Software is the backbone of any computer installation. Whether you’ve just purchased a new PC or prepare a custom PC, the first thing you’ll do is likely install all sorts of useful programs. While there are dozens of amazing Windows Apps or programs, knowing which tools are essential makes setting up a new installation easy.
The Best Windows Software
In no particular order, let’s step through Windows apps everyone should install right away, along with alternatives for each category.
1. Internet Browser: Google Chrome
Our top pick in this category is Google Chrome. It’s still super-speedy, includes little conveniences like instantly searching Google for an image, and hosts a great library of extensions. Throw in cross-platform syncing that lets you open your desktop tabs on your phone and vice-versa, and you’ve got a fantastic browser for all purposes.
Meanwhile, Microsoft Edge doesn’t deserve a place as your default browser yet.
2. Cloud Storage: Dropbox
Once a novelty, storing information in “the cloud” has become an everyday occurrence. Dropbox is the cloud app you should install. The 2 GB of free storage isn’t much, though you can increase that by referring friends and other small tasks. Dropbox offers an app for every major device so you can take your files anywhere.
It’s also super easy to share files with others, and the service sports a great interface on the web and desktop. Whether you use it for backup, as a cloud flash drive, or for setting up shared folders with others, you can’t go wrong with Dropbox.
You can take advantage of alternative cloud services in conjunction with Dropbox to get more free space and separate your files. Google Drive offers an impressive 15 GB for free, and you can upgrade to 100 GB for only $2 per month. OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud software, comes installed on Windows 8 and 10, and while Microsoft cut the free storage significantly, OneDrive remains a solid choice, too. Whichever you choose, make sure you read our tips on using cloud storage creatively or in ways you might not have thought of.
3. Music Streaming: Spotify
Years ago, listening to music on your desktop meant painstakingly importing and organizing a collection of MP3s. No longer; music streaming services eliminate the need for buying individual albums physically or digitally.
There are several music streaming services in the market, but we recommend Spotify. Its ad-supported free plan lets you listen to as much music as you like, and the $10 Premium upgrade is definitely worth it for avid listeners. Spotify also has a dedicated Windows app (and a great web app), while Apple Music requires the bloated iTunes and Google Play Music is web-only.
4. Office Suite:
Chances are, you’ll need a tool that lets you work with documents, spreadsheets, and presentations at some point. Microsoft will let you run custom apps from Office ribbons.
Suite of products developed by Microsoft Corporation that includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, Publisher, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Each program serves a different purpose and is compatible with other programs included in the package. The suite of programs is compatible with both the Windows and Macintosh operating system.
Using Microsoft office can allow your business to keep everything filed in a neat and orderly fashion to speed things up.
Office is produced in several versions targeted towards different end-users and computing environments. The original, and most widely used version, is the desktop version, available for PCs running the Windows and macOS operating systems. The most current desktop version is Office 2016 for Windows and macOS, released on 22 September 2015 and 9 July 2015, respectively.
5. Image Editor:
Whether you want to try your hand at image manipulation, need a way to blur sensitive info from photos, or want to recolor/retouch old photos, everyone should have an image editing program installed. You probably think of Photoshop as the gold standard for this, but there are free tools that are exist in Windows and MS Office Suite ie MS Paint of Windows and Microsoft Office Picture Manager of MS Office Suite.
6. Security: Panda Free Antivirus
While you can take steps to protect your PC without an antivirus program, it’s smart to keep one installed. There’s plenty of debate about which antivirus is the best, and no tool is perfect. However, some rise above the rest.
For most users, we recommend Panda Free Antivirus. It’s a cloud-based solution, so it doesn’t bog down your system resources. Setup is quick and easy, and if you want to set up scheduled scans or exceptions, you can. People who just want a set-and-forget solution, though, won’t even have to touch Panda once it’s set up.
After you’ve installed it, take a minute to disable the promotional ads. You can do this by opening the app, clicking the three-bar menu at the top-right, and choosing Settings. Under the General tab, scroll down and uncheck Show Panda news, and you won’t hear from Panda unless there’s a problem.
Windows Defender got a big boost in Windows 10, so it’s worth a try if you don’t like any other options. Windows Defender is malware protection that is included with and built into Windows 8 & 10. This software helps identify and remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.
4 Reasons to Use Windows Defender in Windows 10
- It’s Built Into the OS
- It’s Free Without Nag Screens
- It’s Complete With Advanced Features
- It’s On-Par With Other Options
In the past, Windows Defender was overshadowed by other options, but now it’s quite a contender.
Further, in this category, we recommend a blended solution. In addition to your normal antivirus app, you should keep a copy of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free installed for occasional deep scans.
7. Media Player:
With YouTube’s popularity, you probably do most of your video viewing in a web browser. However, you should still keep a solid player around on your desktop for when you need to play media files locally.
For this task, nothing beats VLC Media Player. It’s the Swiss Army Knife of media players, capable of playing nearly every format imaginable. Whether you need to play videos recorded on your ancient cell phone or in some weird format you’ve never heard of before, VLC will get the job done. It’s also capable of playing audio, along with all sorts of other tricks.
The K-Lite Codec Pack is a collection of audio and video codecs for Microsoft Windows that enables an operating system and its software to play various audio and video formats generally not supported by the operating system itself. The K-Lite Codec Pack also includes several related tools, including Media Player Classic Home Cinema (MPC-HC), Media Info Lite, and Codec Tweak Tool.
The K-Lite Codec Pack is designed as a user-friendly solution for playing all your audio and movie files. With the K-Lite Codec Pack you should be able to play all the popular audio and video formats and even several less common formats.
8. Backup: CrashPlan
Backup software falls into one of two basic categories; imaging or file based. If you want to secure a computer that it can be entirely rebuilt, with the OS and applications all installed, then you’ll need an imaging tool.
Alternatively, if all that concerns you is the data then a backup facility that targets and files you create or modify is the perfect weapon of choice.
Your data is fragile – it only takes one small accident to lose everything. The more backups you make, the better. Here we present the best free backup software for Windows.
EaseUS Todo Backup Free
EaseUS Todo Backup Free is (as you may have guessed) a free backup service that offers step-by-step instructions to help you quickly and easily backup and recover your files.
You’ll be able to carry out a full system backup, or file-level backup if you’d prefer. There are also options that allow you to secure only changes made since the last backup to save time and space, and there’s a back-up scheduler that can be tailored to suit you.
You won’t get cloud storage space included in the free version of EaseUS Todo Backup, but you can backup to CD/DVD, local hard drive, external drive, iSCSI device or network destination, or a combination of theses.
9. Messaging: Franz
Chances are that you use at least one messaging service to stay in touch with your friends during the day. With so many options to choose from, there’s no way we could pick the best messaging service, because it all depends on what your friends use. So, why not pick all of them?
Franz is our pick for the best messaging app on Windows. It lets you add accounts from dozens of popular messaging services, including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Telegram, GroupMe, Hangouts, Discord, and many more.
Franz simply adds a new tab for every service you use, letting you keep up with every group in one window. It’s easier on battery than using browser windows for these apps, and you can close it when it’s time to focus___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ www.makecustompc.com participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which is an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for websites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.