Getting a new PC is always a great feeling. While we might be moving towards the end of Windows 10’s lifespan (in terms of being installed on new machines, at any rate), there’s a plethora of great apps and services available for Windows machines right now. There are so many apps, in fact, that it can be tough to know which ones you should install if you’re looking at a clean version of Windows 10. Here are 10 essential apps we think every new Windows PC should run. Many of these will likely be compatible with Windows 11, too, so consider these long-term recommendations!
10 Essential Windows Apps For Your New PC
1. Microsoft Edge
Luckily for you, this browser comes pre-installed with Windows, and Microsoft is likely to continue pushing it as the browser of choice for Windows 11 machines as well. There’s a good reason for this; Edge is, quite simply, an excellent browser, and it might even beat Chrome as the default browser of choice for any Windows user. Whether you’re browsing the web for online personal loans, watching YouTube content, or using the Office suite to write your next masterpiece, Edge is where you should be doing it.
Although many people have switched to cloud-based office solutions like Google Docs or Office Online, there’s sometimes no substitute for a good desktop-based office suite. That’s where LibreOffice comes in. It’s completely free, and it offers pretty much all of the same functionality as Microsoft Office. While the interface may not be quite as intuitive as that of Word or PowerPoint, the lack of cost involved makes that a minor issue at best.
3. OBS Studio
If you’re planning to do any streaming on Twitch or record anything you’re doing on your PC, you’re going to need OBS. Where in the past content creators were dependent on paid programs like Fraps to help them do their work, now OBS provides a completely free solution for streaming content and recording gameplay. It’s not quite as power-hungry as its functionality would imply, but it does take some resources to use, so this one’s best for beefier PCs.
Every gamer needs to check out the Xbox PC app. It offers access to Xbox Game Pass, which is, hands down, one of the best-value gaming services around right now. More than a hundred games are waiting for you if you decide to sign up for this service, and there are usually generous trial periods available, so you can decide if you want to avail yourself of a subscription or not. The Xbox app itself could use a little work, but Microsoft is receptive to feedback and changes happen often.
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Other music services might offer better fidelity or other features Spotify doesn’t have, but for our money, this is still the best music streaming app out there right now. There’s a convenience to the Spotify interface that other apps just haven’t managed to achieve; doing everything in Spotify is easy and intuitive, while apps like iTunes (ugh) and Amazon Music can’t compete, although they are improving. Like Xbox, you’ll often find free trial periods available, so you can give Spotify a try before you sign up.
Slightly snicker-worthy name aside, GIMP is an incredible editing suite considering it costs absolutely nothing to download. It rivals Adobe’s flagship Photoshop app for the amount of functionality it offers, and unlike Adobe’s software, you won’t pay a penny or get bogged down in bad ancillary design. The only point against GIMP is its user interface; the program is difficult to learn, but to the devs’ credit, they seem to understand that and make regular changes to alleviate the problem.
7. VLC Media Player
Let’s face it: Windows Media Player is awful. It’s a program right out of the Windows Vista days, complete with weird visual design, unintuitive functionality, and general unfriendliness. VLC Media Player may not win any awards for aesthetic flair, but it does the job. It’s a hugely functional video player that is compatible with pretty much any format, and you can download a wide range of extra codecs and addons online that will cover many of its weaknesses.
Want to take a screenshot of any part of your screen? Greenshot is the app to help you do it. Sometimes, you don’t want the entire screen included in a snapshot. All you want is a segment of the screen, or a still frame from a video. Using Greenshot, you can re-map the Print Screen key to bring up a dialogue that asks you how much of the screen you want to capture. Simply drag the box across to the area you want, and voila – you’ll be asked to save the result as an image file of your choice.
Another piece of default Windows software that just doesn’t cut it is the default file explorer – when it comes to storage space, the Windows app doesn’t give you anywhere near enough information on what’s clogging up your PC. TreeSize fixes that. It’s a disk space management app that lets you see exactly what’s taking up space on your machine and address the problem. The visuals are intuitive and simple; there isn’t any flashy functionality here, but after all, why would you need it?
We’re including Bitwarden on this list because although it has a browser extension, it’s also a piece of desktop software. Bitwarden is an open-source password management app that stores passwords for various websites and platforms for you. Nobody can remember all of their passwords, and that’s where Bitwarden comes in; it’ll even generate passwords for you that meet the requirements of various sites, so you’ll never need to remember complex sequences of letters and numbers again.
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