I review PCs for a living — here are the apps I install on every device

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Since I started reviewing laptops present astatine Digital Trends, I’ve worked connected complete 240 devices. That intends I ever person a instrumentality aliases 2 to use, but nan machines themselves aren’t truthful important. It’s what I tin do pinch them that counts. That’s why I instal a halfway group of applications connected each laptop I group up.

Going done nan process of mounting up a caller laptop respective times a period intends I person a database of applications I scope for. If you’re mounting up a caller PC for nan first time, here’s what you should download.

The basics

The Microsoft Office app connected PC.Microsoft

I constitute for a living, which intends my halfway computing tasks are based connected putting words to insubstantial (so to speak) and conducting a batch of investigation and analysis. I truthful trust connected respective productivity applications to get my activity done.

I settled connected Microsoft products a agelong clip ago, and truthful I presently usage Microsoft 365, which gives maine entree to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. The suite provides a batch much than that, but those are nan apps I usage nan most. Since we’re connected nan taxable of Microsoft, I besides shop my documents successful OneDrive. That provides some backup and syncing crossed nan assortment of devices I use, which see a fewer Windows 11 laptops (the Dell XPS 15 and XPS 13 Plus), an Apple MacBook Pro 14, my Windows 11 desktop, and an iPad Pro 11-inch. Finally, I usage Skype for basal messaging, mostly pinch my family.

For a free alternative, there’s Google’s cloud-based suite, but you tin besides download LibreOffice if you for illustration nan desktop experience. It’s a afloat agency suite akin to Microsoft 365, though it lacks nan centralized, cloud-synced functionality that Microsoft offers.

For web browsing, I usage Microsoft Edge. I cognize that’s not nan astir celebrated choice, but I’ve tried each nan awesome browsers and Edge conscionable feels correct to me. It doesn’t require overmuch configuration connected a caller PC, because it syncs things for illustration extensions automatically.

So, those are nan first apps I instal and configure. Or, rather, astatine slightest connected Windows 11 PCs, I motion successful pinch my Microsoft relationship during nan first setup and that automatically signs maine into nan suite (which is almost ever already installed) and, typically, OneDrive arsenic well. OneNote requires further configuration to unfastened nan files that I usage nan most. It’s a elemental process that’s built into musculus representation by now. On a MacBook and iPad, I request to manually download Microsoft Office, OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype, past configure and motion into each. It’s a much cumbersome process, but not by much.

Enhanced productivity and security

Snagit screenshot showing interface.Digital Trends

Those apps grip nan basics, but location are still a fewer that I instal for enhanced productivity. Some are free, and immoderate are either upfront purchases aliases subscriptions. But each adhd thing that makes maine much productive.

First up is TechSmith’s Snagit. It costs $63, pinch typical pricing for acquisition and government, and it tin beryllium installed connected 2 machines. There’s besides a attraction scheme you tin acquisition that provides free upgrades. The PC limit is thing I request to manage, but otherwise, it’s a awesome instrumentality for grabbing screenshots and performing elemental edits. I hardly usage a fraction of nan apps’ functionality, but I find it amended than Windows 11’s built-in Snipping Tool.

Next is Microsoft Teams. I’m judge to instal nan firm type truthful that I tin link to each applicable accounts. The individual type is already built into Windows 11, but you request nan separate, business type to usage it for work.

In summation to nan awesome apps, location are a fewer utilities that I besides install. I usage TreeSize Free connected Windows 11 to thief maine negociate my alternatively analyzable record structure. I don’t support that galore files connected my MacBook, and truthful I don’t fuss pinch an balanced MacOS utility. This instrumentality sorts done each of your files and provides a high-level overview of really overmuch abstraction everything takes up, which is adjuvant for creating immoderate other retention space.

I besides activity pinch a batch of compressed files, and while Windows 11’s built-in functionality is good for basal Zip files, I for illustration nan features provided by 7-Zip. I usage Archiver 4 connected my MacBook, which is disposable for $20 straight from nan vendor aliases nan App Store. PeaZip is simply a decent, free replacement connected Mac.

I trust connected Windows 11’s default Defender antivirus app and functionality for my basal protection. But, for further bid of mind, I besides instal nan free type of Malwarebytes. It provides different furniture of information against various types of malware, and it’s comparatively unobtrusive.

I admit that I don’t instal thing connected my MacBook aliases iPad, which whitethorn aliases whitethorn not beryllium a smart point depending connected your position connected nan information of Apple’s operating systems. As I’m penning this, I’m reasoning possibly I should look into immoderate benignant of antivirus protection for my Apple devices.

Just for fun

Steam's Big Picture mode showing Baldur's Gate 3.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Of course, I don’t conscionable activity connected my PCs. I besides occasionally play a fewer games, watercourse media, and perceive to a batch of music.

So, Steam and Battle.net are 2 of nan first apps I install. I’m not a immense gamer, but I do play immoderate strategy games for illustration Civilization VI and role-playing games for illustration Diablo IV. I’m besides looking into Baldur’s Gate 3, which is disposable connected Steam.

In Windows 11, nan champion measurement to watercourse video is done nan Edge browser. It supports 4K and precocious move scope (HDR) connected astir services, very specifically successful nan lawsuit of Netflix. I don’t fuss installing immoderate of nan apps for a fixed service. In MacOS, I’ve recovered that Safari provides nan champion experience, though I do usage nan Apple TV+ app, which of people is preinstalled.

If you want a desktop experience, you tin find apps for illustration Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+, and Crunchyroll done nan Microsoft Store.

For music, I’m all-in connected Tidal. It provides nan highest-quality audio of each nan services, and it’s nan only 1 that takes afloat advantage of nan fantabulous Quad DAC (digital-analog converter) successful my LG G8 ThinQ smartphone. The Tidal app useful good connected Windows 11 and MacOS, and it supports nan service’s Max quality. That’s peculiarly bully connected my MacBook Pro 14, which has immoderate of nan champion audio value you’ll find connected a laptop, whether done nan outer speakers aliases nan headphone jack that supports high-impedance headphones.

I’m besides an avid scholar of some fabrication and nonfiction, and I bought into nan Kindle ecosystem years ago. I tin bargain a book from nan Kindle shop and it’s instantly disposable connected each instrumentality I own. Reading progress, bookmarks, highlights, and notes are each synced crossed platforms, making it a seamless reference solution. So, I instal nan Kindle app connected my Windows 11, MacOS, and iOS devices soon aft mounting them up.

Get everything quickly

You tin activity retired nan installers for each of these apps individually, though you tin drawback a batch them automatically through Ninite. This website holds dozens of communal apps you mightiness want to instal connected a caller PC, each of which are free, and allows you to download them successful a azygous click.

In summation to nan apps listed above, present are a fewer you should see downloading pinch Nanite:

  • Discord — all-in-one messaging, video calls, and groups
  • Handbrake — video encoding and transcoding
  • WinDirStat — a retention analyzer
  • GIMP — a free, open-source image editor akin to Photoshop
  • TeamViewer 16 — distant desktop app, which is useful for servicing your PC

And there’s astir apt more

Those are nan apps that travel instantly to mind, but I instal others further down nan roadworthy arsenic nan request arises. And your app usage mightiness beryllium wholly different. If you’re a creator, for example, you mightiness instantly instal a fewer imaginative apps for illustration those disposable successful Adobe’s Creative Cloud. But, hopefully, this database provides immoderate inspiration for apps that you mightiness instal connected your PCs erstwhile you’ve vanished nan setup routine.

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