Windows 7 is an amazing operating system, and probably the best version that Microsoft has released in the past decade – it has everything from support for the latest features and technologies to a very nice interface that can easily compete with that of Mac OS X.
What makes an OS is not the core itself, but the third party apps available for it, and Windows certainly has everything anyone may need – there is a very large developer base creating apps for any purpose, thanks mostly to the fact that Windows is still the most used operating system in the world. No matter what you do on your computer, you can be sure there’s an app to help you do it better and faster. Here are just a few examples of apps that can help you a lot with your daily tasks:
Chances are you’re using your clipboard (you know, the Copy/Paste repository) quite often, and sometimes you may want to have more control over it. Well, ClipX offers you exactly that. This little free application lets you store up to 1000 clipboard entries, with quick access to 15 of them. Now you can copy and paste multiple files multiple times without having to switch back and forth through all the folders. Get ClipX
Windows 7 still doesn’t support archive formats other than Zip, and even with them it has a very weird interface that is a drag to use every time. If you work with multiple archives every day, you’ve most likely come across a few that you cannot open. Well, before you shell out the money for that WinRAR trial, be sure to check out 7-zip – it’s a free, open source app that can compress and decompress multiple archive formats with ease. Get 7-Zip.
eRightSoft SUPER Media File Converter
SUPER is by far the best video and audio conversion/transcoding application for Windows I’ve seen. I use it regularly, and it never failed me. It has its own codecs and can decode/encode almost any file format out there, to almost anything else. Obedient, you get control over the resolution, frame rate, bitrate, aspect ratio and more. It’s a bit hard to use though, so if you need something simple for converting videos for your Android phone or iPhone, you could try Handbrake, which is easier to use but doesn’t have all the features of SUPER. Get eRightSoft SUPER.
If you need to edit photos or images from time to time and don’t want to pay for Photoshop (it’s really not worth it if you’re not using it professionally), GIMP is your best choice. It has all the features of Photoshop, and is great for any kind of work. You’ll have to adjust to the interface, though, but there’s a solution for that, too: you can download GIMPshop, which has a layout similar to Photoshop’s, but unfortunately it uses an older version of GIMP. Get GIMP.
Notepad++ is also a code editor, but unlike its more specialized commercial counterpart above, it is completely free. It can also open any file, even an executable, which is useful when debugging or decompiling an application, for example. Despite it being free, it has all the features of Dreamweaver and even more thanks to the awesome plugins collection. The only thing it’s missing is a nice interface – it’s pretty ascetic and working with it is not very enjoyable if you like some eye candy on your apps, but developers and programmers will be right at home with the practical layout. Get Notepad++.
Being a web developer or designer, you’ll most likely need an FTP client. If you thought that Filezilla was good (everyone seems to think so), wait until you see Bitkinex. This app is free (it was paid before, though) and can do so much more than any other client for Windows – it supports FTP/SFTP/FTPS/WebDAV, has a nice interface that is easy to use, supports multiple open connections and is really fast thanks to its support for up to 50 concurrent connections per FTP server (compare that to 10 for Filezilla and most other clients out there). Get Bitkinex.
If you have a dedicated server for your work, an SSH client is a must have – it allows you to manage and control the remote machine, and for Windows, Putty is the most popular client. I like it, too, but if you want to get more things done faster, I suggest you try Poderosa. It is a more advanced SSH client, with a lot of features absent in Putty, and a nicer interface that is also more productive. It hasn’t been updated in a while, but it still works fine on Windows 7, so check it out. Get Poderosa.
There’s a whole lot of other Windows apps for just about any task that you may need to accomplish. It may be a bit hard to actually find them, since there is no central location where they’re listed, but with Google and a bit of time, you can create your personal productivity suite on your PC. If you don’t know where to start, however, do check out the above apps – they’re worth your attention.