Despite being the most common operating system for desktop and laptop computers, Windows is still far from the most comfortable user experience. It lacks certain built-in applications that would have made daily operations less of a chore. So it’s up to you as a user to grab what you need in the form of essential applications.
These essential applications are small programs that are easy to install and are usually available for free.
Needless to say, they will make your day-to-day relationship with Microsoft Windows smoother and more user-friendly.
There aren’t really many of them based on the typical user’s needs. So you can certainly add more to the list via the comment section so that other users are more aware of these essential applications.
But in any case, consider downloading these essential applications if you don’t have them already. We’ll also explain why you need them and what they do.
If you download a lot of files on the internet, then you will need this application. There’s no shortage of compressed or zipped files on the internet in order to conserve space. This can be anything from game updates to work-related stuff.
And while Windows 11 already has a bundled unzipping tool for compressed files, it might not be able to read certain formats.
That’s why applications like 7-Zip or WinRAR are still the standard for opening and extracting compressed files. They can read and recognize a wide selection of file formats that are commonly or uncommonly used all over the internet.
WinRAR does pester its users with a license prompt, but you can use it as a trial indefinitely.
Streaming sites are the most common form of watching videos now rather than “downloading” them and then watching them offline, but you might still find plenty of uses for VLC. It’s one of the most robust video players in the community with its advanced codices and formats.
There are also numerous controls so you can tweak your viewing experience in ways that streaming sites can’t.
Whichever the case, it’s good to have VLC at the ready even if you don’t need it right away. Even now, Windows 11’s video players are still lacking the intricacy and consideration of media players like VLC.
Internet problems are still prevalent as ever even as we progress further into the 21st century. That’s why a bit of help won’t hurt and if you want some of your ISP-related headaches to be alleviated if only a bit, then TCPOptimizer might just be the best assistant.
It’s a tool that will optimize your internet connection based on its speed. TCP Optimizer can change elements and parameters such as the static IP address, ports, and other settings that can affect the latency and download speed.
And in case you’re afraid of ruining old settings that worked, then you can revert back to them since the application automatically creates a backup template of the settings.
Need to monitor your CPU and GPU temperature? Then there’s no tool more comprehensive or presumably more accurate than HWinfo. It’s a sensor and monitoring application that can tell you the exact or estimated temperatures of most of the components inside your PC.
It can even tell you the temperature of other parts of the GPU such as the memory junction, which other temperature monitoring apps don’t report. The interface is a bit crude and it might be difficult to keep track of things due to the size of the font and the tabulation of the data, but you’ll get used to it in no time.
It’s essential if you think you plan on gaming and squeezing every bit of performance juice you can out of your gaming hardware. Or if you just want to keep tabs on the health of your components, then HWinfo is still a must.
Despite Google Chrome’s popularity, it’s not exactly the most secure or the least invasive out of all the browsers. Besides, Google Chrome is apparently out to kill its adblockers in 2023, so having a backup browser is always a good practice.
For that matter, Firefox is a reliable underdog in the industry (pun not intended). It has a good adblocker and is generally considered by a lot of tech heads to be one of the most secure browsers around.
You might also want to use Firefox instead of Chrome in case you’re seeing some worrying RAM usage while browsing with the latter.
In this day and age, you’re likely facing your computer screen more than you’re reading a book or watching TV. In that case, putting some reminders on your desktop in the form of digital sticky notes is always a handy habit.
Sticky Notes is thankfully available in the Microsoft App Store and might come preinstalled in certain Windows 10 or 11 packages. If not, you can have them in the download links above.
You can customize these notes or even change their colors to your liking or even color-code them based on categories. They’re also a huge help when it comes to organizing your thoughts for work or school.
In most cases, they can be better than Notepad or even Notepad++. Stick Notes tends to crash from time to time though, but it’s nothing that would cause you to lose data.
The search bar for Windows 10 or Windows 11 is not exactly useful for most people. Some might even regard it as a source of frustration, especially for Windows 11’s default search bar since searching for a file in your documents folder will lead to a Bing search instead.
There are ways to fix this and tailor the settings to your liking and needs, but you mostly didn’t have to do this back in Windows 7. So to circumvent this one-step-forward, two-steps-back feature from Microsoft, a lot of users recommend the app called Everything.
It’s an alternative file explorer and search function for Microsoft Windows. And guess what? It actually searches for the file or executable you searched for in your computer instead of recommending Bing entries. It just works!
It puts Microsoft’s search function to shame, even. So save yourself the torment of trying to cope with the Windows 10/11 search and use Everything instead. Everything’s better than what Windows 11 has to offer.