75 best free software downloads

You can power up your PC with extra features and functions without spending a fortune. We outline some incredibly useful downloads you can use for free.

There's nothing quite like unboxing a new PC or laptop. It's going to be fast, efficient and super-smooth. The world's your oyster: having chosen a computer that suits your needs, it's time to make it your own. You can customise it, tweak it and add as many functions as you wish – or you can simply strip it back to the bare minimum and focus on making it as lean and as fast as possible.

Whichever type of machine you decide you want to end up with, there are free programs that can help you achieve your goals. There are also hundreds of useful, highly focused utilities that can assist with under-the-hood settings and give you maximum control over your PC's appearance and behaviour.

Invaluable tools to keep your computer connected, protected and in touch with the world are also easy to come by. It's knowing where to look and which apps are worth having that's the hard part. Thankfully, for every piece of disappointing frippery, there's a far better and more capable alternative.

With the range of desktop, browser and multimedia extras we introduce you to over the following pages, there's no need to settle for anything less than the best system for you.

System utilities

Windows is a pretty powerful operating system (OS), but it doesn't always do what you need. These utilities provide some of the missing functions.

Remove pasted-text formatting

Most of us have experienced the frustration of copying and pasting text from one document to another, only to have unwanted text formatting along for the ride. Better Paste strips formatting from text when you press Ctrl, V to paste. Pressing Ctrl, Shift, V retains the formatting.

Fix everyday frustrations

It's not always the big things going wrong that causes the most aggravation. If your Recycle Bin goes Awol or you can no longer preview images as thumbnails, you're just as likely to want a fix. [[xref:http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/downloads/index.cfm?itemid=82272&categoryid=1506|FixWin|FixWin] is an easy-to-use utility that offers fixes for common annoyances related to Windows Explorer, the internet, Windows Media Player and other system tools.

Update everything

Windows Update keeps your OS up to date, but third-party programs aren't necessarily kept current in such a routine manner. [[xref:http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/downloads/index.cfm?itemid=83307&categoryid=1494|Ketarin|Ketarin] scans your installed programs and then checks for and downloads any updates to make sure you're running the latest versions.

Take Linux apps with you

You don't have to install an entirely new OS to experiment with Linux. Simply install Portable Ubuntu Remix to run Linux applications seamlessly on your Windows machine.

Turbo-charge file transfers

If you get impatient while waiting for Windows to copy large files from one folder to another, try Teracopy. This handy utility copies files significantly faster than Explorer can, and lets you pause and resume transfers, too.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

PC Advisor staff

PC Advisor (UK)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?