The Best Windows Software

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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.

Last update: June, 2017

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 10 Best Free Anti-Virus Programs




The 10 Best Free Anti-Virus Programs

You must know by now: you need antivirus protection. Macs, Windows and Linux PCs all need it. You really have no excuse. So grab one of these ten and start protecting your computer!
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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.

Avira Free Antivirus 2017

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.

AVG AntiVirus Free

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’ 2016 “real world” protection test, it landed behind competitors like Avira and Avast.

Avast Free Antivirus

The free antivirus software from Avast


Stay Protected From Every Type Of Malware With Avast Free Antivirus




Stay Protected From Every Type Of Malware With Avast Free Antivirus

Comprehensive malware protection doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Many reputable free antivirus programs are equally effective as paid ones, and avast! Free Antivirus stands with the best Windows antivirus programs.
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packs a lot of features into a clean interface. It provides all-around protection against viruses and trojans.

Do you think Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is missing from this list? It remains a popular tool. However, we strongly advise against using MSE


Why You Should Replace Microsoft Security Essentials With A Proper Antivirus




Why You Should Replace Microsoft Security Essentials With A Proper Antivirus


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. If you are running Windows 8 or up, use Windows Defender instead of MSE


Five Tips For Managing Your Security In Windows 8.1




Five Tips For Managing Your Security In Windows 8.1


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 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 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.

Spybot Search & Destroy

Spybot Search & Destroy’s free version targets spyware only


Spybot – Search & Destroy: The Simple, Yet Effective Route For Cleaning Your PC Of Malware




Spybot – Search & Destroy: The Simple, Yet Effective Route For Cleaning Your PC Of Malware

With the ever-growing list of threats out there, one can never be too cautious. Sure you can watch what websites you visit and what you download, but even with those precautions, you should have some…
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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.

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!

Personal Software Inspector

If you frequently install and test software, you might want to take additional precautions. Your Personal Software Inspector (PSI) can keep thousands of programs up-to-date.

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

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.

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.

Defragging ^

Fragmented data can slow your computer down. Defragging restores order


5 Solid Tweaks to Optimize Your Computer For Gaming




5 Solid Tweaks to Optimize Your Computer For Gaming

If your computer doesn’t handle games like it used to, it might just need some quick maintenance. Here are five ways any PC gamer can improve their machine’s performance.
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on your hard drive. Note that defragging a solid state drive (SSD) can reduce its lifespan.

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.

IObit Smart Defrag

This defragger is easy to set up and runs in the background. Be sure to read our IObit Smart Defrag review


IObit Smart Defrag: A Superb Hard Drive Defragmentation & Optimization Tool [Windows]




IObit Smart Defrag: A Superb Hard Drive Defragmentation & Optimization Tool [Windows]

Do you defrag your hard drive? If not, you should and you must understand the importance before you read on. There are some excellent articles on MakeUseOf which discuss defragmenting, but perhaps the best and…
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for advice regarding setup and advanced settings.

File Recovery ^

Did you ever wish you could turn back time to recover your lost files


Turn Back Time: 4 Tools & Tips To Restore Deleted Files In Windows




Turn Back Time: 4 Tools & Tips To Restore Deleted Files In Windows

One of Windows’ biggest flaws could be your rescue, should you ever accidentally delete an important file: The Windows file system does not actually delete files. Until they are overwritten, deleted files can be restored.
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? 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

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.

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


Recover Accidentally Deleted Files From Any OS With PhotoRec [Windows, Mac, & Linux]




Recover Accidentally Deleted Files From Any OS With PhotoRec [Windows, Mac, & Linux]

In June I switched over from a combination of Windows and Linux to pretty much using OS X solely, and being largely familiar with Windows software (and painfully aware of the lack of many Linux…
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, including photos.

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.

More recommendable applications in this category:

Uninstallers ^

Revo Uninstaller Free

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. 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.

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


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




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.

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.

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

EaseUS Todo Backup

Free backup solution that includes disaster recovery option. 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Similar application:

  • BleachBit cleans your PC from junk files and shreds them to prevent recovery. This open source tool is available for Windows and Linux.
  • Toolwiz Time Freeze can instantly put your Windows system into a sandbox and protect it from undesired changes.
  • Sandboxie, lets you isolate new applications and your browser from Windows, keeping your operating system safe from software-born attacks.

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.

Similar tools:

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.

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

Browsers ^

Chrome

Google’s minimal design browser that went from zero to hero in record time. Best browser if you’re already sold onto 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.

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?

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 innovation is a built-in VPN. 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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?

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

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.

Do you know of any other free desktop email clients worthy of this list? Tell us which ones and why in the comments!

Skype

Microsoft’s ultra popular cross-platform VoIP application


Skype – The Best Tool For International Video Conferences & Cheap Phone Calls




Skype – The Best Tool For International Video Conferences & Cheap Phone Calls

On the surface, Skype looks like an application for text, audio, and video chats, a great way to stay in touch with a friends. Only that it’s more than that. Skype is a Voice over…
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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.

Pidgin

Easy-to-use, 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. Similar tools are Digsby and Trillian.

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

I’m a big fan of voice communication when it comes to gaming. Wearing a headset while gaming adds a social element that makes the gaming experience that much better. While TeamSpeak may have started off…
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that works across a range of desktop and mobile devices.

Similar tools:

Image Viewers ^

FastStone Image Viewer

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 graphic formats, including RAW and other digital camera formats. The makers of FastStone Image Viewer also offer a Capture tool and a Photo Resizer.

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.

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.

Image Editors ^

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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.

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.

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

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.

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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.

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.

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.

Spotify

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.

Other notable applications in this category:

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?


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. 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.
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. 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…
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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…
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.

Alternatives:

HandBrake

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

Alternatives to HandBrake:

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

CamStudio

A high quality 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…
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or video tutorials.

KODI

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


How To Stream Live TV To Your XBMC




How To Stream Live TV To Your XBMC

Watch live, streaming TV on your XBMC media center – without a cable subscription. Here are some add-ons worth checking out.
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, 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…
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on pricey cable TV services.

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.
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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.
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. 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.
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Files & Drives ^

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


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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.

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…
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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…
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. 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.

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…
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for transferring files to and from the web.

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…
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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…
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.

Additional tools in this section:

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

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

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…
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).

OneDrive

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.
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for storing documents and images.

Text Editing ^

LibreOffice

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

WPS Office Free

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


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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.

Notepad++

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…
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with tabs and advanced features, useful especially for coders.

Sumatra PDF

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.

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.
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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…
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 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.

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

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

Alternative:

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

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…
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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.

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…
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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.
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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.
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.

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

Other notable applications in this section:

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

Alternatives:

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.

CDex

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

Virtual CloneDrive

SlySoft’s Virtual CloneDrive allows you to mount image files


Extend The Life Of Your Optical Discs With ISO Backups & Virtual Clone Drive [Windows]




Extend The Life Of Your Optical Discs With ISO Backups & Virtual Clone Drive [Windows]

There is absolutely no reason why you would still want to routinely run games, movies, or music from optical discs. Inserting, ejecting, and switching discs is a nuisance and subjects both the drive and the…
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from your CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Ray discs and play them virtually. It supports up to 15 virtual drives, meaning 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.

An alternative tool is WinCDEmu. The open source CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray disc emulator


3 Free Alternatives To DAEMON Tools For Mounting Image Files




3 Free Alternatives To DAEMON Tools For Mounting Image Files


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supports ISO images and can create them via a context menu in Windows Explorer.

Transmission

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.

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


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. 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.

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

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

Classic Shell

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

.

VirtualBox

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?
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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…
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, 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.
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for more information.

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…
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on your computer.

TeamViewer

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

Hiren’s BootCD

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,…
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. 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.
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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.

KeePass

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.

Eraser

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…
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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.
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can cause damage and other issues.

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? Please tell us! We will improve the list based on our tests and your input. Please share your feedback in the comments. And if you appreciate this list, please share it with your friends!


Source Link: The Best Windows Software

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