Just going to go through a list of the applications that I use on a regular basis which you might find helpful too.
- Notepad. Bundled with Windows. Useful for taking quick notes/sticky note pad. However, it doesn’t have autosave so when your computer dies, all your precious notes do too.
- Microsoft Office OneNote. Bundled with Microsoft Office. This program is basically a slimmed-down version of Microsoft Word, so you can quickly take notes in class. You can organize your notes into notebooks, pages and subpages. You can also write anywhere on the page, unlike a traditional word processor. However, the 2007 version lacks an equation editor and seems to lack some of the “advanced” features that we take advantage of in Word, like the Bibliography editor, table options, etc.
- Defraggler. Available from Piriform, the creators of CCleaner. This program is extremely valuable for us Windows Vista users who miss the old Windows XP defragmenter with its colourful blocks (the Windows Vista defragmenter does not have any graphical display of the state of your hard drive). It’s quite simple to use and also allows you to identify what files are in what sectors in your hard drive.
- Firefox. Available from Mozilla. As the most popular alternative browser (to Internet Explorer), Firefox is quite the formidable browser. It’s extremely customizable with the wide variety of Personas (pseudo-themes), actual themes and extensions (like Adblock Plus) that can be added. It’s bundled with session restore, protection from sketchy sites, formidable bookmark management system and a speedy Internet browsing experience. The updater system is pretty nice but it doesn’t do it automagically like Chrome. There is a private browsing session option available, but you have to close your current session first.
- Google Chrome. Available from Google. It’s one of the fastest-growing browsers on the Internet and for good reason. The speedy and catchy user interface leaves almost every other browser in the dust, and it is extremely good at loading pages. It also updates in the background automatically. The only problems I have with it are that the updater doesn’t delete past versions of Chrome (causing you to mysteriously lose hard drive space), the program starts to lag after 20 – 30 intense tabs, and the program’s performance with complex Flash websites is relatively poor.
- foobar2000. Available from the foobar2000 website. This music program is probably the most formidable audio player out there. There is so much customization possible! You can radically alter the layout of your music library, the appearance of the program itself, and add many random plugins like FLAC support, audiophile settings, etc. Even if you don’t like how it looks like originally, you can change it very easily. It also plays music quite efficiently with a somewhat small resource footprint.
If you would like comments on other programs, please tell me! I included these ones because they were the only ones that came to mind which were relatively distinct.