17 Must-Have Software for Windows 11/10/8/7 in 2022

Edited by Ben Jacklin

February 8, 2022

It can be challenging to choose the best new computer software; the internet offers several suggestions for the best paid and free programs to install on a new PC. In this article, you’ll find must-have software for Windows 10 and other versions.

Program

Type of software

OS

Download

Movavi Video SuiteVideo editor, converter, screen recorderWindows 7, 8, and 10
Google ChromeWeb browserWindows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and 11
McAfeeAntivirusWindows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and 11
VLCMultimedia playerWindows 7, 8, and 10
LibreOfficeOffice suiteWindows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10
7-ZipFile archiverWindows 10 and all older Windows versions, including Vista and XP
CCleanerDevice cleanerWindows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10
Spotify and iTunesDigital media streaming servicesWindows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and 11
SteamDigital video game distribution serviceWindows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10
DropBoxCloud storage/file hosting serviceWindows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and 11
BackblazeBackup serviceWindows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and 11
SkypeDigital communication softwareWindows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and 11
MailbirdEmail managing softwareWindows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10
FBReaderMultiplatform ebook readerWindows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and later versions
ShareXScreenshot toolWindows XP, 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and 11
LastPassPassword managerWindows 8, 8.1, 10, and 11
NordVPNVPN serviceWindows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and 11

Best programs to install on a new PC

Type of software: Video editor, converter, screen recorder

Supported OS: Available for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10. It is also supported by Mac OS X 10.13 and higher.

Uses: True to its reputation as an all-in-one video maker, Movavi Video Suite is quite functional. You can create slideshows, screen record, edit videos, convert videos (to AVI, MPEG, WMV, WAV, MP3, etc.) and apply effects and filters on your computer or desktop. The developers' official website includes useful how-to guides to help content creators get accustomed to the program's various features. This makes it useful for college students and beginners just looking to get the hang of video content creation. There’s also the advantage of accessing well over a hundred filters and overlays.

Type of software: Web browser

Supported OS: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10; Mac OS X 10.11 and higher

Uses: This popular browser is intuitive and easy to understand. It offers fast surfing of websites and is believed to possess the largest browser extensions of any web browser. It also comes in handy for users working on multiple devices simultaneously by syncing between devices (mobile phones and tablets, and phones). Add those to a browser with admirable downloading speed, and you have one of the most used web browsers in the world. There is a monthly update of features to improve the efficiency of the browser based on user feedbacks and professional recommendations. The browser hardly crashes and contains impressive features such as checking website credentials, the creation of shortcuts and muting of online video and audio files.

Type of software: Antivirus

Supported OS: Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 11; Mac OS X 10.15 and later (for McAfee 4.11.1 and above), Mac OS X 10.12 – 10.14 (for McAfee 4.9.1 and above), iOS 13 and above

Uses: The best apps have an interface to facilitate effective functioning, and the same could be said for McAfee. Its interface is great and setup is pretty easy. It has a great antivirus scanning and malware detection program. McAfee offers Wi-Fi network protection and has a VPN, and it can cover as many as 10 devices at once.

4. VLC

Type of software: Video player

Supported OS: This video player is widely available on many platforms and is supported by Linux, Microsoft Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit), Windows 8, Windows 10, iOS, and Android. As such, you can use the apps on a device running any of these systems.

Uses: VLC might be described as one of the most popular and recommended media players around because that’s what it's most commonly installed for, but it's more than that. It can open multiple video and audio formats. The VLC media players accept arguably all known formats and conventions to an advanced format is possible due to its versatility. Some compatible formats include AVI/FLV/MPEG/MP3/4/WMA/MOV/FLAC/ etc. In addition to playing, it also can optimize multimedia for your device. Once set up, users of these media players can also use its streaming services, filters, and library of add ons. All of this is present in a package with no ads to distract you.

Type of software: Office suite

Supported OS: This office suite is available on all major operating systems for desktops, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Uses: Like all open-source software, LibreOffice is popular among people/organizations with safety concerns. It provides its users with all expected tools (a word processor, a spreadsheet, a presentation app, a vector-drawing program, etc.). This office suite is equipped to perform most primary functions of other suites while providing users with a way to assuage whatever privacy concerns they may hold. The data management system is fast, powerful, and efficient for database engines like Anabas D, MySQL, and MS Access. Users can also quickly connect directly with inline drivers. LibreOffice requires little technical expertise to get your material ready for use, with an autocorrect feature, it helps correct typographical and structural errors, which might evade the user.

Type of software: File archiver

Supported OS: 7-Zip can be used on Windows 10 and all older Windows versions, including Vista and XP. In addition, it is also compatible with Linux.

Uses: 7-Zip is free and open-source must-have software that performs excellently well on diverse operating system types like iOS, Windows, Linux, etc. It operates as an installer with a file-sharing license, which allows users to share large compressed bulk files without the fear of losing any of the numerous data. This program is multifunctional and reliable when accessing online files with Wi-Fi or an internet data connection. 7-Zip does more than the primary objective of compression of a file; it has a file manager, which helps tweak system files. Users can copy, move, paste, rename, backup apps, view images, and perform other functions of a standard file manager.

Type of software: Device cleaner

Supported OS: This cleaner is compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. It is also supported by Mac OS X 10.7.0 and later.

Uses: The cleaner can carry out basic cleaning like eliminating junk (automatically and manually). It is also effective in helping identify and delete corrupted files, analyzing your disk space, identifying duplicate files, facilitating a deep clean, and wiping drives clean of deleted files. The cleaner is mostly useful in maintaining an uncluttered system, but it has associated features adding more functionality. The program consistently clears the history and cookies of all system browsers so that your online activities remain untraceable from website trackers and advertisers who bridge privacy. CCleaner is free from harmful Spyware, Viruses, and Adware. It helps protect the system by interval scanning and quickly clearing detected threats.

Type of software: Digital media streaming services

Supported OS: Apps are supported by Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and latest Windows versions; and also Mac OS X 10.11 and higher.

Uses: To have the best musical experience, Spotify or iTunes Apps is an excellent choice. The iTunes software, which streams and play media files, serve other purposes like online streaming of podcast, internet radio, and management software for your system. Spotify is one of the largest music streaming platforms with millions of daily users. The library contains over 300 million songs for streaming; you can easily access all your favorite songs and use some fantastic tools and features. Spotify and iTunes do well in bringing music closer to listeners and are the top streaming services as a result. Using this software, you can search for music, albums, playlists, and artists. There’s also the option to create playlists and download songs, albums, and playlists for offline use. It also helps its status as an industry standard that setting it up is straightforward.

Type of software: Digital video game distribution service

Supported OS: Steam is available on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Mac OS X 10.11 and later, and Linux.

Uses: Steam continues to consolidate its status as the go-to game store for PC users. This program uses many game recommendation tools to identify what players might like and has a huge game library to boot. It also allows for video streaming of up to four hours’ worth of content using its in-game DVR; talk about the comfort of a game installer that allows streaming as well. Steam offers a cloud archive where saved games can be re-downloaded on a laptop from any location. Users can set their profile to Private or Only Friends to restrict unwanted messages and users; you can also select Remove from Friend List whenever you wish.

Type of software: Cloud storage/file hosting service

Supported OS: Running DropBox successfully on your system would require the computer to be using Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows 11, Mac OS X 10.10 and later, and Linux.

Uses: DropBox is a pioneer in the cloud storage and document sharing space, justifying its continued popularity among home and office PC users. Its third-party status might make it a more useful tool for collaborations between people and organizations. This software also integrates well with other web services and apps.

Type of software: Backup service

Supported OS: This program supports and provides software for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows 11, Mac OS X 10.12, and later.

Uses: Backblaze is purely a cloud storage provider and a backup service. The service is popular amongst regular users as well as organizations around the world. That said, its relative cheapness is its selling point and an affordable way of safeguarding copies of important documents.

12. Skype

Type of software: Digital communication software

Supported OS: Skype requires systems running the program to operate Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, or Windows 11. The software is also available on systems running Linux or Mac OS X 10.11 and above.

Uses: Skype specializes in facilitating videotelephony, voice calling, and videoconferencing services. In addition to this, it is also used as an instant messaging service, file transfer option, etc. Thanks to its interesting array of functions, it isn’t uncommon to see this service included in desktop and game console platforms as well.

Type of software: Email managing software

Supported OS: Mailbird is available for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.

Uses: The Mailbird software allows users to sync their emails and contacts to run things from a unified inbox. The service is also simplified through in-app integrations with regularly used applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Google Calendar, Dropbox, etc. Users also have the option of customizing their email list.

Type of software: Multiplatform ebook reader

Supported OS: FBReader is supported by Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and later versions of the OS. There is also support for computer systems running Linux or Mac OS X 10.11 and higher.

Uses: This multiplatform ebook reader has a customizable rendering engine and book parser. Though the app was once open-source, it no longer is, but users/potential developers can use the FBReader SDK (a sort of freeware) to create their ebook readers as their programming skills allow. That said, this original reader also supports many formats, including EPUB, MOBI, FB2, HTML, plain text, etc.

15. ShareX

Type of software: Screenshot tool

Supported OS: Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 11.

Uses: Its open-source nature allows users to view the underlying code and satisfy whatever reservations/concerns they might have had. Once satisfied, though, they can get down to enjoying the easy-to-use services it provides, including screen capture, screen recording, and sharing of captured and recorded content. Users also can upload images and other file types to destinations supported by the software.

Type of software: Password manager

Supported OS: LastPass is supported on Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows, 10, Windows 11, macOS, and Linux.

Uses: This software was developed to manage passwords without the risk of privacy breaches, hence the application of very dependable encryption, two-factor authentication, and biometric (for touch screen devices) logins in its design. In addition to managing passwords, users can also share passwords when they need to, analyze their passwords to determine their current safety, and automatically change passwords when issues come up. The software is made available as shareware software or as a fully downloaded premium package.

Type of software: VPN service

Supported OS: NordVPN is supported on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 11, Mac OS X 10.12 and higher.

Uses: NordVPN would allow users to have access that has been blocked from their viewership or use due to geographical location restrictions. Despite this, it retains a high level of speed. The VPN uses 256-bit AES encryption to ensure security and does not login user details when used.

Summary

We have compiled a guide of where to start when setting up your computer system, so hopefully, now you know what to install on your new PC.

A good place to start would be listing out what you want to do and then cross-linking that with a checklist of needed software everyone should have. Next up is checking out areas of overlap on both lists and creating another software list of alternative options.

After this, you compare all the options in terms of their newest versions, maintenance, utility, ease of installation, and cost (free/relative cost) to determine the most favorable one. An alternative to this process would be to ask on Reddit or your skill community simply.

Frequently asked questions

What are the first things to install on a new computer?

The ultimate choice of stuff to install is down to what the owner of a personal computer needs. For instance, a company set-up system would meet the unique requirements of the company, and personal computers would do the same for their owners. However, here are a few examples of the first programs to install:

  • Browser (one with a reliable downloader/download manager if you’re going to be doing a lot of that)
  • Antivirus
  • Media player
  • Office suite

What programs should I install on my new laptop?

The major criteria guiding the preference for installing software or apps on a new system are your importance or what you need the computer for. Generally speaking, though, we can make a list of the best apps to begin the set-up process with. They include:

  • Google Chrome
  • McAfee
  • Movavi Video Suite
  • VLC
  • FBReader
  • LibreOffice

What is basic computer software?

Basic computer software are essential programs that everyone should have for their computer system to function as the most basic of levels. They are the apps that are most necessary to employ the basic utilities every computer is designed to provide. Installing such apps is rarely ever stressful, and it's common to have some of them come with a computer.

Ben Jacklin

Ben is a writer from the UK with qualifications in Media and Music Technology, he specializes in software reviews and tutorials. Ben has been blogging about media and tech subjects since he was a teenager from his base in the East of England.