of version numbers…up now to version 3.10 at the time of this writing. While visually the program actually hasn’t changed much (it’s…
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. The award-winning optimization tool scores high points all around. Clean junk files, make your browsing safer, or speed up your startup times. If you absolutely have to use its registry cleaner


Don’t Believe The Hype: Registry Cleaners Don’t Make Windows Faster




Don’t Believe The Hype: Registry Cleaners Don’t Make Windows Faster

Much advice has been given on how to keep your computer running smoothly, as well as how to fix it when it has become slow. We have even published a Windows on Speed guide, written…
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, be sure to back up the registry


3 Tools To Monitor & Examine The Windows Registry




3 Tools To Monitor & Examine The Windows Registry

The Windows registry is one of the most poorly understood parts of the Windows operating system. We show you tools that can simplify the registry and help you identify issues.
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first.

The Pro version gets you real-time monitoring, scheduled cleaning, automatic updates, and premium support.

Download: CCleaner (Free)

Download: CCleaner Pro ($24.95, free trial)

Glary Utilities

Like CCleaner, Glary Utilities offers comprehensive PC cleaning utility. The free version includes over 20 tools that can fix PC issues and improve performance with one click.

Download: Glary Utilities (Free)

Download: Glary Utilities Pro (19.97)

PrivaZer

PrivaZer can scan any drive connected to your computer for traces you left while using your computer, including internet cache or cookies, residual deleted files, or useless files. Essentially, it’s a cleanup utility with a focus on your privacy. Available as a desktop and portable application.

Download: PrivaZer (Free)

Similar application:

Speccy

The Best Windows Software Speccy

An advanced system information tool for your PC, made by the creators of CCleaner. The free version provides you with an overview of all your system internals, including your operating system, CPU, RAM, motherboard, graphics, storage, optical drives, audio, peripherals, and your network.

The Pro version adds automatic updates and premium support.

Download: Speccy (Free)

Download: Speccy Pro ($19.95)

Similar tools:

  • CPU-Z (our CPU-Z review


    Learn Everything About Your Computer Specifications With Free, Portable CPU-Z




    Learn Everything About Your Computer Specifications With Free, Portable CPU-Z

    Even if you’re not overly geeky, you probably have a rough idea of how much memory and what sort of processor your computer has. But what about its other statistics? For example, do you know…
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    ) is the best app to gather basic CPU, mainboard, memory, and system data. Watch out for bloatware from CPUID when installing PC-Wizard or CPU-Z.
  • Complement with GPU-Z (our GPU-Z review


    Get To Know Your Graphics Accelerator In Excruciating Detail With GPU-Z [Windows]




    Get To Know Your Graphics Accelerator In Excruciating Detail With GPU-Z [Windows]

    The GPU, or graphics processing unit, is the part of your computer in charge of handling graphics. In other words, if games are choppy on your computer or it can’t handle very high quality settings,…
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    ) for information about your graphics card.
  • Use SpeedFan (our SpeedFan review


    SpeedFan Tells All: A Free Windows App To Monitor Every Aspect Of Your System Temperature




    SpeedFan Tells All: A Free Windows App To Monitor Every Aspect Of Your System Temperature

    Just as shorting a computer out will ruin it, making it run in temperatures it was never meant to take will cause it to malfunction. SpeedFan is a free utility for Windows designed to help…
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    ) to monitor PC voltages, fan speeds, and temperatures.

SUMo

SUMo

Software Update Monitor, short SUMo, monitors your installed software for available updates and downloads them for you. Be sure to deselect the default homepage setting during installation and click Cancel when prompted for it again! You can also quit the survey.

Download: SUMo (Free)

In addition to the tools above, we also recommend the following:

Browsers ^

Chrome

Google Chrome

Google’s minimal design browser that went from zero to hero in record time. Best browser if you’re already sold on Google products. Receives frequent automatic updates and supports extensions from the Google Play store. See our Guide to Google Chrome


The Easy Guide to Google Chrome




The Easy Guide to Google Chrome

This Chrome user guide shows everything you need to know about the Google Chrome browser. It covers the basics of using Google Chrome that is important for any beginner.
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to find out about custom settings and hacks.

Download: Chrome (Free)

Firefox

With more than 6,000 add-ons, Firefox remains the most customizable browser on the market, offering its users more freedom than Chrome ever will. Should you switch from Chrome to Firefox


9 Reasons to Switch From Chrome to Firefox




9 Reasons to Switch From Chrome to Firefox

The days when Chrome was the best browser are long gone. People are returning to Firefox! Is it time to switch (back)? Here are several reasons that may convince you.
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too? The latest Firefox Quantum


3 New Ways to Customize in Firefox Quantum




3 New Ways to Customize in Firefox Quantum

The revamped Firefox Quantum offers some new ways to customize it. Here’s how to pop open the customization panel and tweak it to your liking.
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is faster, more lightweight, and more private than Chrome.

Download: Firefox (Free)

Opera

Opera has pioneered new features like tabs or the speed dial. It’s working hard to remain the fastest browser on the market. Its latest features are a built-in free VPN and battery saver. Moreover, it supports Chrome extensions. Is it finally time to drop Chrome for Opera


I Switched From Chrome to Opera and I’m Never Going Back




I Switched From Chrome to Opera and I’m Never Going Back

Any browser works. There’s only one reason to pick one over another: it’s more in line with how you like to browse the web. And you might prefer Opera, too.
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?

Download: Opera (Free)

Other notable browsers:

Which browser is best for you?


Which Browser Is Best? Edge vs. Chrome vs. Opera vs. Firefox




Which Browser Is Best? Edge vs. Chrome vs. Opera vs. Firefox

The browser you’re using right now may not be the best one for you. The browser arena changes so frequently that your conclusions from comparisons made last year may be completely wrong this year.
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Email Clients ^

Thunderbird

Thunderbird

Mozilla’s trusty and easy to use email client. Supports tabs, add-ons


10 Must-Have Thunderbird Addons (+ 25 More)




10 Must-Have Thunderbird Addons (+ 25 More)

Thunderbird lives on. This desktop email client thrives because of its many customization options. These must-have Thunderbird addons will help you make the most of it.
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, and is also available as a portable app.

Download: Thunderbird (Free)

High on our list of free desktop email clients


5 of the Best Desktop Email Clients That Don’t Cost a Dime




5 of the Best Desktop Email Clients That Don’t Cost a Dime

You need a desktop email client to handle your incoming mail? We show you the best desktop email clients you can get for free.
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are also Mailspring and Mailbird. The best free alternative to Microsoft Outlook


3 Best Free Alternatives to Microsoft Outlook




3 Best Free Alternatives to Microsoft Outlook

Do you find Outlook too expensive or too overwhelming or do you just not want to use a Microsoft product? You have options! We have compiled the best alternatives to Microsoft Outlook.
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, however, is EssentialPIM.

Skype

Skype

Microsoft’s ultra-popular cross-platform VoIP application to stay in touch with friends and family. Has reasonable rates for calling mobiles and landlines and attractive subscription packages. In an effort to compete with Google Hangouts, Skype now supports group video chats for non-premium accounts.

Download: Skype (Free)

If Skype doesn’t cut it anymore, have a look at these Skype alternatives


Fed Up With Skype? Here Are 6 of the Best Free Alternatives




Fed Up With Skype? Here Are 6 of the Best Free Alternatives

Are you frustrated with Skype and searching for alternatives? One of these fantastic video chat and calling apps available on almost all platforms can help you make the switch.
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.

Pidgin

Pidgin

Easy-to-use, open source, cross-platform, multi-protocol chat client (our Pidgin review


Combine All Your IM Accounts In One Application With Pidgin [Windows & Linux]




Combine All Your IM Accounts In One Application With Pidgin [Windows & Linux]

Pidgin is a free instant-messaging client that combines all your IM accounts in one simple application. Instead of running several different IM clients that display ads and eat up memory, just use Pidgin. All your…
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). Supports all major chat programs, as well as third-party developed plugins.

Download: Pidgin (Free)

TeamSpeak

Built with the gamer in mind, TeamSpeak is a popular VoIP solution


TeamSpeak 3: The Original Cross-Platform Voice Chat For Gaming Teams and Clans




TeamSpeak 3: The Original Cross-Platform Voice Chat For Gaming Teams and Clans

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that works across a range of desktop and mobile devices.

Download: TeamSpeak (Free)

Similar tools:

Image Viewers ^

FastStone Image Viewer

FastStone

All in one image browser, converter, and editor


FastStone Image Viewer – Undoubtedly The Best Image Viewer, Converter & Editor Bundle




FastStone Image Viewer – Undoubtedly The Best Image Viewer, Converter & Editor Bundle


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that has never let us down. Supports all major graphics formats, including RAW and other digital camera formats. The makers of FastStone Image Viewer also offer a Capture tool and a Photo Resizer.

Download: FastStone Image Viewer (Free)

IrfanView

IrfanView

Simplistic on the surface, hides advanced features under the hub, yet intuitive and easy to use. Classic image viewer


View, Resize, & Manipulate Image Files With Classic Utility IrfanView [Windows]




View, Resize, & Manipulate Image Files With Classic Utility IrfanView [Windows]

We all work with image files, all the time; be they graphics for the Web, corporate images for work, or just holiday snaps. These days there are more digital images than ever before. Windows comes…
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, which you can also use for simple edits or batch-processing files. Now available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. An extensive plugins library is available separately.

Download: IrfanView (Free)

XnView

XnView

Cross-platform image viewer, organizer, and converter


XnView – A Free Image Viewer and Image Converter You Should Really Consider




XnView – A Free Image Viewer and Image Converter You Should Really Consider


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 that comes with a huge selection of filters and supports 500 different formats.

Download: XnView (Free)

Image Editors ^

GIMP

GIMP

Advanced open-source and cross-platform image editor, often touted as free Photoshop alternative. See our review for a quick GIMP walkthrough


GIMP: A Quick Walkthrough Of Everyone’s Favorite Open Source Image Editor




GIMP: A Quick Walkthrough Of Everyone’s Favorite Open Source Image Editor


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.

Download: GIMP (Free)

Paint.NET

Paint.NET

Free image editing tool with an intuitive interface for beginners and comprehensive features for intermediate users. Supports layers, unlimited undo, special effects, power tools, plugins, and when you’re stuck you can rely on a selection of tutorials and an active online community. See our Paint.NET review


Paint.NET: The Best Image Editor Available That You Should Download




Paint.NET: The Best Image Editor Available That You Should Download

We all edit images to some degree. Whether it’s a simple crop or resize, or maybe just adding some text, it’s nice to have an image editor that is reliable, fast, easy to navigate and…
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for more insights.

Download: Paint.NET (Free)

Potential alternatives to GIMP and Paint.NET, with a focus on photo editing:

We also recommend the following image editors:

  • Inkscape for professionally editing vector graphics.
  • XnConvert for batch processing images.
  • RIOT for quickly optimizing photos.

GifCam

The Best Windows Software gifcamaiming

A simple tool to create animated GIFs. Use the app like a camera to record a series of image frames, which you can then edit, before turning them into a GIF.

Download: GifCam (Free)

Blender

The free open source 3D creation suite supports everything from modeling and animation to video editing and game creation. It has long been the gold standard of 3D imaging tools. Get over its steep learning curve with these Blender tutorials


Getting Started with Blender: 7 Fantastic Tutorials for Newbies




Getting Started with Blender: 7 Fantastic Tutorials for Newbies

3D modeling is an excellent way to exercise creativity while keeping in touch with your technical side. Here are some awesome free tutorials.
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.

Download: Blender (Free)

foobar2000

foobar2000

Advanced cross-platform audio player with customizable user interface. Supports gapless playback, can rip audio CDs and transcode supported audio formats, and is best used with custom keyboard shortcuts. See our foobar2000 review


Play Music Like An Audiophile With Foobar2000 [Windows]




Play Music Like An Audiophile With Foobar2000 [Windows]

Foobar2000 is the desktop music player of choice for audiophiles, tinkerers and anyone looking for a lightweight, efficient program. We have it listed on our page of the best Windows software for a reason, although…
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for more details.

Download: foobar2000 (Free)

MediaMonkey

If you have a large media collection, MediaMonkey can help you keep it organized (our MediaMonkey review


MediaMonkey 4: An Extremely Powerful Music Management Program [Rewards]




MediaMonkey 4: An Extremely Powerful Music Management Program [Rewards]

I recently got my hands on a copy of MediaMonkey Gold, the premium version of the free music player, MediaMonkey. This full-featured music manager was once known as Songs-DB back when it first hit the…
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). It manages video and audio files, playlists, and can fill in missing track information automatically.

The Gold version gets you bit-perfect rips, support for customized collections, on-the-fly audio/video conversions, advanced searches and auto-playlists, unlimited MP3 encoding, a sleep timer, and more.

Download: MediaMonkey (Free)

Download:  MediaMonkey Gold (From $24.95)

MusicBee

MusicBee is the music manager that turns your computer into a music jukebox. It features auto-tagging, multiple features to optimize the sound quality, can sync your music collection across devices, and even comes in a portable version.

Download: MusicBee (Free)

Spotify

spotify-myths

Streaming music service


Music Streaming With Spotify: What You Get For Free




Music Streaming With Spotify: What You Get For Free

The long awaited streaming music service, Spotify landed in the U.S. last week. Unlike other streaming services, however, Spotify offers an ad-supported free option, which makes millions of albums and songs available to you through…
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 complete with Facebook integration, iDevice management, and playing music to remote speakers.

Download: Spotify (Free)

Download: Spotify Premium (From 9.99 per month, free trial)

Other notable applications in this category:

  • AIMP3, a lightweight music library manager and audio player


    AIMP3: An Excellent Music Library And Player – Lightweight & Free! [Windows]




    AIMP3: An Excellent Music Library And Player – Lightweight & Free! [Windows]

    Music players come and go. Yesterday, a particular player might’ve been the #1 music library manager. Tomorrow, a new music player could come out and decimate the current competition. The cycle has always been true…
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    , which rivals foobar2000.
  • Tomahawk, a cross-platform social music player


    Use Too Many Music Services? Consolidate Your Music With Open-Source Social Player Tomahawk [Cross-Platform]




    Use Too Many Music Services? Consolidate Your Music With Open-Source Social Player Tomahawk [Cross-Platform]

    Some users may wonder whether they should stick with music streaming services and ditch downloading songs to their local drives, or simply rely on the streaming options, because let’s face it, music streaming services are…
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    that unites your downloads, cloud music storage, radio stations, and streams from various sources into one neat player interface where you can share it with friends.
  • Audacity, an open source software for recording and editing audio tracks


    A Beginner’s Guide To Producing Home Music Recordings With Audacity




    A Beginner’s Guide To Producing Home Music Recordings With Audacity

    For many musicians, the cost of paying a professional sound engineer is too high. It’s better to learn about music production and recording techniques and use tools on your computer to record your own music.
    Read More

    and sounds.
  • TagScanner is a multifunction program for organizing and managing your music collection


    It’s Time To Organize Your Music Collection: Tag & Rename Them With TagScanner




    It’s Time To Organize Your Music Collection: Tag & Rename Them With TagScanner

    I don’t like to see things out of place. Lately, my music collection has been. Thankfully, there are many music organization tools that can ease the spadework if one is falling behind. MP3Tag was my…
    Read More

    .
  • Audacious, an open source audio player for Linux and Windows that conserves system resources. Supports playlists, online streaming, and Winamp classic skins.
  • Helium, one tool to manage all your audio needs. Supports cataloging, tagging, playing, and renaming your audio files.

VLC Media Player

VLC Media Player

Free and cross-platform video player that can play almost any video file


The VLC Media Player – Does it Really Play Everything?




The VLC Media Player – Does it Really Play Everything?


Read More

. Supports DVDs, CDs, VCDs, and a selection of streaming protocols, including YouTube playlists


Watch Entire YouTube Playlists In VLC, Here’s How




Watch Entire YouTube Playlists In VLC, Here’s How

Do you love YouTube playlists, but wish you could watch them outside your browser? You can use VLC for the job, thanks to a simple extension. Here’s how.
Read More

. It can also rip and transcode videos


6 Cool VLC Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know About




6 Cool VLC Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know About

VideoLan’s VLC media player is a real box of tricks and is just as effective on a Windows operating system as it is on Mac or Linux. Those of you who are already using VLC…
Read More

or record video from your webcam


7 Top Secret Features Of The Free VLC Media Player




7 Top Secret Features Of The Free VLC Media Player

That VLC pretty much plays everything that you throw at it is old news. It is also a media genie when it comes to other things apart from playing movies. We looked at some of…
Read More

.

Download: VLC Media Player (Free)

Alternatives:

HandBrake

Handbrake

Open source, cross-platform, media converter that can convert video files between many different formats.

Download: HandBrake (Free)

Alternatives to HandBrake:

MakeMKV

MakeMKV

A cross-platform video transcoder


Rip Your DVDs & Blu-Rays With Absolute Ease With MakeMKV [Cross-Platform]




Rip Your DVDs & Blu-Rays With Absolute Ease With MakeMKV [Cross-Platform]

If you ripped all your DVDs and Blu-Rays, you could create an amazing media center. Of course the main obstacle to ripping is the disk’s copy protection. Enter our hero: MakeMKV.
Read More

that can read DVDs and Blu-Rays and convert them into free formats. The Blu-Ray feature is a free trial.

Download: MakeMKV (Free)

CamStudio

CamStudio

A high-quality and open-source freeware screen capture utility with support for lossless video output. Perfect for creating screencasts


Show, Don’t Tell! 3 Best Free Screencasting Tools for Windows




Show, Don’t Tell! 3 Best Free Screencasting Tools for Windows

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so a video must be priceless – and there are times when a video is more convenient and effective than simple words. A screencast, also known…
Read More

or video tutorials.

Download: CamStudio (Free)

KODI

The Best Windows Software Kodi Tips Featured 670x335

Formerly known as XBMC, KODI is a media center package for your Home Theater PC (HTPC). It can stream live TV


How to Watch Live TV on Kodi




How to Watch Live TV on Kodi

Cutting the cord can mean losing access to live television. However, there are a number of ways to watch live TV on Kodi.
Read More

, allowing you to cut the cord


Cut That Cord! How to Ditch Cable




Cut That Cord! How to Ditch Cable

If you’ve read about the cord-cutting phenomenon but aren’t sure where to start, this is a guide to cutting the cord and ditching cable TV for good…
Read More

on pricey cable TV services.

Download: KODI (Free)

An alternative to KODI is Plex, a media center based on XBMC


Your Guide To Plex – The Awesome Media Center




Your Guide To Plex – The Awesome Media Center

If you have a lot of locally-saved movies and TV shows, you need to install Plex. And this is the only guide to getting started with Plex you’ll ever need to read.
Read More

and originally designed for the Mac. It now also supports movie trailers


Get Even Closer To The Cinema Experience With Plex Movie Trailers




Get Even Closer To The Cinema Experience With Plex Movie Trailers

The cross-platform media server Plex now supports movie trailers and extras. We show you how to add those clips to your movie library.
Read More

. James Bruce thinks Plex is the best media center software around.


Making The Best Media Center Better, With a Plex Pass [Giveaway]




Making The Best Media Center Better, With a Plex Pass [Giveaway]

Love Plex? You’ll love a Plex Pass even more. With new and exclusive features only for Plex Pass holders, it’s the best way to support development of the best media centre app around.
Read More

Files & Drives ^

TeraCopy

TeraCopy

Copy and move files at maximum speed


Move or Copy PC Files Lightning-Fast with TeraCopy




Move or Copy PC Files Lightning-Fast with TeraCopy


Read More

and pause & resume file transfers. When an issue comes up, TeraCopy won’t terminate a transfer like Windows Explorer does. Instead, it will show you the failed files after the transfer was completed.

Download: TeraCopy (Free)

EaseUS Partition Master

EaseUS Partition Master

EaseUS Partition Master is an advanced alternative


Manage Your Hard Disk Partitions Like A Pro With EaseUS Partition Master [Windows]




Manage Your Hard Disk Partitions Like A Pro With EaseUS Partition Master [Windows]

When you ask a tech crowd about disk partition managers, many people will agree that EaseUS Partition Master is the best tools for the job. Why? Because it offers many great features, yet remains easy…
Read More

to the built-in Windows partition manager


How To Shrink & Extend Volumes Or Partitions in Windows 7




How To Shrink & Extend Volumes Or Partitions in Windows 7

In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, resizing your volumes or re-partitioning your hard drive has become a lot easier than in previous Windows versions. However, there are still a few pitfalls that will require you…
Read More

. It supports merging of adjacent partitions, copying partitions and disks, upgrading system disk to a bigger drive, and it can recover deleted or lost partitions from unallocated space.

The Pro version lets you manage dynamic volumes, migrate your operating system to SSD/HDD without reinstallation, supports Windows Storage Spaces, change between MBR and GPT without losing data, and more.

Download: EaseUS Partition Master (Free)

Download: EaseUS Partition Master Pro ($39.95, free trial)

FileZilla

FileZilla

A free, lightweight and robust FTP client


Master FTP File Transfers On All Of Your Sites With FileZilla




Master FTP File Transfers On All Of Your Sites With FileZilla

A large number of FTP clients of old had hiccups when it came to large file transfers. The apps experienced the usual timeouts that you would expect when the computer sits there for 15 to…
Read More

for transferring files to and from the web.

Download: FileZilla (Free)

MultiCommander

MultiCommander

A feature-packed alternative file manager


Try Multi Commander As An Advanced File Explorer Alternative




Try Multi Commander As An Advanced File Explorer Alternative

In all honesty, Windows 7 came with a pretty decent file explorer. You’ve got an easy navigation pane on the left, with file and folder listings in the center, and a useful preview pane on…
Read More

to Windows File Explorer that uses a dual-panel layout. If all you desire is a file explorer that supports tabs, we recommend Explorer++. For more options, see this article on alternative file explorers


Fun & Useful Alternatives For Windows Explorer




Fun & Useful Alternatives For Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer – now known as File Explorer in Windows 8 – is a mainstay of the Windows desktop. No matter how many alternative programs Windows tweakers use, most people seem to stick with the…
Read More

.

Download: MultiCommander (Free)

Additional tools in this section:

  • 7-Zip, a free archive manager


    How To Extract Files From ZIP, RAR, 7z & Other Common Archives




    How To Extract Files From ZIP, RAR, 7z & Other Common Archives

    Were you ever faced with a .rar file and wondered how to open it? Fortunately, managing ZIP files and other compressed archives is simple with the right tools. Here is what you need to know.
    Read More

    that can extract or compress to ZIP, RAR, and many other archive files.
  • Universal Extractor, can decompress and extract files from any type of archive or installefr, including ZIP, RAR and EXE files.
  • DropIt can automatically sort files based on file type


    Organize Your Computer Files In A Flash With DropIt [Windows]




    Organize Your Computer Files In A Flash With DropIt [Windows]


    Read More

    .

You can never have enough storage space. The advantage of cloud storage is that you can access it from anywhere and as long as the service and your internet are running, you have nothing to worry about. The following are the most popular and reliable options available.

Dropbox

dropbox1

Dropbox is available across platforms and allows you to sync folders and files to the web and other devices connected to your Dropbox account. Great tool to auto-upload photos from your mobile phone. It’s being challenged by Microsoft OneDrive


Cloud Storage Remains Competitive – Dropbox & OneDrive Compared




Cloud Storage Remains Competitive – Dropbox & OneDrive Compared

OneDrive is trying to catch up to cloud storage heavyweight Dropbox. Recent improvements include increased free storage space and raised file size caps. OneDrive has turned into a viable alternative, but is it better?
Read More

, which offers more storage capacity and potentially better Windows integration.

Download: Dropbox (Free)

Google Drive

Google Drive

The evolution of Google Docs keeps your documents synced between the cloud and your PC (our Google Drive review


A Look At Google Drive, Google’s Long-Awaited Cloud Storage Service




A Look At Google Drive, Google’s Long-Awaited Cloud Storage Service

After more than 6 years of rumors and a long-ago cancellation because “files are so 1990”, Google Drive is finally here. Coming with 5 GB of free storage space, a Dropbox-like desktop sync client, and…
Read More

).

Download: Google Drive (Free)

OneDrive

onedrive1

Microsoft’s cloud storage solution comes with (now only) 5 GB of space


How To Best Use Your 15GB Of Free OneDrive Storage




How To Best Use Your 15GB Of Free OneDrive Storage

OneDrive gives you a healthy dose of cloud storage for free. Let’s take a look at what you can do with that.
Read More

for storing documents and images.

Download: OneDrive (Free)

Text Editing ^

LibreOffice

LibreOffice 4.2

You don’t have to pay for Microsoft Office


Save on Microsoft Office! Get Cheap or Free Office Products




Save on Microsoft Office! Get Cheap or Free Office Products

Reluctant to spend a few hundred bucks on a glorified word processor? You can get Microsoft Office for cheap and alternatives for free. You’ve got many options and we offer a summary.
Read More

 to get a professional productivity and office suite


LibreOffice 4.2 Brings Major Changes To The Popular Microsoft Office Alternative




LibreOffice 4.2 Brings Major Changes To The Popular Microsoft Office Alternative

LibreOffice (Version 4.2) offers better performance and better interoperability with MS Windows, and further lays claim to its title of the best free office suite for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
Read More

, one which is open source and community-supported on top of that.

Download: LibreOffice (Free)

WPS Office Free

WPS-Office-References-Tabs-Writer-MS-Office-Ribbon-Comparison

Free cross-platform Microsoft Office alternative


WPS Office For Linux Looks As Good As MS Office, Performs Even Better




WPS Office For Linux Looks As Good As MS Office, Performs Even Better


Read More

with a tabbed interface and more reliable support for collaborative features, such as tracking changes and comments. Self-absorbed ads can be a little annoying but are easily ignored.

The Premium version is ad-free and lets you split and merge PDF to Word. The Professional version is a lifetime license with three years of services included.

Download: WPS Office (Free)

Download: WPS Office Premium (From $29.99 per year)

Download: WPS Office Professional ($79.99 lifetime)

Notepad++

notepad_plus_plus1

A Notepad alternative


Soup Up The Notepad++ Text Editor With Plugins From The Notepad Plus Repository [Windows]




Soup Up The Notepad++ Text Editor With Plugins From The Notepad Plus Repository [Windows]

Notepad++ is a worthy replacement for Windows’ in-built and much loved text editor, and comes highly recommended if you’re a programmer, web designer or simply someone who finds themselves in need of a powerful plain…
Read More

with tabs and advanced features, useful especially for coders.

Download: Notepad++ (Free)

Sumatra PDF

The Best Windows Software Sumatra PDF 670x470

This is the most lightweight PDF reader. It supports tabs and is packed with keyboard shortcuts. It’s also open source and available as a portable app. Unlike other free PDF readers, it doesn’t feature any editing tools.

Download: Sumatra PDF (Free)

Read our article on the best PDF readers for Windows


The 6 Best PDF Readers for Windows




The 6 Best PDF Readers for Windows

Did you think twice before you installed Adobe Reader? It’s the most widely used PDF reader, but not necessarily the best. We went out to find the best PDF readers for your needs.
Read More

for more solutions.

PDFsam

PDFsam, aka PDF Split and Merge, is a small tool to split, merge, and rotate PDF files


Use PDFSam To Easily Split, Merge, & Reorder PDF Pages




Use PDFSam To Easily Split, Merge, & Reorder PDF Pages

PDFSam, short for “PDF Split and Merge,” is a great utility for quick PDF editing. You can combine multiple PDF documents into a single PDF document, split a PDF into multiple files, extract pages from…
Read More

 any way you like. You can drag-and-drop files onto the tool and mass-edit files. The interface is basic, but the features are advanced.

Download: PDFsam (Free)

Alternatives:

  • PDFTK Builder is a free graphical interface version of PDFTK to merge, split, decrypt, encrypt, watermark PDF files.
  • doPDF can convert over 400 file types to PDF.

Ebooks ^

Kindle

Kindle

Amazon’s Kindle app lets you read and manage your eBook collection from your Windows PC.

Download: Kindle (Free)

Alternative:

  • Icecream Ebook Reader is an immersive ebook reader that supports EPUB, MOBI, FB2, PDF, and other ebook formats.

calibre

Calibre

Free and open source eBook manager


Calibre: Hands-Down, The Best eBook Manager Available




Calibre: Hands-Down, The Best eBook Manager Available

Electronic media is no doubt more prevalent today than it ever has been. The Internet is at the core of it all, and because of it we have eBooks, web articles, and news from electronic…
Read More

. Comes with a library to  manage your eBooks, can convert eBooks from one format to another, syncs to your reader devices


How To Manage Your Ebook Collection For The Amazon Kindle With Calibre




How To Manage Your Ebook Collection For The Amazon Kindle With Calibre

The biggest problem with an eReader like the Amazon’s Kindle is that it requires unreasonable effort to move books between different devices. Before Kindle, I fell in love with Calibre. A bit on the heavy…
Read More

, downloads news from the web and converts it into eBook format, functions as an eBook viewer, and can edit eBooks.

Download: calibre (Free)

Productivity ^

Dexpot

Powerful virtual desktop manager. Expand your screen with virtual desktops


Expand Your Desktop Workspace With Dexpot – Cool Virtual Desktop Software [Windows]




Expand Your Desktop Workspace With Dexpot – Cool Virtual Desktop Software [Windows]

I was talking to one of my friends, who is an avid Linux user. He told me that one of the Linux features he simply can’t do without is “virtual desktops”. I can now tell…
Read More

and use them to separate open windows based on tasks. A similar tool is VirtuaWin, a lean desktop manager with a minimalist set of features.

Download: Dexpot (Free)

Ditto

Ditto

Ditto is a clipboard manager


The 3 Best Clipboard Managers For Windows




The 3 Best Clipboard Managers For Windows

The Windows clipboard can only hold one single item, so whenever you copy something else, the previous item will be discarded. If you didn’t mean to lose what you had copied earlier that can be…
Read More

that allows you to keep a record of your Windows clipboard


Hold That Thought: 5 Reasons You Need A Clipboard Manager




Hold That Thought: 5 Reasons You Need A Clipboard Manager

When you think about it, copy paste is kind of weird. You copy stuff, but there’s no way to see it. And if you copy over what you had, it’s gone – forever.
Read More

backed up for later use or sync clipboards across multiple computers. Also available as a portable app. Similar to ClipX and many other clipboard managers


5 Tips to Manage Your Windows Clipboard Like a Pro




5 Tips to Manage Your Windows Clipboard Like a Pro

Better known as Copy & Paste, a tool for students to lift passages from Wikipedia, the Clipboard can save you loads of typing time. We’ll show you how to use it like a pro.
Read More

.

Download: Ditto (Free)

Launchy

Launchy

A cross-platform utility that employs keyboard shortcuts to launch programs and files independently of Windows File Explorer or the Start Menu. If you’re looking for a Start Menu alternative


The 7 Best Windows Start Menu Alternatives and Replacements




The 7 Best Windows Start Menu Alternatives and Replacements

The Windows 10 Start Menu is a great improvement over Windows 8, but you can make it even better. Here are the best tools for working around or replacing the Start Menu.
Read More

, you might also appreciate SyMenu, a portable menu launcher that allows you to organize your applications quickly and easily.

Download: Launchy (Free)

Other notable applications in this section:

  • AutoHotkey enables desktop automation with hotkeys via custom scripts.
  • Fences, a tool to organize the icons on your desktop.
  • Rainlendar, a stylish and lightweight calendar for the Windows desktop.
  • Right Click Enhancer, a tool to edit Windows context menus


    10 Best Shortcuts to Add to Your Right-Click Menu




    10 Best Shortcuts to Add to Your Right-Click Menu

    The context menu that pops up whenever you perform a right-click can help you become more productive. With the right tool, customizing the shortcuts within it is a breeze.
    Read More

    .
  • SendToSendTo helps you customize the Windows Send To menu.
  • OneNote, Microsoft’s free and cross-platform note-taking app


    Is OneNote for Mac a Viable Alternative to Evernote?




    Is OneNote for Mac a Viable Alternative to Evernote?

    Even you’re a diehard Mac or iOS user, you still may find the stylish Microsoft OneNote for Mac, iPad and iPhone a worthy option for capturing notes and creating page designs.
    Read More

    .
  • Wunderlist, a cross-platform app for keeping and collaborating on lists


    Wunderlist Syncs Your To-Do Lists Across Windows PC and Mac




    Wunderlist Syncs Your To-Do Lists Across Windows PC and Mac


    Read More

    , soon to be replaced by Microsoft To Do


    Microsoft To-Do vs. Wunderlist: Everything You Need to Know




    Microsoft To-Do vs. Wunderlist: Everything You Need to Know

    Microsoft To-Do will replace Wunderlist in the coming months. Learn about To-Do’s best features, what’s still missing, and how you can migrate from Wunderlist to To-Do.
    Read More

    .

CDBurnerXP

CDBurnerXP

Feature rich, yet easy to use burning tool


CDBurnerXP – A Great Burning Tool For CDs DVDs, Blu-Rays & ISOs [Windows]




CDBurnerXP – A Great Burning Tool For CDs DVDs, Blu-Rays & ISOs [Windows]

Optical discs are not forever, but although they are losing significance, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs are still a great medium for long term backups, given you store them right and don’t use them as your…
Read More

for CDs, DVDs, HD-DVDs, Blu-Rays, ISOs, and bootable discs.

Download: CDBurnerXP (Free)

Alternatives:

bitRipper

bitRipper

Simple tool to convert DVDs to AVI or MPEG for backing up your DVDs on your local drive. Includes its own codecs and can re-use codecs installed on your system. If your DVDs turn out too big to be stored locally, try DVDShrink to reduce their size.

Download: bitRipper (Free)

CDex

CDex

CDex rips audio CDs to MP3 and other formats. Supports a range of encoders and the source code is open.

Download: CDex (Free)

WinCDEmu

After the demise of Virtual CloneDrive, WinCDEmu has become your best solution to emulate CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs. The open-source tool supports ISO, CUE, NRG, MDS/MDF, CCD, and IMG images and can create them via a context menu in Windows Explorer. You can create an unlimited number of virtual drives to mount image files and play them virtually.

By virtualizing your discs, you’ll never have to swap discs again. The tool is also ideal if you want to run optical discs on a Windows device that lacks the matching drive.

Download: WinCDEmu (Free)

qBittorrent

The Best Windows Software qBittorrent Interface

qBittorrent is a free and open source BitTorrent client. It’s generally considered the best µTorrent alternative. Unlike the client it was designed to replace, it’s free from bloatware and ads.

Download: qBittorrent (Free)

Transmission

The Best Windows Software transmission 640x437

An open source and cross-platform BitTorrent client built by volunteers. It’s full-featured, doesn’t bundle adware, and won’t track its users. As a result, it’s lightweight and much more enjoyable to use.

Download: Transmission (Free)

JDownloader

JDownloader

Free and open source download manager


How to Download Files From RapidShare the Easier Way




How to Download Files From RapidShare the Easier Way


Read More

. Allows you to start, stop, and pause your downloads, set bandwidth limitations, and auto-extract archives. Your antivirus may detect it as a threat, but rest assured it’s a false positive. Potentially comes packed with bloatware.

Download: JDownloader (Free)

Other alternatives:

  • Mipony optimizes your internet connection and comes with an embedded web browser.
  • FlashGet can download videos from various sources, collaborates with your antivirus, and optimizes system resources.
  • Free Download Manager supports HTTP, FTP, and BitTorrent. Can resume broken downloads and you can adjust traffic usage.

Miscellaneous ^

f.lux

f.lux

This utility helps you prevent eye strain and sleep better by adapting your screen brightness


Use F.lux To Sleep Better After Late-Night Computer Activities




Use F.lux To Sleep Better After Late-Night Computer Activities

If you look carefully, most of LCD monitors have a button to automatically change the attributes of the screen to adjust for the types of media which is being viewed.
Read More

and color saturation to ambient lighting. It also supports scheduling, as shown above.

Download: f.lux (Free)

Classic Shell

classicshell-start-style

Classic Shell is more than a Start Menu replacement. Next to adding a customizable Start button and menu, it features tool- and status bars for Windows / File Explorer and internet Explorer. A great productivity tool to make Windows better


6 Windows 10 Offline Apps to Stay Productive and Entertained




6 Windows 10 Offline Apps to Stay Productive and Entertained

Most of us are online around the clock. But which apps should you turn to when you find yourself “off the grid”? We show you six Windows 10 offline apps you should keep stocked.
Read More

.

Download: Classic Shell (Free)

VirtualBox

VirtualBox Create Virtual Machine

VirtualBox is the easiest way to create a virtual machine


What Is a Virtual Machine?




What Is a Virtual Machine?

Virtual machines allow you to run other operating systems within your current operating system, but why does that matter? What are the pros and cons?
Read More

within Windows. You can install any operating system on your virtual machine and run it like it was a regular program. We have used VirtualBox to run Windows 10 on Windows


3 Easy Ways To Install Windows 10 Technical Preview




3 Easy Ways To Install Windows 10 Technical Preview

You can try Windows 10 Technical Preview for free and help Microsoft polish its new flagship operating system. Before you install it, make sure you choose the best method for your needs.
Read More

, Linux


How To Try Windows 10 If You’re Running Linux




How To Try Windows 10 If You’re Running Linux

Love Linux, but still depend on Windows occasionally? The Windows 10 TP is a stable test system. We show you how you can try Windows for free as a dual boot or on a virtual…
Read More

, and Mac


How To Try Windows 10 On Your Mac Free & Easy




How To Try Windows 10 On Your Mac Free & Easy

Even as a Mac user you might need Windows from time to time, be it at work or a public computer. Here’s a chance to familiarize yourself with Windows 10 for free.
Read More

. Refer to our VirtualBox guide


How to Use VirtualBox: User’s Guide




How to Use VirtualBox: User’s Guide

With VirtualBox you can easily install and test multiple operating systems. We’ll show you how to set up Windows 10 and Ubuntu Linux as a virtual machine.
Read More

for more information.

Download: VirtualBox (Free)

Alternatively, you can use VMWarePlayer to set up a virtual machine


Run Multiple Operating Systems At Once With VMware Player




Run Multiple Operating Systems At Once With VMware Player

We’ve lavished attention on VirtualBox here at MakeUseOf, and for good reason. However, VirtualBox isn’t your only option for creating and using free virtual machines. VMware Player, VMware’s free product, is every bit as good…
Read More

on your computer.

TeamViewer

5 TeamViewer File Transfer 2

TeamViewer allows you to remote-connect to another computer over the internet, either to provide technical assistance or to access files and programs. By far the best free remote desktop connection manager


11 Tips For Using Team Viewer – The Best Free Remote Desktop Connection Manager




11 Tips For Using Team Viewer – The Best Free Remote Desktop Connection Manager

Whenever you’re in need of a free remote desktop client with advanced features, TeamViewer should be your first choice. Let us highlight its unique features.
Read More

you can get. It’s cross-platform and easy to set up, too.

Download: TeamViewer (Free)

Hiren’s BootCD

menutools

Hiren’s BootCD is one of those apps every techie should carry around


Low-Cost Tools That Every Techie Needs




Low-Cost Tools That Every Techie Needs

It’s been ten years since I took my first IT job, and in that time I’ve collected a bunch of tools that have proved invaluable to me in resolving issues with computers, hard disk drives,…
Read More

. Burn the ISO to a CD or create a bootable USB with Rufus and you’ll always have a digital toolbox


Hiren’s Boot CD: The All-In-One Boot CD for Every Need




Hiren’s Boot CD: The All-In-One Boot CD for Every Need

Hiren’s Boot CD is a Windows rescue utility that boots from CD or USB. It’s a must-have for your PC repair kit for when Windows won’t boot.
Read More

with you to fix some common computer issues. Comes with recovery tools, can reset your Windows password, test hardware, compile hardware information, and much more.

Download: Hiren’s BootCD (Free)

KeePass

keepass-entry

Portable and open source password manager


KeePass Password Safe – The Ultimate Encrypted Password System [Windows, Portable]




KeePass Password Safe – The Ultimate Encrypted Password System [Windows, Portable]

Securely store your passwords. Complete with encryption and a decent password generator – not to mention plugins for Chrome and Firefox – KeePass just might be the best password management system out there. If you…
Read More

 with plugin support. Helps you protect your online accounts with strong passwords. The app stores passwords on your computer or USB drive. Cloud-based alternatives to KeePass include Dashlane and SafeInCloud Password Manager.

Download: KeePass (Free)

Eraser

OverwriteData02

You may know that deleting a file in Windows doesn’t actually erase it. How else would it be possible to recover deleted files


Why It Is Impossible To Recover Data From An Overwritten Hard Drive [Technology Explained]




Why It Is Impossible To Recover Data From An Overwritten Hard Drive [Technology Explained]

Recovering deleted data from a hard drive is generally possible because typically the actual data is not deleted. Instead, information about where the data is stored is removed. In this article I will explain how…
Read More

? Eraser is an open source utility and portable app that permanently deletes files


5 Tools To Permanently Delete Sensitive Data From Your Hard Drive [Windows]




5 Tools To Permanently Delete Sensitive Data From Your Hard Drive [Windows]

In a recent article I explained why it is impossible to recover data from a hard drive after overwriting it. In that post I mentioned that simply deleting files or formatting your hard drive typically…
Read More

by overwriting them with random patterns. Best used with hard disk drives since erasing data from a solid state drive


How To Securely Erase Your SSD Without Destroying It




How To Securely Erase Your SSD Without Destroying It

SSDs can only be written to a limited number of times. This is a challenge, particularly for erasing data and doing so securely, which can vastly reduce performance and shorten SSD drive life.
Read More

can cause damage and other issues.

Download: Eraser (Free)

The End ^

Do you feel spoilt by choice? Start here with the essential applications you must install


New PC? 12 Must-Have Windows Applications You Should Install First




New PC? 12 Must-Have Windows Applications You Should Install First

If you just got a new computer, you might wonder which programs you need. We show you the 12 most essential and best Windows tools any user should install.
Read More

on your new Windows PC.

Have you tested any of the applications above or have we missed your favorite software? Let us know! We will improve the list based on our tests and your input. And if you appreciate this list, please share it with your friend


10 Vital Features You Should Know About Your Windows PC





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