5 Must-Have Windows Apps

must have windows apps applications programs

[Editor’s Note: This is part four of a five part series of must-have apps.]

I’ve been using Windows since Windows 3.1 and have yet to become a fanboi.

As said before, these are not necessarily Windows only apps, but apps that are must-have for me personally.

1) Chrome

I know, I know — this was also James Cooper’s number one app for the Mac OS, but come on!

When I tried Chrome after it first came out, it was — meh. After Chrome was deeper in its release cycle, I decided to give it a go, again. Since I made the switch, I’ve never looked back (well maybe once). I love the dev tools, speed, and most recently, pinning tabs. I thought about listing TweetDeck in my top five list, since I use it to tweet-out on multiple accounts, but since TweetDeck can run as a Chrome extension, there’s no need to run TweetDeck as a separate app!


2) AVG Free

Let’s face it.

This is Windows.

You’re going to need an anti-virus program, and this is the one to use.

I’ve been using AVG Free for several years, now, and it never stops being awesome. I absolutely love the scan level option, that changes the speed of your scan based on how much processor power you’re using.

Of course, I still run Spybot-SD, SuperAnitSpyware and MalwareBytes.


3) Fireworks

I love using Fireworks.

From the mock-up to the final images, Fireworks is my go-to tool. I love the pixel perfect accuracy.

Since it’s been acquired from Adobe, it’s become even more enjoyable to use for me. Fireworks also offers a lot of other options as it interfaces with Dreamweaver, but those days are long gone. It seems like Fireworks was just part of the Macromedia acquisition to get their hands on the now, very dead Flash. However, Fireworks offers an odd mix of Photoshop and Illustrator elements. If you have Fireworks in your Adobe suite, try mocking-up a site with it, you might be surprised how much you like it.

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4) Cubase

I’ve used Sonic Solutions, ProTools and Steinberg DAW solutions.

Now, I can’t speak to music production, as my audio editing experience is in short and long form radio programming. After 15-plus years of experience, I can say that Steinberg is your fastest editing option for radio (podcast) production. You don’t have to worry about real time mixdowns and editing audio clips is uber fast with the right hot-keys configured.

Quality? It has it. Nuendo was used to mix the LOTR.

I used Nuendo for several years, so using Cubase was the natural choice for me, as Cubase is built on the Nuendo core.

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5) Notepad++

For a while I used PSPad, but after I started using Notepad++, I quickly realized it was superior.

I like how solid it is, but most of all, I love the version control. I can save a file, try it, and still revert back to the pre-saved version. The FTP add-on is nice, but some of the other add-on’s I’ve tried have been a little shaky. I hope to find something better down the road, but for now, Notepad++ remains a must-have for me!


As I look at my own list, I can see I’m not very “hooked” into Windows.

Maybe making the jump to a Mac won’t be painful?

What are your must-have Windows apps?


Eric Dye

I am a blogger, business owner and lover of coffee. I spend most of my time as Programs Director for Open Church, but you'll also find me as a writer and editor for ChurchMag, as well as working on Live Theme and ChurchMag Press. All while enjoying my family and sipping espresso in Italy.

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  1. says

    Avast is another awesome free anti-virus tool. Also, I’ve never run any anti-spybot tool. I’ve always found them to be bloatware and unhelpful, though I do run Defender, but then again, I’m not even sure I need it.

    I’ve been running Avast for over 10 years now ever since it found a virus on my laptop that Norton completely missed. It’s small and unobtrusive and issues free updates often. It also scans webpages for you and will block malicious ads.

    • says

      Gotta run some anti-spyware man. Defender has never done anything for me, meanwhile, my other two cleans junk out all the time.

      I’ll be looking at Avast 😀

  2. says

    I used to use AVG Free, and recommend it to everyone, but the nagging and manual updating required gets annoying, especially for people who aren’t very computer-savvy. I now install Microsoft Security Essentials, which very quietly gets the job done and updates itself without intruding or complaining.

    Also, Notepad++ is good, but my personal favorite is Programmer’s Notepad.

  3. Marek says

    Nice tips, I have used firework very (and I mean “very, very” : ) long time ago, like 5 years, maybe I’ll give it a try ;). And one more interesting thing (for me): PSPad, AVG, Avast, all of them got roots in Czech republic – well, at least on thing we are good at :)

  4. wongpk says

    I prefer Avast free version instead of AVG Free. AVG free updated become soooooo slow on installing and updating 😛 Notepad+ seems good, but I get used to Notepad2…

  5. Stephen Peterson says

    I also recommend Avast. Most of the computers I have worked on that are in pretty bad shape (in terms of virus infections) have been using AVG. AVG just doesn’t seem to have the quick and deep detection methods used in some other programs, and it doesn’t appear to pick up rogue antivirus applications as well. This claim isn’t really based on any measured evidence, but just personal experience.


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