15 Best Essential Programs for Windows 10 (2020)

Best Essential Windows Programs

This article is about Windows Programs. We are gonna show you 15 essential Windows programs that are good to have on every computer, and hopefully you already have most of these. If you don’t use some of these, well you’ll have some cool new programs to get. And if you do have all of these already, congrats, you must be a computer expert. Now, let’s go through these programs arranged by category to make things simpler.

MEDIA PLAYERS

1. VLC Media Player

2. Media Player Classic

Both of these video players will be able to play almost any type of video or audio file you can possibly imagine, especially VLC. I ‘d say you may be able to get away with only VLC, but I really like Media Player Classic because I’ve noticed it can handle some big video files better sometimes. And also, for some reason, sometimes VLC plays video with a strange washed-out look, where I never had that MPC problem. So I would really consider both of these together on any computer as important.

PRODUCTIVITY

3. Notepad++

I’m going to skip talking about office suite programs like Microsoft Office because that’s just too obvious. Instead, one program I’d consider essential here is Notepad++. It’s basically like Windows Notepad on serious steroids. Not only can you use it for basic notes taking, but it also has support for a basically every coding language, so if you ever have to open up a source code file, or markup language file like XML, it will show it correctly formatted with color coding and everything.

It would take all day to try and go through all the features, but you can probably see just how much more options it has than regular notepad already. It even has support for plugins you can install, so there’s almost no limit to what it can do.

FILE STORAGE

4. Dropbox

Basically, on your computer, Dropbox generates a folder that remains synchronised to the cloud, and you can then synchronise the folder to all of your other computers. It’s easily one of my favourite programmes, not just because getting access to everything I put on there is easy, but also because it acts as a good additional form of backup. They have a free 2 GB storage tier, which is good enough to store a lot of documents and stuff, or for $10 a month, there’s a paid option of 2 terabytes. So if you have some vital files that you absolutely never have to lose like tax return files and things like that, it will be cool to at least have the free version, put all that super important stuff on there.

5. Backblaze

This is one service that I would recommend, but it is not free of charge. It’s $60 a year and completely automatically offers unlimited online backup. And it’s always limitless, because of all the drives on my computer, I have several terabytes backed up. It’s absolutely important to back up your data, so if you don’t back up your data in any way, whether it’s an external drive or some backup service online, you ‘d better do something. All hard drives fail, so you’re playing with fire if you have all your important stuff in just one spot.

MISCELLANEOUS

6. F.LUX

F.lux basically dims and tints your computer screen orange at night, so it should drastically reduce any sleep disruption your computer might normally cause you at night. This is because our brains associate blue wavelengths of light with daytime, so looking at a bright screen can severely disrupt when you’d normally get tired at night. You can choose the strength of the effect, and I basically have it on the stronger settings, which can seem weird at first, but I can almost guarantee you’ll get used to it, and wonder how you ever lived without it.

FILE SHARING LIKE BITTORRENT

7. QBittorrent

It’s essentially the strongest lightweight torrent client at present. It was uTorrent or “micro-torrent” in the past, but that was obviously bought out and stuffed with advertisements, so this is the best new choice. These days, I don’t really download torrents very much, but this is what I use when I download.

FILE COMPRESSION

8. 7-Zip

9. WinRar

Both of these are really good, though I personally prefer WinRAR. They both support all the compressed file containers you’d come across, like rar files, zip files, 7z files, all that, both creating and extracting from them.

7-Zip is totally free, but as you probably know, while WinRAR is technically only a free trial, it lets you keep using it forever even after the ‘trial’ program. Now obviously if you like WinRAR you should really just pay for a license to support it, and yes I actually did pay for WinRAR.

GAMING

10. Discord

These days, the most popular voice and text chat program out there is Discord, so it’s definitely essential. You basically create a server, which is free, and all your friends can join and use for various voice chatting, or sharing links or whatever in the text chat. It’s pretty self explanatory, but it does allow a ton of other features if you have a bigger server.

11. Steam

These days there are lots of other game publishers all trying to create their own game stores like Epic Games Store, Origin from EA, Battle.net from Blizzard. But I think we can all agree that those are all trash and hate when there are exclusive releases on them, because most of us probably have all our games on Steam.

12. OBS

This is most often used for live streaming games you’re playing, but I know only a small fraction of people actually do streaming. The real reason I’d consider this essential is because it’s useful not just for streaming games, but also other uses like screen recording. It is really versatile and lets you do stuff like screen recording while also showing a webcam, which is good for producing informational type videos, presentations, whatever. And also allows so much customization, like adding images, video sources, screen capture sources, all into what you’re recording. Overall, it’s a powerful free program with a ton of uses.

USEFUL UTILITIES

13. O&O ShutUp10

It basically lets you fix all of the annoyances with Windows 10 in once place. You might know that a lot of people hate Windows 10 because of privacy concerns especially, but ShutUp10 gives you a huge list of toggles you can use to disable pretty much anything you’d ever want in terms of privacy within Windows 10. So there’s a list of what’s recommended to disable, and ones you might just want to consider, because it might be a useful feature you actually want to keep on.

14. ShareX

ShareX really easy to share stuff with friends or anyone, whether it’s a screenshot, a file, some text, whatever. You can see when you right click on the taskbar icon you get a huge menu of features, most of which I don’t even use to be honest. But one I like especially is the ability to take a screenshot, then it immediately uploads it to a service you choose, and copies the link to your clipboard, all at once. You can also right click any file, as long as it’s below a certain size, and it will do the same thing just with the file, so you can send that to friends too via the link. There’s also a bunch of other random tools built in like a color picker, ruler, QR code tool, and other stuff.

ANTIVIRUS

15. Windows Defender

Now for free antivirus software, there are actually a decent number of options. But if you know what you’re doing, probably the built in Windows defender is fine enough.