Fresh Install… the Essential Applications


My primary laptop was misbehaving in so many ways I was about ready to do a complete re-install.  It was randomly turning itself on from hibernate for example, which lead to an overheating and half dead laptop half the time I got to where I was going.  Fortunately the Windows 10 release was on the horizon, so I figured I would be doing a fresh install then anyways, so I held off.  Now that I’ve finish the upgrade ( Windows 10 rocks btw… ), I’ve noticed that I have my essential programs that get installed right away on a fresh install.  The following are my go to programs on a fresh install.


Keep in mind, a lot of my needs also focus on blogging/writing in addition to game development, so if some of these have you scratching your head, that’s why!  I am also not completely up and running yet either, so this isn’t by any means a complete list of the tools I used, just the priority stuff I cant live without.


Dropbox To be honest, I think the client is starting to cause issues with both stability and battery life.  At the end of the day though, this IS my file system these days.  Thanks to Dropbox, I can be up and running productively on a new machine in a matter of hours, tops.  Plus, and I totally know you shouldn’t do this… but it’s a great poor mans version control Smile


7zip  Swiss army knife free archiving tool, all I ever need for all my compression needs.


Steam It’s where my games are.  This gets installed early as there’s about 1TB of games in there to download.  It’s kind of nice having all of my games in one spot, makes reinstalls a breeze.  I do hate the constant updates and the CPU hogging that are becoming more and more common though.


Visual Studio 2015 Community  The Windows based IDE, C++, C#, F# all in one home, also thankfully now free in a small developer environment.  I had great timing here, as the torch was just passed between Visual Studio 2013 and 2015, hopefully saving me about 15GB of drive space.  Hopefully.


SublimeText  My go to text editor.  This or Notepad++, I flip back and forth.  I go with the beta version 3 as I like living dangerously.


Blender  Free and comprehensive 3D graphics package


Paint.Net  Free 2D image app.  Not the most powerful image editor out there, but certainly a capable one, especially for the price.  My go to app for resizing and cleaning up images.


Java SE JDK  Even if I’m not working with LibGDX or Android right now, it’s enevitable I am going to have to install the JDK eventually so might as well do it now.  Normally go with Java 7, but trying 8 this time, mostly because Oracle made 7 enough of a pain in the ass to find.  Have a sinking feeling I am going to have to download Java 7 at some point in the near future.


IntelliJ IDEA  Speaking of Java, this is my Java IDE of choice.  Also my Lua and Haxe IDE of choice while we are at it.


WebStorm  While I’m on JetBrain’s site, I also grab WebStorm, my HTML5 IDE of choice.  I subscribe to this, 50$ a year I think.  Well worth it.


Windows Live Writer  Part of Windows Essentials.  It’s the software I do my Windows based blogging on, what I am typing this in as we speak.  Sadly discontinued in 2012, as it’s still the best software for blogging available IMHO.


FastStone Capture  I bought this app like 6 years ago for 20$ and I love it to death.  It’s my screenshot/markup/video capture go to application.


Camtasia Studio  When I started producing video I tried so hard to find a free alternative.  They sucked, every single one of them.  Camtasia has a price tag attached and some glaring faults ( no on screen keyboard display??? ), it’s still the best video capture/editing package on the market.


GifCam  I make a lot of animated gifs for tutorials and this little free app ROCKS.  I used to use a much more complicated process, now I just use this.  Creates high quality but small filesize images.  Highly recommended.


Highlight  I’ve tried all sorts of different approaches to creating marked up code for books and blogs and Highlight has been hands down my favourite.  Oh, it’s free too!


Scrivener  This is my primary book authoring software, and as time goes on I will mix my book and blog workflow into a single entity and this will be home.  It’s a tool for writers and really takes a bit to get used to, but once it clicks… it clicks.  Honestly though the Windows version is only so-so.  It’s the Mac version that shines.


What I haven’t installed:

A Browser.  Normally Chrome would be item number 1 on a new install.  Thing is, Chrome has gotten worse, a lot worse.  Microsoft Edge however… check it out, really, do.  I did however disable Bing after about 30 seconds…

A Mail Client.  I’m giving the new Windows 10 mail client a go.  Actually pretty impressed so far.  Normally I use MailBird.  If I dont like Windows 10 mail I will go back to Mailbird.

Microsoft Office.  I have a license, and will eventually need to install it, at least Word, but I try to put it off as long as possible. 


What I’ve not mentioned:

Game Engines.  I also install game engines… LibGDX, Unity, Stencyl, Unreal, Paradox3D, etc…  These vary based on the tutorials I am currently working on however, so I don’t include them, although they are certainly essential.  The cool part is, pretty much every single one of them is free.


Honourable mentions:

Krita or GIMP – 2d painting

Inkscape – Vector Graphics

Visual Studio Code – Sublime Text like editor, fairly new but becoming a bigger and bigger fan



It’s actually kind of cool if you look through this list just how low the total price tag actually is.  The amount of stuff I need to install is actually getting smaller and smaller too, thanks to more and more functionality being move to the web.

Totally Off Topic Applications

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