Starting fresh
August 14, 2015 12:41 AM   Subscribe

Recently I performed a clean installation of Windows 10 (which, by the way, I very much like despite not-so-subtle bugs creeping up a tad more than I'd like) and would like app and Chrome add-on recommendations.

Whenever I install a new OS I always end up installing at least a few apps I've never used before. Sometimes it's by choice—sometimes it isn't. When it's by choice it's usually because an app I used on my former OS hasn't been updated in years and has essentially become abandonware; when it isn't by choice it's because the app isn't supported by my new OS, forcing me to seek out an alternative to what I was using before.

I've already installed most of the essentials I've been using for years, but along the way I've stumbled across the superb and essential productivity boosters Clover (which adds Google Chrome-like tab functionality to Windows Explorer) and Everything (a very fast file searcher)—apps I couldn't possible go back to not using now that I've used them. And this has got me wondering if there's great apps out there left to be discovered.

I'm not looking for anything in particular—I'm a geek whose willing to try out any pretty much any type of app—all I require is that it's Windows 10 compatible. Also, though I've a preference for freeware apps, payware app recommendations are also welcome.

To prevent anyone from recommending things I already use, I've compiled a list of most of the third-party apps I use:

Adobe Photoshop
Avidemux 2.6 - 64 bits
BurnAware Free
Classic Shell
DVDFab 9
Exact Audio Copy
FastStone Image Viewer
Folder Size
Gilisoft RAMDisk
Google Chrome
IObit DriverBooster
IObit Uninstaller
Kawaii Codec Pack 64-bit
Macrium Reflect
Microsoft Image Composite Editor
PDFForge Images2PDF
Process Explorer
qBittorrent (x64 Edition)
TechSmith Camtasia Studio
Thumbnail Me 3.0
WPS Office
Windows 10 BG Login Changer

To finish off, I want to say that Google Chrome add-on recommendations are also welcome. I only recently made Chrome my default browser and haven't spent much time on the Google Chrome Add-ons site so probably I'm missing out on some great add-ons.

Anyway: thanks!
posted by GlassHeart to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
I quite like PatchMyPc free version. I find it better than Ninite or Secunia for keeping everything up to date in a reliable manner.

I also like DriverBooster (again free version is sufficient) - which performs the otherwise tedious task of making sure all the PC's drivers are up to date - can be installed using PatchMyPc.
posted by rongorongo at 2:07 AM on August 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'd also recommend all Windows 10 upgraders to have a look through the OS's 13 pages of privacy settings to check that the Faustian pact you are making with Microsoft is the one you expect to be making. A guide.
posted by rongorongo at 2:47 AM on August 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

you don't have ghostery, disconnect, privacy badger or https everywhere listed (chrome privacy plugins).
posted by andrewcooke at 3:05 AM on August 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nice list, it includes some of what we install here. No VLC?

As for Google Chrome, the most important add-ons are probably:

1) ScriptSafe. Not as powerful as Firefox's NoScript, but easier to use and very straightforward. I actually like it a little better than NoScript from the usability perspective, as I keep a relatively locked down browsing environment.

2) AdBlock Plus. The venerable adblocker.

3) Click&Clean, giving more control over stored information and the ability to easily nuke whatever you need without digging around in Chrome settings. I suggest setting "Options->Extra->Delete private data when Chrome closes" too.

4) Session Buddy, configured to periodically save tabs. I realize that seems at odds with Click&Clean but the reality is that I keep as many as a few hundred tabs open and it's hell to lose them.

Under chrome://settings you may want to twiddle some settings as well, be sure to click on "Advanced settings" hidden at the bottom, which exposes options like

- "Use a Web service to help resolve navigation errors"
- "Send a Do Not Track request"

and under Privacy->Content Settings, options to block plugins from automatically running, blocking third-party cookies, etc.

I would note that Chrome is a very heavy CPU hog compared to other browsers. It is probably not a good idea to add tons of add-ons.
posted by jgreco at 3:24 AM on August 14, 2015

"https everywhere" is rapidly becoming irrelevant as the deployment of Much Better Technologies such as HSTS are being deployed. It was a fantastic idea in 2010 but the world has moved on.
posted by jgreco at 3:33 AM on August 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: rongorongo: I quite like PatchMyPc free version. I find it better than Ninite or Secunia for keeping everything up to date in a reliable manner.

I actually only very recently heard of this but never went through with trying it out. But now I will.


rongorongo: I'd also recommend all Windows 10 upgraders to have a look through the OS's 13 pages of privacy settings to check that the Faustian pact you are making with Microsoft is the one you expect to be making. A guide.

Other things they may want to do:

Download the Windows 10 Login Background Changer (because some people don't like the default Login Screen background)
Download the Windows Tracking Disable Tool (which allows privacy conscious users to easily disable tracking stuff which would normally be a little hard for some people to disable)
Download WinAeroTweaker (which allows one to easily enable Windows 10's Dark Mode, enable colored titlebars, disable the Lock Screen, etc.)
posted by GlassHeart at 3:36 AM on August 14, 2015

Of the plugins not listed I find myself using the Evernote web clipper pretty regularly - it has replaced all other forms of bookmarking for me.

Slightly off topic, but this pull request made me think twice about using the windows tracking disable tool.
posted by phil at 5:50 AM on August 14, 2015

If you have Auslogics for its defragmenter, try MyDefrag instead. It's the most effective Windows defragmentation tool I've ever used, and the only one that actually saves more time in system speedup than it spends in defragmentation.
posted by flabdablet at 7:14 AM on August 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you often have a lot of Chrome tabs open, you'd probably benefit from "The Great Suspender" or something similar. It prevents Chrome from hogging all your computer's resources, and it's not too annoying since the timeout is long and it's easy to reload suspended tabs.
posted by randomnity at 9:58 AM on August 14, 2015

TenClips is my friend - it is a basic clipboard manager with hotkeys to toggle between 10 clipboards (Ctrl+1 through 0), and it can strip text formatting when copying back text with a slightly different keyboard combination (WinKey+V). Great for quickly storing repeated content (you can also save and load clipboards), and I really like being able to strip formatting when some applications recognize text formatting in weird ways.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:04 PM on August 26, 2015

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