Even though Windows 11 can automatically update the required drivers of your PC to get it running, it still has a very basic database of drivers and usually misses the latest drivers. You’ll need a third-party driver updater app to automatically update all drivers, even if you have an old PC.
I highly recommend IObit Driver Booster for this purpose as it has a vast database of over 8 million drivers, and it automatically updates all drivers with just two clicks. Even in the free version, it doesn’t heavily limit download speed, and you can download most of the latest drivers.
Although with the pro version, you can get twice as fast download speed and a bigger database that includes some of the lesser-known drivers. Alternatively, you can also give Avast Driver Updater a try, which is known to work really fast and can fix driver-related issues too.
Avast One — Best Antivirus for Windows 11
An antivirus app is necessary for the security of your PC. However, a PC virus threat is the least of the concerns these days. With so much dependence on the internet and online services, we need advanced protection that ensures that our PC and online activity are safe. The best all-in-one protection solution I have found is Avast One.
Avast One not only protects your PC from malware and intruders using virus protection and firewall, but it also keeps your online activity secure using multiple tools. It automatically blocks trackers by advertisers and secures connections to sensitive websites like banks or online stores.
There is even a built-in unlimited VPN to make you anonymous online and access restricted content. It also helps clean up your PC and update apps to keep optimum performance and security.
CCleaner — PC optimizer app
You definitely don’t want a sluggish Windows 11 experience. A Windows optimizer app like CCleaner can keep your PC working smoothly by automatically cleaning junk data that could slow down your PC over time. CCleaner will automatically search and delete temporary and junk files in your PC to ensure it stays at optimum performance over time. You can also manually select areas of your PC to clean junk data.
It also has a bunch of other tools like a software updater, drive wiper, and even a registry cleaner. You can upgrade to the Pro version to get features like automatic cleaning, browser cleaning, and their new driver updater tool.
ThisIsWin11 — Easily Customize Windows 11
A free Windows 11 only app, ThisIsWin11 lets you fully customize Windows 11 from a single interface. It automatically scans your PC to recommend the most common changes that you can apply to make your Windows 11 experience better. It will offer dozens of changes, so make sure you read through all and apply only those you need.
Besides changing Windows 11 settings, you can also delete built-in unrequired Windows 11 apps with a single click. There is also a Packages section that lists the most useful third-party apps that are either completely free or have a good free version. You can select apps here to install them directly without searching them in the browser.
VLC Media Player — Best Media Player for Windows 11
You certainly need an app to manage all your media-related needs, and there is no better free app than VLC Media Player. It’s an open-source app that is simple and light while supporting the most extensive list of video and audio formats.
You can both play local media and stream videos right from the VLC interface, and its vast audio/video and subtitles customization options ensure the best experience. If that’s not enough, you can always add more features to the player using hundreds of third-party add-ons available for free.
1Password — securely manage passwords
A password manager is necessary as there are so many websites that require an account, and using the same password everywhere isn’t safe as one account hack could lead to all accounts getting hacked. 1Password is among the best password managers that will secure all your passwords in an encrypted vault protected with a password and Two-factor authentication.
Not only can you secure your passwords, but you can also store sensitive documents using up to 1GB of space. 1Password has dedicated packages for individuals, families, and businesses, and you can test each package using the 14-days free trial.
I have already covered the necessary virus and online protection apps, but encrypted disks might interest you if you want to upgrade your PC security further. Using VeraCrypt, you can create custom encrypted disks using some of the space on your hard drive. The data inside the disk can only be decrypted using the password, and it’s immune to brute force attacks.
You can securely keep sensitive data inside these disks, and without the password, no one can access the data, not even a virus. There is also a hidden disk feature that creates a fake disk that you can reveal if someone forces you to tell the password.
ProtonVPN — Best VPN for Windows 11
Whether you want to stay anonymous online, access restricted content, or simply decrease ping in online games, getting a VPN is a great idea. If you won’t be using Avast One for VPN or need a dedicated VPN, I recommend ProtonVPN.
Its free version has no limits and lets you access 24 servers located in 3 countries. Although the connection speed is throttled in the free version, I personally didn’t find any noticeable decrease while playing games and browsing.
With the Plus subscription, you can connect to 1500+ servers in 61 countries without impacting connection speed. Other features include ad-blocker, kill switch, access to restricted streaming services, P2P file sharing, and more.
More importantly, it’s Switzerland-based, so the country’s strict privacy laws also ensure no powerful party may access your data forcefully.
7-Zip — Compress/Decompress Files
Even though Windows 11 can compress and decompress files/folders natively, that function is very basic. If you deal with zip files often, you should definitely get a third-party compression tool like 7-Zip. It lets you quickly zip/unzip multiple files simultaneously, and you can even encrypt data for security.
You can select compression levels/methods and even block size so you can compress huge files too. You can also manage and update archives as it has multiple options to update existing compressed files.
It’s light, free, and works right from the context menu. Honestly, there is no downside to having this app, as it’s a straight upgrade to the native function.
Internet Download Manager — Manage Downloads
If you download huge files often, you should use a dedicated download manager rather than the browser. Internet Download Manager is one of the best download managers that can speed up downloads up to 5 times by creating multiple connections to the download source.
I have used many download managers before, and Internet Download Manager has proven to be the most consistent at boosting download speed no matter where I download. It will automatically take over any download links you click on and let you manage them inside its interface.
You can pause/resume downloads, schedule downloads, bulk download website content, limit downloads, scan downloads for viruses, and much more. It has a 30-day fully functional free trial, and afterward, you have to buy the app.
You can also automatically upload screenshots to online photo manager websites or just copy/paste them anywhere you like. Although it does have a built-in image editor, it’s minimal and only offers basic annotation. If screenshot editing matters to you, I’ll recommend PicPick instead as it has a full-fledge image editor.
Braina — Cortana Alternative
Even though Cortana won’t bother you in Windows 11 if you don’t want to use the feature, but if you still want an AI assistant, then Braina can be a great replacement. It does pretty much everything Cortana can do and a lot more.
You can search things online, search the PC, open apps/files, ask questions, manage schedules and reminders, and basically everything else Cortana can do.
Talking about its unique features, it can use speech-to-text to type anywhere in your voice, fully control the PC with voice using your phone, create custom keyboard/mouse macros, text-to-speech, and solve complex math problems.
The team behind Braina is trying to create an artificial brain software that has cognitive abilities like humans. The more you converse with the app, the better it will become. You can help it learn new things, and it will remember next time you ask questions regarding it.
I believe a driver updater, antivirus, and PC optimizer app are necessary for stable PC performance and security, and the apps I recommended are among the best in their category. Although if you want more, the rest of the apps will surely round off your Windows 11 experience perfectly.