Sometimes, you get what you pay for. Outfitting your computer with useful software doesn’t have to cost a dime, as our roundup of the best free software for your PC proves. But paying up for programs often gets you perks you won’t find with freeware, from smoother interfaces to more plentiful features, or even customer support if you need help. Some of the most useful software is available only in premium form.

Freebies tend to get the headlines, but today, let’s shine a light on some programs and services that are actually worth paying for, drawing on both our extensive testing archives and a few personal picks. Break out your wallet, you won’t regret it.


Before we dive into better-known categories, I want to recommend a program that’s completely changed the way I work and play: Stardock’s Groupy, which costs $5, or comes as part of Stardock’s $30 Object Desktop Suite.

Groupy lets you group your various open windows and programs in a single window, essentially treating them like browser tabs. That makes it easy-peasy to manage the far-flung files associated with a given project. I like to have a singled Groupy’d window open with my most-used work programs—Slack, Chrome, Outlook, etc—as well as windows dedicated to

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