Windows Top 10 Apps – Whether you just bought a new laptop, built a new desktop PC, or are just doing a clean install on a new solid state drive, good for you. Gotta love that fresh new machine taste, but now you have to get back to Zen productivity by restoring your files and installing apps.
We’ve compiled a list of essential programs to get you started. Many of these apps are also available as web services, but the app versions have the advantage of offline access.
Windows Top 10 Apps
Downloading movies or music to local storage can be useful when you’re waiting for hours without a connection. Even if you just want to write emails when an Internet connection is not available, you can read the messages you reply to. Depending on the browser or network you use, relying on web services can also raise privacy concerns.
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From security utilities to productivity tools, and plenty of suggestions for areas in between, here are the best app recommendations with a special emphasis on great free software that you can download right away…
Windows offers Edge out of the box, a browser that’s built on the Chromium project and actually includes a few features that Chrome doesn’t have, especially for Windows users, like adding websites to the Start menu : At the same time, macOS offers Safari, a very solid browser by most standards, especially if you live in the Apple ecosystem, and probably the reason why a large percentage of Mac users (~40%) don’t look at it. side
And yet the default choice for most remains Google Chrome, if only for integration with other Google services. Chrome is also great for Android users because you can natively sync between devices.
Chrome is a bit clunky, although it does support extensions for a number of different things. From a security perspective, however, those same extensions can pose a risk, and having Google log everything you do in the browser isn’t great for your privacy either.
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Open source Firefox is a robust browser with better privacy options. But if you like Chrome as it is, minus Google’s tracking methods, Ungoogled Chromium might be an interesting choice for you. The problem is that while it disables many Google-based services, it doesn’t always replace them with something else, so you should only use it if you know what you’re getting into.
Many power users also swear by Vivaldi. This browser’s claim to fame is how customizable it is. For example, it will allow you to arrange tabs within tabs in one of 3 ways: dropdown menus, 2 tab bars, or showing all tabs in the active stack only. You can add a sidebar on either side of the screen with browser menus and apps (notes, mail, RSS, and calendar) and the ability to add any website.
It’s a fact that a ton of people still use terrible passwords. Even those who choose to crack something harder than “123456” often have the same login credentials for multiple sites. There’s also the problem of forgetting which passwords are with which websites. Most web browsers have their own password managers, but they’re just not as good as dedicated third-party software.
A password manager is an essential addition. If you haven’t made your choice yet, we recommend starting with the open source Bitwarden, mainly because its free version is fully functional. For $10 a year, you’ll get extra features like encrypted file sharing instead of just text. Couple and family/organization accounts are also available. If for some reason you don’t like Bitwarden, KeePass is a good free alternative.
The Best Daily Planner App For Windows
We used to recommend LastPass as our top pick, but now its free version only lets you log in from one device type: PC or mobile. If you’re willing to pay for a password manager, LastPass is pretty good, but you can also opt for 1Password or Dashlane, which also includes a VPN service to hide your IP address from the websites you visit.
Cloud storage and backup are a must in your toolkit. Backing up and restoring information has also never been smoother, and while there’s a huge range of options available, we’ve long been spoiled by Dropbox’s ease of use. Dropbox offers 2GB of free cloud storage, which isn’t much, but you can earn up to 16GB through referrals and a few other tricks.
For photo-specific features, Mac users can enjoy the Photos app, which automatically creates albums based on people and places in photos, and can sync everything to iPhone and iPad with iCloud. For Windows users, we often recommend using Google Photos, which includes similar features. Google Photos used to offer unlimited free space for photos up to 16MP and 1080p videos, but now it only offers 15GB of free space shared with other Google services.
If you have larger storage requirements, we’ll look at all the best alternatives and different pricing tiers before making a decision. Major alternatives to Dropbox and iCloud include Microsoft OneDrive, which is integrated into Windows, and Google One. Fortunately, the competition for cloud backup is fierce and prices have come down quite a bit.
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If you have sensitive files, you can use pCloud, which provides device-based encryption to paying users, meaning that even if your account is hacked, a hacker won’t be able to open your files without your devices.
For full data backup (terabytes of photos, videos, entire drives) there are better alternatives than the above. For one thing, you get specialized backup software, file versioning, and often unlimited storage so you can offload terabytes of data and stay calm. Recommended cloud backup providers include Backblaze, IDrive, Carbonite, and SOS Online Backup.
If you know what you’re doing, both Windows and macOS come with decent security. Common sense should be enough for power users, while the average user may want to add another layer of protection that won’t be a burden on your system.
Malwarebytes is the first tool to consider. A veteran specialist in preventing malware and rootkits attacks, it’s great and free for personal use. If you prefer not to have an antivirus on your computer because you’re afraid of too much detection, Emsisoft Emergency Kit for Windows can be installed on a disk that you can plug in only when needed. There’s also VirusTotal.com, which you can use to scan downloaded files for threats before you open them.
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For simple note-taking, there’s OneNote, which Microsoft offers as a free cross-platform app. If you have a Mac, you may prefer Notability.
Microsoft Office remains the king of office productivity, and some don’t have a hard time justifying an Office 365 subscription if you need it for work and if you enjoy most of the apps and included benefits like 1TB of OneDrive storage.
Alternatives are plentiful here as well. On the Windows side, if you want a free office suite that’s more Microsoft-like, try FreeOffice. Other free options include LibreOffice; some of our writers swear by it and others hate it. The open source office suite offers all the basics and then some. The same goes for WPS Office Free.
Apple ships all Macs free with the complete productivity suite (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote), a great way to work on documents, spreadsheets, or presentations without the hassle.
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For coders and developers, we have to give a shout out to Sublime Text, possibly the best text editor you’ll find. Notepad++ is a great open source alternative, but only for Windows. At the same time, Microsoft has slowly but surely gained mass adoption with the free Visual Studio Code, which is cross-platform and well-liked by many.
There are several PDF editors that offer free versions that include features that Acrobat Reader does not. We’ve written a full guide on this, but as a quick shortcut, you can try PDFsam to merge, split, page out, rotate and shuffle your PDF files. It is also cross-platform.
If you want to use a desktop email client, we like Postbox for its lifetime pricing policy (30-day free trial available). For up to 2 accounts, eM Client is free and highly customizable. Firefox users will feel right at home with the open source Mozilla Thunderbird, while Mailbird is good for paid users.
The video chat and messaging apps you need mostly depend on who you want to talk to. The most ubiquitous personal messaging platforms are WhatsApp and Messenger (a.k.a. “Facebook Messenger”), and both offer native desktop apps. Apple users will enjoy using iMessage, which is more private, but not everyone can access the platform (the iPhone also sends SMS with the same app).
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Zoom has become synonymous with video chat, offering local recording and screen sharing, and is your best bet for reaching a large group (although you can only talk to one person for more than 40 minutes on the free plan). You can enable end-to-end encryption of your calls to prevent their content from being targeted
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