Microsoft’s ownership of the voice and video chat program is clear when you see how well Skype integrates into Windows 8. It looks like the company is positioning Skype to be top dog over rival products from Google. Along with looking great on the Windows 8 OS, it now combines the features of Google Talk, Hangout, and Voice into a single app. It’s a great choice for people who favor simplicity, especially if you can convince your social circle to use the platform as well. Download Skype here.
This tool is a huge help for people with multiple Microsoft computers, either at home or at work. As the name implies, this program allows you to hop on to the desktop of one computer from another. That means you can access files across machines in a snap. Download Remote Desktop here.
While Remote Desktop is great when you only need to move between computers occasionally, you’ll still want to have a go-to app for syncing and sharing your files. SkyDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage solution, which makes it a good choice for the OS. That being said, some of its competitors also have solid Windows 8 apps, so if you’re already a fan of Box, check out that app instead. Download the SkyDrive app here.
Toolbox for Windows 8
This handy productivity tool lets you easily multitask by breaking down your screen into six sections. You can assign different tools to take up as many of those sections as you want, meaning you can have anywhere from one to six different apps open at once on your computer. It’s a straightforward way of approaching multitasking without the need to constantly resize and shuffle around different windows. The Toolsets feature also lets you save the layouts that work best for you so that you don’t need to reconstruct your work setup every morning. Download Toolbox for Windows 8 here.
Windows 8 Cheat Key
This is a must have for anyone who has felt that they’re facing a steep learning curve with the new OS. Windows 8 Cheat Keys gives a daily tip, rolling out helpful suggestions so that new users can acclimate to the features of Windows 8 and really learn how to navigate the different layout. The shortcuts and hints offered here mean that anyone can be a Windows 8 expert in no time. Download Windows 8 Cheat Keys here.
Windows 8 Essential
This app is a multi-tasking solution similar to Toolbox for Windows 8. It takes a more minimalist approach, however, and isn’t designed to be your primary app. Instead it’s built to be used alongside other apps in Window’s unique multi-app view. Users can quickly see notes, the calendar, or a to-do list, and, because the app is designed to be used this way, it works just as well as it does when viewed full screen. Windows 8 Essentials will set you back $1.49. Download the app here.