back to article Ten free apps to install on every new PC

You've just taken delivery of a new PC, and you're looking for some good apps to run on it. You'll no doubt have a few in mind, but before reaching for your wallet, check out these ten essentials, all of which we think you'll find darn useful - and they won't cost you a penny. RH Numbers OpenOffice 3.2 Many new PCs come with …

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7-zip?

7-zip is the first app installed on every PC for me. Then (in no particular order):

FileZilla

NotePad++

Agent Ransack

Everything else is installed as needed.

ps. iTunes? Really?

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Happy

Just goes to show...

With this type of article you aren't going to please everyone but it has to be said you fowled up by putting in:

Skype

iTunes (You clearly own an iPhone :p)

Next time why don't you put these top ten lists to the Reg user's vote then nobody can complain ?

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Flame

Seriously

iTunes is flamebait

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itunes?

Alot of the comments here are just expressing personal opinion. But itunes, you're so far of the mark it's not real. It's something I'd expect to see recommended by the BBC website tech pages.

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FAIL

VideoLan Client?

From the VLC FAQ:

"VLC is the official name of VideoLAN's main product, often named VLC. VideoLAN Client is an ancient name of this product."

It is NOT formally known as the VideoLan Client - it is officially VLC.

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Grenade

OO32 -- oooooo

BTW brill + vitally necessary article + replies. Nobody needs cygwin? Weird. But on to OO32. Oh dear: bugs. And yes I've done the diligence reporting. And yes I think it's a jolly good thing. But given that the only time I ever touch microsoft doc is because someone is holding a gun to my head, it aint cool that OO32 spins off and thinks for a few minutes, trying to disentangle some windoze artifact. And sometimes it never comes back. And the pdf-maker fails. And the layout. And ...

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Gold badge

However..

.. if you ever work on complex documents and Word borks on it to the point of simply crashing, OOo will save the day (and your doc). Open and save in OOo, and the crashing goes.

Don't know how it does it, but I have been using that trick since OOo 1.2 or so, it has saved me + formed colleagues an absolute *ton* of work.

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OOo is excellent at fixing MS Office Borkings

We had an issue with a ~2MB spreadsheet that would slowly creep up to about 40MB with frequent opening-and-saving through Excel 03.

The only fix we could come up with was to every morning open it in OOo and save it again to bring the size down. Apparently OOo wasn't 'secure enough' to actually deploy it proper, so we went and got MS Office 07 where the file's just allowed to be ginormous.

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Gav
Unhappy

Say no to iTunes.

It cannot be emphasised enough. Say no to iTunes. Do not install iTunes unless you absolutely have no other option. And even then, lock it down so it does nothing without asking you twice first.

Otherwise it will take over your computer, re-organise, retag, and install no end of crap that interferes with everything else.

Apart from that, it's garbage. There's a dozen other free media players who can do the same better, or without all the accompanying grief iTunes brings.

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Linux

Linux

is the only free software needed on a PC

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Chrome!

I, and most people I know, have settled with Google's Chrome browser and are very happy with it. So simple, just does what you want.

Open Office gets installed on every computer I own, but honestly almost never gets used. The Real World runs on MS office, and MS Office file formats. If you want to get real work done, they're your only choice.

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MS File Formats

The whole point about Open Office is that it will read and write the MS formats, so it can be used quite happily to edit such files and still talk to the unenlightened.

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Flame

seriously

light your balls on fire for suggesting iTuna

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Is it just me who uses songbird?

As with others, I avoid iTunes. iTunes is NOT a tool for people who understand computers, it's a tool for users who want the fully managed Apple experience. And yes, it will all break down when they want to get a new machine. However, we all know these users will not be commenting on this thread, but instead be blissfully happy with their managed media library.

I think most of us understand that iTunes exists primarily as a tool to help Apple sell hardware and media. It's an advertising channel for them, and that will always be it's priority.

All these recommendations of foobar, winamp etc. And not one person mentions Songbird. Been giving that a shot for a while (to be fair on a mac, but same same), and while yes, to get it to how i wanted it, i had to put in a few plug ins, but it's 100% open source, and from the Mozilla foundation, and largely the firefox code base.

Microsoft Security Essentials (which I like in fact - it's the most invisible a/v i've ever seen on windows) is NOT free. You need a paid and activated and "genuine" version of windows to download and install it. Every other A/V will install on a pirated copy of windows. MSE requires you to PAY.

Cheers

san1t1

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probably will be soon

See my remarks under scribus scribus scribus re Songbird

Also

foobar does some things I like which songbird doesn't

and it seems that Songbird is in danger of making the same mistake as Nero i.e. moving on to video pmps support etc etc and prioritising new features on these media rather than fixing/adding to basic audio functionality.

Although not fanatical about Linux I do feel it's a shame that Songbird dropped Linux support coincidentally after making contracts with Sony (DRM fanatics) - get more funding and drop support for Linux??

- as they're based on Firefox platform as well it seems wrong somehow.

Just my two penn'orth

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Security Essentials updates

Correction: Security Essentials updates silently and automatically just like any other AV.

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Whose PC is it anyway?

Tried Foxit PDF Viewer on this recommendation and chose to control the installation options (to avoid its sneaking in stuff didn't want). But the Firefox "add-on" isn't just for viewing PDFs: it occupies window space all the time.

Foxit also changed my IE home page to suit itself. There was no option not to do this.

Deleted it immediately. Clearly I'd expect more trouble from a program that believes it owns my PC.

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Googling FoxIt and "home page" -

Seems to confirm independently that the latest FoxIt version does set Internet Explorer's home page, and also unavoidably installs the Ask.com toolbar under its own brand. Publisher presumably is right now realising that this is unpopular behaviour, so it may go away.

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Silver badge

Lot's of free apps do this...

... and its incredibly annoying. Yes I know the app is free, but it's common decency to offer the user the option to choose to install some toolbar or not. At the end of the day many people still will do it, but at least they've been given the choice.

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Silver badge

BIt of advice on Foxit

I've been using Foxit for years. Great program. But you're right about the installer. The solution to this problem is to grab the Zip file off their site instead of the installer. Unpack and run Foxit. No extra just included that way.

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itunes????

itunes? gold standard??

wtf?

it's bloated and awful, try as you might you'll not be able to stop the ipod service from starting at startup even if you dont have an ipod and you disable the service.

The music you can buy through it is 128Kbps - shitty quality, it's inexplicably large for a music player, horrible piece of software to have on your machine.

Mediamonkey, songbird, much better choice.

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Silver badge

Gold Standard

When it comes to gold, think Gordon Brown...

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Linux

how about

Vim and mitex.

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WTF?

DropBox

How can ANYONE live without DropBox?

http://tinyurl.com/Dr0pB0x2

Like UbuntuOne, but better in virtually every respect, and multiplatform. It's also got Android and iPhone apps in beta and soon to support selective sync.

Click the link above and checkout the video on their site for a better explanation of how it works, and what benefits it offers...

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Jobs Horns

I was about to send this list to my friends, but...

Itunes, really, Itunes? You guys need to put down the crack pipe and get back to the real world. I wouldn't even suggest itunes even if you were stupid enough to buy a Iphone/Ipod instead of a FLAC playing device.

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Decrapifier for any new system

Different than CrapCleaner (CCleaner), this will remove all

of that preinstalled trialware from a new PC. Excellent for removing those demos you'll never use

like AOL (?!) MSN and a lot of the rest. It's works flawlessly in my experience, but even if it misses something, you're that much closer to a less-crappy machine.

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First thing to use on a new system...

... before one gets around to installing software that's actually useful.

On more than one I've had the, ahem, pleasure to deal with a brand new out of the box machine, and in each case, the plethora of toolbars, trial versions and thinly veiled spyware could have easily taken an hour or more to manually hunt down and remove.

So yes, on a new machine, Decrapifier should be the first thing you run.

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I am not gona wade threw all your posts, but I will push my suggestion forward.

Netpaint, its free (payment via donation), it does not install crap, and it works really nicley.

I use it as a replacement for Paint Shop Pro 3, where afterwards they broke what I liked about PSP.

Anyhoo whilst I disagree with some choices (ie iTunes ), I used to agree with others such as FoxIT, when I first found it I loved it, now I am not so hot as they have been slowly but surely making it less of a pleasure, and have now managed to put me off stumping up the cash for there PDF publisher version.

Overall its nice to have somthing like this published every so often so I can have a shuffty at it and see if there is anything I have missed.

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I'm guessing you actually mean

Paint.NET

I was going to recommend the exact same thing, it's a fantastic piece of software.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

MS Security Free with nagware

Also insists WGA be installed, despite doing a check with Redmond that the XP license is valid before installing. Then it demands WGA installation daily and insists my valid XP license is probably fake. Then it states 31 -n days to deactivation.

And it crashes something every hour or two and wants to send "error logs" offsite containing personal details. As soon as I can convince my wife to use a reliable OS, MS and its products will be gone.

No I dont want to install WGA and use the common deactivation hacks. Back to other suppliers for security from some firms less nosy.

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Silver badge

Some right, some wrong

OpenOffice, despite the flack it gets as a 'freetard product' is absolutely a must have for a home computer. Honestly why anyone would pony up the money for the fugly piece of crap office suite Microsoft tries to cram down our throats is beyond me. Open Office looks better, works better, and is free. A clear win even if it is a bit on the slowish side.

iTunes....Seriously....Freckin' ITUNES? WTF are you people thinking? I can name off half a dozen free media library/player programs that are better than that sorry excuse for software.

Foxit Reader rocks. Easily 3 times as fast as Adobe Reader and gives you some editing capability as well (with the Windows version anyway). Just make sure you grab the zip file rather than the exe when you download it unless you want extra crap on your computer.

I used Pidgin till I got sick of being bothered by everyone on my buddy list every time I sat down at the computer. I used Trillian before that but got fed up with that program for some reason I can't recall. Anyway, Pidgin is a nice program to have if you do IMs.

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FAIL

Ergh

iTunes? No thanks. Never. Ever.

MSSE? Just use Avast or Avira or $yourfreeAVchoice.

Skype? Okay, it's not bad. Not even close to necessary though.

OOoOOoOOO or whatever the hell they're calling it now... eat me. Never putting that piece of shit anywhere near a computer again. Long story. Many flaws. Not usable.

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i suppose it depends

on what you are going to use the machine for, for me an absolute essential freebie application is visual studio express.

obviously pretty useless if you're not a programmer though. To my mind pidgin, skype, etc would fall into the category of preinstalled crap i'd remove before using. Not exactly essentials!

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Pint

Thanks for the lsit!

Only, please, remove iTune...

I would also add the following FREE apps:

7-zip. First thing I install on a PC. Will do zip, rar, 7z format and MANY other like CAB and MSI. Faster than winzip and winrar!

Total commander. Will do batch rename, super fast FTP, batch archive conversion, cut and join file and so many other thing, the list is endless... It's my swiss army knife.

MSSE. Best anti-virus, anti-spyware I ever used. And I've tried a lot of them. Practically no resource overhead. Catch everything. Zero false positive. Oh, and it IS -free- with my *legally* purchased Windows... and since it only run on Windows anyway, saying it's not free is illogic!

Spybot. Mainly for the "immunize" function which I do once a month to black list bad website form IE and Firefox. Since I use MSSE, Spybot find nothing save minor things like bad cookies! :)

Malwarebyte's Anti-malware: A complement to Spybot. Can also delete locked files. Not much a use since MSSE, but you never know...

Superantispyware: A complement to Spybot. Not much a use since MSSE, but you never know...

Spywareblaster: A great web browser immunize. Prevent you from accessing bad website. Just run the app once a month to update IE or Firefox black list. No need to run all the time. Complementary and similar to Spybot immunize function.

Utorrent. Best torrent client in my book. You might want to disable the bandwidth management function that cause problems on some configuration.

Bit Che. A fantastic torrent meta crawler. Can't live without.

TCP-Z. Wonderful to analyze your bandwidth in real time with a lot of statistics. Also patch Tcip.sys file (permanent) or even live in memory (until reboot) without modifying your original file! Changing half-open limit to 50 result in getting my file to download at peak speed a lot faster in all my peer apps!

PC tools firewall. Light years ahead of even costly retail solution. As good and simpler than Comodo.

Peerblock. The successor of Peerguardian. Much better and stable. Work with Vista and Win7. You like to preserve your anonymity online and make sure you don't access suspicious/harmful website? Get this, fast.... This is not a firewall, it's an IP filter! Work great with PC tool firewall.

Netdrive. Want to have the ability make FULL folder operation on FTP folder? Just map a windows drive letter to an FTP address with this app and you are all set!

DAEMON Tools Lite. Do I need to present this? Best CD/DVD emulation ever.

Firefox with: Tab mix plus, DownthemAll!, DownloadHelper, Adblock plus, Default Zoom level and your choice of dictionary to correct your spelling in post such as this one!. (I use United-State dictionary 4.0)

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WTF?

Just to add my voice...

...to the masses exclaiming that you should actually be shot for suggesting iTunes.

Also, I prefer PDF-XChange Viewer to Foxit. But that's a preference thing I guess. Oh, and Teracopy is awesome.

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Dex
Alert

WinAMP instead of iTunes

Enough said there! It'll even do your iPod too :D

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FAIL

MS Antivirus

You cannot install MS Antivirus on every new PC - it is free only for PERSONAL usage!

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Apps i always install

On a new Windows PC the following is always done:

stop it hiding extensions for known file types,

Set the swap partition as fixed 2x memory

Install Firefox and disable Internet Exploiter (IE)

Install Spybot S&D

Install AVG antivirus Free

Install RocketDock - amazing applesque looks and skinnable

K-Lite Codec Pack incl. Media Player Classic

Winamp + shoutcast (i stream to the internet a lot)

Notepad ++ (a must have)

Then for my official capacity as Developer

XAMPP

Tomcat

Java SDK

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