Enjoying Computers and Blogging

22 Free Tools for Windows

Calculator and measuring tools

Here are 22 free tools for Windows. They can help you, Windows or help you know more about your Windows device. They’re in no particular order.

1. NZXT CAM

Billed as a complete PC monitoring solution, NZXT CAM allows you to keep an eye on CPU and GPU temperatures, overclock your GPU, and keep tabs on your in-game performance Рframes per second (FPS).
The UI is clean and straightforward and has standard and mini versions. You can also choose a custom accent color. If you choose to, you can create a free online account that will give you some data storage options, but you can stay with a local account if signing up is not your thing.

NZXT CAM - Tools for Windows 10

2. Core Temp

Core Temp allows you to monitor your CPU temperature in real-time by displaying the temperatures for each CPU core. It shows you your CPU frequency and CPU load, plus the distance to TjMax. We like Core Temp because you can set it once to always display in the Windows taskbar, and you needn’t touch or manually open the app again.

You can change the color of the text that is shown in the taskbar. In our example, we chose black for the core temperatures and blue for the frequency. You can also customize the colors for any hot or critical temperatures and display temps in Celsius or Fahrenheit. If CPU overclocking is your thing, or you live in a particularly hot area, or you just like to know how warm your PC is running, Core Temp is a great Windows tool.

Core Temp (CPU temperature monitoring software)

3. Microsoft To-Do

Microsoft To-Do is a friendly little to-do list app for Windows, Android, and iOS. It’s originally from the team behind Wunderlist – a to-do list app that Microsoft acquired back in 2015. With it, you can choose My Day or To-Do tabs to make a list of things to do. Just make sure you do them! Microsoft To-do syncs nicely between devices, so you can keep catching up with tasks and doing things on the move.

Microsoft To-Do (Green theme and sort options)

4. CCleaner

As mentioned in¬†Computer maintenance, the very popular¬†CCleaner is a quick-and-easy way to remove the trash on your PC and create more space on your drive. It’s one of the first free third-party go-to maintenance tools to use to keep your Windows 10 device clean.

CCleaner - Tools for Windows 10

5. QTranslate

QTranslate is a free translator utility for Windows (XP/Vista/7/8/10). Simply choose a language, type, or paste text you’d like to translate and hit the translate button. You can toggle back and forth between translations. You can also perform a dictionary search and have the text read out loud. If that’s not enough, you can make QTranslate use either Google Translate, Bing Translator, Promt, Babylon, DeepL, SDL FreeTranslation, Yandex, youdao, Baidu, or Naver as your translate service of choice. (Internet connection required.)

QTranslate - Tools for Windows 10

6. Patch My PC Updater

Patch My PC Updater is a free Windows app, which quickly checks the apps on your PC and tells you which ones need updating. You can set it to download updates and install them automatically, behind the scenes. Patch My PC Updater can also uninstall apps with its built-in app uninstaller.

Patch My PC Updater - Tools for Windows 10

7. WinDirStat

WinDirStat¬†lets you see which files and file types are taking up what space and where. These types of apps are especially useful if you’d like to have more disk space, and you can, therefore, consider which apps or files can be uninstalled or removed.

WinDirStat - Tools for Windows 10

8. TreeSize Free

TreeSize Free also lets you analyze the disk space on your PC hard drive. Again, useful for understanding which files are taking up more space.

TreeSize Free - Tools for Windows 10

9. VLC media player

VLC media player¬†– (recently updated to 3.0.1) is a well-known, free, and open-source media player. VLC is popular for its ability to be able to play many multimedia file types, including Blu-Ray (which Windows 10 can’t play out of the box), 360 video and audio, Chromecast streaming, and 4K and 8K playback. It comes with enough audio and video codecs, so you should be able to play most typical audio and video files, which you might find online. If you want DVD playback, download the desktop version (linked above) from¬†videolan.org, and not the version from the Microsoft Store. (And if you did want more codecs for various other files, see¬†K-Lite Codec pack.) Go here for other¬†Audio players for Windows.

VLC media player - Tools for Windows 10

10. CPU-Z

CPU-Z gives you lots of information about your system, including real-time monitoring of CPU and memory frequencies (speeds). CPU-Z is often used by overclockers who are trying to get the most efficient or maximum performance from their CPUs.

CPU-Z - Tools for Windows 10

11. ExperienceIndexOK

Do you remember the Windows Experience Index from Windows 7 (and introduced in Windows Vista)? It was a hardware scanner that ran a series of hardware tests and then gave you a performance score to help you better gauge your computer’s capabilities.

The Windows Experience Index is still calculated but doesn’t show in Windows 10 (or Windows 8.1). However, the third-party app¬†ExperienceIndexOK brings it back again (and it looks almost the same). ExperienceIndexOK doesn’t get installed. You can just download it and run it.

ExperienceIndexOK - Tools for Windows 10

12. Network Speed Test

Network Speed Test¬†is a quick and simple-to-use app for checking your internet connection speed. It’s available from the Microsoft Store, and Microsoft Research makes it, so you know it’s a decent app.

Network Speed Test - Tools for Windows 10

13. SUMo (Software Updates Monitor)

SUMo is another free app updater for Windows. It lists the apps and drivers on your PC and lets you know which ones are out of date. Any major updates are listed in red, for example, a web browser security or vulnerability update.

SUMo (Software Updates Monitor) - Tools for Windows 10

14. 7-Zip

If you find yourself unable to open any archive files within Windows, like a zip file or .rar file, then 7-Zip is the app for you. 7-Zip can work with many archive file types, and it also compresses and archives files at a high compression to create nice small archive file sizes. (In regards to zip files or archives, less advanced computer users should be careful not to download and open any zip files at random Рespecially via email.)

7-Zip file archiver - Tools for Windows 10

15. Eraser

Eraser¬†is a free security tool for Windows 10, 8, 7, and XP, which allows you to remove data from your hard drive by overwriting it many times with carefully selected patterns. Safely removing data can come in especially useful if you’re selling a PC, and you’d like to make sure that your data has been removed forever or is unrecoverable.

Eraser - Tools for Windows 10

16. Office Suites

Office suites are a useful tool for Windows 10, too. With that in mind, I’ve included this category here, but please see the Free office suites for Windows¬†page, to peruse the different and popular free office suite options.

Screenshot of an Office app

17. RealTemp

RealTemp is a CPU temperature monitoring program for Intel single Core, Dual Core, Quad-Core, and Core i7 processors. RealTemp sits down in the taskbar by the clock, and you can monitor your CPU core temperatures in real-time, giving you an idea of your PC’s cooling efficiency or the CPU workload. Please see Core Temp (above).

RealTemp - Tools for Windows 10

18. Rufus

Rufus is a quick and easy-to-use app for creating a bootable USB drive. I use it whenever I want to download and cleanly install the latest full version of Windows.

Rufus - Tools for Windows 10

19. AIDA64

AIDA64¬†lists the different components of your PC. If you’re curious about things like what CPU you have or who makes your video chip, then try AIDA64.

AIDA64 - Tools for Windows 10

20. Speccy

Speccy¬†is one of the best and original apps for checking to see what’s inside your PC. As the name suggests, if you need to know your hardware `specs’ – look no further. Speccy gives you detailed information on every piece of hardware in your computer, including real-time running temperatures. Speccy is made by Lavasoft, the same team which brought us¬†CCleaner.

Speccy - Tools for Windows 10

21. Recuva

Recuva can help you recover accidentally deleted files – so long as they haven’t been written over. For similar recovery apps, see here.

Recuva - Tools for Windows 10

22. The PC Decrapifier

The chances are that your lovely new PC or Windows device has come with some built-in bloatware designed to benefit the manufacturer more than the end-user. This bloatware can trigger unnecessary startup items that can slow down your PC. The PC Decrapifier is a free tool that helps remove these programs and unnecessary startup items. It takes you step-by-step, giving you recommendations on what bloatware apps to remove, many of which can be removed unattended. It has a rather unfortunate name, in my opinion, but it gets the job done.

The PC Decrapifier - Tools for Windows 10

Summary

These are some of the practical tools for Windows that people like to use. We’ll be sure to add some more. If you’re looking for all¬†types of software, check out the¬†Windows Store, or for freeware, try¬†FileHippo.

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