The 10 Best Free PC Games You Can Download Now

PC gaming has never been in a better place than it is today. Not only can you effectively play games spanning the entire history of PC gaming on modern machines, you can also get games at incredibly low prices. 

With bundle deals, Steam sales and other extreme savings, most PC gamers have more games in their collection than they can ever hope to play. PCs can even play games from other platforms.

On the other hand, what if you are in need of some games, but don’t want to spend a cent? The good news is that there are plenty of free or “free-to-play” (F2P) games on the PC. Of course, free PC games give you the option of grinding or paying real money, but if you are high on free time and low on cash, there’s plenty of time to be had. 

Games that are F2P are marked as such in the list below, so this is not a ranked list. So, in no particular order, here are ten games you can go play right after reading this article.

Warframe (F2P)

Warframe is a free PC game that might not seem like it’s particularly worth playing at first glance, but if you take the time to give it a chance, you’ll find a game that’s both incredibly interesting and fun to play.

The Warframe of today is almost an entirely different game from the Warframe that originally launched. The visuals have been refined, the game plays more sharply and oodles of narrative have been added to this weird space ninja transhumanist world.

You are a “Tenno”, essentially a massively powerful cyborg ninja. The “warframe” is your suit of armor. Different warframes have different strengths, lending themselves to different roles and play styles. 

If you like games such as Destiny, which provides a sort-of MMO experience, but with plenty of single-player RPG loot-em-up flavor, then Warframe is going to be right in your wheelhouse.

The big difference here is on how the game plays. It’s a first-person game that gives plenty of attention to incredible maneuverability and melee fighting. You can traverse levels like a ninja bat out of hell and playing next to a seasoned warframe pilot can be jaw-dropping. 

The game also doesn’t really tell you what to do or how to play. You can decide what you want to achieve or which aspects are the most fun, and simply focus on those. 

One downside of Warframe is just how many little systems and stats there are. It’s frankly intimidating, but it turns out you don’t have to master or understand every little thing to get the most out of the game.

Star Trek Online (F2P)

There are so many Star Trek games, but there are very few good Star Trek games. Star Trek Online has matured into something that definitely falls into the good side of this franchise’s video game history. At this point this MMO has been around for a decade, but it’s much improved given how often the developers update and add to the content. 

Set after the film “Nemesis”, the free PC game sees the Federation and Klingon Empire at war again. Added to this are the Romulans, Dominion and Borg, who all have their own goals and machinations.

In this game every player is the captain of their own ship, which you can control directly. You can also play as your character for missions that happen at that scale. So you get both ship-to-ship combat and on-the-ground action. 

While the game had a mixed reaction when it first launched, it is now considered among the best Star Trek games ever made. Indeed, right now it’s probably the best Star Trek game getting active attention, so if you have an itch to boldly go shoot some Klingons, this is the place to do it.

Beneath a Steel Sky

Sadly, it seems the age of the point-and-click adventure is long-gone. At least as a mainstream AAA phenomenon. The good news is that you can go play one of the best examples of the genre right now in the form of Beneath a Steel Sky.

Originally released in 1994, this little gem is set in a dystopian cyberpunk future. The planet has been royally messed up thanks to pollution and nuclear fallout. Beneath a Steel Sky is set in Australia, where six city-states that are divided into the “Union” and “Corporation” factions.

Our hero is a man named Robert Foster, who is the sole survivor of a helicopter crash in the Outback. Raised by locals who find him, he becomes an expert in survival and engineering. Which is how he creates his robot buddy Joey. Joey is actually a chip that can take over various machine bodies, which is a chief mechanic in the game.

While the story is pretty dark, it’s also well written and often humorous. With the planned 2019 release of the sequel Beyond a Skeel Sky, now is the perfect time to experience one of the best classic PC games in history. 

Path of Exile

Diablo II remains one of the most beloved action RPGs of all time, but Blizzard decided to go in a decidedly different direction with the third game in the series. Diablo III remains one of our favorite titles, but there is a but of a vacuum left by the art-direction and character creation flexibility of Diablo II.

Into that vacuum, steps Path of Exile. It’s a game that many people wish Diablo III had been and if you’re a lover of the classic second game giving PoE a go is an absolute must. Most of the paid content is merely cosmetic and the overall art style and gameplay nails that Diablo II atmosphere perfectly.

Shadow Warrior Classic Complete

Before we go any further, the first thing you should know is that Shadow Warrior is a crass game full of naughty things. If you’re not a fan of corny one-liners, bad words, violence and the occasional bit of sexiness, then it’s probably better to check out some of the other games on this list.

Still here? OK, Shadow Warrior didn’t get quite as much attention as Duke Nukem 3D, which is built on the same engine, but it’s every bit as good as that other crass 90s shooter franchise.

You play Lo Wang, a walking Asian stereotype who dishes out over-the-top punishment to gangsters and monsters alike. The weapons on offer to accomplish this are pretty great too. They include ninja stars, swords and plenty of firearms.

This is the original game with its two expansions, the only modifications for this free PC game that have been made are those necessary to get the game running on modern systems. There is another version known as Shadow Warrior Classic Redux. That will cost you a few bucks, but features remastered visuals and a general overhaul. 

Honestly, the game is best experienced in its original form. It’s still as naught and fun as ever. You can even get some friends over and get some old-school multiplayer action going.

Hearthstone

Hearthstone is a card battling free PC game very much in the vein of Magic: The Gathering. Each player builds a deck of cards with health and attack stats, as well as special effects. The aim is to bring the other player’s health to zero before you yourself are destroyed. You lay your cards on the deck to either protect yourself, or attack the other player and their creatures. 

It’s a simple concept on paper, but Hearthstone offers incredible complexity and depth. It’s no wonder the game has so quickly become an eSports staple.

While Hearthstone is very much inspired by MTG, it benefits from being a digital-only card game. Using the deep Warcraft lore, the game is streamlined to an incredible degree. While truly serious players may find that spending real money gets them the decks they want, casual players and those who have the time never need to spend a dime. 

Hearthstone is addictive, beautiful and lots of fun. You can also play it on your phone or tablet when away from your PC, with seamless online integration.

StarCraft

First off, this is not the remastered version of the original StarCraft. You will have to fork out a few bucks to get your hands on that game. No, this is the original game that took the world by storm and includes its amazing expansion, Brood War.

The original StarCraft is still being played today and has a strong following in countries like South Korea. The graphics have aged well, the real-time strategy gameplay is still some of the best ever crafted, and the world and story stand up to modern scrutiny.

StarCraft is set in the far future of space exploration, pitting three factions against each other in a battle for supremacy. StarCraft wrote the book on asymmetrical RTS games and each faction plays in a wildly different fashion. 

The free PC game is easy to learn, but brutal to master. Every PC gamer should have this one under the belt. 

Paladins

Overwatch is another Blizzard Entertainment hit, but the price of entry for this multiplayer-only team shooter is quite hefty! So why not give the free-to-play Paladins a go?

The similarities between Overwatch and Paladins is largely coincidental. The base game, art style and design decisions were all made before anyone outside of Blizzard knew about Overwatch. Yet, despite having more MOBA elements, Paladins very much scratches the same itch as Overwatch.

That’s not to say that Paladins feels quite the same to play. It is definitely its own thing, but offers the same level of polish and fun as Overwatch without the upfront ticket price. 

The game does provide some serious benefits to shelling out some real money, but by the time you get to that point you’ll be sure whether Paladins has grabbed you enough to warrant it. Alternatively, just embrace the grind, you’ll need the practice!

League of Legends/DOTA 2

This entry is sort-of cheating, because there are in fact two games listed here. However, League of Legends and DOTA 2 are pretty much like the Coke and Pepsi of the MOBA world. What’s a “MOBA” you say? Well, Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas is a relatively new game genre that got its start with the original Defense of the Ancients (DOTA). Which was in turn a mod for the RTS game Warcraft III.

MOBAs are team-based games where players must use their various characters to defend their own base while trying to destroy the enemy base. It’s an incredibly tense type of game and is a mainstay of the eSports world.

Between LoL and DOTA 2 it’s League that’s most popular. However, not everyone is a fan of its community, art style and specific game mechanics. DOTA 2 wasn’t free-to-play from the start, which may also have reduced its popularity. 

Now that neither requires any money upfront, you can dip your toes in both to see if either suits you.

Apex Legends

MOBAs may have been the darling of the gaming world for years, but these days it’s all about the “battle royale” style of game. 

The two biggest names are Fortnite and Player Unknown Battlegrounds, but there are other developers throwing their hats into the ring. These games feature one massive level with large numbers of players dropped in to fight each other. The last player standing takes the prize.

Apex Legends is special in this arena thanks to its pedigree. Developed by Respawn Entertainment, it has plenty of people who were worked on critical aspects of Call of Duty among its staff roster. Respawn impressed the world with their Titanfall games and Apex Legends is set in that same universe, sans the titular giant robots.

Apex Legends brings the amazing graphics and on-foot vertical traversal gameplay from Titanfall into the battle royal world. Which means you get the same AAA graphics and pulse-pounding shooting for no money down. Just make sure your PC is up to it.

How to Stop Windows 10 from Saving JPGs as JFIFs

Windows10_2

If Windows 10 is saving your JPG files as JFIF files, here’s how to fix the problem.

Sometimes Windows 10 saves JPG files as JFIF files. It seems to happen most often when saving images in browsers but doesn’t seem to be limited to them. The cause of the issue is an incorrect file association in the registry which appeared after the Windows 10 Creators update.

What is a JFIF file anyway? It’s the JPEG File Interchange Format. It seems to have been around since the early 1990’s, which proves once again there’s always something new to learn about computers … Read More

How to Troubleshoot Common Printer Problems in Windows 10

One of the joys of using Windows 10 is that, unlike older Windows editions, it’s pretty capable of taking care of installing any extra peripherals like your printer. If you do run into a printer problem setting it up on Windows 10, there are some easy fixes.

Most of the time, you can take care of a Windows 10 printer setup problem by following some fairly standard steps, like double-checking cables or connectivity. Installing drivers is a must, but if all else fails, you can run the Windows Troubleshooter to try and fix the most common printer setup problems for Windows 10 printers.

Check For Missing Cables Or Wireless Connectivity

It might seem fairly straightforward, but one of the most common printer setup problems on Windows is a lack of connectivity between the printer and your PC.

For wired printers, that means a cable that isn’t quite plugged in at either end. Modern printers use USB or ethernet, so double-check that your supplied printer cable has a snug fit at both ends. Troubleshooting wireless printers can be trickier, however.

Wireless printers, like most WiFi devices, will need to be connected to your own wireless network before other devices can print to it. Check your printer documentation further for guided steps on how to do this, but in many cases, there should be a WPS button on both your printer and your network router.

Depending on your printer model and manufacturer, this device may be listed as WPS or has a generic label like WiFi. By pressing this button on both devices, your printer should automatically connect to your wireless network. If it doesn’t work the first time, make an additional attempt.

From there, your device should be detected by Windows, as long as your Windows PC or laptop is connected to the same network. If the WPS method doesn’t work, you may need to look at connecting your printer to your PC using USB first and configuring the wireless configuration manually.

Install Missing Printer Drivers

Printers are a common peripheral for Windows 10 PCs. With that in mind, Microsoft has a vast catalog of printer drivers already available for download and installation when a new printer is connected.

In most cases, you shouldn’t need to do anything to install a printer driver, as Windows should do this for you. That isn’t always the case, however. Microsoft may lack the drivers for new or uncommon printer models, or it may just fail to install automatically. 

  • First, use Windows to search online for relevant driver software. To do this, right-click your Windows Start menu button and click Settings
  • From here, click Devices > Printers & Scanners.  
  • At the top, click Add a printer or scanner.
  • Wait for Windows to scan your device for the printer. If Windows detects it, click on it when it appears in the search list. If it can’t locate your printer, click The printer that I want isn’t listed instead.
  • In the Add Printer wizard, choose the relevant option for your device. If it’s a wireless printer, select Add a Bluetooth, wireless or network discoverable printer and click Next to continue. 
  • Select My printer is a little older if your printer is older (for instance, if it doesn’t use USB).
  • Follow the on-screen instructions for your type of printer to begin the installation. You can also use the Windows Device Manager to locate or update your drivers. To do that, right-click your Windows Start menu button and click Device Manager
  • In Device Manager, look for the Printers category. If you can’t see your printer listed here, click View > Show hidden devices or look for your device under Other devices instead.
  • Right-click on your device and click Update driver
  • Click Search automatically for updated driver software in the window that appears afterward.
  • Windows will search online for relevant drivers for your printer and, if found, install them automatically. If Windows can’t find your printer, you’ll need to locate and install the missing printer drivers yourself.

    Look for your printer model in the downloads or support sections of your manufacturer’s website, and download the latest driver package for your device.

  • Once you have the latest drivers for your printer, you can then return to Device Manager, right-click on your device, then click Update driver > Browse my computer for driver software instead. Alternatively, your manufacturer may provide an installer to install your drivers for you automatically.

Set As Default Printer

If you have multiple printers installed, you may have some issues when you come to print a document. Setting your new printer as the default Windows printer can fix these issues, preventing you from accidentally sending printed documents to the wrong printer.

  • To set your printer as the default Windows printer, right-click your Windows Start menu button and click Settings
  • In Settings, click Devices > Printers & Scanners. You’ll need to uncheck the Allow Windows to manage my default printer checkbox, or you won’t be able to set a default printer yourself.
  • Once this setting has been disabled, click on your printer and click Manage.
  • In your printer management settings, click Set as default to make it the default Windows printer.

If your printer configuration is correct, you should be able to begin printing from this printer. This will be the default option whenever you choose to print.

Run The Windows 10 Troubleshooter

If your printer still doesn’t work after following these steps, running the Windows 10 Troubleshooter could resolve the printer problem. This checks your printer configuration and guides you through some additional steps to get your printer up and running.

  • To launch the Windows 10 Troubleshooter for your printer, right-click your Windows Start menu. 
  • Click Settings, then Update & Security > Troubleshoot. 
  • In the Troubleshoot section, under Get up and running, click Printer
  • Click Run the troubleshooter to begin.
  • You’ll need to select your printer from the list provided. Select the relevant printer, or select My printer is not listed, then click Next to proceed.

Windows will then begin searching through your printer configuration and any relevant Windows settings to search for conflicts. If any printer problems are detected, Windows will ask you for permission to apply the relevant fix to get your printer working.

Resolving Your Windows 10 Printer Problems

These tips aren’t exhaustive, but these instructions should help you resolve some of the more common setup problems that Windows 10 printers sometimes throw up for users.

If you still face issues setting up and using your printer, try removing your printer or reinstalling the printer driver as your next step before contacting your manufacturer’s customer support team.

How to log clipboard entries on Windows 10

Clipboard entries generally do not need to be logged. In fact, apps that log them are usually malicious in nature. That said, if you do need to log your clipboard entries to a text file, the easiest way to do it is with ClipLogger. ClipLogger can maintain a log of all text that’s copied to your clipboard. Since it is a text-based log, any file that you copy to the clipboard is included as a file path. Here’s how it works.

Log clipboard entries

Download ClipLogger and run it. The app doesn’t need to be installed. By default, it will log both text and files but you have the option to log just the text or just the files. The app doesn’t save the entries to a text file by default. To enable the feature, click the Settings button at the bottom left.

On the Settings window, enable the ‘Backup contents to file’ option. The app will create a new text file in the same folder that its EXE is in and it will write to it recursively. You can limit how many items are logged from the ‘Max logged length’ field.

Minimize the app to the system tray and it will work in the background. You can view your clipboard history in the app’s interface.

The log file is going to be simple; each entry will show what date and time text or a file was copied.

ClipLogger has an option in its settings to run the app at startup and while it may be useful, we strongly discourage users from enabling it. If you’re going to maintain a log of everything that is copied to your clipboard, you should be aware that you’re doing it. To have a clipboard logging app run at startup without you consciously running it might make you forget you have it running and cause problems later.

On that note, we have to caution you about what items you copy to your clipboard. If you copy sensitive information to your clipboard, it’s a good idea to have a way to scrub it immediately. There’s an app that can periodically clear the clipboard on Windows 10 that you should consider using with ClipLogger if you tend to copy sensitive information often. The two will work perfectly together because ClipLogger does not log an item to the clipboard until a new item has been copied to it. This means that if the item is scrubbed clean before a new one is copied, it likely will not be included in the log.

Read How to log clipboard entries on Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to send emails as attachments in Gmail

Gmail is rolling out a new feature for G Suite users; the ability to send multiple emails as attachments in an email. This new feature will not roll out to ordinary Gmail users but the new feature is actually just an improved, more convenient way to send multiple emails as attachments. User have long been able to do this, regardless if they’re G Suite users or Gmail users. If you’re looking to send emails as attachments in Gmail, here’s what you need to do.

Send emails as attachments in Gmail

To attach an email in another email, you need to first download it. This is something that you can easily do from inside Gmail. Open the email that you want to attach. Click the more options button (three dots), and from the menu, select ‘Download message’.

A file will download to your local drive with the same name as the email subject and the EML file extension. It will include everything in the email, including all attachments. If you want to preview it before you send it, you can open it in Mail on Windows 10, and the Mail app on macOS, or any other desktop email client that you have.

Download all the emails that you want to attach to your message. Open a new compose message window, click the attachment icon, and select the EML files like you would any other file from your local disk. Click Send after you’ve composed your message, or schedule when you want to send the email.

When your recipient receives the message, the images in it may be blocked as a safety measure but unblocking them is as simple as clicking an option to do so. The message will look exactly the way it did when it arrived in your inbox, timestamps and all.

The new feature that’s being added in G Suite makes it so that users do not have to download an email first. It allows them to select the emails that they want to attach and attach them from the more options menu. The new feature is basically a more convenient way to attach emails. The functionality has been there for ages. It’s possible the feature might inspire someone to develop an extension to do the job for ordinary Gmail users.

You should know that the EML file that you download from Gmail can also be attached to emails sent from other email services and even from desktop email clients. EML is an email file format and most, if not all, email apps support it.

Read How to send emails as attachments in Gmail by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter