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Essential EXEs (12024-05-15)

brook > getlinks > apps

When I started putting PC5014 together, I decided to make a link list of installed programs. That way, it'd be easier to find updates, and would also be useful for getting my next system up and running quickly.. Of course, at the time, I didn't expect that I'd use the same Windows install on the same PC for 10 years straight.

So, I decided to take that text file, add some brief descriptions, and make this page out of it. Hopefully you'll learn about a few things that enrich your computing experience as well. These are mostly for Windows XP or later, with anything that has versions for other OSes noted.

Perhaps you're looking to get your hands on some Linux-flavored FLOSS~?

General Programs

AstroGrep (.NET 4.0)
Full-text file search. Tell it what you're looking for and where, and it'll pull up every single mention.
One-click access to a list of every damn file in every NTFS and ReFS partition you have mounted. Know what a file's called, but not where it is? Type it in for instant results.
Kiwix Windows Vista?, macOS 10.??, Linux
Offline viewer with a plethora of downloadable content packs from Wikimedia, TED, Stack Exchange, Khan Academy, Project Gutenberg, and more.
Notepad 2e
Simple but brilliant text editor with syntax highlighting, tag auto-closing, tag wrapping (ALT+X), and lots of other great website writin' features.
(Bug: Math parser causes crash if user types or selects "not-")
PeaZip Alternative to (Win)RAR and 7-Zip for Windows, Linux, BSD
Opens .arj .cab .cpio .jar .img .iso .lzh .pak .rar .vhd .xpi .z .zipx
Edits .7z .arc .bcm .br .bz2 .gz .lpaq8 .paq8o .pea .tar .wim .xz .zip .zpaq .zst
Convenient and easy GUI archiving program which can (un)pack from/to most currently and previously popular compression formats.
Resource Hacker
Edits .dll .exe .mui .rc .res .scr
Rips open program data files to let you extract/replace icons and images.


Locates redundant files so you can move or delete them.
Whether you have a large file or 1000 minis, this'll zap 'em over with a quickness the built-in file copier can't hope to match.
Glary Utilities Alternative to CCleaner and Defraggler
Suite of useful programs for regular system main-ten-ants and updating.
HWiNFO Windows 95-11
Comprehensive system analysis tool with CPU features, RAM timings, GPU power, HDD/SSD statistics, and sensor data.
ImDisk Toolkit (.NET 4.0)
Program for mounting disc images, virtual drives, and RAMdisks.
Process Explorer
Task Manager not doing it for you? Give this a try.
QtTabBar (.NET 4.0) Alternative to Clover
Adds much-needed tabbed browsing features to Windows Explorer.
VeraCrypt Windows XP, macOS 10.7, Linux, BSD
Full-drive or virtual disk encryption.
WizTree Alternative to WinDirStat
Generates an interactive chart of what's using up all your drive space.
X-Mouse Button Control Windows XP-10
Gain full use of your mouse's features without manufacturer specific drivers.


View/Edit Images

See a color you like? Open this up and hover over it to get the exact hex and RGB values.
Homestuck (Electron) Windows, macOS, Linux
The internet's Ulysses, preserved in its original format.
Honeyview Alternative to IrfanView, FastStone, XnView
Opens .bmp .bpg .crw .cr2 .dds .dng .cb7 .cbr .cbt .cbz .gif .j2k .jpg .jp2 .jxr .nef .nrw .orf .pcx .pef .pgm .png .pnm .ppm .psd .raf .rw2 .sr2 .tiff .tga .webp
Speedy image viewer with interpolation toggle (press U/I).
Strips useless metadata from images to save space.
(Note: Chokes on filenames with Unicode characters.)
Mr. Teal
Offline viewer for webcomic packs.
PabloDraw (.NET 4.0) Windows XP, macOS 10.6, Linux
Delightfully easy to use ANSI art editor.
(Bug: Fails to read files containing the 0x0A character.)
Edits .bmp .gif .jpg .png .tiff
Compact image editing suite that I've been using since 12011.
SumatraPDF Alternative to Adobe Reader and Foxit Reader for Windows Vista
Opens .cb7 .cbr .cbt .cbz .chm .djvu .epub .mobi .pdf .xps
Lightweight document and ebook viewer.
Zint Barcode Studio
Converts some text to a scannable 1D or 2D code.


Audacity Windows 10, macOS 10.7, Linux
The audio editor used by absolutely everyone. Grab 2.0.0 for Windows 98, 2.0.6 for XP SP2, or 2.3.3 for Windows 7.
BeCy Icon Grabber
Opens .cpl .cur .dll .exe .icl .ico .ocx .src
Turns classic ICOns into PNGs you can slap on your webzone.
Blender Windows 8, macOS 10.13, Linux
The open-source 3D modeling software. 2.76b for XP, 2.92 for 7.
(Use MSWinCorePath L1.1.0 Fix for 2.93-3.51 support.)
FFMPEG-Win Commander Windows 7
The powerful transcoder that HandBrake is a frontend for. Learn those command-line switches and you'll feel like a vizard (video wizard).
Need a WinXP build?
GIF2APNG Windows, macOS, Linux
Got GIFs? Most of the time they'd be smaller as animated PNGs.
OBS Studio Windows 8, macOS 10.13, Linux
All-in-one screen and game recording/livestreaming solution.
(Last known Windows 7 compatible version was 25.0.8)
PNG Gauntlet (.NET 4.0) Windows, macOS
Image optimizer that squeezes down your static GIFs and PNGs.
(Caution: Removes all frames from animated PNGs.)
Trout's GIF Optimizer
Shrinks your jrafics, with optional color palette limiting.
Simple program to turn a stack of frames into an animated GIF.

Audio/Video Players

YT-DLP Interface
GUI video downloader that will explicitly continue to support Windows 7. Works great when used alongside YouTube's channel RSS feeds.
PotPlayer Alternative to MPC,, VLC
Superb hardware-accelerated video player with built-in color correction, frame-by-frame, and speed control. Supports 3D and 360° videos.
XMplay Alternative to Windows Media Player, Winamp, foobar2000, KbMedia Player
Opens .aif .it .mod .mp1 .mp2 .mp3 .m4a .mtm .ogg .s3m .umx .wav .wma .xm ...
Tiny yet accurate audio player that can be expanded to play extra formats via original and Winamp plugins. My audio player of choice since 12008. In addition to the FLAC, MIDI, and Opus plugins, I also suggest:


Miss those good times on MSN Messenger? They're memories no more.
HTTrack Windows, macOS, Linux, BSD
Tired of your favorite blogs and websites disappearing? Grab a copy!
Lagrange Windows 7x64, macOS 10.13, AppImage
Opens .gmi and .gpub
Excellent Gopher and Gemini browser, with inline image and audio viewing, and support for ANSI color codes.
PuTTY Windows, Unix
SSH/SCP/SFTP clients with keypair generation.
Qodem Windows, macOS, Linux, BSD
Inspired Telnet client for doing some hardcore BBSing on.
Tixati Alternative to µTorrent, Transmission, qBittorrent for Windows, Linux
Lean and efficient torrent client.
Whalebird (Electron) Windows, macOS, Linux
My preferred way to keep up with the Fediverse.


Image gallery and thumbnail generator to quickly get your pics online.
Archived versions of the offline dynamic website development tool.
Link Examiner
Useful for scanning a locally-hosted copy of your site to find any typoed links and missing pages.
Basic little webserver I use to test my sites before uploading.
The simple but powerful generator of every page on this site. Great templating features with a syntax already familiar to anyone who knows HTML.
Swivel Windows XP, macOS 10.5
Flash to video conversion utility so people on cringe no-NPAPI browsers can still watch those animated masterpieces.

Security and Debloating

Comodo PFW
When properly set up, absolutely foils malware and ransomware.
Disables some common attack vectors.
Privacy Dashboard Windows 7
Simple GUI program to disable Microsoft's telemetry and tracking.
Malwarebytes Windows 7
The best on-demand scanning and cleanup in the business.
Blocks loads of tracking and malware sites at the system DNS level.
(Note: Changes get reverted by Windows Defender, if active.)
Windows NT6 Debloating Guide
Helpful guide to reducing system resource usage on Vista/7/8.

For dedicated real-time antiviruses, your best options (according to the PC Security Channel) would be Sophos Home ($4.67/yr/PC), Bitdefender AV+ ($10/yr/PC), Kaspersky ($16/yr/PC), or MalwareBytes ($16/yr/PC).

Windows XP users in need of a free AV are recommended Panda Dome.

Software/Companies to Avoid

Avast and AVG Antivirus
Privacy concerns/Browser history tracking.
Alternatives: See security section above.
Brave Software
VC-funded crypto bullshit, homophobic anti-mask CEO.
Alternatives: See Zero-Bullshit Web Browsing.
Opera Software
Previously operated predatory lending programs in Africa.
Alternatives: See Zero-Bullshit Web Browsing.
Stylish browser extension
Privacy concerns/Browser history tracking.
Alternatives: Stylus
Wondershare (Filmora)
Scammy practices, misinformation, DMCA abuse.
Alternatives: DaVinci Resolve, Lightworks, Olive, OpenShot, Shotcut
µTorrent 3.1 or later
Includes advertising and tracking/ID features absent in FOSS clients.
Alternatives: qBittorrent, Transmission, PicoTorrent, Tixati

The Last Gasp

The light of Windows 7 slowly flickers and fades as software support comes to a complete halt, 14 irreplaceable years after its release.

In particular, programs built with Qt 6.2, Python 3.9, Electron 23, or later, will not function without workarounds or DLL replacements.

Here's some of the latest releases made available for the final truly great Microsoft OS.

Vivaldi 5.6 (2023-01) Opera 95 (2023-02) Firefox 115 ESR (2023-07) *KB4474419 (SHA-2 Code Signing update) required for versions 100+. Chrome W7 Hacks Modifications to make modern Blink-based browsers run on 7. Dolphin 5.0-16391Nintendo GameCube and Wii (integrates with mGBA for cross-platform titles) PCSX2 1.6Sony PlayStation 2
Calibre 5.44 E-book library and management program. Thorium on Windows 7 VxKex In-progress kernel extension to allow Windows 8+ programs to install. FreeTube 0.19Privacy-focused frontend for YouTube.

So, cheers and farewell to an era when computing was fun, icons had gloss, and PCs started the day by singing those four happy notes! There's a lot I'd do differently if I knew all I do now, but I choose to smile because it happened. See ya on the penguin side.

Additional Resources Adobe Sucks Scrotum A list of design programs and video editors that don't gargle nuts. Animate Archive Download your favorite Macromedia/Adobe Flash and make some animations! forfiles Windows NT utility to manipulate files based on names/dates. Gibson Research More programs for data recovery and computer security. Last versions of Windows applications that do not require SSE2 Software for all the badasses still rocking a Pentium III. Portable Apps More great stuff that you don't even have to permanently install. Really Rare Wares Collection of old, obscure, hard to find audio editing programs. Switching Software Sites and services to use that don't belong to megacorporations.

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