I encounter a lot of different applications along my travels within the wonderful world of technology. I get to try out and test the very best (and worst!) utilities, tools, services, and products out there.
Here are some of the better products for a given category that I have found. I hope you find this list useful. If you have an opinion on something that is here (or not here), please feel free to send an e-mail or comment below.
General Maintenance & Cleanup –
- Glary Utilities – All-in-one way to fix, speed up, maintain and protect your PC.
- Revo Uninstaller – This unisntaller makes sure files, folders, and registry entries are removed.
CD/DVD Tools –
- CDBurnerXP – Burn CD/DVD’s; convert ISO/BIN/NRG files – User Guide
- DAA to ISO Converter – Use this to convert a DAA file to ISO format for burning or mounting – updated
- DVD Shrink 3.2 – Backup and reduce the size of DVD’s
- SlySoft Virtual CloneDrive – Mount/view/copy the contents of *.ISO files. User Guide
- VLC Media Player – highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats
Disk / File / Folder Tools –
- 7-Zip – Create and extract .zip, .rar, and more.
- AusLogics Disk Defrag – Graphical defrag for servers, XP, Vista, and Windows 7
- DBAN – Wipe data to DoD specs
- BartPE – System boot/recovery
- GParted – Disk Partition Editor
- AlwaySync – File / Folder sync
- TrueCrypt – Easy and secure data encryption
- WinDirStat – Visual and very organized way to view the data taking up room on your storage devices
- WinSCP – Windows secure FTP file copy
Hardware Management –
- Synergy – Share one Keyboard/Mouse with all your PC’s – Review
- Edison – Power consumption tracking utility
Media Management/Players –
- iTunes – Primarily used for dealing with iPod’s, iTunes is an acceptable media player/manager.
- Windows Media Player – The free media player/manager included with Windows.
Security Suites & Products
Personal Firewall –
- Comodo Firewall + AntiVirus for Windows – Defends both inbound and outbound connections
AntiVirus Solutions –
- Comodo Firewall + AntiVirus for Windows – Free, robust AV client.
- ClamWin – Free AV utility that works on MS Windows Servers – Scheduled scans only, no RTP.
- AVG Free – Free protection for Windows desktop OS’s. – Review
AntiSpyware Solutions –
- Spybot 1.6 – The leader of the freebies
- Windows Defender – Comes with Windows
- LeakTest – A Simple tool to test the effectiveness of your firewall
- Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) – Scans your systems applications and reports when updates and new releases are available.
- VMware ESXi – Free, bare-metal hypervisor – Install this on a dedicated system and then create your virtual machines. Entry level version of ESX 3.x.
- VMware Server – Free application that you install on either a Windows or Linux host OS. Create, configure, and run virtual machines on an existing machine.
- VMWare Player – Free application that will allow you to launch/run an existing virtual machine. You cannot create or modify with this tool.
- VMware Workstation – Paid product that adds some additional capabilities to VMware Server.
- Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 – Microsoft’s free virtualization product that allows you to create, configure, and run multiple virtual machine OS’s on an existing Windows platform.
- 10 free virtualization products – Find more products here.
- FireFox 3 – Mozilla’s game-changing browser!
- Internet Explorer 8 – Microsoft’s classic browser updated to keep up with the competition.
- Google Chrome – Google’s light-weight newcomer to the browser party.
- Gmail – Google Mail. Free, efficient interface, and lots of options make this a winner.
- Microsoft Live! – Microsoft’s free mail and news product. Outlook style interface.
- Yahoo – Yahoo Mail. (Adavanced features require a subscription fee.)
- Windows Live! Mail – My choice for a free desktop client to handle multiple accounts.
- Thunderbird – Mozilla’s mail and news client. -Not recommended-
Audio/Video Conferencing –
- Skype – Free, tested, and approved, application for PC>PC audio, video and IM communications. Free calling to toll-free numbers. – Review / Version 4 info
- GMail Voice & Video chat – Add voice and video to your Google chats!
Instant Messaging –
- Trillion – Use one IM client for all major IM providers
Online File Sharing & Storage –
- drop.io – file storage/sharing and much more
Web 2.0 Productivity Sites –
- 280Slides – Create Online Presentations
- GIMP – Just like Photoshop, but free!
- Picassa – My favorite photo manager. Easily create web albums to share.
- Windows Photo Gallery – Free photo manager from Microsoft.
- Windows 7 Beta – Free trial through August 2009
- Windows Server 2008 – The latest Enterprise class NOS
- Windows Vista – The current home OS
- Windows Server 2003 – Stable and proven server NOS
- Windows XP – Stable and proven home OS
- UBUNTU – One of the easier and more mainstream versions of Linux.
- CentOS – A solid choice for business.
- Fedora– Another solid choice.