Getting A New PC? 12 Must Have Applications To Install First

Chrome Dropbox Spotify Logo   Getting A New PC? 12 Must Have Applications To Install FirstIt’s a fuzzy feeling when you unbox that brand new desktop or laptop and consider how fast and responsive of an experience you’re about to be in for. If you’re not careful, that fuzzy feeling could quickly turn into anxiety and annoyance once you get things up and running. When you purchase a new computer, treat it like a new car. Take care of it and give it no more or less than what it needs. You don’t want to be too hard on it. Is there really a need for you to download six different media players? None of that!

There are a lot of things to get right into downloading when you’re setting up your new system, but I feel like there are a dozen tools that come far before everything else. If you consider buying a new PC, or you’ve just purchased one, go down this list and let me make your job easier on you.

Google Chrome

I’m sure this comes as no surprise. The only thing you’re going to be wanting to use Internet Explorer for is to navigate to the download page for Google Chrome.

Google Chrome logo 512x300   Getting A New PC? 12 Must Have Applications To Install First

There are a lot of running jokes in regards to Internet Explorer users, but that’s not what it’s about. Google Chrome is simply the best browser available today, considering the big picture. It’s secure, updated regularly, includes many third-party extensions to enhance its features, and is considered the standard. When a developer builds a new website, they take into account that you’ll probably be using Chrome when you give it a visit. Using an obscure browser like RockMelt or Maxthon could come with some consequences, for that reason.

I was late to Chrome and remained loyal to Firefox until a year ago. When I made the switch, the difference in browser performance was as obvious as it could be. Google Chrome is the browser you should be using if you’re running Windows.

Dropbox

Does everyone really need Dropbox? Ask yourself, “Do I go places? Do I move between devices often? Do I need a simple way to share files? Do I use a PC for both work and home?” If you answered yes to any number of those, as the average person should, Dropbox can benefit you.

dropbox   Getting A New PC? 12 Must Have Applications To Install First

There are a whole mess of Dropbox alternatives, but it’s the most popular and some might say the best Windows software of its kind for a reason. You’re given an extremely generous amount of storage to synchronize your data to. While Dropbox does offer more extensive paid plans, most won’t need to look into that. I’ve got a paid subscription, but then again I’ve got 10GB of music, 25GB in ROMs, 30GB in portable applications, and… yeah.

Look at Dropbox in the same light as I do: it’s almost like having a flash drive in the cloud. By installing and syncing Dropbox on a new PC, I’m adding about 100GB of data to that computer with zero effort. This includes many soft-installed applications that my new computer is inheriting without the stress on my startup or registry. There are so many uses and tricks to Dropbox that it’d be more difficult to find a reason not to install it.

Spotify

Find me someone who doesn’t like music. I’ll be impressed. Spotify doubles as one of the easiest ways to stream music for free and a great solution to managing your personal music collection.

spotify logo   Getting A New PC? 12 Must Have Applications To Install First

If you’ve been an internet freak for years like I have, you remember the times when we had to use a P2P client to download MP3s (legally, that is), and then we’d get to listen to them in Winamp, or whatever media player was popular at the time. Spotify has changed everything.

With Spotify, it takes seconds to search through a huge database of music. With a click, you’re listening. Yes, Spotify has a commercial here and there. Yes, Spotify doesn’t offer a lot of underground and hard-to-find tunes. Spotify does have have what the typical listener wants though, and that’s easy access to new and popular music without forgetting to provide us with what is needed to manage our own music.

Evernote

Evernote, Spotify, and Dropbox round out my holy trinity of non-browser applications. These three may be the most useful pieces of software that don’t come pre-installed on a Windows system.

evernote   Getting A New PC? 12 Must Have Applications To Install First

If you’re a student, come on. You don’t need to ask why the world’s most popular note-taking application (available on practically every platform imaginable) is worth your time. An elephant never forgets, and neither does a good student who practices note-taking using a tool as useful as this.

I’m not a student, though. I work from home. I want to remember things. I need a place, other than good ol’ Notepad, to write down things that are important to me. It’s almost an added bonus that Evernote completely synchronizes all of this critical data to a web interface, mobile application, and more. Ahead of these alternative platforms though, the desktop application is the truest and most useful experience with Evernote.

Put simply, Evernote is the best way to record data. It doesn’t matter if you’re taking notes freehand or clipping them from the web using their browser extension. We all want to keep and remember pieces of text, and Evernote makes that easier than any application ever has.

OpenOffice

OpenOffice deserves a spot on this list simply because of how extensive and complete this bundle of software is. It’s a suite of six different applications: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math, and Base.

openoffice org 7db696   Getting A New PC? 12 Must Have Applications To Install First

OpenOffice literally eliminates the need to even look in the direction of Microsoft Office. There’s no need to pay for any alternative software when, in my opinion, OpenOffice does it so much better (with no associated cost). It’s also open source.

OpenOffice Writer is probably the most notable application in the suite, which is OpenOffice’s equivalent to Microsoft Word. Writer is perfect for doing what I do. It’s also great for exporting PDFs, editing web pages through its WYSIWYG editor, and more. If you need something similar to Microsoft Excel, Calc is perfect for that. Calc actually boasts many more features than Excel, and is the much better solution if you’re working with graphed data.

7-Zip

It would be naive to assume that all of you are going to download nothing but installer-packed applications. Everyone needs a way to handle archives, and 7-Zip is the best way to do just that.

7z js   Getting A New PC? 12 Must Have Applications To Install First

WinZip and WinRAR used to control this area. By default, Windows now includes a way to extract ZIP archives. Other popular file extensions, like RAR, are still left unassociated. This is where 7-Zip comes in.

It’s just simple. Handle archives with 7-Zip and extraction will take you a matter of seconds. It’s free, easy to use, and extremely lightweight. Anything with those qualities that is going to enable you to download more necessary software is completely worth getting.

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware

Security is a very big deal. Recently, Microsoft has taken up the responsibility of securing their own OS in real-time by including Microsoft Security Essentials in Windows 8. This is a big step, but it’s not enough. When you monitor your system using the universal standard, you’re ignoring that the creators of malicious material know that. They’re finding ways around it. Malwarebytes is the best fallback available.

mwb logo on white from anna   Getting A New PC? 12 Must Have Applications To Install First

Microsoft Security Essentials is considered to be a security suite while Malwarebytes focuses on eliminating system malware. The free version of Malwarebytes does not offer real-time protection, and frankly that’s a good thing. If you’re a responsible user, there’s no need to bog down on system resources like that. Run a scan every week and you’ll be protected nicely.

Malwarebytes has one of the most trusted names in PC security and I’ve used it for years. You should, too.

IrfanView

IrfanView is advertised as an image editor, but it’s more than that. I find IrfanView’s most useful purpose to be viewing media files. No other program does it better.

irfanview name logo2   Getting A New PC? 12 Must Have Applications To Install First

If you have a folder full of images that you’re trying to browse through and quickly edit by hand, IrfanView is great for that. The slideshow and immediate scrolling that IrfanView offers is something that isn’t replicated in many image editors.

IrfanView can also view video files and scroll through sound files. It’s really easy to resize, rename, optimize, scan, print, and completely batch process files using this editor and viewer. It’s a no-nonsense application that I’ve been using for years, and it’s incredibly easy to get comfortable with. IrfanView should definitely be your default handler for image files.

CCleaner

Piriform puts out fantastic software, and CCleaner is probably their most recognized.

ccleaner   Getting A New PC? 12 Must Have Applications To Install First

CCleaner is the express lane for keeping your system neat and clean. You can always use Windows-provided tools to go in and clean out the junk files on your hard drive, or use your browser to clear temporary files or cookies, but CCleaner does so much more. CCleaner allows you to clean through files are difficult to find and access manually. Third-party applications like Firefox, Photoshop, Evernote, Notepad++, Audacity, Adobe Air, and more can have their slates wiped clean.

Windows cleaning options are very extensive, allowing you to clear your clipboard, swipe temporary files, clean memory dumps, drop your recent documents and thumbnail cache, and a lot more.

CCleaner is a quality-of-life software that can clean up the messes that we often make of our own PCs.

Steam

I’m aware that not everyone plays games. Consider it, though. You have free time in front of your PC. You’re never too old to enjoy games. Give it a try. Should you, Steam is the place to be.

Steam   Getting A New PC? 12 Must Have Applications To Install First

Steam is beloved amongst PC gamers. Spotify is to music as Steam is to games. Steam often comes across as this complex and intimidating software and community to get comfortable with, but it’s incredibly simple. All Steam does is provide a platform where you can find, buy, download, and manage your games from a single interface. You’ll no longer have to worry about sketchy third-party sites, and you’ll have everything in one centralized location.

Another misconception is that Steam is just a store. It doesn’t offer free games. Well, it does. Not only that, but you can add your non-Steam games to the Steam library and launch them from the Steam interface. It’s like a desktop for your games, and it’s made gaming a lot easier and more efficient for me.

[NO LONGER WORKS] VLC Media Player

Don’t even go as far as to consider using something like Windows Media Player over VLC.

vlc   Getting A New PC? 12 Must Have Applications To Install First

While it is an overall media player, and I find Spotify the best solution to managing your music, VLC is a must-have for those of you who are constantly watching videos or movies online.

VLC gives you every technical aspect of a media player that you’ll need. It’s rather minimalist, yet still manages to come packed with every feature you’d ever want. You’ll never have to go hunting around the web for codecs or compatibility information. You just download VLC, open any video file, and watch. It’s that easy.

Paint.NET

I’m awful with graphics and handling images and I’ll be the first to admit it. That being said, I definitely recommend Paint.NET because it makes manipulating image files as easy as can be.

paintnet   Getting A New PC? 12 Must Have Applications To Install First

Paint.NET offers every feature you could want in an image editor without overwhelming a newbie like me. It has support for layers, special effects, and an impressive variety of different tools, brushes, and more.

You don’t have to be an expert with images or some Photoshop guru to get started with using Paint.NET, either. The website features a very helpful community and offers plenty of simple tutorials that can get you started. You can learn how to use Paint.NET in an hour, it’s not difficult. Advanced users can see this as a free alternative to Photoshop while those who need it for simpler reasons can view it as a more effective version of Microsoft Paint. Either way, this is a piece of software worth having.

Closing

That’s my list! I hope it can help you because remembering to cover all areas of what you’re going to need can be a little stressful. You don’t want too much, but it’s never good having too little. Manage your applications wisely and you’ll be able to retain that new PC feeling for a long time.

In closing, I’ll leave one final tip: use Ninite. Ninite will allow you to quickly and easily bundle together an installer for multiple applications all at once. Many, if not all, of the applications listed here are included over at Ninite. It’s a good way to save time and ensure that you’re getting your downloads from the right place.

There are many applications that could be included here. I’ve tried to keep this list narrowed to just 12. Let me know what you guys think of this group of software in the comments below!

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86 Comments -

0 votes

willrun4fun

I prefer Libre Office.

I have no idea what Steam is LOL. Not a gamer.

Add a virus scanner like Avast on with Malwarebytes.

Complete agreement on 7zip, that software is just a regular Swiss army knife. Opens anything!

1 votes

the0therMike62 .

i was a fan of libre office until kingsoft’s newest updated version came out.

1 votes

Dave

You should install Join.me or teamviewer, too. It makes remote access much easier if there’s a shortcut on the desktop!

0 votes

Nahum Larios

there is also VNC as an application of Chrome and its very neat.

1 votes

Rudi Niemand

For me one of the first to be installed on a new computer it MagicDisc – for mounting iso files to install everything else I have, saves having to swap out discs between installations. Another couple to add alongside Dropbox for me is GDrive and SkyDrive, I use these a lot more than the likes of Dropbox, Box, etc. And maybe BitTorrent sync?

0 votes

Jayden

Windows 8 does virtual iso loading out of the box. Just double click, and you’re plenty set without an extra program.

1 votes

Rudi Niemand

Note: this reply has turned into an essay, I apologise.

That’s good to know – but I’ll still be using Windows 7 until its support runs out, as Windows 8 is still a bit too buggy for gaming’s sake. Especially considering that I still play some Windows 98, early XP-era games that are buggy enough under 7. I’ll give gaming a try on Windows 8 once I know that there are some sure-fire drivers available for my systems for it to work as well as it does on 7, because at the moment some of the bits are still in beta I think (Both Gigabyte and AMD state that their respective components that I use are “Windows 8 Ready” – that to me says they’re still trying it out before fully supporting it). For that same reason I only switched to Windows 7 (first 32-bit, now on 64-bit) for gaming a little under 2 years ago (trying out Ubuntu inbetween). Some argue that you should just keep your hardware up-to-date, but with only a handful of money spare every month it’s not something I can easily do – I always build a computer once every 5 years or so to last and be fast for at least 2 years, then once it becomes slow compared to the market I start overclocking to keep up. It’s worked for me since 2001, and I’m only just on my 3rd PC.

For what it’s worth, I prefer the Windows 8 start screen as I use my computer on my main television, and at 40″ it would look a hell of a lot better than just a plain old desktop.

0 votes

vineed g

great softwares ,,,i have been using all of them for a long time.they all perform best as per their service

7 votes

ANKUR T

DEAR SIR I AM NOT AGREE FOR SOME THING WITH YOU, FIRST WE MUST REPLACE GOOGLE CROME WITH COMODO DRAGON WHICH USED 1/3 THE DISK SPACE AND 70% OF MEMORY WHILE RUNNING AND 200% MORE SAFE THAN CROME, YET SUPPORT CROME WEBSTORE N ALL APPS DUE TO BUILT UP ON CROME PLATEFORM, 2ND MEDIAFIRE PROVIDES 50GB FREE SPACE COMPARE TO JUST 5-10 GB OF DROP BOX AND ONE OF THE OLDEST ONE AND RELIABLE CLOUD SERVICE AVAILABLE FOR ALL PLATE FORMS, 3RD OPEN OFFICE IS NOW NO LONGER SUPPORTED FOR UPDATE AND IT IS NOW KNOWS AS LIBRE OFICE, BUT THERE IS A VERY LITTLE AND LIGHT WEIGHT ALTERNATIVE FOR THE SAME IS KING SOFT OFFICE WHICH IS ALSO GOOD, CC CLEANER IS NOT THE BEST ONE, JET CLEAN IS D BEST AND LIGHT WEIGHT TO REPLACE CC CLEANER AND ITS FREE ALSO, APART FROM IT YO FORGET TO MENTIONED PDF READER TO REPLACE ADOBE READER WHICH IS FOXIT READER WHICH IS HAS INBUILT PDF PRITER.

0 votes

Sebastian Hadinata

Whoa.. all caps comment, you need to chill down (if you know what I’m saying) :D

0 votes

Nahum Larios

I would like an aknowledgement from Craig

1 votes

Sebastian Hadinata

My personal favorite: Libre Office, Avast, and Pea-zip, also Thunderbird for email client and Wunderlist for to-do list.

0 votes

andrewchay

I have to say, the best pdf reader is xchange-viewer if you are using Windows platform. It’s simply too powerful and too fast loading. The only time I use other pdf viewer is when I load pdf files from internet, I set the default pdf viewer in chrome as adobe.

0 votes

Luis

@Ankur T, relax, don’t shout LIKE THIS.

0 votes

Luis Flores

Comodo!!!

0 votes

MK

This is a good list.

I would add that the Adobe pdf reader is bloatware and should be replaced with Foxit.

0 votes

casey

7-zip
Irfanview
CCleaner

The rest are CRAP!

0 votes

Luis

How do you browse the web? You didn’t mention a web browser that isn’t crap for you.

0 votes

Casey

True – but all they mention is Chrome, which is nasty.

FFox/Opera are the way to go.

I didn’t say a browser because people tend to be very polarised over browsers.
I’ve seen Opera choke on a site that FFox breezes into, and the reverse also.

I was wrong about my “crap” designation though – malwarebytes is good, paint.net is rubbish, Steam is not at all essential if you don’t play their games.

Mpc-HC is a lot better than VLC (VLC used to be good, but they buffered it up with bloatynesss and just stupid decisions over “features”.

I suppose what my “crap” was really saying was that 1/2 of those are so far from “must have”…
7Zip, irfanview, CCleaner, etc are pretty much essential – everyone needs an archiver program, we all look at photos, we could all do with “CCleaning” our systems every so often.

But the rest are only “must have” if you actually use/need them – must have for you, not for everyone.

0 votes

Brian Curtis

I do a lot of moving files around and I found xplorer2 from zabkat to be excellent. It is a dual pane “Explorer” which make the job of moving and copy & paste much easier. Also it is well worth the money.

0 votes

Juan

I like to install Fox It for PDF files, and avoid Adobe Reader.

Also to keep an eye on my PC, I like to install CPUID HW Monitor and CPU- Z. When I have a fresh system to play with.

1 votes

AriesWarlock

Libre Office is a better option than Open Office at this point.

0 votes

J Enrique F

first things I install:

chrome… you can sync all your apps, bookmarks, and themes in windows, android, and ubuntu… idk about mac.

dropbox… love dropbox because i can access it on the go on my android.

foxit reader… small program that is better than acrobat reader and opens fast.

microsoft office… still the best

7-zip… the best

starcraft :D… because I like playing sc2 after installing all these programs…

0 votes

J Enrique F

teracopy… it’s fast!

0 votes

Nez

Very nice list, close to exactly what I use, with a few differences. I’m still a big user of Firefox, I’d switch to Chrome if it wasn’t for the way it handles tabs/addons etc. Just too big of a system resource hog for me.(Personal preference). I think I’ll give Paint.net a shot again(been quite a while), I typically use GIMP.

0 votes

John Ludlow

The SysInternals suite should be on the list – particularly Process Explorer

0 votes

G Thompson

If your going down the route of Sysinternals the Nirsoft utils should also be installed. Even better place them all in one complete menu’d package by using the free WSCC http://www.kls-soft.com/wscc/

0 votes

John Ludlow

Agreed, the Nirsoft tools are pretty good, and worth a look.

The WSCC package is something I’ve looked at in the past but it was flagged as a security risk by our AV package (I think some of the tools it packages have been flagged somewhere) so I removed it.

0 votes

Mihai Triboi

Heh… Now who I am if I don’t install any of these after the clean install? :D

0 votes

GF

In my PC I would install even a program (or more programs) to copy the registry of Windows.

0 votes

wale

Great write up . they are useful , just what i need

0 votes

wale

great write up

0 votes

Henk van Setten

I use most of the software listed here myself, so (unsurprisingly) can agree with the list. I’m especially happy with your mention of Paint.net, as I find that the great potential of Paint.net is often underestimated by Gimp users. With some of its easy-to-install plugins, Paint.net can do nearly everything Gimp does, with a much easier, less confusing interface!
A few remarks on the list:
(1) Instead of Chrome, I would recommend SRWare Iron. This is a Chrome clone with exactly the same interface and the same core engine, and accepting all the Chrome extensions from the Google store. It’s really just Chrome – except that Iron doesn’t have the rather unpleasant phone-home privacy issues that are built into Chrome. SRWare is kept current with the latest Chrome updates, too.
(2) Instead of OpenOffice, I would recommend LibreOffice. This is a branch of LibreOffice that in the last two years has surpassed the original, and it gets relevant updates both more often and sooner.
(3) IrfanView is certainly OK for an all-purpose image manager, but if you use it mainly as a viewer, then I myself would prefer XnView which is just a little better tweakable.
Well, I intentionally wrote this comment before reading what others had to say, which is what I’ll be going to do now…

0 votes

Rick

Picasa is another great candidate for a photo viewer/editor, especially if you like to upload photos to Picasa Web Albums or Google+ Albums. And it’s built in viewer is very fast and minimalistic if you use it as your default.

0 votes

GreatPhones

No on everything except VLC and possibly steam.

0 votes

David C

LibreOffice FTW!

0 votes

Dan

* SkyDrive over Dropbox. More free space. Better syncing (but slower to upload).
* Softmaker FreeOffice over OOo or LO. Faster and better than any open source office suite. Way better MSOffice file format support. And less bloat.
* Avast over Malwarebytes. Sorry, but real-time scanning is still better.
* Media Player Classic Home Cinema over VLC. Better playback, more functional seek bar, faster to load and play, can play damaged files that VLC can’t.
* Spotify, Evernote, and Steam are not “must have”.
* The rest are ok.

0 votes

Danny

VLC Player? Oh please… It is nice, but so minimally boring.

Alternative: JetAudio by Cowon.
It has all the codecs you’ll ever need, and it has a beautiful interface unlike VLC Player’s Windows 95-era UI.

1 votes

PseudoCC

GUI isn’t important in full-screen. They’ve also improved features/options a lot recently. Being able to record and save sections of a video or other media file is one of the most useful new features in VLC.

0 votes

Matthew

HoneyViewer3 > IrfranView

0 votes

ReadandShare

Yes, Chrome, but don’t install it naked! Make sure to add:

1. Adblock — to block annoying ads, banners and popup’s.

2. ClicknClean — allows you to designate which cookies to keep and which ones to delete when closing your browser.

3. Ghostery – blocks a ton of tracking cookies — but allowing you to whitelist as well.

0 votes

Rick

Ghostery is good, but Disconnect is even better.

0 votes

null

Adblock? You should thank MakeUseOf by not using it.

0 votes

Cynthia Sebring

Avast Antivirus! Curious as to why you didn’t include an antivirus in this list.

0 votes

On Wong

Kingsoft Office, IrfanView, 7-zip, Dropbox, VLC, Avast!, Foxit, Teamviewer, Chrome.

0 votes

ReadandShare

+1 on Kingsoft Office (if like most people you don’t use database).

Compared to the behemoth that is Libreoffice — which opens up even slower than the beast that is Microsoft Office — KO is smaller, much faster, and more renders more faithfully to MS formats than Libreoffice. I switched to KO after more than a year of using LO exclusively.

For those with ‘modest’ word / spreadsheet needs, I really believe KO is the best free alternative out there presently. The FREE Android version is also tops!

0 votes

Adly Asraf

Nice collection.

0 votes

Daniel J. Karas

I’m going to have to try out Irfanview. It’s annoying to me to be browsing a folder of media files in different formats, and having to use a variety of helper apps to figure out just what they are (or if I want to keep them handy and not in backup)

0 votes

PseudoCC

A couple things

1. OO (it’s okay, MS Office Suites are superior)
2. Spotify (I think they still use 128kbps.. it’s not a great service)
3. 7-Zip (When was the last time you saw a .7zip archive? WinRAR is best)
4. Evernote (I tried to get into this multiple times, but the GUI and compatibility is just lackluster or tries to do too much. I get by with Pocket/Google Keep/other apps.

I agree with everything else though, and would probably ad a few more.

0 votes

Paul Prakash J

I still stick with Firefox instead of Chrome. 7-Zip, CCleaner, Dropbox/Google Drive are few others I installed first.

0 votes

??????

I honestly wouldnt pick most of these.

1/ Dropbox… with the space/price lowering every year and the big e-mail providers I’d rather use quality encrypting software to send files over net. 8-15 megs are quite enough for the most things I’d not take on flash drive.
2/ Evernote… nope – requires constant I-net connection and I don’t like that!
3/ Open office… Microsoft have released a viewer for most of their apps, so I wont really bother instaling it. If I absolutely have to work at home I prefer Remote Desktop over VPN.
4/ 7Zip… nope… really bugy and user unfriendly, and WinRAR is shareware, but it doesnt stop to function after the trial period is over. There is alot of really good freeware archivers out there – like IZarch for instance.
5/ Malaware bytes… I have nothing against that software. It’s just I don’t need it as I think the best protection from viruses is personal awareness. Be smart about it and you will never have problems.
6/ CCcleaner… I really don’t like that. It doesnt clean most problems, but it does clean most personal preferences on “non-standart” applications. Yes, thats mostly the apps fault, but the resoult is the same…
7/ STEAM… same as Skype. It’s so heavy that adds typicaly like 3-8 seconds loging time on system startup on old PC’s. Not my favourite…

0 votes

Rick

Evernote doesn’t require a constant internet connection – at least not in the sense that you need it to access your notes. They are all stored locally on your PC and always accessible. The connection is only needed for synching to the cloud – a very useful feature of course! But you can have all the local, unsynched notebooks and notes you like.

0 votes

IceWolf

I agree with most of the applications on this list, but I chose Daum Pot Player instead of VLC. VLC used to be a lightweight media player but lately its getting bigger and bigger (and i receive some errors in the latest version I’ve tried). Also, Pot Player has a native 64bit version. I agree with Dave here – Teamviewer should be on this list. And, although I use Dropbox with my phone camera upload (very useful) I noticed the new player on this field – Copy.com – it’s give you 5GB online space for each referral (I have 128GB now).

0 votes

Charlie Brown

To Craig,
I mean this only in the most constructive way. Make Use of is a place I turn to, when I’m interested in learning something new. Yet your list is plain vanilla (I had to double check the date written). Not that each program listed isn’t good, they are (I’ve used all but Steam). I guess MUO has set the bar high & I expected at least something fresh. I learned much more from the posted comment by ANKUR T’s despite it’s lack of tact. I mean this due to the ‘all caps’, not due to imperfect writing. If I had to guess I’d say English is not this person’s native tongue and I applaud Ankur for being confident enough to open himself up to criticism while bringing some fresh ideas to the table. If one has a new PC I’d think they would want to install the best, lightest and most secure available to date – not the status quo. Also with the NSA’s PRISM making headline news, I would think more folks would be interested in alternatives to Chrome, Dropbox & any other program that may be involved; I know I am. Just because I don’t have anything to hide in my laundry basket doesn’t mean I am OK with the anyone rooting through my dirty laundry. Lastly, although improved, an alternative to Adobe Acrobat is essential for this list. It is just too cumbersome compared to some very good, light and nimble alternatives that exist. Good list for my parent’s but they wouldn’t be on MUO’s site in the first place. Again, no disrespect I just had greater expectations.

0 votes

zoniweb

Chrome? No, Firefox is still better choice.

Dropbox? I use it just as web-app, I don’t need it installed on my PC.

Spotify? Never tried. I used to use Grooveshark, but in last year or so I use only Foobar2000 with small playlist of favorite online radio stations.

Evernote? Never tried.

OpenOffice? I would prefer LibreOffice + free MS Office Readers.

7-Zip? Agree!

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware? I prefer SuperAntiSpyware “portable”.

Steam? Never tried, but I like small portable games from time to time.

VLC Media Player? Well, not bad, but my choice is PotPlayer (or MPC-HC).

Paint.NET? Agree!

0 votes

zoniweb

IrfanView? Better is XnView.

CCleaner? Agree!

0 votes

Neil

Before any of them, I install Keepass 2. How else can I remember all my passwords? Otherwise, Spotify is not too good if you live in a rural area; OpenOffice is too bloated and slow; still use Firefox as my main browser as Chrome doesn’t have all the add-ons I use.

0 votes

Guy McDowell

I totally agree with all of your recommendations. Chrome only became my browser of choice in the last 6 months or so – love it. Except on my older laptop. It’s a resource hog there for some reason.

Gotta try Spotify and Steam though. Haven’t yet. I’ve been told many times to check them out though. Thanks!

1 votes

Olivertwist

As for chrome – it may be powerful/fast but why rush into things when security is more important!
1. Firefox – Addons are powerful

Security and Privacy Essentials:
ADP (AdBlock Plus) – Blocks: Popups, Webpage Banners/ads – This is 1 powerful and gamechanging addon
Ghostery – Tracker and cross-site scripts control.
No Script – Javascript/flash media control.

Other essential utilities:
Ant Video Downloader – convert streaming media to your HDD for future viewing.
Session Manager – Save your Current Browser session for future viewing! (saves much time and hassle)
Chatzilla – MIRC Chatroom emulation
Epub Reader – Drag E-books into your browser – very useful.
Spellchecker – Probably my most utilised add-on but least thought about.

2. Dropbox – Does the job.

3. Pandora – Streaming music, learns what you like and dislike. Randomly selects music depending on what you liked/disliked previously. Very good for finding new music!

4. Sticky-notes – Comes with Windows 7.

5. MS Office – Unfortunately this is not free but is the best in this category.

6. 7-zip is good – free and less annoying than winrar.

7. Malwarebytes is good. My main anti-malware utility is Superantispyware: Many useful utilities for system recovery & malwarebytes for alternative scanner.

8. CCleaner is fine.

9. Steam – Has it’s technical problems but is still quite useful as a gamer platform.

10. VLC – a cornerstone of modern PCs.

11. Paint.net – awesome for a free image editor.

Other game changers:

http://www.ninite.com – quick installer of popular ulities. Downloads and automatic install with default settings all at once.

5

0 votes

macwitty

What I miss is a password manager – otherwise a very good list to start from

0 votes

Steve K

I’m surprised that Decrapifier was not on the list it will, uninstall many of the common trialware and annoyances found on many of the PCs from big name OEMs. You get to see the list of items it detects and then choose what will be removed automatically.

http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/

0 votes

MikeVertx

good post, covered the basic installs for every new pc spot on

0 votes

Rickey Shortt

I’m sure this won’t work for a lot of people, and I myself disregarded it for the longest time – but I’m finding more and more that between Evernote and Google Docs (which is accessible offline in Chrome), I really have little or no use for either Open Office or Libre Office. I’m not yet comfortable with uninstalling the latter, but at some point I may decide to do so, and only retain a portable version for the increasingly rare instances I need it. I just haven’t decided if that should be in a local “portable apps” folder, in a Dropbox folder, or on a thumb drive. I have noticed with certain portable apps installed on a thumb drive, that there is some noticeable slowness, probably related to using cheap thumb drives.

1 votes

likefunbutnot

1. Browsers: I install both Firefox and Chrome.
Firefox is better for users who like to keep lots of tabs open and has the incredibly compelling argument of addons.mozilla.org. Chrome’s process model is better for small numbers of tabs, but I continually find that its plugin selection is limited at best.

1a. Adblock Plus with Easylist and Fanboy’s List goes on every browser. IE 9/10 can use tracking list protection to get the same up to date ad blocking lists. (Google “IE TPL Gallery” and go take a look).

1b. Head over to the Mycroft Project to pick up a selection of searches to add. I like making sure all my browsers can search Google, Google Images, Google Shopping, Wikipedia, Amazon and Ebay.

2. I generally do cloud storage with Google Drive and/or Skydrive even though I technically have some ungodly amount of Dropbox space (150GB?), simply because a lot of that space was promotional pricing due to some product I bought. But Skydrive is built in to Windows 8 and Google Drive integrates so well with all of Google’s other offerings that I feel they’re both much better choices.

3. Spotify? Whatever. Don’t care. Music is something everyone has to discover on their own. I do prefer WinAmp for music playback on Windows because it’s very lightweight compared to Media Player or most of the other usual suspects.

4. Evernote? Again, don’t care. If I wasn’t able to assume that every system I build, support or sell will wind up with Microsoft Office I might care. Or I might just make links to the relevant portions of Google Docs. I’d probably lead people away from it just because it’s one more thing they have to sign up for.

5. Openoffice? Nope. No way. Google Docs. MAYBE LibreOffice. There are way too many ways to get Microsoft Office on a computer. Some of them are even legal. Office 2010 Starter (basically Word and Excel with some small UI mods and none of the document sharing features) was available free of charge off Microsoft’s web site for a couple years for example.

6. 7zip. Finally. We agree on something.

7. Malwarebytes is a malware removal tool. It works very well, but it needs to be paired with both an antivirus applications (I suggest Avast’s Free option) and a good set of immunization tools such as Spywareblaster and Spybot’s Immunize function.

8. Irfanview. I like XnView better, but I think Picasa is probably a better overall picture management application for most people and that’s what I choose to install.

9. Ccleaner. I install it. I don’t necessarily tell end users it’s there.

10. Steam. Personally, I don’t like Steam and won’t use it but moreover it wants to autostart with Windows and relatively few people play those sorts of PC games. This is an actively bad idea.

11. VLC. Fine. Personally I like Media Player Classic better but I don’t have strong feelings either way.

12. Paint.Net. Few people need it or would know how to use it. I don’t think it belongs on every computer. I do think it’s incredibly useful otherwise.

What’s missing:

Hijack This. Just put it on the computer.
Crossloop. Something for remote support. Teamviewer also works. Whatever.
SpaceMonger/WinDirStat. Something for examining drive space.
An updated HOSTS file. For more ad blocking. Windows 8 users remember to disable the Windows Defender service to make Windows actually use the Hosts file.
PDF Reader. Firefox and Chrome both have one built in, but Foxit or NitroPDF are both good choices for people who want a stand alone program.
Calibre: Free Ebook management. I don’t think this is all that important, but it’s straightforward install and it does something that I get asked about often enough that I install it on home machines by default.
FormatFactory: Free media conversion. Supports batch operations.
Handbrake: Tiny app for DVD ripping.

0 votes

Andrew B

Besides Chrome Browser I prefer Comodo Dragon Browser.

0 votes

Eli Miron

1. Add Avast free
2. Add Win Patrol free – ESSENTIAL
3. I prefer SugarSync to Dropbox (more free space, more convenient)
4. I prefer Xnview to Irfan view (a matter of habit or taste)

0 votes

Onaje Asheber

Great Apps!

0 votes

TalkingBee

Spotify is very limited (~10 hours cap a month) outside of the USA.

I would also suggest Cloud Antivirus as a free cloud-based virus scanner or if one has money then Webroot.

0 votes

bpcan

I also recommend Avast and always utilize the password feature. I like to couple it with MalwareBytes for a second opinion if I need to hunt for malware, but on a new machine, it should not be necessary.
I prefer Peazip over 7-Zip because of the UI.
PotPlayer has now become my first choice, otherwise I use VLC with a skin.
I also endorse TeamViewer. It is getting better and is free for private use.
My 1st choice browser is IceDragon (Comodo’s version of Firefox) – Like it a lot.

0 votes

Vlado

Dopbox, VLC, 7-Zip – I Agree brilliant apps.
Browser – Firefox!!! (I love it. Much better than Chrome. My personal opinion)
Office – LibreOffice
Batch processing of images – Digital Photo Professional (DPP by Canon)
Image editor – GIMP (No better free softare)
Good resident scanner – Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
And so on…

0 votes

Hisham Sliman

Is ccleaner better than advanced system care or ashampoo-winoptimizer???????????????

0 votes

Christian Ampoloquio

Among the lists only Google Chrome, 7Zip, CCleaner and VLC are the ones i always download whenever i reformat. :) But great suggestion for others. Noted! :)

0 votes

Ehab Mohamed Nasr

Wht is the difference between malware bytes and any anti-virus ?

0 votes

Roberto Beseler

Spotify is not available all over the world. Only 35 countries. Non of them in Southamerika. Please notify if the software is available all over the world or not.

0 votes

Mitzumi Kare

My list is a little different since I only had to do this once. A big thing to note is that I prefer portable apps over anything else so I dump portable apps into dropbox and the install packages into dropbox for the non portable ones as well.

I had a long list of things and explanation but I am going to shorten it. n order:
Dropbox
Chrome
Firefox
FireAlpaca [so I can draw though I have Sai and Photoshop on portable though]
Microsoft Security Essentials
uTorrent
ExtractNow [a lovely small universal file extractor that is really speedy]
Picasa [simple image editing and viewing]
Notepad++ [editing theme code for tumblr]
Skype [I use the portable version since I am far to lazy to fully install it]
Winamp [I prefer foobar2k when on the move but this lets my wirelessly put music on my android phone so that's that]
VLC/Media Player Classic [depends on if I am going to watch anime first]

Anything else like drivers, photoshop brushes, fonts, specialized programs I use come later but those are the ones I MUST have on the computers I work on. I agree and disagree with evernote being on the list: I do use it but I am more partial to the mobile version and in a pinch, the web version before I even think of installing it.

I don’t need a office suite [but I do have MS Office 2010 on portable backup just in case] since I use Google Drive but if I need to type something out, I rather use Windows Live Writer or the Microsoft Works suite instead of Open/Libre Office since I have no experience with the latter.

As much as I want to agree with CCleaner, I think a compuination of WinDirStat and iOBitUninstaller does the job a lot better.

Nice post though. It certainly got me thinking and now I am off to clean out my dropbox folder.

0 votes

etnguyen03

I prefer Firefox instead of Chrome.

I completely agree with Malwarebytes and 7zip.

An alternative for Dropbox is Skydrive (from Microsoft). It gives you 7 GB of storage and you can make office documents from your browser!

0 votes

Emmanuel Asuncion

Good write-up, learned a lot especially with programs posted here that I’ve never heard about.

0 votes

Todd New

Evernote is my GoTo app … everything from Windows to iOS helps me keep info indexed AND instantly available – where & when I need it.

0 votes

Nahum Larios

Great advise, I have not tried steam but I will give it a try.

0 votes

Muhammad Ahmad0

and definitely a skype and pdf viewer like adobe pdf.

0 votes

Teodoro V

How about downloaders? I would recommend iWisoft free video downloader if you visit non-you tube sites.

0 votes

anomoumous

I do not agree with the first few ones
Chrome is to intrusive

Spottify exposes ourselves
All clouds are exposing , dangerous, slow
and better by a few 2 tera drives and be more safe

And the first one I ALWAYS install the first second is

Evernote on my phone is a horror
they send me multiple mssgs about ‘insription’ what I dont want

( what is the most simple notepad for phones today ? )

GHOSTERY.COM
it s preventing over 1000 intruders to place their marks

VLC is great for Slow Motion but their Zoom is lousy
BSPLAYER WAS so much GREATER but no more

Malware is probably OK

What I miss is a good program
which existed under DOS 3 already

It made a kind of catalog
of every stocking device you had

so that I could find easily
on my many DVD’s and memory sticks
where my stuff is

0 votes

Matthew Unwin

Only ones I find essential are
Chrome
7-Zip
VLC
There are many programs that are useful but it depends on what you do. e.g. gamers will get steam

0 votes

Purshotham M

Hello i have bought a new windows 8 pc, I also purchased bitdedender antivirus plus new edition and installed it. So is that enough to secure m pc, do i really need a antimalware software along with this? If so which is the best?

0 votes

Axlelottle

Google chrome is
one big piece of google spyware.

5 seconds after launch it calls home,
then it starts reporting back to google analytic’s
information about every website you visit
and what you did while you were there.

a unique number is created when you first use google chrome
that is used to identify you personally over the internet.

all of this info about you is made available to anybody that requires it.
advertisers mostly use this info to target you personally
with ads based on the type of sites you visit.

Stop using google chrome.

try using
comodo dragon > http://www.comodo.com/home/browsers-toolbars/browser.php
it is a chrome browser without the (legal) google spyware.

Google chrome has far too many other issues to go in to here.
if you got sucked in to using it
you must just love commercial crapware.

.

0 votes

Luis

Chrome? No, Firefox or Opera or Comodo Dragon
OpenOffice is discontinued so replace with Kingsoft Office or LibreOffice
Steam? No
Add avast! or BitDefender Free Edition or MSE
Glary Utilities > CCleaner
All I need is Win7′s Paint, no need Paint.NET
Add Revo
Dropbox only has 2GB while MS SkyDrive has 7GB