Freeware for your Windows laptop or PC
Getting your work done needn’t cost the earth! Luckily, Windows devices can install 1000’s of software titles – which includes free titles too.
Below, I have listed some of the great, completely free titles that I think you’ll find useful. To make it onto my list, the software will need to be fully functional, completely free of cost (no trial versions), not include any nefarious plug-ins or software and be, in my opinion, useful! People who develop these software titles, will either have other paid for products (more functionality for example) or look for donations to help continue their work – I strongly encourage you to support these developers if you have found the software useful.
Microsoft Office is the king when it comes to Office Suites, but it can be very costly. Below I have given some free office suites, which for most users will be more than sufficient. I have also given some alternatives for individual components that may not be included in the suite.
LibreOffice has been around for a very long time and is an excellent product. This is an offshoot of OpenOffice (below), but is a smaller install. It includes alternatives for Word (Writer), Excel (Calc) and PowerPoint (Impress), plus includes Draw (Vector graphics editor), Math (mathematical formulas) and Base (Database designer similar to Microsoft Access).
We well as it’s own open source document file types, it also opens, creates and saves in .doc/.docx, .xls/.xlsx and .ppt/.pptx formats, so should be able to deal with documents created by someone else, as well as being usable by others if you send them a copy of your work.
An added bonus is that LibreOffice is available for Windows, Mac and Linux Systems, so if you have multiple devices, you can use the same software across them.
OpenOffice is almost exactly the same as LibreOffice – with the same 6 programs contained within.
OnlyOffice is another great free office suite. It’s interface looks more modern, and is similar in look and feel to the current versions of Microsoft Office. It includes alternatives to Word (Docs), Excel (Sheets) and PowerPoint (Slides) – it also has a pdf reader and converter and allows you to build online forms.
As well as being available for WIndows, Mac and Linux, it is also available on Android and iOS.
Google Docs is a cutdown, online office suite, which you can use anywhere. You access the apps through your browser (alternatives for Word, Excel and PowerPoint) via a free Google Account. With your Google Account, you also get Cloud Storage, so your documents are stored there for access from any online device.
A unique feature which this suite has, is that multiple people can work on the same document at the same time! Google actually have loads of different free tools within your free Google account.
Publisher is a program that is included in several of the Microsoft Office Suites, and is a great tool for creating documents with their elements in exactly the required position on the page. This is fantastic for those who produce their own fliers, posters and banners and is very versatile. the problem comes with trying to send these documents to a printers or publishers, as the .pub/.pubx file formats are not accepted by them, and can only be opened by Microsoft Publisher.
Scribus is a desktop publishing freeware (DTP) that gives you the flexibility to layout your documents exactly as you wish and has similarities to Publisher.
Microsoft Outlook is still the industry standard when it comes to email clients. Below are some alternative clients if you don’t use Webmail (webmail: viewing your email through a web browser)
Mozilla Thunderbird has been around for a very long time. It is a basic, free email client, which is updated regularly to keep up to speed with the latest security requirements of email systems. It has tab browsing, so allows you to have multiple messages open at the same time, all within the one window. It also includes a calendar so that you can book your important meetings and events.
The look of the software feels a bit dated, it functions quickly and just does what it says on the tin!
Mailspring is a modern looking, clean email client, with features such as unified inbox, has support for touchscreen devices and is a very pleasant looking interface. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. A paid-for Pro version is also available.
Backing up your data is an important function – whether that be to a flash drive. External Hard Drive or to Cloud Storage. Below are a few backup freeware titles that carry out certain backup features.
I have been using Cobian Backup for over 20 years. It is a fantastic, easy to use backup software where you can configure which folders and files you want to backup, the type of backup you wish to do (incremental, differential, full),where you want to back them up to and then schedule a regular backup time/day (or you can manually backup). Then you can just leave it running in the background, and it will carry out your backup routines and keep a log of all that has happened. You can even create multiple backups if you back certain folders to different or multiple locations. Recently, the developer has created Cobian Reflect, which is the same awesome software but written in a more up to date coding language
I use this software almost every day. This backup software allows you to backup your entire operating system or disk and store it on external media such as a NAS, flash drive, partition or external drive. Then, if your hard drive fails or there is a malware attack on your system, you can simply restore back to your most recent system image – and it is so quick! Backup quickly and easily whenever you wish. Aomei offer a pais for version (note: they can change what is available in the free version from time to time), as well as other software titles.
Free File Sync
This is a great software title for those that work on multiple machines. If you do you main work on your office machine, and have all your files and folders stored there, and then make a copy to a flash drive so that you can work on the go or at your home laptop, then this Free File Sync will synchronize the files and folders on your original store and the usb drive – in both directions, so that the latest version of your documents exist in both locations. So whether you update the version in the office or the version on your flash drive – once you sync, the newest file will exist in both locations.
Backing up your email account(s) makes a lot of sense, but is not always easy to do. MailStore works with many of the main Email Clients and providers, plus it works with webmail – yes, you can backup your webmail to your pc!!
When you back up using MailStore, all your messages and folders are backed up to your pc (or external device), you can then use mailstore to search through your messages as well as export the data to your new email client or webmail service.
This page gets updated every now and then, and is set to grow depending on when I get a chance to edit it 🙂