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These brilliant (but neglected) Windows 10 apps can transform the way you work.

Windows 10 comes with many useful default apps that are easy to overlook – either because you’re unaware of their existence, or because you use a third-party program for the same tasks.

Here a list of 12 default apps that will make your PC even more useful. All of them can be accessed by opening the Start Menu and (pre-Anniversary Update) clicking All apps in the bottom left. Alternatively, search for them from the search bar/using Cortana.

1. Get Started

Window 10 is simple enough for most people to figure out on their own. However, it’s good to know this (self-explanatory) app is just a few clicks away, if you hit a dead end, or come across a problem you need an immediate solution to.

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Like most of the Windows 10 apps in this article, it contains neat sections on the left and useful tabs at the top. These cover all of Windows 10’s new features, including the Start Menu, Microsoft Edge, Entertainment, Office, and “Saving and syncing content”.

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If you’ve recently upgraded to Windows 10, then don’t worry. There are many ways you can easily get to grips with it Are You a Windows 10 Upgrade Refugee? Do This First! Are You a Windows 10 Upgrade Refugee? Do This First! Did Microsoft just upgrade your computer to Windows 10? Since February, Windows 10 is being pushed as a Recommended update on Windows 7 and 8.1 computers. This is what you can do after you've been... Read More . Also check these default Windows 10 settings 7 Default Windows 10 Settings You Should Check Immediately 7 Default Windows 10 Settings You Should Check Immediately Microsoft made some questionable decisions with Windows 10. Some of its default settings should not be left alone. We show you how to improve privacy, conserve bandwidth, reduce distraction, and lots more. Read More immediately after upgrading.

2. Alarms & Clock

This simple app has four features – Alarm, World Clock, Timer, and Stopwatch – three of which you’ll barely use because your smartphone or wristwatch is a better alternative.

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That said, I find myself using World Clock very often. It lets you add pins to a world map to see what’s the time there. It’s great if (like me) you have family, friends, and colleagues spread across the globe.

3. News

The News app can seem overwhelming at first because it throws all sorts of random content at you. This is divided into many different sections, including US, Top Stories, World, Technology, Entertainment, and Sport.

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To tailor the app to your interests, click the Interests icon (star with three lines) at the top left and untick the topics you’re not interested in. Next, click each category on the left and select the topics you want to read about.

Going forward, you’ll find the app tailoring the news to your needs. After using it for a few days, I noticed that I wasn’t even using the news apps on my phone anymore.

4. Calendar & Mail

If you’ve logged into the Mail app using your Microsoft account, the Calendar app automatically imports all your important info, including events and birthdays.

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By default, the calendar adds all the US holidays to it. To change this to your region, scroll down, click More calendars at the bottom left, then tick the calendar for your country. To add an event to your calendar, click a date you want, then type your event details. Click the More details link to add info for recurring events and to invite other people.

5. Money

This useful app will save you precious time, if you often check the stock market, overseas currency rates, and calculate your mortgage. It has a handy currency calculator from where you can compare your local currency with 18 countries from a single screen.

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You can also track the stocks, funds, or indexes of any major publicly-listed company in the world over the last year. The News section within the app has global financial news stories. It also has a Personal Finance section that contains news stories local to you.

6. Maps

Google Maps is normally our default go-to navigation and mapping service, but the feature we love about Windows 10’s Maps app is that you can turn on traffic alerts and see cameras along your route – Google Maps doesn’t have the latter feature, yet.

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To enable this, click Map Views on the right, set the Traffic slider to On, then tick Incidents and Cameras. These features are only limited to the United States and major European cities, but new ones are added regularly.

The app is receiving new features when the free Windows 10 Anniversary Update hits your PC in July this year. If you want to try out these new features today, you’ll need to sign up to become a part of the Windows 10 Insider Program Be the First to Test New Windows 10 Builds as Windows Insider Be the First to Test New Windows 10 Builds as Windows Insider Windows Insiders are the first to test new Windows 10 builds. They are also the first to suffer from bugs. Here we show you how to join or leave the program and how to share... Read More .

7. Sports

You’re probably wondering why there’s a separate Sports app when Sport is a prominent section within the News app. The latter provides general sports news, whereas this app lets you add the sports and teams that you want to follow.

By default, the app has sections on the left for 12 sports, including the English Premier League, FA Cup, Cricket, Formula 1, Tennis, and so on.

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To customize the app, click Interests on the left, the pen icon at the top, then close the tiles of the sports you don’t want to follow. To add other sports, click the + icon at the bottom and type the name of a league (such as NBA) or sport you want to follow. Similarly, you can also add your favorite sports teams to track their progress.

8. OneNote

Microsoft wants everyone to use OneNote and for good reason. It has a ton of useful features and any changes you make within this app are automatically synced to the OneNote account across all your devices.

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We’ve done a series of OneNote articles, including how to check which note-taking app is right for you Evernote vs. OneNote: Which Note-Taking App Is Right for You? Evernote vs. OneNote: Which Note-Taking App Is Right for You? Evernote and OneNote are amazing note-taking apps. It's hard to pick between the two. We compared everything from interface to note organization to help you choose. What works best for you? Read More , ways to take better notes in OneNote 12 Tips to Take Better Notes with Microsoft OneNote 12 Tips to Take Better Notes with Microsoft OneNote These 12 tips show you how to take better notes in MIcrosoft OneNote. Today, digital note-taking is as much about skill, as it is about the tool. Read More , and even how to migrate from Evernote to OneNote How to Migrate from Evernote to OneNote, and Why You Should How to Migrate from Evernote to OneNote, and Why You Should Do you think that Microsoft OneNote is better than Evernote? Or maybe, it just suits your project management style. Either way, here's how you can migrate all your notes from Evernote to OneNote easily. Read More .

9. Groove Music

Yes, we know you miss Windows Media Player and probably installed VLC Media Player without even considering Groove Music, but the app has several brilliant (albeit hidden) features. It can catalog music from your PC, as well as music that you’ve downloaded from iTunes or Google Play Music. Click the musical note icon on the left, then click Show us where to look for music, and point it to the source on your PC.

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The app is even more useful if you own a Windows Phone because it lets you create your own personal cloud within OneDrive for all your music. You can then play this using the Groove app on your phone.

Its real horsepower is unleashed when you purchase a Groove Music Pass. This costs $10 per month, but comes with a free 30-day trial. Like Spotify, it lets you instantly stream and listen to the latest tracks. It’s also platform agnostic, so you can use it on your Android, iOS, and Windows Phones by installing the app and logging into your account.

10. Photos

It may be one of the first default apps that you replace for your preferred alternative, but before you do that, check out all the hidden things this nifty app can do 10 Things You Didn't Know the Windows 10 Photos App Could Do 10 Things You Didn't Know the Windows 10 Photos App Could Do Windows 10's default Photos app can handle most photo editing tasks with ease. We'll show you where to find and how to use Photo's lesser-known features. Read More .

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While it’s not as feature-packed as a paid-for program (such as Photoshop), you can do tons of things with it that are not very obvious from the first glance. For example, did you know that you could add selective focus effects, and even remove red eye with one click?

11. Weather

The Weather app is choc-a-block with interesting features, most of which you probably won’t need. These include the phases of the moon, exact times for sunrise and sunset, how many times it rained on that day in the past 30 years, levels of precipitation, humidity, UV, and wind. Click the Details button on the right to see a breakdown of the weather every hour.

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One of its most useful features is the option to find the weather for another city, then place this as a live tile on your Start Menu.

To do that, select Places (star with three lines) on the left, click the + button, then find the place whose weather you want. Now click to see the weather in this place, then click the small pin icon at the top right. Finally, click Yes to confirm you want to add it to your Start Menu.

12. Windows Feedback

The great thing about Windows 10 is that it’s constantly evolving and Microsoft is relying on user feedback to determine what will shape future versions. We already have a glimpse of what to expect when the Anniversary Update comes to all PCs this summer. But the innovation doesn’t stop there and that’s where this app comes into its own.

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If your feedback resonates with other users, you can be rest assured that Microsoft will do something about it. You can also send feedback for each app individually by clicking the small smiley icon on the left of the respective app.

What’s Your Favorite?

I didn’t know how useful these apps were until I started using them. Some of them (such as News, Photos, Money, and Sport) are ones I now use daily, while others (such as Alarms & Clock and Weather) I check often. You need to give them time (a few days, at least) to prove their worth. You’ll never know which one of them becomes indispensable.

Which one of the aforementioned apps is your favorite? Has it changed the way you work or replaced an old program you previously used? Let us know in the comments section below!

Image Credit: Blindfold businessman by Helder Almeida via Shutterstock

  1. james42519
    October 9, 2016 at 4:41 am

    thanks for reminding me about the sports so i can uninstall it. i hate sports and just forgot about the app really

  2. Rarah
    May 13, 2016 at 5:08 am

    Did you mention that none of these Apps are available without first going to the Windows App Store? When you do that, you give Mr. MicroSoft all of your information (not that they don't already know all of it), and that it plants additional advertising, tracking, and pop-ups? And, as my fellow contributors are echoing, virtually none of these Apps is very effective.
    Now, showing us how to get MineSweeper back for free without having to play it online (we are on satellite, so that doesn't work), or without having to pay for MicroSoft to NOT push advertising in your face. That, would be effective. These Apps are really nothing more than little parlor games.
    Yes, MicroSoft sucks, but they have all the cards.

    • Denise
      May 14, 2016 at 5:41 am

      I tried to reply to this earlier, but I guess they didn't like me giving out links or something. Do a search for Windows 7 games in Windows 10. There is a way to get them back. You download a program and install it. Of course, you know that you need to scan the downloaded file after you get it and scan your whole computer after installing it, right? The program works very well and I have been using it. I just couldn't stand the insistence that I log in to play Solitaire. I got mad and got the old one back.

  3. Pat Shaul
    May 12, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    MAIL is a major joke!! you cannot file anything. you cannot flag anything as spam so it can learn to ignore. there are so many complaints against it! And they are sundowning Windows Live Mail which did all those things.........

  4. Kyle A Mathis
    May 3, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    Microsoft Windows is a joke.

    • Kelsey Tidwell
      May 6, 2016 at 3:41 am

      Useless, unhelpful comment.

  5. likefun butnot
    May 3, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Windows Mail is actively terrible, primarily because its un-customizable user interface makes a lot of bad assumptions about how users should interact with Email. If I can't at least have the option to use in-line style replies, it's not worth using.

    Photos is at least relevant on a touchscreen device, but Groove Music does a terrible job at cataloging my classical music (most things do, but I'm going to note it every time anyone brings up a music application) and basically requires that you start putting your space-hogging music collection in OneDrive to do anything particularly interesting. Windows Media Player is absolutely still on your Windows 10 computer and if nothing else, it has a much better interface for managing a collection of music than Groove does. Changing the default music player, photo viewer and web browser are all part of my reflexive first interactions with any Windows 10 machine.

    I will say though, that I really do like the weather app. It has all the information I want out of a weather. News isn't terrible, but it uses Edge for its display toolkit, which means non-stop ads all over over the place. I really miss News Bento, the Windows 8 app. For whatever reason, it isn't available on Windows 10.

  6. byronknight67
    May 3, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    I use Alarms and Clock, Email and Calendar, and, on rare occasions, Maps. The rest of those junk apps (including Cortana) have been forcibly removed.

    • neosap
      May 4, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      @byronknight67: How do you remove cortana?

      • Kelsey Tidwell
        May 6, 2016 at 3:38 am

        There are numerous instructionals on the net.

    • byronknight67
      May 6, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      It's a tricky procedure but you can do a web search (Thanks Kelsey) for something like "Kill Cortana Process" and you will find the instructions. Just know that this will break the search box on the taskbar. If you need Windows search functionality, you will have to install a 3rd party start menu like Classic Shell.

      You will also want to check for Cortana's return after any MS updates. Repeat the procedure if necessary.

    • Michelle
      May 13, 2016 at 12:13 am

      I just shut Cortana off once and its gone. I didn't do anything special.

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