When you want to download a new desktop program, your first instinct is probably to look for a free option. And while that’s great in a lot of cases, there’s some software that’s worth paying for.
Let’s take a look at the best paid software for your Windows PC. We’ll focus on generally applicable apps that offer most users something worthwhile for their money.
If there’s one kind of paid software that’s worth the cost, it’s a backup tool. Without a backup of your computer, years’ worth of photos, documents, and other data could disappear in an instant.
While Windows has a solid local backup option built-in, that doesn’t protect your backup drive from physical damage, such as a fire or theft. A cloud backup service like Backblaze is thus an essential part of your setup.
For a flat fee, you can back up as much data as you want from one computer. Backups run automatically and you can exclude certain folders if you like. It’s easy to restore one file or your entire backup when needed.
Backblaze offers a great “set and forget” backup solution for those who need data protection but don’t want to worry about setting it all up manually.
Download: Backblaze ($6/month or $60/year, free trial available)
Tabbed browsing is so convenient that you might wish other apps on your computer had the feature too. That’s where Groupy comes in—it’s a straightforward Windows utility that brings tab grouping to all apps.
Simply drag one app window on top of another to group them together. This lets you, for instance, keep tabs from multiple apps together when you’re using them to work on one task. You can save tab groups to easily reopen later, as well as setting Groupy to always group multiple instances of certain apps together.
If you love tabs, this is a few dollars well spent. It’s a great way to organize the dozens of app windows you have floating around—in particular, the tabs in File Explorer are much appreciated.
Download: Groupy ($4.99, free trial available)
3. Microsoft 365
We’ve previously discussed how you might not need Microsoft Office, thanks to the wealth of free alternatives like LibreOffice and Office Online. And while that does hold true for many people, Microsoft 365 is worth paying for if you fall into the right use case.
Microsoft 365 Family costs $100 per year and includes full Office access for up to six people. As a bonus, it also includes 1TB of OneDrive storage per user, plus 60 minutes of Skype calling per month.
Considering that many cloud storage providers charge $10/month for 2TB of cloud storage, getting 1TB of cloud storage each for six people at $100/year is a great value. Plus, if everyone uses Office on at least one computer and their mobile device, you’re getting a lot for the money. This is especially the case when you consider that Microsoft 365 Personal is $70/year for just one person.
We’ve compared the value of Microsoft 365 and standalone Office 2019 if you’re interested in more info.
Buy: Microsoft 365 ($99.99/year for Family or $69.99/year for Personal)
If you work with multiple monitors, you’ve probably noticed that Windows doesn’t do a whole lot to let you customize them. DisplayFusion adds a ton of functionality in this area, making it well worth the cost if you want to optimize your screen real estate.
Features include customization options like multiple wallpaper profiles, allowing you to create “mini monitors” on each display, dimming inactive monitors, and even scripting that lets you run actions based on triggers. While there’s a limited free version, the Pro licenses start at a one-time $29 purchase for a single computer.
Download: DisplayFusion (from $29, free trial available)
5. A Paid VPN
We’ve spoken before about how a VPN is a great tool for enhancing your online privacy, accessing content from other regions, and browsing securely on open networks.
Why pay for individual song and album downloads when you can have it all with one subscription? Spotify charges $10 per month (less per person with the Family, Duo, or Student plans) for unlimited access to millions of songs.
With Spotify Premium, you get high-quality music streams, the ability to save music offline on your device, and no ads. It’s a huge value if you listen to music all the time on your computer, so give it a look if you don’t already use another streaming service like Apple Music.
Plus, one Spotify subscription is good on all your devices—not just Windows.
Download: Spotify (Free, subscription available)
Chances are that you type the same snippets of text multiple times per day. How many times have you entered your home address, email address, or a canned email into a text field this week?
Text expansion is a huge productivity booster that’s worth the cost, and Breevy is a great choice for it. The app lets you set up shortcuts (such as “@@”) that let you expand to a larger block of text (like your email address). This saves you a ton of time—you won’t have to worry about repetitive blocks of text taking up your time anymore.
Breevy offers more than just text expansion, including thousands of autocorrect entries, folder organization for expansions, dynamic input, and much more. Give the trial a spin and you’ll wonder how you lived without it.
Download: Breevy ($34.95, free trial available)
8. Malwarebytes Premium
For most people, Windows Defender does a good enough job of protecting your PC. But if you’re looking for extra layers of protection, then Malwarebytes Premium is a great second line of defense.
In addition to the trusted on-demand scanning of the free version, Malwarebytes Premium includes always-on shields, ransomware protection, scheduled scans, and more. If you want to pay for a security tool, this is one to consider. You can also opt for the five-device plan to protect additional computers.
See our overview of Malwarebytes Premium for info if you’re considering upgrading.
Download: Malwarebytes (Free, from $39.99/year for Premium)
9. A Password Manager
We’ve talked before about how everyone should use a password manager to generate secure passwords and keep them safe. While some password managers are available for free, there are many paid password managers that are worth the few dollars per month.
For example, 1Password provides a smoother interface than some free options, like LastPass. It also has handy features like the Watchtower (which alerts you to password breaches) and Travel mode, which lets you remove some passwords from your device when crossing country borders.
Bitwarden’s great free option has everything you need, but for just $10/year, you can get some extra features like secure file storage and emergency access. You don’t have to pay for them, but a bit of cash on a premium password manager is well-spent. Plus, supporting these important services helps keep them running.
Have a look at our comparison of password managers to find the right one for you.
While it’s one of the most expensive apps on the list, Grammarly is worthwhile for anyone who writes on their computer a lot. Whether you want to improve your papers for school or have a second set of eyes while you blog or work on a novel, it’s a huge help.
Grammarly has a free plan, but Premium unlocks much more writing help, including vocabulary options. If you’d benefit from stronger writing, give it a look.
Download: Grammarly (Free, from $11.66/month for Premium)
The Best Paid Software for Windows 10
This is just a sample of the best paid software for Windows that’s worth your time. There are many other apps worth checking out, such as screen recorders, screenshot tools, and creative apps. But what’s worth buying in those categories depends on your individual needs, while we tried to focus on broadly applicable apps here.
Meanwhile, make sure you always download your Windows software from reputable websites.
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