For starters, I am running Windows XP Professional SP2. I am not affiliated with any of the software products listed below. I've marked payware with a $$ after the link. Everything else is freeware or donationware.
) - I absolutely love this browser. I think it is more polished than firefox, and more secure than IE. I admit that I miss some of the extensions in firefox, but not enough to switch back.
) $$ - The ISR stands for Immediate System Recovery. This program is amazing. It allows you to have multiple snapshots of your operating system that you can switch to as quickly as you can reboot your computer. It has saved me more than once in the 6 months that I have been using it. As an example, I updated a security application recently and had to reboot to complete the update. My machine proceeded to BSOD repeatedly when attempting to boot. I simply hit the reset button, pressed F1 when the ISR logo appeared right after CMOS screen, selected an alternate snapshot and was up and running in less than a minute. It also has a freeze function that reverts your computer to a preset state at each reboot.
NOD32 AV (http://eset.com
) $$ , Jetico Firewall v1.0 (http://www.jetico.com/
), and System Safety Monitor (http://www.syssafety.com/
) $$ - Together, these three programs protect me from just about anything that is out there. Along with the use of Opera for browsing and ISR waiting in the wings in case of a disaster, I feel invincible. There was a brief problem with a new version of SSM not playing nice with Jetico, but a quick update by the authors fixed it.
Directory Opus (http://www.gpsoft.com
) $$ - Amazing filemanager that does it all. I tried quite a few, hoping to find something that was a lot cheaper than this one, but in the end I felt that it was worth every penny. The best part about it is that you can customize it to do just about anything you could possibly want with your files.
FindAndRunRobot - Love it. I am slowly getting used to being able to start programs by just hitting Break and typing. I actually caught myself tryng it on a computer that didn't have it today. That is a sure sign to me that the program is a hit.
) - Fast file search utility. It creates a database of all your files. I can search for a single filename on my computer (over 300gigs) and find it in seconds with this program. I wish the documentation was better (or existed at all), but I loved it enough to donate to the author.
) - I use a ssh connection from work to my router (running dd--wrt http://www.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/index.php
) to tunnel into my home network and connect to my PC with this.
) - My mp3 player of choice. I don't care for skins, visualizations, etc. Foobar plays my music, and plays it well.
Process Explorer (http://www.microsoft...ProcessExplorer.mspx
) - What task manager should have been. This is one of the first programs I install when working with a PC, and I have it running all the time in my system tray.
) $$ - I manipulate a lot of text for work, so this is invaluable.
$$ - This just makes my computing life easier. I actually run with my taskbar at the bottom (with a truelaunchbar enhanced quick launch) and a toolbar across the top of the screen with some truelaunch plugins and my clipmate toolbar. I loose a tiny bit of screen real estate, but I work faster.
EditPad Lite (http://www.editpadpr...com/editpadlite.html
) - Free and powerful text editor. I used it to write this post
) - Even though my computer is barely able to handle it, I still get a smile on my face when I boot up Windows XP inside Windows XP. I'm just starting to use this program and learning to love it. I can't believe it is free.
And that's just software that I use on a daily basis.
I'll be happy to discuss how I use any of those in more detail if you're interested.