25 Beautifully Designed Windows Apps

PCs have been mocked by Apple ads and designers for years as being simple beige boxes without any beautiful and inspiring apps. Since then, it seems the attention has passed from PCs entirely, focusing instead on mobile devices and their new apps.

Then, the new Mac App Store was unveiled, showcasing the many unique and beautiful apps available on OS X. Is your Windows computer destined to a life of spreadsheets and boring 12pt Times New Roman reports? Turns out, there are many beautifully designed programs for Windows, many of which have been made in the past several years and integrate with Windows 7’s look and feel.

We’ve dug up 25 of the best Windows apps we use and enjoy, making sure that we only selected once that were truly stunning. It’s not all gloom and doom, and after a dearth of new Windows apps, it seems the tide may be turning again. Keep reading to see some of the best Windows programs available today!

Zune for Windows

Microsoft’s newest design style, Metro, introduced with the Zune and Windows Phone 7, increasingly looks like the interface style of the future for Windows apps. Zune for Windows is the best example of how the Metro design style can be used on standard Windows desktops and laptops.

Even though the Zune devices have been discontinued, Zune for Windows is still the only way to sync new Windows Phone 7 devices with your PC. Plus, it’s a great music, video, and podcast player, so even if you don’t have a Zune or Windows Phone 7, you can still enjoy the new Metro interface style on your PC.


MetroTwit may represent the best hope yet that Windows will continue to get innovative apps with beautiful, modern designs. Designed by respected Windows blogger Long Zheng of istartedsomething.com fame and his team, MetroTwit is one of the best 3rd party Windows apps with a Metro UI style. It combines a clean interface, bold typography, and Windows Aero color accents to create one of the best Windows Twitter apps, ever.


While many design professionals will never be able to replace Photoshop in their daily workflow, Paint.NET is a viable free option for many normal users. It includes powerful photo editing and drawing tools, and can be extended with a wide variety of plugins including one that lets you import Photoshop filters. Best of all, Paint.NET’s new interface incorporates Aero glass with a standard File menu for a surprisingly nice looking blend of the new and old in Windows interfaces.

Kindle for PC

Want to catch up on your reading from your PC? Amazon’s Kindle for PC brings the wealth of reading material available on the Kindle platform to any Windows PC. If you’ve purchased Kindle books on a Kindle or mobile device with a Kindle app, your books will sync to your PC; or, if you don’t have a Kindle, you can still buy and read books, highlight, add notes, bookmarks, and more from your Windows computer.


Shapeshifter is an advanced clipboard manager that integrates beautifully with Windows 7. As you copy items, Shapeshifter will gather them in its extended clipboard, and then you can insert any of them into any program by pressing and holding Ctrl+V. It’s like Windows 7’s new Alt-Tab dialog, but for your clipboard.


GeeTeeDee is a simplistic to-do list manager for Windows that makes it easy to stay on top of everything you need to do. With a clean interface, intuitive lists, and space to store notes on your tasks, you won’t waste time configuring a confusing app just to get things done. Best of all, GeeTeeDee is a portable app, so you can save it in your Dropbox folder and keep your tasks synced between all your computers!


Face it: PCs still slow down over time. Worse still, most of the programs that are intended to speed up your PC either slow it down more or mess up other programs. Soluto tries to solve this problem by analyzing the programs that load when your computer boots to help you see what you can remove to speed things up. Combined with Microsoft’s free Security Essentials antivirus and antimalware program, you’ll have everything you need to keep your PC secure and fast, with well designed tools, too.

HTC Home

Would you like to get the stylish weather gadget from HTC’s Android phones on your PC desktop? Thanks to HTC Home, you can. This desktop widget lets you keep up with the weather in style, complete with animations that look just like HTC’s Sense UI on Android. Or, if the Windows Phone 7 Metro UI is more your style, check out their alternative Metro Home app, which makes your PC look a bit more like Windows Phone 7.


Amazon’s Kindle apps focus on the text of books, and remove most extra formatting in eBooks. Blio tries instead to bring the full book experience to PCs, complete with an iBooks-style page turning animation.

With full-color books, sidebars, page numbers, and everything else you’d expect in a standard paper book, it’s attracting more children’s books, cookbooks, photo books, and more that wouldn’t work as well in Kindle.

Seesmic Look

Tweets are essentially a message 140 characters or less, including links and anything else you’ve added on. There’s just not much to look at. That is, unless you’re running Seesmic Look.

This dramatic app turns Twitter into a live wall of updates about the topics you care about. Seemsic’s main focus is on their primary Seesmic Desktop app, but you can still find Seesmic Look at the bottom of their download page. If you’ve never gotten what Twitter is all about, this might be the app that makes it all make sense.

Office 2010

Microsoft Office 2007 brought some of the most drastic UI changes to Windows programs since the original version of Office. The new ribbon interface was designed to make tools easier to find, and has now been integrated in numerous Windows Programs, from AutoCAD to Nitro PDF.

In Office 2010, Microsoft cleaned up the ribbon UI, giving it a more polished look. They also added some great new features, including GPU-accelerated transitions in PowerPoint. You’ll never have to wish your PC could run Keynote again!

  • Price:Individual Office apps start at $69; Office Suites start at $115
  • Website: http://office.com/

WorldWide Telescope

Want to discover more about the universe beyond planet Earth (and cyberspace)? WorldWide Telescope brings some of the best space imagery to your PC in an intuitive UI. Explore on your own, or follow a guided tour to learn from expert astronomers about our solar system.


Wunderlist is a cross-platform to-do list app that brings one of the nicest task management UIs to Windows. Your tasks can be synced and shared with others, keeping your team on track no matter if you’re using PCs, Macs, iOS, or Android devices. With tools like this, Windows users usually have to settle for using a web app, but with Wunderlist, we get the full deal.

Evernote for Windows

Evernote is one of the most popular apps for taking notes on almost any device available today. The latest version of Evernote for Windows, though, brings some of the best features and design to PCs.

Evernote’s interface incorporates Aero glass with traditional menus in a unique way, and the clipping tools let you quickly save notes from any program on your computer. No matter what you need to keep up with, Evernote makes it simple to make sure you’ll never lose it.

Games for Windows Marketplace

Windows computers have always had the lead in games, and even today, the biggest titles always come out on Windows. Microsoft’s new Games for Windows Marketplace, along with the incredibly popular Steam Platform, makes it easy to get your favorite games anywhere you have an internet connection.

It’s also Microsoft’s first steps into making an App Store for Windows, and we hope they’ll release a full Windows App Store in the near future for all types of Windows apps. For now, though, you can buy games directly from the Games for Windows Marketplace. While you’re there, make sure to check out Tinker, the former Vista Ultimate Extras game that’s now free for all PCs!

Hamstersoft Zip Archiver

File archival tools are supposed to be buttoned-up and boring, but apparently Hamstersoft didn’t get that note. Hamstersoft Zip Archiver, along with a couple other free tools from Hamstersoft, bring a unique twist to the Metro UI and make otherwise boring apps look great. After all, how often do you download a zip tool just to see how it looks?

Microsoft WebMatrix

While Internet Explorer is typically not the most standards compliant browser around, Microsoft has gone to great effort in recent years to make it easy to develop websites in Windows. The new WebMatrix app lets you download the Microsoft Web Platform and a number of open-source web apps. You can then develop your sites fully on your desktop, then deploy them them to your server when you’re ready.

Snagit 10

There’s a wealth of screenshot tools for Windows, including the built-in Prt Scr and Snipping tool. Snagit 10 stands above the rest, though, with a unique selection tool that makes it very easy to capture anything you want: scrolling webpages, open menus, and more.

Then, Snagit’s editor uses the Office ribbon to make it easy to annotate your screenshots. It’s only fault is that its shadows don’t match the default Aero shadows; for that, give Window Clippings or WinSnap a try.


Inbox2 brings a fresh new look to your inbox, and makes it incredibly simple to find your contacts and attachments across all of your email accounts. Add any of your webmail and social network accounts to Inbox2, and you’ll quickly have a streamlined inbox showing your most important communications from across the ‘net. All of this baked into a beautiful Aero-inspired UI.

Windows Live Essentials

Windows Live Essentials includes all of the programs that have been taken out of Windows over the years: Movie Maker, Messenger, Mail, and Photo Gallery. Each of the programs has been upgraded over time, and today’s version of Live Essentials is surprisingly feature-packed.

Movie Maker is much more stable than previous versions, while sporting an Office-inspired ribbon UI. Photo Gallery’s panorama stitching and photomerge features keep it competitive with for-pay photo editors. Mail and Messenger both have somewhat Metro-inspired UIs, and are nicer to use than ever.

Hopefully Microsoft will keep innovating with the Live Essentials so Windows users won’t have to wish they had iLife.


If you want to show off how fancy a Twitter client can be, this is the app to install. Blu is the most elegant Twitter environment on Windows, or any other platform, and its a great example of how unique interfaces can bring a pleasant freshness to your desktop.

You can even use touch gestures in Blu with your mouse; drag the Tweet line up or down, and it will accelerated scroll through your tweets. For all of its animation, it’s not much more resource intensive than most other Twitter programs.

Microsoft Expression

Microsoft Expression is one of the newer suites from Microsoft, aimed at bring design tools to development. Expression Blend is the default program for designing newer WPF powered programs for Windows, so those of us who love well-designed programs can only hope it will be used more going forward. The interesting thing is, each of the Expression apps use a unique dark interface that’s both subtle and elegant.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome’s interface is striking for its scarceness. Instead of the dozens of toolbars that traditionally clutter PC browsers, Chrome only includes the address bar and tabs in the window titlebar. Years after its release, all modern browsers follow this style to a certain degree, but Chrome was the one that pushed browser UI minimalism on PCs originally. It’s still one of the leanest browser UIs today.

Microsoft Mathematics 4

Calculator got a nice makeover in Windows 7, but it’s still got nothing on a graphing calculator or CAS. The new Microsoft Math 4 makes up for that, as it includes a full CAS and graphing calculator in a unique interface for free. It can help you solve equations, differentiate and integrate, and more. If you’re in school, or have a child in school, this is one app you should definitely have installed on your computer!


Looking for a distraction-free way to type out your thoughts? Sometimes the simplest programs can be the most helpful, and Q10 is definitely one of those. It’s a full-screen text editor that keeps distractions away so you can focus on the content you’re writing.

Angry Birds for Windows

Did we say we had 25 apps? Well, how about one more? Or for that matter, a whole store more?

Intel’s new AppUp store is designed to bring more apps to Windows netbooks, but it works great on any Windows 7 or XP desktop or laptop just the same. The AppUp store has a variety of new Windows apps for sale, including the game that’s taken the world by storm: Angry Birds.

If you’ve been missing out on the latest bird flinging, pig smashing madness on your PC, you don’t have to wait any longer. Angry Birds is now a Windows game, too. Now, which of the other millions of mobile apps do you want on your PC?


With all of these great apps, and many more we didn’t get to mention, there’s still new, beautifully designed Windows programs to be excited about. That’s why we’re excited to get Windows.AppStorm up and running. We’ll be highlighting more useful and well-designed apps here in the future, including some Mac apps that have made their way over to the Windows side.

Do you have any new, well-designed Windows apps you love that we missed? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear about them!

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