Windows software that doesn't suck
2 min read

Windows software that doesn't suck

Here is the software I install the moment I get a new computer:


What is it? An easy way to create custom hotkeys or automations within Windows.

Why you should use it: Using more hotkeys instantly improves your experience using a computer.

How I use it: Here are some of my most used scripts:

  • Win+D = Open Downloads folder
  • Alt+- = Turn a dash into an Em dash (—)
  • Alt+Shift+LeftArrow = Open Chrome profile dedicated to client work
  • Alt+Shift+RightArrow = Open Chrome profile dedicated to not work
  • Ctrl+Q = Open notes app


What is it? An application launcher.

Why you should use it: It makes you faster finding and launching things. Once you use it for 2 weeks you won't be able to go without it again.

How I use it: I press Alt+Space and a search bar appears on my screen. It will search my PC for whatever I type (among other features), removing the need to use desktop icons. i.e. "Alt+Space - "ch" - Enter" is enough to open Chrome without using my mouse.


What is it? Lightweight, open-source screenshot app.

Why you should use it: Easy screenshots with customizable next actions (save, copy, upload, etc).

How I use it: PrtSc for screenshots. 1-click options for copying to clipboard, editing the image, or uploading to Imgur.

Open Shell

What is it? A skin for Windows Explorer and the Start Menu.

Why you should use it: You don't want to use the new Start Menu and/or you miss Windows XP/Windows 7.

How I use it: I want my Windows 11 to look like Windows XP. I use both the Classic Start Menu and the Classic Explorer.

Microsoft PowerToys

What is it? A package of useful tiny tools.

Why you should use it: This one is on you.

How I use it: I use the Color Picker and Text Extractor most often.


What is it? A simple markdown notetaking app.

Why you should use it: All files are simple markdown that can be exported to most other notes apps. You can leave the ecosystem anytime you want. It's Notepad levels of simple and only as complex as you want it to be.

How I use it: Journaling and reference notes live in my Obsidian database. As a reformed productivity addict I try to keep this simple.


What is it? A tool that checks to see if your software is outdated.

Why you should use it: Keep your software up to date.

How I use it: Open every so often to check for updates.


What is it? A tool to encrypt your hard drive and/or create encrypted volumes.

Why you should use it: A strong personal security practice.

How I use it: I encrypyt my system drive and any USB drives I carry around.

Random Windows hotkeys

Trying to learn more of these.

  • Alt+Tab - Cycle between open windows
  • Ctrl+L - Jump to address bar when browser is open
  • Ctrl+W - Close active browser tab
  • Win+RightArrowKey - Push open window to right side of screen
  • Win+M - Minimize active window