Tired of not knowing when your network goes down? Online gaming being interrupted by outages? Use the Detect Network Changes application to get alerted when the state of a network changes in Windows, rather than having to check the network icon. You simply select the network you want to monitor, and if it disconnects or connects, changes IP Address, network ID, adapter ID, connection ID, Adapter name, or Network name, then you will be notified via a sound, notification and/or a popup.
If you want to find great free software that is well supported, annoyance free, and works well, then start here.
Any person setting up or cleaning up a Windows PC should take a look at the list below.
Ninite: This site / tool is great! You just tick off all the great free software you want to install, then download the installation tool. This little program will download and install all of the software you ticked off, skipping unwanted toolbars, ads, and other annoying stuff. It will also automatically skip things that you have already installed. The programs in Ninite that I reccommend are:
Sumatra PDF – PDF Reader
LibreOffice – for editing / viewing word processing, spreadsheets, presentations etc (Similar to MS Office)
CDBurnerXP – for burning CDs / DVDs
TeraCopy – Great copy tool
Glary – Windows cleanup tool
MalawareBytes – a different sort of malware detection / scanning software. I usually check things with both an anti-virus program and MalawareBytes
Music Bee – Excellent music manager and player
VLC – video / audio player that doesn’t require any Codecs to be installed
Audacity – if you want a good sound file editor (MP3, Wav, etc)
Handbrake – Converts videos to many formants
WinRAR – great for creating / opening compressed files of many types
Avast – Decent anti-virus software thats not too annoying. Just remember to turn off the sounds!
Windows Defender / Essentials – antivirus that works well, very unintrusive. Built in to Windows 10
qBittorrent – do you have to ask…. ?
Steam – Great platform for browsing / buying games. Lots of free games on there too.
DropBox – my preferred web storage too. Integrates very well into Windows 7 / 8 / 10
Inkscape – Handy vector drawing program, similar to CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator, etc.
Krita – Great image editing and artwork drawing application
Blender – Top 3D creation tool
HTC Home: This is a stylish weather / clock for your Windows desktop
LastPass: Excellent password manager. Can take some time to set up and understand how it works, but it is worth it. Once you have put your passwords into LastPass, you can then clean them up to improve your digital security
Rest Relax Reminder: An advanced alarm reminder program that will encourage you to take regular breaks
Moonlight Game Streaming: Stream your games across your network. Very fast and lightweight. Needs an nVidia video card, and works best on a 5G wifi network.
Playnite: Excellent game library manager that combines your game libraries from all of the main game services, into one organisable library. Steam, Battle.Net, GoG, Origin, uPlay, Twitch, Epic, Bethesda, and itch.io are all supported.
emClient: Very handy and lightweight email application that has features comparable to the top applications (eg. Outlook, Thunderbird, etc)
Pro Tip: Re-run the Ninite installer you downloaded, and it will update all of the listed applications with their newest version (skipping ones that are current).
If you have any suggestions on any other great free software to add to the list, please let me know in the comments below.