Building a new PC? Taking time to backup and reinstall a clean OS on your old PC? Just need a change?
Over the years, I have found that having a set of standardized applications 1) makes a system build go much faster, and 2) saves time later hunting down something when you need it, like say, a PDF reader.
In business, one of the first things I do is help clients standardize the hardware architecture, system builds, and approved application lists. This saves countless dollars and man-hours building, maintaining, and troubleshooting the infrastructure.
Here are some of the core apps that work for me. I encourage you to tune this to meet your specific needs and preferences. I keep all of these updated on a USB thumb drive so I can take it with me when I build systems for other people and also to give myself a chance to install security software BEFORE connecting to the Internet for the first time. I am still installing XP quite a bit and an outdated and/or not thoroughly patched XP system is a magnet for bad stuff coming and finding you!
Here is what my toolbox looks like. All of these fit on a 512mb thumb drive with plenty of room to add more:
- Comodo AntiVirus & Firewall (Free) – Solid AntiVirus and Firewall protection in one easy install
- SpyBot Search & Destroy (Free) – This is all you need for AntiSpyware protection.
- Glary Utilities (Free – Windows) – All-in-one suite of management apps for optimizing and repairing your machine
- Virtual Clone Drive (Free) – mount ISO files
- AusLogics Disk Defrag (Free) – Graphical disk defrag utility
- Mozilla FireFox (Free) – Arguably the best Internet browser available
- Windows Live! (Free) – Add-on’s for Windows – I use Mail, Writer, and Movie Maker
- Picassa (Free) – Google picture manager
- Skype (Free) – Make audio and video calls to other Skype users.
- TrueCrypt (Free – Windows, Mac, Linux) – data encryption
- VLC Media Player (Free – Windows, Mac, Linux) – Very flexible media player that takes the pain out of finding Codecs every time you want to play something.
- 7-Zip (Free – Windows, Mac, Linux) – create and extract popular file formats like .zip, .rar, .tar, .rpm, .iso
- GIMP (Free – Windows, Mac, Linux) – QUALITY Photoshop competitor for creating custom images and editing pictures.