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new pc applicationsIt’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 The Top 5 Free Media Players for Windows The Top 5 Free Media Players for Windows Strong media player apps always rise to the top and it's not important which one you use. The best media player for you is the one you most enjoy using. We suggest the following... Read More ? 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.

new pc applications

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 RockMelt - The Ultimate Social Media Browser Enters Public Beta RockMelt - The Ultimate Social Media Browser Enters Public Beta After having been available in private beta since November 2010, RockMelt, the social web browser, has finally launched its next phase of public beta testing. Available for both Mac and Windows users, you can now... Read More or Maxthon Maxthon Cloud Browser: A Completely Different Browsing Experience Maxthon Cloud Browser: A Completely Different Browsing Experience Maxthon has come a very long way since originally dubbing themselves as a mere replacement to Internet Explorer. As MyIE Browser, it boasted features like tabbed browsing and mouse gestures. Today, it's much more. You... Read More 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.

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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.

new pc applications list

There are a whole mess of Dropbox alternatives Secure Your Files: 3 Encrypted Dropbox Alternatives Secure Your Files: 3 Encrypted Dropbox Alternatives Dropbox brought cloud-based file synchronization and storage to the masses, but it's been hindered by high-profile security problems. Fortunately, you have another option — an alternative service that secures your files with local encryption and... Read More , 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.


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 Organize And Manage Your Music Collection With MediaMonkey Organize And Manage Your Music Collection With MediaMonkey Read More .

new pc applications list

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, 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.

new pc applications list

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 Have You Forgotten About The Web Interfaces For Dropbox & Evernote? Have You Forgotten About The Web Interfaces For Dropbox & Evernote? If you've even got the least bit of internet savvy, you definitely know of both Dropbox and Evernote. Something that a lot of people don't take into consideration is the fact that each of these... Read More , 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 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.

software for a new computer

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.


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.

software for a new computer

WinZip and WinRAR used to control this area. What’s The Best File Compression Method? MakeUseOf Tests Zip, RAR & More What’s The Best File Compression Method? MakeUseOf Tests Zip, RAR & More File compression is an important and common task users frequently ask of their computers. Reducing a file’s size makes it easier to email or place on a flash drive. It also reduces bandwidth usage and... Read More 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 Free Security Suite for Windows: Microsoft Security Essentials Free Security Suite for Windows: Microsoft Security Essentials Read More 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.

software for a new computer

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 Slimming Down On Your Windows Security Regiment: It Could Help Slimming Down On Your Windows Security Regiment: It Could Help Though they're almost essential, some of the worst offenders in bogging down your Windows machine are actually the applications made to keep your computer safer and faster: those made for security. If you're a MakeUseOf... Read More . 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 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.


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 How To Convert & Resize Images In Bulk How To Convert & Resize Images In Bulk Read More 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.


Piriform puts out fantastic software Piriform's Suite of Tools Puts You In Control Of PC Maintanence [Windows] Piriform's Suite of Tools Puts You In Control Of PC Maintanence [Windows] Individual tools such as CCleaner and Defraggler have received their fair share of attention here at MUO, and deservingly so. As a bigger picture, Piriform (the brains behind those two pieces of software and others)... Read More , and CCleaner is probably their most recognized.


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.


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 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 4 Interesting Games You Can Help Bring To The Steam Platform 4 Interesting Games You Can Help Bring To The Steam Platform Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have shown huge community support towards game-related projects. Online gaming seems as big as it's ever been, and with new MMOs and PC releases around every corner it doesn't seem... Read More , 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.


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

VLC Media Player

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.


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.

new pc applications

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 Using Paint.NET? Make It Even Better With These Great Plugins Using Paint.NET? Make It Even Better With These Great Plugins Have you ever needed to do computer artwork that involved more than simple crops and resizes? For a long time, your only real options were Paintshop Pro and Adobe Photoshop, although the rise of GIMP... Read 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.


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 - Easily Install All Your Favorite Free Apps In One Go Ninite - Easily Install All Your Favorite Free Apps In One Go Read More . 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!

  1. JonoDaGr3at
    February 13, 2015 at 1:52 am

    +VLC Player does work ???? Or am I missing sumit!!!!!!
    Jonodagr3at aka

  2. JonoDaGr3at
    February 13, 2015 at 1:49 am

    You can't fault the outsiders, the dark horse that's never been seen biging it's self up!

    VLC: Video power 2 U & Me!

    CCleaner: Piriform is a absolute gem! System resources for me nothing else but clean honest what it says on da tin bud!
    Sorry but
    WinRAR: the dogs doda's when it comes to packing, compressing & SFX'in mmmmmwwwaaaahhh!
    OneDrive: it's from da same firm as yA O/S peeps! Think about it… free storage upgrades not monthly subscripts "muller muller & more muller" free n easy surprisingly across many platforms 2! Big up Bill gates n crew! Lol

  3. Luis
    September 16, 2013 at 8:49 am

    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

  4. Axlelottle
    September 8, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    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 >
    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.


  5. Purshotham M
    July 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    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?

  6. Matthew Unwin
    June 23, 2013 at 11:45 am

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

  7. anomoumous
    June 23, 2013 at 11:29 am

    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 ? )

    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

  8. Teodoro V
    June 23, 2013 at 10:48 am

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

  9. Muhammad Ahmad0
    June 23, 2013 at 4:00 am

    and definitely a skype and pdf viewer like adobe pdf.

  10. Nahum Larios
    June 22, 2013 at 11:34 pm

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

  11. Todd New
    June 22, 2013 at 6:31 pm

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

  12. Emmanuel Asuncion
    June 22, 2013 at 12:20 am

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

  13. etnguyen03
    June 21, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    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!

  14. Mitzumi Kare
    June 21, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    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:
    FireAlpaca [so I can draw though I have Sai and Photoshop on portable though]
    Microsoft Security Essentials
    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.

  15. Roberto Beseler
    June 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    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.

  16. Ehab Mohamed Nasr
    June 21, 2013 at 6:55 am

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

  17. Christian Ampoloquio
    June 20, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    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! :)

  18. Hisham Sliman
    June 19, 2013 at 4:38 pm

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

  19. Vlado
    June 19, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    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...

  20. bpcan
    June 18, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    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.

  21. TalkingBee
    June 18, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    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.

  22. Onaje Asheber
    June 18, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Great Apps!

  23. Eli Miron
    June 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    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)

  24. Andrew B
    June 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Besides Chrome Browser I prefer Comodo Dragon Browser.

  25. likefunbutnot
    June 18, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    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 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.

  26. Rickey Shortt
    June 18, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    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.

  27. MikeVertx
    June 18, 2013 at 12:38 pm

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

  28. Steve K
    June 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    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.

  29. macwitty
    June 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm

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

  30. Olivertwist
    June 18, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    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. - awesome for a free image editor.

    Other game changers: - quick installer of popular ulities. Downloads and automatic install with default settings all at once.


  31. Guy McDowell
    June 18, 2013 at 11:44 am

    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!

  32. Neil
    June 18, 2013 at 10:30 am

    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.

  33. zoniweb
    June 18, 2013 at 7:11 am

    IrfanView? Better is XnView.

    CCleaner? Agree!

  34. zoniweb
    June 18, 2013 at 7:10 am

    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!

  35. Charlie Brown
    June 18, 2013 at 6:40 am

    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.

  36. IceWolf
    June 18, 2013 at 5:50 am

    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 - - it's give you 5GB online space for each referral (I have 128GB now).

  37. ??????
    June 18, 2013 at 4:35 am

    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...

    • Rick
      June 18, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      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.

  38. Paul Prakash J
    June 18, 2013 at 2:55 am

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

  39. PseudoCC
    June 18, 2013 at 2:54 am

    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.

  40. Daniel J. Karas
    June 18, 2013 at 2:20 am

    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)

  41. Adly Asraf
    June 18, 2013 at 2:20 am

    Nice collection.

  42. On Wong
    June 18, 2013 at 1:20 am

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

    • ReadandShare
      June 18, 2013 at 3:43 am

      +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!

  43. Cynthia Sebring
    June 18, 2013 at 12:58 am

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

  44. ReadandShare
    June 17, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    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.

    • Rick
      June 18, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      Ghostery is good, but Disconnect is even better.

    • null
      June 25, 2013 at 2:24 am

      Adblock? You should thank MakeUseOf by not using it.

  45. Matthew
    June 17, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    HoneyViewer3 > IrfranView

  46. Danny
    June 17, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    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.

    • PseudoCC
      June 18, 2013 at 2:57 am

      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.

  47. Dan
    June 17, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    * 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.

  48. David C
    June 17, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    LibreOffice FTW!

  49. GreatPhones
    June 17, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    No on everything except VLC and possibly steam.

  50. Henk van Setten
    June 17, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    I use most of the software listed here myself, so (unsurprisingly) can agree with the list. I'm especially happy with your mention of, as I find that the great potential of is often underestimated by Gimp users. With some of its easy-to-install plugins, 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...

    • Rick
      June 18, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      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.

  51. wale
    June 17, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    great write up

  52. wale
    June 17, 2013 at 8:32 pm

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

  53. GF
    June 17, 2013 at 8:16 pm

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

  54. Mihai Triboi
    June 17, 2013 at 7:28 pm

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

  55. John Ludlow
    June 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm

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

    • G Thompson
      June 19, 2013 at 8:30 am

      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

      • John Ludlow
        June 19, 2013 at 10:36 am

        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.

  56. Nez
    June 17, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    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 a shot again(been quite a while), I typically use GIMP.

  57. J Enrique F
    June 17, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    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...

    • J Enrique F
      June 17, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      teracopy... it's fast!

  58. AriesWarlock
    June 17, 2013 at 7:18 pm

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

  59. Juan
    June 17, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    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.

  60. Brian Curtis
    June 17, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    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.

  61. casey
    June 17, 2013 at 6:52 pm


    The rest are CRAP!

    • Luis
      September 13, 2013 at 10:47 am

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

    • Casey
      September 13, 2013 at 11:42 am

      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, 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.

    • Kimble
      February 28, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      steam is THE most reliable gaming server next to AMD gaming evolved and there are plenty more on this list that are fantastic, it is a great list and has provided me with a line up of resources for my PC well done. i would have also mentioned a gaming engine for creating games although that isn't a necessary feature for everyone :/

    • Kimble
      February 28, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      aaaaannd is brilliant in coherence to a graphics pad or a bamboo pad and is an alright program for picture editing, although i use the full version of adobe Creative cloud and therefore use Photoshop and illustrator as well as other applications so i realise that doesn't fall under the category of a top line image editor it is pretty damn good, i also pay $600 dollars a year for adobe creative cloud and is free so it isn't exactly the worst choice.

  62. MK
    June 17, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    This is a good list.

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

  63. Luis Flores
    June 17, 2013 at 6:04 pm


  64. ANKUR T
    June 17, 2013 at 5:38 pm


    • Sebastian Hadinata
      June 17, 2013 at 5:52 pm

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

      • Nahum Larios
        June 22, 2013 at 11:39 pm

        I would like an aknowledgement from Craig

    • Sebastian Hadinata
      June 17, 2013 at 5:54 pm

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

    • andrewchay
      July 6, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      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.

    • Luis
      September 13, 2013 at 10:49 am

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

  65. vineed g
    June 17, 2013 at 5:28 pm

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

  66. Rudi Niemand
    June 17, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    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?

    • Jayden
      June 18, 2013 at 5:43 am

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

      • Rudi Niemand
        June 18, 2013 at 8:10 am

        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.

  67. Dave
    June 17, 2013 at 5:16 pm

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

    • Nahum Larios
      June 22, 2013 at 11:35 pm

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

  68. willrun4fun
    June 17, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    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!

    • the0therMike62 .
      June 18, 2013 at 11:01 am

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

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