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10 essential Windows 10 desktop apps

Must-have tools to enhance your Windows experience

Apps aren’t just for your smartphone – the Windows 10 app store offers a bevy of free apps and games. We’ve picked 10 of the best for your PC.

Confusing websites, full programs that turn out to be free trials and software that sneakily installs internet toolbars and media players you didn’t ask for are just some of the problems that can put you off making the most of free software downloads.

But now that Windows has its own built-in app store everyone has access to a range of free apps that are easy to install and uninstall, and any caveats to the ‘free’ moniker are clear from the get go.

We’ve found 10 apps we think are sure to enhance your Windows experience, whether this is your first Windows computer or you’ve been using one for years.

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1. Microsoft Remote Desktop

Remotely accessing your desktop makes any computer portable. Even if you’ve got a hulking desktop, you can access it from your phone, tablet or another computer.

The app creates a mirror image of your home or work computer screen and gives you full control. You can access files, email pictures and documents or even watch videos and listen to music saved on your computer, as long as you have a good wi-fi connection.

2. Touchmail

It’s hard to do anything online without signing in first. Whether it’s Hotmail, Gmail or something else entirely the range of different sites and services means it’s common for us to have multiple email accounts.

Touchmail wants to make navigating your sea of emails as simple as possible. It arranges them into tiles that can be colour-coded to separate family, friends and work. You can see the profile picture and logo of the sender too to make it even easier to keep on top of your emails.

3. OneDrive

Leading technology brands like Apple, Google and Microsoft want us to put as many things in the cloud as possible. Whether it’s pictures or documents, putting them in your virtual storage cloud means you can access them from anywhere as long as you’re connected to the internet.

OneDrive is your Microsoft cloud but it works on Apple and Google products too. It works best with Microsoft’s other software like Word and Excel by allowing you to open files straight from your OneDrive rather than downloading them first.

4. Wunderlist

If you’ve got a memory like a sieve, you’re very busy or a bit of both, having a good app to keep on top of your commitments is a must. Wunderlist works on Windows as well as Apple and Google devices so you can look at the same list on your phone as well as your PC, whatever models you own.

You can set reminders and alarms for your most important tasks, create folders to separate work from home and share your lists with others so they can see when you’re free and when you really need to get some work done.

5. Fresh Paint

Microsoft Paint has been a part of Windows since the very beginning, but if you’re after something with more options look no further than Fresh Paint.

The app supports several different art styles including watercolour, oil painting and pencils. It can even respond to pressure if you’re using a touchscreen or stylus to create your masterpiece.

6. Plex

Computers make for great media centres since large hard drives are the perfect repositories for all your media, whether it’s films, TV shows, music or photos. But keeping them all organised is no simple task.

Plex compiles all your media into easy to navigate folders that can be accessed anywhere. You can watch your media on the PC or use Plex to stream it on other compatible devices like phones and smart TVs with the Plex app installed.

7. Skype

You can use a computer for just about anything and that means talking too. Using Skype you can make free video calls to anyone you know simply by adding them with their username or email address.

You can type messages too and like a lot of Microsoft apps it works across multiple devices, so you could use Skype on your phone to call someone on their PC.

8. Adobe Photoshop Express

If you’re after a quick and easy way to edit photos Adobe Photoshop Express is a no-fuss way of cropping and adding filters to your pictures.

The app can also adjust the colour and lighting of your picture using built-in sliders that affect shadows and brightness, and there’s a feature to remove demonic red eye from your cherished snaps.

9. VLC

There’s nothing quite as annoying as a video you can’t play. Whether videos work or not is dependent on what file type they are and if your media player is compatible.

VLC is a media player that can cope with the majority of file extensions from .MKV to .AVI and everything in between, so you won’t need to trawl the internet for a potentially troublesome free program to convert the file.

10. TuneIn Radio

Radio and computers work well together since the internet gives you access to so many stations but scouring the internet to find your favourites isn’t exactly a streamlined experience.

TuneIn Radio sits on your desktop and makes it easy to search for the type of music and stations you want. Once you’ve found some you like, whether it’s radio stations, shows or podcasts, you can pin them to your start menu for speedy access.

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