2013 has been a remarkable year in the tech space. Lots of amazing things took place; a plethora of new devices flourished in the market, and we witnessed some amazing never-seen-before technology catered right in front of us. Whether it’s the Amazon Prime Air, or the amazing streaming device Chromecast, or the Boston Dynamics project from Google, this year has been a roller-coaster ride with mostly happy bumps.

It wasn’t just about gadgets though. With coding becoming the new black, we saw some incredibly, sometimes even jaw-dropping apps that not only made our life easier, but also changed the way we interact with people, data and a lot of other things.

While it isn’t conceivable to list down all the worthy apps in a 1000-word article, we thought to list down the must-have apps at least.

Software

Mozilla Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird

Whether it is managing multiple email accounts, or the support for RSS feeds, Mozilla Thunderbird is an app that you just can’t ignore. In addition, you can also install thousands of add-ons to add more functionality to it. Mozilla Thunderbird is one of the best apps you could install on your system. You can read about this app in detail here.

MetroTwit

MetroTwit

Let me put it this way: If you are running Windows 7 or any older version, there isn’t any better third-party Twitter client for you. MetroTwit’s user interface is one of the best thing about it, everything is clean, simple and placed at the right spots. You can tweak several of its settings to make things more convenient to you. If you will upgrade to the Pro version, you will be able to use multiple Twitter accounts and get many more features.

Virtual WiFi Router 

VirtualWiFi

If you have one incoming network connection, and don’t have a router to let other devices use that network, Virtual WiFi Router is your safest bet. It turns your laptop into a virtual router, to which all your devices can connect. Unlike many of its competitors, first of all, it’s free, and it doesn’t shove adverts to bitter your experience.

You can password protect the connection, and keep track of all the devices which are connected to your system.

BatteryCare

BatteryCare

BatteryCare will help you monitor the health status of your battery. Not only is it more accurate than Windows’ built-in battery meter, it also offers a few features that make it more useful. For instance, by using this app you can check how well your battery is doing. The Wear level feature will inform you about the degradation status of your battery.

Everything

SearchEverything

Let’s face it, the built-in search functionality of Windows isn’t up to par. It is slow, and most of the times you have to tweak a few settings to find a file. Everything is a third-party client that although doesn’t parade a flashy user interface, does what it advertise. It can look for hidden files or anything almost instantly. It automatically includes any newly attached storage device in the on-going search.

EaseUS Partition Master

EaseUS Partition Master

If you want to resize any partition, or create, delete or merge some, EaseUS Partition Master is an incredibly useful app for that. These days many OEMs are upsetting their users by weirdly partitioning the hard-drives, where if your computer ever crashes, you lose all the data you had on your system. Its user interface is so meek that you need not to be an advanced user to operate it.

OneNote 

OneNote

Interestingly, unlike most Office products, OneNote is a cross-platform app. This makes this note taking app even more useful. You can install it on any of your Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac device, log-in with the same account, and resume your work. It lets you insert images, take notes, add captions and do many other things.

Younited

Younited is a recently launched cloud storage service. It offers 50 GB free storage space to everyone. It is available on all major platforms and features something that none of its competitors do. It lets you integrate your Dropbox, Drive, SkyDrive and even Gmail’s attachments. Coming from the security firm F-Secure, the service promises sophisticated encryption.

Internet Explorer 11

Internet Explorer 11

It wasn’t very long ago when this browser wasn’t up-to-speed. It was slow, unstable and from a security standpoint, the browser was a train wreck. But things have changed, the Internet Explorer 11 asserts some big time improvements. If you have a touch screen device, Internet Explorer might as well be the best browser you could use. The new version exhibits better responsiveness and rendering for advanced graphics content. You can get to know more about it here .

iTunes

iTunes

Pretty sure many will be surprised to see iTunes in the list. In fact, some people still don’t know that iTunes is also available on Windows. Not only is it available, but it’s full-fledged as well. Install it, sign in with your Apple ID (make one, if you don’t have any) and you will be able to discover, download and buy a comprehensive range of music, movies, podcasts and university lectures. You don’t necessarily need an Apple device to make use of iTunes, although it isn’t as delightful as its iOS counterpart, iTunes for Windows works fine.

Browser Extensions

BeeLine Reader  (Chrome and Firefox)

BeeLine reader

This app uses color gradients to paint any articles with different colors. This way, human eyes are less likely to repeat or miss any sentence. But that isn’t the only thing this app does. Although it doesn’t advertise this feature, but Beeline Reader also removes all adverts and internet annoyances. Another cool feature of this app lets you kill the pagination that many websites implement.

Dictionary Bubble: Instant Dictionary (Chrome and Firefox)

Instant Dictionary

If you do a lot of reading on the web, this extension is a must have for you. Once installed, you can double click on any word, and its meaning with the phonetics description and synonyms will appear.

Grammarly Lite – Smart Spellchecker (Chrome and Firefox)

Now that we have got every word explained to you, how about fixing spelling and grammar mistakes as well? That’s Grammarly Lite for you. If you writing something on the web, it suggests grammar fixes and spelling mistakes in the realtime. The free version offers suffice features, but if you like you can get more powerful proofreading by upgrading to its Pro version.

YouTube Center (All popular browsers)

YouTube Center

YouTube has developed this tendency to go hostile every now and then. Whether it is the advert they throw at you, or the weird buffering issue, YouTube Center is here to fix every single settings YouTube shove to its users.

Lightbeam (Firefox)

Remember the Collusion project by Mozilla? Yeah, well Lightbeam can be considered as its successor. We all know that advertising agencies, websites we follow, and the-one-that-shall-not-be-named is following our internet activities. This add-on will help you monitor those sites and firms. Don’t want them to follow you? Well, except the latter (in my humble opinion), DisconnectMe (which is available on all popular browsers) can stop every other trackers.

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Author

Manish is pursuing a degree in Computer Science and Engineering but spends more time in writing about technology. He has written for a number of Indian and international publications including BetaNews, BGR India, WinBeta, MakeTechEasier, MediaNama, and Digit magazine among others. When not writing, you would find him ranting about the state of digital journalism on Twitter.