Software

Listed below are some essential pieces of software, with links to their sites. Most of them are freeware. Please read the disclaimer, before downloading anything.

Audio

AIMP
AIMP is a full-featured free music player designed with sound quality and wide, customizable functionality in mind. Over twenty audio formats are supported. Audio is processed in 32-bit for crystal-clear sound. The player features a 18-band graphics equalizer with extra built-in sound effects. You can extend the existing functionality adding Input, DSP and Gen plug-ins from Winamp. All local and global hotkeys are customizable. Full Unicode support. You can convert AudioCD to MP3, OGG, WAV or WMA. Similarly, you can grab sound from any audio device on your mPC to MP3, OGG, WAV or WMA formats.
MediaMonkey
Free media jukebox & music manager for serious music collectors. It has a CD Ripper supporting Freedb, MP3 player (plays CDs, WMA and OGG files), audio converter (for OGG, WMA, & MP3 conversion), tag editor, music playlist editor, file renamer, etc.

Browsers

Google Chrome
Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer and easier.
The Chome Web Store has thousands of apps, games, extensions and themes for you to add to Chrome. I prefer to keep things to a minimum to stop it becoming bogged down, so restrict use to the following.

  • feedly – A fast and stylish way to read and share the content of your favorite sites. Provides seamless integration with Google Reader and Twitter.
  • Pendule – Extended web developer tools for Chrome.
  • Google Shortcuts – Display all Google services as buttons in a space-saving popup next to your address bar. Reach services like Gmail, Google Reader, Google Maps, Google Calendar, and many more in just two clicks from your browser. The extension includes more than 150 Google services and websites
  • Screen Capture – Easy to use this extension to capture visible content of a tab, a region of a web page, or the whole page as a PNG image
  • Up – Adds a button which allows you to navigate ‘up’ from the current URL. For example from http://example.com/fred/barney you can go to http://example.com/fred/ and http://example.com/
  • Webmail Ad Blocker – Removes the ads and sponsored links and squeezes out the empty space left behind by other ad blockers to give you more room to write your messages.
  • Click&Clean – Click&Clean is an innovative and totally free solution for your PC that will help you to: Scan your PC for Malware – Delete your browsing history – Remove download history – Erase temporary files – Clear cookies and Empty cache – Delete client-side Web SQL Databases – Remove Flash Cookies (LSOs) – Protect your privacy by cleaning up all traces of your internet activity – Clean up your hard drives and Free up more disk space, icluding secure file deletion using external applications, like CCleaner or Wise Disk Cleaner. – Watch flash videos offline, without being connected to the Internet!
  • Bookmark Sentry – This is a simple scanner for your Google Chrome bookmarks. It checks for bad links and duplicates and displays a report if it finds something. It can be scheduled to run a scan every couple of days or not at all
  • Clickable Links – Turns unclickable urls (http://, https://, ftp://) & email addresses into clickable ones.
Mozilla FireFox
Mozilla’s stripped down standards compliment browser is fast and very user friendly, with tabbed browsing, pop-up / ad blocker and the large number of extensions which can be installed to add extra usability.
I’d also suggest the following extensions for FireFox – I don’t use FireFox for general browsing anymore so have dropped the list of everyday extensions I don’t use or know if they work with FF4 and so here’s the Web Dev tools I do use when testing.
  • Web Development :
  • Web Developer – Adds a menu and a toolbar with various web developer tools.
  • IE View – Lets you load pages in IE with a single right-click, or mark certain sites to *always* load in IE. Useful for incompatible pages, or cross-browser testing.
  • IE Tab – This is a great tool for web developers, since you can easily see how your webpage displayed in IE with just one click and then switch back to Firefox.
  • FireBug – Firebug integrates with Firefox to put a wealth of development tools at your fingertips while you browse. You can edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page.
  • ScreenGrab – Screengrab saves entire webpages as images
Internet Explorer
make sure you have the latest version
Avant
A stand alone application designed to expand services provided by Microsoft Internet Explorer. Avant Browser is a fast, stable, user-friendly, versatile multi-window browser. Avant Browser allows user to browse multiple Web sites simultaneously and block all unwanted pop-up pages and flash ads. All opened pages can be easily stopped, refreshed, closed or arranged with one click. The integrated cleaner helps user to clear all traces and keep privacy. Built-in Yahoo/Google search engine enables user to search for web pages, images, groups, directories, lyrics, software and news in Internet. Program is available in 32 different translations. Now with built in RSS/Atom feeds reader.

E Mail Client

Popcorn
Lightweight e-mail client for Windows, needs no installation, small enough to carry on any portable media so you can check your mail on the road, ideal for scanning and deleting spam/unwanted mail, immune from mail attachment and HTML viruses/scripts/trojans. Full version is now available FREE, you can send attachments and it has an address book and multiple accounts.

FTP Client

FileZilla
Fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface.

Graphics

GIMP
GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages. Used for most of the graphics on this site.
PNG Optimizer
Small and very simple piece of kit to clean up that optimizes compression and strips unused meta-data to reduce the size of a PNG file without any loss in quality.
IrfanView
A small, fast, easy to use image viewer, that supports a large number of file types. It’s not just a viewer though as you can cut, crop, resize and edit images as well.

HTML Editor

HTML Kit
A free, full-featured, customizable, multi-purpose editor designed to help HTML, XHTML and XML authors to create and publish web pages. With a huge number of plugins to make editing pages a breeze.

Security

Avast Anti Virus
A full-featured antivirus package designed exclusively for home users, non-commercial users.
Ad-Aware
Designed to provide advanced protection from known Data-mining, aggressive advertising, Parasites, Scumware, selected traditional Trojans, Dialers, Malware, Browser hijackers, and tracking components.
SpyBot Search & Destroy
Detect and remove spyware of different kinds from your computer.
Malwarebytes
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware powerful technology to detect and remove all traces of malware including worms, trojans, rootkits, rogues, dialers, spyware and more.
CCleaner
CCleaner is our system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally it contains a fully featured registry cleaner. But the best part is that it’s fast (normally taking less than a second to run) and contains NO Spyware or Adware!
IE Privacy
Automatically clean up all traces of your Internet activity at Windows shutdown, start up or when the last window of Internet Explorer is closed, including those nasty .dat files. The secure wiping option makes it impossible to recover deleted files.

Zip Archive

7-Zip
7Zip is an open-source file archiver, that offers a the highest compression ratio, using the new f 7z format, which delivers compression results that are usually 30-50% better than standard ZIP. We tested it with a server log file, which compressed with ZIP had a file size of 18 mb and using 7-Zip was reduced to 8 mb (results may vary, depending on file type). In addition, 7Zip also supports 7z, ZIP, CAB, RAR, ARJ, GZIP, BZIP2, TAR, CPIO, RPM and DEB formats, so it can be used with all popular archive files as well. The program offers a basic file explorer interface and also integrates into the Windows right-click menu. It can be associated with any of the supported formats and also offers commandline support. Interface and additional features are fairly basic, but the compression ratio is outstanding.
ArcConvert
There as some archive types 7-Zip can’t handle for them there’s ArcConvert which can convert many archive types from one (7-ZIP, LZH, CAB, ZIP, ARJ, ACE, RAR, TAR, TGZ, GZ, Z, BZ2, YZ1, YZ2, GCA, BEL, RPM, DEB, BH, Noa32, HKI, PAQAR,SQX, HA, ZOO, UHARC, LFB, ZLIB, UCL, IMP, RS, SPL, APK, Arc, DZ, MSI, ALZ, PMA, PAQ7, CHM ,UDA ) to another (ZIP, 7-ZIP, CAB, LHA, TAR, TGZ, BZ2, YZ1, BGA, RAR, ACE, NOA32, HKI, PAQAR, UHARC, YZ2, DZ, HA).