My Essential Computer Programs {The Update}

Essential Computer Programs

Last year, I shared My Essential Computer Programs List which are the programs I download on any new computer that I buy. Since I just got the new HP SPectre it was time to take a look and see if anything had changed.

My Desktop


My desktop is still clean and clutter free. Anything I’m working on gets saved to it, and then deleted or moved into a folder when I’m through with it. I also try to change the desktop at least monthly, but I’ve been using the one pictured above for the last few months (I don’t remember where the image is from).

Antivirus & Malaware

Making sure my computer is protected is my number 1 priority and I’m still using very similar software to last year.

1. BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2017 ($39.99). I went with the updated version since the license is now good for protection of up to 3 devices. The Dell Inspiron 13 7000 series 2-in-1 Tablet PC that I bought last year is now for family use, and it’s on this as well.

2. Avast SecureLine VPN ($59.99/yr). Encrypts unsecured wireless internet connections. This is now my 3rd year using this program, and seems more worth it now that Im on public wifi a lot more since I travel a lot more.

3. Malaware Bytes (Free). I still check my computer about once a week for spyware.

4. CCleaner (Free). This is used about once a month to keep things tidy.

Document Control

Nothing has changed in this section (or the next from last year).

5. Dropbox (Free). Sync and forget about it is the beauty of this program. I have “My Documents” folder synced. I also routinely transfer images from my phone to dropbox when I want to edit them on my computer.

6. Google Drive (Free). Another free storage utility – I use it less often than Dropbox

7. Adobe Reader (Free). For viewing PDFs.

For Blogging

8. Mozilla Firefox (Free) . Because of the superb add-ons I’ve stuck with this for years. Yes, I tried Chrome, but I came back to Firefox and haven’t even been tempted since.

9. Adobe Photoshop Essentials 14 ($59.99). I learned off Photoshop and will probably only stop using it when they make it prohibitively expensive. The price for Essentials is a one-time fee – and it works just as well as it’s big brother.

10. Filezilla FTP. For transferring files to my blog.

Media & Communication

11. BitTorrent. For downloads of movies and tv series.

12. Overdrive. On my computer, I use it for reading eBooks.

11. Netflix and Hulu. Because we don’t have cable … except during football season.
12. Kindle app and Nook app. Although I primarily read eBooks on my phone, I still consider these essentials on my computer too.

13. Airdroid. Right now, just testing out this app to mirror my phone to the PC.

What are some computer programs that’s on your “essential” list?


// Comments //

  1. nylse

    Mar 15

    This is cool. I will look into photoshop essentials and ccleaner.

  2. Anne Bennett

    Mar 15

    Why did you cross off OVERDRIVE? That is the program my library has for e-books and audiobooks.

    • Tanya Patrice

      Mar 16

      @Anne – I use it on my phone. I read eBooks and listen to audiobooks on it, so I don’t find that I need it on the computer anymore.

  3. Oooh – glad to know about Photoshop Essentials. I’ve shied away from getting Photoshop b/c it’s expensive and b/c I hear it’s a steep learning curve…and making graphics is my least favorite thing…but maybe Essentials at some point down the road.

    • Tanya Patrice

      Mar 16

      @Sarah – It may have a steep-ish learning curve, but its not so bad and there’s so much you can do with it.