This collection is maintained by the Free software replacement project team.
Here is a list of popular free software applications that run on Microsoft Windows — along with the proprietary applications they replace. If you are still a Windows user, you can take a first step towards free software by installing these applications.
When we say these application programs are free software, we're talking about freedom, not price. It means that you are free to use these programs constructively, either alone or in a community, while respecting the freedom of others. The source code is available, so that you can study the software, adapt it to your needs, fix bugs, and release versions with new features. You can also convince or pay others to do these things for you. You are also free to give away and free to sell copies, under the terms of the applicable free software license. These programs are free software because you have freedom in using them. Free software develops under the control of its users.
Microsoft Windows is a clear and instructive example of nonfree software. Its source code is a secret, so programmers cannot learn from it, fix it, adapt it to their clients (your) needs, or even verify what it really does. If you share copies with your neighbors, you will be called a “pirate”, and users have been threatened with imprisonment for this. Nonfree software is completely controlled by its developer, who also has power over the users. We started the free software movement because this power is unjust.
Using free software on Microsoft Windows (or any nonfree operating system) is the first step towards freedom, but it does not get you all the way there. You're still under Microsoft's power as long as you use Windows, including using
- The compatibility layer software Wine.
- The userlands:
- Windows Subsystem for Linux
- Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) available for installation on Windows Server 2019 (version 1709) and later, or Windows 10 or later.
- Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2) for Windows 10 build 18917 (also known as Windows 10 May 2020 Update, Windows 10 version 2004, or version 2004, codenamed "20H1") or later.
- Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) available for installation on Windows 11 or later.
- Windows Subsystem for Linux
However, on this page we're concerned with the first step.
|3D computer graphics software
|Autodesk Maya ("Maya")
|Autodesk 3ds Max
|Microsoft Visual C++
|Nitro PDF Reader
|Email client, news aggregator
|Instant messaging client
|Windows To Go
|VLC media player (VLC)
|Windows Media Player
|Nextcloud (client only)
|Raster graphics editor
|Vector graphics editor
|Xara Photo & Graphic Designer
- This is a selection of the more common free software applications available for the Microsoft Windows platform, and is nothing like a comprehensive list. You may want to check the Runs-on/Windows category for more software. Windows-only programs may be listed here as well but has external links since the Directory only includes program entries for GNU systems.
- Included in the operating system and usually not possible to remove.
- Mozilla branded programs such as Firefox and Thunderbird are not free software unless their names are changed. This is due to Mozilla's trademark policy that forbids selling copies of unmodified executables.
- GNU IceCat (Mozilla Firefox ESR fork) dropped Windows support after version 38.8.0.
- Recommends nonfree software.
Windows-only free software
Notepad++ is a text editor that supports tabbed editing, which allows working with multiple open files in a single window.
Rufus (the Reliable USB Formatting Utility, with S) is a free portable application that can be used to format and create bootable USB flash drives or Live USBs.
Windows 11 Home and Pro requirements that can be bypassed by Rufus when it's preparing Windows installation media:
- Internet connection and a Microsoft account
- Secure Boot
- TPM 2.0
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the page “GNU Free Documentation License”.
The copyright and license notices on this page only apply to the text on this page. Any software or copyright-licenses or other similar notices described in this text has its own copyright notice and license, which can usually be found in the distribution or license text itself.