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Essential XP Software

Essential/Critical Software that tries to make XP almost as safe as OS X or Linux:

  • Backups:
  • Firewalls:
      ZoneAlarm Firewall (outbound firewall, the integral XP firewall is pretty good for inbound crap, but ZoneAlarm can block trojans and other malware from getting out)
  • Anti-Spyware:
  • Anti-Virus (McAfee and Norton/Symantec have let the consumer down):

Useful Applications:

  • Text Editor (because Notepad sucks):
    • Vim (vi improved text editor)
    • Or some prefer: emacs (text editor with integral LISP interpreter)
  • Putty (terminal emulation, ssh client, be sure to check out cPutty if you need to control several terminals at once)
    • Some prefer: Secure CRT (commercial, about $100 per seat)
  • Firefox (The Gold Standard Web Browser)
  • Opera (The Fastest/Lightest Web Browser on Windows)
  • Safari (Another Web Browser)
  • Cygwin (UNIX-like environment for Windows)
  • iTunes (music player, podcast-catcher, cd-ripper)
  • VideoLAN (multi-format video player)
  • Thunderbird (email application)
  • Synergy (share keyboard, mouse, cut&paste buffer between several computers)
      Remember to use PuTTY or SecureCRT to start an ssh tunnel, and configure Synergy to use local host rather than your Synergy server so your keystrokes and cut&paste buffer are protected and private. Here are instructions I used to do this.
  • Sandboxie (virtual machine to run MS Internet Explorer in so IE cannot hijack your real machine)
  • Forte Agent (Commercial $30 USENET news reader and email client)
  • Pidgin (open source AIM client, replaces GAIM)
    • Some prefer: AIM v5.9 (Be sure to use the older version 5.9; v6 is crappy bloatware)
  • Launchy (application launcher and index)
    • Some prefer: AppRocket ($9 commercial launcher)
  • Acrobat Reader
  • QuickTime (video player)
  • KeePass secure password manager
  • ShoreTel Call Manager (if you have a ShoreTel phone at the office)

If you do not have admin rights on your Windows computer, consider installing portable applications on a USB thumb drive:

  • portable Firefox
  • portable Putty
  • portable KeePass

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