You’ve finally built that new rig, after spending months making countless hypothetical builds, and now you’re booting it up for the first time. It actually works. You make it to the desktop without any errors, it’s empty and bare, but full of potential. There’s no junk or bloatware installed, because you rolled up your sleeves and built it yourself. The world is your oyster. It’s time to load up your new PC with software. Here are some essential programs that you should install on your brand new PC, or after you’ve reformatted it for a fresh start.
Essential software for a new PC
Here are a few things you’ll want to get right out of the gates…
- 7-Zip – Gone are the days of annoying pop-ups trying to get you to pay money, 7-Zip is simple, lightweight, and it can handle whatever you give it.
- VLC – Remember when you had to mess around with all different kinds of codecs to try to get videos to play? Now all you’ve got to do is grab the VLC Media Player and you’re set.
- Spotify – If you haven’t imported your music collection yet, you can some tunes happening right away with Spotify or the music streaming service of your choosing.
- WinDirStat – This little program helps you keep track of what’s eating up your storage space. It’s very visual, so you don’t need to go digging through folders. You won’t need this right away with your clean install, but just give it a couple months.
- Malwarebytes – It’s much easier to prevent a virus than to deal with it once you’ve got it. Don’t let the name fool you, Malwarebytes isn’t just for malware, it also does a good job of detecting and removing viruses.
- Ninite – This useful app gives you a huge list of popular and recommended software, and all you’ve got to do is choose each one from a checklist and Ninite will take care of installing them for you. Nearly everything on this list is available through their installer, and much more, so you’ve got plenty of options.
- A web browser: The only time you’re going to use that blue lowercase “e” icon is the first time you open it and use it to download another browser, which will likely be either Chrome or Firefox.
- Steam – Let’s be real, this is why you made this thing in the first place.
What it feels like to use your new battlestation for the first time:
Chat software for PC
- Skype – Whether you’re talking to your dear old Grandma or a client on the other side of the world, Skype is still the standard.
- Trillian – This program connects several other instant messengers today, so between Skype and Trillian you’re pretty much covered across the board. It can include conversations from AIM, Facebook Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ, and more, all in one place.
- Discord – It’s just easy, it’s not necessairly the greatest overall, but everyone’s there and it just works.
Email software for PC
- Thunderbird – If you’d rather have all of your emails in one place on your desktop, instead of logging in and out of numerous webmail accounts, Thunderbird is a great bet.
- Mailbird – This is a light, well-organized alternative to Outlook with a free version available to try. You can customize the layout, and even have your Whatsapp conversations integrated into this email client.
Work and productivity software for PC
- Wunderlist – This is a simple, clean list-making app that has more going on below the hood than it looks like. From simple checklists, to in-depth task-lists with multiple layers, to sharing lists among a team/friends/family, there’s a lot here. You can sync up everything perfect across all of your devices, too.
- Foxit Reader – Just looking for an easy way to view PDF files? If your browser doesn’t have something built-in to read PDF files like Chrome has, Foxit is a great solution.
- LibreOffice – If you don’t want to fall into Microsoft’s subscription trap and end up paying monthly for Office for the rest of your life because you never get around to cancelling it, there are some free options available such as LibreOffice or OpenOffice.
- f.lux – As long as you don’t do a lot of color-sensitive work at night, f.lux will change the tint of your monitor to be easier on your eyes, and has been said to help you fall asleep sooner.
Are there any other categories, or programs that need to be on this list? Do you want to debate which AV software is actually the best? Hit us with your best shot.