Skip to main content

The best free video utilities for your Windows PC

Are you after a great selection of video utilities, none of which will trouble your bank balance one iota? That's exactly what we've got here, as luck would have it – a gathering of top notch software freebies for your Windows PC, and also a few of these are available for Mac and Linux, too.

So, without further ado, here are the utilities...

Avidemux (Windows, Mac, Linux)

This open source video editor is all about simple cuts with some visual effect filters. It can convert video from DVDs to your computer, and it can even write to DVDs with an add-on.

Blender (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Budding CGI animators of the world have free access to Blender, a magnificent tool to do full 3D modelling of characters and worlds. It even features an integrated game engine.

CamStudio (Windows)

Record everything happening on your screen, including the audio, to make an AVI or SWF video file that's easy to distribute.

DVDStyler (Windows)

Authoring DVDs involves more than just dumping some video on a disc. If you want menus and the whole experience, use DVDStyler.

Freemake Video Converter (Windows)

This isn't software for transcoding video as you watch it stream, but for taking actual video files and converting them to other formats, suitable for whatever you need – web uploads, mobile viewing, DVD/Blu-ray burning (the burner is built in) – you name it. There are even some editing features. Grab video directly from 50 sites, including YouTube, for conversion on the fly.

GOM Media Player / GOM Video Converter (Windows)

GOM Media Player is a very capable player that supports a number of codecs, picture adjustment settings, and will even screen capture what it's playing. The companion Video Converter is an easy-to-navigate tool for re-encoding video to formats that are more useful to you, particularly for mobile devices (though it leaves a digital watermark).

Hamster Free Video Converter (Windows)

Hamster 2.0 targets devices, not codecs, so you don't have to know what your iPod uses, just that the video is going to that device. Drag and drop video to work with it, even in batches.

Handbrake (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Handbrake is an open source video transcoder for all desktop platforms, perfect for pulling video off non-DRM discs and converting the videos to formats such as MP4 (M4V), MKV, MPEG-4, H.264, and many more.

iSpy (Windows)

This multi-lingual software from iSpyConnect works with any webcam connected to Windows, so you can embed the streaming video on your own website, or just monitor things over your network. It uses the VLC player for viewing.

Media Player Classic – Home Cinema (Windows)

There's no lack of video players out there, but MPC-HC (based on an older version called MPC) is a favourite. It's got all the support you could want, with a clean playback interface and remote control for use with Android devices.

SMRecorder (Windows)

When you need to show someone step-by-step instructions for software, take a screen recording of your desktop with SMRecorder. It'll grab what happens (even in just one region of the screen) and any audio that's playing to get your tutorial going.

Splash Lite (Windows)

This HD video player may not have all the codecs in existence, but it makes up for this by being a slick player and some fun extras.

VLC Media Player (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Some video players need codecs installed to play all your video files. VLC doesn't; it'll play just about every file type imaginable, plus DVDs and streaming media.

Windows Movie Maker (Windows)

This is one of the most user friendly programs available for creating good looking movies from videos and photos, and it also makes sharing your creations easy.

WinX DVD Ripper (Windows)

It's totally legal to back up your DVDs to your hard drive so you have a copy, it's just hard to do without the right software. WinX provides what you need, ripping DVDs to MP4, DVM, AVI, FLV, MOV, MPEG, and H.264 formats, and it can convert them to play on mobile devices.