The human being is an animal of habit, and that’s why I personally have a list of essential programs on a new computer.
Migrating from a computer, or mounting a new one, always presents its series of challenges, as we explained in the recent tutorial on how to mount a computer, but when you finish you have a new and perfectly usable system, right?
Error, you still have some work ahead, because a very important part is missing, the software.First the operating system, the drivers, and finally the programs that you are going to use, is a job that can take you many hours, and that is why these tips and this list of essential programs can help you.
These tips are valid whether you have a new computer or have formatted the one you already have, of course. The programs that I am going to review are all for Windows because it is the system that I am using at the moment, but many of them have versions for Mac and Linux.
Tips for installing software on your new computer
- Download the programs before formatting or installing the computer. Ideally, you should store all the executables of the programs and the drivers in a USB memory, so you only have to plug it in and install them. If you start looking for the programs right after installing the operating system, it will take longer or you will end up using programs you don’t want (Internet Explorer to download another browser, for example).
- Install the drivers first. You should not do anything with the computer until you have installed the drivers, to make sure that everything works correctly.
- Install only the essentials first. Although the temptation to install all the programs you used before is great, it is better that you control yourself. Make a list of what you really use on a daily basis, you will be surprised to see that there are programs that you don’t really use as much and that you can save yourself.
Essential programs on my computer
Chrome and Firefox
It is already a tradition: the first thing you do with a new computer is to install a browser with which you are comfortable. Personally I can’t live without Chrome or Firefox, since I use both daily (the first more than the second), although of course you can choose only one of the two.
In the case of Chrome, instead of installing the .exe from the main page, I always take the Chrome .msi package for business, in 64-bit version. It is actually the same program, but my experience is that if you install the 64-bit .exe, when the program is updated the 32-bit version will be installed, which is somewhat slower and more insecure.
It is a known bug What happens to more people, but it disappears if you install the 64-bit .msi package.
Whichever you choose, both are browsers that follow the latest open standards, which are fast and with great potential thanks to the extensions, and which offer great security without having to configure or install anything.
Both are available on Windows, Mac, Linux and almost all platforms.
Alternatives: Vivaldi, Opera
Although plaintext files may appear to be out of date, there is no day that I don’t have to create more than one (and two). Unfortunately, Windows Notepad hasn’t changed at all in decades.
There Notepad ++ enters, a project that continues its development today as the best alternative notepad that exists. Not only does it include many aids in layout and search, but it is ideal for programmers because it automatically recognizes the language you are using and automatically color and layout the code to make it more readable. It is available for Windows.
Download Notepad ++
Alternatives: Atom, Sublime Text
There is no shortage of a good multimedia player in our system, and among all of them SMPlayer has been the one that has caught my attention lately, especially since they made the jump from MPlayer to MPV.
If you don’t know it, MPV is a video player that is considered by the community as the true successor to the classic MPlayer, taking better advantage of current hardware and with superior image quality.
SMPlayer is a front-end, a program that takes advantage of MPV to play any multimedia file, from high definition movies to streaming from sites like Youtube. After configuring it to my liking, I don’t need any more. It is available for Windows and Linux.
Alternatives: VLC, MPC-HC
At Omicrono we have reviewed the best torrent download programs on more than one occasion, but I have always ended up making the same choice: qBittorrent.
This open-source project has nothing to envy uTorrent or other alternatives, it is constantly updating with improvements, and I have always been able to use it without any problem.
Features like RSS reader which automatically downloads the files I want, or the integrated search engine they are welcome additives. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Alternatives: Transmission, Deluge
This is probably the program I use the most, even more than the web browser. I am always listening to music, so finding the ideal player is not an easy task, and I usually switch from one program to another.
Despite everything, Foobar2000 continues to be the one I end up using the most, mainly thanks to its customization possibilities that allow me to change the interface as I want, as well as install plugins such as the audio one by Wasapi to achieve superior sound quality. Available for Windows.
Alternatives: AIMP, Audacious
In practically every Omicrono article I write, I have to edit images, either to crop them, to include an arrow, or simply to change the format. Therefore, I am not a user who is going to edit photos semi-professionally, and a program like Photoshop is too big for me.
Instead Gimp offers me everything I need, and once you learn how to use it it is not complicated. And of course, it is free software. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
There was no shortage of the most popular PC video game platform, of course. The vast majority of current games are on Steam, and the freedom Valve offers guarantees that practically anyone can publish games on the platform (although this also has its bad things).
Of course, if you have games from EA Games, Ubisoft or GOG you may also need to install other programs. That there is no single platform is the good, and the bad, of playing on PC.
Alternatives: Origin, UPlay, GOG Connect
I confess, I am a fantastic 60 fps and that does not change no matter what computer I have, I always try to reach that precious figure even if I have to make many sacrifices along the way.
Fraps is an extremely simple and lightweight frame per second counter, which shows the figure very clearly in a corner and helps me to check which areas are the most problematic and how I can better configure the game. Unfortunately, its development has been stopped for a long time and is not compatible with new APIs such as Vulkan or DirectX 12.
Alternatives: MSI Afterburner, Steam (in settings)
Although the latest versions of Windows can work with compressed files without problems, it is always good to have an application that supports most formats and is easier to use, and in my case that application is 7-Zip.
Not only is it fast and I have never had any problems with any files, it is also open-source. In addition, it is integrated into the context menu for Extract files and folders quickly and easily. There are different versions, for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Whenever you mount a new computer, or clean and maintain the one you have now, it is good to know important data such as the temperatures reached by the hardware.
HWMonitors capable of get all that information right away; from processor frequency to the voltage of each part or the percentage of use, and of course, the current, maximum and minimum temperatures.
What applications are the first ones that you always install on your computer?