Archive for January, 2011

The Essential Windows Software List (Update 3)

January 2, 2011

This is a non-complete list about software not everyone might know about and which has proven to be essential for me. I will add more by editing this post whenever I feel like it. Developer tools will be handled in separate posts.

Latest list update: 2016-01-03


Category File Management and Backup:

Eraser: Secure file removal.
Eraser let’s you safely delete files, i.e. overwriting the file content and completely overwriting the file system entry. You can choose how securely the content should be deleted by configuring the number of times the data is overwritten. You can also erase the free disk space, whole partitions, the whole hard disk including the boot partition. Eraser integrates with the context menu.

Free Commander: File Browser (Explorer alternative).
Free Commander works as good as Total Commander for me and is free software. It is the tool of choice if you want to do complicated copy/move/rename operations.

Truecrypt. Data encryption software.
Truecrypt offers all kinds of options to encrypt your files. Create a file which contains a virtual drive, encrypt a whole partition, your USB strick, or your whole hard drive – no problem. Create hidden volumes or hidden OS for plausible deniability. Has all the options you might want from a file encryption/decryption tool and is platform-independent.

Duplicati. Backup software.
Duplicati is an open-source backup software which sports many advanced features, one of the more important being support of rsync (i.e. for incremental backups of large files, only chunks of the file that have changed are written to a backup). Backups of open files and backups to cloud storage as well as AES-256 encryption for backups are among the more noteworthy features.

TreeSize Free:
TreeSize is a tool that shows you which files or subfolders take up the most space in a folder. The free-ware version comes without Adware and is sufficient for most needs.


Category Image Software:

Irfanview: Image viewer and management.
Not only is Irfanview an easy-to-use, lightweight image viewer that supports almost any format available, but it also understands the EXIF data of your pictures and lets you batch-rename thousands of photos based on EXIF tag data (e.g. the time the picture was taken). Also, batch-resizing or creating a picture browsing website is possible with this program.

JPEGtime: Time Stamp Modifier for JPEG files.
Ever taken pictures with two cameras and their clock settings did not match? Now you’re trying to sort the pictures by their EXIF time stamp? This tool will help you align the timestamps of the pictures so they are in the right order again.

Panorama Studio 2: Panorama image software.
Very good (although expensive) panorama picture software. I only know the free “Special Edition”, which has limits on output picture size, but love it. The software is very good in automatically finding control points, has superb options on matching the image brightness etc. and very good controls (e.g. preview, cropping, and so on).

gimp: Picture editing software
While gimp is extremely powerful, I sometimes do not easily get to where I want to go with gimp, but it’s an extremely powerful picture editor which is open source.


Category Multimedia:

Exact Audio Copy: CD Ripping and encoding tool.
Full featured (freedb lookup, cover download, ID3v2 tag editing, normalizing…). This software can work like a normal CD ripper, or in exact mode, where it proofreads problematic sectors many times and autocorrects reading errors if possible.

FLV player: Play online video (youtube) files.
Use this in conjunction with a Firefox plugin to download online flash video files to view the downloaded files on your computer.

VideoLAN Client: Video playback solution.
VLC supports many different formats, is lightweight and full-featured.

MP3tag: Powerful software to edit ID3 tag data for MP3 files.
Very good cover search, bulk-tagging, very good metadata search with several sources, make this one of my favorite tools to get ID3 tags right.

My favorite tool to burn optical discs, like CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays. Works with Windows 10 and is Freeware. Newest version seems to contain Adware, though.

Media Monkey: Music management software
There is a free version and a “gold” version. As I liked the software and felt the need for separate collections, I bought the “gold” version. The software has drawbacks, like the non-adjustable font size, but is for me a better iTunes alternative.


Category Network and Internet:

HTTrack: Website mirroring Program.
HTTrack gathers whole websites and downloads them. All options can be configured with a nice Windows GUI. The tool supports multiple download threads and modifies the links for local browsing.

Thunderbird: Extensible E-Mail client and Calender Software
While I sometimes even enjoy using Outlook at work a little bit, most of the times I am angry about it. I don’t have much to complain about Thunderbird. It is a great E-Mail client, extensible by plug-ins, and comes with a good calender (the former Lightning plug-in). While there are rumors that Mozilla is going to discontinue Thunderbird, I hope the open source community will continue to support this great e-mail client that really does not need to be improved any more as it’s already great, only the full search could be more customizable. There is a large Thunderbird community on the internet and most questions will already have been answered.


Category Office Software / Text Editing / Text Conversion:

FreePDF: PDF printer.
Installs a Windows Printer which creates PDF files. PDFCreator is another tool that works as good.

PDF Split and Merge
As the name says, easy-to-use tool to split, merge, mirror or rotate pages of different PDF files.

Notepad++: A very powerful editor with plug-ins
I use this editor always instead of notepad.exe. It’s freeware and incredibly good.

… and of course LibreOffice, the free software office solution.


Category Windows Tools:

Process Explorer Process Monitoring (like Task Manager).
Process Explorer tells you everything about the programs running on your system and tells you which program is accessing a file.

HWInfo: Read out information about your PC
Pairs the functionality of reading out information about your PC hardware components (like the “msinfo32” program which is part of Windows does) with detailed information about the current CPU/fan frequencies and temperatures. Comes in a 32-bit and 64-bit version. Does not need an installation. Very useful.


Category Smart Phone / Connectivity:

MyPhoneExplorer: Synchronisation with Android Smart Phones
If you are paranoid about Google knowing everything about you, you will love this tool. I never use my Google account for synchronizing my phone contacts and calender entries, just this Windows tool (plus the companion Android app). It synchronizes easily with Thunderbird and that’s all I want and need.



Eclipse: Fixing the “Program is not a Recognized Executable” Error

January 2, 2011

This has been taken from a FAQ at

When you compile & link a program, the Eclipse run feature will try to recognize the executable, using one of several parsers. If the wrong binary parser (or none at all) is selected for the project, Eclipse will show the above error in the “Run…” dialog when you select the executable file for your project. Follow those steps to add a binary parser:

In the Eclipse main menu

  • select “Project” -> “Properties”
  • navigate to “C/C++ Build” -> “Settings” -> (on the right) “Binary Parsers”

In the “Binary parser:” list, check the “PE Windows Parser” and click “OK” (lower right)