17 Best Free And Open Source Software For Windows 10 Every User Should Know In 2020

This post may contain affiliate links.

Free And Open Source Software For Windows 10

17 Best Free And Open Source Software For Windows 10

There are many excellent free and open source software that respects your privacy and gives you total control of the application and system, you own the software.

Back in the day I got told to never tell anyone on the internet my real name use a nickname, he said they can use your name against you for personal gain, which is what Facebook , Google, Amazon, Microsoft and big tech corporations do. When its free you are the product.

For this reason I have been using solely open source software for the past 20 years.

As you all know I use Zorin OS 15 as my main operating system, which fully satisfies me and gives me the freedoms Microsoft doesn’t give. I can change every aspect of this operating system to my needs. I run a local web sever and a Virtual Machine and web design, and run Notebook & Coffee. All the hardware and devices work smoothly on Zorin. And it saved me hundreds of dollars. It is a total win win.


There are many popular programs that you can replace that are just as good or even better then their proprietary alternatives and save hundreds to $1000s.

Professional proprietary software isn’t always better, GNU/Linux is all around us without us even realizing it. For example web servers around the world, our smart devices, routers, modems, even TV’s have a hint of open source software in it. Don’t judge the software by the price. Judge it by how it helps you get things done.

Be free and enjoy the empowerment of open source software and save you money at the same time!


Web Browsers


1. Mozilla Firefox open source web browser

Mozilla Firefox open source alternative for Microsoft Edge

Mozilla Firefox was first released in 2002. Firefox is mostly the default web browser on many GNU/Linux distributions; including Ubuntu and now ZorinOS.

Mozilla Firefox is probably one of the best known open source web browser, it supports all major features as well as extensions, popup blocker, Private Window and much more. What I like about Firefox that it has been extremely stable, fast and easy on resources. To see a list of features click here

Download Mozilla Firefox



2. Chromium Web Browser – Open Source alternative for Edge

Chromium web browser open source alternative for Microsoft Edge

Another great open source web browser is Chromium, yes that one without all the google stuff in it, it is fast, stable and all the features in it without all the Google stuff. Microsoft has now adopted the Chromium browser as the engine in the latest Microsoft Edge.

Download Chromium Web Browser


E-Mail Clients


3. Mozilla Thunderbird – Open Source Alternative for Microsoft Outlook

mozilla thunderbird open source alternative for microsoft outlook

Another name in the list of free and open source software for Windows 10 is Mozilla Thunderbird is probably the best open source email and calendar client available, on both Windows and Linux. It has tons of features, and it is easy to customize with extensions themes and plugins to fit your needs. It also has a builtin Calendar, chat client and you can even receive RSS feeds, if you want to stay up to date.

Download Mozilla Thunderbird



Office Tasks

4. LibreOffice – Open Source Alternative for Microsoft Office.


LibreOffice is also a great open source software for Windows 10. It started as a fork of OpenOffice in 2011. Sun Micro systems was purchased by Oracle, who had legal issues with Microsoft about some patent issues with JavaScript. The development of OpenOffice was in jeopardy. For this reason it was forked by the community and LibreOffice was born. LibreOffice is light years ahead and has cleaned up the code base and is less dependable on Java.

For office applications I choose LibreOffice hands down. It has been the de facto standard for many years, and a lot of government agencies around the world has starting to embrace it.

LibreOffice Consists of the following applications;

  • Writer – Alternative to Microsoft Word.
  • Calc – Alternative to Microsoft Excel.
  • Impress – Alternative to Microsoft PowerPoint.
  • Draw – Alternative to Microsoft Visio.
  • Math – An application designed for creating and editing mathematical formulae.
  • Base – Alternative to Microsoft Access.

Download LibreOffice

5. GnuCash – Open Source Alternative for Microsoft Money

GnuCash open source alternative for Microsoft Money

GnuCash is a cross platform open source bookkeeping program for personal finance and small businesses. It can keep track of your checking account, investments, personal cash, income and liabilities like car loans and mortgages. It has the capability to create reports, and statistics which makes it easy to balance your budgets.

Download GnuCash



Graphic programs


6. digiKam – Open Source alternative for Windows 10 Photos app


digiKam is a cross platform open source professional photo organizer and tag editor. It supports all major image formats and over 200 raw formats. digiKam also lets you rate your images, and add captions to certain images.digiKam also has the ability to upload your photos to Facebook and Flickr. You can organize your images directory based by date, timeline or tags.

Download digiKam


7. Gimp – Open Source Alternative for Photoshop


Gimp is a photo retouching, composition and image authoring program, supports everything you expect from a professional photo editor can expect. The Gimp supports a wide variety of image formats. With the excellent community support and wide variety documentation and howtos you are ready to go and it’s free of course.

Download The Gimp


8. Inkscape – Open Source Alternative for Adobe Illustrator

inkscape open source alternative for adobe illustrator


First released in 2003 Inkscape is a free and open source vector graphic editor used to create vector graphics. The first 1.0 release was released on May 4th 2020. With Inkscape you can create amazing breath taking images.

Download Inkscape



9. 7-Zip – Open Source tool for ZIP extraction


Back in the day we had to install WinZip or WinRAR to extract compressed files. These days are gone with 7Zip, now you extract ZIP files and RAR files with this free open source program. 7-Zip supports a wide variety of compression formats.

  • High compression ratio in 7z format with LZMA and LZMA2 compression
  • Supported formats:
    • Packing / unpacking: 7z, XZ, BZIP2, GZIP, TAR, ZIP and WIM
  • For ZIP and GZIP formats, 7-Zip provides a compression ratio that is 2-10 % better than the ratio provided by PKZip and WinZip
  • Strong AES-256 encryption in 7z and ZIP formats
  • Self-extracting capability for 7z format
  • Integration with Windows Shell
  • Powerful File Manager
  • Powerful command line version
  • Plugin for FAR Manager
  • Localizations for 87 language

Download 7-Zip


10. Notepad++ – Open Source Alternative for Windows Notepad

notepad++ open source alternative for windows notepad

Notepad++ is a source code editor and a text editor with many functions like support for plugins and macros, different themes, and highlight modes for 78 different languages.

It also includes;

  • Auto-save
  • Finding and replacing strings of text with regular expressions
  • Guided indentation
  • Line bookmarking
  • Macros
  • Simultaneous editing
  • Split screen editing and synchronized scrolling
  • Line operations, including sorting, case conversion (Uppercase, lowercase, camel case, sentence case), and removal of redundant white-space
  • Tabs

Download Notepad++


11. FileZilla – Open Source FTP Client

filezilla open source ftp client

FileZilla is a free open source FTP Client with tons of features like tabbed browsing, synchronized browsing, logging, bookmarks, remote file editing, drag drop back and forward, configure of speed limits and much more and its extremely light weight on resources.

Download FileZilla


12. BleachBit – Open Source Disk Cleaner

bleachbit open source disk cleaner

BleachBit is a free open source disk cleaner and privacy tool for GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows. It also optimizes databases for Firefox and Thunderbird. Some people may find this unnecessary, but over time it can cause browsers to slow down.

Some of the features include;

  • Identifying and removing Web cache, HTTP cookies, URL history, temporary files log files and Flash cookies for Firefox, Opera, Safari, APT, Google Chrome.
  • Removing unused localizations (also called locale files) which are translations of software.
  • Shredding files and wiping unallocated disk space to minimize data Remanence.
  • Wiping unallocated disk space to improve data compression ratio for disk image backups.
  • Vacuuming Firefox’s SQLite database which suffers fragmentation.
  • Command line interface for scripting automation and headless operation.

Download BleachBit


13. VirtualBox – Open Source Hosted Hypervisor for x86 virtualization

VirtualBox - Open Source Hosted Hypervisor for x86 virtualization

With VirtualBox you can run a different operating system, for example GNU/Linux, BSD or Microsoft Windows in a virtual machine. Great for development or just for fun.

Some of the main features of VirtualBox are;

  • Snapshots.
  • Seamless mode – the ability to run virtualized applications side by side with normal desktop applications.
  • Shared clipboard.
  • Shared folders.
  • Nested paging for AMD-V and Intel VT (only for processors supporting SLAT and with SLAT enabled).
  • Limited support for 3D graphics acceleration (including OpenGL up to (but not including) 3.0 and Direct3D 9.0c via Wine’s Direct3D to OpenGL translation).
  • SMP support (up to 32 virtual CPU’s per virtual machine), since version 3.0.
  • 2D video output acceleration (not to be mistaken with video decoding acceleration), since version 3.1.
  • EFI has been supported since version 3.1 (Windows 7 guests are not supported).
Storage emulation features;
  • NCQ support for SATA, SCSI and SAS raw disks and partitions.
  • SATA disk hotplugging.
  • Pass-through mode for solid-state drives.
  • Pass-through mode for CD/DVD/BD drives – allows users to play audio CDs, burn optical disks, and play encrypted DVD discs.
  • Can disable host OS I/O cache.
  • Allows limitation of IO bandwidth.
  • PATA, SATA, SCSI, SAS, iSCSI, floppy disk controllers.
  • Virtual machine disk image encryption using AES128/AES256.
Storage support;
  • Raw hard disk access – allows physical hard disk partitions on the host system to appear in the guest system.
  • VMware Virtual Machine Disk  format support – allows exchange of disk images with VMware.
  • Microsoft virtual hard drive support.
  • QEMU qed and qcow disks.
  • HDD format disks (only version 2; versions 3 and 4 are not supported) used by Parallels virtualization products.
Since version 3.2;
  • Mac OS X Server guest support – experimental.
  • Memory ballooning (not available on Solaris hosts).
  • RAM de-duplication (Page Fusion) for Windows guests on 64-bit hosts.
  • CPU hot-plugging for Linux (hot-add and hot-remove) and certain Windows guests (hot-add only).
  • Deleting snapshots while the Virtual Machine is running.
  • Multi-monitor guest setups in the GUI, for Windows guests.
  • LSI Logic SAS controller emulation.
  • Remote Desktop Protocol video acceleration via a non-free extension.
  • Run and control guest applications from the host – for automated software deployments.
Since version 4.0;
  • The PUEL/OSE separation was abandoned in favor of an open source base product and a closed source extension pack that can be installed on top of the base product. As part of this change, additional components of VirtualBox were made open source (installers, documentation, device drivers).
  • Intel HD audio codec emulation.
  • Intel ICH9 chip set emulation.
  • A new virtual machine storage scheme where all virtual machine data is stored in one single folder to improve Virtual machine portability.
  • Several UI enhancements including a new look with virtual machine preview and scale mode.
  • On 32-bit hosts, virtual machines can each use more than 1.5 GB of RAM.
  • CPU use and I/O bandwidth can be limited per virtual machine.
  • Support for Apple DMG images (DVD).
  • Multi-monitor guest setups for Linux/Solaris guests (previously Windows only).
  • Resizing of disk image formats from Oracle, VDI (VirtualBox disk image), and Microsoft, VHD  (Virtual Hard Disk).
Since version 4.1;
  • Windows Aero support (experimental).
  • Virtual machine cloning.
Since version 4.2;
  • Virtual machine groups – allows management of a group of virtual machines as a single unit (power them on or off, take snapshots, etc.).
  • Some virtual machine settings can be altered during virtual machine execution.
  • Support up to 36 network cards in case of the ICH9 chip set.
  • Support for limiting network I/O bandwidth.
  • Can automatically run virtual machines on host system startup (except on Windows hosts).
Since version 4.3;
  • virtual machine video-capture support.
  • Host touch device support (GUI passes host touch events to guest)/USB virtualization of such devices.
Since version 5.0;
  • Para-virtualization support for Windows and Linux guests to improve time-keeping accuracy and performance.
  • USB3 controller based on Intel’s hardware implementation. It’s supported by any Windows version starting from Windows 8, any Linux kernel starting from 2.6.31 and Mac OS X starting from version 10.7.4.
  • Bidirectional drag and drop support for Windows, Linux and Solaris guests.
  • virtual machine disk image encryption via a non-free extension.
  • virtual machine output scaling and HiDPI displays support.
  • Hotplugging of SATA disks using GUI.
  • USB traffic capturing.
  • virtual machines can be disconnected from a GUI session and run in background.
  • AVX, AVX-2, AES-NI, SSE 4.1/4.2 instructions (if supported by the host CPU).
Since version 6.0;
  • Support for exporting virtual machines to Oracle Cloud.
  • A file manager which allows to control the guest file system and copy files from/to it.
  • virtual machine SVGA GPU driver for Linux hosts.
  • Surround speakers setup support.
  • Support for hardware-assisted nested virtualization on AMD CPU’s.

Download VirtualBox



14. Kdenlive – Windows Movie Maker Alternative

kdenlive open source alternative for windows movie maker

Kdenlive is a open source multi track video editing software with professional features with different effects, timeline features and transitions.  The project started in 2002 by James Wood. With the release of Kdenlive 15.04.0 it became part of the official KDE Desktop project.

The main features are as followed;

KDE’s Kdenlive makes use of MLT, Frei0r effects, SoX and LADSPA libraries.

Kdenlive supports all of the formats supported by FFmpeg or libav (such as QuickTime, AVI, WMV, MPEG, and Flash Video, among others). It also supports 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios for both PAL, NTSC and various HD standards; including HDV and AVCHD. Videos can also be exported to DV devices, or written to a DVD with chapters and menus.

  • Kdenlive has multi-track editing with a timeline and supports an unlimited number of video and audio tracks.
  • A built-in title editor and tools to create, move, crop and delete video clips, audio clips, text clips and image clips.
  • Ability to add custom effects and transitions.
  • A wide range of effects and transitions. Audio signal processing capabilities include normalization, phase and pitch shifting, limiting, volume adjustment, reverb and equalization filters as well as others. Visual effects include options for masking, blue-screen, distortions, rotations, color tools, blurring, obscuring and others.
  • Configurable keyboard shortcuts and interface layouts.
  • Rendering is done using a separate non-blocking process so it can be stopped, paused and restarted.
  • Kdenlive also provides a script called the Kdenlive Builder Wizard (KBW) that compiles the latest developer version of the software and its main dependencies from source, to allow users to try to test new features and report problems on the bug tracker.

Download Kdenlive


15. VLC Media Player – Windows Media Player Alternative

VLC Media Player open source alternative for windows media player

VLC is probably the best known open source media player out there that can virtually play everything. VLC Media Player is cross platform Media Player developed by the VideoLAN project since 2001.  This Media Player can also stream video and audio over LAN networks and can transcode various  multimedia files. Supports hardware encoding of 4k and 8k, as of version 3.0 it also supports chromecast.

List of the main features;

VLC is a packet-based media player it plays almost all video content. It can even play some, even if the files are damaged, incomplete, or unfinished, such as files that are still downloading via a peer-to-peer (P2P) network.

Don’t forget to check out our 10 Reasons why you should start using VLC media player

It also plays m2t MPEG transport streams (.TS) files while they are still being digitized from an HDV camera via a FireWire cable, making it possible to monitor the video as it is being played. The player can also use libcdio to access .ISO files so that users can play files on a disk image, even if the user’s operating system cannot work directly with .ISO images.

VLC supports all audio and video formats supported by libavcodec and libavformat. This means that VLC can play back H.264 or MPEG-4 Part 2 video as well as support FLV or MXF file formats “out of the box” using FFmpeg’s libraries. Alternatively, VLC has modules for codecs that are not based on FFmpeg’s libraries.

VLC is one of the free software DVD players that ignores the DVD region coding on RPC-1 firmware drives, making it a region-free player. However, it does not do the same on RPC-2 firmware drives, as in these cases the region coding is enforced by the drive itself, however, it can still brute-force the CSS encryption to play a foreign-region DVD on an RPC-2 drive.

VLC media player has some filters that can distort, rotate, split, deinterlace, and mirror videos as well as create display walls or add a logo overlay. It can also output video as ASCII art.

VLC media player can play high-definition recordings of D-VHS tapes duplicated to a computer using CapDVHS.exe. This offers another way to archive all D-VHS tapes with the DRM copy freely tag. Using a FireWire connection from cable boxes to computers, VLC can stream live, unencrypted content to a monitor or HDTV.

VLC media player can display the playing video as the desktop wallpaper, like Windows DreamScene, by using DirectX, only available on Windows operating systems. VLC media player can record the desktop and save the stream as a file, allowing the user to create screencasts. On Microsoft Windows, VLC also supports the Direct Media Object (DMO) framework and can thus make use of some third-party DLLs (Dynamic-link library). On most platforms, VLC can tune into and view DVB-C, DVB-T, and DVB-S channels. On macOS the separate EyeTV plugin is required, on Windows it requires the card’s BDA Drivers.

VLC can be installed  and run directly from a USB flash drive or other external drives. VLC can be extended through scripting as it uses the Lua scripting language. VLC can play videos in the AVCHD format, a highly compressed format used in recent HD camcorders. VLC can generate a number of music visualization displays. The program is able to convert media files into various supported formats.

Download VLC Media Player


16. MPlayer – Open Source Alternative for Windows Media Player

mplayer open source alternative for windows media player

MPlayer is a cross platform open source media player. It supports a wide variety of media formats including;

  • Physical media: CDs, DVDs, Video CDs, Blu-ray discs
  • Container formats: 3GP, AVI, ASF, FLV, Matroska, MOV (QuickTime), MP4, NUT, Ogg, OGM, RealMedia, Bink
  • Video formats: Cinepak, DV, H.263, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, HuffYUV, Indeo, MJPEG, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Part 2, RealVideo, Sorenson, Theora, WMV, Bink
  • Audio formats: AAC, AC3, ALAC, AMR, DTS, FLAC, Intel Music Coder, Monkey’s Audio, MP3, Musepack, RealAudio, Shorten, Speex, Vorbis, WMA, Bink
  • Subtitle formats: AQTitle, ASS/SSA, CC, JACOsub, MicroDVD, MPsub, OGM, PJS, RT, Sami, SRT, SubViewer, VOBsub, VPlayer
  • Image formats: BMP, JPEG, MNG, PCX, PTX, TGA, TIFF, SGI, Sun Raster
  • Protocols: RTP, RTSP, HTTP, FTP, MMS, Netstream (mpst://), SMB.

MPlayer can also use a variety of output driver protocols to display video, including VDPAU, the X video extension, OpenGL, DirectX, Direct3D, Quartz Compositor, VESA, Framebuffer, SDL. It can also be used to display TV from a TV card using the device tv://channel, or play and capture radio channels via radio://channel|frequency.

Since version 1.0RC1, Mplayer can decode subtitles in ASS/SSA subtitle format, using libass. MPlayer is known as the second best media player on GNU/Linux and is known to be a tad more lightweight on resources.

Download MPlayer


17. Audacity – Open Source Alternative for Adobe Audition

audacity open source alternative for adobe audition

Audacity is a cross platform multi track audio editor and recorder. It has tons of features and plugins. It supports all major file formats including mp3, flac, ogg, wav. Audacity supports unlimited amount of undos and has a massive amount of effects for example fade in and fade out, noise reduction, change the tempo. It can also be extended by VST and LADSPA plugins.

Download Audacity



As you can see, each one of these programs are of high quality and have been in development for decades. These are mature and stable products that gets things done for free, with the support and love of the contributors.

I personally don’t use it and I don’t know the quality of them, for this reason file sharing programs are missing.

Also make sure you read the 11 Reasons the free Zorin OS Linux could be the right choice for you

So these are probably the best and free open source software for Windows 10, they have been developed for almost 2 decades and are stable and mature. If you feel like I missed something, or see something that is inaccurate please leave a comment below, I could ad file sharing programs,