I guess you can call me a computer geek. I have about 15 computers in my apartment (but only three of them are visible and 8 of them are Commodore 64:s 🙂 And i use many different operating systems, Windows, Osx and Linux.
The Os that I’m grown up with and that I love the best is Windows! And one of the biggest reasons for that is that we have so much more control over Windows, we have more tweaking and customization possibilities than Osx, but mainly its because of the thousands of thousands of applications that people and companies have created through the years.
I have been collecting Windows applications for about 10 years now, when I have found an app that i like it gets archived into categories and with a little readme to describe what it does. Why? Well its always good to have in a situation, maybe a friend needs a special application.. then i know i can say that I have that app stored in my apps collection 😉
Its all about the work flow, why do something the hard way when there is an easy way? There is an application for everything but you just need to find it! The apps im about to list are specially selected by me to make my life easier, to speed up the work process and the navigation in Windows.
I have chosen to mainly list my must-have apps for my Windows installation and skip those more specific apps that you only need in certain situations, for example an mp3 encoder.. its not really an app that you really need unless you want to rip or compress music. I will also skip obvious and common apps like Firefox or Winamp and focus on the more rare and and special apps.
Total Commander – http://www.ghisler.com/
This is the most essential and important app ever made for Windows. Its the first app I install on Windows and the app I use the most. Total Commander is a file manager that replaces Windows default manager “Explorer”
When you get the hang of the structure of Totalcmd and learn all the hotkeys you will be superfast when managing your computer, jumping between folders, copy and move files, rename files etc.. all these small things that you do all the time will go so much faster! The secret is to ONLY use the keyboard, never the mouse.
It also have lots of built in stuff like a ftp client (love it!) a multi-rename tool, compression tools (zip, rar, 7zip etc) and more!
have been using it for about 10 years now and im so glad that one of my friends convinced me to skip explorer and use Totalcommander instead, this have really made my life so much easier!
Hoekey – http://www.bcheck.net/apps/hoe.htm
This app is only 17kb and runs in the background. This is an hotkey application that can do all kinds of different operations. Run scripts, commands, type predefined text, key strings or just launch applications.
Here are some examples for you to get the idea, these are commands that i use very often: “Current date”, i define a hotkey (for example Ctrl+T) and when i press the hotkey it types the current date in text, like this: 2011-05-07 and of course you can change how you want hoekey to type the date, include time, seconds etc.
Another useful command is “center current window” that centers the window i currently have selected to the center of the screen, you can also define the exact width and hight and x and y location.
You can also create any global hotkeys you want, on my keyboard i have 5 extra mediabuttons on the top that i normally would never use as the default mapping of them are useless for me, but with hoekey i remapped these keys and now i use these to launch my favorite apps and other commands.
Texter – http://lifehacker.com/238306/lifehacker-code-texter-windows
This app is created by the team behind my favorite website on the net, Lifehacker. A very small and lightweght tool that really makes your life a little easier. Lifehacker descripes it like this: “Texter saves you countless keystrokes by replacing abbreviations with commonly used phrases”
For example, instead of typing your username or email adress every time when you want to login in to a site etc you can create an input in texter to make it type the text for you. I just type “mail” and then press tab and my mail address gets typed in a second by texter. Very useful and saves me time! Love this!
HFS ~ Http File Server – http://www.rejetto.com/hfs/
For me this is the best and most stable way to send a file to a friend. Sure you can send files through your im client but sometimes its very unstable and have bad connection. This is how it works, you simple right click on the file you want to share and choose “add to hfs” after you have dont this you have created a little http server through hfs, the http adress gets copied to the clipboard so all you have to do is just paste the adress to your friend and he can just click the link and start downloading it. Super easy and very stable!
And a little bonus that i like is that i can see in the systemtray how many percent of the file i have sent and when my friend have successfully downloaded it. Also you can make hfs kill itself after a defined time of inactivity, very nice features!
USB Disk Ejector – http://quick.mixnmojo.com/usb-disk-ejector
A little app to make it easier to disconnect an USB device from your computer. I hate to click the little systemtray icon every time I want to disconnect my usbstick or ipod, and USB Disk Ejector really makes this easier. Very lightweight and nice gui.
Screamer Radio – http://www.screamer-radio.com/
I love to listen to radio while working and this my favorite radio stream app. I started using it back in 2003 and its still in development, new improvements and updates. The zip file is just under 1mb and its very lightweight. Very nice little gui and has good features like recording and copy trackname or radiostation name/url to the clipboard. It also has support for almost every streaming service.
Fast Image Resizer – http://adionsoft.net/fastimageresize/
This is the best way to quickly resize one or many images. The application is super small and fast. Simply drag and drop your image(s) to the app window and it will resize them and place them in a predefined folder, I always set it so it creates a “Resized” folder inside the original folder. And you have settings for output quality, size, name and if you want it to autorotate your images. perfect! I also use SendTo-Convert to convert images to other formats, very useful!
AMP Font Viewer – http://www.ampsoft.net/utilities/FontViewer.php
Easy app to view your installed fonts, and your font collection that not are installed yet. The best thing with this app is that you have a good overview of your fonts, and a preview window of how the font looks and that you can install the font directly from the app! Just select a font and press the “install font” button, done!
Resonic – http://resonic.at/
This is a very small and smart mp3 player. Ok my default mp3 player is Winamp so i never really use 1by1 but its good to have on a usb-stick, and i use it on my other laptop computers. The thing about Resonic is that it works kinda like the explorer file manager, you have the folder tree to the left with your hdds etc, just browse to your mp3 collection and there you have all your mp3 album folders! Good overview and easy.
Everything – http://www.voidtools.com/
The ultimate search tool for windows. Its super easy and just works! This little app (600kb) is magic somehow.. it indexes all your files on your computer and all you have to do is type and it shows the results on the fly! So if you want to find an mp3 file you just downloaded (yes Everything indexes in the background so it always have the new stuff or changes you have made to filenames etc) and dont know where it got placed, just start Everything.. type mp3 and then the first letters of the trackname and it will appear in the results. This is a MUST for every computer!
Startup delayer – http://www.r2.com.au/
When i have set up my Windows installation with all the essential apps i need you will end up with a pretty big autostart list of apps that will launch when Windows boots. With Startup Delayer you can delay every app that is in the regestry and is said to autostart. or you can just add your own apps just by draging and dropping it on the window. Also a nice little feature, when Windows starts a little launcher window wil appear with a countdown clock for every app you have choosen to delay, you can pause the whole process or cancel certain apps to start.
Greenshot – http://getgreenshot.org/
Greenshot is my favorite screencapture tool. Good output formats. Saves the files to a defined folder or clipboard. You can also tell it to copy the folder path to the clipboard. There are different ways to capture your desktop, either fullscreen, region or application and they all have hotkeys. Its simple and fast.
Rightload – http://rightload.org/
I often need to show images on my blog or on different forums on the net, an easy way to solve this is to upload the image to one of the many file-hosting sites on the net. But the procedure to upload an image to a site takes too long time- The application Rightload fixes this in just a couple of clicks. Just rightclick on the image in your filebrowser, choose rightload and then after a couples of seconds it has uploaded it and you have the url to the image in a little window.
CopyPath – http://www.wolosoft.com/en/copypath/
Very simple Windows tweak that just adds a “copy path name” from windows explorer context menu (or from any other application that can access the standard context menu)
just right-click on any file and folder, click on copy path name and get the exact path to that file. This can be very useful in many different situations, for example uploading images to a filesharing site etc.