Software recommendations
April 23, 2005 10:46 AM   Subscribe

I'm reinstalling Windows XP for a buddy of mine, and I have a question for you lot, namely, what software should I install with it? What great piece of software do you need to have on every pc you use? In particular, what do you more creative types use? Free is best, since I'm not spending any money, but if you know of any good demo stuff I should install so he could try, that's fine too.
posted by KirTakat to Computers & Internet (19 answers total)
Firefox+Adblock. I install these on every computer I use, PC or not, and they've saved my sanity countless times.
posted by wanderingmind at 10:56 AM on April 23, 2005

cygwin (inc X, emacs, python (i think - if not, separately)) if they want to program
skype if they want to talk
the gimp if they want to mess with images
firefox (the svg build :o) if they want to surf the web if they want to do office stuff
ghostview if they want to view postscript files
adobe acrobat if they want to view pdfs
macromedia plugins if they want to realise they just wasted their time waiting for something to download
divx if they want to look at movies
others might provide more creative stuff
posted by andrew cooke at 10:56 AM on April 23, 2005

I always install: Firefox, Thunderbird, Google Picasa, Trillian, Hotmail Popper, Google Desktop Search, Adobe Reader, Quicktime, one of the codec packs (whatever seems most popular at the time),, and Winamp Lite and/or iTunes.

Since I'm a geek, I also install Cygwin, VNC server and client, Windows PowerToys (Desktop Manger, Command Here, ClearType and Image Resizer), iLeech, and ActiveState Perl. I'd recommend looking into the PowerToys -- they're really useful sometimes.
posted by maschnitz at 10:57 AM on April 23, 2005

oh, realplayer and quicktime plugins too.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:58 AM on April 23, 2005

The Google toolbar and Picassa (for easy photo editing).
posted by LarryC at 10:58 AM on April 23, 2005

Oh, BTW: the only reason I know this is because I save my installers. Having all your install programs lying around can be a real-life saver sometimes. Highly recommend it.
posted by maschnitz at 11:04 AM on April 23, 2005

ACDSee 3.1 (Direct download link to original 3.1, not newer, lamer version)
Media Player Classic (Link to latest releases)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:05 AM on April 23, 2005

Let's see... Firefox, Thunderbird, Trillian, iTunes or Winamp interchangeably, HTML Kit, Editpad, IrfanView...

But the linchpin that holds them all together?

posted by Kosh at 11:06 AM on April 23, 2005

Besides many of the things mentioned, I'd recommend Irfanview for image viewing and basic manipulation (cropping, resizing, converting, etc.), AdAware, Spybot Search & Destroy and HijackThis (for preventing ad- and spyware, though Firefox and Thunderbird go a long way toward this goal), XSetup, TweakAll and TweakUI (for customizing settings), EAC or CDex (for ripping CDs), WinAmp or iTunes (for listening to mp3s), 7-Zip (or WinRAR) for extracting files from archives and Shareaza or Azureus (for BitTorrent, and probably for broadband users only).
posted by box at 11:07 AM on April 23, 2005

OpenOffice 2.0 is awesome. For casual use there's no need for MS Office. For the rest of it, here's a handy self-link of Windows software I find essential. I now find Firefox essential too.
posted by Nelson at 11:17 AM on April 23, 2005

There were a ton of good suggestions, including my own, the last time this question was asked.
posted by majick at 12:41 PM on April 23, 2005

CDBurnerXP Pro - Awesome freeware CD burning app. Definitely worth donating to the project if you have spare change.
posted by banished at 1:26 PM on April 23, 2005

AVG 7 Free.
And MS antispyware beta.
And cos I do PDFs all the time (though I use Adobe Acrobat), this ain't bad.
You can get decent ISO CD burning software from Microsoft of all people by downloading this.
posted by nj_subgenius at 2:01 PM on April 23, 2005

VideoLan Media Player for playing DVDs and, well, pretty much everything else.

(CDBurnerXP Pro is great, banished. thanks for the link!)
posted by mcsweetie at 2:52 PM on April 23, 2005

Media Player Classic is faster and less resource-intensive than VLC, but VLC has (generally) better routines for those pesky files with corrupt bits. That is, MPC is more likely to choke than VLC, but it's not a regular enough occurance to get me to switch back. I used VLC for a while but couldn't stand how long it took to load up and hated how the seek dialogue only jumps in small increments unless you hold the button down and drag it--MPC jumps to wherever you click.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:20 PM on April 23, 2005

also, mike's ad blocking HOSTS file.
posted by mcsweetie at 12:24 PM on April 24, 2005



BSPlayer - an excellent free video player

DBPowerAmp - an excellent audio conversion program
posted by PurplePorpoise at 1:37 PM on April 24, 2005

whoops - sorry, missed cm's recommendations
posted by PurplePorpoise at 1:38 PM on April 24, 2005

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