Every PC needs most or all of these 20 basics:

In the table that follows the first two columns indicate our recommendation for use with Windows 7 and/or Windows XP.  Product icons are also links to the product websites.  In the title column when the product name is a link it takes you as closely as possible to a download.  Programs that require a fee for home-based users are noted.   The Ninite tool is so simple (select, get installer, and run) and smart (omits toolbars. adds, extras, and selects the correct 32-bit or 64-bit version) that even if you want just one or two of the programs it installs, we recommend that you use it!

Win 7 Win XP Product Title (w/download link) and description Selection Criteria Help
  AdAware (from Lavasoft) - A spyware checker (:) [Part of our BIG-3 automated defense recommendation.] 2SS.Com favorite,
and C|Net 'Top 11 downloads'.  See our Guide:
FREE, Effective and Nearly Automatic PC Protection
Adobe Acrobat Reader - Displays portable document format (PDF) files (:) Longtime industry standard
  CCleaner (from Piriform) - Utilities for finding and resolving system and registry errors & more. C|Net 5 stars 'Spectacular'
  • How-to - CCleaner How To's

  • Documentation & More - CCleaner

  • Hints from StdInstall - Use this tool carefully it's very powerful. On older PCs we prefer the Symantec SystemWorks (see below) suite of tools that includes one called WinDoctor which does a fair amount of what CCleaner replaces.

  Classic Shell - Adds the old classic menu system to Windows 7 making it work very similar to the way Win XP and Vista classic work.
(Vista user? see note at bottom of page.)
There's no good reason to learn a new interface...!  See our guide: Windows 7 and Office 2007/2010 Your WAY!
  • Hints from StdInstall - No reason to learn new menu systems in Win Vista or Win 7 since Win 8 will change it all yet again!

Google Chrome - An alternative web browser (:) C|Net 5 stars 'Spectacular'
Google Earth - Geographic information from local to world-wide (:) 2SS.Com favorite and the default standard for FREE GIS
Internet browser add-ins including Flash, Java, .Net, Silverlight, and Shockwave (:)

(Necessary for a full Internet browsing experience)

Mozy - On line backup software and service
(Using the above link gets an extra 0.3  GB, total = 2.3 GB FREE!  Or, if asked used the referral code = S33AEH).  As little as $5 per GB per year for our business clients (FEE for over 2.3 GB)
See our guide: Choosing an Online Backup Vendor
Contact us: 2SS.Com is a reseller
  MSE Microsoft Security Essentials Full featured Antivirus protection (Requires verifying your copy of Windows) (:)
Part of our
automated defense recommendation.]
C|Net 'Top 11 downloads'
See our Guide:
FREE, Effective and Nearly Automatic PC Protection
Ninite - Simple and quick software to install an keep updated many of these choices and more! 2SS.Com favorite
  • Documentation - Help

  • Hints from StdInstall - Put an icon to this download on your desktop or [Programs] menu for easy updating.

PDF reDirect (from EXP Systems) - A freeware print to PDF tool. 2SS.Com favorite,
and C|Net 4 stars 'Outstanding
PeaZip - File compression and de-compression software for file transfer and archiving (:) C|Net 5 stars 'Spectacular'
  • FAQ - FAQ

  • Documentation - PZip (This is a PDF)


Picassa - Google's picture manager that includes the 'Google Photos Screen Saver' (:) 2SS.Com favorite

QuickTime (from Apple) - A music and video player (:) Longtime industry standard
A good complement to 'regular' anti-virus software that uses predictive analysis to resolve zero-day threats. [Part of our BIG-3 automated defense recommendation.] C|Net 5 stars 'Spectacular'
See our Guide:
FREE, Effective and Nearly Automatic PC Protection

UBitMenu Office Shortcuts - Lets Office 2007 and 2010 users be productive with Office 2003 tool bars on a new [Menu] tab. Be productive while learning the new interface as your pace!  See our guide Windows 7 and Office 2007/2010 Your WAY!
  •  UBitMenu Office Shortcuts

  • Hints from StdInstall - Necessary to let users chose when to learn the new ribbon menus.

(:)   There are 14 programs and 6 browser add-ins above excluding Ninite.  You can install all but 6 of these IN ONE STEP by downloading this install file
here) or selecting them at www.Ninite.Com.  Then you can use the resulting install program again-and-again to find and install updates to the selected programs. ('Mozy Home' can be included with Ninite but you will loose our referral and an extra 0.3 GB of space)

[BIG-3 automated defense recommendation.]
Cover your PC against threats from several perspectives; Spyware, Anti-Virus, Zero-Day attacks and more.  Together with a well-tuned schedule your PC can be kept safe and you are minimally interrupted with notices of a 'found' threat or the completion of routine scanning and updating. 
For more on using and scheduling these tools together, see our eBay Guide titled "
FREE, Effective and Nearly Automatic PC Protection".

More software for PC users with specialized needs
or that prefer some great 2
nd choices:

Win 7 Win XP Product Title and description Selection Criteria Help
Cobian Backup - Backs up files to USB drives and disks 2SS.Com favorite,
and C|Net 4.5 stars 'Outstanding'.  See our guide Computer BackUp for Small Bus.-The What, Why & How?
  • Support forum

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Hints from StdInstall - Used with multiple inexpensive USB drives to guard against a single disk failure, this makes an economical and immediately available backup solution.

Dropbox - Great productivity tool to synchronize files across PCs and devices.
(Using the above link gets an extra 0.5 GB total = 2.5 GB FREE!). 
2SS.Com favorite, and C|Net 4+ stars 'Outstanding
  • Forums - Dropbox Forums

  • Help - Help Center

  • Hints from StdInstall - Great way to get your files everywhere you need them, and a perfect fit for using an iPad with a PC or Mac.  On Android it can use only a home-wireless to conveniently transfer pictures to a PC at no cost.

File Transfer - Particularly transferring large files. N/A
  • Several of the tools listed on this page have build-in file transfer capabilities.  If files are too many or too large to attach to an E-Mail message you can transfer them with tools built into:
    DropBox, GoToMyPC, PC AnyWhere and Skype.  File transfer is also included in chat tools like Google Talk, Microsoft Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and more...

  • Help & Support - Search 'Name' file transfer for help using the file transfer features in any of these tools.

Firefox - an alternative web browser (Our 2nd choice to Google Chrome) (:) C|Net 5 stars 'Spectacular' (A pick that's almost as good at Google Chrome)
  GBridge - Full featured access using a GMail/GTalk account and Microsoft's  Remote Desktop Connection software. 2SS.Com favorite
  • GBridge FAQ

  • Hints from StdInstall - With a GBridge connection you can use 'Remote Desktop Connection' to configure a one-click icon for log-in, screen size, resources and more.

GoToMyPC (From Citrix) - Used by several clients for remote PC access. 
(FEE If this is of interest contact us first for best pricing and possible alternative solutions.)
C|Net 4 stars 'Outstanding'
Contact us:
2SS.Com is a reseller
LastPass - Our preferred (to RoboForm see below) password manager that securely stores online and offline passwords, automatically logs into online accounts, and completes online registration and checkout forms with one click
(FREE, the premium [e.g. for-FEE] version syncs with iPhone, Android and more...)
C|Net 5 stars 'Spectacular'
Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack - allows opening and saving 2007/2010 file formats in Office 2003

(Can't do without
this add-in.)

  Norton SystemWorks 2008/2009 - Top rated virus protection with utilities to help visualize and resolve problems on your Win XP PC.
(FEE, contact us to acquire for under $35)
2SS.Com favorite for business, see our guide: Norton System Doctor, (w/SystemWorks) What, Why & How?
  • Discontinued after 2010

  • Hints from StdInstall - Upgrade SystemWorks with Norton 360 to get the best of both.

pcAnyWhere - Tried-and-true connectivity that works un-attended, allows re-starts and provides good troubleshooting and file transfer.
(FEE, contact us to acquire for under $40)
2SS.Com favorite and longtime industry standard
PowerToys for Windows XP (Useful tools that are nice to have when needed.) 2SS.Com favorite

RealPlayer (from Real Networks) - Music and video player (Combined with QuickTime and Windows Media Player it covers the bases.) Longtime industry standard
RoboForm - password manager that securely stores online and offline passwords, automatically logs into online accounts, and completes online registration and checkout forms with one click
(FEE after 30-day trial)
C|Net 'Top 11 downloads' and 5 stars 'Spectacular'

Skype live video, voice, and chat communications software (:) C|Net 5 stars 'Spectacular'
  TClocker TClocker to adjust and format the Windows XP system tray clock.  (Simple, handy and certainly not required.) 2SS.Com favorite
  • Documentation - (Included help file)

  • Hints from StdInstall - A picture is worth...

A = Before
B = After
  Windows XP Service Pack 3 for network installation

(Can't do without
this update.)

WinZip file compression and de-compression software for file transfer and archiving.  (Versions up to 10.0 were free.)
(FEE after 30-day trial)
Longtime industry standard

XMarks - Keeps browser favorites and bookmarks in sync across multiple PCs and browsers. C|Net 5 stars 'Spectacular'

(:)   Install these programs in one step by selecting them from this list and the list above at www.Ninite.Com.  Then use the resulting install program again-and-again to find and install updates to all the selected programs.

You will want to Add to the above any appropriate software packages to acquire, and install including ones like

  • Contact mgmt. tools - ACT! (from Sage) or GoldMine (from FrontRange)

  • Financial mgmt. tools - Intuit Quicken & QuickBooks and Sage Contractor 100, among others

  • Image mgmt. tools -  Adobe Acrobat Professional, Creative Suite, etc.

  • Office productivity tools - Microsoft Office 2003, 2007 and 2010, typically in the Small Business or Professional editions or WordPerfect Office (from Corel)

  • PC Security mgmt. tools - Norton SystemWorks 2008 /2009 (For businesses with Windows 2000 and XP systems.  Pending a new technology breakthrough we recommend staying one or more years behind the current version.)

  • and possibly many others...

Vista user? - The Windows 7 recommendations above apply.  Note that there is no need for the 'Classic Shell' menu program in Vista or XP.  Just right click on the task bar and choose [Properties] --> [Start Menu] tab --> and select 'Classic Start menu' and [OK].

If you have questions, comments or suggestions for any of our StdInstall.Com lists please contact us at [email protected].

Copyright 2012 Ronald J. Ellis DBA 2ITGuy.Com and 2SS.Com