Best free software for a new Windows 10

By: Milan Stanojevic
13 minute read

If you reset Windows 10 to factory settings or if you perform a clean install, all your files and applications will be removed. This means that you have to install all your applications all over again. Choosing the appropriate applications isn’t always easy, and today we’re going to show you some of the best free software for a new Windows 10.

Which free software do you need for a new Windows 10?

Google Chrome or Firefox

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After you install Windows 10, first thing that you want to install is a new browser. Windows 10 comes with Microsoft Edge pre-installed, but users tend to install third-party browsers anyway. Microsoft Edge is a decent browser overall, but it lacks certain features that many third-party browsers have.

Both Chrome and Firefox have a long history, and they have been available on the market for years. Both browsers are secure and offer the latest features. In addition, both browsers follow the latest web standards. You can also install all sorts of extensions thus enhancing their functionality. Although there are some differences between the two, both browsers are simple to use and both offer similar features. If you’re looking for a different kind of browser, you might want to check out some of the best lightweight browsers for Windows 10.

AVG AntiVirus Free

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After installing a new browser, be sure to install the appropriate antivirus software. Even though Windows 10 uses Windows Defender as a default antivirus, many users tend to install third-party antivirus tools. Third-party tools offer more features and better security, and this is why users tend to use them over Windows Defender. There are many great free antivirus tools, but we would like to mention AVG Antivirus.

There are two versions of AVG available, free and paid. Free version will stop viruses, spyware and other malicious software from affecting your computer. In addition, AVG will warn you if you try to access an unsafe website that can harm your PC. This tool also offers email protection and it will block potentially dangerous email attachments. Lastly, AVG will perform scans quickly and quietly in the background, so you won’t even notice that it’s running. Paid version offers additional features such as protection from ransomware, file encryption, firewall, etc. Although paid version offers some new features, the free version will offer decent protection in most cases.

Although AVG Antivirus is a great tool, we have to mention that you’ll frequently get notifications asking you to upgrade to paid version. This isn’t usually a problem, but it can be a bit annoying sometimes. Despite this minor flaw, this is still a great antivirus tool that you should definitely use. Recently we wrote about the best antivirus programs, so be sure to check them out as well.

CCleaner

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CCleaner is one of those tools that will remove old files from your PC. By removing those files your PC will be faster and experience fewer crashes. CCleaner allows you to delete temporary files, browsing cache and browsing history. In addition, you can also remove system-related temporary files. Third-party applications are also supported, so you’ll be able to remove their temporary files as well. This tool also allows you to scan your registry for any problems. If you choose to fix problems with the registry, you’ll be asked to create a backup file before making any changes.

We have to mention that this app also has some built-in tools. The first option is Uninstall tool that will list all installed applications. From there you can choose which application you want to uninstall. This feature isn’t necessary, but it’s useful to have it since it allows you to quickly remove installed applications.

Using this tool you can also see Startup applications and disable them. You can also see scheduled tasks and context menu items. There’s also an option to check all installed browser plugins. Using this option you can disable or delete any browser plugin right from CCleaner. If you need to check the status of your hard drive, there’s a built-in disk analyzer tool available.

Another feature is duplicate finder that will allow you to find and remove any duplicated files that are taking space on your hard drive. In addition, you can also remove System Restore points right from CCleaner. This application also comes with Drive Wiper feature that can format an entire hard drive. If you want, you can also clean empty space which makes your deleted files unrecoverable. CCleaner is an amazing tool that will clean up your PC and speed it up. However, by using this tool you might remove some core files, so be careful while using it.

VLC Media Player

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VLC Media Player is probably one of the most popular media players on Windows platform. What makes this player special is its ability to play all sorts of files without installing any third-party codecs. This app supports all sorts of video, audio and subtitle files, so you won’t have any issues playing your favorite movies. In addition, this application can also play content from discs, webcams, other devices and even streams. This app allows you to control video and subtitle synchronization which is great. There are also certain video and audio filters that you can apply to your videos.

VLC media player might not look impressive, but you can customize it by using all sorts of skins. In addition, you can enhance the functionality of the player by installing various third-party plugins. VLC is a great media player that will play all sorts of different files without any additional codecs. In addition to desktop app, there’s also VLC Universal app available from Windows Store.

MusicBee or AIMP

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Although VLC Media Player is great for videos, you might want a different tool for your music files. Recently we covered some of the best music apps for Windows 10, and our favorites were MusicBee and AIMP. Both these applications offer great user interface, many useful features and custom skins. If you want, you can enhance the applications even further by installing one of the many available plugins. MusicBee and AIMP are great music apps for Windows 10, so be sure to try any of them.

LastPass

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If you’re not familiar with password managers this might be the right time to learn more about them. Password managers store all your passwords and they allow you to quickly log in to any website without typing your password. In addition, these tools can also generate unique passwords that malicious users won’t be able to figure out. Tools such as LastPass will generate unique password for every website that you use, which is a good practice if you want to keep your online accounts protected.

For example, if you use the same password for your email and your bank account that can be a major security risk. If a malicious user hacks your email, they can use the same password to access your bank account, and this can be a massive problem. Password managers are useful since they will generate unique password for every website that you use. Since these passwords are hard to remember, you’ll have to rely on password manager to enter all your passwords for you.

Of course, password manager will require its own master password, and this is the only password that you’ll have to remember. After entering master password, LastPass will automatically enter your login information to any website when you try to access it. If you want extra protection, LastPass supports several types of two-step authentication, so even if somebody has your master password they won’t be able to access your other passwords.

LastPass stores all its information in the cloud, and all your data is encrypted with AES-256 bit encryption, salted hashing, and PBKDF2 SHA-256, so malicious users won’t be able to use it. If you want, you can save all your passwords from the cloud and store them on your local computer for backup.

LastPass is available for Windows 10 and major mobile platforms. If you prefer using Universal apps, we’re pleased to inform you that LastPass Universal app is available for download from Windows Store. LastPass is a great tool that will keep all your passwords and online accounts protected, but it has few flaws. Since all your passwords are randomly generated, it will be hard to remember them. This can be a problem if you try to log in from a new computer, so you’ll have to login to LastPass and enter the passwords manually. LastPass even offers portable version that you can install on a USB flash drive and use it to safely access your online accounts on any computer, without entering any passwords.

OpenOffice or LibreOffice

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Microsoft Office is the most used office suite in the world, but it’s not available for free. If you don’t want to purchase Microsoft Office, you might want to consider a free alternative such as OpenOffice or LibreOffice. Both suites come with basic apps such as Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Base and Math that should replace popular Microsoft applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. Both suites are completely free and they can be installed on different computers without any limitations. If you need an office suite on your Windows 10 PC and you’re looking for a free Microsoft Office alternative, be sure to check OpenOffice or LibreOffice.

File compression software

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File compression software is useful to have, especially if you download all sorts of files from the Internet. Many users share files online as archives because that’s the simplest way to send multiple files at once. In addition, sending multiple files in an archive will often compress the files and reduce the total size of the archive. Although Windows 10 can open and create archives, many users prefer using third-party software because it offers advanced features. In the past we wrote about best open source file archivers and best file compression tools, so be sure to check those articles.

Notepad++

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Microsoft Notepad is a decent tool for taking notes, but it lacks many advanced features that some users require. If you frequently edit text files with Notepad, you might want to consider using Notepad++ instead. Unlike regular Notepad, Notepad++ comes with tabbed interface that allows you to open multiple text documents at once. Another useful feature of Notepad++ is the support for syntax highlighting and syntax folding. Of course, there’s an autocompletion function for words available as well. This tool also allows you to create certain macros and run them in order to speed up the editing process. Notepad++ also has advanced search that allows you to search multiple files simultaneously. There’s also an advanced search and replace mechanism that allows you to quickly find and replace certain words.

Notepad++ is a major improvement compared to regular Notepad. If you frequently edit text files or if you are a developer, you might want to consider using Notepad++ instead of Notepad. We have to mention that this tool also has support for various plugins, so you can enhance the functionality of the tool even further.

Paint.net

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Windows 10 has Microsoft Paint as a default image editor, but many users tend to use different third-party solutions. One of the most popular Paint alternatives is Paint.net. This application comes with a simple and friendly user interface. Unlike other photo editors, this one is rather fast and it doesn’t use too much of your resources. One of the biggest differences between this tool and regular Paint is the availability of layers. Thanks to this feature, you can make advanced changes faster and simpler than before. In addition, this application supports unlimited undo commands so you can easily fix any mistake.

There’s also support for various adjustments, so you can easily change contrast, levels, hue and saturation along with other options. If you wish, you can also apply one of many available effects. We have to mention that this tool also supports various plugins, so you can easily add new features. Paint.net offers some of the basic featues that many professional tools such as Photoshop have. If you frequently use Paint to make small edits to your images, be sure that you try Paint.net. The application is a bit more complex than Paint, but it offers all sorts of amazing features, so be sure to try it out.

HWiNFO

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If you want to know more about your computer hardware, we suggest that you use HWiNFO. This tool will scan your PC and display important information about your hardware. For example, you’ll be able to see the model of your motherboard, chipset model and BIOS version. In addition, you can see your CPU information such as its socket, features, number of cores, clock and multiplier. Similar information is available for your GPU and memory as well.

All your hardware will be sorted in the column on the left, and you can expand the hardware tree and check information about individual components easily. In addition, you can even run a benchmark tool and test if your system is stable. There’s also sensors section that can show you hardware usage, temperature and voltage of your components.

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HWiNFO is an amazing tool for those that want to know more about their hardware. This probably isn’t a tool that you’ll use on everyday basis, but if you’re a computer enthusiast there’s no reason not to try this tool out.

Image viewer

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Windows 10 comes with Photos app that works as a default image viewer. Even though Photos app is decent, some users prefer applications that provide more features. Many third-party apps allow you to edit your images and organize them by assigning tags to them. In addition, some third-party applications are faster than Photos app. We already covered some of the best photo viewer software for Windows 10, so be sure to check it out if you’re looking for a free image viewer.

Recuva

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Sometimes you might accidentally delete an important file from your PC, and that can be a major problem. Recuva is a simple tool that will allow you to restore your files even if you empty your Recycle Bin. When you delete a file from your PC the file isn’t actually deleted from the hard drive. After your delete a file, its sector on the hard drive is released and you can use that sector to store different files. Since the file isn’t removed completely, unless its hard drive sector is used for a different file, you should be able to recover it.

When you start Recuva you’ll be able to choose what type of file you wish to recover and from which location. After you configure your search, the scan process will start and find all files that match the criteria. After that you just need to select the files that you want to recover and select the recovery directory. Recuva is a great tool if you accidentally delete an important file, but bear in mind that certain files might not be recovered. General rule of thumb is to use Recuva as soon as you can after you delete an important file in order to recover it.

Firewall

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Windows 10 comes with its own Windows Firewall that works as a default firewall. This is a decent tool, but if you want an extra layer of security, you might want to consider using a third-party firewall. Third-party firewall tools will block unknown applications from accessing the Internet, but these tools also have many advanced features that Windows Firewall lacks. If you’re looking for a firewall tool for your PC, we highly recommend that you check our list of best firewall tools for Windows 10.

Download manager

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Download manager is a useful tool especially if you don’t have fast or reliable Internet connection. Sometimes it can occur that your Internet connection drops, and that can make your downloaded file corrupted. To prevent these types of problems, many people use download managers. These tools will often speed up your download, and they will allow you to resume it at any time. Another useful feature of download managers is the ability to limit the download speed. By using this feature, you can ensure that you have enough bandwidth for other needs such as music or video streaming. We wrote about best download managers for Windows 10 in the past, so be sure to check them out.

Clipboard manager

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Last entry on our list are clipboard managers. We use copy and paste functions on daily basis, but by default you can only copy and paste one entry. By using clipboard manager you can see all your copied data. This data includes text, images or even files. By using clipboard manager you can quickly search for any copied data and paste it again with just few clicks. If you copy data frequently and you need to keep it organized and easily accessible, these types of programs are irreplaceable. We wrote about the best clipboard managers for Windows 10, so be sure to check them out.

These are some of the best free applications that you should install on a fresh installation of Windows 10. Keep in mind that it’s not necessary to install all of these applications. In our opinion, the most important applications are antivirus tool, web browser and multimedia player, so be sure to install them as soon as you can.

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