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  • (01. January 2010., 10:27:49)

Author Topic: Top applications to install after a fresh OS installation - TECHSPOT  (Read 13963 times)

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We've all been there, no matter what you try, your PC just isn't running like it did the day you purchased it. You're experiencing unusual and unexplainable phenomenons or maybe Windows refuses to load altogether.

So you admit defeat, back up what you can and break out your installation disk. After installing your squeaky clean instance of Windows, the reality of what little you have as far as programs go comes barreling toward you in a wave of panic and frustration.

Fortunately today there’s a wide array of quality freeware applications, so it's both cheaper and easier to transform your system into a seemingly impenetrable force armed with a cache of media, messaging and office applications.

With this guide, we will be providing you with a list of useful applications that we feel stand above all others in what they attempt to do, and when all is said and done, your PC will be ready for nearly any everyday task you throw at it.

Security and Malware Removal
Anti-Virus: AVG 8 Free Edition & Eset NOD32 (paid)
Unlike the early days of Internet browsing, with a bit of navigation experience and honest web use, you can probably keep afloat without any regular use of an AV. However, for most, the logic is quite understandable - why risk it? We must agree and so we have four AVs to mention.

For the paid route, if we were in the position to pick only one, NOD32 is without a doubt one of the best options in the market today (although Kaspersky Anti-Virus is definitely up there as well). NOD32 has proven to have a slightly better heuristics in the past when compared to similar AVs, it has a lighter footprint than anything that comes close to working as well and it’s roughly $20 cheaper than the competition ($39.99). Also, it has scored extremely well on Virus Bulletin's tests over the years and I've personally been happily using Eset's NOD32 for approximately 4 years.

If you are more interested in a costless alternative, most would say it's a toss up between AVG free and Alwil's Avast!, both of which offer plenty enough security. It’s quite frankly a matter of personal preference but again, if we were forced to pick one, it’d be AVG Free. AVG is also one of the few “officially” supported AVs of the Windows 7 beta, regardless it’s at the very least a mark of their increasing notoriety in the industry.

Update: It was a glaring mistake not including Avira anti-virus, which is another solid freeware choice in this category.

Anti-Malware: Spybot & Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware
As far as Anti-Malware applications go, there must be at least two dozen relatively solid choices out there and it's also probable that your preferred Anti-Virus provider will actually offer one in a security “package” or “suite” of sorts. That said, we're going to recommend what we've known to work over the years and happens to be free.

If you’ve opted to exclude your AVs additional security features from the loop and need something to fill in the gaps, Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware is up for the job. It has been received well universally and stamped numerous times with an “Editor’s Pick” on tech sites, and we’re here to do it again. Be aware, however, that the free version only serves as a stand-alone scanning application that will chew malware up and spit it out, so if you’re in need of real-time protection you’ll have to either shell out some dough or rely on an alternative like Spybot Search & Destroy.

Firewall: Comodo
While most wouldn't dare to browse the web without their precious software firewall activated, it's not such a big deal as long as you've got a router with NAT covering your network. If you happen to sleep better at night knowing you've got one installed and actively thwarting potential port scans, we have some suggestions.

Similar to how your AV company probably offers some form of Anti-Malware software, to cover all security fronts, they almost certainly offer a firewall too. A couple of the widespread firewalls names out there today include Comodo and ZoneAlarm, but considering the fact that ZoneAlarm doesn’t seem to play nice with Vista (and presumably Windows 7), we whole-heartedly back Comodo Firewall Pro.

Despite the “Pro” label Comodo Firewall Pro (CFP) is freeware and has grown to be accepted as one of the best software firewalls around (especially after some of the critical blunders in earlier 2.x versions were fixed in 3.x). Just like the majority of other awesome software today, it has a fine tuned balance which allows both Jimmy Clueless and Geek X to have their way.

Web Browser and Email Client

Now that things are covered on the fronts of security, we’re ready to delve into the web. Whether it's the fact that using Internet Explorer has been deemed a security threat or that it's crawled to match competitor's features, most PC enthusiasts and heavy web users today use a third party application to get the job done.


Almost guaranteed to be the first web browser people run to after ditching Internet Explorer. It has come to hold the greatest usage share of all the third party browsers (21.53% as of January 2009, 41+% of TechSpot visitors) and features the widest selection of free extensions which allow users to mold the browser to their needs.

Firefox is also equipped by default with tabbed browsing, a spellchecker, download manager, live bookmarking and more to accommodate your general purpose browsing, so even if sifting through the 6,500+ add-ons ( for nifty extensions isn’t your game, the vanilla package should suit you well.
You know, until I pulled a bit of research on the actual numbers it never occurred to me that Opera only held roughly 0.70% of the desktop usage share (as of January 2009). Surprisingly, it holds a greater share in browser usage with mobile devices and is the only commercially available web browser supported on the Nintendo DS and Wii. Regardless, it’s a worthy browser alternative, in our opinion crushes IE and offers good competition to Firefox.

Its feature-set is packed with both the usual suspects and some unique elements. Some of which include an integrated BitTorrent, IRC and email client and “Speed Dial”.


Developed and released back in 2003 by Apple, Safari has been the default browser for Macs since OS X 10.3 (Panther) as well as the iPhone and has been available for Windows XP and Vista since June 2007. Safari doesn’t offer much, if any more than other browsers in their default state and lacks the expandability that Firefox has, making this a lesser choice if you like to personalize your browser. For vanilla use, it still makes for a robust choice.

I would have to guess that a bulk of Safari’s usage share comes from OS X users that simply haven’t taken a step outside the box, and not people using it on Windows (in a similar situation, IE still holds around 67.55%). Nevertheless, it’s a browser that carries its weight and deserves to be mentioned.

Google Chrome

Launched recently in September 2008, Google Chrome has already accumulated a following and is accepted as a quick, stable and secure web browser. Chrome does not yet support extensions (apart from GreaseMonkey), but that is an upcoming feature that could have it expanding its user base pretty quickly.

Mail Clients

Unless you are content with your OS built-in email client, you will be glad to know there are a few good contenders that won't cost you a dime.

I personally gave up on desktop mail clients about 5 years ago and I’ve been using strictly browser based “webmail” (more specifically Gmail), and I haven’t once looked back, but for those of you that rely on them...

Mozilla Thunderbird

Thunderbird's performance and feature-set is claimed by most to be superior to the competition which isn’t surprising as it is similar to Firefox in that it can be endlessly molded with tons of potential extensions. By default it features a Bayesian spam filter, the ability to handle RSS accounts and act as a simple news aggregator, government-grade security and everything that you’d expect in a mail client stamped with the “Mozilla” name.

Opera Mail (M2)

M2 is probably the second option for those that are trying to remain independent of Outlook. It is seamlessly incorporated into the Opera browser, as such it is almost required to be relatively light and due to that nature it is a bit less versatile than Mozilla Thunderbird. It also lacks the overall expandability that Thunderbird offers but nevertheless it is a very well rounded mail client that is probably only suited to those that use Opera as their default web browser.

Outlook 2007

I would venture to guess that there are only a few types of people who truly use and appreciate Outlook these days: those that are forced to for work, those that have stuck with it from the beginning, and those that can actually make use of the seemingly unnecessary features.

Outlook packs a mail client with a journal, address book, task lists, calendar with significant dates, reminders, fax, etc. Not only are you probably not going to use half or more of the features, Outlook doesn’t even match Thunderbird and Opera Mail for security and you must pay for it.

And a last minute addition, Mulberry is an open-source desktop email client that seems to have a rather large loyal following, though it's support isn't quite as big as that of Thunderbird for obvious reasons.

Messaging, Torrents

Instant Messaging: Pidgin, Skype & alternatives

Now that you've downloaded your favorite web browser and caught up with latest tech news via TechSpot, it's time to get you chatting with your friends.

If you're anything like me you probably have too many handles across the board to be relying on applications that use a single designated protocol. Instead, you're probably more interested in the single client, multi-protocol route. The following programs are available for Windows and offer support for a vast majority of the mainstream chat protocols: Pidgin, Miranda IM, Trillian and Digsby, and for free VoIP and video conferencing you’ll want to give Skype a look.

If you’ve never used any of the above, we’d suggest downloading Pidgin first as Miranda is too bare (though a fine choice if that’s your bag), Trillian’s production has kind of gone stale over the years (be on the look-out for Trillian Astra) and Digsby seems to be a newer popular choice, which may be worth a look if you want social networking integration as well.

Formerly known as Gaim, there are few applications that can compare to the number of supported protocols Pidgin officially supports: Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, IRC, Lotus Sametime, MySpaceIM, MSN, Novell GroupWise, AIM, ICQ, .Mac, QQ, SIMPLE, SILC, Jabber, Google Talk, Yahoo! IM and Zephyr, and is compatible with Windows, Linux, BSD, OS X and AmigaOS. It is one thing to provide such versatility, but Pidgin does it and does it well, so do yourself a favor and give it a shot.

Torrent Client: uTorrent

Despite the bombardment of lawsuits, torrent communities are still alive and kicking. While we do not encourage or support piracy, torrents still remain as an extremely useful and effective method of transferring data.

From web browsers to P2P clients, the apparent liveliness of torrent use is displayed with the number of programs that have recently integrated torrent support (Opera's is built-in, Firefox only needs an add-on, Limewire supports torrents etc.). Despite the number of dedicated clients on the scene, we do indeed have a preference, uTorrent.

Between its virtually non-existent footprint and the ability to cater to both novice and advanced users, uTorrent is probably a fitting torrent client for almost anyone.

Media Playback & Burning

VLC media player

Upon installing Windows you'll notice that there's virtually no media support outside of Windows Media Player and to be honest, it's just not enough. Applications such as iTunes bring a lot to the table and are virtually unavoidable if you've got an iPod. Winamp is also a solid music media player, though I personally only use it in a stripped down “lite” version to play music and I can’t recommend using it in any other fashion.

For those of you that require a solid (free) MPEG-4 video codec, equip yourself with Xvid. With that out of the way,the most well rounded media player you'll find that is quaint and yet extremely efficient has to be VLC.

VLC media player is an open source media player that is stable, lightweight (can even run from a flash drive), it will handle virtually anything you throw at it (including partial/incomplete media files), it ignores DVD region coding, and so much more. It truly is the cream of the crop among media players although in terms of interface it's a bit bare.

Burning Utilities

Nero, CDBurnerXP & Imgburn

Windows Media Player can burn standard music and data CDs, but if you require something beyond that, you'll have to resort to third party software. Nero has undoubtedly grown to be the most popular media burning application on the market today, but it will inevitably cost you. Unless you have a solid reason for installing the entire suite, the core Nero Burning ROM should prove to meet your needs.

That said, if you barely copy a few CDs/DVDs and want a freeware piece of software that can handle your burning, CDBurnerXP is an excellent alternative.

It always strikes me as ironic that despite the tremendous growth in PC hardware capabilities, we still seek the lightest application out there; but hey, if something that’s a fraction of the bulk can stand up to the task, why not use it? For dedicated ISO burning, ImgBurn was coded by the creator of DVD Decrypter (after ultimately being forced to terminate production by Macrovision), and was built upon the optical disc burning engine of DVD Decrypter. It features support for a variety of image file formats, the ability to construct DVD and Blu-ray video discs and everything else you’d expect burning software to be able to handle.

If virtual drives are a priority, consider MagicISO (freeware).

Productivity, Office suites

Image Editing

As cute of a program as Microsoft Paint is (*cough*), you'll probably need something with a little more weight if you intend on seriously editing or designing any images. The obvious choice for this matter would have to be Adobe Photoshop, but unless you have $700+ to throw down, it's probably a bit impractical for basic edit jobs.

You will found something more financially viable in the GNU Image Manipulation Program, more commonly known as GIMP, which can be had for nothing. is another free alternative to Photoshop that many people rely on, though its development has slowed down in recent months.

For something around the middle, we typically call upon the graces of Adobe Fireworks to accomplish our image related tasks.

Office Suites

If you're doing anything more significant than typing up a grocery list, it's likely time that you come to the side where grass is greener and either invest in Microsoft Office or download a free copy of OpenOffice.

There is no true “pick” here. I’ve personally used both extensively and have no complaints about either, although after using OpenOffice for lengthy periods of time (over a year in some cases) I always crawl back to Microsoft Office for no specific reason. For the opinions that aren’t already set in stone about the suites themselves and their origins (private vs open source etc.), I’d truly recommend using both to find what works best for you.

Advanced Text Editor

Advanced text editors are extremely useful and though they’re primarily targeted toward those using it for programming purposes, the casual user can certainly look to one if they wanted a slightly spruced up Notepad. Most advanced text editors include similar enough features and typically support C, C++, Java, C#, XML, HTML, PHP, Javascript, RC file, makefile, nfo, doxygen, ini file, batch file, ASP, VB/VBS, SQL, Objective-C, CSS, Pascal, Perl, Python, Lua, Unix Shell Script, Fortran, NSIS and Flash action script.

If you’ve got cash burning a hole in your pocket UltraEdit is probably the best potential candidate to fill this role whereas Notepad++ is free and is probably more than you’ll need.

Other Useful Utilities


Keeping your PC free of temporary files, cached data and unneeded registry entries has never been so easy. While there are quite a few programs out there that essentially perform the same functions, we feel that Ccleaner stands out in the crowd as one of the best. One thing to mention though, during the installation process you'll be given the option via a check box to disallow the installation of Yahoo's toolbar which you might not notice and otherwise accidentally allow.

Foxit Reader

At some point or another you'll almost certainly have to view a PDF file. The most common application for that is without a doubt Adobe Reader, but make yourself a favor and download the much lighter substitute, Foxit Reader. I haven't used Adobe Reader since giving Foxit a try.

Also useful to have around is the CutePDF Writer, which installs itself as a printer subsystem and enables any application that is able to print a document to create high quality PDF documents.


You won't be getting away with not having the ability to unpack the basic compression formats around and 7-Zip can handle an impressive number of the formats you'll ever be likely to run into, not to mention the fact that it's freeware.

7-Zip can both pack and unpack 7z, .zip, .gzip, .bzip2, and .tar as well as being able to unpack .arj, .cab, .chm, .cpio, .deb, .dmg, .hfs, .iso, .lzh, .lzma, .msi, .nsis, .rar, .rpm, .udf, .wim, .xar and .z.

There you have it; we've covered the fundamental computing fronts out there with a nice mixture of applications (a majority of which are freeware) and where the commercial product still reigns we have at the very least covered a non-paid alternative.

You should now be able to browse the web and download torrents securely, watch or listen to almost anything you care to, chat with all of your buddies, keep up productivity for that deadline you're facing next week and preserve some form of maintenance on your operating system.

Have your own picks and favorites of your essential apps to install after a Windows reformat? Please share them with us.

credits: TECHSPOT
Creativity is a mental and social process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations of the creative mind between existing ideas or concepts.

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My basic choice of software installation:

Anti-virus: McAfee
Anti-Malware: Spybot
Firewall: Comodo
Web Broser: Firefox
Mail: Opera
CD/DVD Burning: NERO
Media Playback: WinDVD
Image Editing: Photoshop /CorelDraw GS
Other Utilities: RegistryBooster, Winrar, MagicISO, ISO Buster, DeepFreeze
Creativity is a mental and social process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations of the creative mind between existing ideas or concepts.


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And this is My basic choice of software installation:

Anti-virus: McAfee
Anti-Malware: Spybot, Windows Defender, SuperAntiSpyware & MalwareByte's (only time to time scanning)
Firewall: McAfee
Web Broser: Firefox
Mail: Outlook
CD/DVD Burning: NERO (don't like it, will change when find something similar)
Media Playback: WinAmp, BS Player
Image Editing: Macromedia FireWorks, IrfanView
Other Utilities: Winrar, Tune Up, HijackThis, CCleaner


I think that this post is very useful for SCF Community, so I'll make it Sticky right now.

GC, Karma Up for you.  :up:


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Anti-virus: Kaspersky internet security
Anti-Malware: SuperAntiSpyware (only time to time scanning)
Firewall: Kaspersky internet security
Web Browser: Firefox
Mail: from web :)
CD/DVD Burning: Ashampoo ( the free edition, very good  :thumbsup: )
Media Playback: JetAudio + K-Lite Mega codecs pack ( will play everything ! )
Image Editing: Adobe Photoshop, Photomatix Pro and ACDsee
Other Utilities: Winrar, Daemon Tools Lite

Thanks for the post  :D


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Can anybody please let me know if Mcafee firewall is available on this site for download, really appreciate it and thank you in advance.

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Hi Jaxn, so sorry but SCF doesn't provide Full Paid Programs (or any other illegal material: cracks, serials...) except Free or Trial versions.

On SCF you can only find Security Patchs (Upgrades) for popular McAfee Products.

Also please take a look to SCF Firewall section:,13.0.html

Best Regards,



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Anti-virus: Kaspersky internet security
Anti-Malware: Kaspersky Internet Security
Firewall: Kaspersky internet security
Web Browser: IE8 Yahoo
Mail: not usual to mail aside from Ymail
CD/DVD Burning: Nero 8
Media Playback: WMP11 + K-Lite Mega Codec Pack  :thumbsup:
Image Editing: .. well im not good to this.. Nero Photoshop, or just Windows Paint helps me.  ;D
Other Utilities: Winrar3.8, CCLeaner, TuneUpUtilities 2009, NXPowerlite, Everest, Xilisoft Ultimate Video Converter


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          I think my problem will be solve after I saw the information that  I am looking for

education software


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          I think my problem will be solve after I saw the information that  I am looking for


WELCOME to SCFORUM! Maybe you can share to us information you've been looking for... :)

Creativity is a mental and social process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations of the creative mind between existing ideas or concepts.


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If they expect that the unexplainable phenomenons or maybe Windows refuses to load altogether was be go for the top application!Thanks!


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