The First Five

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?