Good Softwares and Applications for Windows


You're looking for the best tools to do the right job? I am always looking for new tools and I compare them. Here are some tools for Windows (sometimes multi-platform) that I recommend. The price is just an indication (Free* means that it's free under conditions).

Utilities

Task Product Name Price Description
Compare files/folders & FTP Beyond Compare $30 This tool is a must have. It can be used to compare two folders, two files, a folder and a FTP, show the differences. I use it to update my website, compare two source codes...
(De)Compression WinRAR $29 Not free but much more functionalities and better UI then 7-Zip. Supports most common formats.
7-Zip Free The best free compression/decompression tool. Supports many formats.
Search & replace PowerGREP $149 Search and replace in files with regular expressions. Way better then the windows built-in search tool.
Rename-It! Free Search and replace file names. This is a tool that I made.
Disk usage JDiskReport Free Show the space used by each folder.
File editor VIM Free The file editor available on all platforms and also one of the most powerful text editors. However it's limited to that: It's not adapted to edit many files of a project, and it's for sure not a development environment. Also the learning curve is really stiff. Very handy when you are using TelNet. Any serious developer should know it.
Notepad++ Free Similar to EditPlus (see below), less mature yet but under heavy development. It is a good choice for those that want similar features as VIM without the hard learning curve implied.
Ultra Edit $50 One of the best text editor on Windows but not limited to simple plain text files. It provides many additional functionalities. Personally I don't like it so much.
EditPlus $30 Easy to use text files editor similar to the popular UltraEdit but lighter.
WinHex $50-$240 It's my new favorite hexadecimal (binary) editor over Hex Workshop because it has much more functions (including raw disk and memory access and more tools) but also because it works correctly on Windows Vista.

Software Development

Task Product Name Price Description
Integrated Development Environments Microsoft Visual Studio Expensive The best and most used IDE for Windows for C++, C#, J# and others.
Eclipse Free Very good tools multi-platform with many plug-ins and so on. I don't find it as good a Visual Studio of C++/C# and such, but for other languages like Java it's my favorite.
Create installer NSIS Free It's gaining in popularity. This tool creates software installers for your application by writing a simple script and compiling it.
UML Visual Paradigm Free*-Expensive Create UML diagrams and others. There is a free community version.
Source code documentation Doxygen Free Write your comments in a special way and it'll create a documentation for your source code. So next time you or another read it, they won't feel "lost in da space".
Create demo Wink Free Record and create SWF or video demo of your application.
Outliner/PIM/ToDo Ultra Recall $40-$100 By far the best outliner I know (but too expensive to my point of view).
VIP To Do List $30-$100 More for developers to keep a ToDo list with progress and categories.
PDesk Free Also for Palm (free also). Really ugly Windows interface, but nice and easy outliner.
SCM (Source Control Management) Perforce Free*-$800 Simple to setup and powerful comparison software. Good for local/LAN (not for internet development); the server requires Windows. Files are locked before edition.
Subversion + TortoiseSVN Both Free Subversion (SVN) is a successor of the popular CVS. Harder to install than Perforce, it is more adapted for internet development. You'll have to install and setup two separate software and count some extra work to setup an internet-accessible repository. Files are usually not locked but merged when concurrency occurs.

Network & Internet

Task Product Name Price Description
Browser Firefox Free It's just around the best actual browser. Very famous.
Download Manager Free Download Manager Free A good download manager to download faster and with better resume support than most browsers' build-in downloader. Support HTTP, FTP and BitTorrent. It can even download a whole website. If you use Firefox I advise you the FlashGot extension which will help you using those download manager the correct way.
FlashGet Free* Similar to Free Download Manager without website download support but with eMule support. A little down point: The latest version seem to display some ads on the side.
E-mail Thunderbird Free It an e-mail client like Outlook but much more powerful.
IncrediMail Free/Adv Famous e-mail client for its UI that looks like those in the movies.
Chat Trillian Free/$25 MSN/ICQ/AOL/Yahoo/IRC it does it all.
aMSN Free If you don't like Windows Live Messenger or you're not on Windows, it's a good alternative.
FTP Server Nofeel FTP Server $40-$120 Powerful and easy to setup FTP and HTTP server. It's now the best FTP server I have found. Many functionalities and a powerful virtual directory, with many limitations and settings possible.
Fastream IQ Web/FTP Server Free*/$35-$70 HTTP and FTP server (the HTTP server offer just basic access and setup). HTTP is easier to share files but doesn't provide upload capabilities.
FileZilla Free A good light and free choice for simple networks. Once you have a router or more, or when you want some more control, it becomes quickly limited.
Password Keeper KeePass Password Safe Free Keeps in an encrypted database all your passwords (not only internet but any kind of password). You can auto-type the passwords by using Ctrl+Alt+A, and it is simple to backup them. Don't keep one password for all websites! OpenID is also an alternative for the internet in the future.
TelNet/SSH PuTTY Free Telnet/SSH client. You may have to change the keyboard settings to make special keys work correctly.

Design & Multimedia

Task Product Name Price Description
Edit sounds Audacity Free Very good sound editor for amateur work.
Browse images FastStone Image Viewer Free I looked at many image viewers, applications to view all images quickly and with some functions. This one is the best I found. It's similar to the old ACD See just much better (if you don't need those extra-heavy functions of the new ACD See).
XnView Free Another tool a bit lighter and faster so also very nice. Compared to FastStone some features are missing and the interface isn't as nice.
Create/Edit icons IconWorkshop $70 Create and edit ICO/CUR files.
Create/Edit bitmap images Adobe Photoshop Expensive Very expensive and hard to learn but really the best for photo editing.
Paint Shop Pro $80 A less professional tool, easier to use, and much cheaper than Photoshop.
ArtGem Discontinued Pixel editor (for small images).
Pro Motion $30 Pixel editor (for small images).
Create/Edit vector images Microsoft Viso Expensive Create charts and all sort of diagrams.
SmartDraw $197 Create charts and all sort of diagrams. A cheaper alternative to Microsoft Viso.
Adobe Illustrator Expensive Really a vector image editor. Probably the best and most professional tool. Hard to learn, like Photoshop.
Macromedia FreeHand Expensive Cheaper then Illustrator it's also famous to create fast dirty graphics.
Inkscape Free Vector graphics editor. An OpenSource alternative to the two giants named previously. It's also good to create SVG.

System tools

Task Product Name Price Description
File explorer Directory Opus $70 One of the best replacements of the Windows Explorer that offers many enhancements without becoming too heavy. Better try it to see all its possibilities. One killer function is its optional ability to replace the original Explorer to open folders.
Partition disk PartitionMagic $80 Create different kind of partitions and change them (in size and so one) without losing your data in them.
Defragment disk PerfectDisk $40 Much better then XP built-in defrag tool.
Misc Systernals* Free* Many good tools (many of them free) at Systernals (now part of Microsoft).

Your comments

If you find any tool that is better than those listed or some tool you would like to advice drop me a message.

Send to me your comments and I will add them here.

— Werner BEROUX, Updated on November 22, 2007



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