Install free Windows software with Ninite

Forget the trouble of finding the right software version for your Windows PC. Install or update multiple applications with one click. Ninite makes it easy.

Installing and updating programs in Windows can be time-consuming. With Ninite, you don’t have to deal with finding the right 32/64bit variant and the seemingly endless row of next buttons.

How to do it

You can install multiple applications in a single go. The procedure is straightforward:

  1. Visit the website ninite.com
  2. Check the applications you want to install or update.
  3. Download and run your custom installer.

Ninite will check for programs that need to be installed or updated and do the rest for you. If a program is already installed in its latest version, Ninite simply skips to the next program. You won’t waste time or bandwidth downloading unnecessary updates.

But please don’t choose more than you really need, okay?

Screenshot from Ninite.com with all my favorite programs selected.
Ninite.com – my favourite programs.

My personal recommendations

Web Browsers

  • Chrome – There’s really no way around the browser from the world’s biggest advertising company, and Chrome has some unique browser extensions.
  • Firefox – My favourite browser. Respects your privacy and is also available for Android phones and Apple devices. Highly recommended.

Media

  • VLC – Media player that works with all modern codecs including h.264, MKV, WebM etc. A tool you will also find for all your platforms.
  • Handbrake – Converts and compresses your video files to the aforementioned formats and codecs. Goes hand in hand with VLC. For Windows, Mac and Linux.

Imaging

  • Paint.NET – A lovable little image editor that opens in a snap. You can crop, scale and optimise your images for the web.

Compression

  • 7-Zip – The classic open source file compression program for Windows. Handles all the formats the built-in zip function in Windows does not.

Documents

  • LibreOffice – Opens without complaining the Microsoft Word file that, for some reason, still finds its way into your email inbox even though we are writing 2022.

Messaging

  • Zoom – Google Meet and Microsoft Teams are available in simple browser-based versions, which is great. Zoom is just a bit more reliable.

Developer tools

  • Notepad++ – A minimalist but competent text editor with syntax highlighting. Perfect for quick HTML/JS/CSS/XML editing.
  • FileZilla – The FTP client from “when dad was a boy”. Still updated and probably the most robust program for FTP file transfer. Rarely needed, but great to have.

Other

  • NVDA – If you build websites, you should at least test them with a keyboard and a screen reader. NVDA is a free screen reader for Windows.

Applications that are not available on Ninite.com

The following programs are unfortunately not on Ninite.com, but are worth mentioning:

  • Signal – An excellent open-source messaging app not owned by Meta. If you value your privacy, try Signal for your text, picture and video conversations.
  • O&O ShutUp – Stop Microsoft collecting data about your computer usage (telemetry). Turn off Cortana, Onedrive and ads (!) in the start menu.
  • XMedia Recode – A bit harder to figure out than Handbrake, but incredibly versatile, and it can use your GPU for conversion. It’s fast.

Should you install free antivirus?

Probably not. Many free antivirus programs unnecessarily burden your computer, are loaded with ads, and can add unwanted functionality to Windows. The typical user is sufficiently protected with some simple precautions:

  1. Leave the built-in antivirus and firewall active.
  2. Use a standard user account in everyday life, not an administrator account.
  3. Use licensed or open source software, never pirated copies.
  4. Keep your system updated.
  5. Maybe check the programs you download on VirusTotal.com

Combined with a regular backup of the data you don’t want to lose, you’re in good hands. If you feel more comfortable with a 3rd party antivirus, pay for it.


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About the author

Bjarne Oldrup

Web developer with a passion for WordPress, sustainable web design, GDPR and web accessibility.

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