Today’s post is just another on Windows apps. We’ve already completed several free apps that you’ve never heard of. We’ve created free software that you’ll actually use.
However, this time we’re going to cover 15 essential Windows programs that every computer should have, and hopefully, you already have the majority of these.
Thus, you’ve probably seen me mention all of these before, but never all at once, so if you’re not already using some of these, you’ll have some fun new apps to acquire.
And if you already possess all of these, congratulations; you must be a computer whiz. Now, let’s have a look at these programs, which have been organized by genre to make things easier.
1. VLC Media Player and Media Player Classic
I’d prefer VLC Media Player and Media Player Classic in this case. Both of these video players, particularly VLC, are capable of playing virtually any sort of video or audio file.
You could probably get away with using only VLC, but I prefer Media Player Classic. because I’ve discovered that it can occasionally handle larger video files better. Additionally, VLC occasionally renders video with an odd washed-out look for no apparent reason, but I’ve never encountered this issue with MPC.
Thus, I’d consider both of these to be absolutely necessary on any computer.
Let us discuss productivity. I’m going to avoid discussing office suite products such as Microsoft Office because they’re just too self-evident.
Rather than that, one program that I’d consider important in this case is Notepad++. It’s essentially Windows Notepad on steroids. Not only can you use it for basic note taking, but it also supports almost every coding language, which means that if you ever need to open a source code file or a markup language file such as XML, it will display it properly formatted with color coding and everything. It would take an entire day to go over all of the features.
yet, you can definitely notice how much more possibilities it has over a standard notepad. It even supports the installation of plugins, which means that there is almost no limit to what it can achieve.
It essentially generates a folder on your computer that is automatically synchronized to the cloud, and then allows you to sync the folder to all of your other machines. It’s certainly one of my favorite applications, not only because it’s simple to have access to everything I store on it, but also because it acts as an excellent backup.
They do offer a free tier with 2GB of storage, which is sufficient for keeping a large number of documents and other items, as well as a subscription tier with 2 Terabytes of storage for $10 per month.
Therefore, if you have any vital files that you cannot afford to lose, such as tax return files or anything similar, it may be prudent to at the very least download the free version and store all of your critical information there. And then you have access to it and can rest assured that it is secure.
However, backup is critical in general. There is one service that I would recommend and use called Backblaze, but it is not free. It’s $60 per year and completely automates limitless internet backup. And it is truly unlimited; I have several terabytes of data backed up due to the number of drives on my computer.
Backups are critical, and if you’re not currently backing up your data in some form, whether it’s an external drive or another online backup service, you’d better get started. Because all hard drives fail, storing all of your important data in a single location is a recipe for disaster.
It essentially dims and colours your computer screen orange at night, which should significantly lessen any sleep interruption caused by your computer. This is because our brains link blue wavelengths of light with daytime, and hence staring at a bright screen can significantly disturb the time of day when you would normally go asleep.
You can adjust the strength of the effect, and I generally use the strongest settings, which may seem strange at first, but I can virtually guarantee you’ll grow accustomed to it and wonder how you ever survived without it.
It is essentially the finest lightweight torrent client available at the moment. Previously, there was uTorrent or “micro-torrent,” but that was supposedly acquired and clogged with advertisements, so this is the new best option.
I don’t download torrents as frequently as I used to, but when I do, this is what I use. And, of course, you should never use it for piracy or illegally downloading copyrighted content, but I’m sure none of you would.
7. 7-Zip or WinRAR
Now, moving on to the file compression category, there are basically only two alternatives. Either 7-Zip or the venerable WinRAR will suffice. Both of these are excellent, albeit I prefer WinRAR. They both support all common compressed file containers, such as rar files, zip files, and 7z files, as well as their creation and extraction.
While 7-Zip is completely free, as you are surely aware, while WinRAR is technically merely a free trial, it allows you to continue using it indefinitely after the ‘trial’ period expires. Obviously, if you enjoy WinRAR, you should purchase a license to support it, and yes, I did purchase WinRAR. I understand; you probably believed that was impossible.
However, either of them is quite essential due to the widespread use of compressed file containers, and they’re both excellent apps.
Discord is the most popular voice and text chat tool available today, so it’s a must-have. You basically build a free server, which all your friends can join and use for various voice chatting, link sharing, and anything else is possible in the text chat.
It’s fairly self-explanatory, but it does enable a slew of additional functionality on larger servers, such as user roles and permissions, bots, and everything else you can think of.
As I’m sure everyone is aware, Steam is. I mean, I’m not sure I need to explain this one, but it is necessary, so I had to include it. These days, other other game publishers are attempting to establish their own game storefronts, such as the Epic Games Store, EA’s Origin, and Blizzard’s Battle.net.
However, I believe we can all agree that those are all worthless and that we despise when they include exclusive releases, considering the majority of us probably have all of our games on Steam.
10. OBS Studio
This is most frequently used for live streaming games you’re playing, but as far as I’m aware, only a small percentage of people really do this. The true reason I’d consider this vital is since it’s handy for more than just streaming games.
It’s really versatile and allows you to perform things like screen recording while also displaying a webcam, which is ideal for creating educational movies or presentations. Additionally, it provides for a great deal of customisation, such as the addition of photos, video sources, and screen capture sources to the recording.
Now, I would add that it has a quite steep learning curve to fully exploit it, so if you don’t even understand what “bit rate” means, you might want to look for a simpler choice. Nonetheless, it’s a robust free program with a plethora of applications.
11. O&O ShutUp10
It essentially allows you to resolve all of Windows 10’s annoyances in one location. You may be aware that many people dislike Windows 10 due to privacy issues, but ShutUp10 provides a comprehensive list of toggles that let you to disable pretty much whatever you’d ever want in terms of privacy within Windows 10.
Thus, there is a list of features that are suggested to disable and those that you may want to consider disabling because they may be a beneficial function that you truly want to maintain. I’ll add a pop-up to the video I made that goes into greater detail if you want to check it out.
which, as the name implies, makes it incredibly simple to share anything with friends or anyone, whether it’s a screenshot, a file, or some words. As you can see, right-clicking on the taskbar icon brings up a massive menu of capabilities, the majority of which I never use.
However, one feature that I particularly enjoy is the option to snap a screenshot, which promptly uploads it to the service of your choice and adds the link to your clipboard. Thus, I’ve connected it to push, but you could also connect it to your Imgur or other account, for example. You may also right-click any file, as long as it is less than a specified size, and it will perform the same function with the file alone, allowing you to share it with friends via the link.
Additionally, a slew of other random tools are built-in, including a color picker, ruler, and QR code tool. Thus, it is unquestionably valuable, and I constantly install it.
13. Windows Defender
However, if you know what you’re doing, the built-in Windows defender should suffice. However, you can discover free versions of a large number of commercial antivirus programs. With regards to commercial antivirus, this will almost certainly provide you with additional protection, but at a cost.
Nowadays, there is no such thing as a ‘best antivirus,’ and even if there were, it would change almost annually, so if you want a paid antivirus, I’d just recommend visiting AV-Test and seeing whose antivirus tested the best most recently.
However, they all appear to perform equally at the moment, so choose whichever one you want.
14. Web browsers
Finally, we’ll discuss web browsers. And, realistically, you have two choices. Either a Chromium-based or Mozilla Firefox-based browser. Google Chrome, Brave Browser, and even Microsoft are developing a Chromium-based version of their Edge browser.
Because all of these chromium browsers are based on the same underlying code, they should behave similarly and support chrome extensions equally. Of course, the other major challenger is Firefox, more precisely Firefox Quantum, which is essentially a redesigned version that was released recently.
Thus, until Microsoft makes their cutting-edge Chromium browser the Windows default, I’d still consider it critical to upgrade to a better browser, if only for the plugins.
Therefore, if you possess all of the programs discussed above, congrats; you may now legally refer to yourself as a qualified computer expert; make sure to post a comment indicating this.