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A list of free alternatives to default Windows 10 apps

Windows 10 comes preinstalled with an array of default apps that are used extensively by all its users. Windows 10 introduced a host of new apps that include the all-new Photos app that has faced much flak from the community since they preferred its predecessor, Windows Photo Viewer.

The Mail, Calendar, and Maps apps were also changed as part of the new Windows 10. Although some of these changes are quite good, there are superior alternatives that offer greater functionality. Let’s look at some of the best free, open-source alternatives, that have more to offer than the default apps.

Groove Music

Groove Music is the default music player app on Windows 10. These are some of the better alternatives available:

Clementine is a cross-platform music player that is laden with tons of features. The app includes support for multiple streaming sites and also confers the ability upon the user to play music files that you have stored on Google Drive.

The app also allows users to tap into the world of internet radio including Spotify and Soundcloud. The app’s interface is smooth and seamless which makes it a great replacement to Groove Music.

Pride yourself with being a serious music collector? MediaMonkey may just be the app for you! It is a music and movie manager that catalogues music and videos and manages multiple collection lists.

The music player also looks up Tags and Album Art images to rearrange and rename the tracks in a systematic way. The interface may seem archaic and bulky at times, but it makes up for it with increased functionality.

Microsoft Edge (PDF Viewer)

Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 is the default PDF viewer along with being your default web browser. If you don’t like to use EDGE, you can Switch to one of these capable PDF Viewers.

Foxit PDF Reader
The Foxit PDF Reader is not just a standard PDF Viewer. It allows people to interact and discuss the PDF documents. Viewers who have been granted ConnectedPDF Collaboration access can post comments for authors to read and edit.

Foxit PDF Reader also grants the authors the ability to track who is reading the document and what they are doing on it. The app grants users with interactivity which is unavailable in Microsoft Edge PDF Viewer.

Sumatra PDF Viewer
If you ever feel fed up with the extra clunkiness of PDF viewers, marred with unnecessary features, you might want to try out Sumatra PDF Viewer.

It is a lightweight, free program that does what it says without adding extra fluff that could potentially slow it down and make it unresponsive and bulky.

File Explorer

Windows File Explorer has gotten better with age, with nifty additions like OneDrive integration and Quick Access, over the years. Check out our equally capable alternatives.

Windows File Explorer may sometimes fail to satiate Windows users with its functionality. FreeCommander is a great alternative to the native File Explorer which comes equipped with a bunch of features with a simple, user-friendly interface.

The app comes with dual panel view, one horizontal and one vertical to give you an option that best suits your requirement and allowing users to utilise the app how they see fit.

Total Commander
Total Commander is a great alternative to Windows File Explorer and offers users multiple ways to organise files and navigate successfully through directories offline as well as online.

The app features a dual window interface. It also offers tons of customisation to its users by being able to change colour, font, icon size, menus and more. This app, unfortunately, is paid after a 30-day free trial period.

Snipping Tool

The Snipping Tool is the screenshot utility tool on Windows which enables users to grab a portion or the entirety of the screen in a rectangular shape or even freeform.

Calling ShareX a simple screenshotting app would be an insult to its multifaceted capabilities. The app is an extremely versatile screen grabbing, sharing and file productivity tool.

You can select a screenshot shape from a host of options, upload or download the image to various locations and even edit the screenshot and add a watermark.

Greenshot is a snipping tool which allows basic screenshotting as well as scrollable screenshots of web pages. You can save the screengrab in multiple ways by saving the file, sending it to a printer, copying to clipboard, attaching the file to an email, and even uploading the file to sites like Flickr and Picasa.


The update to Windows 10 ditched the Windows Photo Viewer and replaced it with Photos. If you looking for some alternatives, check out these options.

XnViewMP is an image viewer, browser, and converter, currently compatible with over 500 different formats. The app can convert pictures to about 70 varied formats, supports batch conversion and is available across multiple platforms.

IrfanView is a speedy, compact and innovative image viewer which can be downloaded on Windows 10. The app is very versatile. It is simple to use for beginners but can also be a powerful tool for professionals.

The most useful feature is the ability to batch edit and convert images. It sports GIF, TIF and ICO support, and is one of the first few apps in the world to introduce these features in an image viewer.

Film and TV

Film and TV on Windows integrates all your movies and TV shows you have downloaded or bought in one place. Not satisfied? Check out other options!

VLC Media Player
The popular VLC Media Player is an open-source, cross-platform media player that plays content most multimedia formats along with DVDs, VCDs, CDs and audios.

The media player supports most codecs with no codec packs needed. VLC is customisable as well and allows users to create their own skins with VLC skin editor.

Media Player Classic
A lightweight, simplistic, open-source media player for Windows, the Media Player Classic – Home Cinema supports a variety of common video and audio file formats with absolutely zero advertisements.

They claim to work even on PCs from the 2000s. It is customisable and an all-around player that can also be used as a DVB player.

Microsoft Edge (Browser)

Edge is the all-new and improved web browser for Windows 10. Although it has significantly improved to Microsoft’s previous browser, a lot of users still feel a disdain towards it.

Mozilla Firefox
The fast, feature-packed web browser has quickly become one of the most prominent choices in web browser apps.

Version 57 of Firefox sported a complete overhaul that changed the appearance and functionality of the app from head-to-toe. It even allows sync across devices, which is not exactly a new feature but is always a helpful one.

Vivaldi Browser
The Vivaldi Browser app adapts to you and your browsing patterns rather than the other way around. It allows you seamless customisation on the browser like altering keyboard shortcuts, mouse gestures, the appearance and many more.

Vivaldi also supports selecting your own theme, which makes the user experience of this capable browser truly personalized.


Mail is an email and newsgroup client that has been developed by Windows and used in Windows 10 as the default Mail app. We think these alternatives might have the edge.

Mozilla Thunderbird is the perfect option for users without access to the robust and paid software like Microsoft Outlook. The mailing app allows you to integrate multiple mailing IDs in one place with SMTP and POP protocols. Thunderbird is lightweight and also is an extremely responsive, easy to use mailing app.


The age-old Notepad still exists, and it has become better and sleeker over the years. However, if you are bored of using the same note-taking app, again and again, and want to use more feature-rich apps, try these options.

The feature-packed text editor is a popular alternative to Notepad. Notepad++ supports 27 different programming languages, regular expressions, syntax highlighting and folding, synchronised views and edits, making it have everything Notepad does and more as well.

Sublime Text
A lightweight, cross-platform text and source code editor, Sublime Text is popular amongst new and veteran coders alike, because Python API integration comes with it. However, it can also be used as a simple note-taking and text editing tool.

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office is one of the most commonly used office suites by PC and laptop users, including smartphones as well now. Two capable alternatives to Microsoft Office are LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice.

Both are free (unlike Microsoft office) and can create text documents, spreadsheets, powerpoints and more. They also save the files in Office formats.


A calculator is a calculator. What could go wrong? However, if you want a change in design or more advanced calculators if you’re an aspiring mathematical wizard, you could consider other options.

Good alternatives for Calculator include SpeedCrunch, a high precision scientific calculator and Microsoft Mathematics, a calculator with just about every mathematical function.

Remote Desktop Connection

Users can utilise Remote Desktop to connect their PCs to other systems that are far away. You can even use it with your Windows, Android or iOS device.

TeamViewer and Anydesk are two great alternatives that allow you to accomplish exactly the same functions as Remote Desktop and are completely free to use (personal use only) as well.

Windows OneNote

Windows OneNote aids free-form information accumulation and multi-user collaboration. Notes can be shared with other users on OneNote over the internet or a network.

Two applications that are popular options to OneNote are Evernote and Laverna. Evernote has become extremely popular and many users prefer it over OneNote and use it as their choice of app in this category.


Skype is a widely popular telecommunications app that can make video or voice calls across multiple platforms. Two popular options for Skype include Discord and Tox that accomplish video chatting and voice calling functions as well.


The OG Painting tool, that we all remember from our childhood, is still alive and thriving on Windows 10. However, if you do not have enough nostalgia attached to this app, you can check out PaintTool SAI and Paint.NET as alternatives.

Third-party apps are extensively common and easy to download now. This makes it extremely easy to get the exact kind of functionality you need by downloading an app that delivers on this front. Try out these alternatives apps and let us know what you think.

Dhriti Datta

Dhriti Datta

Reader, thinker, writer. Dhriti spends most of her time engrossed in technology reviews and gaming walkthroughs. When not at her post-graduation college studying journalism, she can be found eating, singing out loud and whining incessantly about the smallest things.