The Best First 10 Apps to Download on Your New PC

Just unboxed a new Windows computer? Congratulations! There‘s nothing quite as exciting as the promise of a fresh start with a speedy new PC.

But before you get carried away downloading every app under the sun, it‘s important to start with a selective set of apps perfectly suited for your needs. The first apps installed often end up being the most useful over time.

In this guide, we‘ll share our recommendations for the 10 best apps to download on a new PC. These apps will help you get the most out of your computer from day one.

1. Google Chrome – The Best Web Browser

Let‘s start with the most essential app for any computer – the web browser. Google Chrome is hands down the best browsing experience available today.

Here‘s why Chrome deserves the top web browser spot on your new computer:

  • Speed: Chrome is optimized for lightning-fast page loading speeds, helping you browse seamlessly.

  • Security: Chrome has leading security features like sandboxing and malware detection integrated to keep your browsing safe.

  • Simplicity: The clean Chrome interface gets out of your way and puts the focus on web pages themselves.

  • Syncing: When you log into Chrome with your Google account, it syncs bookmarks, history, passwords and settings across devices automatically.

  • Extensions: Chrome has the best library of extensions that let you customize your browser for efficiency. Popular picks include ad blockers, Grammarly, and password managers.

Download Chrome for free here:

2. Zoom/Microsoft Teams – Essential Video Calling Apps

Video calling has become an integral part of our work and personal lives. That‘s why a dedicated video conferencing app should be high on your new PC priority list.

For versatile video meetings and calls, we recommend either Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

Zoom is the platform of choice for one-off video calls. The free basic plan supports unlimited 1-on-1 meetings. Plus, Zoom offers robust functionality like screen sharing and virtual backgrounds.

Get Zoom here:

Microsoft Teams is ideal for ongoing collaboration and meetings with teams. Teams enables persistent chat, online document collaboration, and integrates tightly with Microsoft 365 apps like Word, Excel, Sharepoint and more.

Download Teams here:

Can‘t decide? Consider downloading both Zoom and Teams since they excel in complementary scenarios.

3. Microsoft Office/Google Docs – Essential Productivity Apps

A new PC feels a lot less productive without office and document editing tools readily available.

For premium office software, Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) remains the gold standard with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook email and more. While it requires a paid subscription, Microsoft 365 enables seamless document creation and collaboration across your devices.

Get Microsoft 365 here:

If you‘re looking for a free option, Google‘s web-based Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drive apps enable efficient content creation and collaboration. Being able to access your documents from any computer via Drive cloud storage is a huge plus.

Access Google Docs here:

We recommend Microsoft 365 for its deep integration with Windows and top-notch Offline support. But Google Docs remains a very capable free alternative.

4. Avast/AVG – Essential Security Apps

Protecting your shiny new PC investment begins with antivirus software. Windows Defender provides decent enough protection, but third-party antivirus tools like Avast and AVG offer more robust malware detection and removal guarantees. Most also add bonuses like VPNs for securing internet traffic and password managers.

Avast tops our recommendation list for its excellent balance of security prowess and system resource efficiency. With both free and paid tiers packed with goodies, Avast is what your new PC needs to stay safe across web browsing, downloads, networks, emails and more attack vectors.

Download Avast here:

AVG AntiVirus FREE remains a very solid no-cost alternative for guarding against the latest malware threats. While the interface isn‘t as polished as premium suites, core protection against viruses, spyware, ransomware and phishing is covered.

Get AVG here:

We recommend Avast for better value at higher tiers, but AVG AntiVirus FREE can‘t be beaten as a $0 starting point for PC security.

5. f.lux – Protection Against Eye Strain

Staring at bright PC screens in dark rooms can severely strain eyes over time. That‘s where f.lux comes in – it‘s a genius app that automatically adjusts your screen‘s color temperature based on sunset/sunrise timings in your location. This reduces glare from blue light wavelengths to protect your vision.

Key benefits of f.lux:

  • Makes screen viewing more comfortable, especially at night
  • Reduces disruption to sleep cycles caused by blue light
  • Alleviates symptoms of digital eye strain like headaches

Also, unlike alternatives, f.lux lets you customize color temperature, brightness and schedule settings to your liking.

Download f.lux here:

Once installed, f.lux works quietly in the background to lower eye strain. Your eyes will thank you!

6. Dropbox/Google Drive – Online Storage Essentials

An online cloud storage service should absolutely be on your must-have list for a new PC. It serves as your insurance against data loss by backing up important personal and work files securely online.

Top benefits of cloud backup services like Dropbox and Google Drive include:

  • File version history to recover from unintended overwrites
  • Document availability from any device when logged into your account
  • Easy sharing of large files that are impractical to send via email
  • Additional ransomware protection for critical data

Dropbox is incredibly easy to use offer stellar syncing capabilities across devices. Paid Dropbox Plus plans unlock handy features like offline access and file version history extending up to one year.

Get Dropbox here:

Google Drive provides solid free storage as part of a Google account. And documents stored in Drive integrate directly with Google Docs for real-time multi-user collaboration.

Access Google Drive here:

You really can‘t go wrong with either service. Dropbox charges for extra space but has better native desktop integration on Windows. Google Drive ties tightly with ChromeOS and web-based Google Workspace apps.

7. Spotify/Pandora – Music Streaming Must-Haves

A music library can take up a massive chunk of storage space on your PC. That‘s why we strongly recommend installing an online music streaming app like Spotify or Pandora instead of filling up local storage with audio files.

Spotify is the premiere destination for unlimited on-demand access to virtually any song or recording artist. You can stream curated playlists for any genre or mood, listen to customized recommendations, and access exclusive podcasts. Paid Premium plans let you download songs for offline listening.

Get Spotify here:

Pandora pioneered the internet radio model using advanced algorithms to generate stations playing music based on your favorites. The free ad-supported Pandora tier still makes for enjoyable lean-back listening. And Pandora Placements enable discovering new artists and songs effortlessly.

Download the Pandora app here:

Both Spotify and Pandora offer generous free tiers making them easy to try out. Spotify streams the songs you already know and love. And Pandora does the hard work of expanding your musical tastes.

8. Adobe Photoshop/GIMP – Best Photo Editing Apps

Virtually every PC owner ends up needing basic photo editing capabilities at some point. Instead of cobbling together a hodgepodge of niche image tools, we recommend installing a full-featured editing suite like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP upfront.

Adobe Photoshop remains the gold standard for advanced image manipulation – it‘s brimming with masking, layers, filters, drawing tools, batch processing and more. But you need a Creative Cloud plan to use the latest Photoshop releases.

Get Adobe Photoshop here:

Fortunately, the open-source GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) provides a completely free Photoshop-caliber editing experience. While the learning curve is steeper than most consumer apps, GIMP is enormously capable. Don‘t let the eccentric interface and name turn you off – powering through will reveal very sophisticated editing ability rivaling $10/month Photoshop.

Download GIMP here:

The choice comes down to your budget and photo editing needs. Casual users should check out cheaper, easier to use alternatives. But serious hobbyists would do well investing in a Photoshop subscription. For everyone else, GIMP fills the gap nicely as powerful freeware.

9. Calibre – Essential Ebook Library Software

Avid ebook readers almost universally rely on a dedicated ebook library manager to maintain their precious collections. And Calibre stands miles ahead of competitors as the gold standard digital library software.

Here‘s why Calibre deserves a spot on your PC:

  • Supports all mainstream ebook formats along with automatic format conversion
  • Enables transferring ebooks to and from popular third-party reading devices/apps via USB
  • Offers comprehensive ebook cataloging, sorting, tagging, series grouping and more
  • One-click fetching of ebook metadata and covers from internet databases
  • In-app ebook reader supporting reference mode with look-up integration
  • Built-in ebook format conversion and editor
  • Platform agnostic – works seamlessly on Windows, Mac and Linux

Quite simply, Calibre supercharges organizing and reading ebooks on your PC and paired devices. There are no rival non-commercial ebook managers that even come close in terms of functionality. And being 100% free software, Calibre belongs in every bibliophile‘s digital toolbox.

Download Calibre here:

10. Steam – Essential Gaming Platform

Gaming might not be your thing. But if so, Steam is the undisputed mecca of PC gaming. The Steam app gives you access to over 40,000 games spanning every possible genre you can imagine. We‘re talking the latest AAA blockbusters, indie darlings, niche Japanese RPGs – Steam‘s got it all covered.

Besides its gargantuan catalog spanning decades, Steam offers many perks:

  • Frequent discounts on games via sales and bundles
  • Tracking game updates and downloading patches
  • Friend activity feeds and chat
  • Community discussion boards for every game
  • Cloud sync progress across multiple devices
  • Family library sharing of owned games
  • SteamVR support for virtual reality gaming

Quite simply, Steam IS PC gaming. With a free account granting access to the full catalog, every PC gamer should install Steam day one. Casual players benefit from a huge variety of lighter indie titles. And the hardcore get their fix of bleeding-edge graphical showcases.

Get Steam here:

How to Choose Additional Apps Thoughtfully

While we tried covering common needs with our top 10 recommendations, you likely require a few more specialized apps.

Here are three key considerations when selecting extra programs to install on a new PC:

Evaluate true usefulness: Avoid bloating your system with niche apps that see little use just because they seem cool. Prioritize apps aligned with your personal and professional needs.

Check hardware requirements: Heavier apps like multimedia editors require ample processing power, RAM and graphics capability to run well. Verify your system can support them lag-free.

Monitor storage consumption: Consumer drives fill up astonishingly fast these days even without huge game installs. Keep an eye on storage capacity before downloading apps thoughtlessly.

Getting the first batch of apps just right goes a long way toward making a new PC truly yours. We hope our recommendations give you a running start towards increased productivity and entertainment.

Let us know your must-have app picks for a new computer in the comments!

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