What free computer software would you recommend

The best software tools for 2021

Roland Freest

At the beginning of the New Year you should clean up your computer, throw out what you don't need and try new tools. PC-WELT recommends this basic configuration for your computer for the year 2021.

EnlargeThis software should not be missing on your PC in 2021.

Which programs a user needs changes every year, depending on technical innovations and a changing malware landscape. What was an absolute must yesterday may already be superfluous tomorrow and can be cleaned from the disk - just think of defragmentation tools, which are not only unnecessary, but even harmful for SSDs, or programs for compressing hard disk space that are have now survived thanks to ever larger and cheaper storage media.

In this guide, we present a number of applications that you will probably need in the coming year. This includes special protection programs against ransomware attacks as well as password managers or tools for searching for duplicates. The vast majority of them are free, with only a few programs requiring payment.

Against ransomware

Ransomware is software that criminal hackers use to encrypt PCs. They then demand a ransom for the release of the decryption code. These types of attacks will remain one of the biggest threats to home and business users in 2021. You can protect yourself, however. Almost every antivirus tool these days has a feature that looks for suspicious activity typical of ransomware. In addition, there are a number of recommended special programs.

EnlargeThe free anti-ransomware tool from Kaspersky offers few features and focuses entirely on preventing ransomware. It is therefore primarily suitable as a supplement to other antivirus programs.


Tool The free anti-ransomware Tool for Home from Kaspersky monitors and analyzes the data traffic to and from your PC and all shared folders using a cloud-based database. In this way, ransomware is to be blocked as soon as it penetrates the computer. It is not possible to decrypt an already infected computer with the tool. It is primarily suitable as a supplement to another antivirus program, for example as an additional protective function for Windows Defender, whose anti-ransomware function is very simple.

EnlargeCryptosearch searches for encrypted files on the hard drive and compiles them in a list for archiving.


Cryptosearch has only one task: to search for files that have been encrypted by ransomware. The tool compiles a corresponding list so that you can archive the files on an external medium. As soon as a decryption algorithm has been found, you can use it to make the files readable again. Cryptosearch is then not suitable for this.

See also:Antivirus software for Windows 10 tested

Banking on the PC

In times of zero or even negative interest rates, it is worthwhile to look out for banks that pay at least a small amount of interest on the saved money and switch more frequently. So that you don't have to get used to new banking websites all the time, get yourself online banking software.


Most online banking applications are chargeable. Not so Hibiscus: The open source program developed by a German company is freely available. It runs as a plug-in on the Jameica platform provided by the same developer and is programmed in Java. Hibiscus follows the German HBCI standard and thus supports all banks that provide this interface. It offers authentication via key file, chip card reader and PIN / TAN procedure.

EnlargeBanking 4 offers a clearly structured interface that is based on the "Settings" of Windows 10. Accordingly, you can quickly find your way around the program and can soon start the first account query.

Banking 4

While Hibiscus requires some training, you can find your way around German-speaking Banking 4 immediately. To do this, however, this software must be licensed after a test period of 30 days. However, the price of around 30 euros is reasonable. The program supports the HBCI, HBCI + and FinTS standards and encrypts the user's data with 256-bit AES. Banking 4 manages several accounts, combines the data in a financial overview, saves recipient lists, recurring payments and TAN codes and provides the sales data for any period of time. Versions for Android and iOS are also available for around 10 euros.

Data security

Logging in to websites and online services with a user name and password is becoming more and more of a security risk. In recent years, numerous thefts of user data from financial service providers, online retailers and other companies have become known, where the criminals have stolen thousands of access data. Often these lists later appeared on the Internet and were used by other hackers for attacks. Therefore you should protect yourself additionally. It is important that you use a separate password for each account. Keep the three golden rules in mind:

  1. The password should be at least twelve characters long. The longer the better.

  2. It should consist of a combination of lower and upper case letters, digits and special characters.

  3. The password must not be found in the Duden or any other work.

Since no one can remember multiple passwords of this type, you need tools. The simplest method is still the best: Make a note of your passwords on a piece of paper that you can store securely, for example in a lockable drawer, or that you can hide in a bookshelf, for example. Otherwise, password managers are a good choice. These programs store your access data in a securely encrypted safe, which in most cases is made available online. In this way, he can be reached from any computer or smartphone. This safe is protected by a master password, which is also encrypted and only known to the user. In addition, every password manager offers a practical function for generating secure passwords using a random generator. Most password managers have to be licensed for a fee, but there are exceptions.

EnlargeLastpass is available as an add-on for all major browsers. The password manager is a pure online service that can be used from any computer with internet access.

Lastpass Free