I mentioned earlier that I couldn’t figure out why people hate Vista so much. I’ve found it to be stable fast and fun to use. I suspect the people who are railing on it so much either haven’t used it or are predisposed to disliking anything Microsoft.
Interestingly, I haven’t found the need to tweak Vista much. It just works. Also, it seems like I run fewer applications on Vista because I just don’t seem to need as many as I did in XP. For instance, I have not installed a desktop search utility because Vista comes with one that works well.
It’s been about a month now and I’ve used the system enough to think that most of the programs important to me are installed now. Here’s a quick snap shot of what I’ve installed to date.
AxCrypt - File Encryption for Windows. Right-click integration with Windows Explorer makes AxCrypt the easiest way to encrypt individual files in Windows. Double-click integration makes it as easy to open, edit and save encrypted files as it is to work with unencrypted files.
Calendar - Nifty little program by your’s truly.
DeskDrive - Automatic drive/media shortcuts for desktop (shameless plug #2)
DoubleDesktop - There are other desktop management programs but I’ve always returned to DoubleDesktop because it does just enough and I never get lost or confused using it.
DPack 2.8.0 - Visual Studio plugin with many features. Personally, I only use the solution backup utility but it works better than anything I’ve found to date. Supports VS 2008.
Evernote 2 - Simply the best note taking, note organizing utility for windows.
FileZilla - Simply the best FTP client for windows. I like the older 2.x version better than the 3.0 version.
FireBug - A FireFox plugin that gives you XRay vision for any web page. Phenomenal.
FreeSnap - Nifty little window management utility (shameless plug #3).
Google GMail Notifier - If you use GMail, you want this
HashTab - Adds a tab called “File Hashes” to the Windows Explorer file properties. Makes checking MD5, SHA1 and CRC-32 file hashes a snap.
iTunes - Nuff said
McAfee Security Center - I actually prefer NOD32 but this one comes free with my Comcast Internet service. If you have Comcast, you’re entitled to up 6 copies of this suite. Works well on Vista.
MS Visual Studio 2008 - Works better than VS 2005 and allows you to write .NET 2.0 as well and 3.0 and 3.5. The installer projects are a bit underdone but otherwise, very stable.
Mozilla FireFox 2.0 - Better than Internet Explorer, and more fun too!
MozyHome - 2GB of free automatic backup. Not enough for your music library, but for other types of documents it’s usually enough. The automatic feature is just killer.
NUnit 2.4.3 - If you develop .NET applications, you need this. Also included in TestDriven.NET
Opera 9.5 - It really is the faster browser and seems to feel better with every release. Not quite ready to give-up FireFox but it’s getting close.
PSPad Editor - Nifty notepad replacement with syntax highlighting, line numbering and more.
Reflector - So useful it hurts. It’s hard to imagine .NET programming without this tool. Checkout the add-Ins as well.
StumbleUpon - Finds stuff you never knew you couldn’t live without!
Sumatra PDF Reader - A small (single file) PDF reader that whips the pants off of Acrobat Reader.
TestDriven.NET 2.8 Personal - Again, if you’re developing .NET programs you want this. Makes writing and running unit tests much easier.
VirtualCloneDrive - Makes using .iso files a breeze. Just double-click the the image file to mount.
VistaFirewallControl - Vista has a full-duplex firewall but it’s almost impossible to configure. Works like ZoneAlarm in that it asks your permission before allowing network access to programs.
Windows Live Writer - Who knew Microsoft could write great blog authoring software?
WinMerge - Text file differencing and merging utility
Considering the amount of time I spend on the computer, this list is really pretty short. Still, without these programs my computer would be much less useful and interesting. What are you favorites?