As a long time Windows user, I have through the years found a wide variety of software that is just impossible to live without. With no exception I prefer freeware and open source software so most programs here you can download for free. Still today I find great software, so this post will be updated from time to time.
The programs are listed in Alphabetical order. Last updated the 7 of August, 2010.
NOTE: I am a little schizo so this article is partly in English, partly in Swedish. I am working on translations...
SYSTEM. An open source file archiver that supports a wide range of formats.
Free keyboard macro program. Supports hotkeys for keyboard, mouse, and joystick. Can expand abbreviations as you type them (AutoText), etc. etc.
SECURITY. A good free anti virus solution.
Avira AntiVir Personal
SECURITY. Another great free Anti-virus program. It seems Avira takes less resources than Avast, but in return it will show you an ad after each program update.
AUDIO. Rip CD's and convert audio files.
SYSTEM. Gives you some great window functionality, always on top, recent menu, and custom shortcuts menu. I am looking for a replacement for this program. Still to this date I have not found one, and trust me, i have been looking.
The one and only FTP client. Now with multiple connections in a tab-style interface.
Doesn't really need any further explanation. (if you really don't know.. it's the best browser ever made.)
Audio. Throw out Winamp or whatever you currently use. This is simply the best audio player to date. Simple interface, great functionality, and incredible good sound you can adjust with 10-band EQ. Additional functionality like OSD can be added by downloading a component.
WEBB. One of the fastest browsers on the market. A nice complement to Firefox or replacement for IE.
KeePass Password Safe *
Keep all your passwords safe.
A professional editor for when you want to code like a pro.
Through out notepad and use Notepad2 instead.
MS Office replacement. (Yes, there are other office software).
Process Explorer *
SYSTEM. A much better task manager. Also check out the other Sysinternals programs.
SYSTEM. Efficient program launcher.
ReNamer is a very powerful and flexible file renaming tool.
Royale Remixed Theme
Give Windows a new darker look.
Make your own widgets and screensavers. Extremely useful.
Simple Search/Replace *
SYSTEM. Very easy to use and fast file search and text replace.
The best spam protection I have found.
Spybot - Search & Destroy
SYSTEM. Find and remove spyware.
The one and only mail client.
A great file manager with a lot of functionality. Have a tendency to crash once in a while, but still better than Windows Explorer.
The one and only bittorrent client.
Run multiple OS's inside your current one.
Add a few more desktops with this program. Almost as in Linux.
VLC Media Player
The best video player. Plays everything you through at it.
Access remote computers.
SYSTEM. WinSplit Revolution is a small utility which allows you to easily organize your open windows by tiling, resizing and positioning them to make the best use of your desktop real estate. Even in a better way than in Windows 7.
XAMPP (light) *
WEB. If you are a web developer this one is a must. A package with Apache, MySql, PHP, etc. Also check out the launcher DTX Control.
If you need a quick, easy, and portable media player, then this one is for you.
SYSTEM. Explorer replacement. Much faster with more functions like dual panes with multiple tabs.
Programs that I am not sure make my life easier...
FreeRam XP Pro
Det här programmet har jag använt sedan urminnes tider, men jag har aldrig riktigt lyckas klura ut om det gör från eller till, men i vilket fall så gör det vad det ska, frigöra ramminne, vilket det gör mycket bra.
Gillar man att avnända tangentbordet ska man verkligen testa SlickRun. Win+Q, skriv "firefox", tryck enter och Firefox startas. Bara ett exempel, programmet har långt fler funktioner är så.
Removed from list
These program was previously on the list but has been removed either because I have found a better option, the program has become proprietary, has become bloated, etc.
Previously a really good PDF reader which became crapware.
AUDIO. Ett lite enkelt program som låter dig skapa en lista med radiostationer som du sedan kan lyssna på via mediaspelaren. Kräver .net 3.0.
PSPad Editor *
EDITOR. Code editor I used before I found Komodo Edit.
SYSTEM. A file renaming tool.
Another small app that does just what you want and need. The program allows you to manipulate floating windows in a way similar to many X11 window managers. Hold a predefined key and rezise/move windows with the right mouse button.
Software that you are forced to use.
I don't like this program for a number of reasons, but there are no obvious options.
* Indicates that the program exists, or can be used, in a portable format. Some can be downloaded from www.portableapps.com.
** Suport for multiple platforms.
*** Indicates that the program is commercial, e.g. not free.