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Custom Bloatware

Recently formatted a hard drive and performed a clean install of Windows 7, then pondered over what additional applications to include. Below is a basic list of software that should allow the casual PC user to immediately enjoy their new computer:

  • Google Chrome is my personal browser of choice, Firefox is a worthy alternative. No matter how much Internet Explorer cosmetically improves, it still lags in terms of web technology integration, and remains the targeted browser of choice for malicious hackers.
  • WinRAR for your run of the mill ZIPs, rare RARs, Java JARs, or 7zs you probably shouldn't have downloaded. Although it is free, you will be nagged by the option to buy with afterlife consequences.
  • VLC gracefully handles every multimedia file format I have ever thrown at it, including the mysterious MKVs; well, everything except Apple's proprietary bastard child. While you will need Quicktime sooner or later, beware of the bundled iTunes installer.
  • Adobe Reader supports the PDFs we're inevitably forced to read, and the bundled PDF Printer will be there when you unexpectedly need it.
  • Skype is Windows' Facetime, Apple has completely fooled lay people into believing their bundled features are unique to OSX - long live anyone with common sense!
  • CCleaner clears caches and histories, uninstalls application ghosts, tunes registries, and so much more; really for further down the line to keep things in order, and provide one-click clean-up automation for novices.
  • Microsoft Security Essentials proves I may not be a PC whisperer, but I have forsaken AVG, McAfee, Kaspersky, and their antivirus brethren in favor of intuition, hometown protection, and responsible internet use.
  • The home stretch: Photos? Picasa. Online storage? Dropbox, enjoy the extra 500 MBs of space. Microsoft Office? If Google Docs isn't enough, then I still can't vouch for an alternative to Microsoft Office. Music? Although the cool kids are using Spotify, there are so many options that the only wrong one left is paying for a CD.

Happy computing! Let me know if I missed anything through any channel.

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