Windows users who have used Windows multiple times know that no matter how many Microsoft utilities are added to the operating system, there will always be apps and utilities that enhance your experience. In last year’s edition, we listed many good ones. This year, we have several new ones. These are great options for anyone who has a brand-new system.
Adobe Photoshop is still the most popular image manipulation program, but you’ll need one for your new PC. While that may be fine for some, Affinity Photo is more recommended if you need a lightweight, efficient photo app. It costs $49.99 and can be installed as many times as you wish. Affinity Photo’s interface looks similar to Photoshop. Affinity Photo’s creators continue to add new functionality.
1PASSWORD / LASTPASS
It’s obvious that a password manager is an important tool to protect your identity and track the hundreds of passwords you have created over time. Although there are many great password managers out there, 1Password is the best and LastPass is the best. Both will automatically save your passwords. You can test them all and choose the one you like best.
Drive space can quickly get used up and is very limited. Before you know it you will be trying to install another program, and failing. TreeSize Free is a great free app. It helps you determine what’s taking up the most space. Sometimes, it will tell you what you already know. For example, it might reveal that half of your drive is taken up by your photo collection. Other times, it will reveal hidden, unneeded files that can be deleted and free up several gigabytes.
The open-source LibreOffice Writer has grown to be a powerful, useful word processor with many of the same features that higher-end business applications.
While I was still using Windows 8, I was infected by drive-by-malware that wouldn’t allow my anti-virus software to access my computer or any executable file. Malwarebytes would have saved me from being completely screwed. It started up (and it did start up despite the malware), and ran it twice. The nasty stuff was completely gone from my system. I’ve kept a copy of the program handy and I still use it occasionally. It’s one the best anti-malware products available, and it is completely free to use.
VLC MEDIA PLAYER
VLC’s 20-year history has seen media players evolve tremendously, but this free open-source media player remains my favourite for a simple and effective Windows player. It is also available for Macs (iPhones, Chrome OS and Android) as well as a variety of GNU/Linux systems. It’s easy to use, efficient and supports many audio and video codescs.
Podcasts, and other audio entertainment, are very popular these days. Audacity is an excellent audio editor to use if you are an audio creator or want to be one. It supports a wide range of editing and recording tools, 16-bit, 24-bit and 32-bit audio, and has many plug-ins. You can also preview the effects of those plug-ins, all for free.
Wox is one of those things that are worth repeating. Wox, a Mac-like launcher that can be used to search the Internet and find files and apps on Windows, brings Wox to Windows. It looks very similar to Alfred on Mac. However, it offers more power than the Windows built-in search. Wox also supports plug ins that allow you to customize what you search and even translate languages within the launcher.
Clipmate is an excellent utility for many Windows versions. You can save thousands of clipboards, and make them available to you. You can edit saved clips, convert them into HTML, and even share them. Clipmate, while Windows 10 has finally made it possible to save multiple clips on the clipboard, is still an essential tool for anyone.