Windows7 Applications I Need

I believe the applications/software I have installed in my Windows 7 ‘work’ laptop increases my productivity. I have just captured the same here for both cataloging for future purpose as well as sharing to the extended communities. There is no particular order to this. I prefer a certain style to my desktop and would strive to achieve that in all my windows powered machines. Also there are a certain tools/apps I would like to have always in my system:

Productivity Applications

  1. Evernote: Notes on the cloud is something I use extensively. All my personal notes & sometimes blog articles are scripted in this first.
    1. Other options. One Note – Yet to evaluate this option thoroughly but have been reading a lot of good reviews. I am planning to move my work related notes/articles into this. [Update: OneNote is awesome for work related notes because of the MS Office like formatting capability. Additionally it links awesome with the MS Outlook esp the Meeting details.]
  2. Jing: Required for quickly taking snapshot of the desktop. The left ‘Ctrl + J’ key works magic. It is quite quick & very useful esp to add markers to the snapshots.
  3. ScreenRecorder: Required for making a video recording of the actions on desktop. Useful when I have to create video demos.
  4. Windows Live Writer: I am an avid blogger! (Duh!!) So need a desktop WYSIWYG tool & so far WLW seems awesome.
  5. [Update] Browser Chooser 2: I prefer to use different browsers for work (off late, FF) and personal (Chrome). This becomes the default browser and every time you click a link you get an option to choose between the browsers, which has saved me so much time.

Cloud Applications

  1. Dropbox by Dropbox
  2. Google Drive by Google
  3. Box by Box
  4. One Drive by Microsoft
  5. Copy by Barracuda
  6. iCloud by Apple

Development

  1. Oracle Virtual Box: Free! Easy & at least as good as VMWare Workstation. And, I can get my share folder working “easily” compared to VMWare Workstation.
    1. Other options. VMWare Workstation – I prefer the “free” Virtual box version. Perhaps later I shall write my experiences with VB compared to VMWorkstation.
  2. vim: My favorite go-to editor for code. I am more comfortable with vim than GUI editors. Personal preference!
    1. Other options. Emacs – If you are an Emacs guy. I used to be.
  3. PuTTY: Nothing beats this low-footprint SSH client. I love it from bottom of my heart.
  4. WinSCP: I would prefer if this is a tad fast but works perfectly for me. Another of the development tool I can’t be without.
  5. DiffMerge: A beauty when comes to code comparison. Addicted to this over all the other options.
    1. Other options. WinMerge – Yet to evaluate this.
  6. TortoiseSVN:  Was skeptical of using a SVN client on Windows for a long time until I tried this. TortoiseSVN is a master piece.
  7. GitHub:  For no computer geek is satisfied without an account of their pet projects in GitHub! Smile
  8. WireShark: Off late I am cross verifying my network a tad too much. Of course, my work area is on the same line adds to my woes.

Alternates

  1. Alternate for IE: Google Chrome – Need I say more. (Added a few extensions I use regularly)
    1. Other options. Firefox – I played a bit with Firefox but FF has lost its mojo! It seem super bloated on the memory department!
  2. Alternate for Adobe PDF Reader: Foxit Reader – Better PDF reader or so I have heard. Just started using & already feels good!
  3. Alternate for Notepad: Notepad++ – Man! This app has improved so much over the years, I stopped using Notepad even for quick notes. Also now they have a nice feature of auto-save without saving into an actual file!! (Added a few plugins I use regularly)
  4. Alternate for DiskCleanup: CCleaner
  5. Alternate for Windows Media Player: VLC
  6. Alternate for Zip: 7-Zip
    1. Other options. WinRAR

Photography

  1. PIXResizer: Required to quickly resize pictures to a specific size; also multiple batch resizes
  2. Alternate for Windows Photo Viewer: IrfanView – A much better Photo viewer
  3. Alternate for Photo Gallery: Adobe Bridge

Security

  1. LastPass: Password manager

Miscellaneous

  1. Launchy: For lack of better desktop search. I definitely miss google desktop. [Update: Boy! oh Boy! This is so bloated! Takes all my CPU! This is off my list.]
  2. Free Download Manager: The speed this app brings to my downloads is tremendous.
  3. Skype: Kinda mandatory these days! Smile

Desktop Customization

  1. Rainmeter: Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. I have the following skins & layouts to handle most of my scenarios Smile
    1. Avengers Skin
    2. Laptop Only layout
    3. 2 screen layout
  2. Taskbar Customization (http://www.howtogeek.com/172466/10-ways-you-can-customize-your-windows-taskbar/)
    1. Use small icons
    2. Hide all icons except ‘volume & network’ in the ‘notification area’
    3. Enable Autohide (because of Rainmeter desktop)
    4. How to change the windows explorer startup folder

 

Thus ends my current requirements on tools/apps to make my Windows PC ready for work! Smile

 

Appendix A1: Google Chrome Extensions

  1. FoxTab: For quick tabs on frequently browsed sites.
  2. LastPass
  3. OneTab: For storing all the tabs just before saving.
  4. Adblock Plus
  5. Klout: For social media ratings.
  6. VNC Viewer for Google Chrome: Found this better & sufficient than desktop versions.

Appendix A2: Notepad++ Plugins

Generic

  1. DSpellCheck
  2. Explorer
  3. Python Script
  4. TextFX Characters

Development

  1. CCompletion
  2. Code alignment
  3. Compare
  4. Task List
  5. Tortoise SVN

Web Development

  1. HTML Tag
  2. JSLint
  3. JSON Viewer
  4. JSTool
  5. NppExport
  6. NppFTP
  7. Tidy2

Hope somebody out there benefits from a quick look into this post! Smile

HowTo: Disk space reduction on C:\ Drive [Windows 7]

I am suffering from a big time space crunch when it comes to my windows box. Unbelievable. Even a 300G disk seem insufficient! And, I am geeky enough to ensure my private stuff, work stuff & OS stuff does not reside on the same partition. Yet I get into super-duper mess! Now I am at my wits end. I cannot handle anymore lack of space or a slow system!

My current free space is about 9.26GB & yet the speed of the system is competing with Win98 systems!! 🙁

C Drive Space at the beginning
C Drive Space at the beginning

First things first. I wanna know which part of my system is taking up so much space! In geeky terms, I need a disk space analyzer for Windows. Well a simple google search gave me some brilliant options and based on a nicely detailed article1. I chose SpaceSniffer2.

  • Temporary Files: First step is to attack the temporary files. I used SpaceSniffer to find them. I found nothing major eating my disk-space so I moved on. Some of the many capabilities of SpaceSniffer can be found at their tips & tricks page3
  • Old Files: Find files that are more than 1 year old! This gave me some shockers! More than 46GB of my 100GB was untouched in over an year!! If I ignore the AppData, which cannot be deleted or moved4, then my pain points were:
    • pagefile.sys file – This was a whooping 7.8GB but then OS holds part of memory (RAM) data in this file & hence obviously should not meddled with5.
    • hiberfil.sys file – This was a staggering 5.8GB! This file has something to do with hibernation & you can use this info to free up this space6. And I did free up this space! 🙂
    • android directory – This was an unnecessary 2.2GB! Since I had long ago uninstalled all android based tools, it was a no-brainer to delete this fella outta my system.

At this point in time, solely due to hiberfil.sys, I gained about 6GB!

C Drive Space after hiberfil.sys
C Drive Space after hiberfil.sys

But I was still unhappy with the space reduction! 🙁 Gotta continue further!

Windows Disk Cleanup
Windows Disk Cleanup
  • Windows Disk Cleanup: Last but one option I got is to perform ‘Disk Cleanup,’ which I normally don’t trust. Historically I haven’t got any good results with this but then I am at the biggest space crunch cross-roads of my life! And, to my surprise, for the first time since I started using Windows I was happy with the results produced by a native windows utility. This saved be a good 18GB!! 🙂 18GB!! Boy, was I happy or what?! I was supremely excited! 🙂 🙂
  • CCleaner: Finally, I got totally greedy and chose to install the ‘CCleaner Free‘ for the ultimate cleanse! 🙂 And, this gave me another 1GB! 🙂 For the heck of it I chose to run the registry clean up as well. It guarantees me it found some milling DLLs and has fixed the issues! I gotta wait and see! 🙂
CCleaner Analysis
CCleaner Analysis

Anyways, after all these tasks (which consumed a good 3~4 hours of my time) now I am happy with a good 25.5GB of free space up from the initial 9.26GB! Am I a happy man or what?! 🙂 🙂

Final Disk Usage
Final Disk Usage

Btw, I followed these steps from howtogreek.com8

Courtesy
  1. The Best Disk Space Analyzer for Windows
  2. SpaceSniffer
  3. SpaceSniffer tips and tricks
  4. What is the AppData folder?
  5. Understanding the Windows Pagefile and Why You Shouldn’t Disable It
  6. What is hiberfil.sys and how do I delete it?
  7. How to Remove Programs (Windows 7)
  8. Beginner Geek : Simple Tips to Reduce Disk Usage in Windows 7

What is hiberfil.sys and how do I delete it?

Did you also notice a giant (apparently) useless hiberfil.sys sitting in your C:\?! So did I. Well, it is nothing but “a placeholder if we choose to hibernate the system.” The geeky information here is if the user chooses to hibernate instead of sleep or shutdown then the entire RAM (at that point in time) is written out to the hard drive before power-down. And, hiberfil.sys is what holds the entire memory on the hard disk. Fascinating, yeah?! 😉

Well I decided I don’t need hibernation. I normally put my laptop for a sleep and never hibernate. So why waste nearly 6GB of precious hard disk space?! But then can I delete this file? No & Yes.

  • No. We should _not_ delete this file manually. Nothing might happen but something can happen.
  • Yes. We can remove the file by instructing the OS to do so. A much neater approach.

Disable Hibernate

Disable the hibernate mode will automatically delete the hiberfil.sys. I got a Windows 7 box and so will show how to do so in that. This can be done very quickly & easily from the command line. Open an administrator mode command prompt by right-
clicking the command prompt icon in the start menu and then choosing ‘Run as Administrator’. Then run the following command
on the prompt:

powercfg command line
powercfg command line

Gotcha! 🙂

Here is visual verification! A before:

Start Menu Before
Start Menu Before

…. and an after:

Start Menu After
Start Menu After

Voila! 🙂

Courtesy