Unpacking a brand new computer from its box, removing the protective plastics, and starting the machine for the first time is for many a source of pleasure, almost childish.
But after configuring your Microsoft account to finally arrive on the Windows desktop, comes the slightly less pleasant moment: that of searching, downloading and installing all the essential software you use on a daily basis.
So that you don’t have to rack your brains anymore, you will find below a non-exhaustive list of essential applications for normal use of a PC. From the web browser to the password manager, through cleaning and maintenance tools, or even office suites, here is all the free software to download and install before you start using your PC.
Surf the Web
Although Windows 10 and Windows 11 natively embed Edge , Microsoft’s web browser, chances are you’ve already gotten used to a third-party browser. If Edge was once one of the worst performing browsers, things have changed a lot. Microsoft has indeed reviewed its copy and developed a new version based on the open source Chromium project, which has radically boosted its performance and introduced a large number of new functions to make the competition blush. Despite this, changing dairies does not happen overnight. If you don’t feel ready to change your habits yet, you can use Edge (at least once), to downloadGoogle Chrome or Mozilla Firefox .
The first, Chrome , developed by Google and which is also based on Chromium, has the advantage of perfectly integrating the entire Google ecosystem. By connecting your account there, you will be able to synchronize all your data, your passwords, your tabs, your bookmarks, and much more, on all the versions of Chrome that you use on your different devices. Those who do not look favorably on Google and its tools known to be sinkholes for personal data can turn to Firefox , the open source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation . You can synchronize all your data there (passwords with Lockwise, favorites, etc.), subscribe to certain paid services (including Firefox VPN), but above all browse the Web without risking compromising your personal data.
Leaving the management of his identifiers and passwords to his web browser is not always the best idea. To protect your sensitive data, it is better to use a third-party password manager, entirely dedicated to this task. Among the existing applications, KeePass , a free and open source password manager , is a tool officially certified by ANSSI, the National Agency for the Security of Computer Systems.
Its strong point? It offers you to store your own password database locally on your computer.
Another option available, and just as effective, is Bitwarden . This manager, again open source , is completely free and is extremely easy to set up to secure your passwords on all your devices . Because, Bitwarden allows you to store them in the cloud , allowing you to synchronize them to find them on all your devices. The software has applications on all platforms: desktop computers, browser extensions, and mobile applications. An excellent point to quickly secure your passwords without difficulty.
Protect, clean and maintain your PC
Let’s be clear, installing and using third-party antivirus software doesn’t make much sense these days. Microsoft Defender, the antivirus that Microsoft has integrated natively into Windows, is more than enough to counter the threat of malware. However, you can complete it with two other tools. The first, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware , whose free version is more than enough, will allow you to strengthen the antivirus analysis of your machine by tracking down and isolating the most recalcitrant malware. Be careful however, during the installation, remember to click on Skip this when the utility offers to install the Malwarebytes Browser Guard browser extension, if you do not want it.
The second, Adwcleaner , is a software known and renowned for its effectiveness in detecting and eradicating adware, malware, toolbars and other hijackers. Very easy to use, it also requires no installation and can be run immediately after being downloaded.
Monitor PC performance
Keeping an eye on your PC’s performance and limiting CPU overheating can save you serious trouble. Real Temp records in real time the temperatures of the different cores that make up your CPU and warns you in the event of abnormally high values. SpeedFan acts directly on the speed of your computer’s fans. Onboard temperature sensors alert you when the CPU is overheating, letting you manually manage the intensity of the ventilation. Intel Power Gadget monitors all components of machines equipped with an Intel Core processor. You keep a constant eye on the general state of the CPU, the power consumption or the frequency of use of the processor.
Need a reliable alternative to Office? Opt without hesitation for LibreOffice , a complete free office suite that integrates several software, including an essential word processor, a spreadsheet compatible with Excel spreadsheets, a PowerPoint-type presentation tool, a database module equivalent to Access , a Publisher-like drawing tool and math equation editor. If you have a Microsoft account, you can find some tools from the Office suite online. In addition to the Outlook email service, Office Online lets you use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote for free from any browser. You access your work from anywhere since the files created are saved in your OneDrive space.
Cropping an image, removing red eyes, improving the brightness of an underexposed shot, here are some fairly simple changes to make, provided you have the right tools. Reliable and accessible to all, PhotoFiltre and Paint.NET integrate all the brushes, filters, effects necessary to improve failed shots.
Advanced users turn instead to GIMP , a powerful graphic design and image editing software. In addition to the traditional editing modules, the open source program embeds many tools that are generally emblematic of professional solutions such as Photoshop. You can thus carry out the simplest retouching as well as the most elaborate photomontages.
Compress and decompress files
Reduce file size or extract documents: this is the mission of 7-Zip . This data compression and decompression utility is open source and allows you to manipulate file archives in the most popular formats such as ZIP or RAR. Another possible choice to manage your compressed files, Bandizip . This ripping tool supports most common formats, recovers cut archives and supports drag and drop.
If the two previous utilities did not convince you, PeaZip should be able to meet your expectations. The program supports the extraction of more than 150 rare or popular formats, supports split compressed files and manages encrypted archives.
Save your documents online
It’s hard to miss Dropbox , one of the leaders in online file backup. The service offers 2GB of storage space for free to sync folders stored on your PC. An ideal solution to find your lost data in the event of a crash of your hard drive.