The first 20 apps I install on a new Windows PC

Windows is bundled with scores of important and useful apps by default, much more than it had in its early days. There are still a lot of other apps I think are incredibly helpful or just really cool, while some third-party apps are essential for specific types of work. Here's a list of 20 of them I typically install before anything else on a new Windows PC.


  • Google Chrome

    Free Mac Windows Linux Android iPhone ... Chrome OS Android Tablet BSD iPad PortableApps.com Website

    The browser is my main work platform as I personally rely on a number of work-critical web services. So the browser is the most important app for me and Chrome is my choice work tool. It's an easy way to carry over things like web bookmarks and login details and lets me easily get back up to speed with communications and work stuff when setting up a new PC. It's usually the first thing I install since I use it to download the rest.

     

    Google Chrome icon
  • Awesome Screenshot Minus

    Free Web Chrome Website

    Once Chrome is installed, my next task is to get it configured with the main extension I use for work items. This is the uber safe variant of the popular Awesome Screenshot. It's fast, minimal and makes capturing web screenshots a breeze.

     

    Awesome Screenshot Minus icon
  • Firefox Developer Edition

    Free Mac Windows Linux PortableApps.com Website

    I generally install Firefox Developer Edition as an alternative browser. It's handy to have around anytime problems come up in Chrome, I can easily try things out through Firefox to help isolate Chrome issues. The developer edition has lots of helpful tools built in for additional debugging too.

     

    Firefox Developer Edition icon
  • Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

    Freemium Mac Windows Android iPhone Chrome OS ... Android Tablet iPad Kindle Fire Website

    After removing any pre-installed anti-malware software, I generally install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware as my go-to malware killer. It's just so much faster than the more popular but bulkier apps and has established itself as a trusty, key piece of security software.

     

    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware icon
  • HijackThis

    Free Windows PortableApps.com Website

    HijackThis is a super tiny download that's easily installed by just unzipping it in a folder. I usually install it in a folder near the hard drive root and let it sit there until it's needed.

     

    HijackThis icon
  • 7-Zip

    Free Windows BSD PortableApps.com ReactOS Website

    Windows works with ZIP files natively but not other formats like ARC or TAR archives. 7ZIP covers all the popular archive formats plus less common ones, but more importantly, it's much faster at extracting archives than Windows is by default.

     

    7-Zip icon
  • elementary OS

    Free Linux Website

    I love dual-boot systems and it's easiest to install right at the start of a new PC. I usually install elementary OS, which serves as a backup system that allows access to the Windows files in case of malware or other issues. After install, I typically will install all the same apps from the Windows OS as well, sort of mirroring the Windows configuration on Linux.

     

    elementary OS icon
  • fish

    Free Mac Windows Linux BSD Website

    Fish greatly simplifies work in the terminal. The aesthetics and built-in color highlighted auto-completion are reason enough for me to rely on it and it's generally the first thing I install on elementary OS.

     

    fish icon
  • Wine

    Free Mac Linux Android Android Tablet BSD Website

    I like being able to run Windows apps right through Linux and WINE makes that relatively easy. It's one of the first apps I install on Linux (elementary OS in my case).

     

    Wine icon
  • Cool Retro Term

    Free Mac Linux Website

    Totally unnecessary app, but I just love CRT's retro style. I use it to liven up the sometimes boring terminal.

     

    Cool Retro Term icon
  • Atom

    Free Mac Windows Linux Chrome OS BSD ... Electron / Atom Shell Website

    I typically end up installing Atom a bit early on mainly due to the fact that it provides a sleek interface for working with various text files. I interact with lots of text files even while setting up a new PC.

     

    Atom icon
  • Inkscape

    Free Mac Windows Linux Windows S BSD ... PortableApps.com X11 MacPorts XQuartz Website

    Inkscape is an important work tool for myself, I'm just really accustomed to the keyboard shortcuts and workflow. I use it to create original designs, edit screenshots and for general purpose cropping of images.

     

    Inkscape icon
  • Open Broadcaster Software

    Free Mac Windows Linux Website

    OBS is just plain awesome. It's totally free, cross-platform and makes it super easy to record screencasts. It's one of the last but more important apps I install. I use it for recording bugs to report software issues, for creating walk-throughs and tutorials and for game-play recordings.

     

    Open Broadcaster Software icon
  • Kdenlive

    Free Mac Windows Linux BSD KDE Website

    Video and screen recordings need editing and with its recent launch on Windows, kdenlive is my new go-to editor. It sports a commercial workflow that's intuitive and fast, and now works across platforms.

     

    Kdenlive icon
  • FL Studio

    Commercial Mac Windows Android iPhone Android Tablet Website

    Since I work with music and audio files on a commercial level, I need an adept DAW and FL Studio easily fills that need. I personally install both the desktop and mobile versions early on in my new PC setups.

     

    FL Studio icon
  • Ocenaudio

    Free Mac Windows Linux Website

    I do a lot with audio files and Ocenaudio being one of the fastest audio editors, I use it across Windows and Linux for the same, quick and intuitive workflow. It's free but easily compares with commercial wave editors and can be very useful even for those who don't work with audio professionally.

     

    Ocenaudio icon
  • Construct 2

    Freemium Windows Website

    Construct 2 is a 2D game development tool and while I use it for game development, I often use it for prototyping ideas as well. For me, it's a helpful productivity tool that happens to have amazing game design features!

     

    Construct 2 icon
  • Hardwood Solitaire IV

    Freemium Mac Windows Web Android iPhone ... Android Tablet iPad tvOS Kindle Fire Website

    I love solitaire and Hardwood Solitaire is the very best solitaire game in my experience. The game helps me to clear my mind and regain focus on busy days. Plus it works great both on Windows and on Linux through WINE.

     

    Hardwood Solitaire IV icon
  • 0 A.D.

    Free Mac Windows Linux BSD Website

    I install this gem of a game on every new system. It's totally free and the game mechanics are very similar to Age of Empires II, one of my favorite games of all time. It also helps me to quickly test the limits of a system, through massive game maps with scores of enemy units. It's a game, so it's typically one of the last things I install.

     

    0 A.D. icon
  • Steam

    Freemium Mac Windows Linux Web Android ... iPhone Android Tablet iPad Website

    What PC would be complete without the Steam gaming platform? Steam even has tons of games that work great on low-end PCs. I usually install it as a finishing touch, then the game downloads begin.

     

    Steam icon



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