Helpdesk Challenge – the best free software and tools
Why pay at all when there’s perfectly good free software you can use on your PC? We round up some of the best free software and tools that you can download without spending a dime.
Soluto – free software to keep your PC running smoothly
It’s a familiar story – you switch your PC on, only for it to buzz and whir for endless minutes while it’s booting up and loading startup programs. What’s making your PC so slow? Soluto will tell you, and it will tell you in jargon-free, easy-to-understand terms.
You can install Soluto onto up to five PCs for free, and in return, it will diagnose what’s running well and not-so-well on your computer.
It will guide you through which startup programs you can safely block, analyse what’s going on with your PC and base its prognosis on a vast online database, and even speed up your web browsing. It opens its findings in a web browser, and requires the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer to run.
Best of all is its friendly approach and tech-free tone of voice.
Pixlr – edit photos online for free
Not software, but a free online tool that makes it a breeze to edit digital photos. Why pay for a Photoshop license when Pixlr lets you crop, re-size, adjust levels, tones and more?
If you have an older PC and find that memory-intensive photo-editing software causes it to slow down, then Pixlr is a great alternative to try out. Just head to the Pixlr website and open some photo files to give it a try. There’s even a basic mode for beginners.
Read our review of Pixlr photo-editing
Free security software – a safe PC with no annual fee
Keeping your PC safe from threats is no small task, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay through the nose to fight off malware attacks.
There are plenty of credible free security software suites, such as Windows Security Essentials, which works a treat on Windows 7 PCs, and free offerings from well-known brands like Avira and AVG.
You won’t get all the bells and whistles of paid-for security suites, but you won’t get an annual renewal notice either.
VLC Media Player – play any video file
If you’re a Windows 7 user, then watching digital videos is usually no problem, even if they’re obscure file types like. MKV files.
Anyone with an older Windows operating system may not have such an easy time of things. VLC Media Player is a free download that leaves you with a piece of software that can handle almost any digital video file.
It won’t cost you a thing to pop VLC’s distinctive traffic cone logo on your desktop.
Free online cloud storage – back up your files online
Cloud storage can give you peace of mind over your most important files. With your files saved to the web, you don’t need to worry about losing data to a broken laptop or lost hard drive.
For a large amount of storage, you’ll have to pay, but most of the popular cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive offer a free storage allowance of between 2GB and 7GB.
With Dropbox, you can upgrade your free storage allowance to as much as 18GB by recommending the service to others.
What free software or tools do you use on your PC? Share your tips with us in the comments box below.
- Make your PC run faster – top tips for a smoother start up
- Using the Windows Reliability Monitor - keep your PC running smoothly
- Which? Computing trial – free magazine and Helpdesk access
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