Ryan Harrison My blog, portfolio and technology related ramblings

Programs to install on a New Build

Below is a list of all the software I tend to install straight away on a new build (or simply when reinstalling Windows from time to time). I am big into keeping what you have installed at any point to an absolute minimum - mainly to prevent general slowdown over time, so this list isn’t that long. These can however get pretty much anything I need done, even if extra utilities are needed later on.

Browsers: the core of your computer these days

Chrome - my main browser and has been for quite a while now. Sure it’s a massive resource hog, but what’s the point in having RAM if it’s sitting idle? Still probably the fastest browser around and the most popular.

Firefox - mainly installed as a backup which gets used every so often. The new Firefox Quantum update has improved the situation dramatically and maybe I’ll try it as my main driver if Google screws things up.

Browser Extensions: pretty much mandatory if you want any kind of sane browsing experience

uBlock Origin - ad/tracker blocker. A must have (or alternative). The web sucks these days without it. My soul dies a little inside every time I have to use a browser without some kind of adblocking - we’ve really screwed up the internet with the mountain of Javascript, popups and auto-playing videos plaguing every site.

LastPass - if you aren’t using a password manager of some kind, I recommend you revisit that decision. LastPass and their extension have been working great for me.

Google Mail Checker - displays an icon in the toolbar linking directly to your GMail account, also shows the number of unread messages.

JSONView - if you ever look at JSON in Chrome, this is a must to get some nice formatting.

Again, I like to keep this list to a minimum as Chrome starts to slowdown and consume even more resources the more you have. If you do need loads, I recommend disabling them until you need to actually use them.

Text Editors: for when you want to edit some text

Notepad++ - small, fast and feature rich replacement to the standard Windows Notepad. Great for any light text editing that doesn’t require a full-blown editor/IDE.

Visual Studio Code - probably the best editor around now after pretty much wiping the floor with Atom and Sublime. The amount of updates each month is insane and the extensions are very mature at this point. See here for the extensions I use.

Dev: tools and IDE of choice

Git - because you wouldn’t version control any differently these days now would you?

JDK - I mainly develop on the JVM (which whatever you think of Java is a great piece of tech). P.S - Kotlin is awesome.

Intellij - one IDE to rule them all. Does everything in every language, what can I say?

WSL (Windows SubSystem for Linux) - Ubuntu install for Windows for various utils.

Node - because apparently I need some way to install 3 thousand packages for a ‘Hello World’ webapp.

Media: for when you want to not do anything productive

K-Lite Codec Pack (MPC-HC) - can play pretty much anything you can ever come across and bundles in Media Player Classic which is my favourite media player.

Spotify - not much to say, does the job and I haven’t seen any need to try out any other service.

IrfanView - the built-in Windows 10 Photos app is absolutely terrible in every way imaginable.

Networking - connecting

FileZilla - SFTP client although not really needed anymore as WSL and rsync are a thing. Still small/lightweight enough to keep around.

Postman - great program to create and send HTTP requests. The de facto choice at this point for testing web services.

Private Internet Access - current VPN provider. Never had any problems with it, speeds are good and the client is solid.

PuTTY - still solid as ever even if you can use WSL for ssh now.

Games: launchers for the actual games

Steam - not much more to say about this. If it’s not on Steam I probably don’t want to play it.

Origin - because Battlefield is sadly not on Steam.

Monitoring: because you need to keep an eye on those temps after you overclock

HWMonitor (portable) - simple, lightweight and easy to read measurements across your system.

HwInfo64 - a more heavyweight alternative to HWMonitor, the number of readings it gives is comprehensive to say the least.

Misc: random tools and utilities

F.lux - remove blue light from your life.

CCleaner - still hanging around, runs every so often to delete temp files.

WinRar - yes the interface is outdated, but I only ever use the explorer context menu items. For me a staple for many years.

Again, this is just the barebones list that I tend to immediately install on a new install of Windows. Things tend to accumulate over time, but still try to keep it to a minimum.