Recommended Software

Installations are generally in the order of the list.
Restart computer after each new software installation.
Updated Sept, 2014

 

Windows XP (5.1) Service Pack 3 support has ended as of April 8, 2014
Windows Vista (6.0) Service Pack 2 support ends April 11, 2017
Window 7 (6.1) Service Pack 1 support ends January 14, 2020
Window 8.1 (6.3)

 

Windows 8 Users
If you do not want/need a "Microsoft account" be sure to read Section 5 "To keep using a local account" or disconnect from LAN and WiFi during first time run up.
Put the "Start" button back on your taskbar and much more with Classic Shell 4, before install View Install/Setup Images
To get the best experience out of Window 8.1 and Internet Explorer view and set these general Control Panel Settings and IE Settings.
How to get the "Quick Launch" toolbar and "Show Desktop" icon and other shortcuts back. (works for 7 also)

 

Tax Time ?
StudioTax 2013 income tax preparation and filing software. CRA Certified (free)

 

Important updates:
    With a new computer or a fresh load: Start | Control panel | Windows Update |
    Select "Download updates but let me choose whether to install them". Return this to "Install updates automatically" after all updates are installed.

Internet Explorer
    IE11 for Windows 7
       Google Search click "Add to Internet Explorer" View Settings Image 1. In IE go to Tools | Manage add-ons | Search Providers View Settings Image 2

Windows Vista and 7 folder View - important enhancement ! (Vista and 7 only)
    How to stop the ever-changing view type for various folders in Windows Vista Explorer. Read this
Windows 7 folder View
    How to Remove "Favorites" "Libraries" and "Homegroup" from Windows 7 Explorer's Navigation Pane.

Anti Virus:
    Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2014, 3 PCs / 1yr License. (Do Not use the disc, download the latest 2014 KAV), only buy on sale for $20 at Future Shop, only buy on sale for $20 at Best Buy, only buy on sale for $20 at Staples, or less (long weekends and Christmas)
    or Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 with Parental Controls, 3 PCs / 1yr License. ( Do Not use the disc, download the latest 2014 KIS), only buy on sale for $30 at Future Shop, only buy on sale for $30 at Best Buy, only buy on sale for $30 at Staples or less
    Do Not use Microsoft Security Essentials 4 (XP, Vista and 7) or Window Defender (8 or 8.1). I have repaired to many infections with this light weight package installed.
       Tools:
          Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool can be installed to an infected machine (Safe Mode (F8) supported). (free)
          Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10 creates a Boot CD that can update and then scan and disinfect x86 and x64-compatible computers. (free)
          AVG Rescue CD creates a Boot CD that can update and then scan and disinfect x86 and x64-compatible computers. (free)
          Stinger 12 a stand-alone utility used to detect and remove the today's top 40 viruses.  When downloading select "Open", not Save. (free)
       Web Tools:
          House Call a web based Anti Virus scanner that runs in your Web Browser to double check your system. (free)
          VirSCAN an on-line file scanner service, which checks uploaded files for malware, using many antivirus engines (free)
          AV-Comparatives is an Austrian Non-Profit-Organization, which is providing independent Anti-Virus software tests free to the public. See chart. Also see TopTen Reviews.

Anti Malware:
    Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware 2 before install View Install Images
    Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit 1

Internet Browser Support:
    Flash 14 uncheck "install Google Chrome as my default browser and Google Toolbar" (free - recommended Vista and 7 only. Built into 8)
        Flash Test
    Silverlight 5 (free - optional)
        Silverlight Test
    QuickTime enables you to play Online QTime files. (free - optional)
        QuickTime Test

E-mail:
        Client
            Thunderbird (US) is a great email client with tabbed email.
        Servers:
            Gmail is independant of your Internet Service Provider. Once you've enabled POP or IMAP in Gmail, you can configure your mail clients and mobile devices to synchronize with your Gmail. (free)
            Telus email configuration (try IMAP)
            Shaw email configuration (no IMAP) Routers and Shaw Server Names
        Webmail:
            Gmail  mail.google.com
            Telus  webmail.telus.net
            Shaw  webmail.shaw.ca
        Email to Text:
            Telus Email a text message to any TELUS Mobility client by using this format: 10digitphonenumber@msg.telus.com (i.e. 4168730000@msg.telus.com). Type your text in the message body. Note: 160 characters max.
            Rogers Email a text message to any ROGERS client by using this format: 10digitphonenumber@pcs.rogers.com (i.e. 4168730000@pcs.rogers.com)
Type your text in the message body. Note: 160 characters max.

Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentations:
    LibreOffice 4 is an alternative to MS Office or Works, compatible with Word / Excel / PowerPoint files. View Setup Images (free)
        PowerPoint Viewer 14 enables you to view full-featured presentations created in PowerPoint. Also install PowerPoint Viewer Service Pack 2 (free)

Backup:
    How to backup and recover Outlook Express data Contacts, Account and Folders (Inbox, Outbox, ...)
    How to import and export the Internet Explorer Favorites
    FreeFileSync 6 is an folder comparison and synchronization tool.

Image Viewing / Editing:
    ACDSee Free 1 (free)
    ACDSee 17  (pay)

Portable Data Format (PDF) Document Reader:
    Adobe Reader 11

System Clean Up:
    CCleaner 4-Slim before install View Install/Options Images (free)

File Compression/Decompression:
    7-Zip 9.2 enables you to open and extract 30 kinds of archives, including .zip and .rar. After install View Options Image (free)

Password Manager:
    KeePass Password Safe 2 is an encrypted password manager. (free)
    RoboForm 7 is an encrypted automated password manager and web form filler for a 1-click website login. (free - limited to 10 logins)
       Tools:
          How secure is my password

DVD / CD / Blu-ray Burning:
    CDBurnerXP 4.5 enables you to burn CD / DVD / Blu-ray discs for files, audio and images. (free)
    DVD / CD Drive Firmware Update:
       LiteOn
       LG select Divice Driver
       Pioneer
       Philips
       Toshiba
       or Firmware HQ
    Tools:
       DVD Identifier 5.2.0 interprets the pre-recorded information that is present on DVD media to accurately identify your disc's REAL manufacturer. (free)

Video Player / Codecs:
    VLC media player 2 plays most codecs with no codec packs needed: MPEG-2, DivX, H.264, MKV, WMV, MP3... View Install Images (free)

Voice Over IP (VOIP) Client:
    Skype 6 before install View Install Image (free)
       Available in a cordless phone.

DVD Ripper / Backup:
    DVDFab HD Decrypter 9 decrypts and copies an entire DVD 9 or HD movie to your hard disk. (free)

CD Ripper:
    FreeRip Basic extracts audio tracks from CD to MP3, WAV, WMA, FLAC and OGG Vorbis. (free)

File Sharing (Peer to Peer - P2P):
    FrostWire 5 is a Limewire (free/pay)

Bit Torrent (Peer to Peer - P2P) Client:
    uTorrent 3 AKA: MicroTorrent, before install View Install Images then after installView Setup Image(free)

    Peer Block 1.2 is an IP blocker for Windows making it the safest and easiest way to protect your privacy on P2P (free)
        Tutorials:
            A guide to Bit Torrents
            FAQs
        Torrent Search Engines:
            Mininova
            Torrent Reactor
            The Pirate Bay
        Movies:
            ReleaseLog
            SceneSource
        TV:
            ezRSS
            eztv.it
            showrss  by configuring an RSS-compatible client like uTorrent with the feed, all shows will downloaded automatically when they become available. More here.
        Tools:
            NFO Reader 2.10.0032.RC3  is an utility for viewing text files containing ASCII Art (free) More here.
            epguides.com

Web Feeds (XML, RSS, Atom, OPML ):
    Klipfolio 5  (free)
        Pod casting
            Juice 2.2  (FAQs)  (free)
        Search Engines:
            Podcast Search Engine

Net News Transfer Protocol (News Groups):
    NNTP Servers with SSL:
       News Hosting in the US, includes free client software. ($9.99/mo)
       Tweaknews.eu in the Netherlands, for Block Subscriptions. Requires NewsLeacher for client software.
    NNTP Client software:
       NewsLeecher 5 Plus includes Super Search. ($3.99/mo)
    Tutorials:
       A Guide to News Groups
    Tools:
       NFO Reader 2.10.0032.RC3  is an utility for viewing text files containing ASCII Art (free)
       QuickPar2v0.9.1 is used to verify that a set of files have not been corrupted or to reconstruct damaged files. (free)
       QuickSFV 2.36
is a small and fast Simple File Verification program. (free)
    Search Engines:
       Binaries Search Engine searches the Usenet Newsgroups for all binary files.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Client:
    FileZilla 3  (free)

System Control:
    Win Patrol 31 before install View Install/Options Images (free)

 

Fun

Google Earth
View geographical and astronomical imagery, 3D buildings, maps, and local business information.

Google SketchUp 8
A powerful yet easy-to-learn 3D software tool-set with an intelligent drawing system that streamlines and simplifies 3D design.

StudioTax 2013 Canada's free tax program and NETFILE certified. (free)

Flight Gear 3.0 is an open-source flight simulator. (free)

 

Android

    IObit Advanced Mobile Care (AMC Security) Antivirus and more.
    Malwarebytes Anti-malware
    Chrome internet browser.
    ES File Explorer File Manager is a free, full-featured file, application manager and mulitimedia player.
    textPlus for free Text/SMS to any US or Canadian mobile number.
    RealCalc is a fully featured scientific calculator which looks and operates like the real thing.

 

Drivers

    Chipset:
        VIA
        Intel
           Tools: Intel Driver Update Utility detects which driver updates are relevant to your computer
        SIS
    CPU:
        AMD important for Dual Core and others
           Tools: CPU-Z 1.6 provides information about your CPU, Cache, Motherboard and Memory (free)
    Video:
        NVidia
        ATI
           Tools: GPU-Z 0.6 provides information about your installed video card(s) (free)
    Motherboard (NIC, audio, video):
        GigaByte

        Asus
        RealTek - NIC
        RealTek - Audio

 

Diagnostic Tools

Speakeasy - Speed Test (Seattle) or Shaw Speed Test
    Shaw - Lite - Up to 1 Mbps, 30 GB data/month - Typical Download Speed: - kbps (- KB/sec transfer rate) Upload Speed: - kbps (- KB/sec transfer rate) - $--/month for 6 months, $39/month regular price, Yes it is available.
                High Speed 10 - 10 Mbps, 125 GB data/month - Typical Download Speed: - kbps (- KB/sec transfer rate) Upload Speed: - kbps (- KB/sec transfer rate) - $30/month for 6 months, $55/month regular price.
                High Speed 25 - 25 Mbps, 250 GB data/month - Typical Download Speed: - kbps (- KB/sec transfer rate) Upload Speed: - kbps (- KB/sec transfer rate) - $30/month for 6 months, $60/month regular price.
    Telus - High Speed Lite - Typical Download Speed: 1000 kbps ( ? KB/sec transfer rate) Upload Speed: 256 kbps ( ? KB/sec transfer rate) - $25/month for 6 months, $25/month
                TELUS Internet 6 - 3.0 to 6.0 Mbps, 100 GB data/month - Typical Download Speed: 2861 kbps (357.6 KB/sec transfer rate) Upload Speed: 563 kbps (70.4 KB/sec transfer rate) - $30/month for 6 months, $55/month regular price when bundled with any other Telus service.
                TELUS Internet 15 - 3.0 to 15 Mbps, 150 GB data/month - Typical Download Speed: ? kbps ( ? KB/sec transfer rate) Upload Speed: ? kbps ( ? KB/sec transfer rate) - $30/month for 6 months, $55/month regular price when bundled with any other Telus service.
    Primus - Unlimited Internet 7 - $20/month for 3 months, $37/month regular price

Belarc Advisor 8.4 provides a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware.  (free)

ISO CD / DVD Burning Tool
    Active@ ISO Burner 2.5 is a simple-to-use dialog-style software to burn CD/DVD/Blue Ray ISO images (Memory Test and HD Test below) compatible with the ISO 9660 standard. Not required if you have Nero or CD Burner XP. (free)

Memory Test:
    Memtest86+ v5.01 is a stand alone memory test for x86 architecture computers. (Creates a Boot disk or CD) (free)

Hard Drive Test:  (free)
    Seagate, Maxtor and Quantum
        SeaTools for DOS 1.10 (text)  (Creates a Boot disk or Boot CD) Parallel ATA (PATA and IDE) and Serial ATA (SATA)
        SeaTools for Windows 1.2.0.1 USB, 1394, ATA (PATA/IDE), SATA and SCSI drives
    Western Digital
        DLG Diagnostics 5.04f  (Creates a Boot disk or Boot CD)
        DLG Diagnostics 2.8 (4.15) for old drives  (Requires a Boot disk)
    Hitachi / IBM
        Drive Fitness Test 4.16  (Creates a Boot disk or Boot CD)
    Samsung
        Hutil 2.10  (Creates a Boot disk or Boot CD)
    Fujitsu
        Diagnostic Tool 7.00  (Requires a DOS Boot disk)
    More
       

KillDisk Hard Drive Eraser is powerful and compact Boot CD that allows you to destroy all data on your hard drive. (free)

Partition Manager:
    Easeus Partition Master Home Edition 9 is a partition solution and disk management utility that can resize, move, merge, split, extend, convert your hard drive. (free)

Virtual Network Connection:
    TeamViewer 9 enables you to remote control any computer or Mac over the internet within seconds without any firewall problems. Click here for QS Download (free)
    UltraVNC 1.1 enables you to remote access and control an other PC remotely. (free)
    RealVNC 5 enables you to remote access and control an other PC remotely.  View Install Image  Click here for Download