10 Essential Windows Apps For Any PC
Whether you’ve just got a new PC or you’re looking to revamp your existing machine, apps are your gateway to greater efficiency and control. No matter what you’re looking to do – whether that’s managing your personal finances, communicating with friends, or just kicking back after a long day – you can bet there’ll be a Windows 11 app out there that will help you achieve it. Still, many Windows users simply don’t download apps and let their machines languish with the default setup for far too long. Here are 10 essential Windows apps for any PC.
Tracking your spending has never been more important, what with a cost of living crisis looming over many Brits. That’s where apps like Spending Tracker come in. Whether you want to use it to track and maintain your online loans or you’re looking to improve and optimise your spending, an app like this can help you collect all of your disparate financial data and put it in a single place. If you often find yourself wondering where the money went at the end of the month, this app is for you.
Microsoft’s push to make Edge the default browser is admirable given that it consistently outperforms Chrome in many ways, but there are reasons to move away from it in favour of something else. Mozilla Firefox is the browser dark horse of 2022; it’s incredibly fast, efficient, and clean, and there are a wealth of extensions and other add-ons available for it, so you’re not missing out on augmenting your browser either. What’s more, Firefox emphasises privacy and stops many websites from tracking you.
As a free, open-source alternative to Photoshop, GIMP is essential if you want to do any kind of image editing. It used to be the case that GIMP was difficult to learn, but now, with myriad improvements being made to its interface in recent times, it’s almost as inviting as Adobe’s gold standard app. GIMP can pretty much do anything Photoshop can; you can do all the basic stuff like cropping images and adding text, but you can also work in layers and perform a lot of other complex image manipulation tasks.
If you’re looking for audio editing software – whether it’s for a podcast, music you’re working on, or any other purpose – then you really don’t need to look much further than Audacity. There are, of course, more expensive options on the market (which isn’t hard, considering Audacity is free), but they usually offer functionality you probably won’t really need unless you’re a hardcore studio head. There are in-built effects to use, as well as tools like multi-tracking and spectrum analysis.
5. VLC Player
Since Microsoft’s in-built video player app is pretty much useless, the VLC Player has everything you need when it comes to media playback. It’ll work for multiple different file types, and it’s also got a very handy built-in audio-video sync tool, which comes in handy when you’ve got an out-of-sync audio track on a video. This isn’t an editor, though; it’s a fully-featured playback app, and one that lets you use video as live wallpaper, too. Check this out if you’ve ever gotten frustrated with the default Windows playback tool.
Have you ever tried to send an incredibly lengthy message to a friend, only to realise that your phone keyboard just isn’t going to cut it? That’s where WhatsApp Desktop comes in. You can use this desktop client for everyone’s favorite messaging app, allowing you to type messages, copy and paste links from your web browser, and more. All you need to do is scan a QR code with your phone, and you’ll be able to sync your messages with the desktop version of the app.
Ever since Zoom imposed a new 40-minute limit on one-to-one calls as well as group meetings, it’s been harder to justify using it over Microsoft’s own Skype app, which it purchased back in 2011. The fact is that Skype does everything you need Zoom to do; it facilitates speedy, snappy video and audio calls, and it does so without any fuss or limitations. The user interface can be a little uncooperative, but overall, Skype is a perfectly fine VoIP app.
It’s been difficult to find a high-quality, free video editing suite until now, but Shotcut is cornering that market pretty effectively. It does all of the things you would hope a powerful, feature-rich video editor would do; you can slice and splice footage together, add effects, and see a detailed timeline of what your video looks like across its running time. Just make sure you don’t download the Microsoft Store version of the app, which, bizarrely, is not free.
If you’re specifically looking for office software that you download and don’t simply access via your browser, then there really is a no better alternative than LibreOffice. It’s an immensely powerful free office software suite that contains apps to rival both Microsoft and Google’s offerings in this department, and it’s hugely flexible as well. Whether you want a word processor, a slideshow creator, or a spreadsheet manager, LibreOffice will deliver for you.
Last, but not least, we have Spotify, the ubiquitous music streaming app. It’s understandable if your personal politics don’t allow for using Spotify, but it’s also the unfortunate truth that the app is holding a lot of excellent content hostage, mostly Gimlet podcasts like Conviction or Stolen. There are alternatives available, like Amazon Music or Tidal, but for our money, Spotify is still the most feature-rich and user-friendly music streaming app out there right now.