Applications are the first and foremost things you look for when you get a new device in your hands. Be it Windows 10 or Android 11, applications are the real attraction for any platform. Applications or apps are the channels that prove the usefulness of the operating system(OS) and the hardware, better the functionality of the software better will be the user experience of the device.
Different applications are available for different operating systems. Among operating systems, Windows has the largest market share in terms of operating system(OS) and usage. It is not a coincidence or just popularity but the all-around performance and versatility of the Windows have earned it the topmost position.
Here we have compiled a list of the 20 most popular, trusted and best applications for Windows 10 that are known to work best in the Windows environment. Please note that though most of the applications in the list are free to use, some of them might have paid plans or subscriptions for premium features. We have also listed some alternatives to the listed 20 best applications for Windows 10 to give you a range of choices.
Internet Browser: Google Chrome
The Internet browser is the most common and useful application for almost everyone and is a need for all. Our pick for the best internet browser is none other than Google Chrome, which is a free internet browser application by Google. Internet browsers are not only meant for accessing the internet but they can help with opening .html, .svg and many such files upon a single click.
Although Chrome is the most popular browser in the market with a huge user base, it is not perfect in every term. Chrome is a resource-hungry application that can end up eating a significant amount of memory and processing power of your system. Though this is not a concern for most devices it can be problematic for multitasking on a low-end laptop or PC. If this is the problem you are facing you can try Firefox which is a lightweight and resource-friendly browser.
Security: Windows Defender
Security applications (commonly termed Antivirus) are utility applications that help you keep your system away from malicious or bad codes or files that may harm your data and device health.
There are tons of security applications available in the market and most of them are paid but we prefer the built-in Windows Defender which is the best free option available. For most of the users who spend 80% time in front of a laptop or PC browsing the internet, Windows Defender just works fine and it is a completely free solution from Microsoft (maker of Windows) itself. On top of being free unlike other security applications, it is extremely resource-friendly and bloat-free.
File Compression and Extraction: PeaZip
PeaZip is free to use file extraction and compression tool. It is available for free on both Windows and Linux platforms. File compression is extremely useful for safely archiving files for storing or sharing and PeaZip excels in it. PeaZip comes with an attractive interface that is very similar to the native interface of Windows. Unlike other alternatives like 7-Zip or WinRAR, it does not look aged, PeaZip’s good looking interface makes it very beginner-friendly and clean.
There are a few equally good alternatives for PeaZip like 7-Zip and WinRAR. Our choice among the alternatives is WinRAR for its sleek performance paired with a good user interface.
Privacy: Express VPN
Privacy is extremely important in the 21st century as data is the form of money today. Many companies try to collect user data via their services for better service management and to know user behaviour. But there are many notorious activities from some websites or applications which try to steal your data or personal information for misuse.
The best option in such a scenario is to adopt security at every level. VPNs are a simple and safe enough option to go anonymous on the internet. ExpressVPN is one of the most popular and trusted VPNs that provide excellent all-around privacy on Windows 10.
Download Manager: Free Download Manager
A download manager is something necessary for people who need to download large files simultaneously. Download manager makes you less dependent on browsers for managing downloads and manages to extract good download speed by simultaneously downloading files in parts.
Free Download Manager is a free tool that comes with a good-looking user interface and enhanced download management tools. It is always better to get the details of all your downloads in a single place.
Cloud Storage: Google Drive
Cloud Storage is very common today. Cloud Storage is considered the safest option for storage and backups as the files stored in the cloud can be accessed from any device anywhere in the world.
Google Drive is one of the most popular cloud storage features which comes at no cost for a limited 15 GB storage which is available to every Google account holder. You can always upgrade your storage capacity by purchasing a subscription.
Price: Free | Subscription
Office Suite: Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office Suite is the most popular office suite ever which is used by millions and most business people for managing their work and presentations. From an excellent and user-friendly user interface to unique and eye-catching features, MS Office is the ultimate option if you are into serious business and need to manage documents, sheets, and presentations for your firm.
MS Office is a paid application that comes in different versions for different categories of users. Office for home and students is a one-time buying solution, while Office 365 is a subscription-based service that includes other tools for a business like cloud storage. If you are an occasional office user then you can always use the free web version of office tools like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel or you can use Google Office suite which is completely free.
Price: Subscription | One time Purchase
PDF Reader: Adobe Acrobat Reader
Adobe is the inventor of PDF files for easy portability of documents. Adobe Reader is the industry standard PDF reader and editor which is used by the majority of people for its advanced and feature-rich user interface. Adobe Reader is a free tool if you want to use it for viewing and signing PDF files. There is a separate paid tool by Adobe for creating and editing PDF files.
Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is our top choice when we talk about PDF readers for its sleek and feature-rich user interface. Adobe reader also offers its mobile app for the sync of documents between your PC and mobile device. It has moderate resource usage. Foxit Reader is another good PDF reader which comes totally free.
Price: Free | Subscription
Alternative: Foxit Reader
Text or Code Editor: Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code is an advanced text and code editor which is a free application from Microsoft. It can be very useful for students and frequent note-takers or writers. It has some really essential features like extensions that can go on enhancing your base Visual Studio Code to a full-fledged IDE.
You can simply install an extension for C and start coding C in it, similarly, there are extensions for various programming languages. It is that easy. The coloured and highlighted codes and texts make writing much easier and help identify errors effortlessly. You can browse our guide for how to set up Visual Studio Code for programming.
Media Player: VLC Player
The VLC media player is undoubtedly the best out there in the market. VLC is a completely open-source software which means if you want you can contribute to the development of VLC. Being open-source it is completely free to use with almost every media format compatibility. Be it any kind of media file you will be able to play it on VLC.
VLC is not only for playing media files but there are tons of other features available with VLC like screen recording, trimming videos and playing videos from the network. Our top choice for media players is always VLC for its wide range of capabilities.
Music Streaming: Spotify
If you are a music lover like me then you are probably not unaware of Spotify. Spotify is the best and by now the most popular music streaming application over all platforms. Its cross-platform compatibility and personalized music experience make the music experience smoother. It comes with both free(with ads) and paid versions.
There are many other alternatives to Spotify like iTunes, Gaana and Amazon Prime Music. But our next choice is the Amazon Prime Music because of its updated playlists and Prime Video bundle. It comes free within the bundle of Amazon Prime subscriptions.
Price: Free | Subscription
To-Do List: Microsoft To Do
The To-Do list is very important for scheduled people like office guys and students. To-Do lists always keep us on our toes by alerting us with the deadlines of each pending task or meeting we have. We have always loved the Microsoft To-Do for its clean, sleek and refreshing user interface. Managing tasks with this application is a breeze as it packs in tons of features like alarms for deadlines, lists of tasks and much more.
It has the feature of reminder built-in which won’t let you miss your important task or conference. Microsoft To-Do app is also available on Android and iOS which helps you sync your reminder on your mobile device too.
Conferencing: Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is yet another application from Microsoft. There are many applications in this list from Microsoft because applications from Microsoft offers better compatibility and stability on Windows operating system also the Microsoft’s most applications are really amazing to use and Microsoft Teams is not an exception.
Teams come with every possible feature you can think of in the conference app. It has got dedicated features for classrooms, business conferences, office meetings etc. With those features and options, you really get every possible customization you desire in conferencing app that too for free.
Phone Link: Your Phone
This is a quick built-in app in Windows 10 that can be quite powerful when you use it the right way. If you spend a lot of time in front of your desktop then tracking texts and calls on your smartphone might be annoying sometimes especially if you are into some serious work.
This is where Your Phone app comes in handy, it links your smartphone and Windows device such that whenever a text arrives on your phone, it pops up on your desktop. You can also attend calls using this application, which means zero disturbance and complete focus on important tasks, this is why we love it.
Remote Access: TeamViewer
TeamViewer is one of the most popular applications for remote access. There are many scenarios when you need some technical help from someone who is far away from your desktop, in such scenarios remote access can be really useful. In the current scenarios of COVID-19, it has emerged as a really useful application for technical support for many customer support units.
There are many other benefits of having a remote access application on your device like you can access your device from anywhere you want for anything you need. TeamViewer is a free application for personal use.
Photo Editor: Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard Image editing digital media creation software. Photoshop is currently the best photo editing software in the market. Photoshop is a subscription-based paid application that comes within the Adobe Creative Cloud bundle.
Photoshop is a powerful image editing application that can create anything you can imagine in whatever way you can imagine. The limit is just your imagination on Photoshop. It is also available in its full-fledged form on mobile devices like iPad. There are some free options available as an alternative to Photoshop like GIMP which is almost equally powerful as Photoshop but is totally free and PhotoPea which is free to use web applications very similar to Photoshop.
Video Editor: Filmora 9
Filmora 9 is a beginner-friendly and feature-rich video editor with tons of layouts, effects, animations and output formats. Filmora 9 has become more powerful with the latest update. With its drag and drop feature and flat learning curve, you will be able to use it without looking out for resources or guides explaining how to use the application.
Our top vote goes to Filmora for its cheap subscription price, feature-packed store, tons of effects, regular updates and beginner-friendly user interface. If you are an advanced video editor you can check this article for the best video editors. There are some other free options available too like ShotCut, OpenShot and HitFilm Express but they have a slightly steep learning curve.
Price: Subscription | Lifetime License
Game Library: Steam
Steam is one of the most famous applications among gamers. Steam is basically a store containing thousands of free and paid games which you can download and manage on the Steam platform. Steam also has its own operating system known as SteamOS which is primarily a Linux based operating system dedicated to gaming.
There are many other applications available for games management but Steam has grown very popular with its support for the vast amount of games both free to play and paid games. There are some other popular game stores available like Epic Games Store which provides a game for free to all its users every week.
Alternative: Epic Games Store
Screen Recording and Streaming: OBS Studio
OBS Studio is the best and the most trusted application for screen recording and content streaming for content creators. From a very basic use case to advanced usage, this application is suited to all of them. OBS Studio is not only our top pick but all the popular content streamers and creators use OBS Studio for their purpose. It is one of the most powerful open-source applications in the market.
OBS Studio is known to provide the best quality screen recording for any type of capture. Many popular applications revolve around OBS Studio in terms of features like StreamLabs is an extremely popular streaming application that is used by most of the streamers is built totally upon OBS Studio.
Messaging and Community: Discord
Discord is loved the most by gamers due to its enhanced gaming features and stable connection. It can be a good way of connecting with people online. It can be used to build a community too. Discord platform is now also used by various companies and brands to provide valuable service to their customers for free.
Discord is basically a free tool for average users. For advanced users who really have large servers to maintain require a paid plan for Discord.
Price: Free | Subscription
Please note that there are multiple applications in the above list that come pre-installed with Windows 10. Our motive behind this list of applications is to let our readers know the best performing applications in that category. Many people just ignore built-in applications to use other paid applications which many times provide less value to the use case.
We hope this article helped you choose the best set of applications for your Windows PC or laptop. You might also want to take a look at our guides to the 15 best apps for Android smartphones and the best iOS apps for iPhone and iPad users.
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