Software to put on a clean install of Windows 7

By David Pratt / Tags: / 8 Comments / Published: 04-01-10

Having laboured under the fickle, unreliable Windows Vista (that came bundled with my new laptop) for the last 4 months, I was delighted to give the free Windows 7 upgrade that I was entitled to a go after it eventually dropped through the letterbox. My excitement soon became frustration as the “straightforward” upgrade process proved to be anything but – software that I had on my machine was preventing the upgrade from completing successfully. A clean factory restore of the original Windows Vista followed by a clean upgrade to Windows 7 did the trick, but at the expense of losing all of the installed applications. And so I was presented with the task that every developer secretly enjoys but whines about, that of installing fresh copies all the applications that I frequently use.

Below is the list of applications that I loaded on to my new Windows 7 machine. Please let me know if you think my life could be improved by using anything not listed here!

(Note: Most of the applications that I’ve listed here can be auto-magically downloaded and installed with a tool called Ninite . Handy.)

  • Eclipse with PDT – My IDE of choice, but still feels a bit clunky.
  • Editplus 3 with extras. – I have been using this text editor for nearly as long as I have been coding websites. I’ve tried many times to shift all my development work to a full IDE such as Aptana or Eclipse, but I end up coming back to Editplus time and time again because of its speed and ease of use.
  • jQuery API browser – Much easier and quicker than navigating around the online API reference.
  • Win Merge – A great file compare tool. Integrates with Editplus nicely.
Firefox extensions
  • ColorZilla – A colour picker for websites.
  • CSS Usage – Allows you to scan multiple pages of a site to see which CSS rules are used.
  • DownThemAll! – A download manager.
  • Dust-Me Selectors – Compare the DOM to the CSS and finds all unused CSS rules.
  • Firebug – Edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page.
  • FirePHP – FirePHP enables you to log to your Firebug Console using a simple PHP method call.
  • Greasemonkey – Allows you to customize the way a webpage displays using small bits of JavaScript.
  • HTML Validator – Adds HTML validation inside Firefox and Mozilla. Aim for the green tick!
  • Image Zoom – Allows you to zoom in on images on a web page.
  • KGen (for SEO) – KGen is an extension that allows you to see what keywords are strong on visited web pages.
  • Live HTTP Headers – If you haven’t got Fiddler 2 installed, then this is a basic alternative.
  • Rank Checker (for SEO) – Allows you to easily check your website rankings in Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
  • Screen Grab – Allows you to take full web page screenshots, beyond the visible area.
  • SeoQuake (for SEO) – A suite of SEO tools.
  • Shareaholic – So useful it should be bundled with the browser as standard!
  • Web Developer – Lost its crown as the most useful Firefox extension to Firebug, but still has some unique and useful features.
  • YSlow – Analyzes web pages and why they’re slow based on rules for high performance web sites.
Image editing
  • Paint.NET – One up from MS Paint. Handy for cropping images.
  • Shrink-O-Matic – For optimising images. It takes a bunch of images and squeezes every surples byte out of them.
Office applications
  • Free Mind – A light-weight, free, mind-mapping tool.
  • Open Office – Not quite as slick as the latest version of MS Office, but still very impressive.
  • Visio – Still the best flow charting tool. Although there is an open-source one called Dia which is pretty good.
SEO tools
  • Xenu Link Sleuth – An essential tool for understanding exactly how big sites hang together. Great for finding obsolete and deadlinks.
Utilities and tools
  • 7zip – The best free, multi-format file compression utility.
  • AutoRuns – Offers a load more options over the Windows msconfig tool.
  • CCleaner – Crap cleaner
  • Defraggler – Allegedly better than the disk defragmenter bundled with Windows.
  • Fences – Desktop organiser. Wicked.
  • Fiddler 2 – This tool is amazing. What it does is watch all of the HTTP calls that are made when loading a webpage and record every detail about it, but what makes it particularly powerful is that you can set up a range of filters to record only what your interested in. Essential for debugging and testing.
  • File Zilla – FTP client
  • Greenshot – For taking all kinds of screenshots. Way better than the classic combo of hitting the PrtScn button and pasting into MS Paint!
  • HTTP Watch – Similar to Fiddler 2, but a bit more clunky!
  • Java Runtime Environment – Download it before you’re prompted to!
  • Process Explorer – Shows you information about which handles and DLLs processes have opened or loaded.
  • Recuva – Enables you to recover files that you have mistakenly deleted.
  • Revo Uninstaller – Removes every trace of a program.
  • Robo Form – Enables online forms to be auto filled.
  • Skype – Messenger and voice communicator.
  • Spybot – Search and Destroy – Removes spyware and other sorts of undesirables from your PC.
  • Subversion with Tortoise – I’m familiar with this, but many of the folk in the know seem to be making the switch to GIT these days. New years resolution, learn GIT.
  • TeraCopy – The built in windows copy and move commands + 1.
  • Tweet Deck – Plugin in your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn account details, and you never have to visit the actual sites again.
  • VideoLAN – Plays just about every video format that has ever existed, probably even some that don’t as well…
  • WinDirStat – Helps you understand visually exactly what is hogging all your hard disk space.
  • WinHTTrack – For copying an entire website.
  • Windows Grep – The best find and replace tool that I’ve come across.

Where would a developer be without his tunes?

  • iTunes – I use it to get Podcasts from the iTunes store.
  • Songbird – Similar to iTunes, but allows you to install add-ons in a similar fashion to Firefox.
  • Spotify – Amazing.

Category: Tech


Posted: on January 4th, 2010 at 4:55 pm.

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8 Responses to “Software to put on a clean install of Windows 7”

Hitesh January 4th, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Completely agree. Even Editplus, the only paid software in your list. I tried the free alternate like notepad++ but always fell back to editplus. Currently trying Komodo Edit, so far so good.

Hitesh January 4th, 2010 at 10:38 pm

BTW, you forgot a backup tool. Dropbox?

David Pratt January 4th, 2010 at 10:43 pm

I’ve heard good things about Dropbox and even installed it in the past, but I have never got around to setting it up properly. I’ll take another look at it.

Daniel Serodio January 5th, 2010 at 5:52 pm

You should try DiffMerge, it’s way better (and prettier) then WinMerge, and XMind for mind-mapping (a bit on the resource-hungry side, thou).

I also install IrfanView (lightweight image viewer with support for a ton of file formats), Notepad2 (replacing Notepad) and Notepad++.

I also swear by Miranda IM (lightweight replacement for MSN, Google Talk, etc.)

David Pratt January 5th, 2010 at 6:53 pm

DiffMerge, XMind, Notepad2 and Miranda IM are all new on me, but I’ll take a look at them.

I used to always use IrfanView, but these days I find the default Windows viewer capable enough for image viewing. I do like Notepad++, but Editplus just edges it for me!

Jon Anthony January 7th, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Great list Dave
In coding I would recommend
You can keep you personal and small sized projects under source control for free and it they support both GIT and SVN
Very handy for accessing your code when you are on the move!

Erik February 23rd, 2012 at 9:25 pm

any changes to your list after 2 years?

Jeff December 22nd, 2012 at 4:39 am

I would add Klite Mega Codec pack so you can watch any video or audio without needing the codecs.

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