Which freely available utilities, gizmos and doodads ALWAYS have a place on your Windows machine?
September 2, 2004 6:57 AM   Subscribe

WinDoze: You're setting up your new machine. Which freely available utilities, gizmos and doodads ALWAYS have a place on your computer? WinAmp? WinZip? WinRAR? Acrobat Reader? ICQ (or variants)? For me, on a WinDoze system I can't live without IrfanView or DCEnhance.
posted by RavinDave to Computers & Internet (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Filzip, which is a great all-formats-in-one archive tool.
The K-Lite Mega Codec Pack (and Media Player Classic)
AVG antivirus
AdAware and Spybot
Winamp 2 or 5
Shareaza and Azureus
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:17 AM on September 2, 2004

Gspot and Virtualdub, for starters.

Actually, my main home home PC runs windoze and, beyond the OS and a few games, it does not have a single piece of commercial software installed in it (licensed or not). Here's a list of a few other random programs installed in it:

posted by magullo at 7:19 AM on September 2, 2004

posted by WolfDaddy at 7:40 AM on September 2, 2004

It used to be Gurunet until they went and bogged it down with "features" and other useless crap.

I'm planning an XP re-install next week and I've burned a copy of The Open CD in hopes I can limit my commercial apps, junk shareware, and warez that have all but fried my current install over the months.
posted by bondcliff at 7:44 AM on September 2, 2004

I formatted last week and made a list of things to reinstall, which, luckily, I still have:

  • Acrobat
  • GoLive CS
  • Illustrator CS
  • Photoshop CS
  • Premiere Pro
    Easy SFV/MD5
    KCeasy + FT Plugin
    K-Lite Codec Pack
    Virtual PC 2004
    Office 2003 Pro (SP1)
    Visual Studio .NET
    Nero Ultra
    Powerarchiver 9

  • posted by ed\26h at 7:59 AM on September 2, 2004

    posted by LairBob at 8:00 AM on September 2, 2004

    My standard Windows build is pretty straightforward:

    Trillian for IM
    Cygwin for getting things done
    ActivePerl for making life easier
    Fireeagle and Thunderchicken for clienty things
    XiRCON for IRC (because Trillian IRC sucks ass)
    Privoxy for making the web not suck
    oo.o for document composition
    Vim or bust.
    WinAce for dealing with archives
    K-Lite Codecs
    WinAmp 2 because the new versions suck
    posted by majick at 8:03 AM on September 2, 2004

    posted by crumbly at 8:08 AM on September 2, 2004

    Response by poster: Very nice stuff! Thanx all! Though I am primarily asking smaller support programs and such, it is interesting to see what others use. Particularly like Filzip and the OpenCD site and I intend to grab a few things from there.
    posted by RavinDave at 8:11 AM on September 2, 2004

    Outpost Firewall Free Edition
    PowerCrypt 2000
    PC Inspector File Recovery

    And various Firefox extensions, such as Bookmark Backup, Chatzilla, UndoCloseTab, UserAgentSwitcher, RedoEvery, and Sage.
    posted by Smart Dalek at 8:17 AM on September 2, 2004

    Response by poster: SmartDalek ... On windows, I use Norton's firewall. Before I got that, I had some passing familiarity with the ZoneAlarm Firewall (FE) ... how's that stack up against Outpost Firewall (FE)? I've been reading their page and it sure looks nice.
    posted by RavinDave at 8:42 AM on September 2, 2004

    IZArc. Kerio v2. RegScrubXP. SciTE. Opera.
    posted by five fresh fish at 9:38 AM on September 2, 2004

    ACDSee 3.1 -- before they added all the extra crap. The single best image viewing program ever made.

    UltraEdit -- The best text editor around (great for coders).

    Media Player Classic -- A hacked version of Windows Media Player 6.1 that plays just about anything (TV, DVD's, RealVideo, AVI's, MPG's, etc.) and weighs it at around a meg. A beautiful example of what good programmers can do when they aren't trying to crap up your system with bullshit.

    Ace Mega Codecs 6.1 Pro -- or whatever the latest version is. Video/Audio codecs for above.

    Azureus -- For no particular reason.

    FireFox -- The best, the beautiful, the only web browser.

    Adobe Photoshop -- Duh.
    posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:15 AM on September 2, 2004

    Enditall 2 (it was free when I got hold of it; it's not free to download now "unless you know where to look"). It allows you to automate the closing of processes with a single click. On a completely unrelated issue, did you know I have an e-mail address?
    Zone Alarm Free Firewall - less hassle = good.
    AVG Antivirus, free edition - Fuckyouverymuch Norton AV.
    WinAmp 5 - Duh.
    Real Player - if I want to listen to the BBC, which I do.
    3ivx codec - the K-Lite Codec pack always broke WMP for me.
    Startup Monitor - No I most certainly do not want that to run at startup, thankyou.
    Tweak UI - goodbye 'autostart'.
    posted by Blue Stone at 10:30 AM on September 2, 2004

    A couple more ...
    zonealarm, jetaudio, trillian, open office, adaware, earthview, and though it isn't free ... norton's antivirus.
    posted by crunchland at 10:30 AM on September 2, 2004

    Oh, and good god! ... Mozilla.
    posted by Blue Stone at 10:32 AM on September 2, 2004

    standard list that people wrote here (i'll link to ones people haven't already listed):

    Freeware or Shareware:
    winamp 5
    foobar 2000
    acrobat reader
    Mozilla firefox
    net transport
    ad-aware / spybot search & destroy
    daemon tools

    Not Free:
    Visual Studio .NET
    secure crt
    posted by escher at 2:31 PM on September 2, 2004

    Real Player - if I want to listen to the BBC, which I do.

    Jesus Lord Almighty NO.

    You don't need to install Real Player or QuickTime these days.
    posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:58 PM on September 2, 2004

    Ethereal, of course.
    posted by the fire you left me at 5:07 PM on September 2, 2004

    Shove-it is the single most essential add-on for anyone who prefers their Windows taskbar at the top or side of the screen (I put mine at the top and run the Quicklaunch taskbar down the left side). I've used it on every desktop version of Windows from 95b-XP.
    PDFCreator is also kinda rad. It's a print driver that prints to a PDF document instead of a physical piece of paper. I always use it on my resume when I'm applying for jobs online; I wouldn't dream of relying on .rtf or .doc files for something so important.
    Ad-Aware is essential.
    I'm rather enjoying the free version of AVG Anti-Virus lately, too.
    posted by willpie at 6:21 PM on September 2, 2004

    wow. those are some interesting bits there. here's my list of essentials:

    mozilla goes on first. (IE is used for web testing and windows update only.)

    the googlebar, flashblock, block ads, prefbar, advanced preferences, IEview, and web developer toolbar plug-ins for mozilla. plus the DevEdge and Metafilter sidebars.

    photoshop (because i can get it at work, and need it for work. once you go photoshop nothing else really seems to be good enough for photo work.)

    arachnophilia 4 (5 is java and sucks, 4 is old but works beautifully, hacked to use mozilla activeX control rather than IE)


    winamp 5 (2 if it's an old computer)

    filezilla FTP (client or server, whichever i need)

    real alternative + quicktime alternative +k-lite codec pack (i'll install quicktime full if i can get it but i refuse to use anything from real. have not tried the non-shitty version the BBC offers.)

    endnote. not free, but if you do any sort of professional writing it's a must.

    ad-aware too.

    there used to be others but WinXP surprised me by making them sort of unnecessary.

    and smart dalek - the PC Recovery website was amazing. they really give away some good stuff for free. i'm impressed, thanks for that link.
    posted by caution live frogs at 2:33 PM on September 14, 2004

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