Saw an interesting story at Neowin.net this morning. It’s entitled “Top 11 apps every Windows 11 user should have.” I’m not so sure I agree with various selections — though I do use Start11 on some of my PCs — but I do like the concept. So I used Task Manager’s app history function to view top tools I use frequently. These 11 great Windows 11 tools may not fit “every user,” but I bet many admins and power users will like ’em. For simplicity, I list them in alphabetical order. I also separate built-ins from third-party items.
The List: 11 Great Windows 11 Tools
A couple of initial disclaimers: I’m not talking about everyday apps or applications. I’m talking tools I use to access, find, identify, diagnose, capture and manipulate, or fix and clean up stuff. Items marked with an asterisk cost money; unmarked items are free. The apparently odd numbering reflects alph order split across categories. Sigh.
The Top 11
Built-ins/Native Apps & Applications
3. Notepad/Notepad++: I use the MS built-in text editor for most stuff, but when I want syntax checking and/or line numbers I use the ++ version instead. Both are great.
5. Photos: the built-in Windows app for managing images is what I use to review and perform simple operations on screencaps. These are often essential when writing about or reporting on Windows issues (for Feedback Hub).
6. Snipping Tool: the built-in Windows screen capture tool now includes video recording in some Dev Channel versions. I use it every day to document what I see in my Windows environments.
10. Windows Explorer: I especially like current Insider versions which give this tool tabbed operation. Has to be the MS app I use most frequently and assiduously.
11. Windows Terminal/PowerShell: I can no longer function as a Windows Insider without repeat, daily access to the command line. The Windows Terminal with PowerShell (current version 7.3.1) is my favorite way to start rooting round at the command line.
Third-Party Apps & Applications
1. (Search) Everything: My go-to file finder, this tool is faster, more reliable, and tweaks easier than built-in Windows Search function.
2. Macrium Reflect*: Though I seek a replacement for the free version (EOL on 12/31/2023), it remains my fave backup and restore tool, with super-fast imaging abilities.
4. PatchMyPC: a great, if limited, PC application update tool. It automates updates for everything it recognizes. That’s why I like it.
7. SUMo: KC Software’s excellent Software Update Monitor catches most Windows applications. I sometimes quibble with its findings.I don’t use its auto-update (found only in the for-a-fee version) but it’s a great scanning tool.
8. UnCleaner: Although not updated since 2012, Josh Cell’s UnCleaner still cleans up stuff that other cleanup tools miss. I don’t use it every day, but do use it weekly.
9. Windows Gadgets: Helmut Buhler revisits and recreates this Vista-based environment for modern Windows versions (8GadgetPack). Still my favorite always-visible health indicators.
The Next 5 After That
1. Advanced IP Scanner: my favorite LAN address scanner. It tells me lots, and lets me access more tools and tests than similar tools. Use it regularly for RDP and Printer issues.
2. DriverStore Explorer: A GitHub project,it lists all DriverStore items. Makes it easy to update and/or purge old/obsolete entries.
3. MiniTool Partition Wizard: an excellent tool to manage storage devices and partitions. The fee version adds useful data recovery.
4. PowerToys: This MS GitHub project keeps adding great, free tools to Windows. Hats off to Clint Rutkas and his team, and volunteers who add “sweat equity” and IP to this project.
5. Remote Desktop Connection/Remote Desktop: (application and app respectively) let me work on LAN PCs from a single desktop.
Check those tools out, if not already using them. Each comes with my strong personal recommendation. In fact, I use them all regularly and sometimes obsessively. Thus, trying them out could be a good thing. After you visit one or more of them, I hope you’ll agree!
If you know of others, please post a comment and share them with me here. Remember: cool tools rule!