How to Read QR Codes on Your PC
By on October 5th, 2010

[Windows Only]

If you are reading this, it’s likely that you already have some idea what a QR Code (or tag) is. If not, you can find out more about QR Codes on Wikipedia.

Clif's QR tag

Here’s my QR tag – what does it say?

Below, you can find out how to decode it.

People with smart phones and an internet connection, can take a snapshot of the code and find out what it says. I don’t have a smart phone, so I was feeling a little jealous every time I saw one of the tags posted somewhere. I decided to look for a way to decode these tags using my PC.

After many false turns, I finally found some freeware QR decoders that run on a PC. First I’ll tell you about bcTester, which allows you to decode QR tags in images and PDF files.

arrow-down-double-3 Download bcTester

After downloading, extract the file to a folder and run the setup file. Once installed, you’ll find the app in your Programs menu and you can launch it from there. Here’s what the main interface looks like.


You can open an image or PDF from the the Openicon (looks like a folder), or you can drag and drop images or PDFs onto it. Once you’ve got something to decode, you can hit the QR icon to decode it. There are several other tools to help if you run into a tag that doesn’t want to spill it’s secrets, and they offer plenty of help if you need it.

Next, I’ll show you bcWebCam. This application takes advantage of your webcam to grab images from the real world and decode the tags for you. You’ll need to install it after extracting the setup files from a zip, just like the bcTester app I mentioned above.

arrow-down-double-3 Download bcWebCam

When launched, it shows you a basic how-tofor capturing and decoding tags and bar codes.


I gave it a try and didn’t have much luck with it. That’s mainly because I didn’t have any good examples of codes or tags to take a picture of. I have no reason to doubt that it works like it’s supposed to, with a little practice.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

You won’t find many free applications like these. The bcTester app is a definite winner, because it’s simple to use and it works well. I’ll withhold an opinion on the bcWebCam at this time.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

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Author: Clif Sipe Google Profile for Clif Sipe
Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.

Clif Sipe has written and can be contacted at

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