You should always be careful when downloading free software to your PC because there is always a price to pay . This may be :
- Installing bloatware or other software that you did not intend to install.
- Allow a business to collect and sell your personal data to third parties.
- Or even worse! the file may contain a virus, malware, or spyware .
- The product may be so limited that you have to purchase the premium version .
I’m not saying all freeware is malware, the truth is there is a lot of good freeware for Windows out there , you just have to be careful when choosing it. After testing hundreds of free programs, here is my list of the 10 best secure software for Windows:
1. Hotspot Shield – A Free and Reliable VPN
Finding a free, secure VPN that doesn’t keep connection logs, doesn’t slow down your computer, and has a large number of servers is a challenge. Hotspot Shield is the best I have tested that can do it all. From a security perspective, Hotspot Shield uses military-grade encryption on all of its servers to ensure your data is protected . In addition, it is protected against malware and phishing.
However, if you are trying to access Netflix, Hulu, or other streaming platforms that are blocked in your country, you will need to upgrade to the paid version, as I failed to get around the geographic restrictions imposed by these. popular platforms.
Hotspot Shield features the patented « Hydra Protocol » which guarantees the highest speeds when browsing or gaming. Free Hotspot Shield offers high speeds and a total of 15GB of data per month .
Try Hotspot Shield for free!
2.VLC – Can play most video formats
VLC is an open source video player for Windows and it’s one of the first programs I download when I buy a new computer. I have yet to find the video or audio file format that it cannot play . The program is so easy to use that even my 5 year old can open my computer and watch Vaiana on his own.
One thing I really like about VLC is that it has a built-in subtitle search engine . Just type in the name of the movie or TV series along with the season and episode number, choose your preferred language for the subtitles, and VLC will find the file for you. From there, it only takes a single click to install them and you can enjoy streaming.
VLC is 100% free , there are no subscription or premium upgrade options.
VLC – Download Guide
3. Open Office – An open source alternative to Microsoft Office
I am a big fan of Apache Open Office . There was a time when I only used Microsoft products, but once they switched to the subscription system, I knew I needed a new, more cost-effective solution.
My search ended as quickly as it started. I downloaded Open Office and had no reason to look any further. It includes programs identical to those of Microsoft Office: Writer (Word), Calc (Excel) and Impress (PowerPoint) .
Although it looks a bit dated, it has all the editing and formatting features I need for my personal and business use.
Open Office is free open source software that comes with a total of 6 built-in programs. While it is impossible to separate them and download only what you need, it is not very large and will not take up a lot of resources and space on your PC.
Open Office – Download Guide
4. CCleaner – Improves the performance of your computer
When my computer got slow, I knew it needed to be cleaned. I used an antivirus, but it didn’t help. What helped me, actually, was CCleaner. This free cleaning utility did a full scan and found old unused files, file segments left over after deleting a file, trackers that were slowing down my system, and more. He then deleted them all permanently, freeing up space on my computer.
Registry Cleaner performs a thorough scan of your computer’s registry and removes unnecessary files that may block or crash it. I found that after programming CCleaner to run once a week, my computer was running much faster and more stable than it had been for some time.
It is important to note that this is not an anti-virus program and does not detect or remove viruses and malware. Rather, it should be used with an antivirus to actually protect your computer.
There is a premium version of CCleaner, called CCleaner Super (CCleaner Professional) , which comes with a few extra features, but all you really need is the free version and you should quickly see the benefits.
CCleaner – Download Guide
5. Panda Antivirus – Virus detection at 100% rate
I tried many free antivirus programs before downloading Panda for my Windows PC. It has a 100% detection rate and a strong firewall that was successful in preventing malware from entering my computer.
Setting up Panda was quick and easy . I downloaded and installed the program and it was ready to go. It’s cloud-based, which means it won’t use up a lot of resources on your hard drive or slow down your PC .
In addition to scanning the hard drive for viruses, Panda also includes USB protection . This means that every time a USB stick is connected to the computer, Panda starts a scan to protect the computer from malware or viruses.
Panda – Download Guide
6. Audacity – Professional open source audio editor
This is hands down the best free audio editing software I have used . I would even say it is as good as some premium programs. Audacity doesn’t limit the file size or the number of tracks you need in your creations. It is an ideal program for creating a podcast, audiobook, editing or recording music, and creating an audio track that will accompany a video (although you cannot import the video file to Audacity).
Audacity is an easy program to master without any prior knowledge or experience, and you can probably learn to use it quite easily. You’ll be able to adjust the volume of melt in opening (fade in) or melt closure (fade out) tracks, change the treble, bass and filter effects, reduce background noise, etc.
Audacity – Download Guide
7. WinZip – Compresses and encrypts large files
If you are looking for a reliable and secure program to archive or compress files , I recommend WinZip. It has a drag and drop feature which makes it easy to select the files you want to archive. WinZip provides functionality to save the file to computer, email, social media, some instant messaging programs, or the cloud.
When it comes to opening a compressed file, WinZip is compatible with most formats including Zip, Zips, 7Zip, WinRAR, ISO, etc.
Among other things, WinZip can protect all files with AES-256 bit encryption , require a password to decompress files, add a watermark, change the format of photos and even convert documents to PDF.
WinZip – Download Guide
8. Viber – Free video and audio calls
In a saturated messaging and VoIP market, Viber stands out from its competitors by the quality of its features. With over a billion users worldwide, Viber is one of the most popular communication apps which is crucial for its success since free calls can only be made from Viber to Viber.
Viber has a Windows program which performs better than WhatsApp and Telegram . Not only can I make video and audio calls through the Windows interface, but if I have to leave my home or office during a call, I can easily transfer the call to my phone.
Viber attaches great importance to privacy. Not only is every message encrypted , which is a common industry standard, but Viber also allows you to send secret messages that self-destruct after they are read.
Although Viber is free, you can purchase some additional features, such as getting a phone number in the US, UK, or Canada and the ability to make international calls to non-Viber numbers. Viber is not a Windows only program – you can also install it on your Android or iOS device.
Viber – Download Guide
9. Firefox – Exceptional security features
From a security perspective, Firefox includes built-in tracking protection, a pop-up blocker and blocks all malicious websites. Also, it doesn’t collect or save any of your personal data (can the same be said of Google Chrome?).
Firefox also has some great tools, such as Monitor , which scans for all known data breaches to check if your security is compromised. It has a built-in password manager, called Lockwise , which protects your passwords with 256-bit encryption.
Firefox – Download Guide
10. KeePass – Manage and encrypt your passwords
At first, I was hesitant to hand all my usernames and passwords over to a free password manager, but KeePass allayed my fears. It is a free and open source program with unlimited storage and a master key that protects all your passwords . Your account details are protected by AES-256, ChaCha20 and Twofish encryption , which creates the most secure encryption available .
KeePass has some cool features, such as a password generator, password groups, database imports and exports, and two-factor authentication.
Equally important for its security features, KeePass is easy to use and 100% free.
KeePass – Download Guide
The criteria chosen to establish this list of software
There are thousands of free software and applications for Windows. Making a list of the best software was therefore a challenge. I used the following criteria:
- The software must have a download file for Windows. I did not include programs that are only accessible on the web.
- In cases where there is a premium upgrade, the free version should not only be up and running, but it should also incorporate new options for the PC.
- I have avoided programs that include advertisements.
- I haven’t tested free games, just software programs that can help improve your productivity.
I downloaded all the programs to my Windows computer and tested them thoroughly for a few months. I then ranked them based on their ease of use, security, ability to integrate all of the features on offer, and the ability to recommend them to a friend.
Everyone loves to get things for free, but sometimes it can become a real headache. Cybercrime is no joke, and free software is the easiest way for hackers to access your data. This list only includes secure and reliable programs from reputable companies .
It seems like not a day goes by without a report of a data breach, cybersecurity attack, or someone’s identity theft. That’s why I chose Hotspot Shield as the # 1 program , it encrypts all my data, keeps me anonymous online, and protects me from cyber attacks.