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Recommended Windows Software

[Updated for 2008!]

With Windows, the stock OS software is far from having everything I need.

So you may ask me, "LanceJ, what is the best PC software you like to install?" Here's my list.

The following software products are not offered by me; I'm just telling you that I use these products often. I find some of these products very useful. I've published this list mostly for my own personal benefit, so I don't have to go scrounging the web each time I need to install these for someone.

Critical Software Packages for Windows

I like these installed on all Windows computers I have to deal with:
  1. Avast! Anti-Virus (Home Edition). Free anti-virus software.
  2. Spybot Search and Destroy. Detects and removes spyware.
  3. CCleaner. Cleans junk off your PC.
  4. FireFox, an awesome web browser for Windows.
  5. Thunderbird, an awesome email client.
  6. Mozy Home Backup. An Internet backup utility/service. Works with the Mozy Home service, which is free for the first 2 GB of storage.
Other packages people "want"

I find it helpful to install the following products too. People get upset if they aren't installed:

  1. Macromedia Flash Player.
  2. iTunes with Quicktime.
  3. Adobe Acrobat Reader
  4. Java.
  5. Real Player (Basic). Yuk, this is barely on my list.
Other Programs

These are excellent programs that not everyone needs, but which are great if you need them:
  1. Google Picasa2 - a great digital photo manager for Windows
  2. Open Office, if you don't want to pay big $$$ for a Microsoft Office key code license, OpenOffice is a great alternative.
  3. Trillian chat client, for AIM, Yahoo, and other IM services.
For W2K computers

Installing these four simple product puts Windows 2000 back on top:
  1. 7-Zip, an open source zip file manager
  2. TclockEX - a great, simple toolbar clock.
  3. Tardis 2000 - a network clock synchronizer. Shareware.
  4. IntelliAdmin DST Patch - fixes the Windows 2000 clock for DST/Summer Time.
Other Software I often use

I use these quite a bit, and install them on most PCs, but most people won't miss them

  1. DynDNS Updater. Dynamic DNS client software that works with the service.
  2. TightVNC. Remote desktop software.
  3. Bonjour, for simple network printer configuration.
  4. SSH Secure Shell
  5. Cygwin.
  6. AlternaTiff, a TIFF file reader (honestly, I very rarely install this one)
Your Comments

If you think other software should be included in this list, please let me know!


Anonymous said…
3. Opera :)

I also find Privoxy exceptionally useful, though it is not to everyone's taste.

7 & 8. K-lite mega codec pack. Provide media player classic, quicktime alternative and real alternative. Forgot Realplayer. I also recommended mplayer/mencoder ( And mpeg audio collection ("MAC", on sourceforge, none of this Apple stuff ;) for playing audio collections. Or MusiCube. mplayer & MAC are open source.

Optional stuff

2. I believe iview_32 reads tiffs. It's a single binary too, no installation required.

4. WinVNC in preference to RealVNC. I believe this is open source.

5. PuTTY. Definitely open source.

6. Add OpenSSHd to cygwin for command-line remote access to your windows box.

I'm surprised you've not got a file integrity checker. Too many people use QuickSFV which last I heard only does CRC32. Get md5summer (open source) or hashcalc (free, but only does one file at a time). I never burn a cd/dvd without including md5 sums of all the files so I can prove they're intact.