on dealing with Windows - application recommendations
Dec 12, 2014
6 minutes read

A bit about the program, where to get it, and why I like it. Sorted by use. If you don’t have chocolatey installed, check out the first part of this article for details.

Writing / Authorship

MarkdownPad3

A pretty good markdown editor. Mostly replaceable with online markdown editors, and has nag elements if using the free version but pretty capable. Includes ‘Live-Reload’ features like most modern MD editors. ‘Pro’ and ‘Free’ versions exist, but most paid features are fringe use-cases, The free version is more than enough for most users.

I like the tab-layout for multiple file-editing, which resembles the way Notepad++ deals with the same problem.

Unavailable on Chocolatey Gallery as of 12-11-14. Must be snatched from source website.

Scrivener

A word editor which has a huge emphasis on authorship. Has tools for developing scripts, story-boarding, research compilation, draft creation and publishing. Trial-ware that is nag-free for 30 non-consecutive days, which is a great trial period and may be quite lengthy for some users.

A great piece of software. Well worth the cost, and it’s even multi-platform!

Unavailable on Chocolatey Gallery as of 12-11-14. Must be snatched from source website.

Internet/Chat/Network

HexChat

A great fork of the popular XChat open-source IRC client. Has all sorts of layout options, and theme options are available online.

I like HexChat because it’s simple and handles ZNC great.

choco install hexchat will do the work for you.

Pidgin

Pidgin is a multi-platform chat client that is pretty much compatible with any modern chat networks (at least the ones that aren’t platform tethered).

It provides a great set of default plugins ready to enable. I turn to either this or psi whenever I need a cross-platform chat client.

choco install pidgin will do the work for you.

WinSCP

A wonderful client if ever you need to deal with SCP or SFTP file transfers within Windows.

I love this program mostly for the embedded text editor. You can practically administrate an entire system from this utility as if it were an SSH client exclusively, pushing custom commands where need be.

choco install winscp will do the work for you.

Viscosity

A nice OpenVPN client , which is sadly needed since Windows 7 (not sure about 8+) doesn’t handle OpenVPN connections natively. Supports disconnect on server drops, custom DNS routes, adapter resets, and has a pretty GUI.

Although paid, it has a 30 day trial to try. It provides near the same functionality as the official OpenVPN clients but with additional niceties like adapter resetting, along with the ability to easily import *.ovpn style profiles.

Unavailable on Chocolatey Gallery as of 12-11-14. Must be snatched from source website.

PuTTY

A TTY/SSH terminal client for Windows.

Pretty much the defacto choice for Windows. Supports all major features that anyone would have to expect from their TTY.

choco install putty will do the work for you.

qBittorrent

A multi-platform torrent client.

Decent torrent client, supports torrent creation and all the major common torrent client features. I prefer this over other clients simply because it isn’t bundled with a bunch of questionable software like other options available in Windows, and has been a solid choice for some time now.

choco install qbittorrent will do the work for you.

Programming / Text Manipulation

bug.n

bug.n is a tiling window manager add-on for Microsoft Windows. It is written in the scripting language AutoHotkey.

bug.n is great if you have ever missed xmonad or awesome-wm in Windows. Easily modified and open source. Sane default binds that are easy to learn, an extensive wiki, and documentation.

Unavailable on Chocolatey Gallery as of 12-11-14. Must be snatched from source website.

grepWin

Grep is a command-line utility for searching plain-text data sets for lines matching a regular expression. This is a port with a GUI interface for Windows.

A must for anyone that has to deal with text manipulation on a large scale.

choco install grepwin will do the work for you.

Notepad++

A nice text editor that reminds me a lot of kate or gedit for those familiar with them. Very easy to use, with lots of powerful features. Has syntax highlighting for most common languages. Tabbed style of dealing with multiple open files.

I think of Notepad++ as a miniature emacs (I hate installing emacs in Windows, so I avoid it) when I’m stuck inside Windows. Not nearly as extensible, but out of the box it comes with quite a few powerful features that people familiar with vim or emacs will appreciate.

choco install notepadplusplus.install will do the work for you.

PyCharm Community

PyCharm is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) used for programming in Python. It provides code analysis, graphical debugger, integrated unit tester, VCS/DVCS integration and supports web development with Django.

The only IDE that I can bear to use, be it in Windows or Linux. Lightweight enough to stay out of the way, unlike nearly any other IDE I’ve used in the past.

choco install pycharm-community will do the work for you.

WinMerge

WinMerge is a free software tool for data comparison and merging of text-like files.

The only decent diff tool for Windows, since I avoid emacs on Windows like the plague.

choco install winmerge will do the work for you.

VirtualBox

VirtualBox is a virtualization engine, allowing for the operation of a Guest OS within the confines of a Host OS.

VirtualBox is invaluable when the time comes that you can’t find a decent Windows equivalent to a needed software package. Just load up your favorite POSIX distribution and go!

choco install virtualbox and choco install virtualbox.extensionpack will do the work for you.

Graphics

GIMP

GIMP is a free and open-source raster graphics editor used for image retouching and editing, free-form drawing, resizing, cropping, photo-montages, converting between different image formats, and more specialized tasks.

I’ve used it for Photoshop-ish tasks for years. It’s free and with the Full Window UI mode it offers a very similar experience to Photoshop. Falls short on pen support, and generally has less support than Photoshop, however.

choco install gimp will do the work for you.

GraphicsGale

GraphicsGale is a powerful tool for spriting and pixel art.

I really like it for the ‘onion-skin’ support for animating sprites. Don’t expect any real photo editing ability from it, though. This is a tool that I usually end up using in Linux too, but with a wine layer since it isn’t cross-platform natively.

Unavailable on Chocolatey Gallery as of 12-11-14. Must be snatched from source website.

Tiled

Tiled is free, easy to use and flexible tile map editor.

It’s a super fun to use map editor for sprite based maps of a set size. Makes things ridiculously easy compared to trying to wrangle a full fledged photo editor into the job.

choco install tiled will do the work for you.

CDisplayEx

A freeware comic book viewer that supports most common comic book formats, plus PDF.

I like it because it’s free, fast, and supports all sorts of fancy resizing algorithms to fit the media that you’re consuming with it.

Unavailable on Chocolatey Gallery as of 12-11-14. Must be snatched from source website.

Music

MusicBrainz Picard

Picard is a cross-platform music tagger written in Python.

A great tool to help organize a music collection. Equivalent to beets, but more GUI-centric.

choco install picard will do the work for you.

foobar2000

foobar2000 is an advanced freeware audio player for the Windows platform.

A fantastic music player that focuses on usability with large libraries. Extensible, themeable, and lean.

choco install foobar2000 will do the work for you.


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