My Top 50 Windows Apps 🖥

Open Source Apps on Microsoft Windows

A list of my favorite software for Windows. Although not my primary system, when I do use Windows the following applications have been extremely useful for certain tasks. I usually prefer to run containerized or portable apps where possible. This is the list that I reference when setting up a fresh system.

Items marked with '❌' are either not fully open source, or are not free.

General Utilities

  • Tor Browser - For more anonymous browsing + access to the Tor network Git
  • VirtualBox - x86, AMD64, and Intel64 virtual machines Git
  • WinSCP - SFTP client and remote access file manager GitHub
  • qBittorrent - BitTorrent client GitHub
  • HWiNFO64 - System info and diagnostics ❌
  • Process Hacker - Monitor system resources and analyse currently running processes GitHub
  • WireShark - Packet analyzer GitHub
  • Angry IP Scanner - Quickly find IPs within a range, open ports and other info GitHub
  • NetLimiter - Network traffic monitoring tool with simple firewall functionality ❌
  • Etcher - For flashing ISOs onto USB drives with a overly-fancy UI GitHub
  • Universal Radio Hacker - SDR client for investigating wireless protocols GitHub
  • ExifCleaner - Tool to easily remove metadata from images and media GitHub

Security Utilities

  • Cryptomator - Fast file encryption for cloud storage GitHub
  • VeraCrypt - Strong disk, container and file encryption GitHub
  • KeePassXC - Password manager for KeePass files GitHub
  • Kleopatra - Certificate manager and PGP file encryption suit GitHub
  • WireGuard - VPN connection client using WireGuard protocol GitHub
  • CalmAV - Anti-virus scanner (See also, ClamWin GUI app) Website
  • BleachBit - Frees up disk space by deleting unneeded data in the cache and temporary files GitHub
  • Windows Spy Blocker - Block Microsoft telemetry and data collection and manage application access GitHub
  • Harden Tools - Easily turn off undesired or privacy-invasive Windows features GitHub
  • WFN - Firewall notifier to monitor outgoing connections GitHub

Improvement Utilities

  • CopyQ - Advanced clipboard manager
  • Espanso - Text expander with powerful matching system (similar to AHK)
  • AutoHotKey - Keyboard remapping, macros and automation scripting
  • Quick Look - Small utility that lets you quickly preview a file by pressing Space
  • EarTrumpet - A utility that provides better volume control on a per app basis
  • ColorPicker - Minimal but complete color picker
  • Power Toys - Color picker, fancy zones, run dialog, rename utility, shortcuts and more
  • SidebarDiagnostics - Customizable desktop widget showing system resource and hardware info
  • Wox - Global search, run commands and execute actions with Alt + Space
  • Groupy ❌- Group multiple windows into browser-like tabs, while preserving Alt + Tab switching

Creativity

  • Gimp - Image and photo editing application
  • DarkTable - Organize and bulk edit photos (similar to Lightroom)
  • InkScape - Digital drawing/ illustration
  • Audacity - Multi-track audio editor and recording
  • OBS Studio - High performance streaming/ broadcasting and recording
  • VLC Player - Multimedia player and play back framework
  • Shotcut - Video editing platform
  • HandBrake - For converting video from any format to a selection of modern codecs
  • Synfig Studio - 2D animation
  • Blender - 3D modelling, rendering and sculpting
  • Cura - 3D Printing software, for slicing models
  • Dia - Versatile diagramming tool, useful for UML (similar to MS Visio)
  • ShareX - Quick and easy screen recorder
  • SmugMug ❌- Premium photography backup, sync, sharing and publishing service

Media

  • FreeTube - YouTube client
  • Nuclear - Free music streaming & downloads
  • Spotify ❌- Premium music subscription
  • Amarok - Powerful local music player
  • Pocket Casts ❌- Podcast player
  • Plex - Client for accessing self-hosted media server
  • Steam ❌- PC game store

Productivity

Development

  • VS Code - Customizable code editor, with InteliSense, built-in compilers, git and plugins
  • Cmder - Better console emulator for Windows, with Tmux-like features, great for SSH sessions
  • PostMan - For testing and developing API endpoints
  • Android Studio - For native Android development with Java/ Kotlin
  • Arduino IDE - Compile and upload for IoT devices
  • Processing - IDE and compiler for creative coding with the Processing language
  • DB Browser for SQLite - Create, design, and edit database files for SQLite
  • RunJS - Real-time JavaScript playground, useful for writing quick scripts
  • Docker Desktop - Easy way to containerize applications
  • Notepad++ - Lightweight text editor with syntax highlighting
  • Zap - Web app security analyzer
  • Vega - Automated security testing to find XXS, SQL injection and other issues
  • Git - Version control system

Device-Specific

  • YubiKey Manager - Configuring YubeKey devices
  • OnlyKey - For configuring the OnlyKey with PGP, SSH, Passwords, 2FA, Crypto and secure data
  • StreamDeck - Setting up macros on the StreamDeck
  • Razer Synapse ❌- Customize the RGB for Razer products
  • SoundBlaster Audigy FX ❌- Drivers and audio level customization for sound card
  • AMD Radeon Settings ❌- Drivers for customizing graphics card for different tasks
  • Chameleon - For programming the ChameleonMini NFC / RFID contactless smartcard emulator

Installation

On new installs, Microsoft's Package Manager can be useful for quickly installing required software.
For example, this is the winget script that I use:

winget install --id=Lexikos.AutoHotkey -e
winget install --id=REALiX.HWiNFO -e
winget install --id=GNURadio.GNURadio -e
winget install --id=Balena.Etcher -e
winget install --id=WiresharkFoundation.Wireshark -e
winget install --id=Mozilla.Firefox -e
winget install --id=angryziber.AngryIPScanner -e
winget install --id=Microsoft.PowerToys -e
winget install --id=Docker.DockerDesktop -e
winget install --id=Oracle.VirtualBox -e
winget install --id=WinSCP.WinSCP -e
winget install --id=qBittorrent.qBittorrent -e
winget install --id=Cryptomator.Cryptomator -e
winget install --id=Keybase.Keybase -e
winget install --id=KeePassXCTeam.KeePassXC -e
winget install --id=StandardNotes.StandardNotes -e
winget install --id=Mozilla.Thunderbird -e
winget install --id=ProtonTechnologies.ProtonMailBridge -e
winget install --id=AgileBits.1Password -e
winget install --id=BraveSoftware.BraveBrowser -e
winget install --id=thehandbraketeam.handbrake -e
winget install --id=LibreOffice.LibreOffice -e
winget install --id=GIMP.GIMP -e
winget install --id=Inkscape.Inkscape -e
winget install --id=darktable.darktable -e
winget install --id=Audacity.Audacity -e
winget install --id=OBSProject.OBSStudio -e
winget install --id=VideoLAN.VLC -e
winget install --id=Meltytech.Shotcut -e
winget install --id=BlenderFoundation.Blender -e
winget install --id=Ultimaker.Cura -e
winget install --id=Spotify.Spotify -e
winget install --id=Valve.Steam -e
winget install --id=Postman.Postman -e
winget install --id=Arduino.Arduino -e
winget install --id=SQLiteBrowser.SQLiteBrowser -e
winget install --id=Notepad++.Notepad++ -e
winget install --id=elgato.streamdeck -e

See also, my Winstall Collection of the above apps.

Note: It's very important to always carefully check the URL for each download before proceeding. Only install applications from their official source.


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