Essential computer software

Being   a security  and open source software advocates I have  compiled a list of some of the best programs that I would recommend to everyone as alternatives to most major software. all software listed is either free and open source where possible or at very low-cost. These programs are used by me personally or have been evaluated  for 1 year prior to recommendation (password mangers)  this list took 3 years to complete and is the result of many years of experience personal testing, trial and error. what is on this list is exactly what i would use myself and recommend to family friends and even strangers who will listen.

Most Links in this post are “Ninite” links where possible for the sake of safe and secure downloads 

What is Ninite?

Ninite is a package management system offering that lets users automatically install popular applications for their Windows operating system.

Ninite will do the following:

  • start working as soon as you run it
  • not bother you with any choices or options
  • install apps in their default location
  • say no to toolbars or extra junk
  • install 64-bit apps on 64-bit machines
  • install apps in your PC’s language or one you choose
  • do all its work in the background
  • install the latest stable version of an app
  • skip up-to-date apps
  • skip any reboot requests from installers
  • use your proxy settings from Internet Explorer
  • download apps from each publisher’s official site
  • verify digital signatures or hashes before running anything

Start Menu

Open Shell  is a computer software for Microsoft Windows that provides user interface elements intended to restore familiar features from past versions of Windows. It focuses on the Start menu, File Explorer and Internet Explorer — three major components of the Windows shell. In particular, it can serve as a Start menu replacement for Windows 8 and Windows 10 systems. (formally Classic Shell)

Why do we need this?

lets be honest windows 10 is a great move forward for the OS but the to be blunt the start menu in windows 8 and 10 are horrifically bad and a giant leap backwards so  if you miss the start menu this is for you.

Open Shell

privacy protection

Spybot Anti-Beacon

Anti-Beacon was designed to address these privacy concerns for user of Microsoft Windows (from the modern Windows 10

Spybot Anti-Beacon

Video Player And Codec Package

K-Lite Codec Pack The K-Lite Codec Pack is a collection of audio and video codecs for Microsoft Windows that enables an operating system and its software to play various audio and video formats generally not supported by the operating system itself.

K-Lite Codec Pack (Ninite Link)

EM Client

user-friendly alternative to existing e-mail clients and calendar solutions. Best replacement for Outlook or Thunderbird.

EM client

Office Suite


LibreOffice is free and open source software The suite comprises programs for word processing, the creation and editing of spreadsheets, slideshows, diagrams and drawings, working with databases, and composing mathematical formulas originally based on OpenOffice which it now succeeds

LibreOffice (Ninite link)

PDF Reader

Sumatra PDF

Sumatra PDF is a free and open-source document viewer, it supports many document formats including: Portable Document Format, Microsoft Compiled HTML Help, DjVu, EPUB, FictionBook, MOBI, PRC, Open XML Paper Specification, Comic Book Archive file.

Sumatra PDF(Ninite link)

File Archives


PeaZip is a free and open-source file manager and file archiver for Microsoft Windows, Linux and BSD made by Giorgio Tani. It supports its native PEA archive format and other mainstream formats, with special focus on handling open formats. I find it has a newer and more modern gui then 7zip and is a fork so handles 7zip files just fine

PeaZip (Ninite link)

Audio Player


foobar2000 is a freeware audio player for Microsoft Windows, iOS and Android developed by Peter Pawłowski. It is known for its highly modular design, breadth of features, and extensive user flexibility in configurationts 

Audio Editor


Audacity is a free, easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems.

Audacity (Ninite link)

Image Viewer

XnView is an image organizer and general-purpose file manager used for viewing, converting, organizing and editing raster images, as well as general purpose file management.

XnView (Ninite link)

Image Editor

GIMP is a free and open-source raster graphics editor used for image retouching and editing, free-form drawing, converting between different image formats, and more specialized tasks.

Gimp (Ninite link)


Darktable is an open source photography workflow application and raw developer. A virtual lighttable and darkroom for photographers.


Graphic Design

Krita is a free and open-source raster graphics editor using the Qt visual toolkit and designed primarily for digital painting and animation purposes.

Krita (Ninite link)

Video Production


Olive is a free non-linear video editor aiming to provide a fully-featured alternative to high-end professional video editing software! it is  still currently in alpha meaning it is incomplete and not fully stable. that said it is still in a league of its own and i would recommend it over any paid program.


DaVinci Resolve

originally designed for Hollywood’s elite colorists, DaVinci Resolve has been used on more feature films and TV shows than anything else because it lets you create images that are simply impossible with other tools. DaVinci is also the world’s fastest growing and most advanced editing software!

Register and download

DaVinci Resolve (studio version is the paid version and just that made for studio productions)

DaVinci Resolve

Music Production

Cakewalk is a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)  it has been around for 30 years it is a fully featured program and is free


Reaper REAPER is also a fantastic daw and really can not be beat as far as paid solutions go comes with a 60 day trial 60 USD  after that


MuseScore is a scorewriter for Windows, macOS, and Linux, comparable to Finale and Sibelius,  it is ree and open-source.


Recommended AV (paid)

Emsisoft Anti-Malware

No-bloat dual-scanner protection for your Windows PC

Bitdefender Free Edtion

while lacks customization, options and extra features. Its protection is outstanding and second only to our paid recommendation and is s light on computer resources so if you absolutely can not afford a paid solution this is a no brainer

Bitdefender Free

Password Manager

1Password is a password manager developed by AgileBits Inc. It provides a place for users to store various passwords, software licenses, and other sensitive information in a virtual vault. this is unique as the program is not limited to just passwords..



Bitwarden is a free and open-source password management service(open source alternative  to other solutions.


Computer Backup

Acronis True Image is a software product produced by Acronis that provides data protection for personal users including, backup, archive, access and recovery for Microsoft, OSX, iOS and Android operating systems.

Acronis True Image

FTP Client

WinSCP is a free and open-source SFTP, FTP, WebDAV and SCP client for Microsoft Windows. Its main function is secure file transfer between a local and a remote computer. I find it more stable and user friendly than Filezilla

WinSCP (Ninite link)

Web Browsers

Vivaldi is a freeware, cross-platform web browser developed by Vivaldi Technologies, a company founded by Opera Software co-founder and former CEO Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner and Tatsuki Tomita. and truly seeks to be a browser for people who want to take control of their user experience its also great for power users

Vivaldi web browser

Firefox, is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation a lightning fast browser (Vivaldi is still our #1 pick for speed customization and feature set)

Firefox web browser

Browser Extension

uBlock Origin is not,  is a wide-spectrum blocker, which can function as a standard “ad blocker”.  but can also be used to block scripts) and/or RequestPolicy (to block all 3rd-party servers by default), using a point-and-click user interface.

uBlock Origin

uBlock Origin (firefox)

VPN Service

TorGuard This VPN is privacy-friendly, and its robust security features give you a lot of freedom to customize your experience and also  is great for  use while the name implies Torguard is not associated in any way with The Tor Project  and actually is named for its roots in relation to its original goal  of protecting users  of the the BitTorrent file distribution system it has long since expanded to become what  we feel is the most secure and most powerful VPN  more commercially aware options may have better marketing but you will be more secure and faster. (we recommend the “bundle” package for best experience.)


Uninstaller and leftover cleaner

Revo Uninstaller is an uninstaller for Microsoft Windows. It uninstalls programs and additionally removes any files and Windows registry entries left behind by the program’s uninstaller or by the Windows uninstall function.

Revo Uninstaller(Ninite Link)

MediCat USB

Free multiboot USB stick a software toolbox for diagnostics and recovery

MediCat USB

Screen capture and broadcasting

OBS Studio Free and open source software for video recording and live streaming.

Open Broadcaster Software

Remote Assistant/conference

MSP360 Remote Assistant is a solution for remote control and desktop sharing remote Assistant encrypts connections and includes text and voice chat functionality.

MSP360 Remote Assistant

Video encoding

HandBrake is a free and open-source transcoder for digital video files, originally developed in 2003 by Eric Petit to make ripping a film from a DVD to a data storage device easier. Since then, it has undergone many changes and revisions. and now is a full fledged encoder

HandBrake (Ninite link)

CD/DVD creation and management

ImgBurn is an optical disc authoring program that allows the recording of many types of CD, DVD and Blu-Ray images to recordable media. Starting with version, ImgBurn can also burn files and data directly to CD or DVD. It is written in C++.

ImgBurn (Ninite link)


All In One installer


AdGuard for Android

AdGuard for Android. AdGuard is a unique no root ad blocker for Android that removes ads in apps and browsers, protects your privacy, and helps you manage your apps.

AdGuard for iOS Pro (1.99)

AdGuard Pro The excellent iOS ad blocking in Safari already known to the users of the regular version. By providing access to custom DNS settings, the app


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