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Welcome to 2018. What new year resolutions have you made this year? Hopefully, one of them is to try out some new apps on your Windows operating system. And if you did make that resolution, you’ve come to the right place.
You can find countless amazing Windows apps, many of which are not commonly known. They cover everything from font rendering software to the ability to create tabs in Windows Explorer.
In this article, we’re not going to discuss the usual litany of quality Windows apps. Everyone knows about Photoshop. Instead, this is a list of the best Windows desktop utilities that you might not be aware of.
Windows 10’s font rendering capabilities leave a lot to be desired. Fonts just don’t look as polished on a Windows computer as on a Mac. It’s okay on small text but struggles with larger letters.
MacType is the answer. The app runs several background processes that attach to existing applications and override the font rendering process. The app can run as a regular EXE, but you should run it as a service for best results.
It’s free to download and use, and you can check out all the source code on GitHub.
Download: MacType (Free)
ShareX is another open source app. You can split its functionality into five broad categories: capture, region capture, upload, destination, and productivity.
For each category, there are at least 20 tools and functions. Here are some examples:
- Capture: Scrolling capture, screen recording, webpage capture, add watermark.
- Region capture: Different shapes and multiple annotation tools.
- Upload: URL shortener, upload files, upload folders, upload from Windows context menu.
- Destination: You can upload to many images sites, text sites, and file sites, as well as many URL sharing services.
- Productivity: Screen color picker, QR code creator, image effects, video thumbnailer.
Download: ShareX (Free)
3. Geek Uninstaller
The native Windows uninstaller is underwhelming. It frequently leaves behind files in the registry and the AppData folder, and sometimes it even overlooks software remnants in the Program Files folder.
Geek Installer is a great Windows utility that solves this problem. This powerful, free tool can scrub any trace of an app from your system. It will even work when an app has become corrupted and the Windows uninstaller cannot touch it.
The app boasts a simple and easy-to-use interface and uses color coding for fast app management. It can remove both desktop apps and Windows Store apps, and can even export an HTML file with a complete list of all the apps on your machine.
Download: Geek Uninstaller (Free)
If you keep a lot of notes on your computer, you could use a note management tool like OneNote or Evernote. However, for highly-classified information, they’re probably not suitable.
Instead, you should consider using fSekrit. Visually, it looks like a simple text editor, but it’s a lot more powerful. Any notes you type in the editor are encrypted and password-protected. Therefore, you can use the app to safely carry confidential notes with you on a USB stick or other removable media. You don’t need the parent app to decrypt them.
The app’s approach also means unencrypted notes are never saved on your hard-drive. Even if it falls into the wrong hands, your secrets will be safe.
Download: fSekrit (Free)
How frustrating is it when a file or program is locked without your knowledge? Natively, Windows offers no tools to help you track down the cause.
Even more troublesome, the method of locking files is commonly deployed by malware, ransomware, and other computer viruses.
LockHunter can help. It can unblock and delete files which another app is blocking. It can also copy or rename locked files, as well as kill locking processes, unload DLLs from processes, and remove locking processes from your hard drive.
All files are sent to the Recycle Bin so you can review them before ultimately wiping them from your system.
Download: LockHunter (Free)
Zoiper is a free VoIP softphone. It’s ideal for use with virtual phone numbers.
To get up and running, you will need three things: a computer or smartphone, an internet connection, and either a VoIP provider or a private branch exchange (PBX).
In addition to Windows, the app is also available on Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS, making it the perfect cross-platform VoIP softphone solution.
The Windows version of the app has recently been given an overhaul. It supports the SIP and IAX protocols, and offers call logs, a hold button, and a contact list. The Pro version adds several more features, including video calls and call recording.
Download: Zoiper (Free)
Cast your mind back a decade to when Google Chrome introduced tabbed browsing for the masses. It revolutionized the way we surfed the internet — endless windows in the taskbar became a thing of the past.
So why is Microsoft so steadfast in its refusal to introduce tabbed app management to Windows? Of course, some of the best Windows Explorer alternatives offer the feature, but they’re app specific.
Instead, check out TidyTabs. It lets every single app on your system utilize tabs. For example, you could have one window with three tabs for the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents you’re working on. Or you could run several instances of Notepad and quickly flick between them.
The app can self-determine which apps should have tabs, but you can also be more nuanced. By offering a blacklist and a whitelist, you can override the automatic decisions. It’s one of the most game-changing Windows utilities out there.
The app works on Windows 7, 8, and 10.
Download: TidyTabs (Free)
Which Windows Utilities Will You Try in 2018?
In this article, we’ve introduced you to seven awesome apps that you probably didn’t know about. You should install all of them right now. The enjoyment you get from using Windows will improve.
Have you tried any of the apps we recommended? Which Windows desktop utilities would you add to the list? Which are the must-have apps for 2018?