Get a new desktop or gaming laptop? That brand new installation of Windows is lean and mean and lighting fast, but it’s lacking some of the must-have applications we use all the time as PC gamers. Some of these are pretty obvious, like Steam and Google Chrome.
But there are plenty of other everyday programs that deserve to be on your system, and plenty others that are handy every so often. Thanks to a bundling service called Ninite, you can download and install most of these in one go.
First, we’re going to give a brief overview of the programs we suggest installing with Ninite. Then we’re going to list a few more of our go-to apps. Don’t let your new system live long without them.
Ninite: Brilliant for the basics
Ninite builds a custom installer for you of the applications you want, then installs all of them in one go. It’s mercifully free of the annoying toolbars and free offers and other adware most installers try to sneak onto your PC. It’s simple, and it works perfectly. It also offers a lot of software you probably don’t need, so we picked out what we’d recommend for a new gaming rig, and Ninite was nice enough to put them all together in a convenient package for us. You can find that at ninite.com/pcgamer.
Google Chrome – The obvious choice, but you can choose Opera or Firefox.
Avira – Currently what we consider the best free antivirus available.
Skype – As much as we hate it when Skype Improves Our Experience, you should probably have it to chat with your parents or kids or significant other.
Trillian – (Optional) A good IM client for messaging via AIM, Facebook, Google Talk, and more. Even ICQ. Remember your number?
7-Zip – Zip or unzip anything you throw at it. Free and lightweight and it’ll never bug you to pay for it.
VLC – VLC can play anything and is a reliable all-around media player, with no need for outside codecs. We have another media player recommendation below, too.
iTunes – (Optional) iTunes on Windows is an endless pain, but if you plan to manage your iPhone with your PC, it’s your only real option.
foobar2000 – (Optional) A heavily customizable music player that’s also very lightweight. Good for playing FLACs or other lossless files if you have a library of them.
Spotify – (Optional) If you’re a subscriber, might as well grab the desktop app now.
All of them (Java 8, .Net, Silverlight, Air, Shockwave) – Sooner or later you’ll probably need all of these for something. Might as well load them up now, or you’ll end up groaning when some program asks for one.