Work Computers are now an indispensable part of every facet of the human experience. From personal life to entrepreneurship computers are pivotal because they enhance automation and productivity. Software is what drives the several hardware items that make up a computer. Computers can broadly be categories into laptops and desktops – these are the main ones. The types and ranges of software out there are so many that you might not be sure which ones you need and which ones you don’t need. In this article I discuss essential software that you would need to have installed on your computer. I’m going to basically highlight the types of software in particular. I might also point out some specific examples so as to put things in perspective. The working assumption is that you’ll be using a Windows-based computer.

Office Suite

Most of what you might want to do on your computer will involve the use of various types of documents. Some of the common formats of documents are ordinary documents, presentation documents or spreadsheet documents. There are several types of office suites out there so you can choose the one you prefer. Most experts recommend Libre Office though of course some settle for Microsoft Office. I personally would recommend Libre Office due some functional differences that set it apart from Microsoft Office. You can’t do without an office suite otherwise how will you handle or work on your documents. These examples I cited are free but there are other options that require payment in the form of subscriptions – an example is Office 365.

Internet Browser

The internet makes up a central component of our lives these days. In fact, most of the critically important things we do are internet-based. For instance, you might be running a website and social media accounts. Actually, if your business isn’t doing that then you’re depriving your business of a lot. To run these things you have to be online and to be online you need an internet browser. There are several examples of them out there e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Brave, Tor, just to mention a few. If you’re keen on eliminating the nuisance of ads then Brave will do for you. If you are obsessed with being online anonymously so that you aren’t tracked then Tor will do for you. However, using Brave and Tor might not be strategic for business because they make it difficult for you to do your digital marketing. There’s a debate over which internet browser is better between Chrome and Firefox but the widespread global standpoint is that Chrome is the best.

Email Client

Many people usually access their email accounts by logging onto the Gmail site online. There really isn’t anything wrong with that but it might not be the most effective way to handle your emails. To infuse automation and productivity you must have an email client; there are several options available. Email clients help in that you get incoming email alerts automatically and you can send and receive emails without having to use the internet browser. One example I can cite here is Microsoft Outlook since most people use it.

Security Software

This here is a cluster of many different types of software. Anti-viruses in the form of malware are some of the commonly known ones. There are also software that can be used to protect the privacy of data be it in files or folders. Usually any Windows-based computer comes with its own anti-virus but it’s recommended that you install another one to complement the default one. You must have software that’s all-inclusive i.e. it must protect you from any threats emanating from local file transfers and being online.

Cloud Software

You must leverage on cloud computing which is centre stage these days. The beauty of cloud computing, particularly cloud storage, lies in that you can store large amounts of data online. This frees up storage space on your computer and most importantly you can access your files online from anywhere. Cloud storage is in essence more than just storage since it can function as a backup of data. There are several examples such as Dropbox or Box, just to mention a few. Once you store data on a cloud storage server you can access it from anywhere through any device and at any time. This can eliminate the need to carry around your data with you always.

Multimedia Software

This is also a huge cluster which includes many different types of software. We’re looking at things like image editors, media converters, media players, media compressors and so on. A common incidence is that people can’t read PDF files on their computers – because they don’t have the software required to read such files installed. The type of multimedia software you’ll need depends on your line of work since the needs can vary from person to person.

Messaging Software

In this day and age of social media you’ll obviously need this. Messenger platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook are some of the commonly used ones. There are also video messaging platforms that can be necessary for video conferencing or virtual meetings in general. A personal favourite is Google Hangouts because I’ve used it before. I once had a 30-minute video product online testing session with two people from Germany using Google Hangouts. The platform is quite smooth, the video quality was pristine and the connectivity was never interrupted throughout the whole session. The other intriguing thing I noticed was that it consumes very little data. So I highly recommend it for those who might want to do video conferencing or virtual meetings.

If you have a computer and especially if you’re a business person you must have all these software on your computer. As you would have noticed I said there are options available for every type of software. Thus in making a decision, you must research to find out which works best for you.