11 Apps Every Windows User Should Have: Every month, regular users, gamers, and corporate clients use Windows 11 at higher rates. Microsoft has already made a number of feature updates with much-needed adjustments (more are on the way in early 2023), but Windows 11 still has some glaring issues.
Additionally, Microsoft cannot please everyone, so it is reasonable to anticipate some degree of dissatisfaction among those willing to give up on Windows 10.
Here are 11 programs (listed in no particular order) that we think are essential for Microsoft’s newest operating system, whether you’re already a Windows 11 user or simply intend to upgrade. They enhance current functionality or provide something that Windows 11 is missing (they also work perfectly fine on Windows 10).
Start11 ($4.99; free for 30 days)
Windows 11’s Start menu and taskbar are fixed by Start11. It offers a number of recognizable and more practical Start menu layouts, the ability to ungroup apps, move the taskbar to the top of the screen, move the Start button, and the opportunity to completely customize the user experience.
Since Start 11 is routinely updated and given new capabilities, we are sure that every Windows 11 computer should have it installed.
The sole first-party Windows software on this list is PowerToys.
It is a well-known collection of sophisticated tools for Windows 11 and 10 users, and it contains more than 15 “toys” for tasks like editing the host’s file, measuring your display, remapping keys and shortcuts, arranging apps and windows, keeping programs stacked one on top of the other, determining which processes are blocking a file, extracting text from images, and other things.
PowerToys offers an enormous selection of utilities, is extremely customizable, and supports creating backups.
Download PowerToys from the Microsoft Store or GitHub.
Twinkle Tray (free)
Twinkle Tray allows controlling the brightness of your monitor simpler without using the physical knobs or installing gaudy OEM software.
The application has a stunning user interface (UI) that is reminiscent of Windows 11 and offers sophisticated options, including the ability to schedule automatic brightness adjustments, set custom shortcuts, synchronize brightness across monitors, set additional parameters (contrast or volume), change the power state, and many more.
When the cursor is above the icon for the program, you may even change the brightness by using the scroll wheel.
A fork of the well-known 7Zip archiver is NanaZIP. Along with providing the same functionality as the original, NanaZIP enhances the Windows 11 user experience by integrating with the new context menus. Additionally, NanaZIP is gradually switching to WinUI, so the application will soon have a much more contemporary user interface.
Files App (free)
The stock File Explorer should be replaced by the Files App. Using the app’s files, archives, and folders will be more productive thanks to its many features. Tabs, multi-pane and tree views, tags, a compact overlay, personalized themes, archives, and many other features are supported. Additionally, Files App includes much better and more practical context menus in addition to being able to be set as your default Windows file manager.
The free and open-source project Files have a stunning user interface and regular upgrades that add new functionality. One thing to keep in mind is that the app cannot take the place of windows like “Save as” or “Open.”
Auto Dark Mode (free)
Here is an app that can automate theme change and add various extra functions because Windows 11 still does not support automated theme switching on schedule or at sunset or dawn. Custom themes for dark and light modes, shortcuts to move between them, customizable backgrounds, and other features are all possible with Auto Dark Mode.
There are numerous screenshot-creation tools in Windows 11. They are all, however, on the more rudimentary side (there is still no built-in screen recorder, and the one coming is at best underwhelming), so people who require more sophisticated and practical capabilities should choose ShareX.
A sophisticated screenshot utility with a feature-rich editor, custom actions, OCR, screen recording (GIF and video), and more will result from taking the time to customize the software to meet your unique needs.
Pepperidge Farm recalls that Windows had a quick and simple volume mixer. The EarTrumpet tool is now available, although it is hidden in the Settings app (right-click the volume indication and choose “Volume Mixer”).
When you click the icon, a flyout with the audio output devices and apps that are now playing sound will appear. It will add another volume indicator to the notification area. The outdated UI of Windows 10 and Windows 11’s inability to get rid of the default volume indicator is EarTrumpet’s only drawback.
Rapid Look (free)
One of those tiny, useful features that come with macOS by default is replicated in this software. By tapping the spacebar key, the desktop operating system for Apple allows you to preview any file, while the QuickLook software in Windows offers a similar feature. In addition to being compact, lightweight, and quick, the application offers a number of plugins to enhance its built-in features.
People frequently refer to Paint.NET as “a free Photoshop equivalent for Windows.” It’s a great tool for anyone who needs free, non-subscription, advanced image editing features. The user interface of Paint.NET is simple to use and supports layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a number of strong tools.
Unpredictable Theme (free)
Bing and Windows Spotlight photos can be downloaded and used as the desktop or lock screen background using the little wallpaper utility called Dynamic Theme.
As a result of the latter’s very frequent flaws, Dynamic Theme is come to save the day (still not immune to bugs). The app is given bonus points for having a user interface that seems like it belongs on the stock Settings app.
Naturally, we are unable to include every program in a single article. If you are aware of any further Windows 11 and 10 hidden gems, please share them with us and other readers in the comments section below.