Essential Software (some of it anyway…)

Essential Windows software for your PC. This list is updated regularly.

This is a list of essential software that I use on a day to day basis. Where possible I always try to use OpenSource and promote it. I will also try to explain why I use the software I have selected and provide links that are useful.

RememberTheMilk – A great way to manage your ToDo items and Tasks online and on mobile devices.


RememberTheMilk is one of those techy online products that takes a while to get used to. It has quite a clunky interface and seems very simple, but do not be mislead! This system is SO easy to use and flexible with a rich interface. You can add items and tasks completely via the command line or via email’s which makes keeping things up to date a wheeze.

There is a free account which covers 90% of the normal users requirements and well worth signing up for NOW. The iPhone and Google calendar/tasks integration is great as it allows you to update and manage your tasks / todo’s wherever you are.

DropBox (

Just sign up for the ridiculously cheap account for a lovely 50GB of space and NEVER look back or worry about backups! (works with loads of iPhone apps as well)

I LOVE Dropbox – there’s nothing to not like about DropBox – it just works! Copies ALL your files from a folder securely to all computers with pernissions including the cloud. You have an instant backup of your key files. You can setup windows to make dropbox your ‘my documents’ folder and have all your key files permanently backed up and available/synchronised on all the computers that have access to your dropbox – that’s including LINUX and MAC as well of Windows…. GREAT

IrfanView. ( This is a viewer for multi-media. Download Irfanview here.

I like Irfanview because its free and easy to install. It integrates well with the operating system (Windows) and with its partner ‘thumbnails’ allows you to batch edit and convert/rename images or any type of media really quickly and easily. It has basic image editing features. This software will view most types of media including SWF and other video formats. There are a good range of plugins which extend the software.

InfoSelect (information management – the Geeky way …)

InfoSelect is one of those underated products. It it almost the swiss-knife of information management. You can store ‘anything’ anywhere and then with the simple press of F5 find anything anywhere. You can store and connect to databases, you can use it as your email client, you can link to file / directories, create an outline view of information, create a diary (in fact create multiple diaries), trigger events, use it to program and structure code, find / sort any date you have in any structure. Basically you can do anything with information and then find it quickly and easily.

Mindjet MindManager (mindmapping software)

MindManager – The Daddy of MindMapping software. Ok, it’s become a bit of a business tool now, but still keeps one foot in the original concept of mapping. With this tool you can connect and interface (both ways) to just about any office application, it has a great API and programming interface, you can use it to completely project manage any project of any size, the filtering is masterful as you can add intelligent markers to any node and then filter to view and slice and dice information any way you wish. It’s expensive, but if you want what most would consider the most allround product to use everyday – this is it.

Paint.Net (graphics software)

Paint.Net – What a wonderful graphics FREE program. It has such a rich API that 100’s of graphic designers and programmers have written wonderful add-ins that allow you to manipulate images at the press of a button – all for nothing. Sure it has the usual Layering and colour tools, but it has so much more to offer. If you’re looking for the ‘free’ photoshop then this is it!

Notepad++ (programmers editor)

Notepad++ – The notepad replacement for programmers. Don’t know where to start with this one. If your looking for basic intellisense with program extention specific highlighting (customisable of course) then look no further. Yep, it’s free. Yes it has macros. Yes it has a tabbed interface. But it has a plethora of plugins and just works with all languages – straight out of the box. This is GPL software at it’s best. So far I have used this for many many years and NEVER has it crashed! There’s good support for “Regular Expressions”, you can even zoom and and out. Amongst my favourite plugins are; XML Tools, TextFX, NppExec (shell to exec), FTP_synchronise and many many more. Get it if your a programmer NOW.

SpyBot Search and Destroy (anti-virus and spyware cleanup software)

Also see my various articles on security software and anti-virus software.

  • CCleaner (delete unwanted space hogs)
  • 7-Zip (all purpose zip/compression file manager)
  • Defraggler (defrag your hard disk)
  • Dia (programmers uml and general diagramming tool)
  • Foxit reader (display pdf files MUCH faster than Adobe Acrobat)
  • Bug Shooting (Screen capture free)
  • CamStudio (Video capture)
  • Camtasia and Snaggit (Capture screen video and screenshots)
  • Commander (side by side explorer – a must!)
  • KeePass (Great password generator and database that can work on USB)
  • AutoHotkey (Keyboard macro / expander)
  • InkScape (Vector based free graphics program similar to Adobe Illustrator :-p )

iPhone Applications

  • Dropbox (of course!) – Synchronise and view all types of files
  • DocsToGo – View and Edit all Microsoft Office

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