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Author Topic: Must-have utility programs for Windows  (Read 4395 times)

snowc

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Re: Must-have utility programs for Windows
« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2021, 06:54:34 PM »

What is some of the must-have utility software that you install on a Windows computer?

Linux. :P

WSL2 gets you the best of both worlds.  :)
I run a server on Linux (had) before moving back to MDBGo. http://empointco.consulting/
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Scott5114

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Re: Must-have utility programs for Windows
« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2021, 07:23:41 PM »

What is some of the must-have utility software that you install on a Windows computer?

Linux. :P

WSL2 gets you the best of both worlds.  :)


Looks like a warmed-over Cygwin...Linux provides all of the utility software and development tools, while Windows provides the security holes and need for antivirus software. :P I suppose it's a solution for people slaving away in corporate environments where they need to get work done over IT's objections...
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hbelkins

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Re: Must-have utility programs for Windows
« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2021, 08:51:52 PM »

Although Linux has so many ludicrously good native text editors, I'm not sure why you'd want to do that. Emacs has so many features that for a while its application icon was a kitchen sink. If you want something more mouse-driven, there's Kate.

Except that the title of the thread is "Must-have utility programs for Windows"

I asked an administrator and he said that it's fine. If he changes his mind, I suspect he'll remove my posts.

Talking to yourself again?  :D
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KeithE4Phx

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Re: Must-have utility programs for Windows
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2021, 09:33:21 PM »

What is some of the must-have utility software that you install on a Windows computer?

Linux. :P

For real though, I think the only functionality on that list that doesn't just come with KDE on Linux is the mouse-finding one.

In order to use Linux on a Windows machine, without blowing out Windows completely, VirtualBox or other VM software will be necessary.  I'd go with virtual machine software as the most important Windows utility.

I used to use VMWare on Windows to host Linux, but I think it's gone now.  I use VirtualBox on my Mac, and it works great.
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vdeane

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Re: Must-have utility programs for Windows
« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2021, 10:32:27 PM »

In order to use Linux on a Windows machine, without blowing out Windows completely, VirtualBox or other VM software will be necessary.  I'd go with virtual machine software as the most important Windows utility.
At least a few years ago, some distros had an "install under Windows" option.  I think it created a virtual partition to avoid re-partitioning.  I'm pretty sure that at least a few people dual booting didn't re-install Windows to do so.
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KeithE4Phx

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Re: Must-have utility programs for Windows
« Reply #30 on: November 05, 2021, 10:56:44 PM »

In order to use Linux on a Windows machine, without blowing out Windows completely, VirtualBox or other VM software will be necessary.  I'd go with virtual machine software as the most important Windows utility.

At least a few years ago, some distros had an "install under Windows" option.  I think it created a virtual partition to avoid re-partitioning.  I'm pretty sure that at least a few people dual booting didn't re-install Windows to do so.

That had to be essentially the same thing, although I don't remember anything like that under Slackware, Ubuntu, or Mint (my distros of choice for the last 15 years). 

I do remember the loopback filesystem that allowed Linux distros to be installed in a bootable file, back in the DOS/Windows 95/98 days.  They actually worked very well.  I don't remember if it worked under NT-based Windows (NT4/Win2K/XP), though.
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zachary_amaryllis

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Re: Must-have utility programs for Windows
« Reply #31 on: November 06, 2021, 04:00:51 AM »

Notepad++ - I can't believe I forgot this in my original posting. What initially attacted me to Notepad++ many years ago was that it was a tabbed text editor, but anyone who has used it for any length of time can tell you it is extremely functional, especially with the code format functions and the plug-ins. Thanks to the DSpellCheck plug-in, I am often pre-composing my replies in Notepad, spell-checking them, and then pasting it into email or a board entry. And, with MIME Tools and XML Tools, I am able to decode a SAML assertion for Single Sign On (SSO) and then make the resulting XML into something human-readable.

notepad++ also works nicely under linux, via wine.

Although Linux has so many ludicrously good native text editors, I'm not sure why you'd want to do that. Emacs has so many features that for a while its application icon was a kitchen sink. If you want something more mouse-driven, there's Kate.

i've never been able to wrap my head around emacs. normally i use kate for mousy stuff, or nano for terminal stuff. i don't normally use notepad++, but i did try it for a while. i had trouble making it see out of the wine sandbox
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snowc

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Re: Must-have utility programs for Windows
« Reply #32 on: November 06, 2021, 10:58:43 AM »

vscode has got a nifty tool where you can autocomplete HTML.
Just type ! then tab and then bam! :wow:
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MikeTheActuary

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Re: Must-have utility programs for Windows
« Reply #33 on: November 06, 2021, 11:41:46 AM »

What is some of the must-have utility software that you install on a Windows computer?

Linux. :P

WSL2 gets you the best of both worlds.  :)


Looks like a warmed-over Cygwin...Linux provides all of the utility software and development tools, while Windows provides the security holes and need for antivirus software. :P I suppose it's a solution for people slaving away in corporate environments where they need to get work done over IT's objections...

Actually, it's a bit speedier than cygwin, and it has the advantage of being able to use the distribution's tools to get/update software, without need of using cygwin's setup utility.  I migrated from cygwin to WSL when WSL2 became available, due to the performance improvement.

With WSL, I can use "the better tool" for whatever my chosen task is.  Given my profession and its reliance on VBA, I can use "real Office" (since Libre Office won't quite cut it for my needs) and applications that just are aethetically more pleasing than what I've seen in Linux, and I can still use bash for my command prompt and various automation tasks, and use *nix utilities for which there is no good Windows alternative.

One of my geek projects for the weekend is to see if I can get the Google Play store working under WSA (Windows subsystem for Android).  Windows, Linux, and Android all on the same desktop/using the same keyboard and trackball.... :D
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index

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Re: Must-have utility programs for Windows
« Reply #34 on: November 06, 2021, 03:45:39 PM »

If you only have a single monitor and can't use a second one, like with a laptop, OnTopReplica is a super useful program I have, lets you see a window (or part of one) on top all the time without having to use the side-by-side thing with your windows, which saves a lot of space.

You can't interact with the window being displayed on top, but it's still super useful for needing to do something like take content from one window and enter it into another without having to constantly switch, which always throws my concentration off.


« Last Edit: November 06, 2021, 03:47:46 PM by index »
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Scott5114

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Re: Must-have utility programs for Windows
« Reply #35 on: November 06, 2021, 04:11:37 PM »

If you only have a single monitor and can't use a second one, like with a laptop, OnTopReplica is a super useful program I have, lets you see a window (or part of one) on top all the time without having to use the side-by-side thing with your windows, which saves a lot of space.

You can't interact with the window being displayed on top, but it's still super useful for needing to do something like take content from one window and enter it into another without having to constantly switch, which always throws my concentration off.

Despite the whole name of the operating system, the Windows window manager has always been fairly basic. Which is fine; I can't say I remember it actually crashing or fucking up on me (which I've had happen on Linux on rare occasions). But it's unfortunately baked into the OS through system calls, meaning that you can't easily replace it with an alternative WM with more features. I suspect what OnTopReplica is actually doing is taking a screenshot of the target window and using some system call to write it over top of the windows, which is why you can't interact with the raised window.

One of the things that I miss about kwin (my Linux window manager of choice) when I use vanilla Windows is not necessarily the always-on-top feature (which can certainly be handy, and does allow interaction with the target window, but it doesn't have the "keep part of window on top" functionality you describe; if I want to do that I have to take a screenshot, display it in an image viewer like feh, and put that window on top), but rather the ability to interact with background windows. By which I mean, if I'm taking content from Window A and have Window B on top entering data into it, mouse signals are still transmitted to Window A without giving it focus. That means I can still scroll and trigger mouse-over events on Window A while keeping Window B on top, but retain the ability to click into Window A and bring it forward if I need to. Unfortunately, because of the way the Windows API functions, I don't believe there's any way for an out-of-focus window to even receive signals, much less connect them with a slot that processes them, even if a developer intentionally wanted to allow that kind of interaction.
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ZLoth

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Re: Must-have utility programs for Windows
« Reply #36 on: November 26, 2021, 01:25:26 PM »

Also, don't most web browsers have spell check built in?  I now Chrome does, and the only think non-Chromium-derived that I can think of that's even remotely common on Windows is Firefox (unless god forbid one is still using IE).

An addendum to a previous comment.... Notepad++ is good for when I am composing a long reply. Most of the time, hitting Enter results in a new paragraph, but for some services, hitting Enter POSTS your reply while Alt-Enter starts a new paragraph. (I'm looking at you, Facebook).
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Scott5114

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Re: Must-have utility programs for Windows
« Reply #37 on: November 26, 2021, 09:24:28 PM »

I'm used to Shift+Enter inserting a line break, which works on Facebook, Discord, etc...but on Gmail it sends the email. I discovered this totally by accident, of course. Good thing I wasn't sending it to someone who I was worried would judge me for botching a simple email send.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Must-have utility programs for Windows
« Reply #38 on: January 16, 2022, 03:35:16 PM »

Notepad++ - I can't believe I forgot this in my original posting. What initially attacted me to Notepad++ many years ago was that it was a tabbed text editor, but anyone who has used it for any length of time can tell you it is extremely functional, especially with the code format functions and the plug-ins. Thanks to the DSpellCheck plug-in, I am often pre-composing my replies in Notepad, spell-checking them, and then pasting it into email or a board entry. And, with MIME Tools and XML Tools, I am able to decode a SAML assertion for Single Sign On (SSO) and then make the resulting XML into something human-readable.

I was initially not convinced by the tabbing functionality, but have become a convert since it allows me to preserve my workspace through reboots simply by closing Notepad++ and then reopening it.  I also like the belt-and-suspenders approach toward flagging unsaved files (you get a red floppy-disk icon and an asterisk:  plain-vanilla Notepad gives you just the asterisk under Windows 10, and with Windows 7 you get nothing), as well as the ability to alter line terminators (very useful when porting from Windows to Unix or vice versa) and to save UTF-8 text files without a BOM (not an option under Windows 7, though it now is with Windows 10).

Métamorphose - This bulk renaming utility allows me to set up a series of rule when renaming a batch of files, including pulling the date of when I took a photo. Whats annoying is that this utility hasn't been updated in TEN years. I am trying out Bulk Rename Utility and Advanced Renamer as modern alternatives, but they are free only for personal use.

I don't often have to rename files or folders, so I no longer have specialist tools for this purpose.  I do have batch files (one just for files, and the other just for folders) that use the string substitution functionality built into the set command in NT batch, and on occasion I use the batch renaming capability that is built into Windows Explorer.  I've also found NT batch for loops useful because of the ability to work with drive, path, base filename, and extension separately as required.

7-Zip - This free archive utility unpacks archives from multiple formats (including RAR), but also does creates the high-compressable 7z and zip archives as well.

I especially like the fact it has a command-line interface, and the test command is especially useful for sniffing out compressed archives that fail to download correctly or (as happens surprisingly often) have been corrupted while being uploaded to the hosting server.  But it does have some quirks.  There are some restrictions to how it handles extended characters, and there is an (undocumented) limitation to the number of filter terms it will accept for the extract commands.  (The combination of these two limitations means that I can have as many pattern expressions as I like to extract NYSDOT signface layouts from zip archives, for example, but I have to be choosy with French cahiers de décors.)
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skluth

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Re: Must-have utility programs for Windows
« Reply #39 on: January 16, 2022, 05:31:18 PM »

I've had Irfanview on every Windows machine since at least 2000. It's a free graphics program I like to use for quick and dirty edits of pics. It's not Photoshop or even Paint but it opens quickly and is really handy for changing picture formats or capturing screenshots quickly. I know it has batch capabilities, but I've never used them.
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Scott5114

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Re: Must-have utility programs for Windows
« Reply #40 on: January 16, 2022, 05:35:54 PM »

Oh damn, I forgot about IrfanView. That brings me back. Kind of incredible that he still maintains it. Always kind of wished he'd change the logo, though.
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snowc

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Re: Must-have utility programs for Windows
« Reply #41 on: January 19, 2022, 11:06:00 AM »

Oh damn, I forgot about IrfanView. That brings me back. Kind of incredible that he still maintains it. Always kind of wished he'd change the logo, though.
I LOVE Irfanview. People, try pressing "I" in a photo to view MetaData. It's cool!  :wow:
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