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Old 8th November 2008, 14:46   #1
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Default Essential Software & utilities thread

There are lot of computer software applications that we use on day today basis which not only is helpful but often saves time and sometimes increases productivity. I have few of them that I wanted to share and would like people to recommend their favorite utilities to the rest of us

Launchy – This is one of the must haves for me – Launchy is a open source key stroke launcher (opened and closed by a combination key, ex ALT+ Space bar), the application can be configured to launch just about any program, by simply typing the first few characters, that is installed in your system without using the mouse and searching through the crowded start menu. It runs both on Windows and Linux. It’s light weight and fast. It also has an integrated calculator which is very useful. Give it a try and you’ll be addicted.

Some of the Firefox browser based Plugins

Foxmarks – This is a essentially a bookmark manager with a built-in sync capabilities through the web, what this means is you bookmark a webpage at work and in the evening when you go home the same link is available for you there. It has a profile feature through which you choose which links to Sync. The links are also available in Foxmarks website which you can access in any computer that is connected to the internet. Recently, they have also enabled the same feature for passwords that are stored in Firefox password manager. Security of the passwords have been taken care by using a master password that only you know and that is not stored in their servers.

Evernote - It’s same as Foxmarks but it’s for notes. This is more like MS OneNote but only better, It has a sync feature that makes available the notes, that you captured, in all computers that you use. It has a Firefox Plugin as-well as a standalone windows client to capture notes. Again, since the notes are synced through the web they are available anytime you want from their website.

Update scanner – I have recently discovered this and find it pretty useful. The Plugin can be configured to look for changes in webpage at periodic intervals. For ex, you are following a thread in TBHP and wanted to know if somebody has a posted a new message. Instead of doing this the traditional way, you add the link of the post to the utility and set a scan time of say 1 hr, the utility will do a background connect to the webpage and notify if there’s a change in content – in our ex, a new post. Isn’t that time saving?

Zotero – I have been using this for only a week now, for me it’s basically a Evernote (EN) replacement as they have blocked the EN website in the company and I can’t use the Sync feature anymore. Zotero does what EN used to do for me.

Last edited by nemo : 8th November 2008 at 14:48.
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Old 12th November 2009, 16:42   #2
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Arrow Essentail software for windows users

Everytime one installs/reinstalls windows, the major time consuming process that follows is the job of finding all the much needed and absolutely essential softwares to get the OS up and running.


Previously I used to keep a backup copy of the installation files in a separate folder. In time, newer versions (not necessarily better) are released and these backups become obsolete. So, I would recommend to download the ones you need once you finish the OS installation.


Here I’ve made an attempt to list some commonly and widely used softwares and the download location. All are freeware versions (few mentioned exceptions) and completely legal.

Internet Browser:
  1. Mozilla Firefox 3.5.5 – Download [Note: Make this your first download. Use this for all future browsing. IE sucks]
Audio Video:
  1. Winamp 5.54 – Download
  2. K-lite Mega Codec Pack 5.4.0 – Download
  3. Quicktime Alternative 3.0.1 – Download
Runtime Environments:
  1. DirectX 9.0c (Aug 2009 release) – Download
  2. Java 6 update 17 – Download
  3. Windows XP service pack 3 – Download
  4. .Net Framework 3.5 – Download
Instant Messengers:
  1. Pidgin 2.6.3 (All in one) – Download
Torrent Client:
  1. uTorrent 1.8.5 – Download
Document Viewers:
  1. Adobe Acrobat 9.2 – Download
  2. Open Office 3.1.1 (Microsoft Office alternative) – Download
Image Drive:
  1. Daemon Tools 4.30.3 – Download
Compression:
  1. 7-Zip 4.65 – Download
  2. Winrar 3.90 (shareware) – Download
Image enhancement:
  1. Picasa 3.5 – Download
Anti-Spyware:
  1. Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware 1.41- Download
  2. Spybot-Search & Destroy 1.6.2 – Download
Anti-Virus:
  1. AVG Free Edition 9.0 – Download (I strongly recommend Kaspersky or NOD32)
Optional applications:
  1. Microsoft Office 2007
  2. Nero 6.6 or Nero 8 (Nero 7 is very unstable)
  3. Windows Media Player 11
  4. Google Chrome
  5. Adobe Photoshop Suite CS3
From my blog:
Essential software applications for Windows users | Everything Out There
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Old 12th November 2009, 17:56   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shri View Post

Internet Browser:
  1. Mozilla Firefox 3.5.5 – Download [Note: Make this your first download. Use this for all future browsing. IE sucks]
Chrome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by shri View Post
Audio Video:
  1. Winamp 5.54 – Download
  2. K-lite Mega Codec Pack 5.4.0 – Download
  3. Quicktime Alternative 3.0.1 – Download
Runtime Environments:[list=1]
VLC Media Player - one for all!
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Old 12th November 2009, 18:03   #4
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Nice List there!!
Quote:

Internet Browser:
  1. Mozilla Firefox 3.5.5 – Download [Note: Make this your first download. Use this for all future browsing. IE sucks]

Quote:
Audio Video:
  1. Winamp 5.54 – Download
  2. K-lite Mega Codec Pack 5.4.0 – Download
  3. Quicktime Alternative 3.0.1 – Download
I use only Windows Media PLayer. Occasionally when media does not open, it is VLC to the rescue.

Quote:
Anti-Virus:
  1. AVG Free Edition 9.0 – Download (I strongly recommend Kaspersky or NOD32)
I am using the Microsoft Free AV now, but have to install the Kaspersky 2010. After upgrading to Windows 7. the previous version stopped working. Kaspersky is very good. I think it is available in India now for about INR 1500. Good VFM.
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Old 12th November 2009, 18:09   #5
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Desktop Management - Fences™ - By Stardock - Clean up your desktop clutter

(awesome for managing cluttered desktops like mine! )

for video I use 'Gom player'
music - WMP
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Old 12th November 2009, 18:09   #6
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Nice one shri! But in the audio/video section how could you omit VLC? best all in one package.

I agree, Nod 32 is one of the best antivirus software out there + it's very lightweight, doesn't bog down the computer the way norton does.
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Old 12th November 2009, 18:23   #7
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FFDShow - FFDSHOW rev. 3130 (20091108) (open source)
Media Player Classic - Media Player Classic v6.4.9.1 (20081210) (open source)
ImgBurn - The Official ImgBurn Website

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Old 12th November 2009, 19:01   #8
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Default Must have FREE downloads

There is a 1 stop download shop for all what you are talking about and its keep updating automatically whenever new one comes. Ride here

MajorGeeks.com - Download Freeware and Shareware Computer Utilities.
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Old 12th November 2009, 19:14   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyWalker View Post
Chrome!


VLC Media Player - one for all!
Chrome is fast I agree. But firefox has so much more addons, highly customizable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anekho View Post
Nice one shri! But in the audio/video section how could you omit VLC? best all in one package.
I'll put Media player classic above VLC. Important reason for me is the player. Its so light and simple. But anyways, one of these would suffice.
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Old 12th November 2009, 20:30   #10
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^Yup! Chrome is fast and eats up near negligible RAM!

But I like Firefox mainly because of the addons(AddBlockerPro being one of the top reasons)


Quote:
Originally Posted by wildon View Post
There is a 1 stop download shop for all what you are talking about and its keep updating automatically whenever new one comes. Ride here

MajorGeeks.com - Download Freeware and Shareware Computer Utilities.
Nice site!

I mainly use FileHippo btw - FileHippo.com - Download Free Software


EDIT -

Image Editing

Paint.NET is a great free photo editing software! - Paint.NET - Free Software for Digital Photo Editing

Last edited by sohail99 : 12th November 2009 at 20:34.
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Old 13th November 2009, 06:45   #11
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I don`t think i can live without following utilities.

Rocket Dock
Provides a dock anywhere on the screen and can minimise unlimited amount of windows to it. Also can add variety of apps/files/paths to it for quick access.

Primo PDF
Very useful for large print jobs which require huge amounts of Tables with hidden formulas(excel). Also useful for removing security or adding security to PDF files. No need to find pdf convertor, directly print anything to pdf file.

Infix PDF editor
Really good utility to edit PDF files.

Cain
Probably one of the best Network utilities out there. Way too many features to list.

Blender
Freeware 3D design software.

AnyDVD
Provides an alternate driver between optical drive and computer, removing all Region locks and other protections found of CD/DVD/Bluray/HDDVD. Also has 1 click DVD backup feature.

Adobe Light Room
In laymens terms, dark room for digital media which includes web management and catalogue management.

Diskeeper
Background utility for defragmentation and disk cleanup.

Vegas
Video studio, can do pretty much anything with videos. Very resource hungry.

Orbit
A really good download manager. Also supports online video websites but just an extra feature and not the best.

Downloadhelper (plugin for FF)
Download pretty much any/every video file off any website.

Adobe media player
Best software to manage and play FLV videos.

Ashampoo Shrink and Burn and Burning Studio
Simple softwares to burn CDS/DVDs or just to convert video files to required formats.

SUPER
simply Best video conversion software.
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Old 13th November 2009, 22:45   #12
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You clean your car religiously keeping her spotless. You need to clean your drive (Hard Disk) also of all muck to keep it running as new.

And here is the Jopasu for it - the widely acclaimed "CCleaner" (formerly Crap Cleaner).

Look here and download.

No ebay, no credit card. Its free.
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Old 13th November 2009, 22:58   #13
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Free AV : Avira

Software Update Notifier : Update Notifier - All your software updates in one place! ... Easy, Fast & FREE

Defragmenter : Defraggler - File and Disk Defragmentation - Free Download
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Old 14th November 2009, 00:21   #14
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Over a period of time these have become essential for me (all on windows xp)

1. Keybreeze - similar to launcy mentioned in first post below.
2. Process tamer - take process priorities in your own hands
3. FF addons -
a. FFvb - Vbulletin (underlying software used for Tbhp and many other forums) management for FF plugin
b. Flashblock - block those unnecessary flash downloads
c. Greasemonkey - scripts - Yahoo mail ad remover, some other scripts developed by yours truly
d. IE Tab - never open IE.
e. Minimize to tray - never close FF
f. NoScript - no scripts without my permission
g. SearchPreview - generates small thumbnails of websites in google/yahoo search results
h. TabGroupManager - group your tabs/ never close tabs (lazy to bookmark them!)
i. WOT - warns about harmful websites
j. Adblock plus - blocks ads
k. AutoPager - preloads next n pages by auto detecting "next" links and appends them to current page for hundreds of websites. Have configured for tbhp as well, let me know if interested.
l. delicious- bookmark manager
m. downloadthemall - download manager

(There are few others for development purposes but I would skip them)
I now realize that count of essential plugins in FF is competing with count of frequently used apps in my OS

4.Bubbles - make your web apps sit in system tray - again never close them.. Use for few website with custom developed scripts.
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Old 16th November 2009, 11:01   #15
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For those who use P2P network for torrents, use "Peer Guardian" available at SourceForge as freeware. It blocks all govt, educational institute peers and similar things.
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