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Installing The Essentials In Windows Part 1

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Have a Windows device, but not sure which programs and utilities are actually worth installing?

This post was written after setting up one of our DroiX GPD Win handheld PCs, however it equally applies to our Windows powered mini home theatre PCs, for that matter, all Windows devices really. So if you have a T11, W8, W8 Pro, W10 or W10 Pro from DroiX, or a general PC or laptop running Windows (8 or higher is recommended), read on for our suggestions.

Where possible we have suggested free software, if you have any suggestions for other applications to include in the post, please email [email protected] .

This post we are mostly concentrating on

Games

or rather the essential infrastructure around gaming.

Microsoft DirectX Logo

We will start with a boring download that will not give you a game to play. DirectX will however install additional files that games and gaming systems can sometimes require. The easiest way to install it is to visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=35 then click “No Thanks” and continue. Run the downloaded dxwebsetup.exe file, untick the Bing bar option unless it is actually wanted. The next time you run the game that requires these additional files, it should run properly.

RetroArch

If you are wanting to emulate consoles and handhelds from your childhood, you have a lot of options. A good all rounder is RetroArch, which covers a lot of different systems. You can check for the latest version at http://www.retroarch.com/index.php?page=platforms.
Do make sure that using the software is legal where you live, and only use game ROMs that are in the public domain, or your local regulations allow you to. If your legitimate game ROMs are shared over your network (stored on a different device), you can assign a drive letter to the folder in Windows Explorer. Leave a comment if you have an interest in this and we will get a post written on the topic.
Please note you will need to have 7-zip installed to open the download. Please scroll down to see the link for this program.

Steam

If you have not yet tried it, Steam is a little like Google’s Play Store but for games (it covers Macs, PC running a Linux distro and Windows). You can find games from major companies and independent coders, with reviews to guide you to the best. To download it, visit http://store.steampowered.com/about/

GOG

Although not necessarily a gaming utility, GOG is a website (originally called Good Old Games) that is still very much worthy of a mention. It has a lot of games available at very low prices, varying from games you grew up with to modern indie (independent) and even AAA titles. They do have a client similar to Steam, however this is entirely optional. You can buy a game (with no potentially annoying DRM protection), go offline if you need to, install the game and not use the client at all. Their website can be found at https://www.gog.com/games?sort=bestselling&page=1

Remotr

If you find a game that requires a  desktop PC with a more powerful graphics card from nVidia or AMD, you can still play it around your house, using Remotr. It uses the display and game controller on your device, but the processing power of your desktop PC.  You can search for it in the Windows Store, click https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9nblggh2kbv2 (then “open store” and “remember my choice”) or from http://remotrapp.com/#download .

Programs and Utilities

7-Zip

7-Zip – Modern versions of Windows can handle ZIP files for you with out 3rd party software, but if you need to be able to do more, like open RAR or 7z files, 7-Zip is free and quite simple. Download http://www.7-zip.org/a/7z1700-x64.exe (or check for the latest version from from http://www.7-zip.org/download.html )

And that is where we will stop for this post. More Essential programs for your Windows powered device are coming soon!

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