2012-07-18

Software Every New PC Should Have

You bought a brand new computer. You bring it home. Unpack it. Now what? Start using it? Most of the time it's missing something. Here is what every PC needs to have installed on it's first day in it's new home.

OpenDNS - Keeps your PCs safe from malware and phishing attacks by preventing your PC from connecting to known poisoned sites.

Ninitehttp://ninite.com/

I like Ninite for one reason. I can load a ton of software on a new PC all in one shot. You can also rereun the installer at a later time to update the installed apps. Ninite has a paid updater, but I chose to create a shortcut to the installer in my Startup folder so that the install file runs each time I boot up my PC.  It's not perfect, but it works.

Here are some of the apps I install on a new PC using Ninite.


7zip - File utility for managing ZIP files.
Chrome - Best Internet browser at this time. Although there are many to chose from. 
Cutepdf & Foxit PDF Reader - These two apps are for creating and reading PDF files, respectively.
K-Lite Codecs - Needed for playing video files which can often be in odd formats.
Notepad++ - A better replacement for Window's built in Notepad app.
Skype - Currently the most popular video conferencing software. I also recommend Google+ for it's Hangout feature which allows you to video conference with up 9 other people.
TeamViewer - Remote Desktop software. If you have a family member in need of computer help, this is the way to go.
VLC - Video player that handles almost any type of file.
Windirstat - What is hogging up your disk space? Find out visually.


MS Essentials - Microsoft's Antivirus offering. Pretty solid.
AdAware/Malwarebytes/SuperAntiSpyware - These three are highly recommended to keep your system clean of malware.
Air/Flash/Flashie/Shockwave/Java/Silverlight/.Net - These seven are at sometime in your online life going to be needed. Might as well install them now.

Some items below are available via Ninite, but their alternatives aren't. For example I prefer CrashPlan over Mozy. What I like is that CrashPlan allows me to choose Cloud storage, local storage or even trade storage with a friend.

CrashPlan/Mozy* - Online backups. Far too many of us don't backup our computers. Most often it's too hard to maintain backups. Online backup service make it easier to recover from an unexpected loss. CrashPlan wins here hands down.
DropBox*/Google Drive*/SkyDrive*/Box - File syncing services. Have files that you want access to on your desktop or laptop at any time? File syncing is the answer.
LastPass/KeyPass* - Encrypted password manager. The rash of sites having their password databases stolen and cracked should have you concerned. Every site you use should have a different and strong password. This means having passwords you could never possibly remember. Password managers help by creating and safely storing these strong passwords.


The stared items are available via Ninite at http://ninite.com/ . LifeHacker has teamed up with Ninite to bring you their recommendations which includes Crashplan and a few other nifty utilities.