While apps are a matter of course on smartphones, they are more difficult on PCs. After all, there are classic x86-based desktop programs that you can download using a browser. Apps are therefore stagnating in their distribution. However, the app concept introduced with Windows 8 is now fully developed: The touch-optimized applications finally run in their own windows - instead of in full-screen mode, as was the case back then. Which of the special Windows 10 programs are good is not immediately apparent in view of their considerable number in the Microsoft Store. That's why we're introducing you to powerful Windows 10 apps that enrich your PC.
Free apps for Windows 10
The best Windows apps
The fact that users access Windows apps cautiously is certainly due to the unusual type of installation: Instead of a web browser, the download is initiated via the Windows Store, unlike conventional (desktop) programs. Thanks to the app suggestions above, you don't need to spend long in the store; download links take you directly to the respective software tip in the store. Likewise, you don't need to read reviews to assess the quality. (Former) Windows 7 users can imagine apps like gadgets - also called desktop mini-applications, which were tools with rudimentary functions (such as a clock or a calendar) on the work surface. The more modern apps for Windows 10 tend to be more diverse; This applies equally to the pre-installed applications as well as apps such as the recommendations in this article, which must be installed subsequently.
What Microsoft praised as an advantage with the introduction of Windows 8, the provider continues to praise with Windows 10: The system is well suited for different types of devices. In fact, apps and classic programs are merging with the latest Windows better than ever. In the case of (classic or apps) programs called, the above window borders (title bars) no longer visually differ from one another. Apps also run in their own windows; the system runs them in full-screen mode on tablets. If necessary, you can switch to the latter display type on your desktop PC or notebook by clicking on the note symbol in the notification area (bottom right of the screen) or alternatively by pressing Windows-A; select the tile entry "Tablet mode" in the Info Center opened in this way.
How to install Windows 10 apps
To install an app, click on the corresponding download link in the gallery. You will then end up in the Microsoft App Store, where you initiate the installation. Good: You don't need an online user account to install Windows 10 apps. Incidentally, the download links are sometimes better than the store's own search, because the latter sometimes withholds the right result. Important for Windows 8.1 users: Not all apps run under the old system; in case of doubt, you can find compatibility in the store.
Download newsletterYou are almost there!
News about free, virus-checked
Programs, software updates and patches. Please click to complete the order
on the confirmation link that you just emailed
Please enter your e-mail address.
All newsletters at a glance
Important note: If you follow a download link, you will see a red download button in the top left. If a new page opens after clicking on it, but no other button or text for the download manager appears in the top left and the download does not start either, please temporarily deactivate your ad blocker and reload the page.
Converted UWP apps on the rise
The slim image viewer IrfanView brings photos quickly to the monitor.
There is a trend towards ported applications - the so-called Desktop App Converter makes them possible: Developers use it to pour their existing desktop programs into an app and also offer the latter for download. It is provided centrally in the Windows Store app. An example from the multimedia sector is IrfanView, which displays and edits images and creates screenshots.
Foobar2000: play music files
Foobar2000 uses few resources and is fun with music.
Another classic is the Foobar2000 music player with an individually configurable design. Here you can regulate the appearance of the main layout, colors and playlist layout right after the start. You can also call up the associated "Quick Appearance Setup" window afterwards if you want to make adjustments. "File> Open audio CD" is used to play audio discs.
Move Mouse: Move the mouse automatically
The Move Mouse app is not only cute, but also useful.
The Move Mouse tool moves the mouse pointer automatically at a selectable interval. The mini pans ensure that Windows does not switch to energy-saving mode. It would be activated automatically if the system detects user inactivity for too long. The tool with the cute mouse in the surface simulates active PC use. Windows energy-saving mechanisms do not hinder converters or download managers, for example. Move Mouse is also available as a desktop PC program; the app version has a more modern look, but also looks more playful.
F.lux: automatically reduce screen brightness
F.lux reduces the screen brightness without any action on your part. This makes the PC use more ergonomic. However, it is no longer possible to work with binding colors, for example for image processing.
F.lux is aimed at monitor workers and reduces the screen brightness in the evening hours. You can find more converted applications in the overview above. The desktop sibling imitations are similar to the original and, after a right-click on their system tray icon, sometimes show jump lists: In these jump lists you can see the files last used. Such a deep system integration is a strength, but it is also given with desktop applications - but the fact that some apps also know how to use the Windows jump lists should be mentioned positively.
By the way: One and the same program can be installed as a desktop and app counterpart at the same time. This is only possible with Windows 10, because UWP apps can only be installed here. With Windows 8.1, many Windows 10 apps do not run, and certainly not converted apps. How to discuss whether an application uses classic techniques or is app-based is described in the article "Windows 10: App or program - how to find out".
How to uninstall Windows 10 apps
The main difference to "real" programs lies in the deinstallation: Apps do not appear in the Control Panel under "Uninstall a program" (appwiz.cpl), but only in the Settings app under "Apps> Apps & Features" (this area is an alternative the settings app by right-clicking on the start button and clicking on "Apps and Features"). Windows again lists normal programs in both tools. There are hardly any clicks when uninstalling apps: users do not have to follow any wizards, and Windows' own automatic update system updates installed apps in the background - an advantage compared to some programs that do not have auto-updates. Also, app uninstallations may be more thorough than some normal software removals. And when you download apps from the store, you always get the latest version, which is generally not always guaranteed with download portals on the web (download sites do not offer the apps themselves for download, but rather link to them, so that you can use Microsoft and usually receive virus-free, up-to-date and therefore safe software).
Work, entertainment, games: a little bit of everything
The tip collection includes apps for image editing, e-mails, translations and social networks, all of which can be used without a browser. Image edits convert snapshots with filters into more colorful works and label them. Streaming tools for music, videos and television bring entertainment.
Free game apps for Windows 10
Mandatory software for Windows 10
From the factory, the program fund in Windows 10 is comparable to that of its predecessor. Functional additions are also recommended in the case of such desktop applications - those who install additional applications are equipped for all standard tasks.
Free: Basic software for Windows 10
The selection of classic (x86) desktop programs is even larger than with the Windows 10 apps. Computerbild.de has chosen among other things pearls for office work, mail and file management, system optimization and screenshots - see photo gallery.