7 Free Apps to Install on a New Windows PC

I love notepad++, will check sublime.

I took a quick glance at sublime's website, "technically" it's not free. But you are allowed to evaluate it for free and there is no specified time length for the evaluation. So you could keep using it without paying but I'd feel like there was a sword dangling above my head.

Besides that it does look interesting and has some cool features. Also if you want to buy it, it doesn't cost that much.
Another pet beef of mine with recent versions of Windows is that their file search has become so difficult to use. Windows XP had the last useful search engine where it could search for text strings inside files. Now you can't search files unless you have configured the extensions and set them to be indexed. I just tried out Agent Ransack and it seems pretty good - it has got shell integration so you can right-click a folder to run a search from Windows Explorer. I did a test where I searched for a string and it immediately returned matches. The same search in the find toolbar in Windows Explorer (Win7) got no matches. I'm happy with that.
I also swear by Notepad++, been using it for years for both coding and general textpad use. I love how I can have multiple files open in tabs (the Doc Switcher is great) and don't need to save files - when I restart my laptop Notepad++ opens all files again, even the unsaved ones. I had a quick look at Sublime Text but it's not free. Likewise I had a quick look at Directory Opus as someone mentioned above but it is also a commercial app. I prefer free apps where possible.
+1 for MalwareBytes Anti Malware (MBAM). The free version is not real-time protection but it's still the best at finding and killing malware. You should always have it installed along with your chosen anti-virus and run MBAM on any downloaded file.
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For people doing any kind of graphics work, I always suggest GIMP and Inkscape. Covers you on bitmaps and vector drawing, both free and easy to use. And they don't nudge you repeatedly to "upgrade" to a paid version.
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I couldn't get the spell check in libre office to work no matter what I did, so I stuck with office! That's a fatal flaw!

Can you actually get the spell checker to work?

Same problem here. Must be a recent bug because a few years ago spellcheck worked just fine. By any chance are you using the portable Libreoffice? That's where I first notice this issue.

My must-install list:

Daemon Tools 4 Free (final) or Virtual Clonedrive
Filelocator Lite (actually, I use the non-free File Locator Pro but the free version is also very good)
Firefox with a ton of addons
Foxit Reader 6 (final) set for toolbar mode
Free Download Manager
Klite Mega Codec Pack
One of the following: AVG, Avast, Bitdefender, Eset, Kaspersky
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There is nothing in this "article" that isn't posted somewhere else on the net 5 times a day. It is boring and shows a real lack of initiative by the author. The comments are far more helpful
Likewise I had a quick look at Directory Opus as someone mentioned above but it is also a commercial app. I prefer free apps where possible.
Try out XYPLORER. It has a free version that will more than suffice the needs of anyone.
PS: I got Opus from one Bundle for a buck and it is cool, but I like XY way more.
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I use both Notepad++ and visual studio code as editors. notepad for binary files vs code for everything else.
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Thanks everyone for contributing with app suggestions and adding a ton to the discussion. I see many of you are either using the apps we recommend or some of its direct alternatives.

FYI, on our downloads section we offer app alternatives on most program pages (see that tab on top?). We handpick what goes on those lists and in many cases those are the same apps you are mentioning today which is great.

In a little bit we'll be adding links to your posts, too, so readers reading comments can get to your recommended apps in one click, just like the apps in the article.
Free app of the century for a new install is ninite. It is an essential tool for frequent re-installers. It saves so much time and installs the selected programs without any sneaky bloatware junk.
As for "cloud storage" I will NEVER, EVER trust any outside facility with the care and safekeeping of my data. Besides, small footprint, multi-terabyte storage is now cheap and reliable, if you keep multiple redundant backups. You have no idea what controls are in place as to privacy, the "service" can be withdrawn or suddenly "go dark" in today's business climate, and despite the strictest controls by a vendor there will always be that "rogue" employee whose curiosity gets the better of them. (Been there, done that, have the legal costs to show for it!) Most company IT security and privacy policies are against this usage, if they are at all serious about their data and IP, if not then it may be their funeral one day!
To be fair, the online backup requirements for corporate and IT companies are completely different than your average home user.

All three of those cloud storage options offer a free version of their services, which is much cheaper (the cost of bandwidth) vs the cost of running additional hard drives either inside your computer or in an external enclosure/NAS (and that cost increases dramatically as you add more disks for storage and redundancy).

Finally, keeping your data close to you does not protect it from disaster events, such as flooding, fire, and other natural occurrences that could render your hardware damaged beyond use. Unless you store cold, offline copies of your data in a protected location in a different geographical area (say, at a bank in a safety deposit box, a hundred or more miles away), you won't get the kind of potential redundancy/failover that storing in the cloud can provide, assuming you can maintain a computer system and an internet connection in some way.

You are absolutely correct from a privacy and data ownership standpoint; cloud storage is not a good option in that regard.
Notepad++ for your general coding needs, but that's probably not something the common user would be concerned about.
They should have it anyway, ye gads its useful. Even for working with game mods or game config files or anything that goes anywhere near a text file
I'm not sure that Notepad is of any more benefit to most as something like PSPad but I've got both (does Notepad++ do Hex?). What I find incredibly useful is ExamDif
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Comodo Backup (the old 1.04 version)
Spyware S&D
MalwareBytes AntiMalware
BitDefender free
Cropper (for screen captures)
Freac (ripping CDs)
Firefox (seriously - why would I want to use Chrome? ugh)
7Zip maybe -as WinRAR isn't actually freeware
Despite my anti-Apple feelings, I would say iTunes 10.7.021 (no later) as I can script it (JScript/VBScript & C#) and TBH nothing works better for me with a very large library (and I used to be a big WinAmp fan) as I have a Classic iPod, though I would be the first to admit it's not that lively
The glorious Google Earth Pro (Pro is now free)
Gimp perhaps?
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You commenters covered me on Notepad++ already but one I have not seen yet is a remote client tool. Sure you could use Windows Remote Desktop and Putty, but I prefer MobaXterm as its got every client you could want (RDP, SSH, Telnet, VNC, etc.) built in to the tool and for me its easier to use that instead of directly logging in to VM's with vCenter or other. MobaXterm also has experimental tools like networking tools and even a built in local shell with apt-get functionality. Amazing tool.
Nothing to fault on your lists but a few things I'd add for consideration:
I use Chrome, Irfanview, Potplayer, Malwarebytes, Malware Hunter,
I still like ClipX as my clipboard manager but as it' not supported there may be better.
Notepad++ text editing and more...
I like Vopt9 as a defragmenter, now free- but can I as heck get it to register so either MyDefrag or UltraDefrag are good. That said the Win10 defragmenter is pretty good.

And I can't forget Remix OS Android emulator- it supports jellybean, but not AMD processors.