Essential free programs to install on a new Windows PC

There is always a ritual that is carried out on a new (or even old PC), which involves removing as much pre-installed software as possible and then replacing it with useable and essential alternatives.

(I am certain I have done a similar post like this before...)

Here is my install ritual:

(Please note that all the software listed on this page is both legal and free. No pirate programs in this list. Many will also be opensource.)

Web Browser

. Many prefer Chrome, but I prefer Firefox (en-gb localisation). I like how it works and I don't think google monitors it as actively as chrome. Another alternative is Opera Browser.

Whatever is chosen, the idea is to get off Internet Explorer as quick as possible.


For a while now I have been sing Microsoft's which is free and without hassle on all PC's with legitimate windows Installs. Unlike some other alternatives, its licensing doesn't have a "free for home use only" clause.

Coverage wise, when I started using it, it used to be very good, but I don't know if it has kept its quality or fallen down the rankings over time.

Other alternatives are (which last time I used it used to talk to me...) , and which I have used in the past. is another option which seems to have decent reviews, but I have not used.

Anti Malware

I have heard good things about , but ive not used it enough to really give it a rating. But I install it when I am setting up others computers. For myself I trust to not get malware, which is a bit arrogant and the best way to get caught out.

Media Player.

I use which can play almost anything you can throw at it.

Archive Program

Many people use winzip. Here's a tip: don't.

is so much more featureful, and its actually legally free and without any restrictions. or nagging to purchase the "pro" version (because this IS the pro version!)

Drawing/Image Manipulation

For image manipulation (think photoshop), I always have installed, and also find useful.

For vector drawing (like illustrator), there is .

Word Processing / Office

I use . There is also Apache . Both are very similar, but I expect the former to be slightly more polished, though both are in urgent need of a makeover to look like they belong in this century.

Other Tools and Utilities

is a good addition for a notepad like application. Great for writing code.

for FTP/sFTP

- Adds the feature to Windows to burn "iso" disc images.

. To Play Flash on the web.

I think this covers most of the programs that are needed to set up a new windows install into something that is useful. If I have missed anything, or have better alternatives, please let me know.



You could use iTunes as a media player, esp if you have an iPod/iPhone.

Image Manipulation
I use paintshop pro 9 which is free. The newer ones cost £££.

Video Player
Div X player is good. As alot of people use the div x compression and it comes bundled with Div X Webplayer too.

I also use DVD Flick for burning videos. Its free and really easy to use.

Back in BLACK

I've never used it but if it detects disk errors (i think that is what the page suggests) then it sounds all good

"For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens 'as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone'" - David Cameron, UK Prime Minister. 13 May 2015.