Google Chrome: Easy to use, fast web browser. Warning! Does not encrypt your login data. Your passwords can be seen in plain text by going to Settings > Autofill > Passwords and click on the eye / "show password" button.
Google Drive: Like an online version Microsoft Office. Also has a great file backup service.
Google Keep: Access your sticky notes across all your devices (windows, android, apple).
WeTransfer: Email files as large as 2gb across the net for free.
Signal: Great encrypted group messaging app for your phone and computer.
UTILITIES & OTHER STUFF
AutoHotkey (2): Automate repetitive keyboard or mouse movements.
CrystalDiskInfo: Displays a lot of information about your hard drives, including "power on hours." :)
IObit Advanced System Care: Cleanup and optimize Windows. Installs ads so... I install it, run the program, then uninstall it. I like that "Internet Optimization" customizes Windows settings to match your internet settings.
IObit Unlocker: Force delete files you can't delete regularly. For secure deleting files, see "Eraser" above.
Métamorphose: A program to rename large sets of files and folders quickly and easily.
Mp3tag: Mass batch edit mp3 tags like Artist, Title, Album, comments, year, etc using regular expressions. Worth the learning curve.
Take Ownership: add “Take Ownership” to the right-click menu in Windows Explorer. Scroll down to "Download Our One-Click Registry Hacks."
If you'd like to step things up a notch, these are some great programs and services.
BitDefender Total Security ($45 for 5 pcs 1 year): Best antivirus. A must if you do stocks or store really sensitive information on your computer like business, financial or personal files.
Cyberlink PowerDirector ($70): Easy, fast video editor. Make home movies, slideshows, DVDs with menus and / or upload directly to YouTube.
YouTube Premium ($12/mo individual or $18 for family of six): Watch YouTube without ads. Offline videos on your phone to watch later. Also includes access to the Google Play Music subscription service with unlimited skips, radio and music on demand.
Avast Free Antivirus Install Tips:
1) Click customize 2) Select custom protection and only check the first four items. 3) Once it installs, click on the Register button at the top. Select "Standard Protection" to keep it free. 4) Go to settings (gear icon at the top right), check "Silent/Gaming Mode," uncheck "Enable Avast email signature," under "Sounds" uncheck "Enable Avast sounds." You're all set!