Win-Win Situation: Top 5 Free Windows Apps You Should Be Using in 2018
Perhaps you've been using the standard applications that are included into the Windows package for quite a while now. Yes, they seem to be decent workhorses doing their job as good as they can. But sometimes you couldn't help but see: their functionality lacks something and feels overall... let's say generic.
A lot of Microsoft users aren't aware of how many excellent and free apps there are undiscovered. That's why we've prepared Top 5 of them specially for you.
1. AVG Antivirus - The malware bouncer
Safety comes first, especially when it's free. You don't have to be lectured about how many dangers are lurking in the digital slums of the web. But you need to know that AVG Antivirus does a decent job at detecting and fending them off. Even though it costs $0.
According to the field tests held by an independent AV-Test laboratory, AVG invariably makes it to the free antivirus Top 3 chart, often winning the first position. It specializes in various types of malware, including rootkits, crypto-miners etc.
It blocks threats and stores them to quarantine, giving you a full report on what kind of menace was neutralized. You should check the quarantine before purging the malware, because at times AVG may detain a normal file by mistake.
It works in the passive mode, which means it can be either your primary safety guard or a sidekick of another antivirus. For better security, it is recommended to do a deep scan once in a while and always empty the recycle bin.
AVG's biggest drawbacks are:
- It noticeably slows the system down when you visit popular websites or play online.
- Has frequent pop-up ads with other AVG products.
Other than that, AVG Antivirus is a diligent hard-worker and as a bonus, it will filter your email box from spam and letter-attached threats.
2. IObit Uninstaller - It's time to clean the gutters
No matter what version of Windows you're using, be it the veteran XP or the newly updated Windows 10, IObit Uninstaller will be glad to clean the junk out of your OS. If you can't delete an application, IObit will help you evict it for good through the Force Uninstall, removing all the useless rubbish that stubborn the app could've left behind.
Furthermore, you can scan the system to detect & delete all the residual files that it could be plagued with. To some, the latter option may seem to be a trifle, but in reality, it recovers a lot of storage space.
In case you may regret uninstalling something, the app gives you an insurance and creates a system restore point before doing the annihilation. Also, it ranks your programs by size, frequency of use etc., it can remove a bunch of programs at one time and keeps track of everything you delete.
To save the time and get rid of the no good software quickly, simply right-click on it - IObit Uninstaller will be in the context menu. What you might dislike is that the ads appear now and then after you have removed something.
IObit Uninstaller is a powerful tool for cleaning out the rubbish and shredding the unimportant files. It will help you keep the hard-drive more hygienic than usual and win more storage space. But beware: once it deletes something, it will be gone for good.
3. Discord - Gamer's paradise
Discord has gained recognition as the best messenger for gamers. However with games put aside, it's pretty useful for holding online conferences or just voice group-chatting.
The reason why the gamers treasure Discord so much is probably because:
- It can host both small and colossal group-chats, some of which reach the 100 000 people mark.
- Offers a wide repertoire of customization options.
- Has in-game overlay - it lets you adjust Discord without interrupting the game.
- Doesn't affect FPS while you play.
A very big Discord community (or channel) doesn't turn into a chaotic mess. It is possible thanks to various adjustable levels of access permissions and also the individual volume control - you can mute those who you don't want to hear. If only it could be like this in real life.
To form a Discord community, you have to:
- Create a server.
- Send out the access codes to the people you want to join you.
The app has extensive security functions.
You can command it to scan the incoming messages for inappropriate content and auto-delete them by choosing Keep Me Safe option. My Friends Are Nice excludes your trusted buddies from being pre-filtered and humorous I Live on the Edge removes all message barriers whatsoever. Besides Discord features a defense against DDoS attacks and IP protection.
All mainstream multimedia files are supported in the app, including GIFs. discord is free to download but there's Discord Nitro, which garners HD screen-sharing and other cosmetic perks for $50 per year.
Discord certainly overshadows any other VoIP apps when it comes to cooperative gaming. But it's also good for group-chatting with your family, friends, and colleagues. Spread the word through Discord.
4. Notepad++ - Notepad on steroids
As you launch Notepad ++ you're greeted by its mascot - loony chameleon gripping a pencil. Notepad ++ is just like a chameleon - it easily adapts to your needs.
Primarily it is used by coders and developers as a very effective code-editing software. In Language category, programming languages are arranged in alphabetical order from Ada to VisualBasic. You can create numerous tabs, align them vertically/horizontally and even switch to the split screen mode.
Macros are available as well - on the left, next to the Spellchecker, you have the tool-panel for recording them:
- Hit the Rec button.
- Type in the data.
- Press Stop.
Then use Playback or Run Multiple Times to enter the macros.
GUI is easy to adjust - go to Settings -> Style Configurator and alter color styles for every language individually.
A regular user will find a cornucopia of helpful features too, including:
- Multiple tabs
- Zoom in/out
- Undo/Redo buttons etc.
Additionally, there's a multitude of free plugins that can be downloaded through the built-in plugin-manager: ChangeMarkers, ConvertExt and so on.
The funny thing is that Notepad ++ due to its architecture doesn't make the CPU of your computer "sweat" too much, therefore consuming less energy and leading to lesser CO2 emissions. This little chameleon worries about the nature.
Notepad ++ is indispensable for every coder. But even if you're not one, it's still a goodie too useful to skip.
5. HitFilm - Your own Hollywood studio
HitFilm is only semi-free - there's a Pro upgrade for $349. However, feature list that it offers free of charge is more than enough for learning film-editing and making interesting videos.
Here's what you get for free:
- A big palette of animation tools
- Masks & layers
- Composite shots
- Video/audio filters
- Tools for green screen
- Neat timeline editor
- Motion blur
- Adjustable preview quality
- 3D support
- Direct YouTube upload etc.
Free version of HitFilm is impressive indeed. However, before you can use it, you'll have to go through a tricky download stage and let your friends/followers know that you're a HitFilm adept now via social media. At least on the official website, you can find a pile of tutorials.
HitFilm will remain a super powerful movie-editor even if you refuse to pay. You can edit videos in HitFilm even while exporting. What more can be said?