Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Utilities, programs and other software that I either use myself or specifically recommend as being worthy of your consideration.
There are many win ZIP archive programs. 7-Zip is free zip software, full featured, compatible and the zip software I recommend.
ZoomIt is a small presentation assistance tool from the folks who made Process Explorer. I'll give it a quick show.
AutoHotkey is an incredibly powerful keyboard macro and keystroke remapping program. I'll demonstrate its basic use.
Dropbox is a file sharing tool that can make keeping files on multiple machines and sharing them with others very easy. I'll show some of its features.
Evernote is a data collection, organization, and retrieval tool that is both simple and powerful. I'll take a quick run through its features.
Faststone is my image viewing program of choice and another of the utilities that I install first when I set up a machine. I'll show you a few of its features.
Snagit is a one of the utilities that I install first on any new machine. I'll walk through installing it and show a few of its features.
With a nod to the super-geeky, I present a quick overview of the ubiquitous VI, Vim, and gVim text editor.
Webdrive is a powerful FTP/SFTP client that works in a unique way: It makes your remote site 'just another drive' on your Windows system.
AutoHotkey is a free and powerful utility that allows you to remap, or even reprogram, your keyboard key sequences and more.
It's often desirable to have a comprehensive list of all the hardware and software installed on your machine. Belarc Advisor is the way to get it.
Many online cloud storage providers encrypt your data, but if needed, they can decrypt it themselves. BoxCryptor is a great solution to ensure that your online data remains private, regardless of how it's stored.
CCleaner is a popular and highly regarded tool for cleaning files, history, cookies, and much more from your computer.
The single biggest complaint about Windows 8 is the startlingly new tiled Start menu. Don't like it? There's an app for that.
PDF files are a convenient and easy way to save documents for viewing almost anywhere. If you can print a document, you can create a PDF of it.
When you are about to dispose of a computer or hard disk it's critical that you erase your data. DBAN does it, simply and securely.
DropMyRights is a small program that lets you securely run programs with more restrictions than they might get based on your login account.
Dropbox is a utility that allows you to instantly share files between machines, and even with other users elsewhere on the internet. Up to 2GB is free.
There are many image viewing tools available. FastStone Image Viewer is free, fast, easy to use and includes several commonly used editing features.
Foxit Reader is fast, free alternative to Adobe Reader for 99% of PDF documents.
Hamachi is a free, easy-to-use VPN that allows you to connect machines across the internet as if they were right there on your local network.
ImgBurn is a free, powerful burning tool that can be used to burn files and ISOs to CD/DVD/HDDVD/Bluray discs, or to create images of them.
One of the problems with current online safety advice is keeping tack of multiple different secure passwords. LastPass not only does that, but does it across multiple devices and very securely.
Macrium Reflect is a full-featured backup program that supports everything that I consider critical to keeping your important data safely backed up.
Even the best anti-virus and anti-spyware tools miss things. Malwarebytes Anti-malware has a good reputation for cleaning up some of the things that other tools don't.
Process Explorer is Task Manager on steroids. A free utility that completely replaces Task Manager, there's no reason not to have and use procexp.
RSS Feeds are a great way to stay on top of the latest news and postings made to blogs and many other websites and services.
Even with the Recycle Bin to protect you, it's not uncommon to need to recover files that have been "permanently" deleted. Recuva gives you a chance.
Revo Uninstaller is a useful utility to remove things from your computer that won't otherwise uninstall.
With lots of accounts on the web, good security says their passwords should all be unique. Your computer can remember them for you with RoboForm.
Windows includes screen capture by default, but if you use it often and rely on it alone, you don't know what you're missing.
SpinRite is a hard disk repair utility that can frequently recover and repair physical hard disk issues such as CRC errors.
TeamViewer simplifies remote access over the internet and supports a wide range of devices. While somewhat pricey for commercial use, TeamViewer is free for personal use.
Thunderbird is a robust and powerful email program that can meet the needs of both light and power users. I use it all day every day.
A free alternative to Remote Desktop, TightVNC is compatible with Mac and Linux as well as providing remote access to Windows XP Home.
TrueCrypt provides a solution for encrypting sensitive data - everything from portable, mountable volumes to entire hard disks.
Transferring files via FTP requires special tools and interfaces. WebDrive is an FTP client making transferring files as simple as copying in Windows.
I get lots of questions about what's the best software for various situations. I can't answer them all, particularly as it often depends on your own situation, but I can tell you what I'm using.
WinPatrol monitors your computer for sensitive system changes and alerts you when they happen. Upgrade to Plus for buckets of useful information.
Windows Defender is a free, easy to use anti-spyware package that does a good job of protecting you, and includes several advanced tools as well.
It's sometimes convenient, and occasionally even necessary, to run anti-malware software before Windows boots or when it can't. Windows Defender Offline is Microsoft's solution that allows you to do just that. I'll show how to download and use it, and I'll also point out a few additional alternatives.