Sunday, July 08, 2007

Reloading Vista: Apps, tools, and utilities of interest

After dozens of installs/uninstalls, playing with beta apps, and in general just thoroughly abusing Vista on my laptop for the past 6 months, it’s come time to reload the machine. By and large the issues are of my own doing, so by no means is this a “Vista problem”.

So why am I telling you this?

I’ve spent the past few days finding all of the apps that aren’t part of my base-image, and thought it would be something light to post. So without further delay, listed below is my list of apps and tools (with comments when relevant) that I had to track down for this load. You’ll notice that many of these are open source, though some obviously are not. I’m sure I’ve missed a few things – if you see anything that should be here, let me know.

ThinkVantage System Update - Beats tracking down every driver individually. Though you’ll need to grab the appropriate driver for the wireless chip set (preferably first), if you’ve got a T60.
Visual Studio 2005, IIS 7, SQL Server 2005
Symantec Antivirus 10.2
Office 2007 Professional, Visio 2007.
Quickbooks 2007
Camtasia Studio – Great tool for creating webcasts and training materials.
Virtual PC 2007, Windows XP, Windows 2003, SBS 2003 guest machines
Knoppix – Not actually installed. Just haven’t grabbed a recent ISO.
Netstumbler – Doesn't hurt to have on hand.
Sysinternals Tools – Microsoft bought these guys somewhat recently. I use ProcessExplorer mostly, but a great suite a command line tools.
MBSA – For update scanning. web-browser extensions for managing booksmarks and tags.
Deamon Tools – for mounting ISO images. I know Microsoft released an unsupported tool that does the same, but I’ve been using this for a couple of years and like it. Just make certain to uncheck the Search tools on install to avoid adware.
7Zip – Unzip tool with a GUI. It’s free, it works - and is similar to WinZip.
Adobe Acrobat Reader - Read PDFs.
KeePass Password Safe - Open Source tool for managing account information and passwords to web-sites and other resources.
GreatNews RSS reader – I used to use RSS Bandit, but Vista compatibility was a bit slow in coming so I switched. As I have more feeds that I can read daily, I’ve started using the NewsWatch feature almost exclusively for finding content of interest.
VMRCPlus – Great console GUI tool for managing Virtual Server 2005 R2 machines without having to bounce through the web-based interface. Which, as an aside, who thinks it was a good idea to release Virtual Server 2005 and have the only management tools be the web-console? I mean, maybe, just maybe if it was AJAX-based, but even still… anyway, VMRCPlus solves that problem, and has apparently been floating around internally at Microsoft for some time.
AngryIP Scanner – quickly probe subnets for hosts. I use it frequently – note that SAV 10.2 detects it has a security threat.
ISO Recorder – Burn ISO images.
2007 Microsoft Office Add-in: Microsoft Save as PDF or XPS – Save As PDF from Office 2007 apps. No need for
PDF Creator – In case you don’t have Office 2007 and want to create PDF’s without Acrobat Professional.
Google Earth, or Microsoft Virtual Earth – Either, or, or both.
AD-COIT – My inventory script for scanning networks.
Citrix ICA Client – ICA client.
FileZilla – FTP client of choice.
JRE - Java runtime environment
TightVNC – One of many VNC clients
WinPcap – I don’t always install this on my main machine – but , it’s a packet capture library, and a requirement if you’re going to be using Wireshark.
WireShark – Previously known as Etheral - packet sniffing tool.
Paint.NET – You need some tools for manipulating graphics. I used to use The GIMP, but have been following PAINT.NET since the first beta a couple of years back. I like it, it works for me.
PowerShell – Think BASH for Windows kinda. If you haven’t heard of it yet, get familiar with it. Its how were managing Exchange 2007.
FireFox - An after thought.

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