Software that I couldn't live without.

This is a list of software that I have found useful in some way or another over the past year. I’ve been using some of these tools since I started using a computer and others have been more recent. But, ultimately, I’ve found each of them to be extremely helpful at some point or another.

The Obvious

  • Chrome
  • Firefox

Utilities

  • Directory Opus - File Management, a Windows Explorer replacement. There is also a free open source alternative called FreeCommander as well.

  • SnagIt - Screenshots, Screencasts, and a lot more. This is really useful when you need to take pictures of weird bugs you come across, if you want to do a quick capture of a feature, or if you need a reminder.

  • BitDefender - Anti-Virus, there are plenty of Anti-Virus applications out there, but I’ve always found BitDefender to be speedy and just stay out of the way.

  • RescueTime - Want to keep track of what you’re doing a majority of the week? This application runs in the background and keeps track of how long you use which applications. It will show you inefficencies in your day, and helps you figure out if you’re spending your day working the way you want.

  • DisplayFusion - If you run multiple monitors this little application is a life saver. It has a ton of features including multiple start menus for each monitor, multiple screen savers for each monitor, providing shortcut keys to send windows to other monitors, and a lot more. I’ve really enjoyed it.

  • MagicISO - ISO are pretty common and MagicISO allows you to quickly mount them as a virtual drive and get them installed.

  • 1Password - 1Password saves all your passwords in one place and gives you access to them on all your devices (android, mac, windows, iphone, etc). Its been a huge benefit to get rid of remembering passwords for every site I go to and just letting this application do it for me.

  • Beyond Compare 3 - My favorite tool for comparing files and folders.
  • Evernote - Your notes saved and sync across all your devices.
  • Fiddler2 - Awesome, free, web debugging proxy for any browser. Extremely helpful for monitoring Ajax requests or sending specific requests to a service.
  • Foxit Reader - Adobe Acrobat has always seemed too heavy for me. If you just want a light weight PDF reader. Foxit works really well.
  • Notepad++ - a free source code editor for Notepad. Notepad++ has a ton of plugins, themes, and great support for editing large files.
  • 7zip - I used to be a fan of WinZip, then WinRar, but 7zip seems to have won the fight. It supports multiple compression formats and stays out of your way.
  • VMWare - My virtualization software of choice. Certainly can check our VirtualBox as well, but I’ve always been a fan of the VMWare product line.
  • Deskspace - Virtual desktops for Windows. Really helps for segregating your work load. I keep chat and email on one desktop, as well as coding on another. Deskspace easily allows me to rotate between those virtual desktops and keep focused on a specific task. It does have some cons though, but its been a good piece of software.
  • TopDesk - Gives you a lot of behavior around switching between open windows. I’ve constantly got a ton of Windows open and ALT+TAB’ing through them often takes too long. This application can speed that process up if you get used to using it.

Developer Tools

  • Visual Studio 2012
  • SQL Server 2012
  • Visual Studio Theme - Pick a color scheme that is easier on your eyes! When you’re staring at the visual studio white background all day long, it can really start to wear on your eyes.
  • Git - Git for Windows. Great source control system.
  • Ruby - My scripting language of choice. There are many others like it: python, vbscript, javascript, but I’ve loved the Ruby language for a long time now.
  • TortoiseGit - Tortoise builds in a context menu to Windows Explorer, making it really easy to accomplish simple Git tasks while you’re browsing the file system.
  • RegexBuddy3 - If you work with Regex at all, RegexBuddy is a must have. Unfortunately, it’s not free, but I’ve found it to be invaluable when trying to piece together or debug a regex.
  • ReSharper7 - If you spend any amount of time changing code or working in Visual Studio then R# is a must have. This program has been an absolute time saver for me.
  • dotPeek - I used to be a Reflector.NET fan, before it became paid software. Not I just use dotPeek for deompiling assemblies. From the markers of R#.
  • LogFusion - Great piece of software when you’ve got to browse through log files. Has a ton of features that allow you to quickly find what you’re looking for.
  • Powershell 3.0 - Powershell has quite a learning curve, but if you take the time to climb up it, it can prove really useful for a lot of tasks.
  • LINQPad - Use C# to query database(s). Or just use it to execute random snippets of C# code. A nice tool for getting things done quickly.
  • SysInternals
  • ProcExp.exe
  • Autoruns
  • PsTools
  • nUnit An amazing testing framework. There are a lot of other frameworks out there, but nUnit has always been my goto …

Miscellaneous

  • Pidgin - An IM client that supports just about every protocol under the sun. The UI could probably use a little work, but it supports every operating system out there as well; which is quite impressive. It’s the best chat client out there for Windows, in my opinion.
  • mIRC - There really not many other options out there for getting on IRC. This has been the reigning king for a long long time.
  • PuTTY A great SSH tool for Windows. Lots of integration points and some other great utilities as well.