Free Windows tools, ready for the taking

This round-up of tools can help you do everything in Windows from drive cloning to Wi-Fi trouble-shoooting

When it comes to the word "free," the unspoken fear is that there's always a catch. Hidden fees you didn't expect. Extra money that's required to unlock the real features you want or need.

But sometimes free really is free.

This collection of stories offers a wealth of free tools and apps that can help you better use Windows -- whether it's the latest version, Windows 10, or earlier iterations still in use. You're almost certain to find something you can use.

Drive cloning in Windows 10

Cloning a drive can come in handy for a variety of reasons, but it's primarily useful when you want to replace your PC's hard drive with another that's either bigger or faster -- or both.

Such cloning operations become critical on Windows PCs when the drive to be replaced is the boot/system drive. With system files and personal data at stake, you have to make sure the transfer is done right. These tools should help. 

Top 30 free apps for Windows 10

Many users are looking for ways to improve their Windows 10 experience. One way to do so is by getting the built-in tools that will help you work smarter, faster, and more productively.

This compilation of top 30 apps covers Windows 10 programs that every user needs. There's information on Ninite, which can help keep your Windows app up-to-date; Recuva, which can help you get back deleted files; and Autoruns, for finding (and turning off) all those outrunning programs. Regardless of how you use Windows 10, these programs will help make it better.

15 free Modern Windows apps for IT pros

Finding collections of traditional Windows and Windows Mobile applications tends to be easier than finding compilations of Modern Windows apps. While most offer very basic functions, some are quite useful, even for network and IT pros.

Debuting in Windows 8 -- where they were originally called "Metro" apps -- Modern apps are especially useful for touchscreen devices (though they still can be used on regular desktops and laptops). As with other universal Windows apps, there are benefits to using them including easy installation on Windows 8 and 10 PC and mobile devices, automatic updates and standardized notifications.

Top 25 free tools for Windows 7 and 8.1

If you’re one of those users still sticking with Windows 7 or 8.1, you should take a look at these free-for-personal-use (and cheap-for-corporate-use) apps. You’ll find many that are well worth the effort, especially if you're looking to avoid Microsoft's built-in web browser, seeking out a free antivirus tool, or figuring out how to manage passwords.

9 free Windows apps that can solve Wi-Fi woes

Any home or office network can have dead spots where devices can't seem to connect, or where connections get slow or flaky. Public hotspots can leave you vulnerable to hackers and snoopers. And when you do have access to a hotspot, you might want to share that connection with your other devices, including smartphones and tablets.

These applications can make things better, whether you're trying to heat map your wireless network or looking for something simply, like Acrylic WiFi. They'll go a long way toward helping you solve your Wi-Fi issues at home, in the office or on the go.

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