- 1 The Best Must-Have Free Software for Windows in 2023
- 2 Which versions of Windows are affected?
- 3 PDFCreator: create a PDF without the hassle
- 4 The GIMP: A great OpenSource tool to do everything with your photos
- 5 XnView: The essentials for viewing and converting images
- 6 Plex Media Server: a powerful and efficient multimedia manager
- 7 Audacity: free audio recording and editing
- 8 Krita: the digital painting specialist
- 9 Inkscape: vector drawing for everyone
- 10 MAME: a great emulator for games from arcade terminals
- 11 Steam: the generalist gaming platform
- 12 Zoom: the most popular video conferencing tool
- 13 WampServer: a complete tool to manage a website directly from your home
- 14 SUMo: Keep your software at its latest version
- 15 Revo Uninstaller: a quick tool to remove apps
- 16 Picsart Photo and Video Editor: Let your imagination run wild
- 17 Recuva: don’t lose your files anymore!
- 18 Blender: perfect for 3D creation
- 19 Rufus: essential to start the system in the event of a hard blow
- 20 TeamViewer: take control remotely
- 21 Format Factory: to convert everything
- 22 Hitfilm Express: all-in-one post-production software
- 23 Google Meet: free video conferencing made in Google
- 24 Avira Free Security: a complete and powerful security suite
- 25 Avast Free Antivirus: the antivirus reference with essential additional tools
- 26 Bitwarden: store all your passwords
- 27 LibreOffice: the most popular free office suite
- 28 Google Drive: online office tools accessible from any workstation
- 29 Microsoft OneDrive: The online and free Microsoft Office suite
The Best Must-Have Free Software for Windows in 2023
Squad Digital offers you to find the essential programs to build your ultimate software library, complete and free! In total, here is a selection of about twenty free software very useful in many circumstances. And the majority of these programs are largely up to what is done in paid mode, at least for general public use.
We therefore present here our Top free software: from utilities, to photo editing and video editing.
We have tested all the programs presented here and have never detected the slightest suspicious behavior or the slightest virus. Nevertheless, we are not immune to a small adware (a software that will broadcast advertising for other programs or online services). This could very well have been slipped randomly from a new version of one of the software mentioned in this file and could have escaped our monitoring tools.
Free utility software
- PDFCreator : create a PDF without the hassle
- WampServer : web development platform
- TeamViewer : take remote control of your PC
- Rufus : essential to start the system in the event of a hard blow
- SUMo : Keep your software at its latest version
- Revo Uninstaller : a quick tool to deeply uninstall applications
- Recuva : don’t lose your files anymore! File Recovery
Free Photo Software
- The GIMP : A great OpenSource tool to do everything with your photos
- XnView : The essentials for viewing and converting images
- PicsArt Photo and Video Editor : let your imagination run wild
Free Drawing and 3D software
- Blender : perfect for 3D creation
- Krita : software for drawing and painting
- Inkscape : vector drawing for everyone
Video editing software
- DaVinci Resolve : the most complete video editing software
- Hitfilm Express : all-in-one post-production software
Video game software
- MAME : a great emulator for games from arcade terminals
- Steam : the generalist gaming platform
- Plex Media Server : a powerful and efficient multimedia manager
- Audacity : free audio recording and editing.
- Format Factory : a handy tool for converting files
- Zoom : fashionable videoconferencing
- Google Meet : free videoconferencing made in Google
- Avira Free Security : a complete and powerful security suite
- Avast Free Antivirus : the antivirus reference with essential additional tools
- Bitwarden : a free password manager
- LibreOffice : la plus populaire des suites bureautiques gratuites
- Google Drive : des outils bureautiques en ligne accessibles sur n’importe quel poste
- Microsoft OneDrive : La suite Microsoft Office en ligne et gratuite
Which versions of Windows are affected?
Unless otherwise stated, all software mentioned here runs on Windows 7 , Windows 8.1 , Windows 10 , and Windows 11 . If you have an OS older than Windows 7 (Vista, XP… or even older?), most of the programs listed in this selection should work, although we strongly advise you to update your configuration.
PDFCreator: create a PDF without the hassle
As its name suggests, PDFCreator allows you to build PDF documents from text or image files. As it is simple and light to load, it would be a shame to deprive yourself of it if you regularly have to convert files to PDF format.
The GIMP: A great OpenSource tool to do everything with your photos
You might as well know it right away, this software has an impressive community of fans. And rightly so. If it is one of the favorite image editing software of Internet users, it is because it is one of the best free software available today. It is very rich in features, and is constantly evolving. In addition, The Gimp is equipped with scripts that propose to automate the most recurring tasks. This program requires the installation of GTK+ and is unfortunately not very suitable for beginners. But its possibilities are immense!
XnView: The essentials for viewing and converting images
Here we present an advanced viewer. This software allows both viewing and converting your images (in nearly 50 different formats, and in whole batches). It also supports animated files, and you can of course make many basic settings: cutting, adjusting brightness and contrast, applying filters and effects, etc. Bonus: its slideshow mode is very attractive.
Plex Media Server: a powerful and efficient multimedia manager
Plex lets you play and manage all your media files. The software offers you the easiest way in the world, and to access it from another device. A very useful application if you like to store all your media on one device (perfect with a NAS, for example) and want to play them on your tablet, console, etc.
DaVinci Resolve: the most complete editing software
Davinci Resolve is not the best known editing software, yet it is one of the most complete and powerful on the market, but perhaps a bit too much for a novice. It allows you to do editing, calibration and colorimetry (the specialty of Resolve), audio editing (up to Dolby Atmos) and special effects. And although a paying Studio version at €300 exists, almost all the options are available in the free version. It is mainly used in the professional environment (for a long time in Hollywood), and is starting to become more and more popular with the general public. You will be able to find a large number of tutorials (even in French) on the internet to help you understand the software.
Audacity: free audio recording and editing
This famous audio recording and editing software is simple and light, in addition to being Open Source. It allows recording in many formats (MP, Flac, OGG, WAV, AAC, AC3, etc.) up to 32 bits 384KHz. It also allows you to process the sound, edit it by applying effects (more than 40) and “clean” it. It may still be far from professional software, but it can remove background noise, equalize and compress any recording in a few clicks, without having to be a sound engineer.
Krita: the digital painting specialist
Krita is a “digital painting” software, in other words digital painting, 2D animation and raster image. It simply allows you to paint with a software with a pleasant interface. What makes the difference with software such as GIMP (or Photoshop) is that the developers have designed tools to best imitate the look and texture of natural paint, drawing with pencil or brush (oil or ink). It goes so far as to imitate the drying of paint. Drawing comics, cartoons or manga has never been easier!
Inkscape: vector drawing for everyone
Another drawing software, but this one is very different from Krita. The particularity is that it is vector drawing (like Adobe Illustrator). Unlike a raster image made up of pixels, the vector image uses independent elements made from mathematical calculations. To make it simpler, the elements do not mix and remain independent, and you can zoom in on them as many times as you want without losing sharpness, because the elements are not made of pixels, but of geometric elements.
MAME: a great emulator for games from arcade terminals
The problem with the Arcade of the 80s and 90s was that unless you were content with ports on consoles or computers, which rarely matched those of the original version, it was very difficult to play at home. MAME is an emulator that will allow you to catch up and find old and new cafe games. The application allows you to indulge in several thousand titles, with all their possible variants. A must for emulation.
Steam: the generalist gaming platform
Steam is a gaming platform, which provides players with an impressive catalog of video games, available for demonstration, free or paid license. The client software and the creation of an account are free, and you are sure to find the game that will make you spend many hours in front of your screen. Different themes and categories will help you to target your game and detailed sheets will allow you to choose your game.
Zoom: the most popular video conferencing tool
Very fashionable at the moment, Zoom is a free instant messaging and videoconferencing service compatible with many platforms. Conferences can accommodate up to 100 connected users, all with an easy-to-access interface. Group meetings are limited to 40 minutes, while face-to-face meetings are limited to 30 hours, which is virtually unlimited. For more features, you will have to fall back on the paid version.
WampServer: a complete tool to manage a website directly from your home
WampServer is software so the name stands for Windows, Apache, MySQL, PHP. As you will have understood, it will quickly prove to be very useful for managing your website, since it offers to find all the software concerned by these technologies in the same places, as well as PHPMyAdmin or the lesser known SQLITEmanager and Zend Optimizer.
SUMo: Keep your software at its latest version
To keep your software up to date, there is the “manual” way, which consists of visiting the official sites of the applications concerned daily… And there is SUMo, which offers to do the manipulation for you. This excellent free application thus detects the updates of the applications that you have dragged and dropped into its interface. If necessary, it can support beta versions of the software you have selected. Guaranteed time savings! Unfortunately, you now need SUMo PRO to be able to update directly from the program. But it is nevertheless useful for listing in a few seconds all your software that needs to be updated (even if the update is manual). So it’s still a significant time saver for a small, lightweight program.
Revo Uninstaller: a quick tool to remove apps
The Windows uninstaller tool is not always able to deal with the most recalcitrant applications. Sometimes well hidden, sometimes (deliberately?) poorly coded, some software leaves indelible traces in the system. To put an end to this kind of inconvenience, there is Revo Uninstaller, which continuously records the changes made to the system, in order to better remove any type of application. The free version of the software, obviously less complete than the paid version, is nonetheless very effective.
Picsart Photo and Video Editor: Let your imagination run wild
PicsArt is photo editing and collage software, allowing you to give free rein to your graphic imagination. Available for download for Windows, it has the advantage of also being available as an online service and as a mobile application. It has complete and intuitive features both for editing your images and for creating a video. The software even includes graphic tools to draw and write on your photos.
Recuva: don’t lose your files anymore!
Very useful, this software will allow you to restore accidentally (sic) lost files. Recuva is to be used quickly after you realize your mistake or it will be almost impossible to recover your files. It searches for and restores files that have been deleted from the recycle bin as well as images that have been inadvertently deleted from a memory card or due to a bug.
Blender: perfect for 3D creation
Here is a flagship title of the Linux world. Blender is indeed a great 3D creation tool, with downright exceptional results. It offers a variety of infinite possibilities, up to the creation of games and animated films for the most connoisseurs. This software is a must but it is very difficult to understand for a novice.
Rufus: essential to start the system in the event of a hard blow
Rufus is a small program that allows you to start the PC directly on a USB key, rather than on the hard disk. Potentially very useful for troubleshooting a PC, or even performing some delicate operations such as flashing a BIOS or installing a new OS.
TeamViewer: take control remotely
Take remote control of another machine through TeamViewer. The application turns out to be very useful to help a friend or a member of your family who is not doing well with his PC. It can also be used to transfer files, or simply to control the home PC when you are on the move. Thanks to it, it is even possible to work with several people on the same document and to organize online meetings, since it tolerates up to 25 participants at the same time.
Format Factory: to convert everything
This free software is able to convert a wide variety of multimedia files (audio, video, images, document, DVD, CD, ISO). Many formats are available, which does not spoil anything. All you have to do is select the type of file to transform, choose the output format and then integrate one or more files into the application. Then press OK and then Start. You just have to wait for the conversion time. In the example below, we have converted an MP4 video to AVI format. Note that the software also allows you to edit the files before their conversion (adding a password, compression, trimming, speed of a sequence, etc.).
Hitfilm Express: all-in-one post-production software
Hitfilm Express integrates all the essential editing features in video post-production, including a multitrack editing bench. Users will be able to take advantage of the editing tools, special effects and audio synchronization and mixing system to achieve a professional result. And if you do not find all the features you need, many plugins can be added to enrich the panel of available tools.
Google Meet: free video conferencing made in Google
Google Meet is the free video conferencing service developed by Google and accessible to all holders of a Google account. What characterizes Google Meet is its simplicity and speed of execution. One click allows you to generate an access link to an audio and video connection space, which you just have to share with your collaborators. Of course, screen sharing and video control are some of the options available.
Avira Free Security: a complete and powerful security suite
Avira Free Security is a comprehensive security package that provides users with a wide range of tools to keep their computer safe. The suite includes an antivirus program, a firewall, and a variety of other security features. The antivirus program is able to detect and remove viruses, worms and Trojans from your computer. It also includes a heuristic engine that can help identify new threats. Additionally, the suite provides users with a VPN, optimization tool, web shield, firewall, and many more security tools.
Avast Free Antivirus: the antivirus reference with essential additional tools
The free Avast Antivirus security suite is a great choice for anyone looking for a comprehensive security solution. The suite includes a powerful antivirus engine that can detect and remove malware, as well as a firewall to protect your network from attacks. Additionally, the suite also includes a variety of tools to help protect your privacy, such as a password manager and a secure browser extension. The suite is available for free, and it is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Android devices.
Bitwarden: store all your passwords
Social networks, bank, public services, mailboxes… We have many accounts on the Internet. And it’s not easy to remember every password. Moreover, it is necessary to avoid at all costs to use the same password each time. By doing so, all of your accounts will be exposed in the event of a hack. To help you remember everything, there are very effective free password managers like Bitwarden. After downloading and installing it, all you have to do is create an account and choose a master password that will allow you to access all of your registered credentials. For more security, it is also possible to opt for two-step identification (by sending an SMS, an authentication application or a security key). Significant fact,
LibreOffice: the most popular free office suite
LibreOffice is a powerful office suite that offers a wide range of features including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation and slideshow software, drawing software and another for calculating mathematical formulas. It supports a large number of file formats and most importantly, it is completely open and free.
Google Drive: online office tools accessible from any workstation
Google Drive is a cloud file storage and synchronization service developed by Google. It allows users to store files in the cloud, share files and edit documents collaboratively in real time. Google Drive allows users to store up to 15 GB of files for free. Paid plans are available for storage amounts beyond this limit. Files stored in Drive can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. Google Drive integrates office tools directly accessible from its online interface: Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, etc. as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.
Microsoft OneDrive: The online and free Microsoft Office suite
Microsoft OneDrive is a cloud storage solution that allows users to save files and access them from anywhere. OneDrive comes with a number of features that make it ideal for office use. First, OneDrive offers 5GB of free storage, and additional storage can be purchased. This makes it a great option for storing documents, presentations, and other files. Secondly, OneDrive integrates the famous Microsoft Office office suite, available for free, online, but with some limitations in its functionality. Third, OneDrive facilitates sharing and collaborative work, while offering a simple and secure interface.