Sunday, 24 August 2014

Must have tools for Windows

Each one of us uses some tools that makes his/her life easier. In this post I would like to share a list of very essential tools save a lot of time and let us focus on what is really important to us. The tools have a common denominator: they help to get things or get things done. Please note the difference in terminology. Sometimes in the past there was File Manager and we had the feeling that we "manage" files. When the amount of files increased it was replaced by Windows Explorer. So we had the feeling or exploring things. Then a Search button was added that should have help us to find thing. Unfortunately it was pretty slow, so we still go lost among the files. Nowadays in the 2014 we want to "get" instead of search, manage or explore. So the tools you'll see here focus on getting programs from the internet, getting files on your computer, getting programs on your computer, getting you passwords etc.

So here they are:

1. chocolatey.org - is the ultimate installer for every program for Windows. It has an enormous catalog of pro grams for download with a one line command line. So it is the new way to "get" programs to your computer.

2. Everything -  is the fastest and most effective way to "get" files on local computer. Unlike built-in Windows Search, it is extremely fast, it does not interfere with other programs, such as anti-virus software or files written by compilers or test runners. And it can be invoked with a shortcut. I prefer WinKey-N, for the similarity for the ReSharper and IntelliJ Ctrl-N, but it is completely your choice.

3. Launchy - is the fastest and most elegant way to execute eny program on your computer. It can be invoked with a shortcut (I use Alt-Space) and with typing a few characters it finds any program you need. Launchy has also some useful pluigns like: Killy, Tasky

4. Console2 - command-line console has been for many years the way we like to execute things. But the built-in console is poor and lacks of many features. Console2 is the new and must-have console application. Among its features: multiple tabs, copy-paste with keyboard shortcuts, resize. After installing Console2, follow step described by Scot Hanselman here.

5. Dropbox - needless to say how it is important to keep all your files synced between different machines. Dropbox is one of the popular and  convenient ways to do it.

6. Lightshot- this small and non-intrusive application helps to take screenshot. It allows cropping your screen while taking the snapshot, then editing it on the spot and then copying to clipboard or saving to file. By copying to clipboard and then pasting to the desired application (even to Gmail) you can save a lot of time.

7. Keepass - we need to keep track of our passwords and there are plenty of them. Every website, every application require its own authentication. Keepass allows storing all your passwords in a single encrypted file. The file can be protected by master password, external file, Windows User account or any combination of those methods. I suggest saving the Keepass file in Dropbox folder for easy access from different machines.

All the tools listed above are free.

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