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10 Must-Have Windows apps you’ll be glad you installed

10 Must-Have Windows apps you'll be glad you installed
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In 2024, Microsoft has continued to make strides in improving the Windows app ecosystem. There are now more high-quality apps available than ever before, covering a wide range of productivity, creativity, and entertainment needs.

Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who likes to have fun with your computer, there’s sure to be a Windows app out there that can make your life easier or more enjoyable.

In this article, we’ll discuss 11 of the best Windows apps that we’ve found so far in 2024. These apps are all well-designed, easy to use, and offer a variety of features that can help you get the most out of your Windows PC.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Windows apps

Here are the 11 Windows apps you’ll be glad you installed in 2024:

1. Google Chrome

2. Steam

3. VLC

4. Discord

5. Zoom

6. 7-Zip

7. Snagit

8.Windows Clipboard

9. GIMP

10. LibreOffice

1. Google Chrome

Google Chrome windows apps
10 Must-Have Windows apps you'll be glad you installed 1

For many users, Google Chrome is the go-to web browser on Windows, and for good reason. It continues to excel in 2024 with its:

  • Blazing-fast performance: Chrome consistently ranks among the fastest browsers, ensuring smooth navigation and quick page loading.
  • Seamless integration with Google services: If you’re already deep in the Google ecosystem, Chrome’s tight integration with Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and other services adds a layer of convenience.
  • Extensive library of extensions: Customize your browsing experience with countless extensions for productivity, security, entertainment, and more.
  • Cross-platform compatibility: Access your bookmarks, history, and saved passwords across all your devices with Chrome’s multi-platform support.
  • Strong security features: Google regularly updates Chrome with security patches and built-in protection against malware and phishing.

While some users might find Chrome resource-intensive or prefer the privacy focus of alternative browsers, it remains a powerful and popular choice for most Windows users in 2024.

2. Steam

Steam windows apps
10 Must-Have Windows apps you'll be glad you installed 2

For millions of gamers around the world, Steam is more than just a gaming platform; it’s a community, a library, and a portal to countless hours of exhilarating adventures. In 2024, Steam continues to reign supreme as the leading destination for PC gamers, offering an ever-expanding library of titles, robust features, and a vibrant community.

What is Steam?

If you’re new to the world of PC gaming, Steam is a digital distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation. It allows you to browse, purchase, download, and install video games directly onto your computer. Think of it as the Netflix or Spotify for video games, with a massive library spanning various genres, from AAA blockbusters to indie gems.

Why Choose Steam in 2024?

Here are just a few reasons why Steam remains the top choice for PC gamers in 2024:

  • Vast Library of Games: With over 30,000 titles available, you’ll find something for every taste and preference. From the latest releases to beloved classics, Steam’s library is constantly growing, ensuring you never run out of new experiences.
  • Regular Sales and Discounts: Steam is well-known for its frequent sales and discounts, allowing you to snag amazing deals on your favorite games. Seasonal sales like the Summer Sale and Winter Sale offer incredible price drops, while daily and weekly deals provide constant opportunities to expand your library without breaking the bank.
  • Community Features: Steam isn’t just a store; it’s a thriving community of gamers. Connect with friends, join groups, discuss games, and even create your content through the Steam Workshop. This social aspect adds another layer of enjoyment to your gaming experience.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Steam’s interface is easy to navigate, even for newcomers. Find games easily, manage your library, and stay up-to-date with news and updates – all within a user-friendly platform.
  • Cross-Platform Play: While primarily a PC platform, Steam has embraced cross-platform play in select titles. This allows you to connect and play with friends on different devices, expanding your gaming horizons.
  • Controller Support: Many Steam games offer controller support, making them playable with your favorite gamepad. This opens up a wider range of genres and experiences for controller-loving players.
  • Parental Controls: If you have children who use Steam, you can take advantage of parental controls to manage their access to specific games and features, ensuring a safe and appropriate gaming environment.

Is Steam Right for You?

Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or just starting, Steam has something to offer everyone. With its vast library, regular sales, vibrant community, and user-friendly features, it’s no wonder Steam remains the king of PC gaming platforms in 2024. So, if you’re looking for a one-stop shop for all your gaming needs, consider diving into the exciting world of Steam!

3. VLC

VLC windows apps
10 Must-Have Windows apps you'll be glad you installed 3

VLC, the free and open-source media player known for its versatility and power, continues to be a top choice for users in 2024. Whether you’re a casual movie watcher or a tech-savvy media enthusiast, VLC offers a compelling set of features that make it a must-have application.

Why Choose VLC in 2024?

Here are some of the reasons why VLC remains a relevant and valuable media player despite competition from newer options:

  • Plays Almost Anything: VLC boasts exceptional format support, handling virtually all popular audio and video formats, including DVDs, CDs, Blu-rays, and even network streams. No need to install separate codecs – VLC plays it all!
  • Completely Free and Open-Source: Unlike some subscription-based competitors, VLC is entirely free to use and modify. This transparency and affordability make it accessible to everyone.
  • Lightweight and Resource-Efficient: VLC runs smoothly even on older or less powerful computers, making it a great choice for users with limited resources.
  • Highly Customizable: From adjusting playback speed and subtitles to creating playlists and applying filters, VLC offers extensive customization options for tailoring your viewing experience.
  • Cross-Platform Availability: VLC is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and more, allowing you to enjoy your media library on virtually any device.
  • Regular Updates and Security Patches: The VLC development team actively maintains the software, ensuring regular updates and security patches to keep your experience safe and bug-free.
  • Advanced Features: Beyond basic playback, VLC offers advanced features like screen recording, network streaming, and subtitle synchronization, catering to more technical users.

Is VLC Right for You?

If you’re looking for a free, reliable, and versatile media player that won’t bog down your system, VLC is an excellent choice. It’s particularly well-suited for users who:

  • Value affordability and open-source software.
  • Have a diverse media library with various formats.
  • Want a lightweight and resource-efficient player?
  • Appreciate customization options for a personalized experience.
  • Use multiple devices and want a consistent media player across platforms.

VLC’s continued success in 2024 is a testament to its commitment to user needs and its dedication to providing a free, powerful, and accessible media player experience for everyone. So, if you haven’t already, consider giving VLC a try and see why it remains a top contender in the ever-evolving landscape of media players.

4. Discord

Discord windows apps
10 Must-Have Windows apps you'll be glad you installed 4

Discord, once primarily known as a haven for gamers, has steadily evolved into a versatile platform catering to diverse communities in 2024. With its blend of voice chat, text channels, screen sharing, and file sharing capabilities, Discord fosters vibrant online communities for various interests, making it a powerful tool for connection and collaboration.

What is Discord?

Essentially, Discord bridges the gap between traditional chat platforms and social media. It offers:

  • Persistent servers: Communities gather and organize around these persistent servers, each with dedicated text and voice channels for focused discussions.
  • Real-time communication: Voice chat features facilitate live conversations, fostering a sense of camaraderie and immediacy.
  • Text channels: For asynchronous discussions, text channels allow members to connect at their own pace and delve deeper into specific topics.
  • Screen sharing & file sharing: Enhance collaboration and communication by sharing screens and files directly within the platform.
  • Bots & integrations: Extend functionality with custom bots and integrations for music listening, games, polls, and more.

Why Choose Discord in 2024?

Here are some compelling reasons why Discord is thriving in 2024 beyond its gaming roots:

  • Community Building: Create dedicated spaces for your online communities, be it for hobbies, fandoms, study groups, businesses, or simply staying connected with friends.
  • Flexibility & Organization: Organize servers with various channels, roles, and permissions, catering to different discussion and interaction needs.
  • Voice Chat Power: Enjoy crystal-clear voice chat with low latency, ideal for casual conversations, group discussions, and even online events.
  • Open & Inclusive: Public and private servers allow for open community creation and invite-only spaces for more private interactions.
  • Cross-Platform Accessibility: Discord is available on desktop, mobile, and web, ensuring accessibility across devices.
  • Customization & Creativity: Express your community’s identity with custom server themes, emojis, and roles.

Is Discord Right for You?

If you’re looking for a platform to:

  • Build and engage with like-minded communities.
  • Connect with friends in real time through voice chat.
  • Organize discussions and share resources effectively.
  • Foster collaboration and shared interests.
  • Find a sense of belonging and connection online.

Then Discord is worth exploring. Whether you’re a gamer, artist, entrepreneur, student, or simply someone seeking a vibrant online space, Discord offers the tools and potential to connect and thrive in 2024 and beyond.

5. Zoom

Zoom windows
10 Must-Have Windows apps you'll be glad you installed 5

Zoom, the video conferencing platform that exploded in popularity during the pandemic, continues to be a household name in 2024. However, as the world adjusts to a post-pandemic landscape, Zoom faces new challenges and adapts to stay relevant.

What is Zoom?

Zoom is a cloud-based platform that allows for video conferencing, audio conferencing, webinars, and screen sharing. It gained immense popularity during the pandemic as a tool for remote work, education, and social gatherings.

Reasons for Zoom’s Success:

  • User-friendly interface: Simple and intuitive design made it easy for people of all ages and technical abilities to use.
  • Reliable performance: High-quality video and audio calls with low latency ensured smooth communication.
  • Accessibility: Available on various devices and platforms, making it widely accessible.
  • Free tier: A robust free plan offered basic features, attracting individual users and small businesses.

Challenges in 2024:

  • Market saturation: Increased competition from established players like Microsoft Teams and Google Meet, and new entrants like Discord and Clubhouse.
  • Security concerns: Past security vulnerabilities and privacy issues have led to user hesitancy.
  • Feature fatigue: Free tier limitations and paid plans with complex pricing structures might push users to explore alternatives.
  • Hybrid work model: Balancing the need for virtual communication with the increasing desire for in-person interaction.

Zoom’s Adaptations:

  • Expanding features: Introducing features like whiteboard collaboration, breakout rooms, and polling to enhance meeting engagement.
  • Security focus: Emphasizing security improvements and transparency to regain user trust.
  • Free plan enhancements: Offering more features in the free tier to retain individual users.
  • Catering to hybrid work: Integrating with calendar tools and offering solutions for meeting room collaboration.

Is Zoom Right for You in 2024?

Zoom remains a strong choice for:

  • Individuals and small businesses need basic video conferencing features.
  • Users are comfortable with the platform and familiar with its features.
  • Situations requiring large-scale webinars or events.

However, consider alternatives if:

  • You need advanced features for collaboration or integrations.
  • Security and privacy are top concerns.
  • You primarily work in a hybrid environment with dedicated meeting spaces.

Zoom’s continued success hinges on its ability to adapt to changing user needs and address emerging challenges. While facing competition, it still holds a strong position in the video conferencing landscape, but its future depends on its ability to innovate and evolve.

6. 7-Zip

7 Zip windows apps
10 Must-Have Windows apps you'll be glad you installed 6

7-Zip continues to be a powerful and popular choice in 2024. Let’s delve into why this free and open-source software remains a top contender:

What is 7-Zip?

7-Zip is a free and open-source file archiver with exceptional compression capabilities. It allows you to create, extract, and manage archived files in various formats, including its 7z format known for high compression ratios.

Why Choose 7-Zip in 2024?

Here are some compelling reasons why 7-Zip maintains its relevance and user base:

  • Free and Open-Source: Anyone can use and modify the software freely, fostering transparency and trust.
  • High Compression Ratios: 7z format often achieves better compression compared to popular formats like ZIP, saving valuable storage space.
  • Extensive Format Support: Supports a wide range of formats for both packing and unpacking, making it a versatile tool for various file types.
  • Powerful Features: Offers password protection, encryption, self-extracting archives, and more, catering to diverse needs.
  • Lightweight and Resource-Efficient: Runs smoothly even on older or less powerful computers, making it an accessible option.
  • Cross-Platform Availability: Available on Windows, macOS, Linux, and other platforms, ensuring compatibility with your preferred system.
  • Regular Updates and Security Patches: The development team maintains the software actively, addressing bugs and security vulnerabilities promptly.

Is 7-Zip Right for You?

If you’re looking for a:

  • Free and versatile compression tool for various file types.
  • High compression ratio to save storage space.
  • Lightweight and resource-efficient software.
  • Platform-independent solution for different operating systems.

Then 7-Zip is an excellent choice. Whether you’re a casual user managing personal files or a power user dealing with large datasets, 7-Zip offers the features and efficiency to meet your needs.

Beyond its core functionalities, 7-Zip’s open-source nature allows for ongoing community development and plugin creation, further expanding its capabilities and adapting to evolving user needs. This collaborative spirit, coupled with its robust features and free availability, solidifies 7-Zip’s position as a dominant force in the file compression landscape in 2024 and beyond.

7. Snagit

Snagit, by TechSmith, continues to be a popular screen capture and editing tool in 2024, offering a comprehensive set of features for both casual and professional users. Here’s why it remains relevant:

What is Snagit?

Snagit goes beyond basic screenshots, allowing you to:

  • Capture: Take various types of screenshots, including entire screens, regions, windows, scrolling pages, and text selections.
  • Edit: Enhance your captures with annotations, arrows, callouts, shapes, and effects.
  • Share: Easily share your captures via email, social media, cloud storage, or direct links.
  • Organize: Store and manage your captures in a built-in library with search and filtering options.

Why Choose Snagit in 2024?

Here are some key reasons why Snagit continues to be a top choice:

  • Versatility: Captures various screen elements and edits them with diverse tools.
  • User-friendly: The intuitive interface makes it easy for beginners and advanced users alike.
  • Professional output: Create polished and visually appealing screenshots and annotations.
  • Integration: Integrates with TechSmith Cam for screen recordings and TechSmith Relay for collaboration.
  • Productivity features: Enhance workflow with text extraction, templates, and automation tools.
  • Cross-platform support: Available on Windows and macOS, ensuring compatibility with your system.

Is Snagit Right for You?

If you:

  • Take frequent screenshots for documentation, tutorials, or presentations.
  • Need to add annotations or edit your captures for clarity and impact.
  • Value a streamlined workflow and efficient screen capture/editing process.
  • Want a professional-looking output even for simple screenshots?

Then Snagit is worth considering. However, if you just need basic screenshot functionality without extensive editing needs, free alternatives might suffice.

8. Windows Clipboard

The Windows clipboard can be frustratingly limited, storing only one item at a time. Here’s where Ditto Clipboard shines in 2024, offering a powerful and comprehensive solution for managing your copied content.

What is Ditto Clipboard?

Ditto Clipboard is a free and open-source clipboard manager for Windows. It extends the functionality of the standard clipboard by storing multiple history entries (text, images, files, etc.), allowing you to easily access and reuse previously copied items.

Why Choose Ditto Clipboard in 2024?

Here are some key reasons why Ditto Clipboard remains a popular choice:

  • Unlimited clipboard history: Recall and paste any previously copied item, not just the most recent one.
  • Search and filter: Quickly find specific entries within your clipboard history using keywords or filters.
  • Advanced organization: Create categories and custom lists to organize your saved clips effectively.
  • Sync across devices: Synchronize your clipboard history between multiple Windows computers (paid feature).
  • Multiple formats: Supports various data formats like text, images, HTML, and custom formats.
  • Highly customizable: Adjust keyboard shortcuts, hotkeys, and interface preferences to optimize your workflow.
  • Free and open-source: No subscription fees or hidden costs, with the option to contribute to development.

Is Ditto Clipboard Right for You?

If you:

  • Frequently copy and paste text, images, or different data types.
  • Wish to access past clipboard content easily instead of relying on “Ctrl+V”.
  • Want to organize your copied items for efficient retrieval?
  • Appreciate free and open-source software with customization options.

Then Ditto Clipboard is worth trying. It empowers you to leverage the full potential of your clipboard, enhancing your productivity and convenience in 2024.

Beyond the features mentioned, Ditto Clipboard also boasts integrations with other tools, password protection for sensitive data, and portability for use on USB drives. With its robust capabilities and commitment to user needs, Ditto Clipboard remains a top contender in the clipboard manager landscape.

9. GIMP

GIMP windows apps
10 Must-Have Windows apps you'll be glad you installed 7

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free and open-source image editing software popular amongst professionals and hobbyists alike. It boasts a wide range of features, making it a compelling alternative to paid applications like Adobe Photoshop. Here’s a comprehensive review of GIMP in 2024:

Strengths:

  • Free and Open-Source: GIMP’s biggest advantage is its accessibility. Its open-source nature allows for continuous development by a passionate community, leading to frequent updates and new features.
  • Comprehensive Feature Set: GIMP tackles diverse needs, offering tools for photo editing, graphic design, digital painting, animation, and more. This makes it a versatile choice for various types of users.
  • Highly Customizable: Users can personalize GIMP’s interface, keyboard shortcuts, and tools to match their preferences and workflow.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: GIMP runs seamlessly on Windows, macOS, and Linux, offering flexibility for different operating systems.
  • Plugin Ecosystem: A vast library of third-party plugins expands GIMP’s capabilities for specialized tasks, further enhancing its potential.

Weaknesses:

  • Steeper Learning Curve: Compared to user-friendly software like Canva, GIMP has a complex interface and requires more effort to learn.
  • Resource-Intensive: GIMP can be resource-intensive, especially when working with large files or complex tasks. This might not be ideal for older or less powerful computers.
  • Less Intuitive Design: Some features and tools might not be as intuitive as in paid software, requiring users to consult documentation or tutorials.
  • Limited Mobile Support: While there are mobile apps inspired by GIMP, they lack the full feature set and desktop experience.

Overall:

GIMP is a powerful and versatile free image editor that offers exceptional value for its price (free!). However, its learning curve and resource requirements might not be suitable for everyone.

 If you’re a beginner looking for basic editing tools, consider user-friendly options like Canva. But if you’re willing to invest time in learning and want extensive features without paying a subscription fee, GIMP is a fantastic choice.

Here are some additional points to consider:

  • Target Audience: GIMP caters to intermediate and advanced users who are comfortable with learning new software and exploring its functionality.
  • Paid Alternatives: For professional use or users needing specific features not available in GIMP, paid options like Photoshop or Affinity Photo offer more polished experiences and dedicated support.
  • Community and Resources: The active GIMP community provides ample tutorials, forums, and documentation to help users navigate the software and overcome challenges.

10. LibreOffice

LibreOffice
10 Must-Have Windows apps you'll be glad you installed 8

LibreOffice is a free and open-source office suite that has garnered significant attention as a viable alternative to the popular Microsoft Office suite. Let’s delve into its strengths and weaknesses to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you in 2024.

Strengths:

  • Free and Open-Source: The biggest advantage of LibreOffice is its price tag – it’s completely free to use and modify. This makes it an attractive option for individuals, businesses, and educational institutions on a budget.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: LibreOffice runs seamlessly on Windows, macOS, and Linux, ensuring accessibility regardless of your operating system.
  • Feature-Rich: It offers a comprehensive set of applications, including Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (vector graphics), Base (databases), and Math (formula editing). Each application boasts features comparable to their Microsoft Office counterparts.
  • Highly Customizable: You can personalize the interface, toolbars, and keyboard shortcuts to match your preferences and workflow.
  • Large Community and Documentation: A dedicated community provides extensive documentation, tutorials, and forums to support users of all levels.

Weaknesses:

  • Learning Curve: If you’re familiar with Microsoft Office, you might find some differences in the layout and functions of LibreOffice applications, requiring some initial learning.
  • Limited Compatibility: While file formats are generally compatible with Microsoft Office, some advanced features or formatting might not translate perfectly.
  • Less Intuitive Interface: Compared to more polished commercial offerings, some users might find the interface less intuitive or visually appealing.
  • Fewer Add-Ons: While there are add-ons available, the ecosystem isn’t as vast as for paid software, potentially limiting specific functionalities.

Overall:

LibreOffice is a powerful and feature-rich office suite that offers a compelling alternative to paid options, especially for those on a budget. While it requires some initial learning and might not have all the bells and whistles of premium software, its core functionality and active community make it a significant contender.

Here are some additional points to consider:

  • Target Audience: LibreOffice caters well to individuals, students, small businesses, and organizations focused on cost-effectiveness.
  • Paid Alternatives: For larger businesses or users requiring specific features and dedicated support, Microsoft Office or other paid options might be more suitable.
  • Integration and Collaboration: If you frequently collaborate with users on paid platforms, consider potential compatibility issues or use online collaboration tools that work across platforms.
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Editorial Note: We may earn a commission from partner links on Rocket Hornbill. Commissions do not affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.
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