Thesis: The best free PC software programs offer a fresh opportunity and a wide range of tools that can accomplish anything from balancing your household budget to helping cure cancer. Here are some must-have programs that deserve a place on almost any computer.
Ninite: Ninite makes loading up a new computer a breeze. It offers dozens of free software options and automatically declines the offers for bundled bloatware that many free apps try to sneak in. There isn’t a worthy paid alternative, and even if there was, it wouldn’t justify the cost.
Unchecky: Unchecky automatically unchecks all of the checkboxes when you’re trying to install a program, and warns you if shady software is trying to sneak something ugly onto your machine. There is no paid alternative that offers similar capabilities, making Unchecky stand out in its category.
Microsoft PowerToys: Microsoft’s PowerToys suite is loaded with tools designed to streamline all sorts of PC hassles. There’s no premium alternative for this collection of tools that offer excellent features for Windows enthusiasts.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free: MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Free was designed specifically to find and eliminate cutting-edge “zero-day” vulnerabilities. While the free version is invaluable, the paid version at $40 per year offers excellent protection, phishing protection, and minimal impact on your PC’s performance.
Launchy: Launchy is another Windows utility that stands unto itself. There is no premium alternative, making Launchy a great choice for Windows users.
7-Zip: 7-Zip is open-source and completely free, ready to perform all your archiving needs from Windows’ right-click context menu. Paid alternatives such as WinZip don’t offer enough to justify the fee, making 7-Zip a great choice for most users.
VLC: The simply wonderful VLC media player can play your flicks, music, and podcasts for free. There is no paid option that justifies its worth compared to this free workhorse, making it a fantastic choice for media playback.
Paint.net: Paint.net may not have all the bells and whistles of Photoshop, but it packs everything that most people need and costs hundreds of dollars less. While free image editors are generally great, Adobe’s Photoshop remains the unrivaled titan for image editing, and its hobbyist level Photoshop Elements at $100 has advanced features that you won’t find in the free programs.
Audacity: Audacity is hands-down the best option for recording or mixing audio without spending big bucks on pro software. It offers excellent production capabilities, and while it may be sufficient for most users, Adobe’s Audition CC at $23 per month might be worth it for semi-pro users.
Revo Uninstaller: Revo Uninstaller wipes out everything when you delete software using Windows’ default uninstallation utility. There isn’t a paid alternative that offers similar capabilities, making it a great choice for uninstalling programs.
In conclusion, the best free PC software programs offer a wide range of tools and capabilities, and in many cases, there isn’t a paid alternative that justifies the cost. These must-have programs deserve a place on almost any computer.