After buying a new smartphone, it is obvious that we immediately start personalizing the settings and looking for useful applications to make the best use of the device. It is no different with computers, regardless of whether we are talking about a notebook, a supermarket “ready” or a PC built from scratch. Windows 10 itself offers extensive functionality, but the operating system gains a lot if we take the time to install a few extra applications.
This text can be seen as a guide, but the computer software presented is only a suggestion, as the market offers a wide range of alternatives. We will focus only on Windows 10, because it is the current Microsoft operating system, the requirements of which are optimized for the latest programs and games. At the same time, in Poland it is the most common OS, especially if we buy a notebook or a finished PC in any popular electronics store chain. However, the following suggestions can also be successfully applied to the older Windows 7 and its brothers with the number 8 and 8.1. The macOS and Linux systems in our market are still a niche worth discussing on a completely different occasion.
First Steps And Updates
We assume that the first stage of creating a Microsoft account, connecting to Wi-Fi, etc. is already behind you. If you have bought Windows 10 yourself, this system will only contain basic tools. On the other hand, by purchasing a notebook, for example, its manufacturer could add a whole stack of its own applications to the system. This is the case with, for example, devices from Lenovo or Asus. Some programs designed to handle specific functions, while others can only be quite annoying at times. We recommend that you find out which of them are really useful and unnecessary to uninstall. The fewer background utilities that run with your system, the faster your computer runs, especially if it has modest hardware specs. It is especially worth paying attention to this task and removing the trial version of the applications.
When this stage is behind us, let’s move on to the update. After all, Windows 10 will take the appropriate steps when connected to the network, but it is worth doing some tasks on your own terms. Especially if a PC reset is required or a substantial download of information packages is required when a major new update is released. As of this writing, we are still waiting for the 2004 update to replace Windows 10 version 1909. Periodic patches ensure better security and compatibility with the latest applications. To perform this step, go to the “Settings” tab and then “Update and security”. Only then should you download new drivers. After all, the computer may already have the newest, and any shortcomings Windows will fill by itself. After all, it is not uncommon, for example, to buy a computer for a player, where the graphics card only has a simplified driver in a much older version.
Internet Browsing And Security
On the web, apart from trolls and ill-considered comments in social media, there are many more dangers waiting for you. These are, of course, malware, all kinds of worms, fake websites, and the like. The built-in firewall of Windows 10 is doing quite well, but it’s worth providing it with adequate support. Users of older “Windows”, due to the cessation of updating them by Microsoft, even have to use additional antivirus. Basically, every skilled virus killer has a paid and a free variant. Among the free solutions, we suggest Avast or AVG. When looking for the appropriate version, just enter the word Free next to the program name in the Google search engine.
Safe browsing of the Internet is additionally ensured by an up-to-date browser. Our favorite is Microsoft Edge for Windows 10, which also has compatibility with older versions of Windows, macOS and mobile platforms. In second place, we recommend Opera, which can boast a wide range of functions, as well as a built-in ad blocker. The Opera GX variant aimed at gamers has also introduced to the market – it’s worth trying. However, if you have to or simply prefer to use Google tools on a daily basis, you should reach for the Chrome browser. All these browsers are free solutions, ready to download at any time. Summarizing this part, it should be made clear that only an updated system, an anti-virus at your post and a modern browser will ensure your security. Especially if we invest in our own VPN. This patent is present in Windows 10 or the browser, but its wider range of functionalities will be provided by a paid version of antivirus software or access to an external VPN service. In short, it allows us to mask our presence on the Internet. An extremely useful option when shopping and paying online.
Multimedia And Basic Tools
Windows can do a lot of things on its own, but some functions outside applications do much better with a wider range of options. We recommend 7Zip for unpacking and creating an archive of files. For navigating through folders, as well as convenient access to FTP servers (and more), it is difficult to indicate an alternative to Total Commander. This application is perfect for copying, archiving, searching and deleting data. Adobe Acrobat Reader is a good idea to read PDF files. At the same time, keep in mind that a lot of applications and games may require separate installation of a specific Microsoft Visual package. On the other hand, almost every additional video player, as well as all computer games, need to install DirectX tools. Some applications will take the appropriate steps for us, sometimes Windows 10 will lend a helping hand to guide you step by step, and in the case of older OS we have to take care of some activities on our own.
Let’s move on to the nicer things, namely multimedia. If you want movies and music to play properly on your Windows computer, you should install the K-Lite Codec Pack. It is available in several versions. The Basic variant is enough, but you should also interested in the Standard option. In addition to the most useful codecs, it also has a convenient, lightweight MPC-HC player, madVR renderer and Media Info Lite tool for displaying detailed information about multimedia files. In terms of music, Disyoke has equipped with Groove, while Sideman has Windows Media Player. If you do not like both, we recommend that you take an interest in foobar2000 as an alternative. At the same time, windows does not have the Spotify or Netflix application by default, so you have to get one yourself if you use streaming services. In the case of photos, if the default Windows tools are not enough, then maybe the paid ACDSee will appeal to the imagination, especially of avid photographers.
Apart from entertainment, the computer also used for work. However, in order for this scenario to implemented, you need to equip yourself with office tools. Here the choice is quite diverse. For basic text or spreadsheet editing, you only need the free LibreOffice or OpenOffice, which quite successfully mimics the functionality of Microsoft’s tools. If you do not want to install the software on a computer with the intention of working in the cloud, there are always Google documents and web Office from Microsoft. We will get both free variants of editors launched in the browser after creating a free account with industry giants. But make no mistake, these are tools that provide basic functionality. In the workplace, they may simply not be enough. Basically, to this day, the most popular is full-fledged Microsoft Office, purchased in the form of a lifetime license (version 2016 and 2019) or subscription (version 365). We leave to individual evaluation which option is more suitable for users, but we have no doubts that the future lies with Office 365 in the software as a service model.
Regardless of whether you use the computer for simple activities, gaming or work, it is worth remembering about its maintenance. If you want to clean up your hard drive from previously downloaded things and fix errors in the Windows registry, it is worth reaching for the free and extremely popular Cleaner. It can help especially low-specification computers, where every MHz is worth its weight in gold. As already mentioned, the cleaning and maintenance functions are also provided by some antiviruses in the full version. When it comes to disk defragmentation tools, this task handled quite efficiently by Windows 10 in its scope. Especially if you have focused only on SSD data storage solutions. However, for monitoring PC parameters, we recommend the lightweight HW Monitor, which does not even require installation. By monitoring the temperatures, we will know if it is sometimes time to physically maintain the computer. Finally, for gamers, we suggest you pay attention to Fraps and MSI Afterburner. Both tools allow, for example, to monitor the number of displayed frames per second in games and save the course of the game in the form of video.
The above-mentioned examples are programs that we use ourselves every day at home and in the office. Some free solutions are sufficient, but sometimes it’s worth trying better, more extensive applications. Such an investment pays off in the future.