Software Guides

The Best Free Apps for Windows

Check out our list of the best free apps for Windows so you can find the perfect app for your new laptop without having to invest more money.

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The Best Free Apps for Windows

Welcome to our guide to the best free apps for Windows. All of the apps on this list are available to download, install and use free of charge and are compatible with Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10. If you are looking for free software to help you with both work and play, this is the list for you. Check back often as we will continue to update this guide to bring you the very latest and the very best free software for Windows to use on your top rated laptop.


Google Chrome

In use on almost half the systems in the world, Google Chrome is the leading browser on the market today. It’s fast, secure and with the Chrome Store, you can customize your browsing experience like never before.


Mozilla Firefox

Risen from the ruins of Netscape, Firefox was the first browser to give Internet Explorer a run for its money. Today, it is a fully featured browser that is fast, and it comes with a host of addons to enhance your browsing experience.



Another great alternative browser, Opera was the first to introduce many features you expect in browsers today. With millions of users worldwide, you can rest assured that your experience will be safe and seamless should you try this browser.



Instead of running three different instant messaging apps, why not run one and connect all your accounts to it? Pidgin lets you do just that and with its host of addons and features you will never need another IM app ever again.



The undisputed leader in online VoIP communication, Skype lets you talk to people all over the world for free. For a small charge, you can even use it as your telephone line and make and receive calls just as you would a traditional land line.



Email isn’t just about Outlook, Thunderbird from Mozilla provides all the features you need in a mail program at no charge and can be used to connect to virtually any email server that’s available today.



FTP transfers have never been easier. Its clean interface and ease of use takes everything complicated out of FTP transfers so you can upload and download from any FTP server with just a few clicks of your mouse.



If you need to admin a server and need a reliable SSH connection to do it, look no further than PuTTy. While it won’t win any beauty contests, it gets the job done perfectly and with a very small footprint.




With so many different video formats today, it can be tough to find a player that will cover your online watching needs. VLC will play just about anything you throw at it and its newer media management features make controlling your ever expanding TV and movie library easier than ever.



Still one of the leaders in the world of music, iTunes may be a bit bulky today but it still is one of the easiest apps out there for managing your music library. Add to that everything you can download and buy directly from the service, and you have a complete music library system at your fingertips.



If you are looking for a media player that just works without all the bloat that comes with iTunes, then look no further than MusicBee. While it is simple in comparison, it gets the job done nicely without all the fluff to slow down your music experience.



Streaming music doesn’t have to be complicated or cost you a lot of money. With Spotify, you can stream almost any song you can think of right to your computer. With just the occasional ad to pay for the service and a subscription upgrade to open up even more features, Spotify just may be the last music app you ever need.


Photo Viewing/Organization/Editing


Who said you have to invest thousands to create and edit photos and digital images? GIMP gives you all the power of Adobe Photoshop without all the cost. While there is a bit of a learning curve, GIMP is one of the most powerful and feature-rich apps out there that won’t cost you anything to use.


Document Editing/Creation


Now the default suite found on most Linus distributions, LibreOffice is also available for Windows. LibreOffice is a full featured Office suite that will allow you to create documents, edit spreadsheets, create presentations, and much more. You can even use it to edit some PDFs. If you don’t want to invest in Office, but need to create and edit a wide range of documents, this is the best solution for you.


Open Office

An early leader in the Office alternative space, Open Office is still at the top of Office suite alternatives. Like others, you can edit documents, create and edit spreadsheets, give presentations, and much more. It even offers full compatibility with Microsoft’s document formats so you never have to worry about compatibility issues.


Google Docs

If you have a Gmail account, you have access to the most powerful online suite of document editing and creation with just a few clicks. With Google Docs, Sheets and more, you have full access to an online suite of office applications that will allow you to create and edit virtually any type of document you can think of, without ever having to install anything on your local machine.

Go to Google Docs

PDF Creation/Viewing/Editing

Adobe Reader DC

While Adobe may get its fair share of criticism, they are still the industry standard for PDFs. You don’t get much better than Adobe Reader, and it is still free and very easy to use. While there are no editing features, you will be able to use it to modify editable pdf files and view any PDF on the web.



Making PDF files doesn’t have to be difficult, and with pdfCreator, all you have to do is print your file and in a few seconds you will have a PDF sitting on your desktop ready to be viewed by whatever viewer you may want to use.



If you don’t care about the fluff in Adobe Reader and just want a PDF reader that works and is lightweight, then look no further than SumatraPDF. While it isn’t as advanced as Adobe Reader, it will view pretty much any PDF you throw at it without issue, making this an excellent alternative for anyone that wants to view PDF files without having to install closed source software.


Organization/Note Taking


One of the first leaders in to-do lists and note taking, Evernote today continues to show its dominance with its vast array of features that are designed to help you get things done. It’s free and easy to use, and you can even subscribe to really open up the power of the application.



To-do lists have become an important part of your computing workflow today. While Evernote may be the early leader, it really is designed to do much more. If you are looking for a straight to-do list tracker, then you can’t go wrong with Wunderlist. It’s clean, cross-platform compatible, and easy to use so you can start making your lists today.


Cloud Storage


Dropbox was an early adopter of cloud storage and continues to lead the pack today for cloud storage. It’s compatible with a variety of operating systems including Windows, Mac, and even Linux, making it a great cloud storage option for those that use systems across all three platforms. You get a small amount of storage for free, but can upgrade for even more with a small monthly fee attached to it.


Google Drive

Google Drive is cloud storage offered by Google, and is a great storage system if you live in the Google suite of apps like the ones I described above. For free you will have a small amount of storage, but for a small monthly free you can add to that so you can store all your files on the cloud.



Onedrive is Microsoft’s answer to Google and Dropbox. It is easy to use and integrates very nicely with Windows 8 and Windows 10. Like the other options on this list, you can grab a small amount of space for free which will handle most people’s needs, but if you need more you can always subscribe and get terabytes worth of online storage.




Today, 7-Zip reigns supreme as one of the best compression utilities available today. It is easy to use, and will compress and decompress almost anything with just a click of your mouse. It is even good at handling tar files that come from the Linux world. Download it today and you will never need another compression utility ever again.



Once the undisputed leader in compression, WinRAR still enjoys a hefty market share. If you deal in a lot of RAR files and especially if you have to put together a file that has been split into multiple compressed files, this is still one of the best options out there for you to use, and it’s far superior to the compression apps included with Windows.



Avira Antivirus

Avira comes with a vast array of protection utilities and ranks up there with the very best antivirus protection on the net. However, it’s menus are a little complicated and it can be a bit of a resource hog. Still, if you are looking for the best protection you can get for free, this is where you need to look.


Bitdefender Antivirus

Bitdefender also ranks up there with Avira, and it includes both a free and a paid version to protect you from threats. The free version is a little more basic compared to other alternatives on this list but is perfect for users who don’t have much antivirus experience or for anyone that just wants something that works without much configuration.


Avast Antivirus

At one time, Avast was one of the best on the market. In recent months, it has been eclipsed by others that run better on older systems. Still, Avast does a great job at protecting your machine and with features such as a boot scan you can almost guarantee that it will remove whatever your machine comes into contact with.


AVG Antivirus

AVG has improved its scanning game in the last year to become a highly reliable antivirus. Unfortunately, the software is geared toward getting you to buy the paid version of the software and it can be a bit resource hungry. Still, if you don’t mind the nags, this is a great alternative to the others on this list.



Antivirus software never catches every piece of malware, by installing Malwarebytes and running it occasionally, you can clean up whatever your virus software misses so your machine runs smoothly and you don’t have to worry about malware and spyware ever again.


Zone Alarm

Sometimes, the built-in firewall in Windows just isn’t enough. Take your firewall use to the next level with this handy, free piece of software that will control exactly what can connect to your machine.



Over time, your registry can become a certifiable mess. Clean it up and regain some of your computer’s original speed by running this handy piece of software on a regular basis.


Final Thoughts

There are tons of free apps available for Windows today. In fact, there is so much free software chances are you can do everything you need to do on your computer without ever having to invest in any software at all. So what are you waiting for? Browse our best free apps for Windows list and start downloading today so you get make your PC even more powerful than it was before.

Remember, if you need help finding a laptop to run some of these great apps, feel free to browse our Buying Guides to find the perfect laptop for you.

Think we should add an app to this list? If so, comment on this post and we will do our best to add your suggestion to this list so you can help us create the most comprehensive software list there is on the Internet today.

By Matt Garrett

Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing on our sister ShopNinja sites where he enjoys talking about anything and everything tech.

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