Desktop April 07
My CPU fan died recently, which corrupted Windows and required that I reinstall everything from scratch. Though it was an absolutely excruciating experience, it did allow me to ditch a lot of crap I wasn't using and set everything up just the way I wanted.
Below is a list of my new favorite software, mostly free and the rest pretty cheap:
* PDFCreator - $100 for Adobe Acrobat? Screw that.
* SensorsView Pro 3.1 ($19) - to monitor temps and voltages of everything in your system
* Network Magic - an awesome program for helping you setup and maintain your network
* Tag&Rename ($30) - for renaming and tagging MP3s correctly
* File Hippo Update Checker - checks to see if your software has updates...this managed to find an obscure update for Nero that I needed that wasn't even listed anywhere on their website
* AM-Deadlink - checks your bookmarks for 404s and gets those favicons
* Audacity - sound recorder and editor, very popular
* Firefox - goes without saying
* DVD Shrink - great free program for copying encrypted DVDs
* DVDFab - This will usually get around any new encryption that DVD Shrink can't. Platinum version is great for getting video converted for ipods
* ImgBurn - you'll need this to actually burn your DVD copy if you don't have Nero
* HD Tune - monitors your hard drives and warns you of impending disaster
* FLV Player - plays those downloaded YouTube videos
* Exact Audio Copy - great MP3 ripper; try LAME encoding (not lame!)
* Soulseek - for getting MP3s (excellent!)
* Picasa - I've tried a lot of photo organizers, and I think this one's pretty darn good (with one caveat: discover how to back up your albums/labels, because Picasa doesn't do this for you and if you switch and restore hard drives you lose all your labels and albums. I lost three years worth of labeling in something like 80GB of photos because I didn't know this. I sincerely hope Google fixes this in future editions).
Other useful programs:
* WinAudit - not the prettiest UI, but tells you everything you could possibly want to know about your computer system
* PC-Decrapifier - This is a GREAT tool for automatically uninstalling all the CRAP that they install on new computers
* Trend Protect IE - say you have a relative that simply will not release their grip on Internet Explorer. You can make their online life a little safer with this plugin.
* TweakUI Powertoy - a little Microsoft program that's very handy for eliminating Windows' default annoyances, like the "informative" balloons and login hassles
Also: Firefox extensions!