15 Essential Programs for Windows
Whether you’re a gamer, an enthusiast, a professional, a creator, or a casual, there are a ton of Windows applications out there to improve your usage. In this list, we give you the ones that we deem essential, and then some.
While each category of user has their programs specific to their own unique needs, these 15 free programs will be of good use to all of us.
1.) Google Chrome
If you are running Windows 10, then right out of the box, it will come with Microsoft Edge, the successor to the infamous Internet Explorer. However, you may want something else. Most of us have already gotten used to and loved Google Chrome over the years. It is a clean and fast browser that syncs your browsing data across all your devices, making for a seamless experience within the Google ecosystem. Not a fan? You can also try Firefox or Opera.
While not completely free, Malwarebytes is still a powerful security tool, even past its 14 day trial. Malwarebytes is a solid option for protection for malware and spyware, and even has a reputation for protecting against threats that other programs miss.
3.) PC Decrapifier
If you’re using a laptop, pre-built, or all-in-one, there is a handsome chance that your computer came with a bunch of bloatware. PC Decrapifier is the simple solution to clean up and remove all the bloatware that is effectively just slowing your system down.
Taking cleaning even further, CCleaner deletes unnecessary files, Windows Registry entries, duplicate files, and more, saving you some extra space.
5.) VLC Media Player
Look no further than VLC for playing the various forms of multimedia files, and even Audio CD’s and DVD’s. Compatibility wise, it is miles ahead of Microsoft’s proprietary Movies and TV application, supporting a wider range of video formats.
The world’s most popular music streaming app, the desktop version of Spotify is a very welcome addition to your suite of new software, especially if you are already using it on your other devices.
If music streaming isn’t your thing, or you still like to keep a personal digital music collection, MusicBee is a great music player. It’s simple, lightweight, customizable, and packed with all the features you’d need.
Whether you’re the techie friend who fixes your friends’ computers, or you’re the latter, TeamViewer could save you a fixing trip. It allows you to remotely connect and control another PC that is also running TeamViewer.
While Windows can create and open .ZIP archives, it does not have the ability to do the same with archives of .RAR and .7z formats. With 7-Zip, you can create, open, and even encrypt archives of many different formats.
10.) Sumatra PDF
Fast, light, and simple, Sumatra PDF is no less than a great alternative PDF reader to the clunky, and sometimes bothersome Adobe Reader.
While online office solutions like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, are becoming a better option nowadays, thanks to real-time online saving features, it is still nice to have an offline office suite. If your system didn’t come with Microsoft Office and you don’t want to shell out any cash, LibreOffice is a great feature-packed, 100% free alternative.
While most don’t need an image editing program as elaborate as Adobe Photoshop, image editors may still be relevant to less advanced users. Paint.NET is a light, but powerful and intuitive image editing program with support for layers, special effects, and a variety of tools. It manages to do these while being free.
Press the ‘PrtSc’ key, open Paint, press CTRL + V, save as JPEG. Sound all too familiar? ShareX makes taking screenshots easier, allowing you to capture one with a single keystroke. It can capture the entire screen, windows, or selected regions. Screenshots are saved locally, but can also be uploaded automatically to your image host of choice.
We mentioned Twilight for Android in our previous guide. F.lux functions in the same way, quietly sitting in your system tray. It adjusts the color temperature of your display at night to filter out the harsh blue light it emits, making it easier on the eyes.
15.) CPUID HWMonitor
This one is for the intermediate to advanced user, but is still a valuable tool. HWMonitor is a monitoring program that reads your computer’s vital statistics, the temperatures, voltages, and fan speeds.
If you took our advice and installed at least a few of these, your Windows PC is surely better optimized for performance, and you now have a few cool tools as well.
Did we miss anything? Be sure to leave a comment down below. We’d like to see the discussion continue.