Which tools\utilities I use

Well, some people use their blog as reminder – I am one of them ;)


It is loooooooong time ago since I wanted to replaced everything in Windows and I modded everything possible and even impossible – currently I prefer mostly built-in utilities, I don’t even have FireFox… However there are some utilities that I really need to have on every computer I must work with for more than few days.


So I decided to put together list of tools\utilities I like to use for easy reference in future. All of them are freeware (except Total Commander):


 


Command line utilities


  • SysInternals – everyone knows SysInternals, everyone love their tools…
  • JoeWare – home of CPAU and MANY great utils :)
  • Bill Stewart – another collection of great tools
  • SystemSherlock Lite – easy to use and powerful snapshoting – now with GUI :D
  • Windows Resource Kit – tons of tools – some are useful, some obsolete, overall must have
  • Ritchie Lawrence – home of cmdown and mtee
  • UnxUtils – port of most famous unix tools to Windows – NO INSTALLATION REQUIRED, these tools are native to Windows
  • Err.exe – well, officially Exchange utility, but is not really related only to Exchange. It allows you to translate error codes to friendly text
  • File Checksum Integrity Verifier – great small utility from Microsoft that allows you to generate hash from files. It supports also recursive mode – so it is VERY useful when generating hashes from folders, especially in combination with sha1.exe:
  • fciv -add “<Folder>” -r -bp “<Folder>” | find /i /v “End Time..:” | find /i /v “Start Time:” | sha1

    This command will generate hash from specific folder. Because we include -bp, you can also use to to compare 2 folders (fullpath is not hardcoded ;))

     


GUI Tools


  • Switcher – Do you know Expose for Mac? Switcher is same for Vista :) It is probably best replacement for Alt+Tab – with built-in searching
  • Qliner – easily assign programs to WinKey combinations – WinKey+C for cmd, WinKey+T for Total Commander etc…
  • Total Commander – hmmm, I would like to replace it with something else, but as far as I know there is no real alternative :(
  • Vista Battery Saver – got Vista & Laptop? Then you must download Battery Saver, it will really help you a lot (specially in case when you want to use Aero)
  • Jing – taking screenshots and videos – Jing is best for this, however I still have feeling it won’t stay free for long :(
  • Last.FM – no more media player, no more web radios – last.fm is simply best for music :) Software player is still missing many features (global hotkeys, global hotkeys, global hotkeys…), but it works :)
  • TortoiseSVN – I love SVN, even for my home projects\scripts and Tortoise is definitely best SVN client available
  • Windows Live Writer – really great utility for writing blog posts from Microsoft
  • Windows Live Messenger – Messenger… Ehm…
  • WinSplit Revolution – small utility that allows you to easily work with windows – resize, store at predefined coordinates, move etc… Also allows you to move windows between monitors
  • Crimson Editor – last version was released in 2004, but it is still my favorite text editor – but I need to find some time and evaluate alternatives (already tried PsPad, but was not really satisfied)
  • Application Compatibility Toolkit – even though it is still missing documentation, I really like ACT
  • Free Download Manager – nice, free, functional. What else do you want from download manager? ;)
  • Dependency Walker – nice tool for monitoring dll dependencies – it is however obsolete and would need few patches :(
  • RSAT\AdminPack – ehm, mandatory? ;)
  • Plaxo Toolbar – easy to use and FUNCTIONAL central synchronization of contacts and calendar.

Obsolete (I don’t use them in Windows Vista anymore)


  • RevoUninstaller – really nice utility for uninstalling applications. In Vista, instant search is enabled, so I use it really only in case of some leftovers (it is portable)
  • visionapp Remote Desktopnice RDP manager – version 2008 is not free anymore, so I am looking for alternative right now. UPDATE: Visionapp is working on new version of free edition. Only feature I am missing is configuration stored in file instead of registry value (because there is limitation of string lenght in registry and you run into such issues with big number of servers).
  • Process Lasso – I don’t have corporate notebook, so I don’t have 16 processes from Altiris\Symantec running on my PC. However I still love Process Lasso – it saved my nerves many times ;)
  • TaskSwitchXP – really nice replacement for Alt+Tab – in my case it was replaced with Switcher (WDM supported). One feature I loved was “minimize to tray” when you right-clicked on minimize button

Tools I am missing :(


As you can see, it is not really long list, I like to keep my computer as close to default configuration as possible… I would however like to add few tools to this collection, so if you know about any, let me know ;)


 


  • MultiMon management – when using multiple monitors, I would like to have few additional features (well, first of all I think it should be included in OS) – separate taskbars for different monitors and button next to minimize to move window between monitors. As far as I know there are only 2 products available – MultiMon (doesn’t work on Vista) and Ultramon (not free) :(
  • Total Commander replacement – I would like to have something that runs natively in 64b and is fully multi threaded (each tab separate thread, so the whole commander won’t freeze when you try to connect to unavailable share)
  • Ad blocker – really small blocker, something like AdMuncher, but available for free UPDATEL: IE7Pro have built-in ad blocker. Simply and functional.
  • Good password manager – RoboForm is not free, SSOPlus is too buggy, AlPass is missing many features… And rest of them is either not really reliable, or is missing good credentials management, or doesn’t support autofill :(  UPDATE: Dennis showed me utility he is using called Sticky Password and that was exactly what I was looking for. It is NOT freeware, however I will probably just pay 25$ they want for it ;)
  • RDP manager – some replacement for vRD. I definitely want to have same credentials management as vRD (that is very limiting, I know) UPDATE: VisionApp is working on new version of freeware vRD – and I like concept of free vs. Pro edition. So there is no reason why to look for alternative when it is only question of time.
  • Text editor – I need to finally replace Crimson Editor, but haven’t evaluated any other text editors (except PSPad) yet :(

8 thoughts on “Which tools\utilities I use”

  1. Hello Martin,
    I have read your article and want to add a quick comment about vRD.
    Yes the new vRD2008 version is not for free. But the vRD 1.5 version is still available and is for free. It is planed that visionapp offer in a couple of months a new freeware version of his well known vRD.
    Other tools are also planning to provide a commercial version. I think vRD is still the best.
    Best regards
    Christian

  2. Hi Christian,

    announcement of vRD2008 was one of biggest disappointements in last few months for me – I really loved vRD, in fact only feature I was missing was that it stored XML in registry instead of configuration file (why is that problem? registry have limitation for string lenght and I was encountering this problem over and over again).

    If there will be vRD2008 Express (free) that will fix this, there is no reason why to search for alternative for me ;)

    Thanks for information, I am really looking forward to it :)

    Martin

  3. You are looking for an AdBlocker?
    If you use Firefox you should try AdBlock Plus, you can subscribe to filterlists and all ads will be gone :D…
    If you are not using Firefox: Try it :P
    No, seriously: FF is the best browser imho, but you have to use some additional addons to make it perfect for yourself…
    If you want me to, I could send you a list of the -in my opinion- most important addons.

    SwissGuy

  4. Well, I just read that you “don’t even have FireFox” – what a shame :D
    I really think you should try it (if you don’t want to install it, there’s still FF portable)

  5. Heya SwissGuy,

    in fact I have FF (together with Opera and Safari) on my PC as thinstalled packages (www.thindownload.com) and sometimes I use them, but for what I need IE is really fine (well, AD block similar to AdBlockPlus is included in IE7Pro) and I don’t feel that value added by other browsers is what I am missing ;)

    I was using Maxthon for few years and I really liked it, but IE7 filled all my needs (well, tabs and aliases)..

  6. Yes, I think so… For my pages Sticky Tools works better, and also supports many windows forms where I had problems with Roboform…

    Martin

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