Free Software: The Best Freeware Tips of March 2020

Freeware makers are usually avid computer users who don't program for profit, but use their skills to improve something. Thanks to the free programs, computing becomes more fun and convenient! We discuss the best freeware of the moment and new versions of 'evergreens'.

Tip 01: Animated

Suitable for: Windows 7, 8.x, 10, MacOS

Anyone who ever watches a 3D animation film will probably be surprised at the lifelikeness that is achieved today. The picture is no different in 3D games and where the individual images in a cinema film have often cost hours of computing power, a fast gaming PC often does its job in 4K and at 60 frames per second.

If you want to get started with creating 3D objects and possibly animating them, you can choose from a number of free products. K-3D is one of them. It is a very versatile program that, to begin with, has everything on board to (re)shape objects. Usually that process starts with an elementary shape, such as a sphere or a cube, which you can stretch and indent in all kinds of ways. You can combine several shapes in a hierarchy (think of a doll with a head, arms and legs) where the different parts can move independently or independently.

Of course, nobody wants only objects made of white plastic, so you can provide each object with certain materials in all kinds of ways. You can even think of hair or carpet, something that was unthinkable until recently.

Finally, you generate an image with an external program (called a renderer) such as the also free RenderMan. K-3D is expandable with plug-ins and offers excellent online documentation in English.

Tip 2: Chessman

Suitable for: Windows 7, 8.x, 10

The computer may play chess better than humans today, but that doesn't mean the game is dead. On the contrary: many enthusiasts still go to his or her chess club every week and/or play games on the internet.

Those who play chess a bit seriously, write down their moves so that they can learn from mistakes later on. Traditionally there have been database programs to save and play games. Often these were beautiful but pricey products or very basic freeware. Scid is the positive exception to this pattern. Not only is Scid free, the program is also extraordinarily beautiful and complete. The supplied sample database with 127,000 games can be searched by opening, player, position and so on. Of course you can expand that database with your own games and other databases. If desired, batches can also be entered via an electronic board. Scid comes with the strong chess engine Stockfish to analyze positions.

A lot of attention has been paid to the visual side, including photos of players and charts showing success rates of openings. A must for the chess lover.

Whoever plays chess seriously, writes down his moves so that he can learn from mistakes later on

Tip 03: Beautiful

Suitable for: Windows 7, 8.x, 10, MacOS, Linux

You can use the photo viewer supplied with Windows 10 for viewing images. These days you can even run facial recognition on it (if you don't mind Microsoft scanning your images at that level, otherwise you can disable it). But all in all, the Photos App contains few functions, so it's a good thing that there are good alternatives. One of the most complete is XnView MP, which is still regularly updated (at the time of writing version 0.94.1 is current). Both a portable version and an installation version of the program are available, for 32- and 64-bit systems.

To start with, XnView is a fast viewer to view large collections of images. This can also be done as a simple slide show, so without effects. In addition, the program is a database with which you can add labels, keywords and ratings to your photos. You can also easily edit or delete the data, often automatically added to a photo, such as the EXIF ​​data. The program also offers a nice collection of tools to crop, rotate and spice up photos. If all that is not enough, you can also link XnView to your favorite photo editor.

Finally, with XnView you can convert large collections of photos in bulk and the program can handle an astonishingly large number of file formats.

Tip 04: Open book

Suitable for: any system

New books and magazines appear every day, but there is still so much reading material to be found on the internet that will keep you entertained for many lifetimes.

Especially when it comes to Dutch literature and related matters, there is the Digital Library for Dutch Literature, DBNL for short. Here you will find a phenomenal collection from all over the Dutch language area, which is the result of a collaboration between the Taalunie, the Flemish Heritage Libraries and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague. New titles are added every month, ranging from classics from the Middle Ages to complete volumes of magazines from past decades, such as Onze Taal and Bzzlletin. Of course, the intervening period is not skipped either, as can be seen from, for example, the collected work of Simon Vestdijk and the 100-year-old volumes of Elsevier's Geïllustreerd Maandschrift.

You can read all that great stuff online, but usually you can also download the publications as an ePub or PDF, so that you can also read the stories on your e-reader or tablet.

Tip 05: Health!

Suitable for: Windows 7, 8.x, 10

Anyone who ever visits the doctor will undoubtedly be confronted with the ice-cold end of his or her favorite toy: the stethoscope. The cold case tells the doctor something about your health condition. Oh, if only our bodies were equipped with sensors that it could simply read…

Fortunately, the PC is and so we can view the well-being of that device with a program that can display the value of those sensors. HWMonitor is an excellent choice for that purpose, because the program measures many things and – very nicely – manages to limit all its findings to one clear window. HWMonitor tells you everything about the voltages on the motherboard, reads the different temperature sensors, keeps track of fan speeds, measures the processor load and temperature per core, reads the clock speeds of the CPU, monitors the disk space and temperature and provides all relevant information about the graphics. Map. It is very nice that the program not only displays current values, but, if you let the program run in the background for a while, you also see the maximum and minimum values ​​that occurred during that time. Handy to find out, for example, how hot the cpu or gpu got during heavy work.

HWMonitor is available as an installation file (exe) and portable version in both 32 and 64 bit.

Tip 06: Assignment

Suitable for: Windows 7, 8.x, 10

In Windows you sometimes cannot avoid executing commands from the so-called command prompt that hides behind cmd.exe or in Windows 10 in the PowerShell section. As a user, you often have little to do with it, but especially with computer problems it can happen that the Microsoft support site also refers you to that part. However, it is rather limited in its capabilities; you can type in commands and optionally cut or paste something. A handy alternative is ColorConsole. This also gives you access to the command prompt, but the program also offers useful extras. This way you can navigate to folders via a menu instead of having to type in the name. You can also easily adjust the foreground and background color and even the font size for better readability.

In Windows, sometimes you can't avoid running commands from the Command Prompt

Tip 07: Vrrrummm!

Suitable for: Windows 7, 8.x, 10

A program like HWMonitor (see tip 5) is of course indispensable if you want to keep track of the condition of your PC, but it says nothing about its speed. To quickly find out how fast your PC is, there is the handy UserBenchmark. This program tests the performance of the cpu and gpu, the memory and the hard and external drives in a few minutes. You will then receive a detailed report for each part. Here you not only see the absolute scores, but you can also compare your system with many other systems on which the program has already been used before. When components perform relatively below par, you also get tips for performance improvement. The difficulty of executing this varies, of course, per part; sometimes a Windows setting is enough and sometimes you have to dive deep into the bios.

Tip 08: Diagnosis

Suitable for: Windows 7, 8.x, 10

We put our hardware to the test and measured the speed of our system. Can we unleash even more simple diagnostics on the PC to assess health? Well and or, with the tiny and simple ScanCircle4D. Although this program also provides an overview of available hardware, it focuses primarily on installed software.

After a scan – which takes less than a minute – ScanCircle4D tells you which programs could be updated and if any problems with software have been found, for example a program that is in the automatic startup list, but is no longer present on the PC. All findings can be found in a concise and clear summary. In addition, there is a tab with advice that is subdivided according to the degree of severity. Once you've fixed any issues, you can run another scan to see how it improves your system score.

Tip 09: recognizable

Suitable for: any system, iOS, Android

Suppose you see a nice font somewhere that you would like to use yourself. How do you find out what it's called? In the past, this could only be done by searching through large collections of fonts themselves, but luckily computers nowadays 'recognize' enough to be able to do such a job for us. The free service WhatTheFont understands that trick. Its use is simple: take a picture of the text to be analyzed and drag it to the search box on the website. After a click on the search button, the site comes up with a list of suggestions. In addition to (hopefully) the correct font, this also contains the necessary fonts that resemble it. The only downside is that they are all commercial fonts. For professional use that is no problem, but privately you do not want to pay tens of euros for a font. Fortunately, that problem is easily solved with a search on Google, such as 'free alternatives to ...' with the name of the font you are looking for on the dots.

WhatTheFont also offers apps for iOS and Android.

Tip 10: Look at pictures

Suitable for: any system

Almost every magazine works with photographers who shoot the necessary pictures for the articles. They often supplement that imagery through a subscription to a commercial database of stock photos. But that is not an option for your own website, because of the high costs. If you then went looking for an alternative on the internet, you sometimes came home with a rude awakening, because suddenly there was a notice on the mat from a company that claimed to have the rights to the image.

Working with photos of someone else is really only possible if you know the origin and can find out for what purposes you can use an image for free. An excellent place to start looking is the Pixabay website. Here you will now find about 1.5 million free photos and illustrations that you can search by keyword.

Although searches in Dutch do yield some results, it is still more convenient to search in English, because that almost always yields more.

Tip 11: Converted

Suitable for: Windows 7, 8.x, 10

Whoever goes on holiday in America may have to get used to the fact that people there do not work with the usual units of measurement, but stick to all kinds of own units of measurement such as miles, feet, ounces, acres, Fahrenheit and so on. There are countless websites and programs to convert them into a unit that we can work with, but few are as comprehensive as Converber. This program has many dozens of categories, such as distance, weight and temperature, but also some more technical units, such as storage capacity and radiation. If what you are looking for is not among that huge range, you can easily search for a conversion rule (for example in Wikipedia) and add it yourself.

Tip 12: Museum at home

Suitable for: any system

The Europeana project makes the treasures of thousands of European museums accessible online. The introductory phrase on the site says it all: "Explore 57,704,325 works of art, artifacts, books, videos and sounds from over 3,500 museums, galleries, libraries and archives in Europe."

Of course, strolling through a museum yourself is wonderful and educational, but sometimes you don't feel like leaving your house for a while. In order not to get lost in the gigantic online collection, the site offers both a search function and all kinds of sections to browse through. And ... for those who didn't have enough photo material from Pixabay (see tip 10) you will even find a collection of 14 million freely usable images.

Don't forget to get a breath of fresh air every now and then, because with so much beauty it's easy to stick to the screen.


With some freeware, you can expect a scary warning from your security program. Do not be put off, but read carefully what is going on and whether you find this logical. For example, programs connect to the Internet. This action can already provoke a reaction from your security guard. Your security guard can also issue a warning for software that is relatively new or is labeled as 'rare'. Do you trust the download? Then run the program. Do you feel doubt? Have your download examined by, so do we. This service checks your program with more than fifty security programs. This way you can quickly see whether you are dealing with a risk or with an overzealous security program.

Don't click too fast

Unfortunately, we see it too often and it should be banned: installation procedures that bundle extra programs and make adjustments just like that. You try out a program and before you know it, the homepage of your browser has been modified and you have a number of unwanted programs richer. This practice is colloquially called 'conceit', but the neat designation is 'potentially unwanted program' (pup). More and more security programs pay attention to this when you try to install something. We use Unchecky to spot 'wrong check marks'. You can also avoid the extras yourself. For example, only download a program via the website of the makers. Always opt for the advanced or custom installation. This way you can check which options are active. Uncheck any customizations/programs that you consider unwanted or otherwise disapprove of the customization.

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