Software I have on my every system
Unfortunately, web threats are so common and dangerous these days, that along with your primary security software, however good it might be, you’ll often need a second opinion. Solutions from Malwarebytes became de-facto industry standard in this field. The free version has the same detection rate as the commercial one, but it lacks certain advanced options, including a real-time protection. But in some cases (for DAW systems), this is actually an advantage, as you want your security programs to have as little impact on the system resources as possible. Malwarebytes Free, a successor of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free, was often criticized as a resource hog in comparison to its predecessor, but it seems that things have changed for the better lately. The speed of the scanning have also been significantly improved.
This is my main Internet browser since 2001. These days, Firefox certainly isn’t as groundbreaking product as it once was, since its competition grew exponentially since. Features that were always cited as Firefox strong points were its large base of addons, browsing innovations, strict following of the web standards and the company’s devotion to privacy of their users. As the time went by, this edge has lost its sharpness quite a bit. Also, for a long time, Firefox was outperformed by the other browsers (read: Chrome and Opera) in the terms of speed and performance. This was somewhat changed recently with the arrival of the new Firefox Quantum engine which supposedly overpowers Chrome in several areas. However, Mozilla is more and more criticized for its recent moves in the privacy department, which is not a good thing considering its legacy.
So, even though there are less and less reasons to use Firefox over Chrome or Opera, I still use it as my default browser. I feel that Firefox is more open software than the browsers behind which stands a huge corporation. Also, its GUI is more customizable. Also, I like the clarity of font rendering in Firefox much better than in other browsers, as well as its integrated read mode.
This is a legendary software that’s been around like forever and was rightfully dubbed as the “Swiss Army Knife”. Indeed, it can play almost everything you throw at it, including the many somewhat obscure formats. It’s video options are far more extensive than its audio capabilities, so for more serious music listening and cataloging, I recommend AIMP for Windows and Poweramp for Android. But VLC is more than competent when I need to quickly audition an audio file, so it’s a default media player on my DAW computer.
My personal choice for a backup program. The free version is a professional-grade product that can also be used for commercial purposes, however it lacks some features that are reserved only for paid versions. One of the basic features that the free version is missing is the ability to backup files and folders. But to be honest, you can (and you should) backup those without the use of a specialized software like this one. This program however could be a lifesaver if your Windows installation goes corrupt and you’re in the middle of the project. So far, I didn’t had the need to use its restore features and I’m hoping it will stay that way. ;)
A fine choice for a file archiver. It is an open source program which run on every popular OS platform and supports all the most popular file compression formats. It is quite fast, both in terms of the extracting and compressing time. Also the software offers compression to the native 7z format, that can sometimes beat more widespread ones like ZIP and RAR, with its compression ratio. The GUI is very functional and flexible, however the appearance of the icons in the toolbar and especially in Windows Explorer is quite dated and it has been like that forever. Fortunately, there are many fantastic themes created by the artists from DeviantArt, which you can apply using the excellent portable tool 7-zip Theme Manager. But refreshing the icons that ship with the program would be most welcome.
In music world, we are frequently working with files that are quite big in size and when managing such files, the speed and flexibility of file transfer tools built in the OS itself often isn’t up to the task. TeraCopy is the answer to those limitations. Not only it performs basic file operations faster than the OS itself, it also supports advanced options like queuing of file transfers, pausing the operation, checking the file integrity, shutting down the system when done, etc. There is also a Pro version that has even more options and it can be used for commercial purposes.
The synonymous for cleaning up your computer. It has been available for many years now and is constantly improving in the available features and the speed of operation. It allows cleaning of leftovers from many popular applications and you can even further expand this already big list by using a 3rd party tool called CCEnhancer. CCleaner is a reliable software that mostly does what it says on the tin and typically don’t cause any problems. However, there were some issues lately that had somewhat jeopardized its reputation. In one recent version, there was some kind of malware in its official installer. The irony is that this had happened after Piriform, the company behind CCleaner, had been acquired by Avast, which produces one of the most popular antivirus programs out there. Of course, they’ve reacted promptly and quickly removed the said version from the circulation. It shouldn’t happen in the first place, but ***t can happen to anyone.