When you buy a computer today, your experience is undoubtedly very different from even ten years ago. The specifications are better, it functions more efficiently, and it’s hopefully got a much better battery life.

But the hardware is not the only difference when setting up your new computer. Aside from an operating system and a browser, which are still fundamental today, there has always been a changing array of programs we’ve installed from the get-go. In the past, an office suite (or at least a word processor) was vital. Now, however, Google Docs provides a free online alternative. So too with mail software. Some people need Outlook or Apple’s Mail, but others are just fine using Gmail on their browser.

So, what do you need to install on your new computer in 2017? Here’s a quick starter pack of what you need most.


As has been the case since we began using the internet, viruses and hackers are very real dangers. A virus can corrupt all your data and all but destroy your computer. Hackers can steal your information, or simply install a virus.

The necessity of antivirus software is somewhat controversial. Apple claims that its inbuilt software makes Macbooks very hard to breach. Many users have had a problem free experience. There are some, who disagree, although no matter how good your antivirus software is, you cannot account for irresponsible use.

The need for a virtual private network (VPN) is much more straightforward. Neither the hardware designers, nor the makers of the OS provide one as part of the system’s basic processing. Without one, you can be easily tracked by your IP address, and hackers have an easy time stealing the information on your computer. There are many VPNs to choose from. Take a look at this ExpressVPN review to get you started.


If it’s a personal computer you’re buying, you are going to want some good media software. This is true for Mac users as well as Windows devotees. Their inbuilt software doesn’t all live up to standard. iTunes may be perfectly suitable for your music needs, but for viewing viewing videos on both macOS and Windows, other programs do much better than Quicktime and Windows Media Player.

VLC is known as the beloved alternative. It really is great software. It not only plays files of all types, but is easy to use, has great functionality, and is lightweight.

If you want to stream to your Chromecast, you may need software like Videostream. The free version is enough for most needs. However, if you want to add subtitles, you need to pay about $2 a month.