Did you know that there’s over 660,000 different apps and games in the Microsoft store for Windows 10? Combine that with all the programs out there for other Windows versions, and that’s a HUGE amount of software.
Not all of them are free, or useful, but in this article and video on we’re going to check out 7 useful free software programs that you might have missed.
Not all antivirus programs offer protection against adware, spyware and other potentially unwanted programs. And even those who do, tend to sometimes do it poorly. These programs are not strictly malicious but they will use up harddrive space, computer resources and might also invade your privacy.
To clean your computer of all types of malware, in addition to your antivirus you want to use a program such as Malwarebytes. Malwarebytes is specialized in the removal of potentially unwanted programs such as spyware and adware.
The free edition of Malwarebytes does not have active protection and neither does it support scheduled scans. But if your computer is running slow, you can manually scan it and remove all the unwanted crap that you may have accidentally installed.
Malwarebytes supports Windows, Mac and Android devices.
#2 Panda Cloud Cleaner
What if you get a virus and your computer won’t start or it gets stuck while booting up. Well, one thing you could try if nothing else is working, is the Panda Cloud Cleaner. It’s an antivirus program that can be installed on a USB drive or burned on a CD or DVD. You can then use it to disinfect computers that are having virus or malware problems that prevent them from being able to boot up.
Panda Cloud Cleaner is however only available for Windows. You can download it either as an executable file that installs itself on your USB drive, or you can get it as an ISO file which can also be installed on a USB or burned on a CD or DVD disc.
To actually make it boot up when you plugin the USB thumb drive, you may have to go into your BIOS to change your boot up order. You can find more instructions on the Panda website.
#3 FBX Screen Recorder
Screen recording gameplay can sometimes be problematic, especially when doing it with free software. But now I’ve found what I’d say is the worlds simplest and easiest to use gaming screen recorder for Windows, and it’s called FBX.
The same company makes another free screen recorder called Flashback Express, which is more for desktop recording. I tested it out last year, but to be honest I don’t really like it. However FBX is something else.
It’s just a really straight forward screen recorder that’s incredibly easy to use. The recording footage is high quality, high resolution and it can record a frame rate of up to 120 fps. Videos are saved in MP4 format, which can be used in most video editing software without having to convert them.
You do have to sign up for an account to use the software though. The recordings will end up in your Videos folder by default, but you can change that in the settings.
There’s an alternative media player for Windows called PotPlayer, which was suggested by one of my viewers but I can’t seem to find out who it was. Kudos to you for the suggestion whoever you were.
PotPlayer is an interesting media player. It can open and play most media file types, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs. But it can additionally access webcam feeds, URLs on the internet, including YouTube videos and much more.
What’s even more amazing about PotPlayer is that you can record whatever is playing back on it, and you can even make it play your screen. So you can effectively use PotPlayer as a desktop screen recorder.
One additional feature worth mentioning is that PotPlayer also supports 360 degree videos, which not a lot of other media players are able to use yet.
If you’re into photography, you should definitely check out Darktable. It’s comparable to a free version of Adobe Lightroom. This app was suggested a while back by William Statt, thanks for the recommendation. I had actually heard about Darktable a few years ago, but back then it was only available for Mac and Linux. Today you can also get it for Windows.
I used to be really into photography many years ago and I still actually have a Canon EOS 7D camera and some lenses. But back then I had no idea how to edit RAW images and I kind of fell out of love with the hobby before I got my hands on any decent free RAW image editing software.
But with Darktable you can easily edit RAW images and it has a long list of features. It has all the basic features you’d expect from a photo editor such as being able to adjust contrast, brightness, exposure, white balance and so on. But on top of that it is a full featured RAW image editor, it has GPU accelerated image processing, support for a wide range of image formats and even tethered shooting, so you can connect your camera and get the results directly into Darktable.
Some of you may have been using an encryption program called TrueCrypt back in the day. Unfortunately it was discontinued in May 2014. VeraCrypt however is a fork of the TrueCrypt source code, but it is still maintained and developed today.
With VeraCrypt you can create encrypted password protected file containers that are mounted on the software and they will appear as virtual harddrives on your computer. You can then add files and folders to them, like you would do to a regular harddrive. Once you’re done, you just unmount the file container and everything is encrypted within it. You can then copy and move the file container like any other file.
VeraCrypt can also encrypt entire harddrives as well as create hidden volumes. Hidden volumes can be useful if you end up in a situation where you have to give up the password for your encrypted harddrive.
VeraCrypt is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
PeaZip is a free file archiver that’s a good open source alternative to programs such as WinRAR or 7-Zip.
There are a few reasons I would recommend PeaZip over WinRAR or 7-Zip.
WinRAR is obviously not entirely free and open source, it’s a form of nagware that always encourages you to upgrade to a full version. And if you have a company you must buy a license to use it. PeaZip is entirely free for both individuals and companies, and it doesn’t nag you to do anything.
7-Zip is similar to PeaZip, but I prefer PeaZip because it has in my opinion a much better interface and shell context menu. PeaZip also has most other 7-Zip features, including extensive support for opening various file archives and secure 256-bit file archive encrypton. Additionally it has some extra features such as secure file deletion and it is able to look up various checksums and hashes. With PeaZip you can create ZIP files, 7Z files and it also has a native format called PEA.