I get landed with new computers from time to time for colleagues, friends and family to install / set-up. Here is my list of essential Windows software for these.
The first thing I do is a fresh install of Windows to remove the crazy and ridiculous amount of bloatware that comes pre-installed and makes the system as slow as a wet week. Then after re-installing Windows and the necessary hardware drivers (Windows Update will get most of these automatically), I then:
- go through Windows Update (a number of times) until all essential and important updates are complete as well as any optional updates you want;
- install Microsoft Security Essentials – why pay third party companies for their security protection racket?;
- ensure automatic updates for Windows and Security Essentials are enabled;
- install the appropriate language version of Firefox (and I then remove all shortcuts and obvious links for Explorer to try and discourage its use);
- install the appropriate language version of Thunderbird;
- install Google Chrome;
- install Microsoft Office (if you have a license) or LibreOffice if you don’t / if you prefer or even both!;
- install Adobe Flash Player; Adobe Reader; Adobe Air; and Shockwave Player;
- install Skype; ensure webcam and audio work; and disable autoload on boot;
- install Google Earth;
- install PDF Creator;
- install DivX codecs;
- install Java;
- install 7-Zip.