Derek Hatchard writes on the theme of "improving experiences" which includes managing technology, user experiences, life hacking, and some business related stuff. Derek has a software development blog at ardentdev.com and a product review site at wellrated.com. He is a Principal Member of Technical Staff (PMTS) at Radian6, a salesforce.com company. All views expressed are his alone (or those of any guest writers) and do not represent the views of Radian6 or salesforce.com.

Must-Have Apps for a New Laptop

I just did a clean install of my new XPS M1530 laptop.  Here is my current list of must-have software that I install on Day One.  Have other suggestions?  Leave a comment.

  • Windows Vista Business
  • Drivers (of course) – it would be nice if Dell provided a simple "install all" option on the driver disc
  • Mozilla Firefox (my web browser of choice)
  • Microsoft Office 2007 Ultimate
  • Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite
  • Visual Studio 2008 Team Suite
  • SQL Server 2005 Management Studio and Books Online
  • Launchy – keystroke launcher reminiscent of Quicksilver (version 2 is excellent)
  • Live Messenger
  • Live Writer – the best blogging client I’ve ever used
  • Adobe Reader
  • Adobe Flash Player
  • Zune software – the best podcast catcher (and the over-the-air sync with my Zune devices is brilliant)
  • PureText – pastes clipboard contents as unformatted text
  • ClipX – clipboard history manager
  • SharpKeys – so I can remap keys, which I inevitably do with any laptop keyboard (on the XPS I have the context menu key mapped to Right Ctrl and the Right Ctrl key mapped to Right Windows)
  • Vista Battery Saver – automatically switches features off when you unplug power from your laptop
  • Adobe Creative Suite 2 (CS2)
  • Yahoo! Music Jukebox – for listening to music from Yahoo! Unlimited
  • Microsoft Expression Web
  • Microsoft Expression Design
  • Skype
  • Google Talk
  • Plaxo Toolbar for Outlook – keeps contacts and calendar synced
  • MozyHome backup client

I then head over to the Devcasting episode on Firefox extensions where I grab the links for most of my must-have Firefox add-ons:

  • Firebug
  • Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer
  • IE View
  • Web Developer
  • MeasureIt
  • ColorZilla
  • FireFTP

I also install the Alexa Sparky and Live PageRank add-ons for Firefox.  Within a few weeks I install Audible Manager, Audacity, and the ASPX Edit Helper.

That’s my list.  What do you install when you repave your computer?


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7 Responses

  1. Just firefox. I run a mac.

    /buh dun bah!

  2. Zakaria Khan says:

    So the clean install worked fine? I’ve been wanting to but not sure if all the perks my current laptop provides (touchpad scrolling, adjusting brightness etc..) will remain intact. I tried a clean install on a VAIO I had and half the perks weren’t available even though I downloaded a preloaded driver pack off the VAIO website.

  3. Derek Hatchard says:

    Clean install worked great. All the factory “perks” are on the included driver disk.

  4. BenC says:

    What no anti-virus? :)

    And if you communicate with people all over the world you need FoxClocks added to Firefox…

    Also add:
    Virtual Clone Drive (for mounting those MSDN isos)
    Imgburn (for burning those MSDN isos)
    7zip (because its better)
    FreeDownloadManager (invaluable!)
    Virtual PC/VMWare

  5. Joel says:

    well when i do a clean install i start off with all the basics:
    office 2007
    ie7
    wmp11
    live messenger
    stuff like that..

    then after a few days i install EVERYYTHING i have in my software folder which is a couple of hundred programs:)

    Thanks

  6. sean says:

    LO/JacK

  7. Paul says:

    Dear Derek,
    is it possible to have Apps on my Laptop like I have on my Iphone or like the 1000 the Ipad has ?
    Is there a software for this ?
    Thank you very much.
    Paul

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