My Top 5 Free Windows Apps of 2015

By Rory Monaghan

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I thought this might be a good change of pace compared to most of my other blog posts on this site. I think this is something anybody can get value from. My gut instinct was to blog about enterprise products like Numecent’s application jukebox, RES Workspace Manager etc. but I figure, where’s the fun in that? I talk about those products all the time. So this blog post is about the applications that I use pretty much every day. Some I’m sure you already know, others you might not know. Here goes nothing!

 

5.) Evernote

If you use a PC and Mac or any other non-PC device, I suggest Evernote. It’s an excellent free application for storing your notes. You can take e-mails, screenshots, links or whatever information is important to you and easily add it to a note. Which you can then access from any other device.

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 11.22.20 PM

 

Alternatively, you can also try Microsoft’s OneNote which is also available for your Android or IOS devices. As well as your Mac. If you’d like to try Evernote, it’s free and you can launch it by running it right here:

 

 

4.) Royal TS

Royal TS is awesome and it’s free! Royal TS provides the ability for you to remotely connect to your other machines. Although, I think Microsoft did a great job with their updated RDP Client in the Google Play and Apple AppStore, it’s pretty limited functionality wise. That’s where Royal TS comes in.

If you remote to multiple machines a day for your work. This is a killer tool. You can organize these machines cleanly, store your login credentials safely and connect to the machines in the tools window, you can then have multiple tabs within the tool, making it much tidier that just having a bunch of open RDP sessions. There’s also many advanced features to provide automation possibilities for the more advanced users. You can download and use Royal TS for free from here: Royal TS. This download is without limits, however, if you intend to use it in a large enterprise environment, you will need to purchase a license.

 

3.) Skype

I don’t send text messages (SMS) any more. This is partly because I’m Billy No-mates over here but also partly because I have to pay for sending text messages. I don’t pay per use for my data, as I’m on a plan with unlimited data. It just makes more sense to send instant messages. I tried Facebook Messenger but this didn’t work in all cases as not all of the people I contact are on Facebook! I tried WhatsApp and Viber and encountered the same problem. It seems like everybody I know is familiar with Skype. I guess because it was one of the first widely used video calling services, most people have used it or still actively use it today. Skype also offers a much richer feature set than Viber, WhatsApp, Slack, Line, Facebook Messenger or any of the other tools I have used.

I have also Skype for two jobs! It’s great for team work as you can share your screen, hold group video conferences or calls and use group chats for sending instant messages. You can use all of that for free but I also bought a worldwide subscription, so I can call my friends and family back home in Ireland on their landlines or mobiles whenever I want. It may seem old and unexciting but to me, Skype is still the best. If you’ve never used Skype, you can try it here or if you used it all of those years ago but haven’t used it in a while, you can jump back in by launching it right from here:

 

 

2.) TeamViewer

If you’re even a little bit tech proficient, you probably get harassed to help people with their computer problems. That might require you to drive over to their place and waste a bunch of time. You don’t have to do that. You can use TeamViewer to remote into any PC. You can get the damsel in distress to run TeamViewer, they give you the passcode that they see on their screen. You put that into your TeamViewer and voila! You’ll have access to their machine.

TeamViewer added some extra features over the last couple of years like the ability to install TeamViewer on your machine and set it up so you can remote into that machine at any time, securely from anywhere. It’s great if you’re going out of town but still want to access your PC. There are alternatives like using join.me but to me, TeamViewer has the richest feature set and you guess it. It’s free!

 

1.) Paint.net

My number 1 application is Paint.net. Funny story, about 3 years ago I bought my first ever Macbook Pro. I bought the Macbook thinking it was good for me to get hands on experience as the way the industry seemed to be moving, people would be bringing their own devices into the office and using those for work. Many of whom, use Macs and I will clearly be required to support them. Well, that hasn’t fully come to fruition.

That’s ok, because I had another excuse to justify me paying over the odds for a Macbook. I do a lot of video editing, image editing and web design. MacBooks have been synonymous with art and design for years.

3 years later and as it turns out, the Mac still isn’t my preferred machine for that type of work! That’s because on my Mac, I use Gimp for image editing. Gimp was great at one time but it’s pretty dated. I could buy Photoshop but I refuse to give Adobe that kind of money. The alternative? Paint.net. In my opinion, it’s ALMOST as good as Photoshop. It’s not far off at all and it’s also a lot less bulky too! I get all of the features that I used in Photoshop. So, it’s more than enough for the kind of work that I do.

It doesn’t help me with video editing but then iMovie also suck in comparison to some of the Windows alternatives 🙂

If you’ve never used Paint.net. Try it out! If you’ve used Photoshop before, it should be pretty familiar to you and easy to get started.

 

Happy New Year and thank you to everybody who has supported my blog in 2015. Here’s to a great 2016!!

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