Essential Software

Here are the bare essential programs I find myself installing on the windows machines within my sphere of influence. I take no responsibility for the ensuing madness or system malfunctions that will occur from using any of the following. Also, useful list of tools at Scott Hanselman's blog.

3DMark + PCMark
Learn how inadequately your rig performs compared to others.

A good archiving compressor/decompressor, with the number 7 in front.

Compile code incomprehensible to most mortals.

Windows sound recorder on steroids.

Use to make your Eggloft video watchable in a DVD player

Sound and Video, together at last.

AviSynth + AVSEdit
Do amazing things with your media files (prereq. PhD in Computer Science)

Clean up cache/history/registry etc. mess.

An improved terminal for access to the command prompt or other shells.

Pretend like windows has a useful shell. Better yet, remote access your linux desktop and pretend like windows isn't windows.

Magically back those DVR recordings into a smaller space at high quality.

Exciting name, boring file transfer.

"take back the web", where shall I take it?

Add ons

Adblocker plugin for Firefox
It's like stealing from the advertisers - who are trying to install spyware on you.

Delicious plugin for Firefox
All your bookmarks, conveniently located at an address you can never type properly on the first try.
nah. Digging diigo instead.

Send downloads straight to FlashGet

Bookmark bar: bye bye. Keyboard access to bookmarks: hello.

Tab Mix Plus

Decent tab manager. Saved sessions and can open tabs adjacent from the launcheing tab.
Tree Style Tab better IMO

Tree Style Tab
Keep reasonable track of unreasonable numbers of tabs.

Add ons useful for EeePc

Creating more space in Firefox at [eeeuser].

Classic Compact Theme
Eeety bitty icons

Full Fullscreen
Perhaps not so useful if you don't have any toolbars.

Tiny Menu
Pack all of Firefox's menu items into one drop-down list

iFox Smooth
Nice theme, OSX style

Ghostscript + Ghostview
Helps deal with Postscript, even scarier than the name suggests.

PhotoShop shmotoshop, Gimp is free AND even harder to use.

AWESOME graphics editor. Use in combination with MikTex's ps2pdf to import postscript output and edit line graphics individually!!

IrfanView + Plugins
Scroll through the millions of pictures of landscapes and kittens on your hard drive.

Generate the MD5 hash from a file to find out if you spent the last 2 days downloading a corrupt Ubuntu ISO.
From the website:

MD5sums can also be easily added to the windows shell. Use Windows Explorer to access your user profile directory (one level up from the "Start Menu" directory). Locate the "SendTo" folder and create a shortcut inside it to "md5sums -p" (pause before returning).

MikTeX + TeXnicCenter
A typesetting program that's not just smarter than Word, it's smarter than you!

Notepad 2
Notepad's geekier older brother.

We all know NTFS is SUPPOSED to be able to make hard-links. To heck with useless "shortcuts"; realize your filesystem's potential with this utility and discover a new way to corrupt your disk.

Quicktime Alternative
Watch quicktime without installing the apple virus.

AWESOME. Run windows programs (especially email and web browser) from inside of jail, where they belong.

Easy video chatting… learn that everyone prefers you stick with text only.

Make drive image points for backup and easy restore. Especially nice after getting windows the way you like it (with all the updates) and not having to run through the install process again.

The best application for checking your spam.
Note: to specify a custom mail/profile directory, first launch the Profile Manager with thunderbird -P (see here)

A great way to ignore your friends from anywhere in the world!

Ultimate Boot CD
Essential utilities to diagnose the reason your system died when you ran 3DMark.

Make USB thumb drive boot friggin anything and any combinations of anythings.

Why suffer the uselessness of the windows command prompt? Add Unix command functionality!

WTF do you mean I "cannot delete file". Nuke it properly with this handy app.

Like splicing VHS with scotch tape, only slower.

Whats Running
Hunt down and kill bloat/spyware you have from installing the programs on this list.

The prettiest map of crap you'll ever see. Find out what folders and files are eating all your hard drive space.

Make and watch video compressed beyond the quantum limit

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