The Best Free Software To Install On Your New Laptop
You’ve unboxed yourself a brand new laptop, logged in, changed the wallpaper to something more your taste, and… now what? Let us direct to you a collection of the best free software you need to install straight away, whether your new machine is running Windows or macOS.
1) Mozilla Firefox
For a lot of you Chrome will be the go to browser to install alongside Edge or Safari, but we’re here to tell you that Firefox is better than you remember. Since the major Quantum overhaul last year, it looks better, runs faster, and is leaner than before, and it even comes with its own integrated read-it-later service (Pocket). You can sync your browsing data between computers, and between mobile devices with Firefox for iOS and Android too.
Download Firefox for free
If you don’t want to pay for Microsoft Office you can use Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for free on the web, but there’s also LibreOffice: a powerful, open source office suite that can handle all those Word documents and Excel spreadsheets people keep sending you. The different software components are packed with features, stylishly designed, and a breeze to get around, and you get diagram and database software included as well.
Download LibreOffice for free
GIMP continues to excel as the leading free alternative to Photoshop, and if you’ve got some advanced photo editing to take care of then it’s worth installing—support for layers, cloning, pixel-by-pixel retouching, script add-ons, detailed color adjustments, and much more mean it can match a lot of the features in Adobe’s software. There are better image editors for simpler tasks (see below), but GIMP is the best all-round package you can find.
Download GIMP for free
Speaking of simpler apps, Pixlr runs in your browser (so you can use it on a Chromebook too) and gives you the choice of two different modes: the full Pixlr Editor or the more stripped down Pixlr X. Whatever type of image tweaks you need to do, from resizing images to blending two pictures together, Pixlr has a tool that can help, and it stays slick and responsive no matter what you throw at it. The Pixlr Editor is reminiscent of Photoshop, and the features gap between the two isn’t as big as you might think.
Use Pixlr for free
So much for editing photos, what about managing them? Google Photos keeps your precious images and videos safely backed up in the cloud, easily searchable, and available on any device, as well as throwing in some basic editing tools—and you can store an unlimited number of photos and clips for free if you don’t mind some downsizing. Use the Google Backup and Sync tool to get pictures and videos uploaded from your computer.
Both Windows and macOS can open up zip files easily enough when you have to deal with them, but if you need to do any kind of archive creation or switch between formats then 7-Zip is the tool to have on call: It’s not the most beautiful-looking app in the world, but it does the job. The only point that counts against it is that it’s only available for Windows machines—if you’re using a laptop running macOS, give the excellent Keka a look instead.