My personal list of applications that make day-to-day web development and IT tasks easier. I realize that some applications may belong in multiple categories so please look at the entire list to benefit the most. All applications are Windows-based unless otherwise noted. Also, when installing freeware applications beware of bloatware (toolbars, gaming services, etc.) that some try to tack on during the install.
As I find more extremely useful applications i’ll add them here, so you may want to bookmark this page for future reference.
Updated: July 30, 2020
- PhpStorm: https://www.jetbrains.com/phpstorm/ (Paid)
Enjoy productive PHP and web development with PhpStorm. Deep code understanding, coding assistance, and support for all major tools and frameworks.
- VirtualBox: https://www.virtualbox.org/ (Free)
Powerful virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Easy to use and religiously updated. Create virtual machines quickly to install and run multiple Windows, Linux, Mac operating systems.
- Vagrant: https://www.vagrantup.com/ (Free)
Use with VirtualBox and PuPHPet to create and configure lightweight, reproducible, and portable development environments.
- XAMPP: http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html (Free)
XAMPP is an easy to install Apache distribution containing MySQL, PHP and Perl. Quickly setup an local environment for developing web applications.
- Sysinternals Suite: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/sysinternals-suite (Free)
An amazing set of local/remote administration, monitoring, and troubleshooting tools. An absolute must have for IT Managers.
- TreeSize Free: https://www.jam-software.com/treesize_free/ (Free)
Great utility that shows disk usage and in a way that is visually informative. Paid version is required for Windows Server editions.
- Hasleo WinToHDD: https://www.easyuefi.com/wintohdd/ (Free/Paid)
Handy program that installs, unattended, Windows directly on to a separately connected drive so that afterwards you can remove it, install it in another PC, and boot into a fresh Windows installation. Paid version is required when working with professional and server operating systems.
- Hasleo EasyUEFI: https://www.easyuefi.com/index-us.html (Paid)
Unique utility that allows you to backup, restore, rebuild, delete, explore, read and write EFI System Partition (ESP) or move EFI System Partition (ESP) to another drive. Available as Windows installation or bootable environment.
- Hasleo WinToUSB: https://www.easyuefi.com/wintousb/ (Free/Paid)
Allows creation of Windows installation USB flash drive with BIOS & UEFI support. Can also be used to create Windows To Go USB drives but I haven’t needed that. Paid version is required when working with professional and server operating systems.
- IObit Unlocker: https://www.iobit.com/en/iobit-unlocker.php (Free)
Helps you delete locked files. XP Context Tools mentioned later also has a similar feature.
- BackupChain DeleteLongPath™: http://backupchain.com/DeleteLongPath.html (Free)
Helps you delete folders that Windows can’t. In my experience this comes up when trying to clean up roaming profiles and it contains a file with a name that is longer than 260 characters.
- Driver Store Explorer: https://github.com/lostindark/DriverStoreExplorer/releases/latest (Free)
Makes it easier to deal with Windows driver store – enumeration, staging, and deleting from the driver store.
- XP Context Tools: http://camtech2000.net/Pages/Context_Utilities.htm (Free)
Adds the very useful “Copy This Path” item to the context menu so you can copy the path to a specific file or folder for use in another application. An older utility, but works great on Windows 7.
- Harddisk Search & Stats: http://www.harddisksearch.com/ (Free)
Search for files containing specified content far better than normal Windows search function. Also referred to as HDSearchandStats. Though last updated in 2005 this utility works fine on Windows 7 and 10.
- ImgBurn: http://www.imgburn.com/ (Free)
Simple program for burning CD/DVDs from files or images and making CD/DVD images from files or existing media.
- FileZilla: http://filezilla-project.org/ (Free)
The app you need when using FTP/SFTP.
- HeidiSQL: http://www.heidisql.com/ (Free)
A good MySQL client to create, read, update, and delete databases. Use with PuTTY Plink to access remote MySQL servers via SSH tunneling.
- PuTTY: http://www.puttyssh.org/ (Free)
Simple SSH/Telnet/Console client. Use PuTTYgen to convert private keys for use with PuTTY.
- TeamViewer: https://www.teamviewer.com/ (Free/Paid)
Great for remote controlling your home computer, work computer, or helping friends and family with their computer issues.
Drive Cloning, Partitioning & Backup
- Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows Free Edition: https://www.veeam.com/windows-endpoint-server-backup-free.html (Free)
Simple standalone solution for backing up Windows-based servers, desktops and laptops. Easily back up your computer to an external hard drive or network share and recover what you need in minutes. After the initial backup only changed blocks need to be backed up so nightly backups usually only take a few minutes to complete.
- Macrium Reflect Free: http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx (Free)
Great disk imaging utility for free; pretty fast as well. Use DiskRestore for restoring full hard drive images as opposed to a single partition image restore.
- Parted Magic: https://www.partedmagic.com (Paid)
Bootable ISO Linux environment for disk partitioning, cloning, recovery, and erasing.
- AOMEI Backupper: https://www.ubackup.com/ (Free/Paid)
Windows software installation or bootable environment for disk cloning and imaging. Paid version is required for business and server operating systems.
- AOMEI Partition Assistant: https://www.diskpart.com/ (Free/Paid)
Windows software installation or bootable environment for resizing, moving, and merging disk partitions. Paid version is required for business and server operating systems.
- Bulk Rename Utility: http://www.bulkrenameutility.co.uk/ (Free)
Time-saving utility with tons of options for renaming large quantities of files.
- Beyond Compare: http://www.scootersoftware.com (Paid)
Compare folders and files with power and ease.
- EditPad Pro: http://www.editpadpro.com/ (Paid)
Best notepad-type application for text editing and manipulation. I like to use it for its regular expression search & replace, sorting, viewing SQL files. Pair with RegExBuddy for best results.
- RegExBuddy: http://www.regexbuddy.com/ (Paid)
Wonderful app for creating, deciphering, testing regular expressions. Pair with EditPad Pro for best results.
- TortoiseSVN: http://tortoisesvn.net/ (Free)
Helps you manage your projects using SVN repositories. Great for WordPress plugin developers using Windows.
- TortoiseGit: http://code.google.com/p/tortoisegit/ (Free)
Helps you manage your projects using Git repositories. Port of TortoiseSVN for Git. Great for Github users using Windows.
- Fast Image Resizer: http://adionsoft.net/fastimageresize/ (Free)
Though last updated in 2010 it does what it needs to and that’s what matters. Drag-and-drop images to resize to your defined pixel shape. You can also process one or more images by using the Send To menu and it will start resizing instantly using your last settings.
- Handbrake: https://handbrake.fr/ (Free)
Great video ripper and converter.
- Avidemux: http://avidemux.sourceforge.net/ (Free)
Simple video editor to cut, filter, and encode projects.
- Total Recorder VideoPro: http://www.highcriteria.com/ (Paid)
Little known program that can record any sound that comes out of your computer whether its source be software or hardware. Total Recorder can take on any single-track audio editing needs including converting tapes and LP records to MP3s, audio restoration, support for many audio formats, normalization, EQ adjustments, scheduled recordings, and more. The VideoPro edition adds screen recording and video editing features as well.
- MediaInfo: http://mediainfo.sourceforge.net/ (Free)
Gives a massive amount of information about video files such as audio/video bit rates, codec used, video container format, and much more. The HTML view is the easiest for me to read.
- Audacity: https://www.audacityteam.org/ (Free)
Audio software for multi-track recording and editing. You can also add effects and view audio as a spectrogram.
- Adobe Creative Suite: https://www.adobe.com/creativecloud.html (Paid)
The defacto standard for creative professionals. Amazing apps for photo/video/PDF editing.
Productivity & Time Saving
- CopyQ: https://hluk.github.io/CopyQ/ (Free)
Enhances Windows’ clipboard by creating a clip history and more. Simple and it just works. Useful when you keep overwriting that last thing you copied.
- Microsoft Office: https://products.office.com/ (Paid)
The defacto standard for office productivity, especially Word & Excel.
Hardware Monitoring & Benchmarking
- HWiNFO: https://www.hwinfo.com/ (Free)
Comprehensive hardware analysis and monitoring. Great for monitoring CPU and GPU frequencies and temperatures during tests or benchmarks.
- CrystalDiskMark: http://crystalmark.info/en/software/crystaldiskmark/ (Free)
Disk benchmark software.