Musthave Apps to build a new PC

The following is a list of “must have” software that I used and recommend.

I hate to install applications on my windows PC. Why can’t all applications be like the good OS2 apps that I used in the old days. Ever since the USB thumb drives became popular, some applications are now made portable and there is no installation required. Life is at least tolerable again.

Having said this, there are different “types” of portable apps available on the internet. Some are truly portable and will not leave a trace on your system after use. Some are merely repackaged applications to avoid physical installation into the windows directory. They are therefore not truly portable (by definition) but they are still useful. At least they save some nightmare associated with installing and reinstalling software.

I also love freeware and kudos to those who give their software for free. I also hate bloated apps most often associated with windows apps. As much as possible, I will only use free, portable and lean applications on my system.

Here are some sites devoted to portable apps.

1. – THE site for official portable apps. This is the site that I recommend everyone must go.

2. The Portable Freeware Collection

3. FC Portables

4. PortableTurk


  • Google Sketchup (freeware). Pro version is commercial. The only major difference between this 2 version (to me) is the Pro version allow you to export objects to 3DS format, which is extremely useful for modelling in lighting software such as Dialux, another freeware which I also used.

There are 3 great graphics viewer and I have been using them for years. Trouble is they are all so good. Hard to say which is the best. So I install all of them.

  • Comic Viewer portable (freeware) – The musthave tool to read comics book
  • Autodesk Trueview (freeware) – Not a portable app. Somehow I am unable to install this successfully in my windows 7. Need to troubleshoot more.


Unfortunately a lot of the applications related to photography are not freeware.

  • ACDsee (Commercial) – A very competent photo manager and editor.
  • Adobe Camera Raw (Commercial) – Comes with Adobe Photoshop Element, Photoshop CS4 and if you own these software, it is free to use.
  • Adobe DNG Converter (freeware) – Absolutely essential to convert older RAW files to the universal DNG format.
  • Photomatix (shareware) – A great application for HDR processing.
  • Neat Image (shareware) – A good application to “denoise” a noisy photo
  • Noiseware (freeware/shareware) – Another good application like Neat Image. The free version is unable to preserve EXIF data and this is not good for me but the app is great otherwise.
  • Panorama Maker (shareware) – A good panorama processing software.
  • Portrait Professional portable (shareware) – A must have for portrait photography
  • nEO iMaging portable (freeware) – A very good photo app. In chinese language only.
  • Opanda Photofilter (freeware) – Great app to simulate colour filters for photographs
  • PhotoMe (freeware) – The best tool to inspect EXIF information

Internet and Networking



  • Microsoft Office 2007 (Commercial) – Cannot live with this, cannot live without this. I am stuck. Openoffice has issues for me.
  • Foxit Reader (freeware) – The foxit reader is freeware. The more useful stuff like PDF printer is shareware. But I like foxit reader. It has the least issues with the PDF files on my archives.
  • Copernic Desktop Search (freeware/shareware) – The musthave to manage tons of PDF files and technical archives. Home edition is freeware. Pro version is shareware.
  • BeCyPDFMetaEdit (freeware) – Extremely useful app to edit the metadata info of PDF files. A must have if you have tons of PDF files.
  • Advance PDF Tools (shareware) – Another useful app for metadata management.
  • Vuescan (shareware) – Good scanner application
  • TaggedFrog (freeware) – Good file and document tagging application


  • Total Commander (shareware but affordable) – I will NEVER setup a windows system without this application. It is that good.
  • Avast anti-virus (freeware) – Reliable anti-virus. Not portable but I do not expect this to be.
  • Infrarecorder portable (freeware) – A great CD/DVD burner tool
  • MagicDisc (freeware) – The great CD emulator tool
  • 7-zip portable (freeware) – All you need to read archives file and read ISO format as well. Absolutely indispensable.
  • Notepad++ portable (freeware) – The windows notepad replacement
  • Putty portable (freeware) – The best SSH client
  • WinSCP portable (freeware) – The best SFTP client
  • Teracopy portable (freeware) – The best tool to copy large files
  • CCcleaner portable (freeware) – Do not install a PC without this.
  • Easeus Partition Manager (freeware) – The freeware partition manager. The personal edition is freeware and is good enough for me.
  • MiniTool Partition Wizard (freeware) – Another user friendly partition manager and just as capable as Easeus. The home version is free.
  • Sandboxie (freeware) – The best tool to test new software in a protected sandbox.
  • Ultramon (shareware) – The musthave if you are running a dual monitor setup.
  • Wifi-Strength tester
  • Windows 7 East Asia Fonts (freeware)

Update: 2010.10.16

A free software called Ninite is capable of performing a silent install of some of the apps mentioned above. The apps are not the portable versions though but it is good to know this kind of apps exist.

Another alternative is AllmyApps. Yet another one is FreeApps.

Posted on October 10, 2010, in Computer, Hardware, Software, How-to's. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Musthave Apps to build a new PC.

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