Essential software list

This is my maintained list of useful programs that I keep installed on all my Windows systems.  I continually edit this page as things change.

The essentials

AntiVirus, Anti-malware, Anti-spying

I have other blogs on this (here and here), so I’m just going to list the ones I use.  Of course, these need to be the first things you install on any system!  AntiVirus options are AVG, McAfee, and only if you have the others already in your network, add Symantec (but it has a weird habit of disabling your Internet on boot for a bit until it settles);  Anti-malware is Malwarebytes Premium; Anti-spying is Ghostery;  Anti-ads is: uBlock Origin

Office software – Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)

Still the essential suite of tools, and I’ve not yet even attempted to move the company to other tools.  It is just too ingrained to avoid and the tools are pretty solid with Excel, Word, and PowerPoint being required.

Email – Outlook and Mailbird (using Google’s Gmail and Zoho)

Moved back to Outlook due to calendar integration. Using Mailbird for non-main accounts.

Text Editor – Notepad ++

Good free text editor that formats HTML and other code pretty well too.

Vector and Raster Art and Publishing – Adobe Creative Cloud

As much as I wanted to move away from Adobe after they moved to an expensive subscription model, we had to cycle back and go all-in with Adobe’s Creative Cloud.  Too much of the design market is vested in Adobe tools.  So, we use Adobe Creative Cloud for Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, and In-Design.  

File Transfer (FTP & sFTP) – WinSCP

For a while, I tried FileZilla, but in the end, WinSCP just had better features for secure FTP and so we use it for all FTP needs now.  It’s free too, nice.

Archive (Zip, Rar, etc) – 7-Zip

Screen capturing – ShareX

Replaced using SnagIt with ShareX since it is open-source/free and good enough.

Internet Browsing – Chrome

Although I do run a lot of browsers anyway due to the need to test our products, the one I actually “use” is Chrome.  It’s still the best available.

Image viewing – IRFanView

Still my go-to tool for quickly dealing with graphic files.  Very strong and free.

Remote Support – TBD

TeamViewer decided to be too expensive, looking for good replacement.

Cloud – OwnCloud & Dropbox Pro

I did a whole blog on this (here) because cloud stuff is the BOMB!  

Mobile (android) Emulator – Memu

I use this emulator to easily take screenshots of applications or processes in a mobile setting. It’s really handy.

Audio/Video work

Video Editing – AVS Video Editor

AVS has a pretty decent toolset.

Video Conversion –

Using this online resource has proven really useful!  Great way to convert videos.

Animation/Video Creation – (?)

Although Steve Jobs said in 2010 that Adobe Flash was irrelevant and would not be allowed to continue, I’m still waiting for an HTML5 tool that is as good as Flash was in 1996.  Although I gave up really looking for a while, I expect to get back to this at some point.

Screen video capture – BB FlashBack Pro

Great tool for making demos and training videos.

Optional/Personal stuff

Password Manager – SafeInCloud  (newly added: LastPass)

SafeInCloud can generate and remember passwords for websites (and anything else).  It has a great evaluation tool for your password strength and stores your database (encrypted) in your cloud itself (not their server).  Also, it sync’s well on my Android phones (in addition to my laptop and desktop) so it is my one-stop-shop.  I did a blog on it here.   NOTE: Just added LastPass which may replace SafeInCloud.  LastPass allows you to share password groups with others, an excellent way to manage shared business information.

Music – Amazon Music

A reasonable program that can play my local music rips (I have a huge MP3 library), but also taps into my Amazon Prime and can run playlists or channels.  Pretty good and no, you will never, ever, ever see me using iTunes.  I like to have full control over my music files and know that they will forever remain in my usable collection.  I am still playing MP3s I converted from my CD collection from way back before there was an iPod in existence.  

DVD ripping – WinX DVD Ripper

Solid tool for converting DVD to MP4.

Windows Command Line Tool – NirCmd

A handy command-line tool that can do things like lowering your volume in increments less than a %.  (Useful with my new headset that would otherwise blow my eardrums at 1% lol).

Grammar checking – Grammarly

A free plug-in for Chrome and other apps for other systems, this grammar checker works as you go editing pages.

Some older stuff I still need (so links to help me out on reinstalls):

Stuff to avoid

Just noting some stuff that caused me big problems.

Armoury Crate – this gets trigged by my hardware right after a fresh Windows install. I installed it once and it wrecked my Windows system, causing apps to take up to 5 minutes to launch and often pausing for over a minute just to alt-tab. The only way I got rid of the problem was a complete re-install. So, avoiding this nightmare software.