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Apps for new and old Windows XP users


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I thought it would be nice to post our suggestions for new Windows XP users. Here are mine:

 

StyleXP. Go beyond the standard XP themes by customizing your desktop with one from ThemeXP.org and other sites. StyleXP can be run in a zero-resource mode. You can also change your log on screen with it.

 

WinRAR. Although Windows XP handles zip files on its own, WinRAR handles more file types like WinRAR as well as zip.

 

Trillian. Trillian is a universal IM client that can unify AIM, MSN, YIM, ICQ and IRC into one interface. I vastly prefer the Aikon3 skin to all others.

 

McAfee Antivirus and Firewall. McAfee's Antivirus is less intrusive and resource-hungry than Norton's offering. When running Norton I had 79% of my RAM used overall. I switched to McAfee and now it's 64%.

 

Spybot-S&D and AdAware. These two programs used together will help send spybots and adware packing.

 

SmartFTP. A much better FTP client than the crappy one built-in to Windows XP.

 

FireFox. Firefox is a lean and mean open-source browser. Tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking and search engine support is all built in. This is my default browser.

 

-j

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I am not a fan of Trillian personally, having found it extremely underwhelming and problematic to use, so consider me a voice of dissonance. ;)

 

That being said, that was almost six months ago so functionality is probably quite a bit better. I do agree that the Aikon3 skin is the bomb though, as I was using it myself when I did have Trillian hooked up.

 

AVG is free virus software, I might add, available from Grisoft. Not the best thing ever, but for those of us on a budget, good way to handle your virus problems. It interfaces with Eudora as well, so if you're using Eudora to handle e-mail duties then you can scan all those stupid virus e-mails away :).

 

AdAware and SmartFTP both get my thumbs-up!

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Originally posted by blackcalx@Mar 16 2004, 10:06 AM

While I can't get a link to it right now I would highly suggest the unsupported Power Toys for XP. It's worth it alone for Tweak XP, but it also adds the ability to resize multiple image files at once through the shell and many other nifty tools.

I'll second the Power Toys vote.

And here's the link.

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Here's some of the tools I use:

 

Thunderbird, as a good complement to the aforementioned Firefox, this is a great e-mail client.

 

UltraEdit-32, one of the best text editors for Windows.

 

Azureus is the best Bittorrent client I've come across.

 

PuTTY, a good free telnet/ssh client.

 

Cygwin/X, for when I need X-forwarding over SSH as well, or for using some *nix tools that don't have a native Windows build.

 

TightVNC, good for accessing VNC servers, or setting up a VNC server on a machine so I can access it remotely.

 

7-Zip, a good archiving utility that supports 7z, ZIP, CAB, RAR, ARJ, GZIP, BZIP2, TAR, CPIO, RPM and DEB file formats.

 

ettercap and nmap can be indespensible for diagnosing network issues.

 

XChat is my IRC client of choice, under any OS.

 

JDiskReport is an excellent utility for figuring out where all your disk space went. ;)

 

Dev-C++ is a good IDE/distribution for GCC use under Windows.

 

Easy CD-DA Extractor is handy for ripping CD's and dealing with audio file conversions.

 

MiKTeX is a nice LaTeX distribution to use with TeXnicCenter for composing technical documents. If you have to write a lot of technical documents with math, or references, or citations, or tables, etc., LaTeX is one of the best sanity and time saving tools around.

 

If you're looking for a free, light alternative to having to buy and install MS Office on every Windows machine you use, AbiWord or OpenOffice are good to have around for reading/editing the occasional Word document.

 

Daemon Tools is good for working with disk images without having to burn them first.

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Ryan, Open Office looks very interesting. I'll check it out. What has been your experience with file compatibility between Powerpoint/Impress and Word/Writer? I'm downloading it now to try it out. JDiskReport looks like another download candidate.

 

Since you mentioed Easy CD-DA Extractor (and we're talking about MP3's elsewhere), I'll share some links to MP3 tools:

 

CDex. There are other fine CD ripping tools out there, but I like this one for its ease of use and features. Supports CDDB look ups and open source.

 

Audacity MP3 editor. Open source MP3 editor. It'll show your MP3 as a wave form and you can trim to your heart's content. Great for editing files from my voice recorders.

 

MP3SPLT. Command line program (for OSX, *nix and Windows). Great for splitting up a single huge recorded file into smaller bites. I might record a two hour long program and then use MP3SPLT to carve it into 10 minute chunks.

 

MP3Tag tag editor. Great for editing MP3 tags. Supports FreeDB look ups.

 

MediaMonkey free music manager/jukebox. I like it because it handles large libraries well, has a small footprint, a simple interface and a great name. The auto playlist feature in the registered version is nice, too.

 

-j

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Ryan, Open Office looks very interesting. I'll check it out. What has been your experience with file compatibility between Powerpoint/Impress and Word/Writer? I'm downloading it now to try it out. JDiskReport looks like another download candidate.

 

I haven't had to open any Powerpoint files with it that I can recall, so I can't comment there. For Word documents what is usually the case is that if it doesn't work properly (i.e. odd formatting) in OpenOffice, it opens in AbiWord, and vice-versa, so between the two I haven't run into any compatibility problems. If I recall correctly, OpenOffice is the more adept program at dealing with most files. It is, however, more of a resource hog than AbiWord.

 

Thanks for the other audio app recommendations, too. :D

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Originally posted by FutureVoid@Mar 21 2004, 05:03 PM

CDex. There are other fine CD ripping tools out there, but I like this one for its ease of use and features. Supports CDDB look ups and open source.

 

With you there. ...

You should be, you're the one who recommended it to me! I started using it on your advice about two weeks before I got my DAP (so I could start ripping my CD's before it arrived). Haven't looked back since!

 

-j

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Originally posted by Ryan FB@Mar 21 2004, 05:14 PM

I haven't had to open any Powerpoint files with it that I can recall, so I can't comment there. For Word documents what is usually the case is that if it doesn't work properly (i.e. odd formatting) in OpenOffice, ...

I was wondering about back and forth compatibility between OpenOffice and its MS counterparts.

 

-j

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Thanks for some of these suggestions! Especially the new PowerToys. I used to use the old 95/98 ones and never thought of looking for new ones. I never have to look at my desktop again. The Aikon skin for Trillian is wonderful also.

 

My List:

 

Exact Audio Copy - My ripper and encoder (combined with LAME). I've used CDEX in the past, and do recommend it, but I have had troubles with pops and errors in the past. EAC is perfect once you get it setup right.

 

MIRC - I'm connected to IRC pretty much 24/7. I've used other IRC programs before, but switched back the minute they finally added in multi server support.

 

Directory Opus - Shareware I'm currently trying out. It's a replacement to Windows Explorer, which I use more than just about anything but was frustrated with it crashing all the time (especially in directories with lots of files) and not having some features that would make my exploring easier. This is not a huge departure from Explorer, but has a number of great features such as Favorite directories, multiple folder panes and different options of viewing media.

 

Winamp 5 - I still love Winamp's simplicity, and the Media Library in 5 almost does everything I want. I've tried other media library type of programs and just find them too bulky. I'm gonna give this Monkey one a shot though.

 

GetRight - Even in today's high speed internet environment, I fiind myself still needed in a download manager of some sort. I still like GetRight more than any other I've tried (although it has a few annoying quirks). Obviously not as needed if you've switched to Firefox, but still handy.

 

K-Lite Codecs - One stop shopping for the most popular Video codecs used for whatever you might be downloading. Also available are Real and Quicktime alternatives that play in WMP Classic instead of the proprietary players. I don't mind the QT player, but I hate Real Player, so this has been a godsend recently.

 

PowerMenu - A tiny little program that allows you to make any window always on top, transparent, minimize to the tray, and give priority. I mainly use it for the always on top feature which can come in really handy if you're watching video imbeded on a webpage while doing something in another window for example.

 

GuardWall - The best Popup stopper I've used, but I lost my serial # so I had to switch.

 

Google Toolbar - 2nd best popup stopper I've used. The odd window slips through and it's not as fully featured as Guardwall though.

 

I also recommend Trillian, Azureus and Winrar which have been mentioned.

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  • 5 months later...
1. MediaMonkey is easily my music library of choice now. I can get around and manage a big library easier in MediaMonkey than any other program I tried.

 

Try this:

J.River Media Center

Nothing against MediaMonkey, it's a nice app with some innovative features in the registered version. In my never ending search for the best media player I've found Media Center to be by far the most powerful. At first glance it's just a complicated audio player but if you give yourself the time to experiment you'll find MC replaces Windows Explorer (& almost your web browser) when it comes to managing your media collections. I have a very large library and have yet to come across anything that manages it as well as MC.

The plug-ins alone are almost worth the registration price. Automatic (truely automatic) cover art searching, automatic lyric searches, automatic tagging using AMG (this plug-in is temporarily disabled as the author is retooling to adapt for the recent AMG site update) and much more:

http://www2.spartasoft.com:8080/MyPlugIns/index.html

http://accessories.musicex.com/mediacenter/accessories.php

 

Version 11 is due soon (I haven't downloaded the beta yet).

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