Although, different people working in different fields, will need different set of software for their daily operations, there are however, some few basic applications that everyone should have installed on their computers. But, before we begin, let me talk a little on, the types of computer software we have today.
Types of Computer Software:
There are basically, two types of software on computer systems;
- System software: This is the most important software on your computer (laptop or desktop) because, they manage/run your computer’s memory, processes, and all other software and hardware. Hence, they come pre-installed on your machine, by the manufacturer of your device. An example of System software is, Operating system (OS). Examples of operating systems are; Windows OS (by Microsoft), Macintosh OS (by Apple inc.), and Linux OS.
- Application Software: These are programs or software designed to perform a group of coordinated functions, tasks, or activities for the benefit of the user. They are mostly 3rd party apps, and virtually anyone with a coding ability, can create one (at least, my younger brother does). Some examples of application software are; Spreadsheets, web browsers, photo editors, etc.
New computers normally come with crapware. Crapware are application software pre-installed on your machine by the manufacturers, and may or may not be of any use to you. However, to fully enjoy your device, there are some important applications you simply can’t do without. I will be talking on 31 of such.
Note: Some software companies are converting their software into online tools. This is because, unlike offline apps, software hosted online are always (automatically) updated in real-time.
For this reason, some of the applications listed in this post, may not necessarily be downloadable.
1. Web Browser(s):
These are applications that allow users to surf the web (internet). Though Windows laptops come pre-installed with ‘Internet Explorer (IE)’, I would recommend you installing ‘Google Chrome’ and/or ‘Mozilla Firefox’.
This is because, Internet Explorer is quite porous. Spyware, junkware and malicious programs normally infiltrate IE. Chrome and Mozilla Firefox however, were built with the security of the user in mind. They will block any suspicious website or app from installing unsolicited and injurious programs. This is not to say that, Chrome or Firefox are 100% free from attack though.
Another advantage of Chrome and Firefox over Internet Explorer is, the sea of add-ons and plugins available for them. These tools will make your browsing experience sweet and less stressful.
2. Word Processors:
Examples of word processors are; Microsoft Office Word and OpenOffice.
In the past, Windows laptops always came pre-installed with MS word and the other Microsoft Packages. However, I noticed that these days, newer laptop models only come with trial versions of the new Microsoft Office 365. To use it fully, one is expected to pay.
In that case, if you are unable to purchase the new Microsoft Office Word 365 (via internet purchase), you could always collect the raw file of Microsoft word 2007, 2010 or 2013 from a friend, or buy the physical program disc to install.
Once you install it, every other Microsoft Office Product (Microsoft Power Point, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, OneNote) should also be installed (if you select/tick them during installation.)
Anti-virus programs are designed to, detect and destroy computer viruses.
Examples of anti-virus programs are; McAfee anti-virus (usually pre-installed). However, I would recommend, Avast, AVG, Avira or Norton AV. You usually get a trial version for 30 days. After that period, you could either, buy the Premium version or, get a cracked version.
Feel free to suggest some other anti-virus programs that you use (in the comment section).
4. Registry CleanUp Tune-Up Utilities | System Diagnostics Tool:
The computer registry, is the central database that contains all of the necessary information about your software, hardware, preferences, OS, and more.
Cleaning your System’s registry, is an important part of overall PC maintenance. TuneUp utilities, help to manage, maintain, optimize, configure and troubleshoot a computer system.
‘CCleaner’ and ‘Comodo System Utilities’, are examples of Registry Clean-up programs.
5. Video Player:
One of the main activities for which most people use their computers to do is, watch videos. You need a Video player that will give you optimal picture and audio quality.
VLC is the most popular video player. Other good video players are, KMPlayer, GOM Media Player, DivX Player and RealPlayer.
6. Music Player:
If you are like me, you cannot go a single day without playing some music from your device. Even though video players can also play audio files, it is advisable to install a dedicated music player, to fully understand the meaning of, “music is the food of the soul”!
My recommendations are; MusicBee, Winamp, MediaMonkey and Foobar2000.
7. Flash Player:
Flash players are web browser plugins that can also be supported on some mobile devices (especially smartphones). Without flash players, you cannot view multimedia, execute rich internet applications or stream video/audio. Adobe flash player is the major flash player available today. Go ahead and suggest other ones you may know of.
8. Photo Editor:
A time will come, when you will need a Photo editor. Whether to do simple things like, add text to an image, crop an image, or complex things like, adding yourself to a 1960s photo (as if you were really there), photo editors are very important tools to have around.
Examples of photo editors are; GNU, GIMP, PhotoCut, Super Refocus, and Adobe Photoshop. Of all these photo editors, Adobe Photoshop is the best! But unfortunately, it is also the hardest to master.
9. Computer-Aided Graphics Design Software:
You don’t have to be a seasoned Graphics designer to have these design tools on your device. Within 2 days of using a graphics design software.
Some example of graphics design tools are; Microsoft paint, So Think Logo Maker Pro, Corel Draw, Autodesk inventor, Auto-CAD, Adobe Illustrator. Microsoft paint is a bitmap based software, but it is easy to use. Though an underrated piece of software, MS paint can be used to create some unbelievable work.
10. DJ Music Mixing Software:
This is a really fun application to have. Once in a while, you may just be in the mood of adding cool DJ-type effects to the music you are playing. You could also surprise everyone with your scratching skills, at that birthday party.
Examples of such software are; Virtual DJ, Mixxx, Serato DJ, Ableton Live and, Traktor Pro.
11. Ebook Reader:
Electronic book readers (ebooks readers), are software that make it possible to read digital books. A good ebook reader should be able to open multiple formats like; pdf, ePub, Mobi, XPS, DjVu, CHM, Comic Book (CBZ and CBR), etc.
Examples of ebook readers are; Foxit Reader, Adobe Reader, Sumatra PDF reader, and Calibre.
12. Video Chatting Software (Skype):
Web-cam enabled laptop users can get more value from their machine. Skype is the major video chat software I know of.
13. Note-Taking Software (Keynote):
Whenever the light-bulb goes off in your head, you may want to quickly take down your thoughts else, your short-term memory brain-cells will betray you.
Examples of note-taking tools are; Evernote, Resophnotes, Elements, Simplenote (iOS) and KeyNote.
If you are a surfer of the net, you simply cannot do without fast downloaders. They help us download/save our favorite apps, large images, music and videos onto our computer. Here are the best downloading software; IDM, Torrent, Orbit downloader, SaveFrom.Net, NetVideoHunter (Firefox add-on), Total Video Downloader (for Mac), XDM (Xtreme Download Manager).
15. File Converter:
Some applications may only require/recognize certain File formats. Therefore, you will need a file converter to convert any of these file formats whichever way you want.
Known file formats are; png, jpg, jpeg, tiff, gif, bmp, emf, doc, docx, xls, rtf and ppt.
Some file converters can batch-convert a file format into multiple other formats (simultaneously). Online file converters are more popular. Try, http://convertonlinefree.com
16. File Compressor/Decompressor:
Some large files will need to be compressed, in order to send or upload them. In the same vein, the receiver or downloader of the compressed file will have to decompress the archived file.
These are very good file compressers/decompressers; 7-Zip, WinZip, Peazip, and, Zipeg.
17. Gaming Software:
I don’t have much to say about this as I am not a game freak. However, here are some games I plan on having in the not so distant future; Call of Duty, God of War, GTA 5.0, and Minecraft.
Note: Not every computer has the power to execute most modern games. Your system specs and graphics card must be up to par.
Spreadsheets are very important to teachers, bankers, sales people and businesses in general. Examples of spreadsheet programs are; Microsoft Excel, Google Spreadsheets (hosted online), Open Office, and Apple Numbers.
19. Audio Editor (Audacity):
Audacity is the world’s most popular free open source digital audio editor. It is the easiest audio editor to use. Audio editors are used for; recording audio on computers (via a headset or professional microphone), editing audio clips, and adding effects to audio clips etc.
20. YouTube to MP3 Converter:
These software convert video or other audio formats, to mp3. Its a great way to create podcasts or have your favorite music in mp3 format. Good converters are; ChangeToMp3, Total Video Converter Lite (for Mac users), VLC (bet you didn’t know that).
21. Google Drive:
This Software will help you send large files via email (gmail). Gmail only permits 25MB as the limit of the total file size(s) that can be attached, per mail. Say you want to send a movie to a friend, and the size is 50MB or even 800MB, the only way to send such heavy files, is with the help of Google Drive. Download your own Google drive today.
22. Cloud Storage:
Cloud storage is a type of storage of data wherein, data is stored in and accessible from multiple distributed and connected resources that comprise a cloud.
Cloud storage is important for data back-up, archiving and disaster recovery. You can save the entire content of your computer in the “clouds”, then access them from any location in the world (without carrying around your storage devices)! The best cloud storage providers are; Microsoft Cloud, JustCloud, BackBlaze, CrashPlan, Carbonite, iDrive, DropBox, OneDrive, etc.
23. VPN Software:
When using a public Wi-Fi Network, your accounts are at risk! You are advised to get a dedicated IP address (cloaker). It is legal, and a security measure observed by the world’s top companies.
Social networking hits music with Lastfm. It enables you to listen to music, get recommendations, and stream radio tailored to your taste.
25. Video Editor:
Good video editors are; Windows Movie Maker, Adobe Premier Pro, LightWorks, Blender, Final Cut Pro, OpenShot, Sony Vegas, etc.
26. Spyware / Adware Removal Software:
If you are seeing random pop-up ads and redirects within your browser, your security is down! Some malicious add-ons or plugins accompany downloads from questionable sites. Again, Internet Explorer is more susceptible to such attacks. Here are the steps to follow, to rid your browsers, of Junkware/Malware.
27. eBook Creator:
Good ebook creators are; MS word (2010 and 2013), Scrivener, Canva, Creatavist, eBook Maestro Pro, Evernote, PagePlus, Vook, Calibre, Ommwriter, and Blurb.
28. ScreenCast Software:
Screencast-O-matic, Camtasia, Ezvid, CamStudio, Snaps Pro, ScreenFlow, Final Cut Pro, QuickTimeX, Jing, Screenr, etc.
29. Google Earth:
Google earth is a virtual globe, map and geographical information program. It is one fun and must-have piece of miracle. Imagine a program that displays satellite images of varying resolution of the earth’s surface, allowing users to see things like cities and houses (at a”bird’s eye view ” angle)!
You can use this program to get directions; using variables such as, street names, cities and establishment. You can also use google earth to view areas subjected to widespread disasters and, even explore and place location bookmarks on the Moon and Mars.
30. Scientific Calculator:
I use calculator application on my Laptop to calculate my age (I’m that dull). I also use them to calculate complex logarithmic functions and integrations. Examples of such programs are;
Microsoft calculator plus, Microsoft Mathematics, and HEXelon MAX. There’s probably hundreds more! Explore your device’s App stores.
31. Desktop Widgets:
Your desktop should hold the most functional widgets like; Clock and Calender. Also, it would be beautiful to have your Screensaver rotate multiple images in slideshow fashion.
Be sure to use the comment section to suggest other basic computer software I may have missed out. Also, play with the share buttons below.