Now we’ve already done free programs you’ve never heard of. We’ve done free software you’ll really want. But this time we’re gonna do Some essential Windows programs that are good to have on every computer, and hopefully you already have most of these. So you’ve definitely seen me mention all these before at some point, but never all at once, so if you don’t use some of these, well you’ll have some cool new programs to get. And if you do have all of these already, congrats, you must be a computer expert.
Ok so let’s go through these programs arranged by category to make things simpler. So to start off, we have media players. The two I’d recommend here are VLC Media Player, and Media Player Classic. Both of these video players, especially VLC, will be capable of playing pretty much every type of video or audio file you can possibly imagine. I’d say you can probably get away with just VLC, but I like Media Player Classic too because sometimes I’ve found it can handle certain huge video files better. And also, sometimes VLC plays video with a weird washed-out look for some reason, where I’ve never had that issue with MPC. So I’d really consider both of these together as being essential on any computer. Ok next up, let’s talk about productivity.
I’m going to skip talking about office suite programs like Microsoft Office because that’s just too obvious. Instead, one program I’d consider essential here is Notepad++. It’s basically like Windows Notepad on serious steroids. Not only can you use it for basic notes taking, but it also has support for a basically every coding language, so if you ever have to open up a source code file, or markup language file like XML, it will show it correctly formatted with color coding and everything. It would take all day to try and go through all the features, but you can probably see just how much more options it has than regular notepad already. It even has support for plugins you can install, so there’s almost no limit to what it can do. Alright, moving on to file storage, we have two programs to mention.
First is Dropbox, which I’m sure you’ve heard of and hopefully use. It basically creates a folder on your computer that stays synced to the cloud, and you can then sync the folder to all your other computers. It’s easily one of my favorite programs, not just because it’s convenient to have access to anything I put on there, but also because it serves as a good extra form of backup. They do have a free tier with 2GB of storage, which is good enough for storing a ton of documents and stuff, or there’s a paid version with 2 Terabytes for $10 a month. So if you have any critical files that you absolutely must never lose like tax return files and stuff like that, it might be good to get the free version at the very least, put all that super important stuff on there. And then you have access to it, and know it’s safe. But of course, backup is really important in general.
So the next program, as for true backup, there is one service I’d recommend and I use, but it’s not free, called Backblaze. It’s $60 a year and does unlimited online backup, totally automatically. And it really is unlimited, I have several terabytes backed up because of all my drives on my computer. Backing up your data is absolutely essential, so if you don’t back up your data in some way, whether it’s an external drive, or another online backup service, you’d better do something. All hard drives fail, so if you have all your important stuff in one only one place, you’re playing with fire.
Onto the next program, I’d categorize this as miscellaneous, but it is Flux. I’ve probably mentioned this one a hundred times in the past, but here it is again. It basically dims and tints your computer screen orange at night, so it should drastically reduce any sleep disruption your computer might normally cause you at night. This is because our brains associate blue wavelengths of light with daytime, so looking at a bright screen can severely disrupt when you’d normally get tired at night. You can choose the strength of the effect, and I basically have it on the stronger settings, which can seem weird at first, but I can almost guarantee you’ll get used to it, and wonder how you ever lived without it. Ok next up, if you do any file sharing like with bittorrent, the essential program here
I’d say is called qBitTorrent. It’s basically the current best lightweight torrent client. In the past it was uTorrent or “micro-torrent”, but apparently that was bought out and got stuffed with ads, so this is the new best option. I don’t really download torrents too often these days but when I do this is what I use. And OBVIOUSLY you should never use it for piracy or downloading copyrighted content illegally, but I’m sure none of you would ever do that, right.
Alright onto the file compression category, you really have two options. Either 7-Zip, or the famous WinRAR. Both of these are really good, though I personally prefer WinRAR. They both support all the compressed file containers you’d come across, like rar files, zip files, 7z files, all that, both creating and extracting from them. 7-Zip is totally free, but as you probably know, while WinRAR is technically only a free trial, it lets you keep using it forever even after the ‘trial’ program. Now obviously if you like WinRAR you should really just pay for a license to support it, and yes I actually did pay for WinRAR. I know, you probably thought doing that was just a myth. But yea, either of these is pretty essential because of how common compressed file containers are, and they’re both really good programs.
Ok now for a fun category, gaming. These days, the most popular voice and text chat program out there is Discord, so it’s definitely essential. You basically create a server, which is free, and all your friends can join and use for various voice chatting, or sharing links or whatever in the text chat. It’s pretty self explanatory, but it does allow a ton of other features if you have a bigger server, like user roles and permissions, bots, whatever else you can think of really.
The next gaming program I’m sure everyone knows, is Steam. I mean I really don’t think I need to explain this one, but of course it is essential so I had to mention it. These days there are lots of other game publishers all trying to create their own game stores like Epic Games Store, Origin from EA, Battle.net from Blizzard. But I think we can all agree that those are all trash and hate when there are exclusive releases on them, because most of us probably have all our games on Steam.
The third gaming-related app I’d say is essential is OBS. Now this is most often used for live streaming games you’re playing, but I know only a small fraction of people actually do streaming. The real reason I’d consider this essential is because it’s useful not just for streaming games, but also other uses like screen recording. It is really versatile and lets you do stuff like screen recording while also showing a webcam, which is good for producing informational type videos, presentations, whatever. And also allows so much customization, like adding images, video sources, screen capture sources, all into what you’re recording. Now I would say it has a pretty steep learning curve to take full advantage of it, so for example, if you don’t even know what “bit rate” means, you might just want to find an easier option. But still, it’s a powerful free program with a ton of uses.
Shut Up 10
Alright now onto some useful utilities. First up we have O&O ShutUp10. I actually made an entire video about this because it’s so useful, but it basically lets you fix all of the annoyances with Windows 10 in once place. You might know that a lot of people hate Windows 10 because of privacy concerns especially, but ShutUp10 gives you a huge list of toggles you can use to disable pretty much anything you’d ever want in terms of privacy within Windows 10. So there’s a list of what’s recommended to disable, and ones you might just want to consider, because it might be a useful feature you actually want to keep on. I’ll put a little pop up to the video I made going more in depth if you want to check
it out. The next utility is called ShareX, which like the name suggests, makes it really easy to share stuff with friends or anyone, whether it’s a screenshot, a file, some text, whatever. You can see when you right click on the taskbar icon you get a huge menu of features, most of which I don’t even use to be honest. But one I like especially is the ability to take a screenshot, then it immediately uploads it to a service you choose, and copies the link to your clipboard, all at once. So I have it linked with puush , but you could attach your imgur account or others for example. You can also right click any file, as long as it’s below a certain size, and it will do the same thing just with the file, so you can send that to friends too via the link. There’s also a bunch of other random tools built in like a color picker, ruler, QR code tool, and other stuff. So yea definitely useful and I always install it. Moving on, we obviously have to talk about antivirus.
Now for free antivirus software, there are actually a decent number of options. But if you know what you’re doing, probably the built in Windows defender is fine enough. But there are free versions of a lot of paid antivirus software you can find. As for paid antivirus, this is probably going to offer you more protection, at a price of course. These days there’s not really any ‘best antivirus’, and even if there was it pretty much changes every year, so if you want a paid antivirus I’d just recommend going on AV Test and see which antivirus tested the best most recently. But at least at the moment, they all seem to perform similarly anyway, so just go with whatever one you like the best.
And finally, we’re onto the web browsers. And realistically you have one of two options. Either a Chromium based browser, or Mozilla Firefox. Chromium based browsers include Google Chrome, Brave Browser, and even Microsoft is building a chromium version of their Edge browser. All of these chromium browsers should perform similarly, because they’re based on the same underlying code, and they all should support chrome extensions equally. Of course the other big contender is Firefox, specifically Firefox Quantum which is basically their revamped version they released a little while ago. So until Microsoft puts their edge Chromium browser as the Windows default, I’d still consider it essential to get a better browser because all the plugins are so darn useful. So, if you have all the programs we just went over, congratulations, you can now legally consider yourself a certified computer expert, so be sure to leave a comment telling us that. If you want even more cool programs, I’ll put a couple links on the right side here you can click on, and I’m sure you’ll find these useful. So thanks for reading.
Short Reading of this Article
Some Amazing Windows Programs Everyone Should Have
Essential Windows programs for every user
- VLC Media Player
- Versatile video player
- Capable of playing various file types
- Media Player Classic
- Handles large video files effectively
- No weird washed-out look, unlike VLC
- Advanced text editor
- Supports multiple coding languages
- Cloud storage with sync across devices
- Convenient and doubles as a backup
- Automatic online backup service
- Unlimited storage for $60/year
- Adjusts screen color for reduced sleep disruption
- Customizable for individual preferences
- Lightweight torrent client
- Ideal for legal file sharing
- Free and efficient compressed file manager
- Popular compressed file manager
- Pay for a license to support development
- Leading voice and text chat platform
- Ideal for gaming communication
- Essential game distribution platform
- Preferred over other game stores
- OBS (Open Broadcaster Software)
- Versatile tool for live streaming and screen recording
- Steep learning curve but powerful features
- O&O ShutUp10
- Windows 10 privacy management tool
- Toggle features to enhance privacy
- Multi-functional sharing tool
- Capture screenshots and share files effortlessly
- Windows Defender
- Built-in free antivirus for Windows users
- Suitable for users with basic security needs
- Chromium Browsers or Mozilla Firefox
- Options include Chrome, Brave, Edge (Chromium version), and Firefox Quantum
- Choose based on personal preferences and plugin support
- Congratulations, you now possess essential programs for Windows!
- Explore additional cool programs for an enhanced computer experience.