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11 free PC packages each gamer wants

Key Takeaways

  • Playnite enables you to launch video games from totally different platforms multi function place, and Moonlight enables you to stream them to different units.
  • Packages like Nvidia FrameView and HWiNFO may also help you determine how nicely your gaming PC is functioning and even how briskly it is performing.
  • CurseForge enables you to obtain and handle mods for varied video games in a single place.

One of many highlights of PC gaming is how you are able to do any variety of strange issues along with your units — inside and outside of your gaming periods. The subsequent finest profit is the huge variety of free packages on the market which might be all designed to make your life just a little simpler in a single capability or one other.

As a seasoned PC gamer, these 11 picks are a few of my favorites as a seasoned PC gamer. From benchmarking seemingly un-benchmarkable video games to putting in all my must-have apps with a single click on, these apps have made my PC gaming expertise a lot simpler and extra pleasant over time. For my part, all PC players ought to attempt these lesser-known gems.


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1 Playnite

Launch all of your video games from one app

Playnite unified launcher hub for PC games running on Windows 11 desktop.

Totally different sport platforms have their particular person perks. Whether or not it is Steam, Epic, Battle.internet, or one thing else, in some unspecified time in the future most PC players will launch video games from quite a lot of totally different platforms and launchers.

Playnite is a free app that lets you hold your video games on these totally different platforms however launch them from a single, unified hub. As soon as you’ve got linked your accounts (or allowed Playnite to scan for put in video games, in case you’d reasonably not hyperlink accounts) you possibly can launch any sport you personal from the Playnite launcher — you now not have to recollect which sport runs on which platform. It makes use of open-source code, too, which provides an additional stage of credibility to its safety.


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2 Moonlight

Sit again and stream

Moonlight local PC game streaming app using Nvidia GameStream

Moonlight-stream / Pocket-lint

PC gaming is healthier than console gaming for some issues, however streaming video games to TVs and different units is not one among them. If you wish to sit back and chill out on the couch and play a sport in your laptop computer, pill, or TV, issues can get troublesome.

Moonlight is a free program that may assist with this when you’ve got an Nvidia GPU, which helps you to stream PC video games to iOS, Android, Home windows, Mac, Chromebook, LG WebOS, and extra units. It makes use of GameStream in Nvidia GeForce Expertise to stream video games out of your gaming PC to the Moonlight app on a paired system. So, no extra want for 20-foot HDMI cables.


4 ways to easily stream PC games to a TV, phone, or other device

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3 CurseForge

Preserve observe of your mods

CurseForge free PC program running on Windows 11

One of many many advantages of PC gaming is the power to change your video games with mods, plugins, and add-ons. Yow will discover mods for every kind of issues, from monitoring timers in League of Legends to including extra dialog choices in The Sims 4.

Downloading, putting in, and managing all these mods might be troublesome, although, which is why CurseForge exists. CurseForge acts as a central mod repository for tons of video games, together with Minecraft, World of Warcraft, The Sims 4, and extra, permitting you to obtain, replace, and handle all of your mods in a single place. The free model has adverts, however CurseForge says mod authors get 70% of the app’s income, and there is the choice to improve to the paid model everytime you need.

4 Nvidia FrameView

Benchmark video games with out a built-in benchmark

Nvidia FrameView framerate monitoring and recording tool

Nvidia / Pocket-lint

A private favourite of mine, Nvidia FrameView has saved me tons of bother benchmarking video games for {hardware} opinions. Nvidia FrameView is a free app that lets you measure and file in-game framerates, body instances, GPU performance-per-watt, and GPU energy, for a set time frame utilizing a hotkey. That is nice for getting correct benchmark knowledge.

Maybe you need to change some in-game settings and see precisely how a lot your efficiency improves. You possibly can decide a small space of the map or stage to make use of, set your self up, and hit the FrameView hotkey to begin recording framerate knowledge for a set size of time (say, 30 seconds). Then, you possibly can change your settings, do the identical once more, and it’ll file that knowledge, too, including it to the identical spreadsheet saved to a most well-liked file location. It is excellent for video games that lack built-in benchmarks.


Examine your GPU and CPU temps

HWInfo (64-bit version) monitoring CPU and GPU temperature on Windows 11

We PC players often wish to know what is going on on below the hood inside our PCs. As an illustration, it is a good concept to periodically verify your CPU temperature for thermal throttling.

HWiNFO (AKA HWiNFO64) is a free program that does real-time system monitoring and reporting, permitting you to verify all the pieces out of your GPU temperature to your motherboard’s CPU +12V voltage. You possibly can present knowledge over time on a graph, and even add a specific sensor (corresponding to CPU temperature) to your taskbar to verify it on the fly.


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Safe, non-public, and tricksy

Proton VPN running on Windows 11 desktop

There are such a lot of causes a gamer would possibly need to trick a sport server into considering they’re connecting from a special location. Maybe the sport you need to play is geo-locked for folks in your nation. Or, the sport servers in your area are down for upkeep. You might even simply favor the participant base in one other area.

Some video games may not enable VPNs, so verify the foundations for every sport you play, and use them at your individual threat.

If you wish to make a sport suppose you are logging in from some place else, a virtual private network (VPN) is a helpful instrument. A VPN creates a safe, encrypted connection between you and the VPN server, which acts as a go-between on your PC and the sport server or another web service you hook up with. So, you possibly can select a VPN server in a foreign country, and the sport you hook up with will suppose you are enjoying from there.

When choosing one of many
best VPN services
or selecting from the
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, select a quick one that provides a low latency connection. This can create a greater on-line gaming expertise.

7 WinDirStat

See what’s clogging up your SSD

WinDirStat, a free disk usage statistics viewer program, running on Windows 11

Even the best SSDs with 1TB or 2TB storage capability can rapidly develop into saturated by giant sport installs. Throw in some video downloads and different purposes, and also you would possibly end up eager to remove some pointless information and enhance your free space for storing. Sadly, Home windows nonetheless would not give us a simple or intuitive technique to discover out which information and folders are taking on essentially the most area.

WinDirStat is extra helpful than the Home windows “Add or take away packages” characteristic as a result of it not solely reveals the set up measurement of various purposes, however of all information and folders.

That is the place WinDirStat (Home windows Listing Statistics) is available in. WinDirStat is a free disk utilization statistics viewer and cleanup instrument that reveals you which of them packages and information are consuming up area in your SSD or HDD. It provides you a visible illustration of the proportion of your storage that totally different information and folders are taking on. As proven within the image above, Steam takes up about 92% of my Program Recordsdata (x86) folder, of which my DOOM Everlasting set up accounts for the most important portion.


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8 Revo Uninstaller

For if you actually desire a program uninstalled

Revo Uninstaller Free running on Windows 11 desktop, showing Uninstall button.

The “Add or take away packages” characteristic in Home windows is adequate for uninstalling loads of packages, however not all. Some packages, regardless of being “uninstalled” by Home windows, can go away traces behind, corresponding to registry entries. This is likely to be very true for video games that bundle different issues (corresponding to anti-cheats) in with their installations and hold themselves hidden and buried in your system after a supposed uninstall.

Revo Uninstaller may also help with this. It is a program that may not solely uninstall your purposes just like the native Home windows uninstaller does, but in addition scan for leftovers after this normal uninstall, and it contains some extra cleansing instruments. (That is all included within the free model, however in case you improve to Professional, you acquire entry to a variety of different options corresponding to prolonged scanning for leftovers and a multi-level backup system.)

Ensure you will not want any of the leftover set up information and registry entries earlier than hitting Uninstall. Use at your individual threat.

9 Show Driver Uninstaller

For if you actually desire a GPU driver uninstalled

Display Driver Uninstaller application running on Windows 11 desktop.

Show Driver Uninstaller

Generally, utilizing DDU is critical.

Show Driver Uninstaller (DDU) is a type of packages you will not often have to make use of, however will be grateful for having if you do. You do not often must uninstall drivers in any respect, until you are switching part manufacturers (corresponding to from AMD to Nvidia), and even then, you possibly can often do that by way of the Home windows Management Panel. However typically, utilizing DDU is critical.

DDU uninstalls your graphics drivers or different system drivers to make sure all traces are gone, permitting you to put in new drivers fully recent with out risking any driver conflicts. This may be particularly helpful for troubleshooting issues that is likely to be brought on by a driver battle or corrupted driver, or for stopping such conflicts and corruptions in case you’ve been tinkering just a little an excessive amount of.


How to enable G-Sync on your gaming PC and monitor

G-Sync is just about necessary when you’ve got an Nvidia card in your machine.

10 Rainmeter

Full desktop customization

Wisp v2.4.4 desktop by FiZzioN for Rainmeter, a free desktop customization tool

FiiZzioN / DeviantArt 

One of many many advantages of PC gaming is the truth that you get to make use of a closely customizable system to sport on. You should use no matter elements you need, swap up your peripherals, use totally different lighting, totally different software program, totally different screens. The checklist is countless.

Rainmeter, a free and open-source program, lets you lengthen this customization onto your desktop, past the traditional Home windows desktop customization choices.

It lets you configure your desktop structure, theme, colours, animations, and so forth — all the pieces out of your launch icons to your background and widgets. In reality, it permits a lot customization that you may replicate fully fictional or futuristic desktops from motion pictures. You possibly can hook real-time knowledge to show, too, such an RSS feed for up-to-date gaming information, and even your GPU temperature as reported by HWiNFO. And if doing all this your self feels like an excessive amount of problem, don’t fret — many different customers have already created Rainmeter skins that you may obtain and use.


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11 Ninite

Cease losing time with particular person installations

Ninite bulk program installer for Windows

Should you simply obtained your palms on a brand new gaming PC or arrange a recent Home windows set up, you will most likely want to put in a good few packages to get your system up and operating the way you need it. If the considered this fills you with dread, don’t fret, there is a program to unravel simply this drawback.


11 essential Windows apps that I immediately install on every new PC

Home windows PC apps like GIMP, VLC, and Ditto Clipboard have truthfully made my life a lot simpler. I do know they’re going to do the identical for you.

Ninite will solely set up the mandatory elements, so there is no bloatware or doubtlessly undesirable packages.

Ninite is a free bulk set up instrument that is nice for recent installs or batch updates. Merely verify off the totally different software program you need to set up from its in depth checklist and Ninite will do all of the give you the results you want, downloading and putting in all the pieces within the background. It will solely set up the mandatory elements, too, so no bloatware or doubtlessly undesirable packages.

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