If you use a Windows PC, you might have discovered a wide range of apps to improve your experience and boost your computer’s performance. Because there are so many categories and apps available, you may have a hard time finding the best ones for your specific needs. To help you choose, we’ve put together a list of the best Windows apps for every type of user, whether you want better productivity or want to be entertained.
Trying to brush up on your language skills? Need a little bit of help for a language class? Planning on a trip to a foreign country? This free app may be exactly what you need to prepare. It’s a language learning app with tons of gamification, along with plenty of rewards and achievements for a variety of quizzes. The app’s ultra-casual nature means you can use it for minutes at a time and still learn something, so why not give it a try?
Not everyone needs or uses OneDrive, especially given the oft-associated fees. If your business or school prefers Dropbox as the cloud storage solution of choice, well, there’s an app for that. This slick piece of software allows you to view your pictures or videos using a grid, or as a list when dealing with documents. The free-to-use Basic plan gets you 2GB of free storage.
Microsoft To Do
If you don’t already have an app for planning, making lists, and collaborating, then Microsoft To Do is a great option for you. The app lets you boost your productivity and decrease your stress levels. It comes with a focused My Day view, which has a personalized daily planner with suggested tasks. Other cool features include syncing tasks between Outlook email and To Do.
OneNote is a note-taking app designed to integrate completely with the Office 365 system, with excellent support for all levels of note taking. You want a digital binder filled with different notebooks for specific topics? No problem. You want to sketch out some new design ideas? Never been simpler. You can also choose a variety of templates for making lists, brainstorming ideas, and much more. You also can insert web videos or add files.
In addition to content creation, the app supports excellent sharing options for colleagues, and robust collaboration features that include freeform highlighting and annotation.
Skype for Windows
Skype remains one of the most popular chat clients for long-distance communication, and it’s another example of an app that integrates very well with Windows 10. Chances are good that, if you’re already using a video chat service at home or work, you know exactly what to download. But if you haven’t done much video chatting in the past and want to explore this type of communication with friends and family, Skype is a great place to start, and you should give this app a chance.
A version of Skype is already integrated with Windows, but the official desktop app also allows you to share pictures, opt in for translation, and share your screen for troubleshooting purposes.
Microsoft Sticky Notes
This app lets you create digital sticky notes as reminders, then place them on your desktop screen. Of course, the latest version also comes with a few new tools as well, including the ability to pin your stickies to your Start screen, create notes with the Surface Pen, and connect notes to sites or documents for additional information. You even can sync your Sticky Notes across your Windows devices, and view them on the web.
backie — Wallpaper Studio 10
Yes, a wallpaper app can be a productivity app, too — especially when you find out how much time it saves on your 4K background hunt. This app offers top-notch, high-resolution background wallpapers that you can change with a click without depending on sketchy sources online. Wallpapers go up to 8K resolution, and you can apply a lot of different filters to find the wallpaper you want, making this an easy recommendation for new Windows users.
Already have a lot of apps to juggle? Rambox is here to help: It’s an app-management app, or a “workspace browser” that collects all the apps you use in one spot, no matter where they come from. It supports everything from email apps, to chat tools, to calendars, to social media. The dashboard allows you to instantly search for a specific app, gather your communication apps in one spot to always see if there are any new messages, and favorite or pin the apps you use the most.
However, the real fun begins when you start opening and using apps. The browser space allows you to position multiple apps next to each other so they can be open and active at the same time, just like traditional browser windows on your computer. You even have the ability to create custom apps for the tasks you frequently have.
Fresh Paint was popular on Windows 8, but it’s even better on Windows 10. The painting application lets you choose from a variety of palettes and activity packs to color in designs or work from the ground up, or you can upload your own art and apply filters or paint in the style of your choice. The software can’t exactly take the place of something like Photoshop — nor should it — but it’s a fun and very useful program in its own right.
Open Live Writer
Prefer a more desktop-oriented program for sculpting your latest blog entry or web page? Open Live Writer is designed to do just that. Inside you can create text, photo, or video posts, then publish them to your site whenever you want. The app also works with WordPress, TypePad, Blogger, and other website builders. It even has a simple interface for tagging and scheduling, so you may end up saving some additional time in the long run.
Want more interesting effects for your photos than the usual apps offer? Before you upload to Instagram, take a look at Fused, which is designed to blend photos into a background and foreground to create different effects. Going into all the ways this can be used would take a long time, but it can make your photos look awesome with the right work. If you like to create your own backgrounds, or just get a thrill out of posting impressive photos, check out what Fused has to offer.
Adobe Photoshop Express
While you may have to pay for access to Adobe’s full suite, there is a free version of Photoshop available for Windows 10. The aptly titled Express gives you limited access to Photoshop’s photo-editing tools, however, allowing for plenty of customized work. It’s a very useful tool if you’re familiar with Photoshop and want to work on some images, but don’t need or want access to the application’s full feature set. Keep in mind that you’ll need an Adobe ID login to make this app work.
Looking for a good app to sketch with on a Windows tablet? Autodesk SketchBook is built to work with the Surface Pen, so as long as you have one you’ll love how this free app enables quick and accurate sketching. It includes unique features like bending the ruler to create organic curves quickly, up to three perspective points that can be set anywhere, versatile vanishing points, and many other tools to enable your work. Professionals and amateurs alike will want it for their mobile work, especially now that it’s available at no cost. It’s also compatible with Microsoft Studio for larger projects.
VLC Media Player
For many users, VLC is an old standby that handles nearly any popular video format you can throw at it. The media player can play pretty much any video file ripped from a common source, including discs and network streaming protocols. If you use a lot of media on your computer, it’s a great addition to your arsenal.
If your computer functions more as an entertainment box than one made for productivity, we suggest downloading the Netflix app so that you can quickly access it directly from your desktop. And now that Netflix syncs across devices — if you start watching something on your computer, for example, you can finish on your Xbox One — these apps are even more versatile. Of course, if you aren’t a Netflix fan, then there are official apps for Hulu and other TV shows as well.
Everyone has their favorite music service, so feel free to substitute whatever app you prefer in here. Pandora has really stepped up with a strong app for both desktop and mobile devices, one that makes it easy to stream your favorite tunes. The app also boasts compatibility with the Xbox One and is generally more Windows-friendly than Spotify.
Since Microsoft is working on converging as much Xbox and Windows gameplay as possible, this app comes with some unique features, like the ability to stream games or movies from an Xbox One to your PC. The app also comes with social and sharing features, meaning you can quickly share game clips or join clubs. It is already built into your Windows 10 PC, and there is no need for an extra download.
You probably don’t need a reminder to download social apps like Facebook, but we still like to mention Instagram’s Windows app, which provides a lot more functionality than a web page. The app isn’t always updated by Facebook, but it does provide basic access to most Instagram features on the iOS or Android versions of the app. That includes access to Instagram Stories and the Instagram Feed, as well as messages and the search feature. It’s a nice desktop companion with quick social media management tools.
If you or your friends use WhatsApp, you deserve this clean desktop version that makes it easy to carry on multiple detailed chats at the same time. The app also offers complete syncing so you can pick up conversations on any other device as needed, without worrying that the conversation isn’t updating properly.
SHAREit is essentially AirDrop for the Windows platform, allowing users to shoot each other photos, music, or videos instantly. It’s designed to use only Wi-Fi data so that no cellular data is wasted, making it a preferred tool to share the latest meme, social media video, or other content with friends who are in the same room. You also can use it professionally to transfer files over hotspots, but that’s not as much as fun. And don’t worry if your friends use different devices — SHAREit is designed to work with Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows, so they should always be able to download it.
News and feeds
Flipboard is a news aggregator designed for tile-based exploration and reading, making it a perfect fit for Windows 10. The program has you create a “magazine” filled with stories you choose, based on the themes and sources that best align with your preferences. Then, the app saves your personalizations for the next time you want to check the news. This curation process saves you the time and energy of sorting through every news story to get to the ones that interest you.
Staying informed is crucial, and you can use Windows 10’s Microsoft News app to keep up with all the news you need. After you’ve downloaded it, you can choose which news outlets and sources you want to receive daily updates from, personalizing your stream of information. Additionally, the team will ensure that you get stories that are accurate and exciting. Whichever news you prioritize, Microsoft News supplies a wide range of topics, reliably sourced, to bring you breaking information on the news that matters most to you. You can even configure notifications for breaking news and sync your preferences across the web and iOS and Android apps. The app works in 20 different countries and collects content from over 3,000 publications.
Dashlane remains one of the most popular password manager apps, thanks to its simple setup and easy-to-use design. As per its job description, Dashlane expects you to store every one of your passwords. The security app can handle any number of passwords you may have from as many sources as you want, offering highly efficient organization and steadfast protection. Additionally, it works with Windows 10.