Below is a fairly complete list of the useful software that I use, have used, or feel comfortable recommending.
Free, open source web browser. Safe, secure, customizable. Version 3.5 is out now and it’s much faster.
A free and well-known antivirus that has been around for a long time
Not recommended as number 1 any more.
Free, open source email program. Safe, secure, customizable
crap cleaner – a good windows cleaner, and can be used to fix registry problems. This is the first thing to run if Windows starts acting funny. It will fix many errors and problems that might crop up.
A free office software package that is compatible with Microsoft Office. Includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, database, and more (think Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc)
Also see this version of OO.o from NOVELL it has some more features and seems to be more powerful. Large download.
Free CD and DVD Burning Software. Simple, works, free. Now compatible with Blu Ray and HD-DVD.
Free CD Ripper. Very precise, powerful, reliable.
Free FTP software. Very handy for websites and other purposes requiring File Transfer Protocol.
A free image editing program that is somewhat comparable to photoshop. Also see gimp, what gimpshop is based on.
A safe collection of CODECs for windows XP. Don’t know if it works for Vista. Includes Media Player Classic, a simple and effective lightweight media player. Free. Install this if you have a media file that won’t play, and you don’t know why.
A powerful and complete presentation software for churches. Reasonable Price.
Video Lan media player – A complete media player for Windows. Will play all media files and DOES NOT require any codecs. (does not require XP Codec Pack above) Free.
A spyware removal tool that has been around for a long time. Free. I have started using this more. You want to download it fresh before installing it because the update routine is tedious and time consuming if you install an old version. I have found it to clean up things that malwarebytes misses now and then. Recommended.
Another spyware removal tool that has been around for a long time. Has a free version, get that one.
Don’t see any benefit from using this, regularly remove it.
Super Video Converter – Can essentially convert any media file (audio or video) from anything to anything. Indispensable for anyone involved with media. Completely Free.
A media player – I use it primarily for playing MP3’s, but has become more of a do-all media player. Free.
A good do-all compressor and decompressor program. Shareware.
A free software tool that is indispensable if you ever need to rename a whole bunch of files
Very powerful audio editing and recording software. Free.
Dangerously powerful program that can access and control temperature sensors and fans in your computer.
PDF Split and Merge – a free and very powerful yet simple program to merge multiple PDF’s together. Who needs Acrobat?
Install Primo PDF and it becomes a printer, you can produce PDFs from any program you can print from. Combine with PDF SAM.
A free Bible study program – includes multiple translations, commentaries, concordance, etc. Also has non-free translations available.
A free program that is used to “hack” your CDMA phone (Verizon).
A free diagramming program, somewhat similar to Visio
A free, open source operating system that is really cool. Who needs windows?
A free photo editing program. A little different than gimp.
A free open source High Dynamic Lighting program
A good, free, simple and reliable backup program that works the way I wanted it to. I had to look for a while. I use this every day – or rather, it runs automatically every day and I don’t have to think about it! There is a free version, get that one.
This is the unit converter program that I have consistently installed on my machines at work for years.
This is the RPN calculator that I have consistently installed on my machines at work for years
This is the program that I use to create RSS feeds that are podcast compatible. I looked long and hard for a FOSS (free, open source) podcast/RSS program that actually was usable. I did not find something that I thought I could live with. This program is not free, but it has a trial period. Try it and you will probably see why I actually paid for it.
I use Vegas Video for my video editing. I started using Vegas at version 3.0 and found it to be powerful and yet very easy to use. Definitely not freeware, and definitely worth it. This is professional level stuff. I also use DVD Architect and sometimes ACID studio.
I use AutoCAD and Inventor presently at my job. Excellent stuff, really. I’ve used other 2D and 3D packages, but Inventor does a lot of things right and is also less expensive than most. I would like to see more integration or at least similarities between the 2D side of Inventor and AutoCAD.
I’m putting this on here because it is a good macro program, but it isn’t freeware and I haven’t bought it yet. Macros are essential to good productivity in certain environments. Works smarter, not harder.
Auslogics Disk Defrag – free. Fast. Recommended by Maximum PC
A powerful “nastyware” remover. Works well. Combine it with AVAST antivirus and CCLeaner and you have a very thorough maintenance routine.
Possibly the best antivirus out there now, possibly even better than Norton. Free for home use. Use this code: W20193265H1400A0411-2245CBCM
You should install avast, and accept the “boot time” scan. But restart later. Start avast program using desktop shortcut, update it, then reboot. Avast will scan before windows starts, when it finds a virus, select option 2 for Delete All.
A fantastic software based no-configuration VPN solution that will allow you to keep your computers linked in ways you never thought possible. Works on linux too.
Got that old crusty XP and Vista disk laying around? Update it, streamline it and tweak it. You can make a fully automatic and unattended windows install with your cutomizations already integrated.
Goes along with nLite and vLite in automating a windows install. This will install anything you want after windows is installed. Automatically, and unattended. Takes some work to set up but it’s sweet when it’s done.
nLite and vLite and WPI are handy if you install windows a lot, but might not be worth it if you only do it once every couple years.
Free (for home use) remote admin. Combines the goodness of hamachi and VNC into one tool. The QS product is great for a client assistance scenario.
A powerful tool to analyze your network. Find out what is on it. There are books and courses for just this tool, it’s so powerful. Free.
Remote PC Control for the masses. Free. Combine with Hamachi for a great Virtual Private Network, my preference.
Fix those annoyances and make XP the way you want it to be
There is no official tweakUI for Vista, but this one was recommended by ArsTechica.
Site that scans your hardware and tells you if you can run a particular game
Utility to make bootable usb flash drives for installing windows (havn’t tried yet)
Another utility to make bootable usb drives, windows or linux (used this, works great)
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