I wanted to start compiling a list of the apps that I find myself using on a daily basis and without which, I feel as if I am sitting at my PC with my thumbs cut off. This is mostly for my own record, but I hope that someone will find it useful.
Launchy: While officially only available in a 32-bit version, links to a couple of solid x64 builds can be found here if you take the time to look through the thread. I am happy to report that I have a build working on Win7 x64 and I am happily back to launching my apps with Alt+Space the way God intended.
Pstart: This portable app is an indispensable gem for all of my portable application toolboxes.
Ok… I know what you are thinking… BROWSERS?!?! He really has a category for BROWSERS. I get it. Everyone has their go-to browser and for people like myself, it may change from release to release, day to day. If you do any web development, you know you need to have an army of browsers at the ready for testing.
Browser Chooser: Sick and tired of opening shortcuts with various browsers via dragging and dropping or cutting and pasting? Then download Browser Chooser and set it as your default browser. Browser Chooser will intercept the request and let you choose which browser to launch.
XMarks: I’ve sung loud the praises of XMarks, a plugin for almost every browser under the sun. Go mobile with a premium subscription for 12 bucks a year… all I can say is that if you are still managing your bookmarks the old way… get with the program.
LastPass: Here again, I’ve been lauding LastPass for years now, it is simply THE best way to manage your plethora of passwords across all of your browsers just as with XMarks, the Premium subscription is worth every penny of of the 12 dollars per year.
HostsMan: I don’t know about you, but I get really sick and tired of opening the Hosts file in windows and Flushing DNS. HostsMan takes the sting out of doing this on a regular basis.
PuttyCM: Tabbed Putty… what more do you need to know
Terminals: A tabbed interface for multiple server protocols. It helps keep your server management managed.
WinSCP: I love Terminals, but I have a hard time using it as a replacement for WinSCP, it is a killer FTP SFTP client with flexible features.
MS Office: Alright… I’ll say it… everyone else wants to jump on the open source free office package bandwagon, but I am sorry, compared to MS Office, they suck… HARD. You read that correctly. I don’t recommend Open Office or what ever the darling of the open source office movement is this week. MS Office eats their lunch, twice and on the weekends. Please note that I will cover online office suites in a different post.
Celtx: Want to write a script or manage a complex production? Celtx Media Pre-Production System has what you want.
Notepad++: I use it for nearly all text editing, I have not run into a need that it cannot fill. The plugin spread is incredible and it is configurable beyond measure.
DVDFab: It is expensive, yes, and there are a number of free apps that, when cobbled together can do most of what DVDFab can do… however, if you don’t want to mess around and you want to convert your DVD and BluRay discs to portable files for multiple devices… this is absolutely your best alternative.
Calibre: Want to get more out of your eReader or eReader software on your Android or iOS device? Want to manage your collection of DRM-free ebooks? You gotta check out Calibre.
Sigil: If you need a great WYSIWYG ebook editor, Sigil is money.
ABRViewer: I use a lot of custom brushes in Photoshop and it gets impossible to tell what is what. ABRViewer lets you see the contents of your custom brush files.
MysticThumbs: Right at the top of the list of things that pisses me off about the latest releases of Windows (if you believe Adobe) and Adobe Creative Suite (if you believe Microsoft) is the inability to get thumbnails for PSD and AI files. MysticThumbs rides to the rescue with thumbnail and preview support for a massive number of file formats. It is well worth the modest price tag.
QuickPAR: There is nothing better for the management of parity files. If you do a lot of archiving of large files, creating parity files with QuickPAR can save your bacon when you encounter a corrupt file.
WinRAR: Some people are WinZip people, some people are 7-zip people and then some of us are WinRAR people. Get it, use it, love it.
I am going to do an entirely separate post on my preferred file management utilities, but I will list a couple of my most-used applications.
Belvedere: This little app from the folks over at Lifehacker is great for keeping your file system nice and tidy. You can set up any number of rules and Belvedere will move files around for you. I use it to keep my Download and Documents directory from dominating my time.
Renamer: I can’t tell you the countless hours that this tool has saved me. The ability to batch rename files is nothing new, and neither is this tool, but over the years it has proven to be the best.
SyncBackPro: Not all file sync tools are created equal. This tool is simply the best and is worth every penny.
PrintFolder Pro: Sometimes you just NEED to print off the contents of a directory. PrintFolder Pro is the PERFECT go-to when the need arises. Well worth the modest price.
Beyond Compare: Before I start gushing, let me be clear, I have tried EVERY file comparison tool under the sun. Beyond Compare is simply that… beyond compare, it is the best of the best of the best file and directory comparison tools on the market. Directories, Archives, Merge, Move or Sync. Whenever you have a bag of snakes, lay them out straight with Beyond Compare.
Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection: Ok, here again, when we are talking the best, I have to talk about Adobe. Sure their pricing sucks without equal, but the open source alternatives are so far behind the curve, they can scarcely be considered alternatives. This is one of those moments that it is worth laying down the cash for the 25-year old single-malt.
Painter: Photoshop is great, but when you want a real natural media feel, Corel Painter kicks Adobe in the pants. Again, another product worth the premium price tag.
Axialis IconWorkshop: For creating large sets of icons, be you a pro or a novice, IconWorkshop is the go-to tool.
Snagit: I know that screen captures can seem mundane, but for great office integration, and quick annotation Snagit is unparalleled.
Rainmeter: I love desktop customization, and if you love it, you will love Rainmeter. Rainmeter has massive community support and a super-flexible framework.
Winsplit Revolution: Windows 7 native Aerosnap is a pretty cool feature, but WinSplit Revolution turns Aerosnap up to 11 with configurable zones and hotkeys.
DisplayFusion: If you have multiple monitors and want a way to maximize their usability, DisplayFusion is a must-have utility. With Multi-Monitor taskbars, advanced wallpaper management, customizable titlebar buttons and more, display fusion will make you fall in love with your multi-monitor configuration all over again.
ToggleFileExt: A simple utility to enable Win+Y to toggle the visibility of your windows file extensions.
ToggleHiddenFiles: A simple utility to enable Win+H to toggle the visibility of hidden files.
Windows System Control Center: I don’t know if you do, but I use the living bat-crap out of the Windows Sysinternals Suite and the NirSoft Utilities. WSCC manages installing and keeping all of this handy little apps up do date for you.
Default Programs Editor: The Swiss Army knife of program / files association tools.
Startup Manager: A simple, unobtrusive Windows startup manager