What I add to a fresh install of Windows XP

Yes, yes, I know, Windows 7 is all the rage today. But, XP is still widely used and for now is the operating system I need to install on 90% of the cases. Of course first I install Windows XP, then the pc’s drivers and utilities, then I add whatever commercial software the client uses. After that, from case to case I always add some of the following:


  • If it’s a home user that doesn’t have a paid antivirus solution I install AVG free or Avast Home edition. Both are, in my opinion, good enough security sollutions if the user is careful, and is not browsing the darker side of the Internet.
  • A business user would have his/her paid security suite


  • Unlocker - a free utility that reports the process that is holding a file open. Good for those “Cannot delete file: Access is denied”, " There has been a sharing violation.", " The source or destination file may be in use.", " The file is in use by another program or user.", “Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use.” messages.
  • Start-up control panel applet. It’s an applet that gives easy access to programs and services started by windows on boot. I use it to remove those pesky “Adobe Reader Speed-up” and so on.
  • Adobe acrobat reader
  • Flash Player


  • Almost everybody has pictures on his/her computer be it a business machine or a home pc. Irfan View it’s a great option for viewing and basic cropping, editing and resizing jobs.
  • For more advanced users with a lot of pictures I install Picasa.
  • For even more advanced user I install The GiMP.
  • Some users need vector graphics capabilities and for them I install Inkscape.


  • If the user wants videos on his machine there is really only one easy way: VideoLAN. Advanced video player, with built in codecs for every video file you can imagine !
  • Winamp for music. It might not be what it used to be, but it’s what everybody knows and is used to.


  • Mozilla firefox. I really think Internet Explorer is a big problem. If the user has some banking or special site that requires IE, I make a custom shortcut for it on the desktop and make Firefox the default.
  • Should the user need ftp I install FileZilla.


  • Google Earth. Some of my clients are real estate agencies, and google earth is very handy for them.

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