13 Apps You Must Have Installed on Your Windows Computer

App stores have apps screaming for your attention, many claiming to be essential. Though some are necessary, others are might be ad-supported, heavy or even malicious. In this article we’ll cover the essentials ones you need to install on your windows machine.

Additionally, we’ll only list the free ones so you don’t have to spend a dime for these. So let’s get started,

1. File Extractor/Compressor: 7Zip

A file Extractor/Compressor saves disk space and increases data copying speed. It does so by taking a bunch of files or a single file and turns it into a compressed package with a extension of zip, rar, gzip or tar.

The good thing about 7Zip is that it is comparable in performance to Winrar or Winzip, but it is open source and free.

2. Media player: VLC

VLC is an absolute winner when it comes to media player software. For one, it can play almost all types of audio and video files, something most other players struggle with. You’ll also love it for being supported by all types of operating systems – Mac, Linux and Windows.

With VLC, you don’t need to download additional codecs so that some file formats play smoothly on it. What will thrill every user, novice and seasoned, are the extra bit of features that come along with it. For instance, did you know that VLC can also play YouTube videos? Or convert videos between different formats?

3. Photo editor: Irfanview/GIMP

There are two excellent photo editing tools available–for basic editing, there’s Irfanview and for advanced editing, choose GIMP. Both are these are free to download and use.

We’d like to point out that GIMP has a steep learning curve and is equivalent to Photoshop in terms of functionality. Irfanview on the other hand is very intuitive and you can start editing away in a couple of hours.

4. Eye Protector: f.lux

If you’re constantly before your computer, you know the eye strain it causes. To avoid the ensuing eye pain or headaches, use the eye protector app, f.lux. It helps to reduce screen brightness at night. It warms the colours on your screen and mimics your room’s lighting during the day.

Fact: Your phone screen might be reason for your poor sleep

Studies have shown that light from your computer/tablet/phone screen suppresses a hormone called Melatonin that controls your sleep/wake cycle. In addition, it also keeps your mind active making it harder to relax and fall asleep.

5. System Cleanup/Optimizer: Privazer/Bleachbit

It’s always been good practice to get rid of unwanted files, cookies and registry entries. If you want to bring some order into your laptops life, here are two system cleanup apps that could use – Privazer or Bleachbit.

If you need something quick and easy we recommend BleachBit, but if you’ve got the time and need an in-depth cleanup then go with Privazer.

6. Cloud Storage: Google Drive

While there are many other players like Onedrive, iCloud and Dropbox we chose Google as it provides the most space and effortlessly syncs with other google products.

7. Anti Malware: Malwarebyters

If you think an antivirus alone can protect you from all threats, then we’ve got some bad news. Most anti viruses are designed to deal with viruses so they miss out on the threats from malwares. While some antivirus makers have upped their game in the recent times, a good majority of them are still lagging. This necessitates the use of an anti-malware and the free version of Malwarebytes does a splendid job.

8. System Information: CPU-Z

This free detection program for Windows, provides you with all the necessary information about your system. It gives you information about your processor, its code name, package, process, motherboard, chipset, memory type and much more.

This nifty little app saves you the trouble of reaching for your manual when a program asks if you’ve got a 32 bit or 64 bit processor or a certain amount of RAM.

9. Protected Vault/Safe area: Asmodat/VeraCrypt

Just so that your personal data doesn’t get into the wrong hands, you should really keep it safe by encrypting it. One software that can be extremely reliable in this regard is Asmodat. It doesn’t need to be installed. Just run the program, select the folder for encryption, enter the password and within minutes, your files are encrypted and safe. To decrypt, use the same credentials.

Another impressive software that helps immensely with encryption of your files is VeraCrypt. Though it takes long to install and run, it is well worth the effort. It creates a secure area wherein all your files lie encrypted.

10. Recovery software: Kickass Undelete

Have you deleted a file by mistake and want it back again? No problem, because Kickass Undelete is fully capable to do just that for you–recover your deleted files. If you have deleted files on your SD card, flash drive or hard drive, Kickass Undelete will recover them.

Being open source, and less than 200kb, it does not need installation. Not only does it restore files quickly but it classifies files according to type, size, deletion date and recovered state.

Fact: Deleted files are not actually deleted

Even after emptying the recycle bin, deleted files can be recovered easily. This is due to Windows deleting only the “metadata” of the file or the file’s details while the actual content continues to remain unaffected. This necessitates the need for specialty software like Bleachbit to permanently delete the files.

11. PDF and ebook reader: Sumatra PDF

While most users don’t look beyond Adobe Reader to view PDF’s there is an alternative that is smaller, quicker and more efficient called Sumatra PDF. You can read files with this software, in formats such as XPS, CHM, DjVu, CBR, ePub, CBZ and Mobi formats. It is free, open source and also doubles up as an eBook reader.

12. Backup software: Macrium Reflect

With the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, the Backup and Restore tool was deprecated which means that the app might be removed from future versions of Windows. Microsoft itself recommends using a third party imaging software, but stops short of naming it. This leaves us with a many choices but the one most agree on is Macrium Reflect. It is free to use and has all the features of Windows Backup and more.

13. Password manager: KeePassXC

Using the same password for everything is a big no-no, but remembering different passwords is too much of a hassle. This is where a password manager like KeePassXC can help. It sets unique and strong passwords and organizes them in an intelligent manner. While there are various paid alternatives that offer some advantages over KeePassXC they cant beat the fact that KeePassXC is open source while their code is proprietary.


We recommend that you install these on a new computer or re-formatted one. We’re pretty sure you’ll need it at some point so why not do it right now!

Got something to add to this list? Leave a comment below and we’ll take a look.

Categories: Technology
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