Windows has more great programs than we can count, but some are essential to just about every PC setup. In our fifth annual Lifehacker Pack for Windows, we’re highlighting the must-have downloads for better productivity, communication, media management and more.
The Lifehacker Pack is a yearly snapshot of our favourite, must-have applications for each major computing and mobile platform. If you’re curious to see how things have changed this year, here’s last year’s Lifehacker Pack for Windows.
The Ninite Pack
As always, we have the good folks at Ninite helping us out this year, creating a one-click installer for the 2013 Windows Lifehacker Pack. You can download the entire pack together or just pick the apps you want, and Ninite will install them all at once — perfect for new Windows installations or setting up your friends with a good set of apps. And, just like last year, we have two packs for Windows: an Essentials pack that everyone should have, and an Extended pack, which includes some tools that more hardcore users will probably need around.
Unfortunately, the Ninite pack is missing a couple apps from the list — most notably CCleaner (because it didn’t want its software in Ninite), Bins and Fences (both of which are paid apps). So don’t forget to grab those ones manually after you’ve installed the rest of the pack with Ninite!
much more than thatit is our favourite
ResophNotes and Evernote
plain text notesSimplenoteDropbox figure out how to use it
save you hours of typingwhile it has its problemsBreevy
how you work bestit would be Wunderlistdoing
When Google Docs just isn’t enough for your word processing needs, you need LibreOffice, the feature-packed, cross-platform, 100 per cent free office suite. When LibreOffice’s word processor, spreadsheet tool and presentation creator don’t cut it, Microsoft Office will undoubtedly fit the bill (albeit at a price). If you just need to view Office documents, you can check out the Microsoft Office Viewers instead.
Don’t do itour favourite PDF editorPDF-XChange
Firefoxmore than enough
sometimes you just need a desktop clientwhen Gmail goes downslowed developmentPostbox
an app like PidginPidgin’s fantastic plugins
our favourite video chat program
does it wellisn’t our favourite video playerPotPlayerPotPlayer
ripping a DVD to your computerconvert big Blu-Ray rips
XBMC or Plexstreaming video to your mobile devices
These days, lots of us have more than just one device. Maybe it’s a work computer and a home computer, or maybe it’s three computers, a smartphone, a tablet and a time machine that runs Linux. Whatever your span of devices, Dropbox is absolutely essential for keeping all your files (and other stuff) in sync. You get 2GB of free space to start, but it’s really easy to load up on extra space for free.
building an awesome, consolidated notification system
back up to an external drivereally easy to set up
a bit of maintenance
Revo fixes that problem
perfectly struck with Avast
So you’ve got the basic essentials that every computer should have, but there are other programs we’ve found ourselves installing time and time again whenever we boot up a new Windows installation. That’s what the extended pack is for: they aren’t essentials, but they’re tools we think are really great and deserve to be part of your regular arsenal.
.NET, Silverlight and Java
.NET, Silverlight and Java are three frameworks that you might not always need right away, but you may somewhere down the line. If you know you’re going to need them in the future, go ahead and download them right now. If you aren’t sure, it won’t hurt to hold off. Just make sure to disable Java in your browser while you’re at it.
combines multiple icons into one stackcleaning up your messy taskbarworth shelling out for
divides your desktopcreate a clean, organised desktopold, free version of Fences here
any set of criteria you desirekeep themselves organised
sync to iOS with a bit of work
miles beyond Windows’ built-in notepada lot of plugins
add your own shortcuts to Windows Explorercreate a customised boss keyput your computer to sleep