Top windows tools you should know about by now.

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I prefer and use Apple Mac's, but every so often people accuse me of doing so because "I don't know about computers". Bollox, I'm a windows guru.   I have spent  2 decades installing, maintaining and using Microsoft Windows for myself or as an IT manager/PC tester. I have extensively used and installed countless times evey single version of Winodws. If you use windows, all power to you. I won't lecture you about what computer you "should" use. Instead I'd like to offer you some great tools to make you windows experience better.


(note: If I've directed you to this article because you challenged my opinion, take a look, if you know of and use ALL these programs then perhaps where have similar level windows knowledge. If not, shut up and follow this link to if you want to find out from someone who knows, why Mac is better)

These are in no particular order...

Top tools ALL windows users should know about (and use):


Safari, Firefox, Chrome:

Safari windows browser utility

Are you still using Internet Explorer? You know, do you double click the big blue 'e' icon to go on the internet. Shame on you. Although it has improved greatly in recent years, because the majority of people are not aware of the great alternatives and therefor open themselves up to the security problems that come from using the most common web browser. Seriously, change to Safari, Firefox or Chrome RIGHT NOW.


Magic Jellybean:

Magic Jellybean windows keyfinder utility

Magic Jelly bean will look into your system and show you the serial numbers of windows and office and other important programs. If you don't have these well recorded then you might end up having to re-purchase them if something bad happens to your computer. Get it now and put the serials in a safe place. Side-note: On a Mac, programs from the App store are linked (via you Apple ID) to your email account, so you can never lose them, also, the OS doesn't need a serial, key or any kind of activation. Mac programs are also generally much better and cheaper.

CPU id - CPU Z:

CpuZ windows tool utility

CPU Z will tell you everything you need to know about your processor. It's mostly used for techs or people who need to find out if the processor supports hardware visualization or specific instruction sets.

CCleaner:

CCleaner windows tool utility

One of the worst things about windows is that there are a large number of ways it can get messed up. CCleaner will help you delete temporary files and also fix registry errors (errors inside the windows system). Trivia: The 'C' in CCleaner stands for "Crap", true story.

Defraggler:

Defraggler windows defrag tool utility

Defraggle is a free and easy to use tool to improve disk speed by making sure all any files which have been split up during saving are put back to together. Split files take longer to load, so this program will help you improve hard disk speed.

Recuva:

Recuva windows undelete tool

If you delete a file completely and then need it again, you could be in trouble (unless you've got a backup, you have right?). Use this program to recover deleted files.

7Zip:

7Zip windows compression decompression tool

7zip is an essential program for compressing or decompressing files, it handle .zip and .rar and pretty much anything you throw at it.

ImgBurn:

Iso Burn windows iso burning utility

Heres a utility to help you create and burn disk images (a single file which contains all the contents of a disk). Note: This functionality built in to Mac.

Magic ISO:

Magic ISO windows iso mounting tool

This program will allow you to mount a disk image on a windows PC. Note: This functionality built in to Mac.

VirtualBox:

Virtual BOX windows virtual machine utility

This program will allow you to build virtual machines (a software computer that runs on your desktop), it's a great way to try out other OS's. The more adventurous might like to try installing the Mac OS in a virtual machine to see what it's all about.

Rocketdock:

Rocket dock windows program launcher tool

One of my fav's probably because it is a copy of the Mac OS X dock. If you don't have Mac, you can at least have a better facsimile by using rocket dock.

Gimp for windows:

Gimp image edit for windows

The famous photoshop replacement for linux is also available for windows and it's yours free.

Inkscape:

Inkscape graphics tool for windows

This is a really good free vector image editing program, also available for linux and Mac.

XXClone:

XXClone for windows top cloning tool

This is the right way to clone your disk. The easy way. Just run this program and make a clone of your system to make a full bootable backup. A must for windows users because windows becomes filled with junk and slows down over time (unlike other os's I could mention...). The way to fix this? Install windows, update it and then clone it to another drive. Now you'll always have a bootable backup, fresh and clean (at least after it gets all the security updates....).

LyX, Abi Word, Libre Office, Open Office:

AbiWord for windows top word processing tool

These are all word processors or office suits that are free. I recommend (...well, I recommend pages....) Abi Word for windows.

Programmers Notepad and Notepad ++

Notepad ++ and programmers notepad are just like the windows notepad app but witha dditional funtionality ideal for programmers or those who need a liitle bit more from notepad but aren't looking for a wordprocessor. Both are FREE.

Hirens Boot CD:

OK. I'm not sure about the legalities of this, but it's one of the best tools EVER!!!. You'll have to search for it yourself, and if you use it, make sure you get the right licenses (i.e. buy any of the programs you need). Again I'm not sure how legit it is so I offer only a name, please do you own research. I DO NOT WARRANT THAT YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO USE THIS.

Ultimate Windows Boot CD:

ULTIMATE BOOT CD windows boot tool

I believe this is more legit than Hirens because you have build the CD with your own windows install disk/serial. It creates a live windows disk with freeware tools. A must have for any IT persons toolbox. The DOS UBCD one is here.

Picasa:

Picassa windows image management utility

The closest thing you can get to iPhoto for Mac without paying. But in all honesty, IMHO, nothing comes close to iPhoto, that program is reason enough to buy a Mac.

Revo Uninstaller:

Revo uninstaller windows utility tool

When you uninstall a program in windows, it leaves junk in the windows registry and on the HDD. I used to test video games for Electronic Arts and you would be blown away to learn at just how much junk was left behind after you uninstall a program on windows. I know because it was my job to know. This junk WILL slow you computer down. To help stop this from happening us the freeware of Revo Uninstaller (make sure not to download the pro version with only a 30 day trial period - unless that's what you want). By the way, on a mac only a few tiny preferences files are left when you delete an app, nothing which would slow down the system. Mac users can delete apps cleaner with Appcleaner.

Spybot - Search & Destroy:

Spybot search and destroy windows utility tool

Your antivirus isn't enough to keep you safe. Oh, gosh, didn't you know? Oh help.... please download Spybot - Search & Destroy now and install/run it. It's a great program for finding those other security breaches! Keep safe now :)

No, I didn't include usefully things like free online storage for backups etc like dropbox, moxy or skydrive. Nor tweak UI for changing the way windows looks and feels because, well this took me a long time and I'm a bit bored. One could also talk about how you can easily manage you disks by right clicking on my computer and clicking "manage" as well as other useful tools in the administrator start menu folder that ship with window, but I would rather just get back to my Mac and actually DO things...

If I missed any, please jump in and make a comment for the benefit of people who are reading.