People who are new to computers and many who use Microsoft’s Windows operating system on their current PC or laptop often have to bear the burden of spending quite a lot of money on Software Applications. Windows is a proprietary operating system. So are many of the software products that are developed for this OS platform.
As you may know, many proprietary software comes with a license that has a price. It is understood that there are several companies who develop software and are sold to consumers to serve its purpose. On the enterprise level, it is fair. There are businesses and organizations which can fulfill their tasks and objectives through the use of commercial software, by using them on their computer systems.
However, as far as home users are concerned, it is not necessary that you have to spend all your pocket money on purchasing software that provides limited license and you are compelled to renew the software product’s license at a given period of time.
A common home user who owns a PC will basically use his/her computer for purposes like browsing the internet, online and offline entertainment, social activities, e-mails, creating documents, connecting portable devices, transferring data, installing software and games, downloading files and content online, etc. Therefore, these home users will be glad to know that you can make good use of your PC by using free software.
What is free software?
A free software is developed on the open source platform and distributed free of cost under the terms of the GNU/General Public Licence (GNU/GPL), which frees users from obligation. In other words, free software allows users to take complete ownership of the software, which includes copying and distributing the software. Thus, it focuses more on the ‘freedom of use’ rather than ‘pay to use’.
My concern of free software is primarily intended for the home users who are naive about software and computers and are not yet ready to pour in their pocket money on proprietary software products.
There are many alternatives to commercial software that are available at no cost and which also fulfils the same purpose that are provided by paid software. Read further to find out some of the best alternatives to commercial software which you can use on your PC that does the same job and comes free of cost.
Get These 10 Free Software Applications For Your PC
I have personally compiled a list of some of the popular software applications that offer similar tasks and are available with no price tag. This is also a good solution for both home users as well as other users who seek an alternative to proprietary software products for their PCs.
Let’s take a look at these free software applications.
My first pick for free software is LibreOffice. This is a suite of applications and a perfect alternative to the world’s most popular and proprietary software known by the name of Microsoft Office. LibreOffice has a lot to offer. It includes all the features of the MS Office software product and provides additional features, too. It’s suite of applications include Writer, Impress, Calc, Base, Draw and Math. LibreOffice user-interface is similar to MS Office. It’s easy to install and can be customised to your needs.
2. VLC Media Player
VLC needs no introduction. The start of the 21st century brought about the creation of this wonderful “all-in-one” media player that is built for all operating system platforms. And, it’s absolutely free! Whatever media file you throw at it, this beast plays all of them. Additionally, it lets you stream media online, convert audio and video files to your desired media format, record video, take snapshots of videos (while paused as well as when playing video) and save them to your hard drive so that you can use them as your desktop wallpaper, use skins to change the player’s look and interface, customise the player and much more. I bet you will fall in love with this player after using it on your PC.
Audacity is an audio editor that lets you perform various tasks related to audio and does not charge you for using the software. This software has been around for many years and is used by millions of beginners, enthusiasts and professionals. This software has plenty of built-in features that lets you record audio, cut, copy and paste and also lets you do all sorts of editing tasks that you possibly can with an audio file. So, if you want to amplify your favourite song, or perhaps, record your own voice and add some music to it and impress your friends, Audacity is the tool that will let you do such things with no cost at all.
4. Sumatra PDF
Sumatra PDF is the perfect alternative to the popular document viewer Adobe Acrobat Reader. The main advantages of this document viewer software are:
- It’s free
- Installer/Set up file is just 5MB (approx.)
- Very easy to install
- Has a simple user-interface and controls
- Supports all document file formats, E-books and certain archive files
This software application does not bog users with controls or preferences that are not required at all. It is built to deliver simplicity and focus more on the display of documents with easy viewing and provides custom zoom features.
This is a great software for graphical designers and photo editors. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is available as a free software and includes most of the features of Adobe Photoshop and provides tonnes of additional tools, too. If you have used Adobe Photoshop, or are fond of creating and editing photos and other images, you will be very much drawn to this amazing photo-editing software for your PC. Many professionals use this tool in place of Adobe Photoshop for creating new designs, adding effects to images, etc.
If you use WinZip or WinRAR on your PC for compressing and decompressing archives. There is another similar tool that does all the required tasks and is available for free. It is a great archiving tool for both beginners and professional computer users. This software tool has the ability to support all archive formats and also includes support for many other archiving formats such as 7z, ISO, Bin, Tar, JAR, APM, ARJ, MSI, EXE, etc. The tool has its own file manager, where users can perform several tasks such as add and extract files, create new archives, copy, move and delete files, test archives to detect errors, view complete information of archives, etc.
7. FileZilla Client
PC users who often share files with other users over the internet can do the task better and faster with this amazing free software. FileZilla Client is developed for the purpose of letting users share any type of file. Upload them on the cloud and let others download the files. It is a safe and secure FTP (File Transfer Protocol) tool and offers plenty of features to users. It also allows users to pause and resume file transfers and the connection is encrypted with the latest security certificates. There are more features included as you explore the software.
Most of the time, many PC users complain about the slow performance and lack of space on their Windows computers. CCleaner is the most popular software tool for Windows computers. It will also let users clean their PCs and make them run faster. But, some of its advanced features comes with a price. Although there are several software products available that lets you clean and optimise your PC. There is one such tool that is more elite than the paid products.
Bleachbit is available for free and is a perfect competitor of CCleaner and other similar software in the category. This software is also focused on users’ privacy. Simply install the software, select the options, preview the space you can gain and get the task done with the push of a button.
9. YouTube Downloader
The name of the software itself suggests its purpose. YouTube Downloader is a free software tool that lets users download videos from the popular YouTube site. It is a great option for users who want to watch movies offline, instead of streaming online. This tool also lets you convert videos into your favourite audio formats such as MP3, OGG, AAC, M4A, etc.
Downloading videos using this tool is easy – simply copy the video’s URL from the address bar and paste it in the application’s text box. Select the format and hit the download button. This tool supports the YouTube site only. You’ll find lots of videos to download here.
10. AVG Free/ClamWin Anti-virus
My final pick in this list is basically the most important of all software applications, which is the anti-virus software. Microsoft’s Windows is the most widely used operating system around the world. However, the downside is that it also attracts many hackers, which eventually increases vulnerabilities and cyber-crime. This is the main reason why I switched to using the Linux operating system. Now, I’m at peace. All PC users need to protect their Windows computers, and for this, you need an anti-virus software. The built-in Windows Firewall alone is not sufficient to protect you.
There are many anti-virus and internet security suite software products in the market but are expensive, too. Above all, you are compelled to purchase a yearly license annually. But, there’s an option. AVG Free and ClamWin are basically worth trying for. AVG has a free version that is very effective and can protect you online and offline (requires additional customization of protection settings). It works better than Avira’s and Avast’s free anti-virus software editions.
The other security software is ClamWin anti-virus tool. This tool requires an additional CalmSentinel tool, which installed, gives you real-time protection. ClamSentinel does not come with the bundle. You have to separately download from the manufacturer’s website and install it alongside ClamWin. It is a simple tool, but enough to protect your PC from many vulnerable attacks and unknown threats.
Well, these are my favorite picks in the category of free software products for Windows/PC users. Many of the above-mentioned software may be known to a lot of users. However, for those of you who do not like to pay for software and are seeking alternatives, hope this will help you.Follow us on Social Media