Super UserWhat are some "must have" Windows programs?
[+142] [282] hmemcpy
[2009-07-15 12:34:40]
[ windows software-rec must-have ]

Inspired by this question [1], what 3rd party essential software do you have on a Windows machine?

One per answer please, and if you can, please provide the download/site link.

Notice: Check the other pages before you propose a new answer, as your program might have been mentioned already. If so, vote for this answer instead of writing a new one.

(37) Not an answer but Scott Hanselman's tools list (soon to be updated) is an essential read. - esabine
(27) IE so I can download Firefox. - Daniel Moura
(4) IE doesn't qualify as 3rd party, though. - T Pops
That is why it is a comment. - Daniel Moura
There's a huge overlap in all these "must have" threads. FireFox is always number 1 XD - hasen j
if it is a duplicate, either flag it with a link to the dupe or post it here and it will get closed a lot faster. - TheTXI
(1) @TheTXI - Yes. I have left comment and went to search for dupe link: - smok1
@T Pops - IE isn't third party unless you are from European Union. - Jakub Šturc
(8) @smok1. Umm, did I miss something, or did you just point out this question is a duplicate of itself? - Jonik
This q has become a pretty valuable resource - useful at least 1) for discovering great software I've missed before, and 2) as a "checklist" when installing Windows afresh. Thanks for contributing answers & votes! - Jonik
What about someone compiling the answers? - Nestor
@Nestor: Why? The answers as a dynamic, evolving list ordered by votes is the most useful format. All kinds of syncing and obsolescence problems would ensue from having another, "compiled" list. - Jonik
Possible dupe. This list of apps looks similar to this one here:… - facepalmd
@facepalmd: many similarities when they match both questions' requirements. One is about Windows, the other is not depending on platform, only freewares. All "must have" questions are anyway on the border of the site's guidelines, but are tolerated, by popular demand, and the eventual interesting information in the first pages. - Gnoupi
(3) Note that this question shows exactly why SOFU sites are not appropriate for this kind of "must have" questions. Sure, it works good for the first two pages, and you have a list of useful software. But with now soon 10 pages, you realize that it's not working anymore. It is really hard to know what was already said or not, and either way, new additions will remain lost at the end, because only a few people will both to look at all pages and vote. This question has become a perfect illustration of the reason why such questions are not working on SOFU sites. - Gnoupi
@Gnoupi. Ordering by "newest" helps when coming back to check what's new. New additions are actually rarely lost, if they're good. (Good new entries can rise towards the top quite quickly – I've seen this happen in many SOFU polls.) So while it's true that with so many pages the usability starts to suffer, I disagree with the statement this "does not work". It does, and continues to be a useful resource, despite there being duplicates and other crap at the bottom. - Jonik
[+343] [2009-07-15 13:24:28] Niyaz

7-Zip [1] is very useful.

It is a file archiver with a high compression ratio. It has explorer integration with zero dialog uncompress options. And it is free!

The 7-Zip File Manager works with a lot of different formats, including zip and rar.


I prefer TugZip myself. - musicfreak
(13) +1 is free, open source, fast and high compression - Drake
And it works with winzip and winrar files - eKek0
Some good reasons for using 7-zip at… - nik
I used to depend on winrar, but 7zip is HEAPS better - hasen j
Although I prefer WinRAR, 7z is good too. - M4dRefluX
7zip is so much better than WinZip IMO - BrianH
The only problem with 7-zip is its horrible Windows 95-esque icon. - DisgruntledGoat
(1) Remembered--the explorer integration of 7zip is shzip compared to winrar. Its the primary reason I ditched 7. Second was that its slow. - Will
(1) jZip is basically 7Zip with a better gui. - Xenorose
(11) -1 for ugly as a boot, and no shell integration. - Ian Boyd
(6) The best thing about 7zip is that it uses the 7z format which in turn is open source, thus it can be ported everywhere unlike RAR or other proprietary formats that are copyrighted and can't be ported by other than whoever made it... - Lawand
(12) You may change its appearance using the 7-Zip Theme Manager ( and it DOES have shell integration. - Xandy
I stick to Winzip. Yeah yeah, it's not free, but I still find it better than all the alternatives I've tried over the years. - MetalMikester
(3) @Ian: 7-Zip has very nice shell integration here. Have you turned it off in the settings or something? - Svish
@Svish: i don't know. Perhaps they didn't write a 64-bit shell extension? - Ian Boyd
(4) @Ian: I have been using it in 64-bit Windows 7 for like half a year. Have never noticed anything weird about the shell integration :) - Svish
(3) @Ian: Also, boots are not necessarily ugly ;p - Svish
@Ian: The shell extension in 7-Zip is fantastic, even on 64-bit versions of Windows. It's the primary reason why I use it. The only "problem" (which I consider a benefit) is that it's not turned on by default. You have to enable it in the Options dialog, accessible through the 7-Zip File Manager. I don't like programs stealing my file associations and installing shell extensions because they feel like it. 7-Zip gives me the choice. I like feeling empowered. ;-) - Cody Gray
[+334] [2009-07-15 13:21:53] Niyaz

Google Chrome [1]


(61) better than firefox - Click Upvote
(18) @Click Upvote, In some aspects yes, but as a whole, nope, at least not yet. At any rate that's what the SU community thinks: Firefox 116 vs Chrome 71. :) - Jonik
(12) Chrome--faster than firefox, and without all the fanbois. - Will
(5) Plus, unlike FF, it doesn't crash every 5 minutes. - JohnFx
(31) @Will. People using and advocating Firefox are "fanbois", while people using and advocating Chrome are not? Umm, right ;) - Jonik
(3) Chrome is another step to google-mainstream-monopoly-megaempire. Didn't we learn from Microsoft? - linux_is_for_desktop
(13) I'm too attached to my add-ons :-] - SealedSun
(3) Make Google Chrome directly compatible with Firefox Addons. Especially AdBlocker Plus. Then we'll talk. - thenonhacker
Same here...I can't live without my FF addons. The main reason I went back to FF after using Chrome for a while. - davr
(4) @thenonhacker - I think I would cry if that every happened. - joshhunt
I really had hi-hopes for chrome, but it really doesn't offer anything that FF doesn't. I've seen it lock up just as badly as I've seen FF so all the hype about separate tabs is IMHO a load of rubbish. Not to mention adblock and noscript of course :-) - Jon Cage
@thenonhacker: that would require supporting XUL in Chrome. Since chrome is built from entirely different technology that would mean dragging an entire toolkit into Chrome which would certainly hurt startup time and speed. - Joachim Sauer
(2) I personally don't like chrome, don't feel confortable with it. Firefox forever... - waszkiewicz
(1) @linux_is_for_desktop: maybe this time will be different. I think that google will do something better, more like...SKYNET! :D - dag729
Very nice to see that Chrome is finally supporting extensions of some sort. Of course, they don't work right yet, but I imagine if I give it some time I'll end up leaving Firefox. Mozilla's development is just going way too slowly. - musicfreak
Chrome extensions work in version 4.x (released Jan 26th, 2010) or later. ;-) - scunliffe
I know they work, they just don't work like they should. ;) Try the mouse gestures extension to see what I mean. - musicfreak
(1) Too much RAM! MemoryFox is an addon I can't live without when I only have 1.5GB - David
Firefox is still my main browser, but just noticed one feature that's a big advantage for Chrome: bookmark sync (over the net across different computers). It works extremely smoothly! - Jonik
Google rules with its products! I love Google. - Bakhtiyor
[+334] [2009-07-15 12:37:52] Stefan Thyberg

Firefox [1], first thing that gets installed.


(79) Or Chrome if you can live without some add-ons. - JcMaco
As soon as there is something similar to the Session Manager and FavIconize addons, I'm on board. I am very impressed with the speed and stability of Chrome. - Stefan Thyberg
(1) Firefox is not recommended on a netbook or any machine with a slower write speed. I tried this and had to go to Opera. - user1129
(10) also check out -- "Must-Have" FireFox Addons - Michael Paulukonis
Firefox is 2nd for me. 1st is 'everything critical from Microsoft Update'. - romandas
(3) @romandas Well, I don't consider Windows Update to be "Windows Software", I consider that to be "Windows". - Stefan Thyberg
(37) Firefox is soooo overrated. - Nippysaurus
Use Maxthon, Just Seize the Web! - Matias
(10) Chrome now has add-ons... it's considerably faster (and has a cleaner UI) than the old fox. - dbkk101
Yes, now running Chrome instead, updated the answer. - Stefan Thyberg
However this is an answer proposing a program, it doesn't matter really if since then you prefer Chrome as an individual. - Gnoupi
Which is a strange situation. This answer will forever say that I prefer Firefox, but it would be wrong to change the answer itself because of the upvotes it has received. Editing to make that clearer. - Stefan Thyberg
(1) Which is not a strange situation, this is a "community wiki" question. This answer is not about you, it's the community giving the answer Firefox, that's all. Think of it simply as the SuperUser community giving their choices, and voting for it. Your personal opinion doesn't matter, then, in this kind of question. This is why you have a percentage of "ownership", and the number of people who edited. It's about the answer "Firefox as a must have program", not "I, Stefan, prefer Firefox or Chrome". - Gnoupi
+1 Required for Firebug alone, use Chrome for non dev work - eddiegroves
(1) -1 for slowness. I've been using FF since 0.8 but I've turned into Chrome lover and I don't regret it. - gaearon
Gaearon: You do realize that my answer is from over 1½ years ago and I have since switched to Chrome as well. - Stefan Thyberg
@Stefan: Don't take the downvotes personal.. The downvote is not directed at you, it's directed at FireFox. - awe
[+317] [2009-07-15 12:40:21] Gerrit Wessels

Notepad++ [1], your replacement for notepad!

Notepad++ can syntax highlight XML


(37) Or Notepad2 (, I got tired of Notepad++ incessant updates which seems to occur on a semi-hourly basis. - Lasse V. Karlsen
I prefer Notepad++ over Notepad2 because Notepad++ seems to handle files with extremely long lines. Notepad2 may have fixed this, but in the past Notepad2 had some problems with long lines. - Page Brooks
(13) I've never had NP++ update on me. Strange. - person-b
You have to admit that Notepad++ looks nothing like Notepad though :-) - Stefan Thyberg
Notepad2 - I love it, ever since the earliest versions. If only it had fortran and lisp highlighting. - ldigas
(10) Disabling NP++ auto updates takes just 1 click at the installation. - Maiku Mori
+1 for Notepad2. As a Notepad replacement Notepad2 works better than Notepad++ in my opinion because it's so light and fast. Although for actual coding (more than just viewing files and making small changes), Notepad++ is great. - musicfreak
I never had the "incessant updates" feeling with Notepad++ - Drake
(8) I prefer SciTE <>; - it's faster - Bogdan
(3) I prefer TextPad ( - Argalatyr
(6) GVim. Keeping my Linux / Unix muscle memory on Windows is invaluable. - jtimberman
(18) I prefer butterflies. - musicfreak
(3) I prefer Programmer's Notepad 2: - 280Z28
(1) I agree GVIM is the best Windows text editor available. - faceless1_14
Notepad++ really struggles with large >10MB files. Might be plugin related however I'm looking to move a commercial text editor because of this alone. RegEx support is not as complete as it could be. As a free program though it is a great effort, and worth every cent ;) - user1129
(1) Or Programmer's Notepad - community_owned
@musicfreak: alas, I can give you only 1 vote up, but you have to know I would give you at least a billion for butterflies! :D - dag729
Number 1 among all IDEs :) - Bakhtiyor
[+311] [2009-07-15 12:40:51] Dani

VLC [1], a video player capable of playing even the most stubborn/broken video.

With VLC you can watch almost any video.


(16) I used to love VLC, but I now prefer mplayer. - Manu
except it doesn't work well on windows 7 - Robert Ivanc
(28) +1 for big buck bunny - Troggy
GOM player. Also plays alot, and is easy and leightweight. - Ikke
VLC is an excellent solution to watching video on Windows. If you need true codec support though then codecs or a reliable codec pack would be necessary (Combined Community Codec Pack is the one I recommend). - Insomnic
(2) Works fine for me on Windows 7. No additional Codecs necessary, plays pretty much everything I throw at it. - davr
VLC is great but I only use it to play DVDs these days; my current media player plays other videos just fine. - musicfreak
I went back to Windows Media Player - Jader Dias
My one gripe with this is lack of MIDI support. Media Player Classic is actually really good too. - bobobobo
Media Player Classic (MPC) seems to have less compatibility issues than VLC. I had to stop using VLC after MPC was able to play all videos that VLC could, including two videos that VLC couldn't. - Brian
(1) Used to use VLC, then went on to use MPC-HC. - someguy
I stopped using VLC after finding out it had bas support for Advanced Sub Station subtitles. I wonder if it's fixed by now. - syockit
[+276] [2009-07-15 12:39:58] fretje

All the sysinternal [1] utilities.

Especially process explorer and autoruns.

A single zip file containing all the utilities can be found here [2].


(1) If only there was an installer for the Sysinternals Suite. - arathorn
(4) No installer needed... everything can be found 'portable' at - fretje
(8) Why does an installer matter? Grab the full suite zip file, unzip to a folder and go. If you want easy access to those tools, add the folder to your path. - romandas
(1) @romandas Where is the zip? Thanks - Artur Carvalho
Yeah. They are the best apps to use with Windows!!!!! - kokbira
(2) net use \\ * - mount them as a mapped drive. - Eddie Parker
[+255] [2009-07-15 12:36:58] Tadeusz A. Kadłubowski

PuTTY [1], a ssh client.


(2) I couldn't live without Putty! Best SSH client ever! - BrianH
The Putty install also includes a SFTP client, PSFTP. - monkut
"best free ssh client" by far not the best ssh client if you spend a lot of time working within it on routers/switches/firewalls. - sparks
You guys might also find this useful It's a tab system for putty - AntonioCS
I would +10 if I could! Why isn't Putty #1 or #2? C'mon guys, upvote! - Josh
If you use Putty and cygwin, check out mintty. So much awesome. - Eddie Parker
There's also a great PuTTY fork called KiTTY that is in active development. I've been using it for awhile, and highly recommend it. - Berberich
[+229] [2009-07-15 12:46:13] Iain

Paint.NET [1] - image editing software.


(2) +1 for supporting layers. And you can find almost any kind of plugin for effects like gradients. - Bratch
(3) This is a great app. Its free, easy to use and totally adequate for most peoples needs. It is also low on machine utilisation - Kip
(1) I've been using this at work as a Photoshop alternative for some things and I love it. Some things even seem better implemented in here than in Photoshop. - Brian Surowiec
(1) Awesome alternative to Photoshop and free. I H8 GIMP! (PDN has shape tools for starters. Gimp requires you to use the "outline" tools for shapes. Ugh!) There are tons of awesome features in PDN. Can't go wrong with it. - Moshe
It was my main editor until I found out it had no path tools. Then I got back to GIMP. They were right about the GIMP vs other raster editors flame wars; the conclusion is, once you got used to one program, you find it difficult to use another one. - syockit
[+208] [2009-07-15 14:22:27] Joshua Nurczyk

Windows updates [1]. The very first thing I install on Windows!


(36) This made me LOL. So true. - Joseph
LOL nice one :P - Marc-Andre R.
(20) Not 3rd-party, though. - arathorn
(5) OS updates are the first thing I install on linux too! What a small world. - TM
And upgrade it to Microsoft Update, to get fixes for Office, Visual Studio, ... as well. - Richard
(8) And wouldn't it be great if there was a sensible third-party API for Microsoft Update so everything could update through it. You know, like apt-get. - Richard Gadsden
That's is true, what every Windows user needs. - Bakhtiyor
WGA is much better imho.... - Moab
[+196] [2009-07-21 08:11:32] pitr

μTorrent [1] - free tiny fully capable torrent client


(14) the best torrent client! +1 - Sander Versluys
(1) I don't;t like uTorrent. It appears to eat more of my internet connection then it actully uses for downloading/uploading. I prefer Vuze - Pim Jager
(1) Latest versions install crap-ware, but still best client available. - Ian Boyd
(1) Sander Versluys: Might be the best client on windows, but Transmission(Linux/Mac) tops it in so many ways. - LiraNuna
(1) I like that uTorrent will run as a standalone executable (without installation), so I put it my source code repository along with other command-line tools. I always deselect the "installation" and just run from the exe. - Jason R. Coombs
(1) @Pim Jager: Really? I would say that about Vuze, if anything. - musicfreak
(2) @Pim Jager: On my DSL, I find the best performance by disabling DHT and limiting the number of connections to 50. - mtone
(1) I can't imagine downloading big files without using it. - Bakhtiyor
[+155] [2009-07-15 14:43:06] epotter

Visual Studio [1]

I'm not going to have a box that I can't develop on.


Even if you're not a developer, having a development environment can be useful. If you're a Python programmer, having Visual Studio installed allows you to build Python libraries with extension modules. - Jason R. Coombs
(8) Good thing netbooks aren't box shaped! - Ricket
@Jason R. Coombs: You have to install an IDE to do that in Windows? Sounds like a flaw in the system more than a benefit to installation. - mathepic
@mathepic: If you're opposed to having the IDE installed, I believe it's possible just to install the compiler and SDK portions of VS. - Jason R. Coombs
@Jason Oh, okay. - mathepic
[+151] [2009-07-15 12:42:39] joshhunt

Launchy [1]: Quicksilver for Windows

Launchy has auto complete too!

Why do you need it if you have Vista or 7? Because Launchy:

  • Indexes any file types you want in any specific location
  • Opens folders
  • Remembers what you type and choose and make that the default next time you type the same thing
  • Works with just about any hotkey combo
  • Does simple math
  • Runs Control Panel items
  • Runs Windows commands (with cmd)
  • Does actions, e.g. Google<tab>some search terms<Enter> to search
  • Includes web site shortcuts as well as local programs

(61) I haven't found the need for Launchy since moving to Vista. The searchable start menu handles most of what I need. - Ben Straub
(1) "Quicksilver for Windows" is only descriptive to people familiar with Quicksilver, which is probably not descriptive of most users here. - JesperE
Loved it in XP and Vista. Don't use it anymore in Seven. Have my most used stuff pinned in taskbar and search for the rest in the start menu =) - Svish
(4) I have been using Humanised Enso instead of Launchy - Xetius
(4) @Ben Straub: with Launchy you can launch program with parameters. Especially nice with putty :-) - Peter Štibraný
i actually use a combination of the vista searchable start menu, and powershell with custom functions to handle stuff that has parameters. ex: starting remote assistance to another computer: "ra compname" - Orihara
(3) Also, KDE4 port to windows can be considered a must-have for some of us. - Tadeusz A. Kadłubowski
(10) @Ben Straub: launchy learns so whatever you pick will be first in the list next time, plus you can use any acronym you want, so firefox could be f, photoshop you could use ps, etc. - JC
I have found out that not that I use launchy all the time (work & home, literally every pc I own) I can not live without it... - Rekreativc
(3) @Ben: vista's start menu search box is very slow - hasen j
@hasen j: Works pretty quickly for me. :) - musicfreak
(1) Launchy is nowhere near as powerful or useful as Quicksilver... - The Tentacle
Launchy was my favorite in WinXP!!! - thenonhacker
I have Vista at work, but I still find Launchy faster and more convenient than Start menu search. - Kyralessa
The best I've found is actually Google Toolbar 6, which features the fastest quicklaunch program, available anywhere in Windows via hotkey. Instant program launches & Google searches FTW. - Sean O
(1) Hehe, yeah, i find that Windows 7 handles this itself very well! :D - SevenT2
[+143] [2009-07-15 21:33:07] Michael Paulukonis

FileZilla [1] - free FTP


(1) it won't ignore .svn directories - Click Upvote
(1) FileZilla 3+ has filters:… - Michael Paulukonis
(5) Personally I use WinSCP for a client, but FileZilla for a server. - 280Z28
Filezilla 3 now much improved - went backwards for a while, but now back on track. - Umber Ferrule
Nah. I'll use IIS. Integrated authentication is a must. I'll take the Enterprise-class solution for free if it's available and painless enough. You have to have the pricier Windows SKUs though. - Jason R. Coombs
(1) I like FireFTP or when I'm on a machine without it, Windows Explorer :D - David
(1) FileZilla's secure connection mode pales to WinSCP and really, does anyone want to do anything with their files, unsecurely? - DevelopingChris
[+141] [2009-07-15 13:17:04] Daniel Moura

Foxit Reader [1]


Unfortunately sucks when you have Unicode directory and file names, something I have frequently here. - Joey
(13) I'm not real excited that they've started auto-installing browser toolbars and other crapware. It's free, though, and still faster than Acrobat Reader... - Jeff Donnici
(26) Try Sumatra PDF for an open source version. Lighter and no "crapware". - DisgruntledGoat
I keep using an older version (1.3). No crap, no pay. - Eduardo Molteni
(6) PDF X-change Viewer ( is a nice, free option too. - techtechmo
[+136] [2009-07-15 14:00:18] Tundey

CCleaner [1]. A must on new OEM computers from the likes of HP, Compaq, Toshiba, Dell etc.


Damn! Forgot that one! +1 - Evan
(6) Also, PC Decrapifier does specifically what you're describing. It cleans out all that OEM bull. - T Pops
I had an excellent experience with CCleaner, it cleared out 8GB of crap that Windows' own disk cleanup (and a few other third-party cleaners) missed. (This is on a 20GB partition, by the way... so it was pretty necessary) - David Zaslavsky
I agree, upvote +1 :) - ecleel
(17) Or, wipe and reinstall... that's what I do - Isaac Waller
There is also a portable version which is great for your usb stick - Kip
Careful not to be too overzealous. I was using it to clean up a virus-infected computer for a friend, accidentally deleted some DLL's I shouldn't have and totally bricked the windows installation. - Dean
(7) So to get rid of crap you install more crap ? I prefer to wipe the installation and reinstall from scratch. I also never use custom install disks from manufacturers. - Steffen
I use it to extend hard disk space in my Windows 7. - Bakhtiyor
[+130] [2009-07-15 15:00:01] Martin

Microsoft Office [1]

Can't live without it.


(45) OpenOffice can replace Office also ;) - Marc-Andre R.
(114) @Fox: Not even close. ;) - arathorn
(3) I've seen 3 packs of licenses for Microsoft Office Home 2007 for about $90 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). If your work supports it you can get Enterprise 2007 for $20 through the home use program (single PC). - Bratch
(2) Fox: not if you rely on Access ;) - Martin
(4) How is this a 3rd party app? - Lars Haugseth
(1) Strickly speaking it isn't a third party - but I think it counts in the context of the question. And if sysinternals counts :p - Martin
(1) OpenOffice is overrated! If you want something very very close to MSOffice 2003, then get this:<br/><br/> Kingsoft Office 2007 Personal (Free)… - thenonhacker
(3) @thenonhacker - I don't think anyone wants to emulate the look and feel of 6 year old software. - joshhunt
Because nothing beats Outlook! :) - David
(4) @Fox the only thing more bloated and heavyweight than Microsoft Office is OpenOffice - lagerdalek
(1) -1 Google Docs. Harness the cloud. - Evan Plaice
Evan: Google docs has a Database client? Is it as good as Access? - Martin
I live without M$ using Google Docs and OpenOffice. - kokbira
Good for you - Still nothing to beat Access though - Martin
(2) I’m always amazed at those open-source fanatics who seriously think their amateur programs can replace Microsoft Office. They must never have used it to do anything big. - Timwi
@Timwi ever looked a TeX's output in comparison to Office? You must have never used MSOffice to do anything big. - mathepic
(1) @mathepic: Of course I’ve looked at the output. But I’ve also looked at the installer, the GUI, the usability, the compatibility......... - Timwi
@Timwi - You can use whatever editor you want for TeX. It is quite usable with LaTeX, depending on how proficient you are with computers (you are correct that it isn't for all people). Whats wrong with the installer? - mathepic
(2) @mathepic: It sucks. LaTeX sucks. Unix/Linux editors, GUIs, printing, fonts, drivers, all suck. Furthermore, all open-source fanatics flat out deny this and refuse to face reality. Until they do, it will not compete. This has nothing to do with proficiency with computers. It has everything to do with usability and users’ inability to tolerate crap. You proclaim that “it isn’t for all people” as if that were something to be proud of; that makes you part of the problem. (Also, this is the wrong place to discuss this. If you’re interested in trying to convince me, I’m timwiterby on Skype.) - Timwi
[+126] [2009-07-15 12:38:35] Abhinav

Just so you don't need to click the referral link to see what this is :

Dropbox is a technology startup and software product that's revolutionizing the way that people think about and access their files. In particular, we make it easy to securely share files with other people, sync them across multiple computers, access them from anywhere, and keep them safe.

Taken from as [1] seems light on the elevator spiel.

Dropbox [2]

Disclaimer : Referral link above.


(27) I'd like to point out that this particular referral scheme is good not just for the OP but also for you - you both get extra space (1/4 GB I think). - person-b
I think it's overrated. - ymasood
(4) Tempted to edit to have my referral code instead of yours :p Also, I rekon it's under-rated, so many great uses. - Dean
(2) @Dean - Go ahead - I am done with my quota ;) - Abhinav
The free quota can now be maxed to 10 GB :) - Jonik
Free quota now 32GB if you have an .edu email address - rymo
[+123] [2009-07-15 12:52:04] Seanchán Torpéist

Irfanview [1] - the best little picture viewer that ever existed! Fast, small, batch rename and batch resize. Opens in milliseconds, scrolls through folders of images with spacebar. Excellent!


(3) Most definitely. - Steve Melnikoff
(2) Isn't it that non-unicode-capable viewer? - linux_is_for_desktop
Since version 4.2 it is Unicode capable through a plugin - Seanchán Torpéist
(22) And the ugly as hell application icon. - Ian Boyd
(5) Great app with a very ugly UI. I could look past the rough UI in most apps, but in an image viewer it's very distracting. I still haven't found a good replacement for AcdSee 2.41 (classic). - dbkk101
I like FastStone Image Viewer. I've tried a lot of these programs, but that one is the best. And it's freeware. - Vili
Useful for printing images - good options for scaling or stretching them, and the preview shows what you'll get. - Jonik
(3) Who cares about the UI when it's lightning-fast, portable, and does just about everything. (including playing audio & movies, web gallery & slideshow generation, etc.) - Sean O
@Sean: Obviously, dbkk101 does. :) I care about the UI too. For a program whose purpose is to be looked at, an ugly UI is a pretty serious flaw. I hated IrfanView (was on the s/o's laptop) and didn't even realize why til now. - cHao
I have actually been using HoneyView. While designed as manga/comic viewer, it is fast and intuitive in its interface. - horsedrowner
[+115] [2009-07-15 14:21:46] Joseph

Adobe Flash Player [1]

Flash Player is a cross-platform browser plug-in that delivers breakthrough Web experiences to over 99% of Internet users.

This is always the second thing I install after Firefox.


(64) Unfortunately, still a must have. - arathorn
(9) If I could avoid having any Adobe products on my computer, I'd be a happy camper. However this one is pretty unavoidable. - JohnFx
I dunno.. I blame Flash for the majority of Browser crashes, but the great thing is, Flash 1.0 sites still work in Flash 10 - Chris
(11) I don't install it till i have the misfortune of coming across a site that needs it. - Kip
Doesn't work in 64-bit browsers. I hope between Silverlight and HTML5 video elements that I won't need flash player anymore. - Jason R. Coombs
(2) That is what Apple users are missing so much :) - Bakhtiyor
So awful, I finally refused to install it on my computer the last time I reinstalled. Sadly, I still have to keep a copy installed in a VM for those few times when I can't avoid using it. - rob
(1) -1: Flash sucks. Period. - Mark Szymanski
[+111] [2009-07-15 13:11:48] Steve Wranovsky

Picasa [1] for viewing, editing, and publishing pictures.


(2) +1 must have for my mom; not me though - Ian Boyd
Even better now that 20 GB extra storage on your Google account is only $5/year, so you can upload more photos. - rob
@ian - whats wrong with it? What do you prefer instead? - quickly_now
@quickly_now i prefer Windows Explorer, ACDSee, and Photoshop. But Picasa is a great program. amazingly fast at searching though tens of thousands of pictures, uploading to a web-album, and facial recognition - my mother uses it. - Ian Boyd
[+109] [2009-07-15 13:09:23] Steve Wranovsky

Vim [1]

It's much better than Notepad, and great for quick edits of files.

(13) Everybody always touts Notepad++, but for me, it doesn't come close to my Vim. - Eric
(2) It depends on one thing: to Windows vim is as daunting as a software can be. Of course, vim mers Notepad++ looks like flat-text Word . - voyager
(22) you forgot the ~ on empty lines ;) - hasen j
(8) I must have Emacs... I must have Emacs... - Subtwo
(2) A (Windows) friendly alternative of Vim is Cream (it IS Vim, but a more general feel for new users) - Ben
I hate modal editing. - Carson Myers
(1) Seriously? Command line? NO, SERIOUSLY? Are you freakin' nuts!?!? Maybe it's good for you since you memorized the ridiculous keyboard commands! But not for the rest of us normies! - SkippyFire
I don't find any text editor better than VIm now :) I've not tried eMac but Vim works great. I used to be a notepad++ fan but Vim is much better :) I first think it's hard to learn vim but once you're in, you'll be addicted :) - nXqd
(1) @SkippyFire nobody installs just Vim anymore to a windows machine. It always comes with gVim and that's what everybody uses 95% of the time. The g stands for graphical. it's quite nice, but you'd still have to go through the tutorial. - robertpateii
I much prefer gVim to Vim :-) - asoundmove
this should be gVim :) - nXqd
[+102] [2009-07-15 14:15:14] Page Brooks

KeePass [1] for secrets management.

If you want to maintain a single password database across multiple machines, store the KeePass database in a shared folder using DropBox [2] or Live Mesh [3].

Warning: This is only advisable if your KeePass database requires a file key along with a strong password. Store a copy of the key file on each machine (outside of the shared folders). This way, if your KeePass database file is stolen, the key file will be in a separate location and your database will still be protected.


(3) If you want to accidentally lose all your passwords at once, use KeePass. - Ian Boyd
(1) One alternative is to use Passpack, which also has a desktop version - Jader Dias
[+102] [2009-07-15 13:31:20] MattGWagner

Pidgin [1], must have instant messenger for having all your contacts in one place.


(2) ...and it finally works stable on win7 x64. - Kamil Zadora
(20) Pidgin sucks, just not as bad as every other IM client ever made. - Macha
(3) I hate using Gnome apps in windows. I prefer Digsby. - Brian Ortiz
@Brian-ortiz For the most part, Pidgin doesn't feel like a Gnome app. Every now and then I look at Digsby, but it requires yet another centralized account. Pidgin is completely decentralized. For me, that's worth a little UI cruft. - Jason R. Coombs
+ 1 Pidgin is my preferred IM client as well, it's stable, it's lightweight, what's not to like :-) - Steffen
I don't think there are any good IM clients for Windows. I'm stuck with the bloatware, Digsby because it's the best out there. I wish Adium was for Windows cause Mac Os X sucks as a whole. - David
I used to use Pidgin, lately I've found that Digsby is much nicer however. - BlueRaja
digsby adds an awfully annoying digsby URL to all your statuses and away messages. Is there a way to get rid of that? Also I've long loved the idea of Miranda IM: Smaller, Faster, Easier but i've always found it a little buggier than pidgin. Haven't tried it in a year though. - robertpateii
[+88] [2009-07-15 12:53:22] user746

ImgBurn [1] - Free CD/DVD burning software.


(1) agreed, but thankfully not needed w/ Windows 7 - Scott Weinstein
Brill bit of software - recommended. - Umber Ferrule
(2) @Scott, still much better than Windows 7's built in solution - wag2639
[+85] [2009-07-15 12:42:17] Dani

The [1] suite.


(42) I'm a big open-source user, but I still think MS Office is much better than OpenOffice. - RJFalconer
(4) I hope OpenOffice will finally improve soon to be a real alternative to MS-Office. God, please! - linux_is_for_desktop will never even come close to Microsoft Office, nonetheless I install it on every machine just in case someone sends documents around. - SealedSun
(7) MS Office is the best, but is a great alternative for those who don't have money to buy it. - Casey
(2) I'm looking forward to the supposed ribbon interface in the upcoming version. - techtechmo can open OpenOffice documents with Microsoft Office. See - Scoregraphic
(1) Do you want to get to the point where MS Office is no longer relevant? Then "vote with your wallet" :) - Leonardo
@techtechmo - they are implementing ribbon in OpenOffice 4? Awesome! - Moshe
With OpenOffice, you can do 99% of the things you can do with MS Office. And it hurts my soul to say this, but its ugly as hell. - Martín Fixman
It will probably never be better than MSOffice because MSOffice is Microsoft's biggest product in the private market, and Microsoft has unlimited amounts of bucks to spend on it. - awe
[+83] [2009-07-23 13:18:19] Slink84

Skype [1]


(1) My best video conferencing soft. - Bakhtiyor
(1) ...No controversy here. - Beau Martínez
Logitech's Vid got a nice update recently allowing video mail and text chat. I also like the auto-answer feature and the fact that i can close the thumbnail of myself, which I can't figure out how to do in skype. (disclaimer - i work for a division of logitech, but i never liked vid much until this last update.) - robertpateii
[+82] [2009-07-15 13:36:19] Manuel Ferreria

Total Commander [1] is the ultimate file management system. Old school NortonCommander style.


It's all about productivity ;) - Bogdan
(1) The first thing that gets installed. Still wish there was a better tool though. It is old and with flaws. - Tomas Sedovic
And it has a lot of nice plugins - Jakub Narębski
@Tomas Sedovic: There is a better tool: Directory Opus! - Lars Haugseth
@Lars Haugseth: thanks. I've tried it, but it didn't feel right. - Tomas Sedovic
(9) It's incredible to me that Total Commander got so few votes, Obviously, people don't know what are they missing, and don't realize how useful and productive it is. This is a first thing I install when installing new Windows on machine. - Andrija
(3) I moved from TotalCommander to FreeCommander. - Liam
(2) I wonder, though, if it's possible for someone to "get" Total Commander without ever having tried NC. - hyperslug
(1) I don't think so. Most of the users of TC were former user of NC I guess. NC was from a time where there weren't any User folders, with Documents, Pictures, Videos and music, so you had to make your own folders all the time, and keep them organized with NC, the friendliest tool of all DOS. Nowadays, the new Windows users are so used to the idea of personal folders that making folders in the root is completely unintuitive and not relevant at all for them. tl;dr: They can't get it because they've never known a time where NC was all you had, no drag and drop. - Manuel Ferreria
When you manage files, Total Commander is the must-have tool, directory synchronization, file diffs, low level file view. FTP client. Tabbed browsing, absolutely worth it's money. - Ton
(4) Wonder where the "it is old" comment came from. The program gets updated regularly, current version is 7.50a released on Sept 24 2009. When you pay for it, that includes a lifetime of updates, and ability to convert it to a U3 version or a USB that runs on its own from a Flash Drive (similar to PortableApps but without the extra menu layer for launching.) Absolutely great at what it does, and very customizable. Simply great value, includes built in text editor, viewers, tons of add-ins etc. Check it out! - Petr V
All true enough; but it still looks like it's running in DOS :) (or Windows 95 if we're feeling generous) - Joel in Gö
(1) I've tried these, and the best I've found, by far, is zabkat's xplorer2. - Jerph
I agree with Liam, above, in that FreeCommander suits me far better and looks nice too. - Bob Mc
@hyperslug @Manuel Ferreria - I love Total Commander, and have never seen Norton Commander. I was just shown Total Commander by people I worked with, and although it took me a while to get just how much better it is, eventually it clicked. I seriously can't imagine using a Windows computer without it installed. I'd sooner go back to Explorer than give my TC up. - Edan Maor
Built with Delphi, too. - Nick Hodges
And not a single mention of FAR? I guess there aren't enough eastern europeans here... - romkyns
[+81] [2009-07-15 16:19:45] Ivo Flipse

An anti-virus program, I assume free ones like AVG will suffice.

(7) alternatively, just kick yourself out of the admin group - Oliver Giesen
(7) Better yet, both. - Chris Charabaruk
(7) Recent versions of AVG install an annoying Firefox plugin which verifies the "safety" of sites in Google listing. This is both annoying because it makes the page take longer to load and also unnecessary as Google already subscribes to's list of evil websites. It also attempts to trick you into buying the "full" version every major update. Because of these annoyances, I've switched to Avast Antivirus. It's not as user friendly, but it has a lot of options and gets out of the way and does it's job well. - JamesGecko
(27) -1 Rather than "must have" it is "must get rid of" - Ian Boyd
(26) I prefer Microsoft Security Essentials - Xavierjazz
MSE wasn't freely available at that time ;-) - Ivo Flipse
awfull bit of software. I've been trying panda cloud on my xp machines and that works very well. Not working on 7 yet tho - Kip
I always install "Windows Defender" first. - djangofan
I'll let Windows Defender run and disable the Windows Alerts about virus software. I don't need it. If I do plan to download something I suspect, I check it first with and search the internet for the MD5 hash. - Jason R. Coombs
On Windows 7 I'm trying out Comodo Internet Security, since I was already used to their firewall. But I don't know how I can rate antivirus software without ever having had a virus. (On Windows XP, I go no-admin and don't use any antivirus at all.) - mmyers
Best is Avast Antivirus. Its nice and absolutely free!! - Bragaadeesh
AVG is the worst AV program I've ever used. I got several different viruses on my system while using it. I've had far better luck with Avast! and with Microsoft Security Essentials. - Kyralessa
[+79] [2009-07-15 15:49:39] Etore Marcari Jr.

Cygwin [1] is a good tool.


(4) More like set of tools. - Chris Charabaruk
+1 just to get it above thunderbird - Mike
(8) As much as I like cygwin, it always felt unnatural on windows boxes. Unix way of working on windows - like raping the system. - ldigas
(5) MinGW is more than enough for your linux-software needs (less invasive too) - SealedSun
(1) And now, Powershell comes default on Windows 7. - hyperslug
(1) Also apt-cyg: - Anonymous
@Idigas: %s/raping/making tender love to/g Still unnatural however, particularly given the metaphor. - Eddie Parker
MinGW is not enough. Actually, I consider any Windows box without Cygwin on it to be half lobotomized. - DevSolar
@Idigas: Agreed, if you want linux run an actual linux box - or even better, build a virtual one using VMWare. - Justin Ethier
[+73] [2009-07-15 12:41:01] Perspx

Opera [1].

I really don't like using Internet Explorer, so this is the first thing that I install, so that I can use it to download other software.


(1) Not as well liked as Firefox or Chrome, but has many features by default without the need for add-ons, like the ability to change the tab placement top, left, right, or bottom. - monkut
(3) Yeah I think it's the best out of the box and I certainly like it the most for everyday browsing, but Firefox is better for web development because there are Add-ons available, such as Firebug etc - Perspx
(7) If in extreme zealous mode, I have ftp'ed to from the Windows command line, just to not have IE be the first sign of life on the web from my then so clean, mean computer ;-).... To be fair, I've done it once, details elude me, but super-grumpiness must have played a part... - Morten Bergfall
[+60] [2009-07-22 17:02:20] Traples

Audacity [1] - free simple, but powerful, sound editor


[+59] [2009-07-15 15:17:37] community_owned

Windows PowerShell [1] because CMD.EXE is a horrifying throwback.


(2) If you like .Net you will like scripting with PS. Pipe entire .Net objects. - Bratch
(1) already installed on anything XP SP3 and newer - Nathan Koop
[+58] [2009-07-15 12:42:09] hmemcpy

Notepad2 [1] - a lightweight, ultra-fast Notepad replacement with syntax highlighting and many more cool features.


(3) Yes - great balance of lightness and powerful features. When on Windows, I use Notepad2 constantly. - Jonik
Indeed. Extremelly stable too; never had it crash down on me (unline n++). If only it had fortran highlighting, it would be perfect. - ldigas
+1: My favorite between N++ / N2 - John Gietzen
I can't live without it and can't fathom how anyone uses the built-in Notepad tool - it's a POS. I don't know why Microsoft doesn't start including this tool with their OS. - Jason Bunting
[+58] [2009-07-16 11:09:02] Ross

VirtualBox [1] - so I don't get lonely :)


(3) Having windows under VirtualBox under Linux is even better ;) - linux_is_for_desktop
[+58] [2009-07-22 23:24:37] Pablo

TrueCrypt [1] - Free easy to use encryption software.


+1 Full disk encryption is a must for laptops. - 280Z28
[+56] [2009-07-15 13:59:15] mafutrct

WinRAR [1]


(47) 7-Zip is way awesomer for compression/archiving. - Rob Hruska
(21) And free. Which is why I moved from using WinRar to 7-Zip :) - Svish
(24) WinRAR has better GUI/Shell Extension. You can tell it to skip particular files or skip compression on some files. One of the many things you can't do with 7-zip - Imran
(1) WinRAR is basically free as well. I'm exclusively using it on command line or via explorer shell extension, so I never see the "40 days trial time is over" message. (Otoh, I'm considering either a switch over to 7z or actually buying WinRAR at some point in the future.) - mafutrct
@Imran: when is skipping compression in a file compressor useful? - DisgruntledGoat
(1) @disgrunteledgoat- when the file that you are adding to the archive is already compressed. Recompressing a comressed file takes extra time and can actually inflate the size vs a simple store. - Jim B
"WinRAR is basically free as well" - because you are stealing it. - Cheeso
I use WinRAR for it's recovery records and recovery volume options. I use the recovery volume option when backing up to DVDs so that I can actually lose a DVD and still be able to extract my data. - AaronLS
WinRAR used to be the daddy, but no more. - Umber Ferrule
@JimB: surely you waste more time unticking (or whatever) the files that you don't want to compress, than the time spent recompressing them? - DisgruntledGoat
(1) I like WinRAR's better GUI/Shell extensions enough to pay for it. Con: although the shell extensions support 64-bit Windows, WinRAR itself doesn't run at native 64-bits. - Lucas
(1) +1 for shell integration - Ian Boyd
@disgrunteledgoat: No need to do that every time, just change settings exclude, say, rar and mp3 files once and for all. - mafutrct
I want WinRAR UI that can compress to 7z's. 7zip is un-fricken-usable! - romkyns
[+54] [2009-07-15 12:51:08] BenA

Thunderbird [1]


Agreed - though given how powerful Googlemail is becoming, I suspect it's only a matter of time before I give up on Thunderbird altogether. - Steve Melnikoff
(2) I guess to me I still think of web browsing and email as distinct activities, and so I still like having my mail in its own app. I do use a Chrome application window for GMail when I'm at work though - BenA
(4) Ever since I switched to GMail and then GMail got offline access with Gears, I haven't needed an email client on my machine. - Thomas Owens
One Thunderbird feature I haven't seen in other email clients/services, implemented nearly as well anyway, is the search/filter which works really quickly. (Outlook especially sucks badly in comparison.) - Jonik
(1) I actually like Windows Live Mail. Boo me. - Richard Gadsden
I used to use Thunderbird but Outlook just feels more organized and replaces a bunch of other programs. - David
Postbox is a little bit nicer (especially if you use IMAP and use folders as GTD action bins). - gWiz
[+51] [2009-07-16 09:52:45] Ant

GIMP [1]. An excellent image editor - not exactly easy to use, but free and flexible once you get to know it. Also comes with a silly name.


Gimp is my screenshot markup tool of choice. - Justin Dearing
(9) I like a lot better, found it so much more intuitive - Nathan Koop
(2) Paint.NET runs in circles around GIMP, unless you have a need for the arcane scrip system in GIMP. - Svend
I shall try it. I used it a long while ago, and it wasn't very good, but it was version 0.0000001 (approx) at the time. - Ant
[+51] [2009-07-15 19:38:53] Michael La Voie

TeraCopy [1]

It replaces the crummy windows file copy program with one that supports pause, continue, specifying overwrite preferences at the start of the copy.

It is also much faster and is able to try multiple times if a copy fails.

It has saved me when copying a few hundred GBs overnight. Usually, I'd wake up to find the process paused for one reason or another. Not anymore.


(2) Proper useful tool! - Kip
wow never heard of this one. thanks. - mtone
[+49] [2009-07-17 00:32:20] voyager

Winmerge [1]. Needed in every windows box I pass through.


(1) I didnt know this existed. Thanks! Beyond Compare no more! - djangofan
Windows Vista and above comes with WinDiff - BlueRaja
@BlueRaja: I didn't know about it, but having seeing it, I still prefer WinMerge. It's still good to know. - voyager
+1 Yes, very helpful for anyone working with text files (programming, websites, config files, etc.) - Simon
[+47] [2009-07-24 21:07:03] JohnFx

Beyond Compare [1] (Scooter Software)


"One per answer please" - Jonik
Okay, I'll split it out. - JohnFx
(1) Great for diffing what's changed in the lastest wow addons, and source control, and projects. - Ian Boyd
Beyond Compare is essential for any computer I use for work tasks. +1 - DThrasher
WinDiff comes with Windows Vista and above - BlueRaja
(2) @BlueRaja: You haven't used Beyond Compare, have you? ;) - rob
[+46] [2009-10-30 18:36:26] Andy

Tortoise SVN [1]


+1, though I think next time I have to repave my system I'm gonna take the time to also use it as an excuse to try TortoiseHG - Joel Coehoorn
Surely Git is a better alternative ...unless you're forced to use an existing SVN server. - Simon
[+44] [2009-07-15 13:45:18] jamuraa

WinSCP [1] is an essential tool for me. Can't update my servers without it.


[+43] [2009-07-24 19:13:03] Matias Nino

Media Player Classic [1]

Home Cinema for Media Centers.


(7) +1 Much better than VLC - Ian Boyd
(1) but more difficult to configure. - djangofan
The configuration was like pulling teeth, but SOOOO worth it once it could play everything like butter. - Matias Nino
(1) Not sure I understand, I've never had to configure this. It plays many video files that VLC just won't, even after downloading the codecs. - BlueRaja
(1) YES, I agree, one better than VLC. - bobobobo
[+42] [2009-07-16 00:30:48] JcMaco

Python [1] -- great for processing data or other small tasks


[+40] [2009-07-22 21:32:49] voyager

Lyx [1]: This WYSIWYM [2] word processor with under lying LaTeX is just so nice for university papers...

alt text


(5) +1. This really should be higher. - RJFalconer
(1) I'm surprised I never see anyone else at school using this. - 280Z28
(2) If it's not painful to use, it's not really the real LaTeX experience. That said, I do fine with just Vim. - Svend
[+38] [2009-11-06 19:51:15] rlb.usa

Unlocker [1] fixes this:

alt text


(1) LockHunter supports 64 bits. - ripper234
(2) FYI, Unlocker supports 64bit as of version 1.9.0, according to the change log. - technomalogical
This is one of the most useful windows program I've used. - nXqd
[+36] [2009-07-15 19:32:41] lfx

winamp [1] or aimp :)


(3) "One per answer please" - Helen
(8) nice try to get votes for winamp when putting it up with foobar2000 - community_owned
Here's the highest voted separate foobar2000 answer:… Please upvote that instead if you like the app. - Jonik
Winamp no workie in Windows 7 :( - David
[+35] [2009-07-24 15:14:56] GavinR

foobar2000 [1] - free audio player. Very customizable, very lightweight, and has extension support.


[+33] [2009-07-15 17:44:10] Lucas Heneks

ReSharper [1]...after Visual Studio of course :)


(5) I don't think I could ever program without ReSharper again. - SealedSun
[+33] [2009-07-20 11:49:52] Ivo Flipse

Virtual CloneDrive [1] so I can run all the images I have of my applications like Office and Adobe Creative Suite


(3) Which one, Virtual CloneDrive or Daemontools? - arathorn
Virtual CloneDrive works for most things you want, but is less versatile. Daemon Tools has more features, but often tries to install crapware. - Ivo Flipse
+1 for Vitual CloneDrive works on 64bit as well. - Dog Ears
Should be one per answer - Helen
(4) +1 for Virtual CloneDrive not having crapware. - Ian Boyd
[+33] [2009-07-15 15:30:38] tim

VMware [1] for all your virtualization needs.


[+31] [2009-07-16 10:24:24] Dror Helper

Everything [1] - so you can find anything on your computer


Awesome - even Windows search in Windows 7 sucks in comparison. - Umber Ferrule
(2) Can be used for launching stuff too - barlop
@barlop: I do the same, I don't need launchy :) - nXqd
[+31] [2009-07-16 06:44:29] Jonathan Parker

Ultramon [1] for multiple monitors.


Ultramon rocks! - John Pirie
[+29] [2009-07-16 02:35:48] nik

Exact Audio Copy [1] -- if you backup your audio and listen off your machine


(1) EAC is the ultimate CD ripper. - community_owned
[+29] [2009-07-15 15:02:22] community_owned

PDFCreator [1] is a printer driver than produces PDFs (from any program).


There are few other alternatives. - Jakub Narębski
I've used DeskPDF and doPDF in the past. - Jason R. Coombs
PDFCreator is unfortunately full of crap now - UpTheCreek
[+29] [2009-07-15 13:30:29] Jon Tackabury

DisplayFusion [1]**, because I just can't live without my multi-monitor taskbar.

(**I'm probably biased, because I'm the developer)


(3) I actually don't like the multi-monitor taskbar, but I like some of the other features of DF, so I still vote for it. :) - Herms
+1 for admitting to prejudice :-] - SealedSun
(1) +1, one of the few software purchases I can justify. - tj111
Ultramon++ Better Win7 support. - Ikke
(3) Give DisplayFusion 3.1 a try, much improved Win7 support. It's being released in just a couple of days. :) - Jon Tackabury
[+25] [2009-07-15 13:15:11] Michael Keeling

Windows Live Mesh [1]

Microsoft's answer to Drop Box.

Use it to share My Documents across all computers and sync it to the cloud as a backup.

Also useful synching between a Windows Home Server to another WHS across the country (and vice versa), again as a backup.

It also has a Remote Desktop feature built in, that works on Windows Home Premium SKUs.

Biggest annoyance: Can't easily check which computers are fully synced to a folder.


(2) Not just neat, it rises to the level of near awesomeness. If they raise the storage limit beyond 5GB it will be awesome. - user1232
(2) If they only made the desktop client thing better... =/ Felt like I had no control and that it uploaded files totally random. Had never really a clue if it was in sync or not or when it was planning to be. - Svish
They need to integrate windows live skydrive with live mesh. Thus, you'd get like 25GB. - Orihara
(2) +1 for the picture of a Mac on a MS site. - Brian Ortiz
@Brian: Not sure what OS the one on the left is... - Hello71
Don't forget Microsoft SkyDrive... - Moab
I believe Live Mesh has now been discontinued with its functionality (in part?) taken over by SkyDrive and/or Azure services. - peSHIr
@peSHlr, Live mesh is still alive and has been partially merged with SkyDrive, but the storage between the two are still technically seperate. - Michael Keeling
[+24] [2009-07-16 06:43:04] Jonathan Parker

ClipX [1] gives you a clipboard history for copying and pasting multiple items.


(2) How can you live withou this? - umegastar
I don't know. But some people just don't want to use it when I tell them about it. - Jonathan Parker
(1) I used ClipX for quite a while until I ran across Ditto, which does all that ClipX does and more. And the clipboard sharing across networks is indispensible for me. - Bob Mc
[+24] [2009-07-15 20:01:29] Svish

Spotify [1] so I can listen to music while I install the rest of my must have apps :p


(1) I believe that's UK only at present? - Joe Schmoe
@Joe: I live in Sweden and I've had Spotify for a few months. - sippa
And I'm in Norway, and have had it for months as well. UK is definitely no the only country Spotify works in =) - Svish
(2) @Joe - Besides the UK, Spotify is currently available in Sweden, Norway, Finland, France and Spain. More details: - Jonik
Buuut no United States. :( - musicfreak
(2) go to to get invites in those other countries. They basically get you an account based in one of the supported countries and then you're able to use that account. - Epaga
[+23] [2009-07-15 12:50:19] user746

Logmein [1] - Remotely admin PCs via web-browser.


only needed in rare cases, but its awesome. also, see the freeware alternatives: Wippien or Remobo . - djangofan
LogMeIn has a free version, all you lose is remote sound/printing/file managment - the remote control still works fine. - Dentrasi
[+23] [2009-07-15 12:39:36] Scott Weinstein

PureText [1] - pastes text with formatting removed. Helpfully mapping Win+V as "pure" paste.

There's no installer, but the program has an option to auto-start.


(3) Sometimes have the feeling I cannot even work on a PC anymore without it installed. Must have that on USB stick on my keychain at all times! - peSHIr
thanks for pointing this one out, really needed something like this - Petey B
+1 this one saved my life on several occasions - Ben
I also can't stand not having this around - I get on someone else's machine and hit Win+V and am always surprised when it doesn't work - this kind of feature should be a part of the OS as far as I am concerned. - Jason Bunting
Such a nice tool. I end up using notepad as an intermediate step when I can't use this. - Clueless
thanks for saving saving my life ;) - Black Horus
[+23] [2009-07-15 12:39:53] Abhinav

Evernote [1] -> Excellent Note taking software


I find I don't need to install it - just use their bookmarklet in my browser or their web application for pasting random crap in. - Goyuix
[+23] [2009-11-03 03:40:11] Matthew Lock

How about Ninite [1]? It's a new site that creates a custom installer for you from tons of great open source/shareware/trial versions and installs them all silently. Great for setting up new pcs.



(4) wow. i use like 75% of those programs, that's some great stuff there. - Epaga
This is one great concept. - Aamir
[+22] [2009-11-04 21:25:35] sparks

Microsoft Security Essentials [1] on any new Windows PC I have.

It's nice to see MS using some resources to defend their OS.


[+22] [2009-07-24 07:59:08] Rob Kam

TweakUI [1] is useful.


focus follows mouse especially! - ericslaw
(3) Last I checked, it wasn't available for Vista (though I did see some copycat versions). All I used it for was xmouse - now I use the Windows APIs directly through Python (see - Jason R. Coombs
[+22] [2009-08-11 07:07:57] Randell

DAEMON-Tools [1]


(10) -1 for crapware. Virtual CloneDrive instead now. - Ian Boyd
I use Alcohol 52% Neither of those rip CDs do they? - RCIX
I didn't mention any crapware, where should I look? :-) - Semyon Perepelitsa
I use WinCDEmu for this, and Portable Infrarecorder to make ISO files - Benoit
[+22] [2009-07-15 14:59:01] community_owned

CDBurnerXP [1] does what it says on the box.


(3) so it should be called CDBurnerXPVistaWindows7both32and64bitVersions. - Dog Ears
[+22] [2009-07-15 15:05:54] community_owned

TreeSize Free [1], because every hard drive is too small eventually.


(2) What is it? ()() - RCIX
(1) It's displays hard drive/folder space usage as a pie chart, where each wedge is a sub-folder. SequoiaView performs a similar role, but with the drive/folder components represented as tiles of different areas. - RJFalconer
(9) Much better than either of those is WinDirStat ( It's like SequoiaView, but shows the tree structure as well. - BlueRaja
[+22] [2009-07-15 19:04:12] community_owned

Steam -

(Followed shortly by Live Mesh to get my files back)

[+21] [2009-07-15 13:01:48] Sam Hasler

WinSplit Revolution [1] - organize your windows by tiling, resizing and positioning them

Warning: You may want to disable the Ctrl+Alt+C shortcut for Close all windows.


(2) I use GridMove now, but I don't think I'll need it once I move to Win7. The "half-maximize" feature is almost exactly what I need. - Ben Straub
(5) Quoted from the official website "Ctrl+Alt+c: This function instantaneously close all windows opened on the taskbar, by sending a WM_CLOSE message to the windows.". Ctrl+alt+c happen to be Visual Studio default shortcut for showing the callstack. I let you imagine what just happend to me :) - Brann
Brann, I use Ctrl+Alt+C for my clipboard manager software, and since I have that shortcut disabled in WinSplit I imagine the same thing happened to me. - Sam Hasler
(1) I used WinSplit on WinXP before upgrading to Windows 7. I've been using Windows 7's Snap feature for a while now and it's better than nothing, but I switched back to WinSplit because it's still a lot more versatile and requires a lot less mouse movement. Not to mention, Snap is lacking if you have multiple monitors--you can't snap to the right half of your left display, or the left half of your right display. - rob
[+20] [2009-09-22 03:50:18] community_owned

The "AdBlock Plus" extension for Firefox, with the "Element Hiding Helper" add-on. I don't even know what ads look like anymore.

[+19] [2009-07-16 00:39:34] JcMaco

Photoshop -- Not free, but the best photo editor out there.

(1) is a fantastic alternative to this if you have Windows. - Jenko
(4) @Jeremy: Still doesn't even touch Photoshop for real work. Although for minor photo touchups, I find Paint.NET much more convenient. - musicfreak
too heavyweight for my taste. - djangofan
Eh, I still use Gimp for most of my Photoshop. While I can work a heck of a lot faster with Photoshop, I can't justify the price tag. - Emory Bell
[+18] [2009-07-16 02:36:59] nik

UltraVNC [1] for connecting to/from your machine


(2) While certain Windows versions have licensing restrictionsm restricting incoming connections, Remote Desktop is built in, and miles above VNC. - Svend
I much prefer windows build in RDP. - djangofan
(1) @Svend, djangofan: RDP != VNC - Bobby
They both have their place. For helping out a user (or running programs the refuse to run under RDP), you still need VNC. I use RealVNC, though. - quickly_now
[+18] [2009-07-15 21:30:14] Jeff Leonard

MagicISO [1]

for those times when you need to mount an ISO disc image or burn CDs/DVDs


[+18] [2009-07-17 13:05:55] rzlines

Rocket Dock [1] - its an application launcher, similiar to the MacDock. Very useful; you can put all your desktop shortcuts into an organized place.

alt text


  • Minimize windows to the dock
  • Real-time window previews in Vista
  • Running application indicators
  • Simple drag-n-drop interface
  • Multi-monitor support
  • Supports alpha-blended PNG and ICO icons
  • Icons zoom and transition smoothly
  • Auto-hide and Popup on mouse over
  • Positioning and layering options
  • Fully customizable
  • Completely Portable
  • ObjectDock Docklet support
  • Compatible with MobyDock, ObjectDock, RK Launcher, and Y'z Dock skins
  • Runs great on slower computers
  • Unicode compliant
  • Supports many languages and can easily be translated
  • A friendly user base

Is this similar to what MS did in Windows 7? - David Basarab
nope windows doesn't have a dock as far as i know but it has changed the taskbar in windows 7 - rzlines
what is the limit to the # of items you can have in a dock? i have like 40+ desktop icons... - djangofan
I prefer ObjectDock for some reason, although it's not quite as "free". - Simon
[+18] [2009-07-21 11:42:51] Mark Struzinski

Autohotkey [1] with the AutoCorrect for English [2] script


[+17] [2009-07-15 15:07:35] skarin

Microsoft Office OneNote [1]


what is OneNote? the site isnt very clear on it. - djangofan
It is an information organization app from Microsoft that is part of Office. Wonderful application for taking notes and keeping them organized. - skarin
like many MS products, OneNote sounds cool but when you use it you realize is slow and conflicting changes are not handled well (i.e. you loose all the work you spend the last 2 hours typing) - TheSean
(2) a cool feature is the "screen clipping". use shortcut WINDOW+S and it automatically saves whatever image you select. - TheSean
[+17] [2009-08-19 22:51:40] rob

Inkscape [1] because vectors are prettier than bitmaps.

My favorite trick is importing a low-resolution bitmap into Inkscape and vectorizing it (Path menu/Trace Bitmap). It's not perfect, but it's pretty darn good.


SVG is awesome... Too bad Microsoft still doesn't support it in IE. - Jason R. Coombs
Look at IE 9 beta ;-) - Semyon Perepelitsa
[+14] [2009-07-15 15:52:30] gimel

SciTE [1] from the Scintilla site, a lightweight programming / text editor.

SciTE is a SCIntilla based Text Editor. Originally built to demonstrate Scintilla, it has grown to be a generally useful editor with facilities for building and running programs. It is best used for jobs with simple configurations - I use it for building test and demonstration programs as well as SciTE and Scintilla, themselves.

A special recommendation goes to SC1.exe for Windows:

A single file executable called Sc1 (550K) does not need any DLL or properties files as these are linked into the executable. You may still create properties files if you wish. Sc1.exe has been compressed with the UPX compressor so that it is a fast download. It does not need to be decompressed to be used.


[+14] [2009-07-15 13:09:09] Vili

Miranda [1] - multi-protocol messaging software.


I wish more people outside of eastern Europe knew about miranda. - Alan
[+13] [2009-07-15 15:51:37] zildjohn01

HxD [1] -- by far the best hex editor, and freeware.


[+13] [2009-07-15 21:35:32] Michael Paulukonis

EmacsW32 [1] - serious editor, with all the bells and whistles you could ask for, and the ability to make them if they don't yet exist. Not for the faint of heart, nor the parentheses-phobic.


[+12] [2009-07-15 21:00:41] Joe Schmoe

SnagIt [1] - the ultimate screen-capture tool


ugh so bloated... - Nick
(3) I agree ... too bloated - Vista and Win7 now have the Snipping Tool - gets the job done, and no extra software to install. - GavinR
I never saw the need for these tools. What's wrong with PrintScreen + paste into [insert image editing app of your choice]? - RJFalconer
(1) Too bloated. Alternatives: Greenshot, BugShooting, etc. - mark
Windows 7 Snipping Tool can easily replace SnagIt if your needs are not too crazy. - rifferte
Look here for many other (and better) screenshot tools: - Denilson Sá
Screenshot Captor is my favourite - lots of editing and annotating options: - Simon
[+12] [2009-07-21 02:25:09] Qwerty

Best burning software evar!


(1) Question states one per answer. - arathorn
My mistake, answer is fixed. - Qwerty
Repeated answer. First answer had been posted by padraigf on Jul 15 '09 at 12:53. Please don't repeat answer, just vote for it if you like it. - Bakhtiyor
[+12] [2009-07-22 16:19:06] x3ja

CutePDF [1] - A few others have mentioned free PDF creating programmes, but this is my one of choice...


I can't live without this application! I am prone to loose papers, finally all of my emails, online store receipts, online bills, and more are safe on my harddrive - which is backup-able! - rlb.usa
[+12] [2009-07-30 01:54:48] Tadeu Maia

CCCP [1] - Combined Community Codec Pack. Can't live without this for my video needs. This is your Only Best Choice!


This is the most reliable and documented codec pack I've found and works better than most individual codec installations because the conflicts have already been resolved. - Insomnic
[+12] [2009-09-04 01:49:30] nbolton

Synergy+ [1] (synergy-plus) is free open source software that lets you easily share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers with different operating systems, without special hardware. All you need is a LAN connection. It's intended for users with multiple computers, where each system uses its own display.


Could it be you're biased a bit? ;-) - jae
(1) Oh no, I've been rumbled! Haha. - nbolton
[+11] [2009-07-24 08:02:58] Rob Kam

Spybot-S&D [1] to detect and removes spyware, adware etc.


[+11] [2009-07-17 20:55:45] paul

Trillian [1] a must have for chatting.


[+11] [2009-07-16 09:37:57] pelms

Google Earth [1]. What computers were invented for.


(1) True story - Ian Boyd
[+11] [2009-07-15 12:43:00] Nick Josevski

Free Download Manager [1] It's very efficient and even speeds up some downloads.


Not sure a download manager is needed with Chrome - its built-in one is rather decent for normal use. - ripper234
[+11] [2009-07-15 12:44:59] Iain

Ditto [1] clipboard manager. Stores history of clipboard in sqlite DB and can keep multiple systems in sync.


[+10] [2009-07-15 16:41:52] user1596

MinGW [1], because I really do need my daily UNIX portion.


[+10] [2009-07-16 02:10:07] MatrixFrog

Google Desktop [1] -- Makes it as easy to find your own files as it is to find things on the internet. Especially useful if, like me, you have a habit of saving things in random places.


did you try windows 7 search, or even the windows vista one? - kkaploon
No, because I just have Windows XP. But I'll give it a look next time I'm on Windows 7 or Vista. - MatrixFrog
[+10] [2009-07-16 09:52:15] pelms

Fences [1] to keep my desktop icons nice and tidy.
(Free for personal use)

I've changed my mind about Fences since it started bundling other software (thanks @RCC).
I'm going to vote answer down now ...oh, won't let me.


(1) Ah, finally something to replace "Desktop Icon Layout Rememberer". +1 - RJFalconer
(2) Don't do it. I just had to uninstall my copy of Fences. As of Sep 2009, Fences started bundling a content distributed app called Impulse ( I find it unconscionable that any legitimate software company would install such a piece of software without your knowledge or permission. - Robert Cartaino
I use DesktopOK for this purpose. - wfaulk
Indeed! I have removed my +1 because I hate the bundling also :( - AntonioCS
[+10] [2009-07-22 17:04:59] Traples

Virtual PC 2007 [1] - free and capable PC virtualization software


I've found VMWare Player to run faster. - quickly_now
[+10] [2009-08-19 22:55:17] rob

Avast! antivirus [1] is free, doesn't include crapware, and can be configured not to pop up those annoying update notifications when you're running an app or game in full-screen mode.


[+10] [2009-11-06 20:05:48] rlb.usa

Eclipse [1]

  • Extremely popular IDE with plugins for a bunch of different languages

  • alt text


[+9] [2009-08-17 12:49:47] SkippyFire

When your photo collection starts to get out of control, WinDirStat [1] is invaluable. It gives you a visualization of the memory usage of your hard drive so you can easily pinpoint large files and directories, and deal with them appropriately.


(1) LOVE this app. It's old but still runs like a dream on Windows 7 x64. - Chris
[+9] [2009-08-18 18:58:57] DemoGeek

Console2 - a great tabbed command prompt tool with some extended customization support.

A nice UI... when it works. I've had troubles with 64-bit, telnet apps, and the support is slow at best. - Jason R. Coombs
[+9] [2009-09-02 19:22:38] user8889

MediaMonkey [1] is the perfect music player. Its best feature in my opinion is that it doesn't hide the filesystem. For example, if you delete a file from your music library, you are asked to remove it from disk also. Furthermore, you have the option to browse you library by filesystem folder. Really, you have to give it a try.


[+9] [2009-07-17 13:09:01] Steve Melnikoff

Microsoft SyncToy [1]. Powerful, yet very simple, backup and mirroring utility.


[+9] [2009-07-15 19:18:26] AZ

ANY compiler you know how to write programs on.

[+9] [2009-07-15 21:43:16] gnavi

UltraEdit [1] — a great text editor.


Read the dude's story. He basically credits Jesus for the application. I'm not saying you shouldn't get it because of this, it's just really interesting and weird to read! - Chris
@Chris - wow yeah, 27 references to god on one page! ( - at least it's not Xenu - UpTheCreek
I've been an UltraEdit customer for easily over ten years, and though i have a few nit-picky complaints and periodically try other editors (NP++, NP2, etc.), i keep coming back to UE. Great editor and great company. - bill weaver
[+8] [2009-07-16 09:47:34] pelms

dBpoweramp Music Converter [1] is a very useful tool for easy audio file converting and CD ripping.
(Not free)


Some parts, like the MP3 encoder, are not free. Otherwise, the software can be used freely to encode music into other formats (FLAC, OGG, etc.) - Isxek
[+8] [2009-07-15 13:50:00] Loïc Wolff

Digsby [1] - free multiprotocol (MSN, GTalk, to name a few) multi-social network (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)


Not IRC though, even though they have an IRC support channel. :-^ - Evan
(2) Read this before you consider installing Digsby:… - tjrobinson
[+8] [2009-07-28 19:03:24] JohnFx

I know I'll get slammed for this, but...
MS Access

It is just so darn handy as a quick/dirty front end for different databases. I can run quick queries/analyze data in everything from SQL Server to FoxPro, to DB2, to Oracle from an easy to use UI.

Note: In this context I am not talking about an environment to develop front-end applications so much as a utility to quickly get in, query and modify data.

(1) As much as I hate MS Access, I must agree. Although SQLite is also pretty handy for writing quick & dirty databases. - Nippysaurus
I'm with you. I code / sql server apps for a living. But every now and then I want to cut and paste TONS of stuff and it's just not worth going into SSIS to do it. Access will let you get away with murder when it comes to cut&paste. Just create a linked table and go. - Chris
[+8] [2009-07-23 15:27:46] Matt

UnxUtils (and no, I did not spell that incorrectly).

Some of the most common *nix command line tools, running natively on Windows. Super-lightweight (unlike cygwin) and available directly from your dos prompt if you add the executables to your PATH environment variable. grep, less, gzip, tar, cat, diff, sort, tail, sed, wget, etc.

It old and hasn't been updated in a while, but I use the tools almost daily., for details. Download links dont work on that page, so go here for download:

(1) I much prefer this to cygwin. It treats paths normally, doesn't require any radical rethinking. xcopy install. No extra DLLS required. All the utils are very small. - Cheeso
Some of these utils crash on Windows Vista and later (i.e. 'make'). I still prefer native utilities to cygwin. - Jason R. Coombs
[+8] [2009-10-30 20:12:24] Remus Rigo

XAMPP [1], a good, open source Apache Server +MySQL+PHP+Perl

From Wikipedia [2]


I always use XAMPP, especially useful that it is Windows + Mac. - danixd
I used to use XAMPP until I came across WAMP. SO MUCH BETTER! - Dan
[+7] [2009-11-06 19:54:18] rlb.usa

Hijack This [1]

  • Tells you what is currently running, what's in your registry, etc, etc and can fix it. Primary use for detecting viruses or optimizing your computer, similar to CCleaner.

[+7] [2010-01-12 10:17:19] Descendant


A very Good Calculating program.

Unlike all other calculator this store all values that is until you decide to delete.


[+7] [2009-07-24 02:25:39] community_owned

PSPad [1] the best notepad replacement that I know.

My favorite features: hex edit, text comparator and the integration with mouse right click.


[+7] [2009-07-15 13:02:04] Sam Hasler

allSnap [1] - windows automatically snap to window edges and (optionally) the edges of other windows


(2) can only upvote once! this is BY FAR the most valuable addon to windows I've ever used... - ericslaw
(2) Use this even with Windows 7. Marvellous. - Umber Ferrule
It has warnings all over the front page about crashes in 64-bit windows and cases it doesn't cover. They even admit to using programming practices MS recommends against. VERY GOOD of them for being so forward about this! Most people are not so honest! But, I will not be trying this :) - Chris
[+7] [2009-07-19 17:09:44] arathorn

iTunes [1] -- there are just no alternatives right now for its full feature set.


(13) Proof that "Must Have" does not necessarily mean "Best" - Matias Nino
(1) In my opinion, the Zune software (while not as popular) is miles ahead as far as functionality and usability. - T Pops
(12) Imo, a folder full of mp3s is miles ahead as far as functionality and usability. - RJFalconer
(1) I wouldn't know. The unnecessary installation of a system service results in immediate termination of my evaluation of the product. - 280Z28
I only use it because of my iPhone. I'd rather use foobar2000 or something else. - sippa
(24) -1 Worst app ever written...only reason people have to install this is to use the iPhone or Ipod. Only install on spare PC or VPC, never on my main. - ozczecho
Just check. Are there any prominent Apple logos on your machine? In that case your are running is a Mac. iTunes on this is somewhat acceptable. However it has an ugly stepsister called iTunes for Windows. Apple can't write Windows software. Safari is another example of this. - Macha
(1) The Zune software is much nicer IMO - rifferte
(3) I use it (and like it!)... [looks up at sky to watch nuke falling] - RCIX
[+7] [2009-07-17 03:30:49] Marc-Andre R.

InfraRecorder [1] to burn CD/DVD. Very light, easy to use, not resource eager and available in X86 or X64 flavor! A must have and a amazing replacement for Nero that is too big for nothing now.


[+6] [2009-07-22 19:37:47] Ken Keenan

jEdit [1] is a great free text editor with a nice plugin system


[+6] [2009-07-15 13:33:12] whatknott

StrokeIt [1] (seriously, that's its name)

An awesome mouse gesture program. Takes a while to embrace mouse gestures but they become so natural once you're used to them.


(1) gMote is another option. It isn't quite as flexible, but it allows you to draw your own gestures, which makes up for any of its drawbacks IMO. - musicfreak
(1) Sucks to have to click 5 pages just to find this answer and it's only got 6 votes. I keep trying to tell people this changes the way you use your computer :) - CreeDorofl
[+6] [2009-07-15 16:08:10] Sridhar Ratnakumar

Komodo Edit [1], a free and open source text editor geared towards dynamic programming languages ( Perl [2], Python [3], Tcl [4], PHP [5], etc..)


It is good but it just takes soooo long to start up. - Umber Ferrule
[+6] [2009-08-23 15:25:04] Peteris Krumins

tcpview [1] is handy to catch spyware.


do you really brush those bits? - Jader Dias
[+5] [2009-08-22 23:07:05] community_owned

Sandboxie [1], run your (web related) applications in an isolated environment.


Sandboxie is so underused. - Jamie Schembri
[+5] [2009-08-20 02:33:34] LRE

Windows Grep [1]

Visual grep tool.


[+5] [2010-01-04 08:34:58] Bobby

MyDefrag [1] is a great defragmenter-tool, which can also run as a screensaver.


[+5] [2010-01-04 08:44:43] Bobby

SumatraPDF [1] is a lightweight and fast PDF-Viewer, based on MuPDF [2] (MuPDF also has a Browser-Plugin).


[+5] [2009-11-04 21:07:05] nrhine1

Revo Uninstaller [1]. Allows different levels of uninstall, from the program's default uninstaller to a deep registry scan and deletion. Even has a "hunter" mode, where you can drag and drop a crosshair onto any application and uninstall it.


[+5] [2009-11-04 21:31:55] sparks

LogMeIn [1] and Hamachi

For remote access to my PC when I don't necessarily have the ability to connect to home via SSH.


Think this was already mentioned above...? (I think.) - Simon
[+5] [2009-11-21 10:03:31] Andy

Defraggler [1]

Good disk defrag utility from the makers of CCleaner.


[+5] [2009-09-22 22:30:22] Jawa

Taskbar Shuffle [1]; "a simple, small, free utility that lets you drag and drop your Windows taskbar buttons and tray icons to rearrange them."


Excellent little app that I only discovered lately :( - Shaihi
(1) I've used this since forever, I always thought it was my little secret. - Carson Myers
Not needed anymore in Windows 7. (but the built-in Windows 7 taskbar shuffling sucks...) - Denilson Sá
[+5] [2009-07-15 13:00:40] Sam Hasler

Taskix [1] - Reorder buttons in your Windows taskbar (only on XP/Vista, I believe Win7 has this)


[+5] [2009-07-16 02:33:50] nik

Cygwin [1] with MinTTY [2].


[+4] [2009-07-16 09:05:03] Serge

Far manager [1] good old and very usefull. I wish the unicode version would be already finished.


ahh, the memories! and surprisingly good too, yet not match for the big daddy (Total Commander) - community_owned
Though not finished yet, Far 2.0 alpha can already be used (at your own risk :) ). Most non-unicode plugins work ok in unicode FAR. Some of them are already updated. - Paul
[+4] [2009-07-22 16:34:07] Guy C

FileHippo [1] - Checks the versions of most software installed on your computer and reports any that have new versions released.


[+4] [2009-07-17 20:02:04] Craig

World of Warcraft.

+1 Cause it's true... - Ian Boyd
[+4] [2009-07-21 20:44:38] Orihara

Password Safe [1] Can't even manage to log into my WLAN without it.


-1 Easy way to lose access to everything the instant it breaks. (As your answer suggests - locked out of your own LAN) - Ian Boyd
[+4] [2009-07-15 13:01:09] Sam Hasler

KatMouse [1] - scroll the window directly beneath the mouse cursor


(1) This is the tool for anyone that is used to the way Linux or Mac handles mouse scrolling. Heck, this makes mouse scrolling actually fast and useful in WindowS! - Denilson Sá
[+4] [2009-07-15 12:48:51] Seanchán Torpéist

xplorer2 Windows File Manager from [1]

A dual pane Windows Explorer replacement with keyboard shortcuts for creating new folders (F8), new files (F7) and copying from one directory to another (F5) and loads of other crap too.

This is a fantastic tool to easily manage thousands of files and many, many directories.

  • It boosts your file operations productivity;
  • it is much better than TotalCommander
  • it is very, very powerful.
  • still uses some of the old Norton Commander hot keys

For the novice, using the light version as is is recommended. For the power user, get the full version (you get the full version upon download for a trial period) and read what it can do. It will solve some existing questions for sure.

Browse the manual once then read the parts you need otherwise you'll never finish it as it can do quite a lot.


[+4] [2009-10-09 11:54:50] awe

TextPad [1]

I specially like the block (column) selection mode.

Other things it support are:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • File comparison utility
  • Macro recorder
  • Spelling checker
  • Viewer for binary files using a hexadecimal display format

..and many more. See list of features here [2].


Everything except robust Unicode support. - JohnFx
(1) If you hold ALT while selecting text in Visual Studio, you can draw a box like in TextPad. - Chris
@Chris: Great, I didn't know that! Thanks for the tip! - awe
I have now discovered NotePad++. It has brilliant syntax highlighting that is superior to the one in TextPad (a long with a lot of other brilliant functionality...). It also has block select mode using ALT key like in Visual Studio... - awe
[+4] [2009-11-04 21:28:34] sparks

KeePass [1]

For all your password keeping needs.


Duplicate. KeePass is a must have. - NitroxDM
Yep, already mentioned above. - Simon
[+4] [2010-01-19 12:55:09] Don

Media Player Classic: Home Cinema [1]. Don't let the simple and old school looking interface fool you, this is a very competent media player that's much faster than VLC and got GPU acceleration support. If you got a slow CPU and can't play HD videos in VLC you should definitely give MPC a chance.

The latest build (considered unstable but has never given me any problems) can be found here [2]. Don't be scared, it's in English and the site is trustworthy. These versions got some Windows 7 specific features that the stable version does not.

If you also download and install RARFileSource [3] which enables you to play movies directly from RAR files without unpacking. Very, very handy. This only works with the 32 bit version of MPC:HC but since the 64 bit version isn't better in any way there is no loss in running the 32 bit version on a 64 bit OS.

Many MPC:HC users also install ffdshow and use that to decode the videos. This is not needed since MPC:HC already got filters built in that will be used if no external filters are present. Using ffdshow will also disable MPC:HC ability to use your GPU for accelerating HD video playback.

To get the best picture quality you should also go to "Options" -> "Playback" -> "Output" and select VMR9 (renderless) if you are using XP and "EVR Custom Pres." if you are using Vista/7.


Duplicate entry - pramodc84
[+4] [2009-09-06 21:32:33] community_owned

CCleaner ( Keeps the garbage off the computer, and safely cleans the Registry. I've been using it for years!

Dupe answer:… - random
[+4] [2009-09-19 14:50:34] ebattulga

EXECUTOR [1] Better than Launchy

This is a multi purpose launcher and a more advanced and customizable version of windows run. The program originated as I was sick of spending too much time searching for programs through my ever growing windows start-menu, and also I missed a tool that could ease and optimize my daily work flow.


(1) +1: It's launchy but with a TON more options. - Diablomarcus
(1) More options, but it's A LOT slower than Launchy. I used to use it until I gave Launchy a go. Converted for good! - Dan
[+4] [2009-09-08 12:28:52] waszkiewicz

iZarc [1], for me one of the best compression tool, complete, simple and FREE!


[+4] [2009-08-03 05:25:12] kamleshrao

HJ-Split version 2.4 (updated 10-Jul-2009) Freeware file-splitter and joiner for Windows XP, Vista, 2000, NT, 95, 98, ME.

Website Link -

[+3] [2009-07-29 18:31:26] JohnFx

Roboform (Browser password manager)
I haven't re-used a password for a web-site or used one with less than 18 characters since installing it.

[+3] [2009-09-08 12:36:42] waszkiewicz

PrintScreen [1] from Gadwin, very good tool for Screenshots, FREE!


In Windows Vista you have the Snipping Tool that works well. - awe
[+3] [2009-09-13 13:55:03] Cristina

I prefer using The KM Player [1], instead of VLC. It's better looking and you will probably never need another codec pack, just the ones that come with the application.


[+3] [2009-08-20 00:13:06] Stevoni

I install at minimum the Real VNC [1] viewer on all the computers I use and the server on my dev systems for those times you accidentally leave your work at home.


[+3] [2009-08-27 15:09:52] HuBeZa

JDownloader [1] - a great solution for downloading files from file hosting sites like Megaupload, RapidShare and many more.

Why JDownloader:

  1. Check link availability.
  2. You don't need to wait before clicking download or wait between downloads, it waits for you.
  3. Anti-CAPTCHA
  4. Batch downloads

[+3] [2010-01-19 16:44:40] dag729

PortableApps [1] is, IMHO, a "must have"!


[+3] [2010-01-22 11:53:47] ripper234

EVEREST [1], for displaying useful information about your computer's hardware.


[+3] [2009-11-19 14:07:48] Jason R. Coombs

HashTab [1] - the HashTab shell extension provides a tab in the Windows File Properties dialog with MD5, SHA, and CRC-32 hashes for easy comparison against known hashes.


[+3] [2009-12-29 15:53:25] afftee

Fences [1] - its a program that helps you organize your desktop and can hide your icons when they are not in use.


[+3] [2010-01-13 13:24:43] Descendant

PowerIso [1] - Image creating, editing, converting, mounting and burning tool.


[+3] [2009-10-19 08:34:08] Mehper C. Palavuzlar

Babylon Pro [1] - One Click Translation from any language to any language.

Once you get used to it, you can never give up!


Is this one free? - Nathan Fellman
No, it's not. There is no free alternative either. - Mehper C. Palavuzlar
[+3] [2009-07-15 13:02:31] Sam Hasler

Volumouse [1] - Control the sound volume with a wheel mouse


[+3] [2009-07-15 13:26:56] Dave Beer

Adobe Reader Lite [1] - Adobe Reader with all the unnecessary rubbish stripped out


doesn't seem to exist at this link anymore... - gWiz
[+3] [2009-07-15 13:48:44] Jason S

FastStone [1] image viewer. Does for browsing multiple images what IrfanView does for single images.


[+3] [2009-07-17 13:13:18] DisgruntledGoat

Amarok [1]
Fantastic audio player. Originally for Linux but it's now available on Windows through the KDE Windows project.


(1) +1 because I like it too - David Zaslavsky
Haven't tried the windows one for a month or so. Is it stable? I actually use Amarok 1.4 via andLinux on Windows... - Evan
[+3] [2009-07-17 13:28:25] Oliver Giesen

TimeSnapper [1] - just brilliant for sieve-brains like me... now, what was I just doing?


[+3] [2009-07-17 19:53:44] David Zaslavsky

PrimoPDF [1] is my favorite PDF-output printer driver.


[+3] [2009-07-16 10:01:54] pelms

ReNamer [1] is a simple to use batch file renamer.
Does what it says on the can.


[+3] [2009-07-16 21:39:01] Lasse V. Karlsen

True Launch Bar [1] or its free cousin Free Launch Bar [2].


(3) what happened to that taskbar? no room for windows! - RCIX
wow, what a taskbar! - Peter Štibraný
(1) looks messy. why do you need that? - afftee
I don't need all the mess on the actual taskbar, only the popup menus. - Lasse V. Karlsen
(2) I thought there was no such thing as a Free Launch! - moioci
[+3] [2009-07-16 02:41:25] nik

NetMeter [1] to track your internet speed and data transfer volumes.
You can tweak it to a very slim 'ticker' tape form to see your recent transfer chart.


I used to use this but it counts transfers between networked computers (and worse: streaming music from the NAS) as internet traffic which makes it useless. - Ross
Well, useless for me of course. - Ross
@Ross, Imagine an unexpected data transfer occurred a few tens of minutes ago from your machine. This would be visible on the ticker. If you were streaming music in, another burst would still show up, a network disruption will also show up. - nik
[+3] [2009-07-16 09:45:03] smok1

Edit Plus [1] - I simply like this notepad replacement.


(1) I know there are better, free alternatives, but I just got used to it :) - ripper234
(1) Notepad++ Find and Replace Window sucks, so i chose EditPlus. Easy, Intuitive and Regex ! - Jhonny D. Cano -Leftware-
[+3] [2009-07-15 22:09:35] voyager

VirtualBox: because everybody needs a VM, right?

(2) Question states one per answer. - arathorn
Already posted:… - random
[+3] [2009-07-15 21:03:36] Joe Schmoe

Second Copy [1] - automated backup software. Been using it for years and still have never come across anything another backup solution that is as flexible, reliable, easy-to-use and non-intrusive.


+1 Yes, I use this to backup every important file on my laptop. - Simon
[+3] [2009-07-15 21:15:23] user1937

Xobni [1], the Outlook plugin to search people, email, and attachments Instantly. I tried to do without it for a few days after my machine got re-imaged and I almost ground to a halt.


[+2] [2009-07-16 02:37:20] ldigas

Forte Agent [1] - usenet client, the best of its kind.


Question states one per answer. - Helen
[+2] [2009-07-16 00:43:53] JcMaco

Deepburner Free [1] -- For burning CDs and DVDs


[+2] [2009-07-16 02:01:00] erichui

FinePrint [1] for n-up printing. Saves paper and minimizes the bulk/weight of the hardcopy that I keep.


[+2] [2009-07-16 22:29:36] Edward Tanguay

EditPad Lite [1] free text editor (for text file editing, I use eclipse/jedit/vim for programming): handles unicode splendidly, URLs are links, install is one-click, seems to get upgraded about once a year


[+2] [2009-07-21 04:16:44] talonx

Programmer's Notepad [1]. Customizable key bindings :D


[+2] [2009-07-22 17:11:31] Traples

Screen Calipers [1] - when you just have to know the dimensions of something in pixels on your screen - Microsoft has a download of a free older version [2]


[+2] [2009-07-22 18:10:00] jayrdub

Macrium Reflect Free

Awesome disk ghosting/imaging software for windows

[+2] [2009-07-15 13:43:43] Evan

Startup Control Panel [1]

Closely followed by GVim, Firefox and Cygwin.


+1 Yes, definitely. Wish Windows would have this built-in. - Simon
[+2] [2009-07-15 16:11:47] AB Kolan

Sysinternals [1] Utils like Process Explorer [2], Auto Runs [3], Process Monitor [4], ZoomIt [5] etc..


[+2] [2009-07-15 16:02:38] Adam Caudill

Jing [1] - This is a recent additional to my must-have list, it's a simple but very useful screen capture (both still and video) from the makers of Snag-It (and unlike Snag-It, it's free).

It includes the ability to upload to a FTP server and set custom clipboard contents (i.e. the URL to the image on my web site).


Yes, it's reasonably helpful. Love the ability to upload with a click. I find ScreenshotCaptor has more annotation features though... - Simon
[+2] [2009-07-15 12:47:19] Iain

Tag & Rename [1] - mp3 tag editor (not free, but worth the $29.95 IMHO).


Try Mp3tag instead. Free and the best. - Mehper C. Palavuzlar
[+2] [2009-09-22 20:54:17] Good Time Tribe

I didn't see Xming [1] listed anywhere. Maybe because it's dependant upon PuTTY first, but I really can't live without the pair.


[+2] [2009-11-06 19:59:53] rlb.usa

Samurize [1]

  • Embeds content into your desktop wallpaper like: Clock, System statistics (CPU, RAM, temp,...), Weather, Music, Notes, Current Processes.

  • alt text


(2) "Embeds contet into your desktop wallpaper"... Makes me remember Win95 with Internet Explorer 4... - Denilson Sá
[+2] [2010-01-19 16:13:37] fluxtendu

Switcher [1] - expose for windows (require aero)


[+2] [2010-02-13 19:53:30] Kevin

SharpDevelop [1] open source Visual Studio clone


Why? Visual Studio is free for commercial use. If you want to go alternative, I'd think monodevelop would be a better bet. - Joel Coehoorn
many reasons, a feature I use often is converting code between C#, VB.NET, and IronPython. Can't go wrong with a 15MB installer that replaces VS - Kevin
[+2] [2010-01-27 10:21:15] community_owned

WinPatrol (and his pooch Scotty). All around nifty utility that has been around for ages. One of the best features is the fact that it monitors if any rogue program wants to add something to your StartUp but is rude enough not to ask permission first. Also contains a TaskManager (and on, and on, and on). Send BillP a donation if you think the FREEware version is THAT good! ;)

I used to find this invaluable, but I already know how to clean things up manually and a few years back I stopped trusting my or anyone's ability to reliably clean up malware. Instead, I now believe that if you catch real malware the only responsible thing to do is copy your data off and format the drive. Too much chance of missing a keylogger rootkit. At that point, WinPatrol and a few other tools got left behind. - Joel Coehoorn
[+2] [2009-08-19 22:45:46] rob

PDFill PDF Tools Free [1]

Better than all the other free PDF writers because you can configure default settings for saving your PDFs, and you can also do limited editing--such as splitting, merging, and reordering PDF files.


+1 Yes this is my favourite PDF creator/editor too. - Simon
[+2] [2009-08-20 02:28:24] LRE

XML Notepad 2007 [1]

been a lifesaver on several occasions


[+2] [2009-08-22 23:14:54] community_owned

PDF-Xchange Viewer [1], a free, fast and feature-packed PDF reader.


[+2] [2009-08-11 05:24:39] Nick Hodges

Clipmate [1] -- Ultimate tool for managing your clipboard


[+2] [2009-08-18 19:13:33] CGA

FARR [1]. Excellent launcher!


[+1] [2009-08-19 19:48:50] Nathan Koop

NMap [1] - Tool to help determine Network vulnerabilities, but I've got it on my USB drive and use it to help determine why [Random friend/relative]'s computer can't connect to the internet.


[+1] [2009-08-19 23:01:05] andynormancx

Agent Ransack [1] provides a quick a handy search tool that often works better than Windows own. Especially useful when you sit down at someone else's machine who hasn't tweaked Windows to search system folders, binaries and the other file types doesn't show you my default.


[+1] [2009-08-19 23:02:12] rob

Mozy Online Backup [1] automatically and securely backs up your files online when you're not using your computer.

Disclaimer: link includes my referral code.


[+1] [2009-07-30 12:18:07] Lars Haugseth

Directory Opus [1], the best file management tool available.


(1) Makes a dozen of the others mentioned here obsolete. It does archiving, FTP, image viewing and many other things, all in a nice, customizable and powerful package. - DevSolar
[+1] [2009-07-29 23:36:19] Nippysaurus

Safari [1] - It's an often misunderstood browser and is by far my favorite.


[+1] [2009-07-28 19:03:08] JohnFx

Cmd2Clip [1] - Does it count as third party if I wrote it myself?


@JohnFx as long as you're not Microsoft or hmemcpy, that's 3rd party. - Jason R. Coombs
I can't tell you how often I've wished I had something like this, but never bothered to write it myself. - Carson Myers
(1) They finally added this obvious functionality into Windows 7. If you SHIFT-Right Click a file or folder there is now an option "Copy as Path" which essentially does the same thing. - JohnFx
[+1] [2009-07-23 13:07:49] iJeeves

Fast Stone Image Viewer [1] should definitely be among the "must-haves". It is an awesome image viewer, better than Irfan View and ACDSee and of course default windows one.


Repeated answer. - Bakhtiyor
[+1] [2009-07-23 14:15:10] Gnoupi

SuperCopier [1], to have control over my file copies, queues, pauses, slightly faster, etc.

Note that current version doesn't work under Vista, but it should be done in next months.


I think Teracopy is what you're looking for. Windows 7 support and free for home use: - Simon
[+1] [2009-09-22 18:08:52] user12029

Check out Clear Office [1].


[+1] [2009-09-07 11:55:37] Dimitri C.

John's background switcher [1] is a very good application for switching your desktop background.


[+1] [2009-09-07 19:58:12] community_owned

Device Remover - an awesome powerful replacement for the Windows device manager

- In-Depth view of all installed Devices, Device Classes, Drivers and Services on a Windows System (Hidden, Detached, Current installed, Problematic Devices,etc,...)
- Easy On-The-Fly bulk removal of Devices from your System
- Modification/Manipulation of Devices, Drivers and Services on the System
- Live detailed View of Device Detections on the System
- Huge Device Problem solving Features and Functions
- Easy On-The-Fly Drivers, Registry Entries and Files Backup
- Additional command line tool
- Showing also process, loaded drivers etc.
- Direct access to System tools such as Registry hives, system restore point etc.
- Error code translator
- Native image generator
and many more features

And its freeware!
Download: Device Remover [1]


Interesting, keen to check this out! - Simon
[+1] [2009-09-07 20:18:19] Multiverse IT

System Information for Windows - SIW -

tells me about the hardware and software in the system - makes it especially easy to get my Dell Service Tag when I need it and runs from a single executable.

[+1] [2009-09-02 19:37:49] Insomnic

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware [1] - excellent free scanner and the pay version has blocking built in.
SpywareBlaster [2] - very minimal but effective free spyware blocker
AVG Antivirus [3] - Well done and light virus scanner and protection (free and pay versions available)


+1. Malwarebytes. - Xavierjazz
[+1] [2009-08-11 06:08:06] Nick Hodges

Everything [1] -- I use this fantastic file search tool at least 10-15 times a day.


An excellent, super-fast local drive search tool, even for very large drives with huge directory structures. - HMcG
[+1] [2009-08-29 18:51:41] Am1rr3zA

I really love MPlayer

[+1] [2009-09-01 17:56:54] Ian Boyd

The long discontinued ACDSee Classic [1], before it turned into an photo manager.

One of the first things to get installed, and it is my must have.


[+1] [2010-01-27 11:35:07] MBaas

Funny, how there are so many "best filemanagers" and yet my favourite hasn't been mentioned at all. It just had the largest userbase in germany and probably still needs popularity elsewhere, so here's the link you should not forget ;)

[+1] [2010-01-27 12:05:13] MBaas

And then, of course, PersonalBrain [1] - my favourite information manager.

(Disclaimer: after being happy user for 2 yrs, I recently started reselling it in germany, see


[+1] [2010-01-19 16:19:26] fluxtendu

Orbit Downloader [1] - Download Manager

  • Tag make you manage your download files easily
  • Download social music, social video and streaming media
  • Extreme download acceleration.
  • Super Light: micro-sized and resource-friendly
  • Support RapidShare download.
  • Support IE, Firefox, Maxthon, Opera.
  • Support Metalink download.
  • Support HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, MMS, RTSP and RTMP protocols.
  • Support Proxy server configuration.
  • Support download pause and resume.
  • General download management.

[+1] [2010-01-13 17:52:01] ZimmyDubZongyZongDubby

NTLDR is a must in my opinion.

[+1] [2009-12-08 05:03:47] bigown

Ultraiso [1] Throw away Nero, Daemon Tools, Magic Iso and a lot of outdated apps.


Not free unfortunately... :-( - Simon
[+1] [2010-01-12 10:09:51] Descendant

USB Disk Ejector

the good: Very good alternative for default windows drive eject. the bad : Does not replace the former

[+1] [2009-11-11 16:15:27] ravi

Media Mokey [1] -Best music player.Ease in navigation is really good.


[+1] [2009-10-30 19:16:56] Gerd Klima

Altap Salamander [1].

The Norton Commander replacement for modern Win systems.


[+1] [2009-10-30 20:04:37] Remus Rigo

Nero Burning ROM [1] for burning CD/DVD/Blue-Ray...., also has a free fersion


[+1] [2009-10-30 20:08:15] Remus Rigo

ACDSee Photo Manager [1], a good image processor


[+1] [2009-10-12 00:49:39] Tom Morris

Windows PowerShell [1]. My Microsoftie friends have tried to convince me that it's nicer than bash (not sure about that). Fifteen seconds of using it on an XP machine convinced me that it's nicer than CMD.EXE. Either way, if you use a command line, you may as well have a nice one.


Mentioned elsewhere - Mike Hanson
[+1] [2009-09-22 22:37:52] Jawa

TaskSwitchXP [1]; "an advanced task management utility" that has some nice features that help you switching tasks, especially with multitude of open programs.


[+1] [2009-10-01 18:18:47] community_owned

QTTabBar [1] - QTTabBar is an amazing/outstanding add-In that gives Tab Browsing Feature to Windows Explorer with, folder grouping, histories, etc.


sadly, it's not ported to w7 - fluxtendu
[+1] [2009-07-15 16:15:39] Liam

FreeCommander [1], a great 2-panel alternative to Windows Explorer.


Think this was kinda already mentioned under the TotalCommander entry. - Simon
[+1] [2009-07-15 14:58:45] victor hugo

Any good antivirus!

you could completely skip that by removing yourself from the admin group - ok, and having your box behind a router - Oliver Giesen
[+1] [2009-07-15 15:05:32] Scott

Symantec Endpoint [1] (corporate antivirus)


A little off-topic, but I had really bad experiences with this app using 100% of the cpu needlessly when installed in VMWare virtual machines. - Chris
[+1] [2009-07-22 17:00:28] Traples

ConTEXT [1] - a great freeware text editor for software developers... syntax highlighting for multiple languages and file types.


It's nice and I used for a long time, but it hasn't been maintained in years. - Decio Lira
@Decio: I see they open-sourced it. :hmm: - 280Z28
[+1] [2009-07-21 01:46:33] Curtis Inderwiesche

I find izarc [1] handy for reading and writing many types of files.


[+1] [2009-07-15 19:28:56] duckworth

ShellToys [1] So many useful utilities, like batch rename, md5 hash, recursive folder sizes, directory/file printing, clipboard manager, etc.


[0] [2009-07-15 19:30:30] Veeti

One of the following (I know it's one per answer, but they do the same thing so I thought it'd be good to list them all):

Jing [1] (free, Pro version available)], SnagIt [2] (commercial), Screenshot Captor [3] (free).

All 3 are great software to take screenshots of different portions of your screen, and also come with simple image editors. They can be configured to upload to FTP, and much more.


I'm a new user, so I could only have one link - here's the other two: - Veeti
[0] [2009-07-15 18:53:59] BCS

ESP (no link, the page seems to have bean abandoned) -- It's a light weight file search program that I like. (Vista/7 seem to have removed this niche)

[0] [2009-07-16 02:31:56] nik

Firefox with extensions [1]!
Here is a recent SU question: Must have Firefox Addons [2]


(7) You probably should add that as a comment to the firefox answer... - fretje
[0] [2009-07-21 11:43:46] Mark Struzinski

Dexpot [1] for multiple virtual desktops


[0] [2009-07-16 23:13:30] Myles Braithwaite

Notepad++ [1] is a really good text editor with syntax support.


[0] [2009-07-15 13:35:15] Arcturus

Xplorer^2 [1]

Your windows explorer replacer.. work a bit like Total Commander.. only nicer..


[0] [2009-07-15 14:56:32] NighTerrorX
  • Microsoft MESH [1] - Sharing files with my team mates! It is awesome and free!

(1) Question states one per answer. - arathorn
and not 3rd party - arathorn
[0] [2009-07-15 14:56:57] MachinationX

Digsby [1] - multi-protocol instant messaging software plus social networking features.


Already mentioned. - jldupont
[0] [2009-10-07 11:55:14] Mahin

DAP [1]


[0] [2009-09-28 07:38:31] anonymous

MPEG Video Wizard DVD for video editing. Very awesome yet little known video editor.

[0] [2009-10-16 11:05:16] Ron

DVD Region-Free CSS [1], very practical to play DVDs from all around the world.


[0] [2009-10-11 15:37:51] Xavierjazz

Musescore Music Notation Program. Open Source. I'm a Musician.

[0] [2009-10-30 22:52:30] community_owned

Windows Steady State. Have this installed, turn on Hard drive protection, create users with home drives in different partitions. Helps to keep your Windows PC in good shape.

We use DeepFreeze for this - Joel Coehoorn
[0] [2009-11-03 03:11:33] Tanner Collin

CommView [1]

"CommView is a powerful network monitor and analyzer designed for LAN administrators, security professionals, network programmers, home users…"

Its good to see what programs are up to :)


[0] [2009-10-30 20:01:16] Remus Rigo

MPlayer [1] a verry good video player, includes codecs, so, no need for additional codeck packs


[0] [2009-11-13 10:33:02] Jason Gritman

CLCL [1] is a really easy to use clipboard manager I install on every windows machine.


[0] [2009-11-19 13:59:30] Jason R. Coombs

ISORecorder [1]

This lightweight freeware package complements the Windows CD/DVD burning capability nicely. It will capture ISO images from physical disks and burn ISO CD/DVD images with a clean interface. It uses the underlying Windows CD Burning capability.


[0] [2009-11-19 14:05:28] Jason R. Coombs

KeyFinder [1] - Magical Jelly Bean KeyFinder - a freeware open source utility that retrieves your Product Key (cd key) used to install Windows (and various other products).

I usually install this just before I upgrade a system. I use it to make sure I know which product keys were used for my various software packages. I also use it as part of a script I run regularly to capture the system state.


[0] [2009-12-06 19:21:48] Notitze

xplorer² [1] Windows File Manager.

This is a fantastic tool that got me through managing easily thousands of files and many, many directories. I can barely watch now someone using the windows explorer to handle files ... it takes him/her sooo much more time to go through switching directories, windows, searching for files, etc (Windows explorer is definitely for people that have time)

  • It boosts your file operations productivity;
  • it is much better than TotalCommander
  • it is very, very powerful.
  • still uses some of the old Norton Commander hot keys

For the novice I'd recommend using the light version as is, for the power user, get the full version (you get the full upon download for a trial period) and read what it can do. It will solve some existing questions for sure. Browse the manual once then read the parts you need otherwise you'll never finish it :) as it can do quite a lot.


[0] [2009-11-11 16:10:43] ravi

Microsoft's own,lightweight (and latest) antivirus - Microsoft Security Essentials [1]

I liked it.

alt text


[0] [2009-11-03 13:28:54] mafutrct

QIP [1] - far superior to ICQ in every way.


[0] [2010-01-12 06:31:31] Descendant

Shortrun - Good for creating run commands shortcuts for any application.

Lists almost all available shortcuts and ability to add new one.

[0] [2009-12-22 11:01:10] Mario Marinato -br-

CKRename [1] is a must have. I wonder why it is not native yet.

Renaming a huge load of files is easier and faster than ever.


[0] [2010-01-04 00:19:55] Kythos

Autoruns [1]

For Cleaning out all of the start-up Crap that inevitably came with your brand new laptop. It is capable of forcibly removing fake services and start-up items. You can now also use it to clean out faulty video codecs and bogus printer drivers.


autoruns is already on the first page of this long thread with currently 203 upvotes, you may delete this post and upvote Fretje's answer ... you will be able to vote soon :) - community_owned
[0] [2010-01-04 04:49:52] user23532

WinMend system maintenance tools [1] to make sure your computer running faster and safely.


[0] [2010-01-13 19:35:16] kahrn

I wrote a piece on some of the tools that are essential to me when running Windows. It may be of some use to you too.

Contains a nice list of 45+ tools.

[0] [2010-01-13 20:06:47] jae

BOINC [1], so I don't waste precious credits crunching time.


[0] [2010-01-13 17:45:07] Dave

The first thing I put on a system is Kedit [1]. The editor that emulates the VM-CMS XEDIT. The major benefit to me is Kedit's REXX interface which allows me to do many of the functions that are required for programming. It's not a mainstream editor, but it is as powerful as emacs or ultraedit because of it's scripting capabilities and it allows me to edit and maintain more than 100 files simultaneously in a single window.


[0] [2010-01-12 10:46:10] Descendant

usb disk remove

Replacing windows default disk remove, additional features include hiding unused drives in a mmc reader, etc)

[0] [2010-01-19 16:03:16] fluxtendu

ArsClip [1] - Clipboard manager

  • Multiple permanent items groups
  • Picture, RichText, File Copy, Unicode, HTML support
  • Keypress emulation
  • Form Mode for pasting multiple fields
  • Highly configurable

[0] [2010-01-27 06:38:01] Jay Bazuzi

Live Mesh [1]. Microsoft's answer to Drop Box. It was exciting at first when they were improving it every week. For the last few months it hasn't been updated, though.

I use it to share My Documents across all my computers + sync it to the cloud as a backup.

I also use it to sync my Music and Photos from my Windows Home Server to my brother's WHS across the country (and vice versa), again as a backup.

It also has a Remote Desktop feature built in, that works on Windows Home Premium SKUs.

Biggest annoyance: I can't easily check which computers are fully synced to a folder.


(3) Duplicate:… Go ahead and upvote that instead, add your comments, then delete this answer. - Troggy
[0] [2010-01-19 17:07:09] Imran

Dropbox [1] for seamless file backup, syncing, and sharing.


(1) Please check previous pages before proposing a new one. Dropbox is on the first page already. - Gnoupi
[0] [2010-02-13 20:40:48] bpartch

NumLocker [1] to disable the caps lock key + more


[0] [2010-02-13 20:51:19] egon

liberkey [1] - a package of programs. Easier to update and most that you need are already there.


[0] [2010-02-23 22:24:55] gWiz

ID3-TagIT [1] - by far the most comprehensive ID3-tagging and MP3 file-renaming processor. A life-saver for anyone that wants to manually organize their music library on the filesystem as opposed to relying on iTunes. Supports bulk operations, case changing, point/click track numbering, subdirectories, v1 and v2 sync'ing, M3U creation, and more. Development has ceased but the product is stable and reliable.


[0] [2009-08-22 23:09:13] WebDevHobo

Foobar2000, my favorite music player.

[0] [2009-08-22 23:11:15] community_owned

ColorConsole [1] brings a little color to your black and white world of Windows console .

Features: Favorites commands, Export to HTML and RTF, Copy,Paste,Cut..., Changeable font style and color, Tabbed working with multi cmd.exe, Fast folder switch.

Multi-tab ColorConsole is a colored medicine for the cmd.exe!

alt text


[0] [2009-08-28 09:33:09] Dimitri C.

Lingoes [1] is a very good (and free) translation tool. I use it constantly.


[0] [2009-08-28 09:35:39] Dimitri C.

TTCalc [1] is a very good calculator. The main advantage over Windows' calculator is that your input remains visible.


[0] [2009-08-29 15:57:19] community_owned

Everything [1] search engine

Locate files and folders by name instantly.

  • Small installation file
  • Clean and simple user interface
  • Quick file indexing
  • Quick searching
  • Minimal resource usage
  • hare files with others easily
  • Real-time updating

desktop search just doesn't get any faster, really impressive little utility.


(3) Seems like a duplicate of… - Jonik
[0] [2009-08-29 16:12:40] andygrunt

Faststone image viewer - free and packed with useful features.

Repeated answer. - Bakhtiyor
[0] [2009-08-20 02:37:09] LRE

Open Workbench [1]

Don't want to pay for MS Project? This is a good alternative (works a little differently but still good)


[0] [2009-08-22 17:34:44] community_owned


MWSnap is a small yet powerful Windows program for snapping (capturing) images from selected parts of the screen.

Current version is capable of capturing the whole desktop, a highlighted window, an active menu, a control, or a fixed or free rectangular part of the screen. MWSnap handles 5 most popular graphics formats and contains several graphical tools: a zoom, a ruler, a color picker and a window spy. It can be also used as a fast picture viewer or converter.

MWSnap does not require installation and does not need any special dlls, drivers or system files which can mess up your system.

Platform: any 32-bit Windows (including XP)

Author's site:

[0] [2009-08-19 22:49:16] rob

DirectFolders [1] because you should never have to navigate your hard drive to find the same folder twice in the same day (or week).


[0] [2009-08-20 02:22:59] LRE

Gobby [1]

Real-time collaborative text editor with syntax highlighting for most mainstream programming languages.


[0] [2009-09-06 18:32:14] James Moore

Password Maker [1] This tool lets you easily create strong unique passwords for each account you have. It does this by creating a hash from the site url and your master password. There are many different interfaces to this, firefox plugin, desktop app, webpage...


I don't think I would trust this... I mean you're really just using one password for everything, plus an additional step. But I guess it is more secure than most people's passwords. - Carson Myers
[0] [2009-09-07 12:08:07] TuxGeek

MonitorES [1] save energy & save few clicks when lock


[0] [2009-09-22 03:34:50] community_owned

Combined Community Codec Pack [1], for watching video and especially anime with soft subs. It comes with ffdshow which, IMO, offers superior rendering to VLC -- though, granted, CCCP is not as versatile.


I think this might have been mentioned already... (At least one of the combined codec packs was.) - Simon
[0] [2009-09-10 03:02:06] community_owned


ControlPad turns the numeric keypad on your keyboard to a Windows command execution system.

You may configure any numeric code to: Execute any program, open any document, open any web address or send any series of keystrokes to the operating system.

Amazing for launching just about anything on the computer. Absolutely ideal to install for the "Newbie" computer user.

Quick example once installed: Press asterix on Num Pad / Type application name in on-screen box / Press forward slash on Num Pad / Enter path to application in command box / Press enter to set the command.

To use: Press asterix / type name of app in on-screen box / Press "Enter" / Application launched. (Laptop with no Num Pad ? - No worries. - use f10, f12.)

Most adaptable launcher I have ever used. Forget Desktop icons. You're not going to need them.

[0] [2009-07-24 07:45:32] Rob Kam

ZTreeWin [1] a very stable text-mode, tree-structured file/directory manager for 32-bit Windows, (it's an enhanced version of the old DOS program XTreeGold). With only a few easily learnt keystrokes, it can be far more effective for getting things done than Windows Explorer.


[0] [2009-07-24 07:50:37] Rob Kam

Strawberry Perl [1] is like Perl on *nix. The Perl modules can also be installed with either ppm or cpan.


[0] [2009-07-24 08:05:25] Rob Kam

Driver Genius [1] for keeping drivers up-to-date and backing up installed drivers.


[0] [2009-07-31 15:18:14] user4215

For me, the first thing I install after Windows is AVG [1] and from a USB stick... Before windows update, before anything at all... Sad we have to take such steps...


[0] [2009-08-07 13:20:43] community_owned

Free Download manager [1]


[0] [2009-08-11 05:59:58] 280Z28

Here's one that's either essential or useless, depending on the person!

Dvorak Assistant [1]


[0] [2009-08-12 04:47:00] serg

FAR Manager [1] - "DOS" mode shell / file manager, instead of using default command prompt.


[0] [2009-08-18 13:44:21] Josip Medved


[0] [2009-08-18 15:07:57] community_owned

I would NOT do without Acronis.

Acronis is a company name. Which their product do you mean? - Helen
[-1] [2010-01-13 20:08:51] jae

zsh [1] on a Unix box. The only shell I find bearable.


(3) What are some “must have” Windows programs? - dag729