Windows 10 comes with the usual selection of built-in software, but it doesn’t cater for every need.
Famously, some apps from previous versions of the operating system are also missing, which means you’ll need to find replacement if you miss them. Here then are 9 of our favourite apps for Windows 10, both to replace missing features and to add new ones. And they’re all free.
Microsoft offers its own free version of Office online and Google Docs does an arguably better job for certain people. There’s nothing better than an honest to goodness office suite you can install and use anywhere, though, and for a free one, you need Libre Office.
An alternate version of the very similar OpenOffice, LibreOffice consists of a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation app, database and drawing apps. The suite may lack the cosmetic polish of paid-for software, but that doesn’t matter much when you get all the power of (and compatibility with) Microsoft Office for the princely sum of £0.00.
If you use a living room PC plugged into your TV for recording programmes and playing other content, you probably relied on Windows Media Centre. If you recently upgraded to Windows 10, you’ll have noticed a big change — the application no longer exists.
Thankfully, MediaPortal is a more than capable replacement, although it requires time and effort to properly configure, and it can be quite complex at times. Just take time when downloading.
If all your media needs in Windows only extended to watching DVDs, then you’re still out of luck — Microsoft removed the DVD player app, too, and now offer it as a paid-for download. Fortunately, you don’t need to bother with it as VLC Media player is a much better replacement that you can download for free. If can play all kinds of video files, too, not to mention music.
PC users gave a collective gasp when it was discovered that Microsoft had removed the venerable Minesweeper game from Windows 10. The game had been part of Windows since Windows 3.1 and was responsible for countless lost working hours around the world. But fret not, Minesweeper can be downloaded from the Windows Store, albeit it as a remade app with brash effects that compare unfavourably to the simple original. The rules are still the same, though, so it’s just as playable.
Far from destroying radio stations, the internet has given them a new lease of life and it’s now possible to listen to broadcasts from around the world over your broadband connection. TuneIn Radio is a free app that makes it easy, with a simple interface that gives quick access to every radio station imaginable, whether its 7-2 ABC Sydney, BBC Bristol or Caracas 107.3 FM.
Anyone who’s ever fancied making music, but can’t play an instrument, would do well to give Music Maker Jam a try. It’s essentially a music sequencer, with dozens (in the free version) of sampled song loops that are all cleverly constructed to harmonise together, however you arrange them. You can knock up a convincing tune in minutes using the simple interface, but expect to lose hours once you get caught up in your composition.
Windows 10 includes a great photo editor called Photos, but it’s not much use for creating original images. Fresh Paint goes one better than this by simulating a wide range of natural media, so you can paint in oil or watercolour and sketch in pen, pencil or chalk, on various kinds of paper and canvas. And when you get stuck for ideas, you can import your own photos to create a new masterpiece.
This alternative take on the well-known letter-tile based board game is already hugely popular with smartphone and tablet users, and now you can play it on Windows 10. The rules are the same as that other game, but the board is slightly different, which can make for some interesting tactical changes. You can’t play against the computer, but there is a ‘pass and play’ option or you can play an online ‘smart match’ with a random opponent.
Have you found any other great free software for Windows 10? Let us know in the Comments.