Update: I've dropped the "2011" from the title, as I've kept this list more or less up-to-date every time I change a computer.
Other than what's required - usually Visual Studio, Photoshop, Office/Outlook, 3dsMax/Maya/Modo/... and Perforce (sadly nowadays often git), these are the tools that I always have installed on my development computer.
strikethroughare tools that I used to install / might still be useful, but don't really rely upon anymore (these might go away as I update the list)
- I don't use OSX for development much - I included a few OSX tools but you won't find as much programming stuff - will be marked in maroon.
- MUST-HAVE! are tools I always install
A good way of installing software in bulk is to use Ninite.
On OSX: ZeroInstall is an alternative - and I always add homebrew/Cakebrew as package managers, which I use for command-line tools.
The opposite, uninstall, is also best served by some bulk/batch tools, I did have success with Absolute Uninstaller and BCU, but I'm sure there are many alternatives.
Lastly, to keep things up to date... there are many tools for drivers and app updates, CCleaner has an app version checker built-in, SUMo/DUMo are nice, but the best free driver updater I've found is "driver booster for steam" that you can download... from Steam, run once, and uninstall :)
- MUST-HAVE! Everything is by far the tool I use the most. It's life-changing. After installing it I also I limit windows search indexing options only to the start menu and email, as the latter is required by Outlook).
Agent Ransack is nice too.
- Nowadays I'm working more across workstations it's handy to have a faster file copier over the network, I use FastCopy (see http://www.raymond.cc/blog/12-file-copy-software-tested-for-fastest-transfer-speed/) so I can sync Perforce depots (and then use p4 flush) on both machines without going through the p4 server (also, if you have HDD space, use a local p4 proxy, it's nifty!). TeraCopy is similar and has a Mac version too.
- TreeSize or WinDirStat or similar, but as I don't really need it often, I just get the portable version as needed (OSX: Grand Perspective).
- MUST-HAVE 7-Zip (OSX: Keka or The Unarchiver). I found that WinRAR can still be very useful if you need to handle symlinks / hardlinks - and if you want to add redundancy (recovery bytes). Most other compressors don't!
- TestDisk and Recuva for file recovery are absolutely MUST-HAVE but I don't have them always installed, I typically carry testdisk on an usb key.
- If you're tight on space (or cloud space) - FileOptimizer is nifty, albeit the author's webpage is... bad, and I would not 100% trust the results (backup!). I list some near duplicate image finders in the graphics section below. And Compactor helps with windows file compression.
BareTail seems nice.
- Visual Studio plugins/extensions
- MUST-HAVE Extensions (from the VS extension store):
- Debug Command Line (adds a drop-down that allows to quickly switch between recently used command-lines)
- Debug Single Thread, Concurrency Visualizer
- Clang-Format is powerful and easy
and CodeMaid is very nifty as well.
- Other less-used ones: Indent guides is not bad. I like Continuous formatting as I found auto-formatting to be great but hard to apply in existing codebases. SymbolSort (not really a plugin...). Visual Studio Color Theme Editor
I used to rely on Visual Assist X (and disabling Intellisense), but nowadays I just use find in files (SSDs!) most of the times...
- Text editors
- MUST-HAVE NotePad++ for almost everything (with this HLSL syntax add-on by Pettineo).
- MUST-HAVE Sublime Text (especially for OSX, where NotePad++ is not available)
- Markdown editors
- I still write a lot of plain .txt files, and using markdown gets you some formatting for free. Typora is my choice (available on OSX too).
- MarkDeep is nice, Marp can be cute as well (for presentations, there are many other similar ones).
- LaTeX for publications
- I use TexStudio and BasicTeX (a smaller version of MacTeX) on OSX (then manually add packages I need via the command line package manager).
- Sometimes you need a hex editor (e.g. to open huge files)
- MUST-HAVE Visual Studio Code is great nowadays (also on OSX)
- MUST-HAVE Anaconda is my favorite scientific python distribution (I use it on OSX too)
Python tools for Visual Studio, PyCharm (OSX too) I like interactive environments like Spyder and IPython/Jupyter, which are included in many "scientific" python distributions. B
- For most other things (and for OSX...), JetBrains has an IDE.
- Everybody in (AAA) videogames is on P4, but the outside world likes GIT too.
- Fork is my current poison - but I still hate git. Also works on OSX
- SourceTree is a good alternative, also works on OSX
- Other development tools:
- Very Sleepy (windows sampling profiler) as in most cases I don't have VTune around. AMD CodeXL is very useful too
- Faster "find in files": SilverSearcher
- ZealDocs offline documentation browser (OSX too). Cheatsheet on Mac is also nifty
Include files dependency watcher, Dependency walker Sometimes, C++ analysis software Lattix and VisualC++Depend, compiler/compilers like Antlr, but this is not really part of my daily routine nor of my "default" install CppCheck, OpenCppCoverage Volatility framework and Intel Pin for really nasty stuff
- MUST-HAVE IrfanView is my image viewer.
- Picturenaut, HDRShop and PTGui for HDR images.
- VisiPics is the best near-duplicate image finder I've found so far.
- Czkwaka seems a good alternative too, and much more modern...
- MUST-HAVE RenderDoc is great, a must!
ApiTrace is promising, Intel's GPA is ok too.
- MUST-HAVE VideoLan (OSX too)
- Also for screen captures! I just use the desktop capture device and encode a mp4. On OSX, the built-in Quicktime allows do to screen recording.
- Giffing and ScreenToGif are great for desktop capture too (using webM encoding) Giphy capture works wonders as well (and it's on OSX too)
- MUST-HAVE Processing (also on OSX).
- MUST-HAVE C-Toy (also on OSX).
- Quite nifty! Tiny-C-Compiler integrated with some graphic drawing functions and wrapped with a file-monitor so your project live updates. Very useful to quickly test C algorithms!
- Unity3D is great for prototypes! KodeLife for shader experiments. (also on OSX)
- Other stuff
- AutoIt is NIFTY!
- I use it to craft quick GUIs around command-line tools or to automate GUI tools... It's really nice when you have to do a given thing over and over, and its basic-inspired language makes me nostalgic too. Also, is "portable", which I always prefer. AutoHotKey uses AutoIt scripting, but I didn't use it yet.
MUST-HAVE OSX I use Alfred
- MUST-HAVE Acrobat Reader or better SumatraPDF or MuPDF (also reads EPUB and other formats) that does not annoy the user with endless updates. But usually I get acrobat pre-installed on work computers at which point I don't bother with alternatives.
- ProcrastiTracker... Also for "productivity" I like sometimes to use the "pomodoro technique", I have a kitchen timer on my work desk that seems to work best (I like it being physical and ringing), but ChronoSlider on OSX doesn't seem to suck as well (you'd be surprised how bloated or bad most timer apps are...)
- System tools
Unlocker(for some reason, I did not have the need for this one in a long time - used to be a must have)
- Sysinternals tools (ProcMon, FileMon, VMMap, RamMap...)
- MUST-HAVE CCleaner (now also on OSX)
- Process Hacker
- RapidEE (environment variable checker/editor), also portable.
- NirSoft tools
- MUST-HAVE SharpKeys if I need to remap some of my keyboard keys
- Some keyboards emit "weird" scancodes (e.g. my wired Apple Italian keyboard) the only program which I've found to be flexible enough to recognize them is KeyTweak.
- By the way, Win 8.1/bootcamp on my MBPr2013 does dragging horribly, but it seems better if you enable the (unrelated!) "tap to click" and "dragging" options in bootcamp.
- Trackpad++ is also related but I haven't tried it yet - same people do a number of bootcamp-related apps http://www.forbootcamp.org/
- MUST-HAVE On OSX when using the external mouse you might want to not use natural scrolling, while keeping it enabled for the trackpad. Scroll Reverser does that!
MUST-HAVE This website -might- have more up-to-date AMD GPU drivers for Bootcamp https://www.bootcampdrivers.com/ (but check also the official AMD bootcamp page)
- Other OSX MUST-HAVE is gSwitch to force integrated GPU only (or discrete only). Not relevant anymore for M1 et al Macs...
- Background Music allows to change audio volume per app.
- MUST-HAVE when I have multiple machines: Synergy for keyboard/mouse sharing across computers.
- Command-line / Terminal
I love Cathode (unfortunately abandoned) on OSX. Also on OSX: CoolRetroTerm, which is opensource, but it's not quite as great.Nowadays, I use Alacritty
- I'm not really a command-line ninja, but I've started adopting it a bit more. I usually install tmux, nnn, tldr, a recent version of nano.
Window management various 1Up industries stuff is really good: Fences, Bins (7Stacks is somewhat similar, and free, emulates OSX stacks). SysTools Desktops is a tiny free utility for virtual desktops My own bugfixed version of AnAppADay Jedi Concentrate (a Windows clone of the OSX Think Isolator, Spirited Away is a nice complement to these too, there are clones as well). WindowFX 4 does the same too (and much more) On OSX some people/setups seem to need SmoothMouse to avoid mouse lag There are a lot of other tools that look nifty but I didn't end up using them often... Displayfusion looks neat but I didn't try it yet, the most interesting feature for me is placing a second taskbar with only the applications used on the second monitor there, MultiMon does it for free. A tiling window manager is good if you have a lot of screen space, like WinSplit (OSX alternative: SizeUP)
- MUST-HAVE OSX: not a tool, but important, kill the lag in the dock autohide: defaults write com.apple.Dock autohide-delay -float 0
- It's nifty to be able to run VMs, I typically do that both to isolate my personal stuff on work computers, to quickly run experiments, to try things that are available only on other OS, and if I need windows on mac...
- VirtualBox can be useful and it's free, even if I usually prefer VmWare (sometimes I use the Player with pre-made OS images).
- HyperV, included with Windows, can be great too, it's not a bad idea to keep your different work environments in different VMs / drives nowadays, as drive space is not a big deal.
- MUST-HAVE On OSX, Parallels is really good! Can run Windows 11 ARM in a VM on M1 macs, with really good performance. Windows 11 can, in turn, run x64 apps (ala Rosetta for mac). Magic!
- I sometimes used Docker when I needed some python library is available on Linux only or that is complicated to configure (e.g. happens for deep neural network stuff...).
MUST-HAVE Chrome (w/a session manager to not swear if things crash, a tab auto-suspender, and I also disable flash/other plugins auto-start and use the morphine extension at work)
- MUST-HAVE No longer using Chrome! I really don't love Google's dominion these days, and the fact that Chrome forces to associate the session with a profile is really inconvenient for me. Nowadays, I tend to use the native browser (Edge on windows, Safari on OSX) for "casual" browsing, where especially on OSX I hope/think Safari will do a better job at preserving battery, and for work I use Firefox with tab session manager, which allows me to sync tabs across computers/browsers.
- MUST-HAVE DropBox (even if I'm thinking to migrate out of it)
- Google Calendar Sync, if the company doesn't have decent intranet VPN access
- MUST-HAVE Zoom is GREAT! Works seamlessly, it's really an amazingly made app.
- MUST-HAVE Parsec is GREAT! The best remote desktop app ever!
I still use the PowerToy Calculator (patched to install on Win7/Vista)
- Desmos nowadays is better.
- MUST-HAVE Mathematica (OSX too) if the studio has a license for it (or I make them buy one!)
GeoGabra can be useful when tinkering with geometrical constructions, it's quite powerful (currently the beta of v5 supports 3d too, and it's available "portable" as well) but slightly more focused on contraints than I'd like (I'd love something very interactive with optional constrained stuff, like a parametric CAD) Some people swear by TikZ (examples), looks extremely cool but it's not interactive... On the simpler side, and 2d only, DrGeo (portable as well) is great to tinker SciLab which I prefer over Octave (that is though more compatible w/MatLab), but nowadays I don't really care about MatLab-like environments, I prefer either Mathematica or SciPy (Anaconda)