Being already in the middle of 2020, this might be a good time to add some new software to your Windows laptop or desktop. Of course, you could just persist with older software that you’ve already installed.
Still, you’ll miss out on the new tools and features in the latest releases.
Many publishers have already launched 2020 additions to established software series that include plenty of enhancements. These are some of the hottest Windows software to check out in 2020.
Must-have Windows software in 2020
Bitdefender 2019 (recommended)
Update anti-virus software is essential to combat malware, and Bitdefender 2019 is one of the most efficient anti-virus utilities for Windows. Check for regular discounts at Amazon.
However, you can also add a freeware version to the Windows 10/8/7 and Mac platforms by downloading it from the official website page.
The latest Bitdefender 2019 has a revamped UI design and enhanced security modules.
The software utilizes a variety of scanning and detection techniques to stamp out malware, phishing schemes, fraudulent websites, ransomware and more besides.
Bitdefender users can manually select quick and system scans, but the software’s Autopilot mode can take care of most things with minimal user input.
The software will scan your emails and USB drives and detect outdated software.
Also, Bitdefender, will protect your privacy by preventing any intrusion to the cameras on all your devices.
Every Bitdefender product will be updated automatically, keeping up with the cyber threats.
Another good thing about Bitdefender is that it isn’t system resource heavy, and with its gamer mode you can temporarily suspend the software to reduce game lag.
PaintShop Pro 2019
PaintShop Pro 2019 is retailing sometimes at a discount on Amazon and (for the Ultimate version), and has better value than PhotoShop CC’s annual subscription.
The image editor has two versions, and PaintShop Pro 2019 Ultimate includes Painter Essentials 6, Perfectly Clear 3.5 and AfterShot 3. Also, as of 2019, it includes PhotoMirage Express.
You can run the image editor on 32 and 64-bit Windows 10, 8 and 7 platforms.
PaintShop is an image editor, graphic design and photo organizer wrapped into one package.
The software includes 86 creative filters, which is a number few other image editors match.
You can utilize the software’s photo-editing tools to create panoramas, correct lighting, remove backgrounds, fix colors in photos, combine pictures with layers, fix lens distortion and more besides.
Furthermore, you can set up High Dynamic Range images with PaintShop, which is an advanced tool Photoshop Elements lacks.
Aside from its image-editing toolkit, this is also decent graphics design software as it provides a plethora of paint, draw and text tools.
PaintShop users can add transitioning color effects to pictures with gradients. You can can use its vector graphics tools to set up smoother vector images.
So along with editing photographs, you can utilize PaintShop to design cards, collages, logos, social media images, posters and lots more besides.
Cyberlink PowerDirector 17 (suggested)
Cyberlink PowerDirector 17 is cutting-edge video editing and DVD authoring software that’s usually one step ahead of the rest when it comes to incorporating tools for the latest video technologies.
It has a multi-key sampling chrome key editing, which will help you to perform green screen editing like in Hollywood movies.
Also, it has a frame-by-frame motion tracking, which ensures 100% accurate object tracking.
The products are sometimes discounted on Amazon, and the full versions of the software are useful for professionals .
However, our readers can try the free version of this software directly from the links below:
- Download Cyber Link Power Director Ultra edition free
- Download Cyber Link Power Director Ultimate edition free
The Ultimate version includes more effects and templates than PowerDirector 16 Ultra. Both versions are compatible with 64-bit Windows 10, 8 and 7 platforms.
PowerDirector 16 is the best video editor for many as it packs in all the basic and more advanced editing tools, but still remains an easy and straightforward editor to utilize.
The software provides video stabilizer, chroma key, audio mixer, masking, slideshow, motion tracking, multi-cam, automatic video creator, action camera, blending, audio ducking and color match video-editing tools.
The latest version is embracing 360-degree video editing with its new 360-degree video stabilizer. PowerDirector 16 users can also add titles and images to their 360-degree footage for the first time.
PowerDirector 16 is also great DVD authoring software. You can utilize this software to set up both a DVDs or Blu-ray discs that include your videos.
PowerDirector 16 includes a menu designer so that you can add unique menu layouts to the video discs. The software supports both 2K and 4K export, and you can export clips with 15 alternative video formats.
Furthermore, this editor also provides 25 optimization profiles with which you can optimize the videos for various devices. So PowerDirector is an ideal video content creation package for 2019.
ProShow Gold 9
ProShow Gold is among the best photo slideshow, or presentation, software with which you can set up some dazzling slideshows for your photographs.
Sure, there are plenty of freeware photo viewers and photo cataloging software that you can set up basic slideshows with; but most of them have very limited presentation tools and transition effects compared with ProShow Gold.
The software is compatible with Windows 10/8/7/Vista, and sometimes, it may come with a discount on the publisher’s site.
ProShow Gold 9 has tons of slideshow tools, effects and filters with which to set up top-notch presentations that include both images and videos.
The software has more than 950 transition effects and filters for slideshows, which is a huge selection. You can get even more effects with the effect packs retailing on the publisher’s website.
The software includes 100+ caption effects to spruce up captions with and more than 330 songs and sound effects to bring your presentations to life with.
The software’s editing tools enable you to edit photos, customize captions with motion effects, add audio narrative, trim videos and songs and set up color palettes.
ProShow Gold also supports more than 50 output formats and provides plenty of slideshow sharing options.
You can add your presentations to DVD, HD Blu-ray or iOS devices with an additional app.
The latest ProShow 9 enables you to set up 4K slideshow video for playback on 4K TVs.
In addition, ProShow Gold enables its users to add their presentations to YouTube, FB and Twitter directly from the software.
The Kodi media center was one of the software sensations of 2017, albeit also a little controversially.
The media center is controversial as you can stream so much media content with it, and that included exclusive Premier League matches until the FA clamped down on Kodi boxes.
However, this open-source media center is entirely legal so long as you don’t utilize it with Kodi boxes to watch exclusive subscription channels.
The software has established a huge user base since it became a mainstream media center, and you can run it on Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, Raspberry and Linux platforms.
Press the Windows button on this website page to add it to Windows.
Kodi is among the best software for 2019 because you can utilize it in so many ways. You can play video and music directly from DVDs, Blu-ray discs and CDs or from media sources saved to your hard drive.
Alternatively, you can view TV and films with the media center’s streaming add-ons.
Some Kodi users add a TV tuner card to their desktops so that they can view and record live TV with the media center.
The software’s radio plug-ins can bring you thousands of radio shows.
You can also utilize the media center to import pictures and set up slideshows. So the versatility of Kodi is amazing.
Glary Utilities 5 (suggested)
Glary Utilities 5 is an all-in-one system optimizer that’s ideal for Windows system maintenance.
This is one of the most efficient system maintenance tools with which to speed up Windows and fix software issues.
Even though there are paid versions and freeware versions, the freeware package is almost entirely the same as the Pro alternative.
The main difference is that the freeware version is not for commercial usage and lacks automatic updates.
You can add Glary Utilities 5 to Windows platforms from XP up by pressing the Download Now button on this webpage.
Glary Utilities 5 is among the most comprehensive system optimizers for Windows that includes more than 20 tools.
You can utilize this system optimizer to free up hard drive space, remove startup software, clean the registry, defrag the HDD, uninstall software, optimize RAM and uninstall drivers.
It also includes more advanced tools that enable you to recover deleted files, repair system files, purge malware and even split and join files.
So this is a very handy system optimizer that includes all the utilities you’ll need for Windows system maintenance during 2019.
Office suites are among the most essential additions to any software library. MS Office 2016 might be the dominant office suite, but the open-source LibreOffice is a great alternative that doesn’t have any annual subscription fee.
As LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice, it’s much the same as that office suite; but LibreOffice is getting more regular updates.
The office suite is compatible with 32 and 64-bit Windows, Mac OS X and Linux platforms; and you can download its setup wizard from this webpage. LibreOffice 6.2.3 is also compatible with more Windows platforms than MS Office 2016.
The LibreOffice suite includes word processor (Writer), database (Base), spreadsheet (Calc), presentation (Impress) and drawing (Draw) applications.
That’s almost a full suite of office software, but it lacks an email client.
Those applications share many of the same options and tools included within the MS Office suite, and they are fully compatible with Office’s file formats.
The suite’s applications are also customizable as you can modify their menus, toolbars, hotkeys, color schemes, fonts and icon styles.
In addition, you can further enhance LibreOffice by adding extensions to it from the suite’s vast extension repository.
So unless you need to utilize an email client application or online web apps, LibreOffice is certainly a great value alternative to MS Office 2016.
Firefox 57 has played second fiddle to Google Chrome for a while now, but the November 2017 Quantum update has revitalized Mozilla’s flagship browser.
Fox is now an altogether snappier and more responsive browser with an entirely new rendering engine. So the new Firefox is the browser to check out it 2019.
You can add the browser to Windows 10, 8 and 7 by pressing the Download now button on this website page.
Firefox is now a significantly faster browser since the Quantum update, and that speed boost alone might convince many Chrome users to switch to Fox 57. However, there’s more to the Quantum update than just a new engine.
Firefox 57 has a revamped UI design with rectangular tabs, light and dark themes and a redesigned New Tab page.
A new Page actions menu includes Copy Link and Take a Screenshot options.
The browser is also more customizable than Chrome as you can add and remove buttons from its URL toolbar, select three alternative Density settings, add or remove a separate search box and even configure the title bar with built-in options.
Firefox 57 no longer supports legacy extensions, which reduces the number of add-ons for the browser.
However, you can also add Google Chrome and Opera extensions to Fox 57 with the Chrome Store Foxified extension.
As such, with Chrome Store Foxified and its WebExtension API, Firefox also has the widest selection of extensions.
Word 2016 (and 2019)
Word processors are probably the most essential applications for most folks, myself included.
MS Word 2016 is the industry standard word processor for Windows 10/8/7 that’s a benchmark for all other alternatives.
Although the MS Office suite includes this word processor, Word 2016 is also available as a separate $109.99 package.
UPDATE: MS Word 2016 is currently not available, but you can buy Office Home&Business 2019 for $249.99.
With Microsoft launching MS Office 2019 in 2019, a new MS Word 2019 will also be included with that suite.
MS Word is chock-a-block with options and tools for designing a wide variety of document types.
The software has an intuitive tabbed UI design that ensures the application’s primary tools and options are easy to access, which many users will probably prefer to the more conventional menu navigation.
Word’s Home tab includes most of its formatting options, such as bold, italic, underline, strikethrough, subscript and superscript, font drop-down menu and bullet points.
From the Insert tab, you can select to add tables, images, online pictures, shapes, charts, screenshots, headers, footers, online video, symbols, equations and more besides to documents.
Word users can add automatically generated table of contents, bibliographies, citations, indexes, table of figures and captions to documents from the References tab.
You also get one TB of OneDrive cloud storage with the software, which is a great bonus.
PowerDVD 19 Ultra (suggested)
Although you can play discs with Kodi, PowerDVD 19 Ultra is a dedicated DVD and video media player for Windows 10/8/7 that includes more extensive playback options and settings.
PowerDVD 19 is a top-notch DVD player that supports all the latest video technologies, such as 4K and 3D 360-degree video.
The software has Ultra, Pro and Standard editions; and PowerDVD Ultra supports the most disc, video file and audio formats.
Now, PowerDVD Ultra supports 8K videos, bringing the next wave in ultra-high definition entertainment.
The product may sometimes come with a discount on Amazon or on the publisher’s website.
PowerDVD 19 is a media player with massive format compatibility.
You can utilize the software to watch DVD, Blu-ray, DVD-R/RW, Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, 3D DVD movie and AVCHD discs along with numerous digital file formats.
The software has a VR Mode so that you can watch 360-degree videos with VR headsets.
Its TV Mode and casting enables you to watch 4K video on 4K TV and cast video, music and photos to Chromecast, Apple TV and Roku.
- Download now PowerDVD 19 Ultra free version
The media player includes digital zooming, HD upscaling, hue, saturation, AB repeat, region changing and subtitle playback settings.
PowerDVD 19 isn’t just a movie player either. You can utilize it to view 3D and high-resolution photo slideshows.
The media player supports a broad range of lossless audio formats, and PowerDVD 19 users can also rip songs from DVDs and extract soundtracks from movies.
Winaero Tweaker is among the best freeware programs for customizing Windows in 2019. For a lightweight 2.2 MB package, Winaero Tweaker packs in remarkably extensive customization tools.
It is essentially front end software for editing the registry, as many of its tweaks would otherwise require you to manually modify the registry.
You can run this software on Windows 10, 8 and 7 by clicking Download Winaero Tweaker on this page and then extracting its ZIP file.
Winaero Tweaker includes customization tools listed under File Explorer, Settings and Control Panel, Windows Apps, Window 8 Metro UI, Appearance, Desktop and Taskbar, Boot & Login, Get Classic Apps and Context Menu categories.
You can utilize this software to customize the Alt + Tab dialog, dialog window fonts, scrollbars, status bar fonts, window borders, add more transparency to the taskbar, modify taskbar thumbnails, add new options to context menus and much more besides.
So Winaero Tweaker is packed with loads of handy tools, and it’s a really straightforward to utilize as the software has an intuitive UI design and tells you what each tool does.
Winaero Tweaker also includes a Restore to defaults option so that you can quickly undo customizations. So it’s a great customization package for quickly tweaking Windows.
Although you can apply many customizations with Winaero Tweaker, to really transform the Windows desktop check out Object Desktop 2019.
Object Desktop is the ultimate Windows customization suite that includes more than 12 apps to customize and enhance the desktop with. The latest Object Desktop suite is fully compatible with Windows 10, 8 and 7; and the software suite is currently retailing at a discounted $29.99.
This YouTube video provides a brief overview of the customization suite.
The primary software of the Object Desktop suite are WindowsBlinds, Deskscapes, Fences 3, Start 10 and Groupy; but the suite also includes IconPackager, WindowFX, Multiplicity, SpaceMonger and Tiles.
You can add entirely new custom skins to the desktop with WindowsBlinds.
Deskscapes enables you to add videos and animated backgrounds to the desktop. Fences automatically organizes your shortcuts into groups.
Groupy is handy software with which you can merge open programs into single tabbed windows.
To add an alternative Start menu to Windows, which includes a search box, you can utilize Start 10.
You can also customize desktop icons, add animations and effects to program windows, free up storage space and add a new launch dock to Windows with other Object Desktop software.
Those are some of the best software for 2019 that you can now snap up during Amazon’s January sales.
Thus, the proprietary packages are currently available with discounts on Amazon and some of the publishers’ sites.
Firefox 57, Kodi, LibreOffice and Winaero Tweaker are always great bargains as they’re freeware and open-source software.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2018 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.