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Essential Software, Software that you shouldn't live without
TrNSZ
post Jan 12 2003, 00:40
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Group: Developer
Posts: 717
Joined: 25-September 01
From: ... The Studio
Member No.: 20



NOTE: This post is from 2003, some information might be outdated.


People have recently been asking me what software I use, so I've decided to make a list of the software that I think is "essential" and that I have to install on any system that I use; feel free to discuss. Please keep in mind I'm only focusing on Win32 software here, since this is probably the OS of choice for most forum readers.

I intend to add quite a few programs to the list, and some are getting removed.

A sample of programs I'm going to add or expand on list: Subtitle Workshop, mp4ui, LA (lossless audio), ffdshow, AC3Filter, Zoom Player, The Font Thing, XnView, GhostScript/GhostView, DiscJuggler, COM Explorer, ActiveX Explorer, ZTree, BHODemon, VSigGen, PerfectDisc, PowerBASIC 7, 7-Zip, QuickPar, SFV Checker, vile, Borland CodeWright, Visual SlickEdit, Eset NOD32 Antivirus, WinSCP, AvantBrowser, lftp, NFTP, NcFTP, Sam Spade, Xnews, Mulberry, PuTTY, OpenChat/32, C-Kermit, Kermit-95, Open DCL, foobar2000, bfilter, Zsh, wget, ScrollZ, OpenSSH, Seminole httpd, and more.

I'm going to add a small section for NeXTSTEP and OpenStep software as well, since I'm a daily user of NeXT workstation equipment.

-- Jeff

Development & Programming:

MinGW32 and MSYS and the latest updates - MinGW32 provides a complete GNU compiler toolchain and assorted glue in the form of headers and libraries that allows for compilation and development of native Win32 applications. As of this writing it provides a complete GNU C 3.2.3 environment including the GNU assembler, binutils, and linker. MSYS is the MinGW Minimal System, which provides a POSIX-like environment to aid in development and porting. Most importantly, MSYS includes native-Win32 versions of many tools. Even if you don't plan on doing development, you get native Win32 ports of tools like bzip2, GNU awk, grep, less, M4, make, md5sum, patch, sed, and tar, along with a native port of rxvt and the Vim editor.

X-Ways WinHex Specialist - The best binary file editor I've found for Windows. Supports Unicode, ANSI, ASCII, EBCDIC, unlimited file size, and your standard features. Unlike UltraEdit-32, WinHex is designed to be only a hex-editor, and it has features you won't find most other places: FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS raw directory interpertation, raw direct disk and RAM editing, disk cloning functions, CRC and hash and checksum support, editing of unallocated file slack space, a PRNG (random number generator) and powerful scripting and API hooks. I used to use UltraEdit-32. I would still recommend UE due to it's built-in FTP access, allowing you to work with files on remote servers as if they were local, which is great for web development.

Vim - Vi Improved. The Editor. Vi with great features such as unlimited undo and redo levels, support for foreign languages and charactersets, visual text formatting and syntax highlighting for too many formats to mention, programmable macros, unlimited number of open files, buffers, and split screen editing with virtual memory/swapping, crash recovery, and integration with programming languages such as Tcl, Python, and Perl. Available in Win32 GUI and console versions.

L5SG ServiceManager and DriverManager - Two of the best tools for tracking down and viewing information on running Services (only a minor improvement over the NT/2K/XP Serivces MMC) and Drivers, which was only previously manageable using tools from the Windows Resource Kits.

Digital Mars Compiler Suite - Free C, C++, D, and assembler for DOS, DOS32 (using X32 DOS Extender) and Win16/Win32. It's a fast compiler that supports some neat features such as 80-bit long doubles and support for most C99 features. It has it's own built-in executable compression, similar to UPX.

DJGPP - 32-bit C, C++ and Objective C compiler for DOS. DJGPP is to DOS what MinGW32 is to Win32 development. A good alternative to DMCC if your porting UNIX software or if you want to operate in a POSIX development environment and create DPMI DOS applications. If you require DOS, Win32, and OS/2 development, you can look into EMX/RSXNT.

PL/I - PL/I is probably the greatest programming language ever created. It's also probably most famous for being the implementation language of the Multics operating system. If you follow the PL/I link you can find resources and information about PL/I and also functions that implement modern IBM PL/I features for older compilers. There is a free G-level subset PL/I compiler for DOS available for free download.

Moonrock - Another relatively unknown programming language that I'd be lost without. Moonrock syntax is similar to BASIC, and it "compiles" the programs into x86 assembly language. The best way to learn how to program in Moonrock is to examine the example programs -- a IRC client and small HTTP web server for DOS.

Other free compilers and assemblers:
For ASM I'm now using FASM for DOS, Win32, and Linux, supporting MMX/SSE/SSE2/3DNow and outputs in BIN, MZ, PE and COFF formats. NASM is still a great assembler and is used by lots of projects (including LAME).
COBOL 6.50 for DOS, GNU Fortran77 for DOS, Microsoft MASM, LINK, ML, H2INC, and NMAKE for DOS and Win32, and FreePascal. There are still others such as Pacific C, TMT, Digital C, etc., but I'm only listing the "best of the best" here.

UPX - The best executable file compressor. It makes your compiled executables and libraries smaller and usually speeds the application load time. I've had the least compatibility issues with UPX, and it compresses most file types.

Security:

SpyBot Search & Destroy - One of the best utilities for removing and detecting SpyWare, Dialers, Keyloggers, and most importantly, usage tracks from various programs, and it can be easily customized. It seems that just one Spyware program isn't always enough. To be safe, I also use two other products: Ad-Aware and Spyware Blaster.

Also useful: http://www.malwarebytes.org/

The Proxomitron - Originally a banner blocker, Proxomitron now does so much more. It's a generic filtering proxy that allows rewriting anything that passes through it using regular expression matches. It comes with a basic, limited set of filters to do common things like block popups, but the real power comes when you start writing your own rules. It's great for things like unhiding URL's, stopping unwanted Java and JavaScript, unwanted cookies, sanitizing your HTTP headers, and can forward your traffic through another proxy such as a Squid cache. Being a proxy, it's compatible with any web browser and you only need to run it on one computer on your network.
NOTE: Now discontinued!

CD and Disk Utilities:

ISOBuster - ISOBuster is here for two reasons. It's the only utility I've found that successfully makes usable images of VMS ODS-2 formatted discs as well as properly reading permissions and long filenames entries from Rock Ridge discs. It supposedly is able to recover data from damaged CD-RW discs and facilitate data recovery of files deleted from CD-RW's, but I've never tried it.

WinImage - Best floppy disk image handling program for Windows that I know of. I use it mainly because it supports some (but not all) non-standard formats, such as 1.68MB DMF. It can defragment images in memory as well as reading and writing them, and it also supports creating nifty self-extracting executables.

DiskImager - DiskImager is an old school utility to read and write disk images, written in Pascal and 286 assembler. It comes with free source code, the only restriction being you cannot use the source to create a DiskImager clone. It supports standard 1.44MB floppies that are high density, 2 sided, 18 sectors/track, 80 tracks/side, but, unlike WinImage, it doesn't care what the filesystem on the disks is. I've used DI to make self-extracing OS boot images, and a self-extracting MemTest86 floppy. It's compatible with Windows NT, 2000, and XP!

SpinRite 5 - I hate Steve Gibson, maybe more than Bill Gates himself. He's publicity whore #1, and he makes incredible claims of his software that aren't always true. However, SpinRite is a great utility. What is nice about it is that it shows you exactly what it's doing, so it can be used to find mechanical problems with hard drives (and floppy drives!) as well as media problems when used by an experienced tech. This is it's best feature, even though it wasn't intended to be used this way. I've had old SCSI hard drives that most disk utilities, even OnTrack Data Advisor, said were fine, but kept failing in use over time. After running Level 5 SpinRite, I finally saw the drive was failing to respond to relocation requests, and it was thrown away.

Free FDISK - Enhanced DOS FDISK that supports non-DOS partition types, disks up to 128GB, and automatic execution from batch files.

Nero - The best general CD-RW software I've used for yet, and it hasn't failed me.

Operating System Essentials:

4NT and 4DOS - 4NT is a replacement for NT/2K/XP's CMD.EXE, while 4DOS is a COMMAND.COM replacement for DOS/95/98/Me. It's amazing in every way, making you want to spend your time on the command prompt. It supports file descriptions, aliases, macros, redefinitions, extended wildcards (ex: DIR /S ?SJ*F?1.BA?), internal file viewer, batch debugger, recursive copy/delete/rename, internal variables to access low-level system information like memory, disk, process, and OS statistics, and a powerful programming language with many C like functions including string handling and formatting, exception handling, and switch/case/if/than/else logic.

ZTreeWin - XTree Gold for Win32 console. Supports LFN's and has too many features, like a builtin hex editor and viewer, binary level compare, and it treats ARJ/CAB/LHA/JAR/RAR/ZIP archives like any other directory. ZTree is better than XTG ever was.

Open DCL Lite - Free DCL interface and interperter for Win32 and UNIX. Allows you to work as if you were in VMS environment! While not every command is implemented in the Lite version (and SHOW STATUS crashes in XP), OpenDCL Lite has enough lexicals and commands to make a VMS user feel at home, and allows you to mix Win32 commands with VMS commands.

MicroDCL - Another DCL interface and interperter, but this time for DOS users, featuring an incredible extensible help system, useful for boot disks.

CMFiler - CMFiler is yet another file manager ala XTree, but it has it's own unique functions and finger feel, and some neat features like "fit to copy" for fitting large directory of files such as images onto floppy disks, and neat grep-like text find features. It's a DOS application but supports LFN's.

PocketD - Purely a DOS application, but combined with 4DOS, gives you best possible DOS environment. A replacement for the DIR command, on crack; it searches, it locates, it copies, it analyses, it views, it sorts, it colorizes, it makes graphs!

A last one for the DOS crew, the Korn Shell (ksh) and Bourne Shell (bash) for MS-DOS and compatibles.

Audio and Audio Compression:

DXMan - By AnalogX, the makers of 18 million crappy utilities, here comes one worth using! Seriously, DXMan allows you to easily manage DirectX Audio Plugins, including support to add, remove, and reconfigure them. There are also some other useful DirectX Audio Plugins here, such as Gate, Arpeg, and Phase. BitPolice is also useful as it lets you examine the bit-level output. DriveTime shows you how much hard disk space you have left in hh:mm:ss. Don't download anything else from this site though! =)

EncSpot 2 - EncSpot was written by potsticker, who has recently disappeared, so don't except any updates! However, it's still a great program. If you don't know anything about it, just download it and check it out. It analyses files and directories of audio files and shows bitrate graphs, encoder information, and aggregate information like directory average bitrate and quality, and it works with MPC files as well as MP3.

EAC - Exact Audio Copy - The best ripper. I used to be a fan of CDex until I did some actual tests, and even if it may not be miles ahead of other rippers, it offers important features that I couldn't live without now, including accurate gap detection. Sometimes difficult to setup, but if you do it correctly, you can be sure you are getting the best possible CDDA rips.

MP3Gain - ReplayGain for your MP3 files, and it works with any player due to it's lossless modification of the audio file itself.

Monkey's Audio - Lossless audio compression that I can finally recommend due to the change in licensing! This is now a tie with WavPack for favorite lossless audio compression. FLAC is probably the most promising new lossless audio compressor. Once version 1.0.5 is released, it might become my recommended codec for lossless.

MusePack/MPC/MPEGplus/MP+ - MusePack Living Audio Compression, in my opinion, the most promising lossy compression codec, and the only audio encoder I have installed on my machine other than TooLAME.

TooLAME - TooLAME is an open source MPEG-1 Level 2 (MP2) audio encoder. An experimental branch (0.3) was very slowly coming together at the time of writing at SourceForge.

Tag - Tag wins for tag management, mainly because it provides an easy way for me to get rid of all tags on all audio files on my entire hard drive. Death to tagging. :-P

Foobar2000 - PP's new pet project, a simple, all purpose audio player for power users. If you don't know about it, read the FB2K Forum.

Graphics:

IrfanView-32 - The best all purpose graphics viewer. I thought all my DjVu content was going to go to waste due to bad tools, but IrfanView to the rescue. Before IrfanView came around, L-View was my recommendation, and it seems that it is still developed at lview.com.

ScreenGrab - A simple screen snapshot utility that captures either the current window or full screen to BMP, JPG, or PNG.

PNGOUT - PNGOUT is a PNG compression optimizer by Ken Silverman, the same guy who wrote the BUILD engine used in games like Redneck Rampage. It usually compresses PNG images better than PNGCRUSH can. I use PNGOUT first, and then see if PNGCRUSH can do a better job. You can get PNGCRUSH over here.

Compression:

Note: I don't support using a whole lot of weird compression methods, especially when source code isn't available and the author isn't well know. I don't trust my data to just anything. With that said I give my prizes to:

1st Place - RAR - I use RAR on my Win32 systems, and it is my default application for ARJ, LZH, ACE, ZIP, and JAR files. It's not as much of a hog as ACE and other packers, has great open-source support, and a low-footprint.

2st Place - InfoZIP - ZIP and UnZIP utilities that run on more than 50 different operating systems and platforms. It may not be the best implementation of the ZIP deflate method (see KZIP for that), but it wins for reliability and compatibility.

Internet Applications:

Mulberry - Mulberry is the best e-mail program hands-down. I've been using it for years, and it's available for Mac, Windows, Linux, Solaris, etc. It has the best IMAP support in the industry and has the best integration with GNU Privacy Guard I've seen in a Windows application. It supports all the security features such as SSL/TLS/STARTTLS, Kerberos, CRAM/DIGEST MD5 and NT domain authentication. I wish it had better support for UCE filtering, but I have no major complaints.

XNews - XNews wins my pick as newsreader of choice. It's 100% GNKSA complaint, which is a very important thing, and should say more about the applicatin than what I can write here. One place it isn't the best is pr0n mass downloading... for all your pr0n mass-downloading needs, get Agent.

I use Internet Explorer as my web browser, but I also use all the security tools above, and keep up to date with Microsoft. I couldn't bear to use IE without "Toggle Images.exe", which was a tool first included in the IE4 "Pro Pack". It still functions properly 6.0 SP1. A simple utility, it disables the display and download of in-line images for a fast-text only experience. I have it enabled 90% of my browsing.

When I am not using IE, I use OffByOne, a simple HTML 3.2 browser.

I'm not a fan of Mozilla, but I've examined almost every single browser out there that includes and uses Mozilla as a base and always stay with Phoenix. If you won't use IE, please save yourself the hassle of trying out everything else and help the Phoenix team develop their great application.

Sam Spade wins as my all around network utility for Win32. It combines ping, dig, nslookup, traceroute, whois, finger, host, dnsblquery, nettime, etc. all into one easy to use GUI. On a platform like Windows where the native utilities aren't always available, Sam Spade has never failed me.

SecureFX - SecureFX wins as my FTP client of choice. It also supports SSH's SCP and SFTP file transfers as well, supports odd servers like VMS and MVS without a hitch, has great resume support, and supports command-line functionality for scripting via batch languages.

wget - wget wins as the best web grabber application out there. I'm always using it's "-c -t 0 -mirror -np" to grab down websites and it's great for use when your connection is bad and you really need to grab that file. Screw download managers and accelerators! You can always get the latest stable, beta and alpha Win32 wget here.

The best terminal emulation program in existance is Kermit and C-Kermit. If you want to use Telnet, Tn3270, SSH/SSH2, and you aren't using Kermit, you an idiot. Actually your worse than an idiot, but we won't get into that. If you have 95/98/Me/NT/2K/XP get K95 or else stick with C-Kermit. If for some reason you absolutely cannot under any circumstances use Kermit or C-Kermit, you might want to try PuTTY for Telnet/SSH and QWS3270 for Tn3270 instead.

ScrollZ - SZ wins as the best IRC client. I may be biased because back when they were on 1.8d/e and the client was closed sourced and had an IP-lock copy protection scheme, I began first using it, and later developing it with source code access. I implemented a few functions that were used in scripting my own script (eps) and other general features like country identifcation. The client is now open-source. It's lineage is from ircII and CToolZ. It supports ANSI, SZ, and mIRC colors, has it's own internals shitlist/userlist/friendlist for operating as a channelbot, caching of server variables, internal XDCC/CDCC, flood and channel protection, and other features. It is designed to be secure and stable, and not to include any default annoyance features or autokick/autoban settings, so it's safe even for IRCops to use (many do). The current source compiles under Cygwin, and I'm working on a native port. I have a NeXTSTEP, OpenStep, and OpenVMS/VAX port of older SZ versions available as well, if anyone is interested.



Well, what do you guys think? I purposely didn't add any major specific applications like Photoshop, and I'm staying away from reviewing office productivity applications. Remember this is MY best of the best list, and I hope you enjoyed reading it.

Have a happy computing experience.


edit: Outdated programs removed.

This post has been edited by CiTay: Mar 20 2010, 00:05
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Infophreak
post Jan 12 2003, 01:27
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Joined: 20-June 02
Member No.: 2354



EMACS!!!

Just had to say it (editor wars, yay!).

A little more seriously: Thanks for that more advanced command interpreter. I find myself using the command line A LOT (all the time using Linux on other boxen has gotten to me happy.gif). For all those who don't know how much you still can do with the commandline in 2K/XP, try running cmd.exe and do a "cmd /?" and a "<command> /?" for all those built-in commands it lists. There is a lot of stuff hidden there, that you can tweak. To name one smart trick: I made perl script executable programs on the commandline, so I only have to write "script.pl <enter>", and it'll automatically run perl.exe on it.


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TrNSZ
post Jan 12 2003, 01:46
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Group: Developer
Posts: 717
Joined: 25-September 01
From: ... The Studio
Member No.: 20



Regarding Emacs, I made a honest attempt to use Emacs for a long time, and purchased multiple Emacs books, and even made my login shell Emacs - Nothing worked unless I was in vi mode. EMACS IST DEATH =)

Seriously, if you use CMD, drop it and use 4NT immediately.

This post has been edited by TrNSZ: Jan 12 2003, 01:50
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SometimesWarrior
post Jan 12 2003, 02:18
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From: California, US
Member No.: 514



Thanks for the informative (and huge) post! I'll start toying with some of that stuff right away. I get the feeling like my computing life is about to be "evolutionized". ph34r.gif

I've been messing with Emacs (for Windows), and after weeks of forcing myself to use the keyboard shortcuts only, I'm starting to feel more efficient when I use it. Talk about a vertical learning curve!

Another programming language I enjoy using: Ruby. It's kind of a cross between Smalltalk and Perl, I guess, and it's quick to learn and quick to use.
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Infophreak
post Jan 12 2003, 02:19
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Member No.: 2354



Lavasoft is the creator of Adaware, and NO computer running any flavour of Windows should be allowed to be connected to the internet without this. So much malware and spyware is out there, and this is pretty much the only guard against all that s***.

XChat is a great IRC client that is proving itself more and more interesting. The upcomming 2.0 release should have some nifty support for Python scripting. With that said, I am still using mIRC because I couldn't code C, C++ or Python if my life depended on it, whereas mIRC scripting is rather easy. I hope to have time to really learn Python some day, as the concept sounds really cool to me.

Pan is a free (as in speech) usenet reader for GNOME, but there is also a Windows port in the works. IMO better than Xnews, and certainly a lot better when it comes to handling binaries.

BlackBox for Windows. What more can I say? Well... if you want something fast and small to replace explorer.exe as your default shell, this is it. It does take a lot of work to get used to though, which is a definite minus. I tried it, and I liked it, but ultimately, it took a little too much time to set up. YMMV.

ActiveState - home of native Windows builds of Perl, Python and Tcl. Lots 'n lots of programming fun :D

POVRay is a free (as in beer -- the source is available though) raytracer. Quite good too. It can be a lot of fun to toy around with, and the included sample files warrant a download alone, just to see what it can pull off. IRTC (the Internet RayTracing Competition) often features images made with POVRay or one of its derivatives.


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TrNSZ
post Jan 12 2003, 02:33
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Group: Developer
Posts: 717
Joined: 25-September 01
From: ... The Studio
Member No.: 20



I'm a registered AdAware Pro user, but I'm staying away from it until Release 6. It has been more than 3 months since it's been updated, and it now misses about 75% of current in-the-wild Spyware. SpyBoy S&D is being updated about once a week now, and I'm sticking with it until AW6 comes out.

XChat is interesting, yes, but in my experience, it doesn't come close to ScrollZ and it's features. For an example of what can be scripted in SZ, you've gotta check out sz/os (in only works on an older version of SZ however, not 1.9). It's back from 1998, but still, probably the best example of SZ scripting. It uses libraries and modules which are infinately extensible.

OpenChat/2 was probably the best IRC client I ever used, but it's only available for OS/2.

Never used Pan or Blackbox for Windows so I can't comment, but I have used ActiveState's environments before, but without any real issues or fanfare, since I don't program in Perl, Python, or Tcl/Tk.

Never was into raytracing. I don't think we should be talking about program like POVRay, I mean, we can live without raytracing, but we can't live without IRC and file editing I guess. =)
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JohnV
post Jan 12 2003, 03:47
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Member No.: 6



Hey TrNSZ, very nice post!

Btw. you said you use IE. You should test MyIE2. It uses your IE-engine, but adds so much features.. Of course the most important are tabs-support (multiple page support, if unclear for somebody) and mouse gestures.

You use the same software which I'd have mentioned also first.. (4NT,Ultraedit,Kerio,IsoBuster..)
But here are some more free utilities I use.

Total Uninstall should be the best uninstallation utility for win32 apps.

Dimension4 is probably the lightest time synchronization program considering all the options available (Doesn't work well with XP which has internal option for this). Also nice for modem users, since it detects when you are online.

Miranda ICQ is very much more "lite" than ICQ lite. Latest nightly build available here.

Aida32 is a nice free (for personal use) system information, diagnostics and benchmarking program running on Win32 platforms. A bit to the same category goes Belarc Advisor which builds a detailed profile of your inspected system's software and hardware and displays the results in your browser.

Other useful non-free software I use:
Remotely Anywhere remote administration&remote desktop with (JAVA-support needed for remote desktop) web-browser, FinePrint for my different printing needs, F-Prot 3.12c Win32 antivirus is very light and reasonably good, Beyond Compare for all kind of file/folder/ftp/source code/etc comparison.

Well, there's more, but these came to my mind quickly. smile.gif

This post has been edited by JohnV: Jan 12 2003, 04:15


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TrNSZ
post Jan 12 2003, 04:20
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Hello JohnV,

I'm gonna add a defrag program here, as it was mentioned as essential on IRC:

PerfectDisk - This would be my defragmentation application of choice. I first became famaliar with Raxco's high quality products when working with PerfectDisk for OpenVMS. The Windows version is probably the best defragmentation program I've seen and they offer a trade-in program. It also has a command-line interface and only requires 5% of the drive to be free to perform defragmentation; Diskeeper needs at least 20% and the Microsoft version requires up to 25%. It also installs a driver that monitors your file usage behaviors, so if you always access FOO.DLL right after BAR.DLL, these files will be placed physically close to eachother on the disk to improve performance.

If we are gonna talk about uninstallation programs, I haven't used Total Uninstall, but I do use ART, the Advanced Registry Tracer to monitor what these programs do to my registry. It also helps with, eh, software "reverse engineering".

I don't use ICQ and I can't comment, neither can I comment on those system information utilities because I haven't used them. If I do need to get system information, I use HWiNFO and HWiNFO32.

As far as time sync goes, I use XP, but I disable the time sync application and just use a port of NTPDATE from the University of Delaware's reference NTP implementation. You can get a decent port here.

Example:
$ ntpdate.exe -p 8 tick.usno.navy.mil tock.usno.navy.mil
ntpdate.exe[1212]: step time server 192.5.41.41 offset -76.470552 sec

I don't believe in printers or printing. I will not and do not own any printers, except for my NeXTlaser, which I don't have networked, once again, because I do not believe in printers. If I have to print something, I use the Adobe Acrobat capture driver and take the PDF file to someone who does believe in printers.

About MyIE2: IE is just fine for me really, at least I think so. I don't use my mouse much; In real-life I only touch my once maybe once or twice an hour so things like mouse gestures just scream useless to me. I use software that covers my tracks and removes any personal information from my system -- automatic filling out of forms with stored data goes against everything I believe in! I usually fill out forms with fake data anyway. URL aliases are provided by a tool from the Microsoft IE Web Accessories for IE5 that still works fine for me in IE 6 SP1, and I use that feature maybe once a year. I normally browse with all toolbars, explorer bars, and anything other than the status bar disabled - I only have the File/Edit/View/etc menu and the bottom status bar. This also makes the auto-hide toolbar feature useless since I disable it always anyway. The website isn't very informative of all features, and it's too slow to use right now, but is there anything else in there that might interest me?
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JohnV
post Jan 12 2003, 04:44
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QUOTE (TrNSZ @ Jan 12 2003 - 05:20 AM)
About MyIE2: IE is just fine for me really, at least I think so.  I don't use my mouse much; In real-life I only touch my once maybe once or twice an hour so things like mouse gestures just scream useless to me.  I use software that covers my tracks and removes any personal information from my system -- automatic filling out of forms with stored data goes against everything I believe in!  I usually fill out forms with fake data anyway.  URL aliases are provided by a tool from the Microsoft IE Web Accessories for IE5 that still works fine for me in IE 6 SP1, and I use that feature maybe once a year.  I normally browse with all toolbars, explorer bars, and anything other than the status bar disabled - I only have the File/Edit/View/etc menu and the bottom status bar.  This also makes the auto-hide toolbar feature useless since I disable it always anyway.  The website isn't very informative of all features, and it's too slow to use right now, but is there anything else in there that might interest me?

Well, there are too many features to list here. Some that come to my mind are grouping (you can group sites and open those at the same time), you can disable many things with one click (like ActiveX content,Javascipt,images etc.), auto-scroll (heh), auto-refresh, a feature to show only all the links of a site, etc..really too many things to list. Good thing is that there's no install.. You just unpack and run the myie.exe.

Anyway, the biggest thing for me is the tabs-support. my nerves can't handle a browser without it anymore.. laugh.gif

I know about the commandline time sync tools, but non of those had all the features I wanted.


--------------------
Juha Laaksonheimo
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h
post Jan 12 2003, 05:54
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I personally can't live without my Gator, Comet Cursor or SaveNow!

Couldn't resist.

FileMon monitors every single file operation performed on your windows box, with powerful filtering capabilities.

RegMon does the same with the registry - priceless utilities.

PsTools for remote process manipulation - starting, killing, listing, etc. on remote administerable machines.

HeleCabCompressor for creating CAB files - high compression that can be decompressed on any windows box without 3rd party software.

FFdshow decompresses and filters various video formats. Precious.

-h
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TrNSZ
post Jan 12 2003, 06:10
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I've been following ffdshow development, but I've been afraid to install it for some reason -- it scares me.

I use Microsoft MakeCAB for making my CAB files. It does look like that other program you mentioned might compress better. Does it support a command-line interface?

Also, yes, all the SysInternals/Winternals stuff is great, but I don't consider it essential for my system.
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smok3
post Jan 12 2003, 09:05
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just to mention few for windows:

- EditPad Lite http://www.editpadpro.com/editpadlite.html
(general-purpose text editor)
- office http://www.openoffice.org/
(an office)
- total commander http://www.ghisler.com/
(file manager, ftp client, ect - previously windows commander)
- mbprobe http://mbprobe.livewiredev.com/
(cpu temperature meter, ect)
- abyss http://www.aprelium.com/
(www server)
- getright http://www.getright.com/
(http, ftp download manager)
edit:
- trillian http://www.ceruleanstudios.com/trillian/fe...features-1.html
(my icq replacement)
edit2:
- catfish http://www.equi4.com/catfish/
fast, simple, free disk catalog browser (almost forgot that one, only thing i miss is multiple search results)
any1 know a better free app?
---------------------------------------

toys:
- iZotope Vinyl http://www.izotope.com/products/audio/vinyl/vinyl.html
(Vinyl for DirectX)
- terragen http://www.planetside.co.uk/terragen/
('simple' landscape renderer)

<offtopic>
for the old real3d users, there is a new demo version to download:
http://www.realsoft.com/
</offtopic>

This post has been edited by smok3: Jan 23 2003, 03:17


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h
post Jan 12 2003, 09:21
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I've been following ffdshow development, but I've been afraid to install it for some reason -- it scares me.

Well, all it does is install 3 DLLs and 1 AX file (none of which go into the windows tree), and register some CLSIDs for playback. Worries me much less than installing say WMV8.

I use Microsoft MakeCAB for making my CAB files. It does look like that other program you mentioned might compress better. Does it support a command-line interface?

It's just a frontend for MakeCAB, there's no command-line functionality.

-h
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Volcano
post Jan 12 2003, 16:57
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Yo TrNSZ, very nice, thanks! smile.gif I also use quite a lot of the programs you mentioned.

Few additions:

Metapad, a really cool text editor for Windows. I use it especially for quoting messages in forums that don't have a proper quote function, and for composing emails (very good for replying to messages with dirty quoting).

Proton Code Editor for PHP scripting (and other languages if I were able to tongue.gif). The HTML editor also available on that site simply rocks, but it's German-only.

Apache2/PHP/MySQL of course. (Haven't been put to much use recently though...)


Little, hardly known helpers:

ReadOnly for mass-removing Read Only attributes (because Win98 can't do this natively). It's a little buggy, on large selections it sometimes misses a few files.

Icon Sushi, a cool image editor.

WinTop, part of the MS PowerToys. Very nice tool that displays all running processes and reports their CPU usage correctly. (Important on Win9x, because SYSMON.EXE is very unreliable for CPU usage reporting.)

DelTemp, simple VB Script that deletes the TEMP folder on startup if it's safe to do so (if a setup wizard reboots and continues to install from that folder, DelTemp won't erase it).
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ak
post Jan 12 2003, 19:31
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QUOTE (Volcano @ Jan 12 2003 - 05:57 PM)
ReadOnly for mass-removing Read Only attributes (because Win98 can't do this natively).

I think it can (attrib -r <path>\*.* /S), although it can take ages to complete.
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TrNSZ
post Jan 13 2003, 02:35
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4NT/4DOS eliminates the need for tools like ReadOnly.

CODE
TrNSZ@CERBERUS:~ $ attrib /?
Change or view file and subdirectory attributes.

ATTRIB [/A:[[-]rhsda] /DE /I"text" /PQS] [+|-[AHRSNOT]] file ...
       /A:(ttribute select)    /P(ause)
       /D(irectories)          /Q(uiet)
       /E (No error messages)  /S(ubdirectories)
       /I (match descriptions)
       Attribute flags:
               +A, -A  Set or clear archive attribute
               +H, -H  Set or clear hidden attribute
               +R, -R  Set or clear read-only attribute
               +S, -S  Set or clear system attribute
               +N, -N  Set or clear normal attribute
               +O, -O  Set or clear offline attribute
               +T, -T  Set or clear temporary attribute


Also, I don't see the need for all these textpads when you have Vim, except for binary editing, for which I use UltraEdit32.

Total Commander is kind of cool, but I still prefer the text based utilities such as ZTreeWin and CMFiler.
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Andavari
post Jan 13 2003, 03:56
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Ad-aware:
http://www.lavasoftusa.com/
http://www.lsfileserv.com/
http://www.lavasoft.de/
Freeware version, contains no spyware or built in ads.
Just one of the spyware removal utilities that should be on any and all Windows systems to combat the garbage that infects our systems.

AVG Anti-Virus System:
http://www.grisoft.com/
Free edition, contains no spyware or built in ads.
I use the freeware version of AVG. Although the program in looks isn't my first choice of giving a good lasting first impression (unlike BitDefender) the interface however has become my favorite Windows antivirus scanner, simply because of its simplicity without having to worry about missing a vital configuration option. It's bare-bones basic, however it gets the job done, and its resident shield doesn't bog down Win98 by being over aggressive.

CookieCop:
http://www.pcmag.com/utilities/
Freeware, contains no spyware or built in ads.
CookieCop has been the mainstay of filtering out the excess garbage that I don't want in my Internet experience. Although it doesn't filter each and everything such as WebWasher, it has the major advantage of having one of the best event logs I've ever seen which comes in handy if one needs to know why a particular website doesn't work properly. Without CookieCop the Internet would be a burden full of distracting, spyware planting ad banners, and cookies that I don't want loading on my system.

CDStarter:
http://www.wentnet.uklinux.net/
Freeware, contains no spyware or built in ads.
One of the easiest utilities (although not the prettiest) I've seen that can help create an autorun CD in under 5 minutes.

Defrag_to_shutdown:
http://medlem.spray.se/mokkelmannen/
Freeware, contains no spyware or built in ads.
The best launchers for the system default Win95/98/Me Disk Defragmenter I've seen, with the ability to shutdown, logoff, or restart the system it is more than handy. The ability to optimize hidden and system files (undocumented, maybe unsafe Microsoft defrag switches) is rather interesting.

Download Mage:
http://www.dlmage.com/
Shareware, commercial software.
Download Mage has been the best download manager I've ever used and actually purchased. Its ability to sniff out cryptic URL's and find the actual download file is most impressive, whereas some other download managers cannot download from such URL's.

FreeExtractor:
http://www.disoriented.com/FreeExtractor/
Freeware, contains no spyware or built in ads.
FE is one of the best self-extracting Zip archive creation programs I've ran across, and it is always one of the first utilities I re-install after Win98 needs to be re-installed. With the ability to create desktop shortcuts, extract to specific Windows directories (Desktop, System, Start Menu, Start Menu Program Group, etc) using parameters not specific directory names which will extract into the right area regardless of how someone setup their system.

F-PROT Antivirus for DOS:
http://www.f-prot.com/download/
Free for personal usage, contains no spyware or built in ads.
I really think F-PROT in any form DOS, or the commercial Windows scanner is a very good antivirus package. Although I use the DOS scanner which I have integrated into the Win98 right click shell it is still very useful for finding viruses, virus destroyed files, and suspicious files that other antivirus scanners would miss.

Inno Setup:
http://www.jrsoftware.org/
http://www.innosetup.com
Freeware, contains no spyware or built in ads.
Inno Setup without a doubt is one of the best installation creation programs I've ever used.

IrfanView:
http://www.irfanview.com/
Freeware, contains b3d.dll (BodyPaint 3D) as a plugin which some spyware detection programs see as spyware.
IrfanView is my main image viewer on my system. Win98 just wouldn't be the same without this little app that loads a plethora of image formats and still weighs in as a not being a bloated program.

Kerio Personal Firewall v2.1.5:
Google Search
Freeware, contains no spyware or built in ads.
The successor of the freeware Tiny Personal Firewall. A power firewall by all means which allows me to surf the web without being paranoid about being attacked or hacked. If I didn't have KPF I wouldn't even bother having an Internet connection.

MetaPad:
http://liquidninja.com/metapad/download.html
Freeware, contains no spyware or built in ads.
A good Notepad replacement. Has uses that are really lacking in the very feeble Notepad, hence the reason it is named Notepad.exe on my system.

Resource Hacker:
http://www.users.on.net/johnson/resourcehacker/
Freeware, contains no spyware or built in ads.
A neat little app that allows one to safely modify some executables. I've rearranged many buttons in programs to suit my needs, etc., want a bigger display window -- you've got it.

Speeks Frontends:
http://home.wanadoo.nl/~w.speek/speek.htm
Freeware, contains no spyware or built in ads.
Too many to mention. The best, easy to use frontends.

Spybot Search & Destroy:
http://security.kolla.de/
Freeware, contains no spyware or built in ads.
Probably the most robust freeware spyware removal utilites I've seen. I think it outclasses Ad-aware.

Sygate Personal Firewall:
Standard free edition, contains no spyware or built in ads.
http://smb.sygate.com/products/spf_standard.htm

TaskZip:
http://www.pb-sys.com/
http://jupiter.drw.net/matpie/PBSystems/pr...skzip/TZip.html
Freeware, contains no spyware or built in ads.
TaskZip is a top-knotch zipping utility that sits in the system tray next to the clock and will automatically created backups in either the Zip format, or by simply copying them to a different drive/directory/partition.

Tweak Revisited:
http://www.jsware.net/
Freeware version/Shareware version, contains no spyware or built in ads.
Probably the best utility I've used to change the system default crappy looking Win98 icons to my re-worked for Win98 support WinXP icons. It's one of the only robust system-wide modifying utilites I've seen that won't totally screw up Win98, so long as you understand what you're doing.

Ultimate Packer for eXecutables (UPX):
http://upx.sourceforge.net/
Freeware, contains no spyware or built in ads.
I'll just say I don't like compressed executables, .dll's, etc., therefore I use UPX to decompress all the damn compressed files I'm constantly running into.

WinRescue 98:
http://www.superwin.com/
http://www.superwin.com/frescue8.htm
Shareware, commercial software.
A Windows Rescue utility for Windows 98, need I say more. The closest thing to system restore that Win98 will ever see. Other versions are available for other versions of Windows, e.g.; WinXP.

WinRescue XP:
http://www.superwin.com/
http://www.superwin.com/frescuex.htm
Shareware, commercial software.
A Windows Rescue utility for Windows XP. Can help restore the registry to settings that System Restore fails to do.

WinZip Self-Extractor:
http://www.winzip.com/
Shareware, commercial software.
Love the SFX Zips.

Edit 1: Updated some URL's that were dead links.
Edit 2: Added some programs. Removed some programs. Removed jv16 PowerTools free version since it times out and stops working.

This post has been edited by Andavari: Jan 10 2004, 07:27


--------------------
Complexity of incoherent design.
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Sawg
post Jan 13 2003, 10:11
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Star Downloader. Never heard of it before, but a friend pointed it out. A freeware download accelerator/scheduler.
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Cobra
post Jan 13 2003, 10:40
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TheBat! - best e-mail client for Window$

TaskInfo2003 - TaskInfo2003 is combination of Task Manager and System Information Utility, It visually monitors different types of System information in Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP

System Mechanic - good all in 1 tool. Has regcleaner, netbooster, uninstaller etc. tools.

Jabber - free multiplatform communicator. I use PSI communicator.

RightWeb Monitor - Tool for automatic searching for web & program updates. I set it to check latest versions of Foobar2000... If anyone find free alternative for Window$, tell me please.

AGSM - "aGSM is alternative Game Server Monitor, a new way to quickly find and monitor multiplayer servers for many most popular games. It's a tiny 32bit multithreaded Windows95/98/ME/2000/XP program using WinSock2 (the new network connectivity standard). Our ultimate goal is to give gamers a complete toolbox for all their multiplayer gaming needs - a one small, fast, reliable, and handy freeware tool."

This post has been edited by Cobra: Apr 17 2003, 16:04
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ak
post Jan 13 2003, 11:07
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Never thought of software as essential, now I do...

Currently in my systray (honor to be loaded on startup means they're essential, I guess):

Miranda, mainly because it doesn't kill my system on startup

Keybord Ninja, sort of automatic keyboard layout switcher / on-the-go corrector with many handy features. When properly configured (not in my case) it can handle ~90% of typos or other types of mess coming out of keyboard (if you forget to switch language, accidental caps...). Well, as many automation tools it does little bit more than you expect, but I can live with it (but hardly without it, it appears).

Other residents:

Audio / video: it'll be bsplayer and fb2k for playback and lots of utils for manipulating.

CD burning: definetely Nero, since shipped with my drive, I have never used any other cd burning app for any considerable amount of time on my pc. Well, except EAC.

File handling: Flexible Renamer and CDCheck. Still looking for good file comparer, frontend for fc.exe with drag'n'drop and text output would be enough for me.

Browser: Phoenix. Now that i finaly managed to get completely flat and clean look with tiny icons out of it, it's just sweet.

DL manager: FlashGet, the only one I know that can cooperate with Phoenix, and because I get used to it.

Text editor: TxtPad all the way. It hasn't been updated for ages, I thought they dropped the development, just checked now, looks like they didn't. Me happy.

Misc: TrueLaunchBar (QuickLaunch substitution), mainly because of it's rocking and rolling MailMonitor plugin.
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roman
post Jan 13 2003, 11:44
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FAR Manager - file-archive manager with true NT orientation but TextUI and commandline. And, of course, his plugins.
The russian answer for emacses! wink.gif
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Volcano
post Jan 13 2003, 17:03
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Add another one - the thread on virus scanners made me give an alternative to Outlook Express another try:

Kaufman Mail Warrior. This really is a neat mail program. It has all I need (thank god it doesn't support HTML mails), and a *really* nice user interface. I'd definitely recommend giving it a try. Oh, and it's just 700KB large. smile.gif

The only drawback is that its database files are very easily readable with any text editor, but OE doesn't do much better than that. The lack of SMTP authentication isn't that much of a problem for me because my email provider allows me to switch to SMTP-after-POP instead, but other users will think otherwise.

CU

Dominic
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smok3
post Jan 13 2003, 21:10
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QUOTE (JohnV @ Jan 12 2003 - 04:47 AM)
You should test MyIE2. It uses your IE-engine, but adds so much features.. Of course the most important are tabs-support  :)
good stuff, so far iam (ab)using 'undo close window(s)', tabbed browsing, no popups. tested phoenix also, very nice, still prefer the ie engine tho B)


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Sachankara
post Jan 14 2003, 01:17
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Damn long lists you have...

Notepad, Winamp, cmd, explorer, JquickTrans, mIRC, Bullet Proof FTP Server, Miranda IM, Kerio Personal Firewall, Daemon Tools, The Bat!, OpenOffice.org , Windows Media Player 6.4, EAC, FLAC + FlacDrop, DeGlitch, WaveGain, PsyTEL AACEnc 2.15, Phoenix and Paint shop pro 5... That should be enough for now... smile.gif
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tangent
post Jan 14 2003, 06:23
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I find UltraEdit indispensible. Are there any good opensource/free equivilents which are almost as good?
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