This year marks the launch of Windows 11. Stock permitting, there’s a wide range of PCs and laptops available with Microsoft’s new operating system, and while the updated Microsoft Store fills with apps, we think that we’re going to put together a list of our 11. Favorite apps for the new Windows 11 PC.
We’re covering productivity, games, and media playback, so there needs to be an app for everyone here. There are even some options to restore Windows 10 functionality if you’re missing some of the features and customizations that Windows used to have.
Microsoft’s built-in Windows 11 audio management isn’t great yet. EarTrumpet gets a complete overhaul, with a system tray utility giving you volume levels for every app and the ability to set custom inputs and outputs for those apps. If you want YouTube to play out of your speakers but prefer the game audio output on your headphones, this is the app for you.
The system tray utility gives you volume levels for every app and the ability to set custom inputs and outputs for those apps.
The Twitter app for Windows is just a web app, and TweetDeck doesn’t even have a dedicated app of its own. If you are a fan of TweetDeck, Tweeten gives you TweetDeck on Windows by using TweetDeck’s web interface and making it more Windows 11 friendly. There are a bunch of customization options and even skins. Notifications if you want to be alerted to activity on Twitter.
Tweeten takes TweetDeck’s web interface and makes it more Windows 11 friendly.
There are many RSS apps available on Windows, but FeedLab is my top pick. I’ve been using this RSS reader since Nextgen Reader suddenly stopped working on a new PC. FeedLab has a lot of customizations and features to read your daily news list and it is updated regularly. While the app is free, it is supported by ads, they are easily removed if you are willing to support the developer with a one-time ad removal fee that is basically the price of a coffee.
FeedLab has a lot of customizations and features to read your daily news list and it is updated regularly.
Microsoft’s PowerToys for Windows is essential if you want more customization of how Windows works. There are many tools available, including utilities to keep your PC awake, a system-wide color picker, and the FancyZones window manager that lets you quickly locate applications into different layouts. One of my favorite PowerToys is Run, which acts as a Mac-like launcher to let you find apps and files or quickly search the web.
Microsoft’s PowerToys for Windows is essential if you want more customization of how Windows works.
I use OneNote daily to organize my notes for work and sync them across my PC, laptop, and phone. OneNote is free and full-featured, and lets you split notes into separate notebooks, sections, and pages. It also fully supports ink, so if you want to take actual notes with the stylus, it’s ideal. I would highly recommend this app for students and people who need to take notes often.
OneNote is free and full-featured, and lets you split notes into separate notebooks, sections, and pages.
Adobe Photoshop Express
Adobe Photoshop Express is a free photo editing tool that has all the basics you need. While photo editing in the Photos app in Windows 11 has been improved, Photoshop Express includes easy-to-use slider adjustments and automatic one-touch fixes. There’s also a bunch of retouching features and even a spot heal feature that lets you remove smudges or dirt from your photos.
Adobe Photoshop Express is a free photo editing tool that has all the basics you need.
ShareX is the best screen capture tool for Windows 11. It’s a great compact user utility that allows you to quickly crop, doodle, and even create GIFs or screen recordings. You can also take a snapshot of the screenshot and automatically upload it to Imgur or other file hosting sites with the click of a button.
A powerful little utility for users that will let you quickly crop, doodle, and even create GIFs or screen recordings.
QuickLook is a great app to install if you’re switching from Mac to PC, but it’s also useful for seasoned PC users. It allows you to quickly preview files in File Explorer using the spacebar. It works just like macOS’s Quick Look feature – you can press enter to open the file in its default application or choose a different one. It works well with most file types that you want to preview, but GIFs can take a few more seconds to load. QuickLook is much better than constantly opening files to find the file you’re looking for or squinting at thumbnails.
QuickLook is a great application that allows you to quickly preview files in File Explorer using the spacebar.
Stardock’s new Start11 app lets you create the look and feel of the Windows 11 Start menu. You can bring back the classic look of the Start menu, resize the taskbar, and position it across multiple monitors. Windows 11 users don’t really need to resort to third-party apps just to restore the basic taskbar functionality that’s been present in Windows for decades, but until Microsoft settles the field. hey, Start11 will definitely help. If you’re missing the date and time on multiple monitors, there’s also ElevenClock that should help until Microsoft brings the feature back next year.
Stardock’s new Start11 app lets you create the look and feel of the Windows 11 Start menu.
If you play a lot of PC games, I recommend Dolby Atmos for Headphones. It’s part of the Dolby Access app and will set you back $14.99 for the license, but if you’re a gamer who wants to hear all the footsteps of your enemies, it’s well worth it. The license also extends to Xbox, so if you have an Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S, you’ll also get full Dolby Atmos support there. There’s even a 30-day trial, so you can try Dolby Atmos for Headphones and see if it sounds better than Microsoft’s built-in Windows Sonic spatial audio option.
Dolby Atmos for Headphones is part of the Dolby Access app and will allow you to hear all the footsteps of your enemies in the game.
VLC for Windows
Thanks to streaming services, it’s increasingly rare to play audio or video content locally on a PC these days, but VLC does it all without any fuss. It’s a free app that supports a wide variety of codecs, so it can play whatever you throw at it. VLC also supports streaming from network locations, so almost any video playback situation is covered by this app.
A free audio/video app that supports a wide variety of codecs, so it will play whatever you throw at it.