5 best free Windows 8.1 apps to download now

Do more on your PC, for free

Windows 10 may well be just around the corner but until that time comes, Windows 8.1 users will still need apps to be more productive and efficient, or just for having fun.

Here's our choice of the best five free apps you can download today for your Windows 8.1 PC or laptop.

1. Facebook

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Sure you can visit the social networking site using a browser, but the Facebook app gives you the mobile experience on a desktop. It features the toolbar on the left to access things such as your profile, events, groups you are in and photos as well as much more besides.

The toolbar on the right lists group chats, top friends and everyone else you know on the social network.

On the start screen, the app shows updates on live tiles so you can keep up with friends without having the app open.

Download Facebook here

2. TV Catchup

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This app enables you to watch all your TV on your laptop as well as catchup TV services. In addition to the main five UK terrestrial channels, there are also a handful of digital TV channels such as Al Jazeera, CCTV and Quest.

The app incorporates many Windows 8.1 features such as snapped view. Personal channel lists can be made by pinning channel tiles to the Start page from the app.

There is an interactive TV guide to see what's on now and next.

Download TV Catchup here

3. Netflix

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The Netflix app is one of the best apps to have running on your Windows 8.1 device. As long as you have a subscription and a working connection, this app enables you to instantly watch thousands of TV episodes and movies.

Each title can be seen as a DVD-shaped icon and you can swipe to the left and right to see what's on offer. A search bar helps you to drill down to find the programme you want to watch.

The app also allows users to rate TV shows and films so that Netflix gets to understand your likes and dislikes, helping it to suggest other things you may wish to watch.

Download Netflix here

4. Microsoft Solitaire Collection

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Windows would not be complete without Solitaire (or Patience as we call it in the UK). This official version of the app brings the game bang up to date with better graphics as well as other variations to keep you occupied. These include Klondike, Spider, FreeCell, Pyramid and TriPeaks.

Achievements can be added to your Xbox Gamertag so you can show off to all your gamer buddies on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Download Microsoft Solitaire Collection here

5. Kindle

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This Windows 8.1 app brings all your books in your Amazon Kindle collection to your PC or laptop. As well as that, the app offers access to over one million books in the Kindle Store that you can buy from within the app.

It can be set up to sync with other devices you have, so that the book you were reading on one device can be picked up where you left off on another.

Kindle books can also be pinned to the start screen for instant access.

Download Kindle here

Read more: Why Windows 10 will make you dump your Mac