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freeI usually help a lot of friends and family with their computer problems and doubts, I also help them to decide which computer, peripheral or accessories to buy when the opportunity arrives.

One of the most frequent questions I receive is, OK, I have my new computer, and now what?

I personally like to configure things a certain way, install certain applications that will allow me to do almost anything I will need to do with the computer. So whenever a friend asks for help I try to commit the same way with them as if it was my own computer.

The following is a list of most of the tools I will install on a freshly installed computer (assuming nothing of this is already installed on it). On each title of the program I will include the link to download it from the developer´s site.
(The order of the list not necessarily shows the importance of each tool).

Note: If you are an advance user you can install most of the following apps with InstallPad.

Ccleaner-Defraggler_logos1) CCLeaner:
 This program from the people at Piriform has been for several years great and still remains to be great. It will allow you to delete all unneccesary files on your computer, those files that wont help much to have and make your computer slow. It also has a function to delete Registry keys (windows heart) that are useless to have.

2) Defraggler: Is another program from the Piriform family and its a great hard drive defrag tool. If you don’t have an SSD (solid state drive) you will need this application. I would usually configure it to replace Windows Defrag tool and also would schedule a weekly automatic defrag for then the computer is not being used. As I don’t shutdown my

computer this usually is early in the morning 3 AM on a day of the week for example. If you have several drives you would like to leave a window of at least 1 hour between the schedule of each drive.

google-chrome-logo (Copy)3) Google Chrome:
Internet Explorer is the default browser in Windows, it already comes installed, but several times IE doesn’t show websites as expected or some compatibility problem may arise between the Microsoft browser and that website you are trying to access. I usually use Google Chrome as my default browser, not only because its faster but also because it has a lot of additional functions, for example if you login with your Gmail account you can sync all your bookmarks (AKA Favorites) across all the devices you use. Mozilla FireFox will offer similar functionalities to Google Chrome, you can use this if you like it more.

4) Adobe Flash Player: It is also good to always have the latest version of Flash Player for those websites and Facebook apps still using this technology.

5) Java: A lot of websites nowadays require the latest Java plugin. If you install it you will be sure that all java required applications will run smoothly.

6) TreeSize: This great application will show which files and folder are using most of your hard drive space. You might not need it if you just started to use a computer but for sure will be handy in a near future.

7) 7-ZIP: Its a great file compression and decompression tool, you will need this to open ZIP or RAR files that you will need to open or compress to send by email or any other way. You can also use the trial version of WinRar which never expires, its a great program!

Skype_Logo (Copy)8) Skype: You may already know Skype, its an instant messaging and calls/videocalls and conference application. Its great, very complete and has been on the market for several years now. It has been recently acquired by Microsoft. The most important recent change is that Microsoft Messenger has been replaced by Skype, you can use your MSN credentials to login to Skype and all your contacts will be there. Plus you will have the possibility to call to phones at great rates that you can check on their website. I have a fixed Unlimited World plan to call phones on up to 40 countries and I pay around USD 140 or so a year.

9) Trillian: This program is great and it will allow you to be connected to all your social networks and messaging applications from one place. I have Skype, Facebook, Messenger, ICQ, Yahoo, Twitter, and more all in one place and it works very well. Skype functionality is limited to chatting so if you need to make a call for example you will still need to open the Skype app.

10) Adobe Acrobat Reader: You will need an application for reading PDF´s and here is the reader from the creater of the PDF format. Just make sure dont install McAfee antivirus with it.

Dropbox-GoogleDrive11) Dropbox: This is not only an application but also a service. It will allow you to store up to 2 GB of files for free on a special folder that will be synced over the internet with their servers, so in case something really bad happens on your computer you will have another copy of those files. I use the free version of Dropbox and because I refereed the application to a lot of friends I have around 16 GB of space for free which is the limit you can get with referrals. If you need more space you can purchase 100 GB for USD 100 a year. Keep in mind to always have a second copy of this files for example on an external hard drive or another computer. Note: If you register through this link you will get an extra  500 MB for free!

12) Google Drive: I use this to backup all my pictures and videos online and share the folders with friends.  The free plan gives you 5 GB as soon as you sign up. And the storage prices are cheaper than Dropbox. I pay USD 10 a month for 200 GB of space. Keep in mind to always have a second copy of this files for example on an external hard drive or another computer.

13) LastPass: Working on IT for 15 years I´ve seen a lot of things in regards of security. The most usual thing to see is users writing their usernames and password on post it notes pasted around the computer screen or under the keyboard. The main argument they do this is because they have to many users and pass to remember.


Having good passwords is very important as more and more of our life is becoming digital a good way to store all this usernames and passwords is a trusted software like LastPass. This applications has proved to be very reliable along the years. Basically you get an account and then install the add-on for the Internet Browsers, then the first time you login to a website it will ask you if you want to remember the password for that website and if you choose yes, that password will be saved for the next time you need to login. The application itself is protected by a master password, so try to choose a nice complex password for the master key and please, do not write it anywhere. 🙂 You can find more info on their website.

14) KeePass: For those not feeling very comfortable having a third party to store your passwords on their servers this is a good alternative to LastPass.

15) MalwareBytes Anti-Malware: I don’t use an antivirus software but I use the Pro version of Malwarebytes which costs USD 25 (one time fee). The free version will also work but wont have active protection of your computer which is something really nice to have nowadays as most of our life runs over the Internet. If you want the Pro version you can buy it through this link.

16) Audacity: Its a great audio program to record and edit almost any type of audio file.

17) GIMP: If you need a full program to edit images but don’t want to pay USD 700 on a Photoshop license, you can always use GIMP. Its a very complete open source image editing software. A more simple alternative you can try is also Paint.NET which adds more features than the Paint version of Windows.

18) BSPlayer: A very powerful video and audio player for your computer. It will also download subtitles automatically on your prefered language (if you set it to do it of course).

19) VLCPlayer: Its always a good idea to have a backup video and music player and VLC does a great job. Some people use VLC as main and BSPlayer as secondary, whatever you choose you cant miss this application.

20) FileZilla:  If you need an FTP client, don’t look for anything else, just get the well known and free FileZilla.

21) DisplayFusion: If you use two or more screens you will love how you can maximize the use of them with this app.

22) Light Image Resizer: This application will quickly allow you to re-size an image by right clicking on top of the file. Its functionality comes from the original Windows XP powertoy. You can check the short video on their website to check how it works, its great and very simple.

23) FeelTheBase:  If you work in design you will love this color picker and more tool. You would also want to take a look at Sizer, an application to re-size a Window to a specific resolution so you know how it would look.

24) StressMyPC: If you need to test something on your PC you can stress it with this great tool.

25) IsMyLcdOK:  If you want to check if you LCD screen is working OK (dead pixels, and so) you can use this great tool.

26) Speccy: If you need to know technical details about your PC, motherboard, CPU, and more, you can get all that info with this great tool also from the Piriform family. You can also try these others: Belarc  and CPU-Z.

27) TeamViewer: This is the most used tool in the world to remote connect to a friends computer and help him with anything. I have a paid license of this software and its amazing.

28) QuickTime Player: Sometimes you will find the need to play online files from Apple format (MOV) QuickTime Player will give you this ability.

Some other recommended tools not free but very useful:

start8-logoStart 8: If you are using Windows 8 you might not like the welcome screen and would like to have your desktop back as in Windows XP / 7. With Start 8 you can get rid of the new start up screen and go directly to your desktop plus adding the well known Start Menu with all the options you where used to have. It just costs USD 5 for one time so its really worth the value.
Paralells Desktop for Mac: If you use an Apple computer with OSX and need to run Windows for support purposes or because you just need to run a Windows program within OSX without the need to restart or anything, take a look at this app, its really complete and very powerful.

Are we missing an application? Please feel free to comment below 😉