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Top Ten Essential Windows Programs

This list is directed at a general user, some of my favorites are quite specific such as Proteus and Local.

All of these programs are essential in my very humble opinion. One big problem may well be cost so I will offer a few really good free alternatives where possible. 

  1. Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook): I have been using Microsoft Office for decades. It really is the very best available, however, a great free alternative is LibreOffice.

  2. Google Chrome: Google Chrome is my preferred choice. Having said that, Microsoft Edge is now Chromium based and is certainly worth a look. 

  3. Adobe Acrobat Reader: Essential for viewing, printing, and annotating PDF documents, which are a standard format for document sharing. If you do not have this installed, you can download it here. I have an Adobe subscription which gives me the full version of Acrobat which is an amazing program. 

  4. Antivirus Software: Windows security is built in and works very well. However, there are better options available but which one is best probably changes often. I would recommend having a look at AV Test to see what comes out on top. 

  5. VLC Media Player: A versatile media player that supports a wide range of audio and video formats. Again, I have used this for many years and it’s free to use. You can download it here

  6. 7-Zip or WinRAR: These tools are essential for compressing and decompressing files, especially when dealing with large amounts of data or for secure file sharing. I have both installed but usually use 7-zip

  7. Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive: Cloud storage services are essential for backing up important files and accessing them from any device. I use both and both just do the job. 

  8. Adobe Photoshop or GIMP: For image editing and graphic design, Photoshop is my preferred choice and if you can should be yours. However, GIMP is a powerful free alternative.

  9. Notepad++: This is essentially a significantly advanced version of Windows built in text editor, Notepad. Really useful and you can get it here.

  10. Filezilla: Filezilla is a free to use FTP program. It has never let me down and I have never had a reason to buy an alternative. You can get it here.

There are many more essential programs for Windows, a couple of honorable mentions would be Team-viewer and Audacity but that’s the problem with top-ten lists, you are kind of restricted to 10.  

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