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Brett Nordquist (Customer Experience Engineer)

The First Five

Written on June 30, 2017 by Brett Nordquist

There's nothing quite like a fresh install of Windows. 

It takes time. It takes patience. And, at least once during the process, I want to strangle someone at Microsoft. 

Once I've updated all my device drivers and allowed Windows Update do its thing, I launch into a fresh, unadulterated Windows desktop. it's the equivalent to that new car smell. You know it's not going to last more than a week or two, but you might as well enjoy it while it lasts! 

I tell myself I'm only going to install the absolute essentials. No more installing half a dozen media players, four browsers and two anti-malware programs that do nothing more than tattle on each other. 

My good intentions last about a week. So with that in mind, here's what I'm calling my First Five. These are the first five programs I install on every new computer at my home. 

*I'm cheating by not including Google Chrome in my list. If Microsoft Edge or Firebox works for you, that's cool. 

  1. 1Password - This is the only password manager I've tried that seamlessly synchronizes passwords across my Windows PC, Mac and iPhone without a hassle. No, it's not free. Yes, it feels a bit overpriced, but dang if it doesn't work well. 
  2. Dropbox - Most online storage products offer more bang for the buck today than Dropbox. I've tried a few and always return to Dropbox because it includes the features I need most. I love how it integrates with my iPhone and Microsoft Office 365. Actually, it just works across all my devices. 
  3. Ditto - This is an advanced clipboard manager. It has saved my butt too many times to count. If you've ever copied over some text you absolutely need, Ditto brings it back to life. It even syncs clipboards across devices. It tiny and a bit goofy. But I can't imagine working without it. If you copy/paste a lot of text each day, you might fall in love with it. 
  4. Stickies - It's the Jose Canseco of Sticky Notes. Set titles, roll them up to save space or set alarms. The only limit is yourself. 
  5. CCleaner - Hunts down any leftover program cruft and tosses it to the curb. Maybe I'm just OCD. I showed CCleaner to my very organized father, and he's run it everyday since. I guess that's a good thing. 

Those are the first five programs I install on every fresh install of Windows. I look back over the years, and not a lot has changed on this list. The newest entry on the list is 1Password, and I began using it about 4 years ago. 

What are your First Five? 

Tags: Dropbox, Chrome, Ditto, Microsoft, Windows, 1Password, Stickies, CCleaner

I will have to check out Ditto. It sounds interesting.

My top five would be--

1. Photo Shop CC
2. Photo Supreme (my image management software from IDImager)
3. CCleaner
4. Speccy from Piriform software. I use it to monitor hardware temperatures on hot days.
5. Acronis True Image

I always enjoy your posts, Brett. Keep them coming!

Posted on 2017-07-01 14:43:20

Hey Preston, I remember you mentioning Speccy a while back. I installed it and it's one of the first programs I install now as well. I was trying to remember the model of my motherboard and Speccy tracks all that down. Thank you for the kind words!

Posted on 2017-07-01 22:09:10

Hmmm... mine would be similar:

LastPass (also works great across multiple OSes)
Chrome (Facebook and bookmarks, haha!)
Outlook (email, contacts, calendar, tasks, my life!)
Telegram (communicate with friends/family)
Creative Cloud

Most of my world is then intact, LOL

Posted on 2017-07-05 23:34:42

Hi Aaron,

Nice list! I am going to give LastPass a try given the new pricing model with 1Password. I have a friend that swears by it. I'd never heard of Telegram. I'm interested to hear how and why you use it? Does it replace texting for your family?

Posted on 2017-07-06 02:59:03

I've used LastPass for longer than 1Password has been around, switched over to them from Roboform because they didn't support iOS way back. I don't know how it compares to 1Password. With iOS 9 and higher, Lastpass can autofill in Safari for you very conveniently. And they also have an Authenticator app that is compatible (and can replace) Google's authenticator. :-)

Telegram is great! It is multi-platform with support for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, and even web-based. You can use it in place of texting, for those that have the app. You can use 2 factor authentication to secure your account. You can create group chats, which I have done for various friends, family, and organizations. It is VERY low bandwidth and works when other messaging platforms don't, especially for video and photos. I highly recommend it! Oh, and I have yet to get a single spam message on it, not one. https://telegram.org/

Posted on 2017-07-06 03:35:44

Assuming this is a PC for my own use, not something I am testing for work:

1. Chrome (I'm not cheating :P)
2. Google Drive
3. Boxcryptor
4. TightVNC (server and/or viewer, as appropriate)
5. Steam

Posted on 2017-07-18 21:51:28