There are so many Windows apps out there, that picking a list of the very best, most must-install software for your desktop or laptop feels daunting. We've pored over pages of recommendations, countless forum posts, and lots of comments to come up with this year's Lifehacker Pack for Windows, a list of software champions across four categories: productivity, internet/communications, music/photos/video and utilities.
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No virtual whiteboard is perfect for everyone - and every virtual whiteboard service seems to shut down after a few years. While we've recommended several over the years, the only one still around is Twiddla, which is so feature-rich that it might feel too complicated (and ugly) for some projects. If so, try the simpler app RealtimeBoard.
Inspired by games from the 2016 Self-Care Jam (which Kotaku mined for favourites), MetaFilter users recently named their favourite calming video games. Some will be familiar, but others are deep cuts by independent developers. Most aren't for winning or losing, just exploring, interacting and existing. None of them force you to battle other players in a tense show-down. Try these out if you're too stressed out for Overwatch or Plague Inc.
It seems like a lot of web pages are disappearing from the internet these days. If you feel like taking on archiving duties for yourself, there are a variety of tools for doing so.
Windows/Mac/Linux: When it comes to notes apps, you have a seemingly endless trail of options, but it's rare to find one that's cross-platform, supports the Evernote-style of rich notes, and works without needing an account somewhere. Collate is just that.
Using a password manager is basically internet security 101 these days, but that doesn't make them any less intimidating. If you've never used a password manager, they're annoying, cumbersome to use, and baffling at a glance. 1Password is one of the easiest to use options around, but that doesn't mean you don't need some help setting it up.
Windows/Web/iOS/Android: Microsoft has released a public preview for its new to-do app, aptly called To-Do. This is ostensibly Microsoft's version of Wunderlist, which the company acquired back in 2015.
Last year, Opera, the little browser that everyone seems to forget about, rolled out a free VPN. While it immediately ran into a security problem by leaking IP addresses, it's now been patched up, and is easily the simplest, cheapest and reasonably private way to access a VPN right now. It does come with a slew of caveats though.
Windows: Cortana can do a lot of cool stuff in Windows 10, but she tends to prefer Microsoft's own apps and services. EdgeDeflector can force Cortana to use Chrome, Firefox or any other browser you prefer.
Windows/Mac/Linux: LibreOffice, the open source, free alternative to Microsoft Office, just got a big update that adds in a ton of new features alongside a new cloud version you can install on your own server.