Software 2014-2015: Useful Small Apps and Utilities

These aren’t quite as grand as the other tools in my previous post- but they’re all FREE or low cost and, whilst they often blend in to the background, are “daily uses” for me:

  • Peazip – OK, 7zip will do the job too- but Peazip manages to at least make zips look slightly less early 90’s by adding a tiny bit of interface charm whilst avoiding any unnecessary bloat.
  • Minibin by E-Sushi – I like my desktop clean – so I remove the recycle bin (which I rarely dive in to- thank you shift-delete!) but that leaves me without a way to empty the bin – forunately minibin offers an easy system tray tool which does exactly what I need!
  • Cmder – a new install this year but a great CMD line improvement for Windows – if you spend a lot of time at the command line you owe Cmder a quick try (portable too!).
  • Mouse without Borders – Synergy never behaved quite the way I wanted it to and, when I last checked, it jumped up from free to a paid for application and didn’t seem worth the risk given my past experience- in my hunt for an alternative I found Mouse Without Borders from Microsoft Labs – and fell in love! Easy to install, reliable, and with clipboard sharing (which I rarely use, but useful to have!), it makes my desktop and laptop mouse/keyboard work seamlessly.
  • Greenshot – the best, free, screenshot utility for me – it’ll happily let you snap multiple screenshots to a file make it easy to build a walkthrough or similar.
  • Syncovery – An easy backup application with lots of flexibility without being bloated – this is SyncToy on steroids and so ideal for my purposes.
  • Jing – An odd choice, you might think, for someone with Greenshot – but where Jing comes in to it’s own is in video capture- thanks to a tidy upload function this makes videos easy to build and send in moments- perfect for quick “how to’s”.
  • Amazon Music – Windows Media Player, for better or worse, has been a solid media player for it’s robust library system (iTunes and Songbird have both failed me performance wise with larger music collections) but Amazon Music might just have surpassed Media player due to a slicker UI and fast library searches.
  • FileZilla – Simple FTP (Cyberduck gets an honorable mention) – some quirky design elements make it less than perfect but rarely do large batch jobs fail or connections drop which makes FileZilla perfect for the job’s I task it with.
  • Freemake – Video Convertor is (once you carefully select your install options!) the easiest video conversion utility I’ve ever seen- it takes moments to chose your options and get the output you need.
  • VLC – still the best video player. Nothing further to add!
  • Windirstat – and, to a lesser degree, space sniffer, both other great visualisations of disk space usage which makes finding large files/disk space vampires that much easier to find.

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