One of the great things about Windows 10 is that even though it's a modern operating system powered by the cloud that runs on all sorts of hardware, including desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, and even on Xbox, you can still run millions of legacy desktop applications, which together with the apps available in the Store makes it one of the operating systems with the largest number apps.
Recently, I wrote some recommendations to do a clean setup of your brand new Windows 10 computer, but after spending a few hours getting it just the way to want, you also want to get the most out your new device by installing great apps. As such, today, we'll be looking a list of 27 essential apps you should install in your brand new Windows 10 PC.
Although, we love Windows Store apps, we know that not every app you want is available through the Store, but they're likely to be available as a traditional desktop application. For this reason, our list contains a mix of Windows Store and legacy desktop apps.
1. Productivity apps
Wunderlist: This should be among the first apps to install on your computer. Now owned by Microsoft, Wunderlist is one of the most popular to-do list app. The app is free and designed to help you organize various aspects of your life into a list that is easy to manage. While the free version will fit most people, the app also supports a premium subscription to add more features, which often will be suited for businesses.
Not only it's super easy to use, but it works virtually on any device thanks to its support for Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, iOS, Mac OS X, Android, Chromebook, and even for Amazon devices. And as long you sign in with the same account all your to-do lists will travel with you everywhere.
Sumatra PDF: If you're looking to open PDF, ePub, Mobi, XPS, DjVu, CHM, CBZ, and CBR file formats in Windows. Look no further, Sumatra PDF is a desktop apps you should consider. The PDF reader is free and simple.
The application has a Windows XP/7 era look and feel, but it gets the job done. Definitely an app, I would like to see in the Store as a Universal app.
Notepad++: This one of the most powerful note taking applications you will ever find for free. If you're in the search for a great Notepad replacement, Notepad++ is a must try. The application is free, and not only it works great for note taking, but it also includes supports for a number coding languages, and through plugins to add extra functionality.
Notepad Next: Although, Microsoft has introduced a lot of new apps for Windows 10 to replace old tools, such as Calculator, Voice Recorder, Clock, and others, Notepad is still the same old Notepad. Notepad Next is a free and simple note taking app that follows the simplicity of Notepad. However, it's a Windows Store app that also includes tabs when you need to work on multiple documents, you can also close the app at any time and pick where you left off, it includes touch and retina display support and more.
Office: Microsoft Office is perhaps the single most popular feature packed suite of applications to work with spreadsheets, rich text documents, and presentations. The best way to get download and install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook is by getting an Office 365 subscription.
Microsoft has a variety of subscriptions to fit every budget, including Office 365 Home, Office 365 Personal, Office 365 University, and more. For more information about pricing, you can visit Office.com.
Visual Studio Code: Whether you need to fix a bug on your modern web or cloud application. If you're a developer and you need a lightweight code editor, you may want to try Visual Studio Code. This desktop application is free, simple to use with support for intellisense, and includes support for Mac OS X and Linux.
Dropbox: Long gone are those days where only one device in the house was connected to the internet. Nowadays, most people have multiple connected devices, and the ability to securely sync work files between your home and work computer, smartphone and tablet has become an essential feature to have. Dropbox is a great cloud storage solution to store and sync documents, photos, and videos across devices, and in combination with the recently released Windows 10 app, the experience with Dropbox has just become easier. (Though, to sync folder you still have to install the Dropbox desktop app.)
Dropbox is a paid cloud storage service, but you can get 2GB for free space to get things started, you can earn more storage through referrals, and you can always pay more storage as needed.
2. Photo editing apps
Picasa: Although, Windows 10 includes the new Photos app, it's still an app in the early days, Google's Picasa, on the other hand, has been around for years, and even though it's not the best photo editing or viewing tool, it's more than enough for most people.
No matter where your photos are stored, Picasa's built-in scan feature will find and group all your images in one place. Furthermore, the app also includes amazing basic editing features, such as cropping, red-eye remover, auto color and contrast, filters, and a lot more.
GIMP or Paint.NET: If you're a professional who occasionally need an image editor and Photoshop is out of reach, you can try Pain.NET or GIMP, both applications are free, easy to use, and feature-rich. These applications don't offer as many features and support as Adobe Photoshop, but they are good enough to work with layers, apply special effects, crop and resize, retouch photos, and work with a lot of file formats.
While Paint.NET and GIMP share various similarities, GIMP is a little more robust and includes support for Mac, Linux, and Windows, where Paint.NET only supports Windows and relies on Microsoft's .NET Framework 4.5.
Fhotoroom: If Paint.NET and GIMP are too advanced for your needs, but you need more photo editing features than the ones found in Picasa or the Windows Photos app, you can also try Fhotoroom. Fhotoroom is a Windows Store app with a number of easy to use advanced editing tools.
With this app, you can edit up to 41MB photos, it includes support for 650 RAW file format, plus JPG, JXR, WDP, PNG, and TIFF. Of course, you can crop, resize, rotate, add color correction, fix exposure, and a lot more. Fhotroom is free, but it contains in-app purchases to unlock HDR tools and other features.
Adobe Photoshop Express: Not as feature packed as Fhotoroom, the Express version of Photoshop includes a number of basic features to correct contrast, exposure, white balance, add filters, crop, fix red eye, and much more. The app is free, but it contains in-app purchases to unlock a few other features.
3. Tools & security apps
Network Speed Test: When you notice that you internet speed is not delivering, or you simply want to measure your current downstream and upstream internet connection, besides using Speedtest.net, you can try the Network Speed Test app. The app was designed by the Microsoft Research team, and the only thing you have to do is to click the Start button. After a few seconds, you'll see the quality of your current internet connection along with a history of every time you performed a test that can be useful information over time.
f.lux This is an amazing little app that once installed will stay running in the system notification area, and it will change the color temperature of your display depending on the time of the day. As the sun sets, f.lux adds a noticeable orange tint to make your computer screen look like indoor lights, and in the morning changes the screen light to look like the sunlight.
It might feel a little awkward at first, but it's easy to get used to, even more when it will help you to sleep better at night and prevent eyestrain.
7-Zip: For years Microsoft has included the functionality to create ZIP archives on Windows, but there are a lot more compression containers in existence, including 7Z, Gzip, RAR, Tar, and the list goes on-and-on. For this reason, it's always a good idea to have a tool that can do it all and with 7-Zip is what you get. 7-Zip is a well-known, open source free software that enables you not only to compress and decompress many containers, but it also allows you to encrypt archives to add an extra layer of security.
IrfanView: This is an amazing little tool that has been around for years and it allows you to view virtually any image file format. Put it this way, this is the VLC for images. Not only you can view all your JPG, PNG, PSD, and RAW files, but it also includes a lot of nifty features, such as the ability to add watermark, crop, resize, and batch commands. In addition, there is support for plugins to enhance the functionality of the application.
CCleaner: When it comes the time to do maintenance on Windows, CCleaner is a great tool to keep your computer top-notch. CCleaner can help you to delete junk files while freeing up space, clean the registry, and delete browser cookies and temporary files. It can also help to speed up your system with tools to uninstall unwanted apps, control which apps run at startup, there is a duplicate file finder, access to system restore, drive wipe, and a lot more.
CCleaner is a free desktop application, which should be enough for more people, but there are two additional versions offering more advanced and automated features.
Recuva: This is a file recovery application designed by Piriform, the same company behind Cleaner. Recuva is an application designed to recover pictures, music, documents, videos, emails, or any other type of files you might have lost from damage or newly formatted drives. In addition, the recovery application also includes a feature to securely delete files by using secure overwrite features using "industry and military-standard deletion technique".
4. Entertainment apps
Flipboard: There is a chance you're already using this app in your smartphone. Flipboard is your personal digital magazine, the one place that automatically sorts internet articles tailor to your liking. You can read through countless articles, or you can simply flip through headlines until your thumb gets numb. This is a free Windows Store app and even though it hasn't been updated for a while, it works well in Windows 10.
Spotify: If you don't mind ads to listen to music for free, Spotify is a must have app to stream music to your Windows 10 device. Spotify comes with great features to find music you like, create playlist, offline listening, and much more. Spotify Premium costs $9.99 per month, but there is also a 50% discount for students.
iTunes: Although, Windows 10 comes pre-loaded with Groove Music, the chances are that if you own an Apple device, you already use iTunes. With Apple's music app, you can organize your music, buy new songs, movies, and TV shows. Similar to Spotify, the company now offers Apple Music to access millions of songs and radio streaming for $9.99 per month or $14.99 for the family membership.
VLC: While many media players, including the new Movies & TV app for Windows 10, can play a large variety of video file formats, no other media player can surpass VLC. This free open source app can play virtually any video format, including DVDs, support that Microsoft already removed from the operating system, as such the VLC media player desktop app is a must have in your new computer.
It's worth pointing out that there is also a Windows Store version of the app, but it's not quite as compatible as the desktop app.
Trakter: There are some many TV shows provided by your cable company, Netflix (don't forget to get this app too!), Hulu, and many other services that nowadays it's becoming hard to track your favorite shows. Trakter is a universal Windows app that can track your favorites shows and movies on an easy to use user interface.
The app is free, and it doesn't have any ads, but you're limited to the things you can do for free. If you want to unlock all the features, you will have to pay $1.99 for the premium features.
Perfect Tube While we continue to hope that one day Google will release the official YouTube universal Windows app, we have to rely on third-party apps to access the video service. Fortunately, there are plenty YouTube apps we can choose from, and Perfect Tube is one of these apps. Perfect Tube is one of the highest rated app in the Store to access YouTube. It features a great user-interface, you can switch between different video stream quality, support for Live Tiles, you can view and post comments, and a lot more. The only thing I don't like about the app is that you can't fast forward, rewind, or skip. Once you click play, you can pause or watch the video entirely.
Perfect Tube is free, but you need to pay $0.99 for the full version.
Twitter: Twitter has done a pretty good job on its official app for Windows 10, as such if you're into microblogging, and you follow us on Twitter @WindowsCentral and @WC_Headlines this is a must have app.
Facebook: We couldn't end our recommendations on apps without suggesting the app to access the biggest social network in the world. The Facebook app is pretty straightforward. You can access your News Feed, Messages, Events, Photos, Friends, Pages, and much more.
Keep in mind that we're still talking about the Facebook app designed for Windows 8.1, but the company has already promised to release a new version designed for Windows 10. Furthermore, Facebook is also planning to release apps for Messenger and Instagram.
5. Web browser apps
Chrome or Firefox: Yes, Windows 10 comes with a new web browser, Microsoft Edge, but even though it's headed in the right direction, the browser is still in the early days, and it lacks essential features found in its competitors.
On the other hand, Chrome has pretty much become the standard. It's fast; it has an extensive library of extensions, you can easily create profiles, and sync your settings across devices. Firefox is the other alternative, which also includes many of the features found in Chrome, and it will be the choice for many users who will consider for the amount of customization and performance.
However, the decision on which browser to use seem to be based on personal taste, which one do you like better?
Which are your favorite apps on Windows? Let's us know in the comments below.