Superb software doesn't have to cost a fortune - thanks to open source, shareware and ad-supported projects, you can equip your Windows PC with a complete set of essential everyday programs completely free.

The best free software 2017

Free photo editor: GIMP

Make your photos look their best with the best free Photoshop alternative

GIMP is packed with smart tools like a clone stamp, healing brush, transformations, smart selections and a host of filters – from the subtle to the creative.

There are also dozens of superb user-created plugins to add even more features, and GIMP receives regular updates from its team of volunteer developers.

Free PDF reader: Foxit Reader GIMP

Foxit Reader reads, creates and converts PDFs, with great file compatibility

View, edit and create PDFs, and convert Microsoft Office files and scanned documents.

Foxit Reader's superb feature set is rounded out with annotations, cloud-sharing and security options to protect you from potential security vulnerabilitites.

Free torrent client: qBittorrent GIMP

A free client packed with all the tools music, TV and movie fans could want

Fast and efficient, with a built-in search engine and media player, free torrent client qBittorrent has everything you need for quick, secure downloads

. There's automatic prioritization of torrents, torrent creation and IP filtering too, and it's easy to master.

Free video editor: Lightworks

Professional video editing software that's within the reach of beginners

Whether you want to make a quick adjustment to a clip recorded on your smartphone or compile high definition footage into a professional-looking movie ready to upload to Vimeo, Lightworks is the tool for you

It's very powerful, and has been used to produce real Hollywood films.

Free music player: MusicBee

The ideal player, streamer and organizer, with smart tagging and optimization
Everything you need for managing a music collection of any size, MusicBee offers smart tagging and hardware optimization for the best possible playback quality.
It's also a great choice for streaming internet radio stations and enjoying your favorite podcasts.

Free office software: WPS Office Free

There's no need to pay for Microsoft Office with this superb free suite

WPS Office Free is a great looking free office suite containing powerful tools for word processing, presentations and spreadsheets.
It's fully compatible with Microsoft Office file formats, and is packed with attractive templates
Best of all, its components work just like the latest versions of Word, Powerpoint and Excel, so you'll be up and running immediately. .

Free antivirus: BitDefender Antivirus Free Edition

Incredibly easy to use, with excellent detection rates. Just set and forget

Each time we update our guide to the best free antivirus software, one security suite stands head and shoulders above the rest
This time it's BitDefender Antivirus Free Edition, which makes protecting your PC from viruses and other malware (including ransomware) as straightforward as possible. You can rely on it to detect and eliminate the latest threats as soon as they appear, with the minimum of fuss .