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Software Recommendations

Alex.88
  • 33 months ago

So I've noticed a lot of discussion about benchmarking software as a result of the new CPUs being released recently (I'm finishing up a build myself after a many year break from the hobby), and websites like https://ninite.com/ and others are starting to group a lot of the major programs together, but there's still a ton of good PC programs that aren't included, and I want to give a starting point for collecting some of those good programs.

What other (ex.: not on ninite or is already super popular) good programs do you use/recommend to others?

  • Even if your program is similar to another suggestion, still include it to give options. I'd expect most here to use Windows, so note if your recommendation is for Linux/iOS.

  • Skip most of the common benchmarking/monitoring software (ex.: prime95, Furmark, memtest86, the various CPU and GPU monitoring/OC programs, though I could make a list if there's interest) and hardware-specific software/drivers (ex.: NZXT CAM, Razer Synapse, CUE, etc.) since they're well known.

  • Only recommend software you have used yourself, and following the forum rules, do not give shortened links. If any of this doesn't follow the forum rules, let me know.
  • Try to link to the developer's main website unless there is no other option (ex.: not shady/questionable download sites/hosts).

For myself, on my boot drive:

On my secondary drive:

So, what do you use?

Testing tables:

  • Don't auto-update - the recent compromise of CCleaner is a good reminder to not auto-update applications, and only update when you need to.
  • Only install what you need -
  • If you have multiple drives, install the operating system and critical programs on one (SSD preferred), then anything else on the others. Example
  • Create a system restore - I don't have much experience with Windows' restore function since I'm so used to just wiping the whole drive periodically on my old machines, but a less extreme and probably faster alternative to that is to create and save a system restore point - one system restore point right after loading Windows before loading other programs/drivers, and another right when you've installed your base applications and the system is running smoothly.
  • Backup! Whether it's an SSD or HDD, drives do fail, whether from age or malfunction. There are a few online options to backup your data (Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc.), and with a backup program like Synkron or similar, you can automate the process to save your files automatically.
  • SSD management is different from HDD management - SSDs do not need to be defragmented
  • Smaller specific programs vs. large combined programs -
Software Notes Link
Web Browsers
Chrome . https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/desktop/index.html
Chromium . https://www.chromium.org/Home
Opera . http://www.opera.com/
Firefox . https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/
Edge . https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/microsoft-edge
Vivaldi . https://vivaldi.com/?lang=en_US
Brave . https://brave.com/
Midori . http://midori-browser.org/
Tor Browser . https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en
Utilities Various Utilites
WinDirStat Disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool https://windirstat.net/
ImgBurn Lightweight CD/DVD/Blu-ray burning application http://www.imgburn.com/
Vysor View and control Android devices from Windows https://www.vysor.io/
CrystalDiskInfo/Mark HDD/SSD utility software and disk benchmark software https://crystalmark.info/software/index-e.html
CLCL Clipboard caching utility http://www.nakka.com/soft/clcl/index_eng.html
GParted Partition editor for managing disk partitions https://gparted.sourceforge.io/
AutoHotKey Automation (and more) scripting language https://www.autohotkey.com/
Equalizer APO Parametric/graphic equalizer for Windows https://sourceforge.net/projects/equalizerapo/
f.lux Adjusts screen colors based on time of day https://justgetflux.com/
WinSetupFromUSB Install Windows from USB, multiboot, etc. http://www.winsetupfromusb.com/downloads/
Clavier+ Allows creating keyboard shortcuts http://utilfr42.free.fr/util/Clavier.php
Benchmarking Stress testing components of a computer
prime95 CPU stress testing (and used for the Mersenne Prime Search) https://www.mersenne.org/download/
FurMark GPU Stress Test OpenGL Benchmark http://ozone3d.net/benchmarks/fur/
memtest86 Memory testing and diagnostic utility https://www.memtest86.com/
UserBenchmark Speed testing components with online comparison http://www.userbenchmark.com/
Montoring/Overclocking Monitoring, adjusting, and/or overclocking components
MSI Afterburner Graphics card overclocking utility https://www.msi.com/page/afterburner
NZXT CAM General monitoring utility, some overclocking https://camwebapp.com/
Ryzen Master Official Ryzen monitoring/overclocking utility http://www.amd.com/en/technologies/ryzen-master
Open Hardware Monitor Lightweight monitoring utility http://openhardwaremonitor.org/
CPUID System information and hardware monitoring https://www.cpuid.com/
HWiNFO System information utility https://www.hwinfo.com/
Rainmeter Desktop customization tool https://www.rainmeter.net/
SpeedFan Fan controller and monitor http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php
Core Temp CPU temperature monitor http://www.alcpu.com/CoreTemp/
DesktopInfo151 Lightweight desktop info tool http://www.glenn.delahoy.com/software/
Cleaning File system cleaning
CCleaner System cleaner, startups control, etc. https://www.ccleaner.com/
BleachBit Focusing just on cleaning https://www.bleachbit.org/
Office Suites Document/Spreadsheet/Slideshow Creation
Apache OpenOffice ... https://www.openoffice.org/
LibreOffice ... https://www.libreoffice.org/
Compression File compression for faster file transfer and/or space savings
7Zip ... http://www.7-zip.org/
WinRAR ... https://www.rarlab.com/download.htm
Online Storage Cloud/remote file storage
Dropbox ... https://www.dropbox.com
Google Drive/Backup ... https://www.google.com/drive/download/
OneDrive ... https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-us/
Backup
Synkron ... http://synkron.sourceforge.net/
EaseUS ... https://www.easeus.com/backup-software/tb-free.html
Messaging Text, voice, and/or video messaging
Skype ... https://www.skype.com/en/
Discord ... https://discordapp.com/
Slack ... https://slack.com/
Google Hangouts ... https://hangouts.google.com/
Text Editors
Notepad++ ... https://notepad-plus-plus.org/
Notepad2 ... http://www.flos-freeware.ch/notepad2.html
gedit ... https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Gedit
Network and Connection
TeamViewer ... https://www.teamviewer.us
RealVNC ... https://www.realvnc.com/en/
Filezilla ... https://filezilla-project.org/
PuTTY ... https://www.putty.org/
Coding/IDEs
Visual Studio ... https://www.visualstudio.com/
NetBeans ... https://netbeans.org/
Eclipse ... https://www.eclipse.org/
Anti-Virus
Windows Defender only! Explanation referenced from Allan_M_Systems: PCPP Thread
Editors Creation, editing, recording, converting, etc.
GIMP ... https://www.gimp.org/
Blender ... https://www.blender.org/
Paint dot Net ... https://www.getpaint.net/
Inkscape ... https://inkscape.org/en/
Audacity ... http://www.audacityteam.org/
Open Broadcast Software ... https://obsproject.com/
HandBrake ... https://handbrake.fr/
SketchUp ... https://www.sketchup.com/
Lightworks ... https://www.lwks.com/
DaVinci Resolve ... https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/uk/products/davinciresolve/
IrFanView ... http://www.irfanview.com/
Media Players
Winamp ... http://www.winamp.com/index.html
VLC Player ... https://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html
Kodi ... https://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html
Other
VirtualBox ... https://www.virtualbox.org/
Google Earth ... https://www.google.com/earth/

Comments

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

This is a very general topic. There are so many programs out there for different things it is hard to start listing.

Creativity and Coding

Specialized utilities

  • ImgBurn (easy to use for extracting and creating .iso files)

  • Slips7ream (I use command line now for this purpose, but it helps with customizing Windows 7 installations with drivers and such.)

  • Vysor (Screen control of connected Android devices)

  • RevoUninstaller

General utilities

  • Glary utilities (Suite of multiple utilities, I haven't tested the full suite but what I have used of it has served quite well)

  • Auslogics disk defrag

  • Piriform's CCleaner, along with Speccy, Defraggler, and Recuva

  • Kaspersky Cleaner, and their software updater (http://free.kaspersky.com)

Antivirus

  • Kaspersky Free (still in testing, will probably write a short review later)

  • Avast (decent Android app as well, but I've had issues with their notifications)

  • Avira

  • Bitdefender (Latest free version is pretty bare-bones, but the protection is solid)

Scanning tools

  • Malwarebytes (Annoying that the premium trial is installed by default, but the scanning has been a gold standard)

  • Comodo Cleaning Essentials

  • McAfee Stinger

  • Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool (albeit no self-updating, you need to download a new version each time)

  • Emsisoft Emergency Kit

General Use, Productivity, and Media

Chrome Extensions

  • Honey (automated coupon codes and rewards)

  • Ghostery

  • uBlock Origin and uBlock Origin Extra (The best adblocker right now)

  • HTTPS Everywhere

  • NoScript

That's a few I can think of off the top of my head. I know there are a ton that I'm not thinking of right now though.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

That is a fantastic list - I'm trying out Vivaldi; compared to Chrome it looks like it has a ton more options to tweak and uses less resources.

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Vivaldi is great!

Some other programs I forgot:

  • Handbrake (Good benchmark and useful program, but I haven't really used it)

  • Eraser (Secure delete, some cleanup utilities though can also do this)

  • EaseUS Backup

  • Virtual Router (You can do this through command line as well, but if you prefer a GUI this works)

  • OneNote (Android app is quite useful as well when paired with a Bluetooth keyboard)

  • Midori (Lightweight browser on my to-test list)

  • Comodo IceDragon (Custom FireFox by a security firm, on my to-test list)

  • Pale Moon (Browser that looks a lot like an older version of Firefox)

  • PCDecrapifier

  • 32 months ago
  • 2 points

I'm kinda shocked no-one has mentioned audacity. I use it all the time for my youtube content, it just has so many good features, especially its audio compressor.

http://www.audacityteam.org/download/windows/

Also: I've tried lightworks and TBH it's my least favorite editor so far. It's terrible for beginners and 720P is really limiting. Hitfilm Express 2017 is free, can do 4K, and is way easier for newbies IMO. It has some drawbacks, like having to do any heavy effects work in a composite shot rather than just on the timeline, but in general I'd say It's a lot more straightforward. There's also davinci resolve which I have heard is good but have never tried myself.

https://hitfilm.com/express

Medibang paint pro is actually primarily a tablet app I've been using to learn how to art, but they also have desktop application which is ok. I'd say it's a lot simpler than something like photshop or gimp, but that's perfectly fine for me since I do not know how to use those programs. It still has a lot of features that I want like layers and transparent PNG export, and TBH I'm still learning how to use it. If you're looking for something a little more powerful than paint this is a good option.

https://medibangpaint.com/en/pc/

  • 32 months ago
  • 2 points

Audacity is already on ninite, but it's good to point it out/explain separately, definitely a great audio editing tool.

I've been looking for an alternative to LW; I'll give Hitfilm a try.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm afraid to respond with all the rules. Oh wait, I just did.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

If someone posts a repeat of something that's no big deal, I just wouldn't want people posting links to unknown places.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

I did a quick browse in the older topics here and tried a few more useful programs:

  • Synkron (from this PCPP topic) - http://synkron.sourceforge.net/ A new one to me; light and simple - I reorganized my files and got Synkron to back up my main documents folder to Dropbox at every boot

  • Rainmeter (from various PCPP topics) - https://www.rainmeter.net/ A popular desktop customization tool that's very customizable with help documentation. I don't have a real need for it right now, but it looks like you can do a lot with it and get a very graphic desktop.

  • HWMonitor (from various PCPP topics) - https://www.cpuid.com/softwares/hwmonitor.html Forgot about this one - another system monitor option (mainly shows frequencies, temps, and usage), and it's very lightweight.

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Mirrored from this topic, I feel I should mention it here as well: https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/18/16325202/ccleaner-hack-malware-security

[comment deleted]

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add arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up authorcheckmark clipboard combo comment delete discord dots drag-handle dropdown-arrow errorfacebook history inbox instagram issuelink lock markup-bbcode markup-html markup-pcpp markup-cyclingbuilder markup-plain-text markup-reddit menu pin radio-button save search settings share star-empty star-full star-half switch successtag twitch twitter user warningwattage weight youtube