Windows users who have used Windows in multiple versions know that there are always utilities and apps that can enhance your experience. Last year’s edition included several great ones; this year we have some new additions. Consider installing some or all of these if you have a new system.
A photo manipulation app is something you will need for your new computer. While Adobe Photoshop remains the best in terms of functionality and features, it also means that you will have to pay Adobe on a monthly basis. Affinity Photo’s interface is very similar to Photoshop so beginners shouldn’t be too concerned. Affinity Photo’s developers are constantly adding new functionality.
A good password manager is one of the best ways to prevent identity theft and keep track of all the passwords you have created over the years. There are many good password managers, but 1Password or LastPass are the best. Both will save your passwords and add your ID to your apps automatically. They will also recommend random combinations to keep bad actors guessing. Both can be tried out, and you can choose the one that best suits your needs.
Drive space is limited and can quickly become full. Before you know what, your drive space is being hogged by another application. TreeSize Free, a handy app that you can download for free, is great because it allows you to see exactly what is taking up space. It can tell you things that you may already know, such as how much space your photo collection takes up. In other cases, however, it can reveal some unnecessary, dormant files that, once deleted by you, can free up many gigabytes of space.
LibreOffice Writer can be used to create documents locally if you prefer to work with a local client rather than an online word processor that is less secure. This open-source word processor has evolved over the years to be a highly functional and sophisticated tool that can handle most of the same features as more expensive business applications.
When I was still running Windows 8, some drive-by malware infected me. It wouldn’t allow me to reboot, access my anti-virus software or any executable files. Malwarebytes saved my hard drive and I would have been completely screwed. It was able to start it up, which it did, despite the malware. I ran it twice and it completely removed the malware from my computer. I keep a backup of it and run it once in a while just to be sure. It is one of the best anti-malware tools available. The version that disinfects is also free.
VLC MEDIA PLAYER
VLC Media Player has seen a lot of improvements over the past 20 years, but this open-source media play is still my favorite for a simple, efficient, and very useful Windows player. It’s available for Macs and iPhones as well as Android and Chrome OS. It is simple, efficient, supports a variety of audio and video codecs and just works.
Podcasts and audio entertainment are big right now. Audacity can be used to create audio content or to help you become one. You can record and edit audio in a variety formats, as well as a range of plug-ins. The previews show you the effects that these plug-ins might have. And it’s all completely free.
We recommend Wox again because some things are worth repeating. Wox is a Mac-like launcher for Windows that allows you to quickly search the internet and find files. It is very similar to Alfred for Mac and offers a more powerful search than the built-in Windows Search. Wox supports plug-ins, so you can modify what you search for or translate languages from within the launcher.
Clipmate is a handy utility that has worked well with many Windows versions. It saves and makes available thousands of clipboard saves instead of just the last. Clipmate allows you to edit, format, and share your clipboard saves. Clipmate is still a useful tool that can be used by almost everyone, even though Windows 10 finally allows you to access multiple clipboard saves.