These are the core tools/apps/etc. every PC should start with – installed in the order presented here.
- Microsoft Security Essentials – Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware (Free – “Home PC”)
- DigestIT 2004 – Integrates right-click hash creation/verification with Explorer.
- JRE – Java Runtime Environment. (Free – All)
- Notepad2, 64-bit ver – More feature-rich replacement for Notepad. (OSS ?)
- 7-Zip – Can handle multiple archive formats. (OSS)
- Foxit Reader – PDF reader.
- SysInternals Suite (Free – All)
- UnLocker – Unlocks locked files. (Free – All)
- ISO Recorder – Adds right-click options for CD/DVD/Blu-ray burning. (Free – Any non-multi-seat-deployment install (e.g. Not installed by IT on all computers in a lab)
- MyDefrag or Defraggler
- Agent Ransack (aka File Locator Lite – just re-branded for companies that might be squirrely about the term “ransack”) – File, and contents, search tool. (Free – All)
- CCleaner – Optimizes and cleans Windows.
Drivers, codecs, etc.
- The SkyDrive app syncs the files you have stored on your SkyDrive with the local computer. (There is also an option to just provide links to the files.) (Free)
- Free Commander – Feature rich file manager. Designed for dual-pane, but can be configured with one pane and tree. (Free – All)
- NirSoft applications
- Virtual Clone Drive – Virtual CD/DVD emulator. (Free)
- For more advanced features, including disabling of copy-protection, try Daemon Tools. (Free – Personal)
- File Menu Tools – GUI for adding/removing right-click menu options for files. From LopeSoft.
- TrueCrypt – Drive encryption. (OSS)
Shell extensions, etc.
- Notepad++ – Robust replacement for Notepad. (OSS)
- FileZilla – FTP client (incl. support for SFTP). WinSCP is also a good choice. (OSS)
- IrfanView – Image viewer. (Free – non-commercial)
- VLC – Video player. (OSS)
- PuTTY – Terminal & SSH client. (OSS)
Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit
- MagicISO – a tool for creating/editing/extracting ISO images.
- Color Cop – a small dialog for selecting colors. Includes dropper tool. Excellent for HTML RGB color codes. Portable. (Free)
- DNS Benchmark – by Steve Gibson. Helps recommend DNS servers.
- Double Driver – portable (zero-install) utility for backing up and restoring drivers. From BooZet. (Free)
My Ninite “development” installer (Includes apps listed below in italics.)
- WinMerge – Robust diff/merge tool. (OSS)
- LINQPad – An editor that has greatly increased my productivity when working with LINQ, especially when I purchased the Pro version to get IntellisenseTM, etc. (Free/Commercial)
- Snippet Compiler – Lightweight interface for doing quick code experiments/research. (Free – ??)
- Visual Studio Add-ons
- ReSharper – Visual Studio enhancements (Commercial)
- NuGet – A package manager for easily adding & maintaining 3rd-party libraries in your projects. (OSS)
- FogBugz for Visual Studio – Bundled with SourceLinks (Free – ??)
- CodeLineage – “…allows easy access to a cumulative diff view between file revisions. Supports SVN, Git and Mercurial.”
- Regulator (and other tools) – A regular expression creation/testing tool. (Free – ??)
- NSIS – Nullsoft Scriptable Install System. (OSS)
- Active Perl – Perl for Windows. (Free – All)
- Java Development
Additional Interesting/Useful Software
These are programs I either use only occasionally, am interested in using, or am waiting for additional functionality/features to be added.
- Elevation Power Toys for Windows Vista – A variety of utilities and techniques to run apps/services/control panels/etc. with the necessary elevated privileges. (Free)
- vSubst creates virtual drives which reference local folders (like the old DOS command SUBST). For all 32-bit Windows – including Windows7. (Free)
Package management tools for Windows development
These tools are intended to help a developer maintain dependencies with the libraries that they are including in their projects.
Lists of recommended software by other tech folks around the interwebs: