Microsoft’s Windows is by far the most popular operating system in the world, and even though Mac OS X has gained a lot of market share, it’s still dwarfed by the giant. This is especially true in the enterprise and business sector – a lot of the specialized and professional tools needed for heavy duty work are only available for Windows, so employees pretty much have to use a Windows machine at their workplace.
There’s also another, simpler reason why Windows is the main choice for business users and professionals – it has a lot of great software available for it! Thanks to the long history of the OS, there are literally thousands of great utilities and apps out there that can help you in any aspect of your work, and below, I’ve listed only a few of the most important software that any business user should install on their Windows machine:
Microsoft Office. Microsoft’s own Office suite is at the front lines of any business operation. Word, Excel and PowerPoint are pretty much a must have for anyone who does any kind of work. The latest version of Office (Office 2010) has pretty much everything you’ll ever need to create nicely formatted documents, spreadsheets, graphs, presentations, drawings and anything else you may need. You should definitely get the Office Suite if you’re serious about your business, but if you’re really strapped on cash, you could try LibreOffice or OpenOffice.
TrueCrypt. Keeping your data safe is of upmost importance no matter what type of business you’re in, and there’s nothing better out there for encryption than TrueCrypt. The software is open source, free and provides one of the strongest encryption methods available, plus it has a lot of features (like hidden volumes and random data fill) to increase the safety of your data. You can use it to encrypt a whole drive or only a folder – it’s up to you, and it doesn’t take much space or resources, either.
SmartDraw. If you need to draw a lot of charts, graphs and mind maps and you’re tired of Excel’s tiresome method of doing it (especially for simple graphs that should take a few minutes to make at most), then you need to get SmartDraw. It is the best application for creating various charts and graphs, it’s very easy to use and it has some very nice templates that will catch your eye right away.
VirtualBox. No matter what kind of business you’re in, you will definitely benefit from using VirtualBox, if you’re not using it already. VirtualBox lets you create and run virtual machines, which are quite useful for a lot of things, especially if your work has a lot to do with software, mobile apps and Web development. You can use a virtual machine to test apps for various operating systems, compile code in Unix/Linux languages, run legacy software that won’t start on Windows Vista or 7, and more. Best of all, VirtualBox is completely free and is actually more powerful than its closest competitor, VMware Workstation.
Adobe Acrobat X Pro. You probably already know about Adobe’s Reader, which is pretty much a must no matter what profession you’re in, since PDF files are ubiquitous. The company’s other product, Acrobat X Pro, is not for everyone, but it’s a must have for anyone who’s in the business of creating eBooks or any other kind of digital publications. The software allows you to easily design and create eBooks, reports, forms that can be filled electronically and other digital documents. It also lets you secure and authenticate the documents using certificates, encryption and passwords.
There are plenty of other great apps for business users, but the above five are pretty much universal and will come in handy no matter what line of work you’re in. If you need any other specific apps, just do a search on Google – something will definitely pop up.