Windows 11 brings a fresh new look and useful new features that improve upon Windows 10 in many ways. However, to truly enhance your Windows 11 experience, you need the right apps.
The default apps that come pre-installed in Windows 11 cover the basics, but third-party apps can add powerful functionality and customization options.
In this guide, I will share the top apps I recommend all Windows 11 users install to boost productivity, security, entertainment, and general quality of life. These apps provide functionality missing from Windows 11 itself or simply do a much better job than Microsoft‘s offerings.
I‘ve personally used all these apps extensively, so you can trust these recommendations. Let‘s begin!
1. IObit Driver Booster – Automatically Update Drivers
Even though Windows 11 automatically installs the essential drivers to get your hardware functioning, its driver database is limited. Over time, you‘ll miss out on newer versions of drivers that improve performance or fix bugs.
A dedicated driver updater tool like IObit Driver Booster solves this problem. It has a massive database of over 8 million drivers across thousands of brands. With just a couple of clicks, Driver Booster can scan your PC and install the latest driver updates from manufacturers.
Driver issues can cause crashes, poor gaming performance, and hardware malfunctions. Driver Booster ensures peak operation by keeping all your drivers updated. Even if you have an older PC, it can hunt down legacy drivers.
The free version lets you update most drivers without speed restrictions. You can unlock additional features like faster downloads and cloud backups of drivers with Driver Booster Pro. It‘s one of the best investments you can make to maintain a smooth Windows 11 experience.
2. Avast One Essential – Protection Against Online Threats
While Windows Security handles malware protection well enough, it lacks the full suite of security tools needed for comprehensive protection in 2022. An all-in-one security suite like Avast One Essential closes these gaps.
Avast One combines antivirus, firewall, and other tools to safeguard you from online threats. It blocks malicious websites, secures online connections, prevents virus infections, and eliminates annoying ads and trackers.
With the rise of identity theft, Avast One‘s data breach monitoring alerts you if your passwords or accounts have been compromised. The VPN allows you to browse anonymously and access geo-restricted content anywhere.
Avast One Essential even optimizes your PC‘s performance by deleting junk files and updating insecure or outdated programs. It‘s the all-in-one solution for staying safe online with Windows 11.
3. CCleaner – Keep Windows 11 Lean and Fast
Over time, Windows 11 inevitably collects junk files and clutter that degrade performance. A PC optimizer app like CCleaner helps counteract this slowdown by cleaning unnecessary data.
CCleaner quickly frees up storage space by removing browser caches, temporary files, system logs, and other flotsam. You can customize exactly which areas it cleans. It wipes unwanted Windows 11 data as well as junk from third-party programs.
The built-in Registry Cleaner clears invalid registry entries to boost system stability. CCleaner also updates outdated software and uninstalls bloatware you don‘t need.
These optimizations keep Windows 11 running fast over years of use. You can set custom schedules for automatic cleaning too.
4. TranslucentTB – Customize the Taskbar
While Windows 11 improves upon Windows 10‘s taskbar, you still can‘t customize it much without third-party solutions. TranslucentTB lets you style the taskbar exactly how you like.
This free open-source app adds tons of personalization settings including transparency effects, variable blur, color tinting, taskbar alignment, and more. You can give the taskbar a beautiful acrylic blur look or make it fully transparent.
TranslucentTB also lets you center the taskbar icons, disable grouping, and customize tray icons. If you want a tailored Windows 11 experience, it‘s an essential download. The dev is continually adding new customization options too.
5. EarTrumpet – Volume Control Per App
The default Windows 11 volume slider controls all system audio globally. To manage volume for individual apps, you need EarTrumpet. It gives you per-app volume control right from the taskbar.
EarTrumpet lists all open apps playing audio. You can mute specific apps, adjust their volume, or redirect audio output without affecting other program‘s sounds. It‘s perfect for configuring audio across games, music, video chats, live streams, and more.
The Mini mode places compact volume controls for each app right on the taskbar for quick adjustments. EarTrumpet also supports global hotkeys and remembers your preferences between reboots. It‘s a must-have for managing audio in Windows 11.
6. WizTree – Browse Hard Drive Usage Visually
The built-in Windows 11 storage sense utilities leave a lot to be desired. WizTree makes visualizing your disk usage infinitely easier. It generates an interactive map of your hard drives in seconds.
Unlike Windows Explorer which slowly calculates sizes, WizTree reads the NTFS file table to instantly display a customizable treemap of your drives. You can easily spot what‘s hogging space.
Clicking any block drills down to list its subfolders and files. You can delete unwanted data straight from WizTree with its right-click menu. WizTree makes cleaning and organizing your hard drives intuitive.
The paid version adds features like file searches, auto-cleaning, and objective-based wizards to free space. But the free version includes all the essential visualizations.
7. qBittorrent – Fast and Customizable Torrenting
Windows 11 lacks a built-in torrent client. qBittorrent is a superb open-source alternative with a clean interface and no bundled malware or ads. Beyond basic torrenting, it offers many advanced options.
qBittorrent can selectively download files from torrents, supports encryption, and enables sequential downloading. You can customize speed limits, assign bandwidth priority, and integrate search engines like Google and DuckDuckGo.
The app runs lightly with minimal UI clutter. Extensive preferences let you tweak qBittorrent‘s behavior, and the search function is handy for finding free legal torrents. For safe torrenting in Windows 11, qBittorrent is tough to beat.
8. Shotcut – Free Video Editor
Windows 11 still lacks a built-in video editor. For basic cutting and splicing, Shotcut is the best free option that doesn‘t skimp on features. While easy to start with, it offers plenty of depth for more advanced editing.
Shotcut‘s intuitive timeline workflow and undo options make precision editing simple. You get essential tools like trimming, splitting, rotating, speed adjustments, filters, transitions, and drawing. It supports 4K resolution and hundreds of audio/video formats.
Shotcut even allows mixing multiple video, audio, and image tracks. The well-designed interface has themes to suit beginners and professionals alike. For basic to intermediate video editing, Shotcut has everything you need without a subscription.
9. VeraCrypt – Encrypt Sensitive Data
VeraCrypt adds powerful encryption capabilities missing from Windows 11 itself. It lets you create virtual encrypted disks within your hard drive volumes. Securing sensitive files this way keeps them safe from data breaches or drive theft.
VeraCrypt encrypted containers can be concealed with hidden volume protection. Your data remains completely inaccessible without the password. The encryption algorithms used are highly secure and resilient to brute-force attacks.
Encrypted disks give you tremendous flexibility. You can store sensitive documents, system backups, application data, and anything else for strong protection. VeraCrypt is open-source, trusted worldwide, and easy to use once configured.
10. f.lux – Automatically Adjust Screen Color Temperature
Staring at your screen after sunset can disrupt sleep patterns and cause eye strain. f.lux fixes this by automatically adjusting your screen‘s color temperature based on the sun‘s position.
During the day, f.lux does nothing to maintain full color accuracy. At sunset, it gradually shifts the display towards warmer low blue light hues that are easier on eyes. In the morning, color temperature transitions back to normal.
You can customize the degree of adjustment, set schedules, and configure exceptions for color-sensitive work. f.lux works system-wide and is proven to help sleep better. The subtle color tweaks make using your computer more comfortable year-round.
11. LosslessCut – Quickly Trim Video Files
Trimming large video files or removing unwanted sections can be tedious with Windows 11‘s apps. LosslessCut makes it as simple as possible. Just open a video, set beginning and end points, then export or save the trimmed result.
Despite the name, LosslessCut works without quality loss to the video. Trims and cuts are precise down to the individual frame. You can trim multiple segments from large videos at once too.
Simple keyboard shortcuts allow fast scrubbing and marking of cut points. The timeline previews make visualizing the end result easy. If you regularly need to refine video files, LosslessCut is invaluable.
12. Ditto – Clipboard Manager
Windows 11‘s clipboard only remembers your most recent cut/copy operation. Ditto upgrades that to a full clipboard manager. It logs every piece of text, image, and file you copy for later pasting.
Ditto keeps an unlimited clipboard log. You can pin important clips to always persist, search text clips, edit snippets, and configure hotkeys. Having clipboard history fundamentally improves workflow by removing redundant copying.
The minimal Ditto interface resides in the system tray when not needed. If you regularly cut/copy-paste, Ditto is a game-changing free utility for Windows 11.
Enhance Windows 11 Further
The apps above should cover most common needs to enhance Windows 11 productivity, security, entertainment, and customization. Here are a few other useful utilities I recommend checking out:
- ShareX – Advanced screenshot capturing and editing
- Bitwarden – Free password manager for securing logins
- Macrium Reflect – Reliable Windows imaging for backups
- CrystalDiskInfo – Monitor hard drive health
- Mozilla Firefox – Alternative web browser with robust extensions
- LibreOffice – Open-source office suite
- OBS Studio – Free screen recorder and live streaming app
With the right apps filling the gaps in Windows 11‘s capabilities, you can boost your productivity and enjoy customizing Windows to suit your needs. The apps listed in this guide represent the best-in-class for common use cases based on my own extensive testing. Give them a try to take your Windows 11 experience to the next level!