Here, I will list some of the best windows application that, I presume, that every windows user “need” to have. Of course, there are a dozen of tech magazines and website that list a dozen of such stuffs. These sources can tell you all the powers that the applications can do, the features they come with. But, the writers of thee sources rarely tell you the actual experience they have with the applications. Yes, some many application these come crammed with so many great features. These so many features, however, usually obscure the main objectives that the applications made for. That is what makes a pedantic application different from a usable application. Usability is what most tools lack these days. They cause you more confusion and annoyance than enjoyment and service. Here, I will mention some of applications that I found to be more useful, based on my experience. Let me start from the academic tools
LaTex (freeware) for writing your documents. If you have some serous academic paper to write, you have to get LaTex. But, for simple texts, stick with Microsoft Windows or whatever text processing apps you have.
Notepad++(freeware) for text editing; TextStudio for LaTex documents; emacs/vim if you are a serous programmer.
Jabref: to manage your bibliography, if you are using Latex.
Mendeley Desktop to organize your PDF files: Currently there is no any alternative than mendeley to manage your pdf files. it is a great too. it can extract the metadata of the files, tag from Google Scholar, and even rename and organize your files into groups.
PDF-Exchange to read PDF: you can also try Foxit. These two softwares are equally efficient for reading PDF files, though the former has more features in the free version than the latter.
Microsoft OneNote: for more serous notes. yes, Evernote is one of the greatest tools for clipping pages from websites and writing your own notes. But, after some practice and learning a lot about these two applications, I found OneNote to be better than Evernote, specially to write more serous notes. The way OneNote organizes the notes more intuitive and robust than Evernote. Now, it can also synchronize your note online (with SkyDrive).
Dropbox for your cloud computing needs. You already know it!
Calibre: to manage your ebooks. If you have e-reader like Nook or Kindle, the chances are you have a dozen of ebooks (EPub or Mobi) files. Calibre can help you to clean up the clutter. It can also convert from one format to the other. The best in the game!
Wordweb: desktop dictionary. No doubt, Wordweb is the most popular and the best dictionary application for windows. Lingoes is also great.
CutePDF: to convert your documents into PDF
Adobe Pro: to convert PDF files to other formats such as word, excel etc
MediaMonkey:for audio. MM is the best and probably the only software you need to manage your music and audiobook. I know so many people use iTunes. The main turn off for me with iTunes is the fact that it stores metadata about my files in a separate folder. That means, if you edit (tag) the name of the singer, the Album, the CD cover, all these information will be stored in iTunes library, not with your actual files. If you want to migrate to another application some time, you will lose all the editing you did on your files. You will not get the name of the artist, not the album…. That is bad. I want my files as clean and edited as I want. MediaMonkey can do it and store the information with the files. MediaMonkey also has better editing (tagging) tools than iTunes.
The KMPlayer: for videos. I know many people prefer VLC player. VLC is great for the fact that it can play almost all links of video/audio files you throw in to it. But, I found The KMPlayer more efficient in managing my video file. It can also play all the popular video files.
Google Chrome for browsing: I am sure you have already tried Chrome. it is a great browser. It also seems a bit faster than Firefox.
UTorrent: small but efficient torrent downloader. you have to download the earlier version of uTorrent (2.1 or earlier) if you what small size and efficient torrent downloader. The new versions have been damn shit!
IDM: for downloading files from internet: Internet download manager is the fastest download manager in the market. There are some other free alternatives to it. But, yah. I am not as such satisfied with them.
Revo Uninstaller: to uninstall applications. it removes all the junkie that uninstalled applications leave behind.
Ditto: to manage your clipboards. It keeps the contents you copied for latter use.
Everything: for desktop searching. Windows has its own desktop search engine. But, Everyting does the job faster. Switching off the search indexing of the windows also helps your computer to perform faster.
Directory Opus. Though quite expensive, Opus is the best desktop explorer software. It has been two years since I used the regular explorer.
Avast free: for antivirus. Both avast and avira are great antivirus programs. I prefer avast for two reasons. First, it doesn’t display adds ( Avira had been quite intrusive for some time. I am not sure right now if it still displays adds so aggressively as before). Secondly, it uses less resources than avira (in my pc)
Evernote: to clip webpages from website and write down notes.
7zip: to extract archive files: a free, fast and powerful software! You get almost all the features of the expensive extractors such as winrar. Just wonderful!
Bulk Rename Utility: for renaming files, though its interface is ugly, there is not better software than this one! It does the job very well
Tell me your favorite application!
First, I am not using Windows that much any more. My daily computer is a 2012 macbook pro. But, I open my windows occasionally for some specific task.
Quite surprisingly, I am still sticking with most of the same tools that I have here. Only minimal changes.
- Google Chrome –> Opera. I have replaced Chrome with Opera because Opera is faster, less bulky and has free VPN. I still sometimes fire Chrome.
- Mendeley Desktop is removed for good. Zotero has gotten better. Qiqqa is even best. I was hopeful that Mendeley will be great. Over the years, my experience is, this application doesn’t change that much. It is a dead end, specially in heavily relied on Googld Scholar for metadata extraction.
- CutePDF: is no more necessary. There is default print to pdf service now.
- Directory Opus: is less required as the Windows own explorer has gotten much better these days. I am not using it that much anymore.
- Utorrent –> Qbittorent. I still have utorrent version 2.1; the last great utorrent. But, over the years, Qbittorent has gone much better. It has internal search ingine as well as downloader. It is free as well.
- Wordweb + Antidote: Now, I have one additional dictionary called Antidote. What is best about Antidote is that it can check grammar and correct spelling. It is more of a complete writing and editing system, alongside the dictionary. Very useful piece of software.
- Add a new search tool called dtSearch. I learned about this tool after searching for many search tools windows has to offer. I still use everything. But, dtsearch is in a different league. The most powerful searching tool in the Windows in existence. NO doubt.