Ditch the defaults: 4 free PC programs you should try

MachMachines is committed to speeding up your computer and your workflow. Many people buy a computer, start it up, and don’t worry about anything else. Computer manufacturers bundle their hardware with a suite of default programs that gets the job done, but they’re not always the best option. Why waste your time with programs that are unnecessarily slow and clunky? We had a mission to find programs that are quick and easy to use- switch out your default programs for these puppies and your computing experience will become much better.

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#1- Video Player

Every Windows PC comes pre-installed with Windows Media Player, but it isn’t necessarily the best option. Sometimes it can be slow to load, and it isn’t as full-featured as many would like (just an opinion here- it’s also pretty ugly). A great alternative program is VLC Media Player.

This program works with just about every video format you can throw at it, and it’s very powerful. VLC is also pretty light on resources so it won’t slow down your computer. The best part? It’s free. The software is easy to use and allows you to play media from a disk or a file on your computer– you can even watch live streamed events through VLC. Ditch the default and download VLC.

#2- Images

Windows 8 Comes with the “Photos” metro app. Metro apps launch in a full-screen mode that can be a bit jarring and hard to use. We wanted something that can speed up your workflow instead of slowing it down, and we found it.

The program is called IfranView, and it’s a free image viewing software that works incredibly well. It’s quick, light, and opens just about every type of image file you could ever need. There are a ton of options if you’re into customization, otherwise it’s an easy-to-use alternative to the default Windows program. You can even do some very light image editing with the program- enough to add text or touch up a photo you took. Furthermore, it’s free so we aren’t going to empty your pocketbook here.

Click here to visit their website and download the program.  I admit that the company’s website look straight of the 1990’s but I promise that it’s safe. Many people I know use the program and it’s popular on other websites and forums.

#3- Audio

Windows media player also handles audio for Windows users. If you want a switch, you can use VLC for both video and audio on your computer. However, if you’re a huge audio buff you might want a dedicated audio program and we have you covered there.

Try out foobar 2000 for all your audio needs. Their logo looks like a strange cross between a cat and an alien, but the software is wonderful. You can customize just about everything and change how you want the program to look. Also it fits the pattern– it’s light on computer power, and it’s free. Give it a try.

#4- PDFs

Many people use Adobe reader for their PDFs, and sometimes it comes bundled with a new Windows computer. However, it can be a bit taxing on your computer. Adobe Reader is also somewhat of a joke within the tech community because of how often it needs to update (and how darn persistent it can be when trying to get you to update it). I found something that won’t give you a headache on a day to day basis.

SumatraPDF is a free program that aims to be super light, portable, and fast. It’s super easy to use and works better than many PDF programs we found. Check it out here.

Again, the website is a bit ugly. Trust me though, it’s completely safe.

If you have other suggestions, we’d love to hear them in the comments below. There are a ton of different programs out there that can speed up your computer experience

About the Author
Michelle, author at Mach Machines. A tech lover and an insatiable latte drinker. Michelle blogs about improving the personal computing experience.
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