Having a new shiny Windows 8.1 machine is all fine and dandy, but you will need a couple of good tools to go with that operating system. While the OS comes pre-installed with a number of things already, there are a few must-download utilities that will make your life much easier.

Windows 8 Tips & Tricks

Windows 8.1 tips and tricks

Price: Free

Being armed with the right information can prove to be invaluable for any user. The Windows 8 Tips & Tricks app is a collection of Windows 8 shortcuts, tricks, and workarounds that will teach you exactly where what is located, and how to get around some on the more complex issues. It’s packed with helpful insight and will show you things like how to turn live tiles on or off, keyboard hotkeys, create picture password or how to close an application. An essential app for all beginners or newcomers to Windows 8.1.

Rating: 4/5

“All the tips and tricks you need”
Get it from the Windows Store 

iCalendar Importer

iCalendar

Price: R40

The native Windows 8 Mail and Calendar apps don’t support iCalendar or ICS imports, but luckily this app is there to get around the issue. iCalendar Importer allows you to set file associations with .ics files, so that when you click on them it will automatically open the appropriate app. It supports calendars associated to your Microsoft Account, import iCalendar and VCalendar files as well as ability to select a target calendar.

Rating: 4/5

“Import your calendar”
Get it from the Windows Store

File Brick

File Brick

Price: Free

Windows 8.1 has the ability that you can search almost anywhere for a specific file, image or folder, but it can become a bit of a mess. File Brick combines local drives and cloud storage to help you explore your files more easily while providing full functions of a file manager. You can also link the app to your social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube so that they are included in your search and organisation.

Rating: 4/5

“Manage your files”
Get it from the Windows Store

Google Search

Google Search

Price: Free

No computer should be without a decent search engine, and Google frankly makes the best. Ro make a shortcut to Google’s desktop search, the company launched Google Search – an app that makes things so much easier. While working just like Google would, you can search with your voice, search for images or set up notifications so that Google can deliver information when they expect you to need it.

Rating: 5/5

“Search for everything”
Get it from the Windows Store

Calculator²

Calculator

Price: Free

The app was developed with a rather ambitious goal: to innovate the pocket calculator. The app incorporates the Modern UI and features large buttons for quick, error-free typing. It includes five unique calculators like Basic, Scientific, Programmer, Currency Converter and Unit Converter, and scientific functions, constants and memory items are contained in comprehensive lists.

Rating: 5/5

“Best for calculations”
Get it from the Windows Store

[Image – CC by 2.0/arbyreed]

Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.